Text of Plan #426
  WEEK 6  


Lawton B. Evans

Sir Walter Raleigh

WALTER RALEIGH was a gallant young man of England, very bold and fond of adventure. He was an officer in Queen Elizabeth's army. One day, in London, he had an opportunity of attracting the attention of the Queen, herself. She was out for a walk in the royal park, attended by her courtiers, when the party came to a muddy place in the path over which the Queen must go. As she hesitated for a moment, there stepped from [24] the bystanders a young man who threw his cloak down over the mud so that she might pass without soiling her shoes. When she had crossed, she called the young man to her side and offered to pay for the velvet cloak.

"The only pay I desire, your Majesty, is permission to keep the cloak; for since your Majesty's foot has pressed on it, it has become valuable indeed," was the reply of the young officer.

The Queen was pleased at the answer, and asked his name. "Walter Raleigh, most gracious lady," said he. The Queen passed on, but the next day she sent for him and made him one of the guards in the royal household.

Raleigh soon grew into favor with the Queen. Court life was very gay in the reign of Elizabeth. Raleigh was among the most brilliant and successful of all the courtiers. He had many suits of satin and velvet, he wore a hat with a band of pearls, and his shoe-buckles cost several thousand dollars. He also had a suit of silver armor, studded with diamonds. He paid for all these things himself, for he was not only a fine soldier and sailor, but was also one of the best business men of his time.

Among the cherished plans of Raleigh was one [25] to found a colony in the New World. The Queen said he might plant a colony in America anywhere he could find a place, but that he must do so at his own expense. The Queen was as thrifty as Raleigh was adventurous.

So he fitted out two ships, and collected a lot of poor people who were willing to go anywhere, and he sent them across the ocean to plant a colony in the New World. After four months' sailing, they came to Roanoke Island, off the coast of North Carolina. Taking a look at the land, they sailed back home, and reported that the country was very beautiful, but that they would rather be in England. Raleigh named the land Virginia, in honor of the Virgin Queen; he was not quite sure where it was.

The next year another company was sent out by Raleigh. They landed on Roanoke Island and started a colony, but in a short while they grew tired and a passing ship took them also back to England. Thus the second effort was a failure.

These colonists, however, brought back to Raleigh many products of the country, among other things some tobacco, which they told Raleigh the Indians burned in their pipes, drawing the smoke through their mouths. Raleigh liked the idea of smoking, and soon began to use tobacco [26] like the Indians. As he sat in his room one day with his pipe, blowing the smoke into the air, his servant came in with a pot of ale. He was amazed to see smoke coming out of Raleigh's mouth. "The master is on fire," he cried in alarm, and threw the ale into Raleigh's face, very much to the latter's amusement and chagrin.

One day while smoking before the Queen, Raleigh laid her a wager he could weigh the smoke coming from his pipe. The Queen accepted the bet. Raleigh thereupon weighed a small quantity of tobacco, smoked it all, and then carefully weighed the ashes. The difference between the weight of the tobacco and the weight of the ashes, he said, must be the weight of the smoke. The Queen laughingly paid the wager.

Raleigh tried to found a third colony in America, but it came to grief and was lost; he therefore gave up all his plans of colonization. He had spent large sums of money, and besides he had married one of the Queen's maids-of-honor, which so displeased Elizabeth that Raleigh lost his favored place at Court. He managed to get up an exploring party to go to South America in search of gold. Soon after his return to England, the Queen died, and James I. became King.

King James did not like Raleigh, and listened to [27] his enemies, who were envious of his popularity. Charges were preferred against him, and he was thrown into prison. On the day of his trial, he pleaded his own cause with great eloquence. He spoke all day long, from early morning until dark, but he was condemned to death.

For some reason he was not executed for fifteen years, but was kept confined in prison, where he spent his time writing a history of the world.

He met death like a brave man, asking to be executed in the morning hours, for he had a fever at the time, and he knew that if he waited until evening the chill would come and he would shake; thus his enemies might think he trembled for fear. His request was granted. As he mounted the block, he touched the headsman's axe, saying, "It is a sharp medicine, but it will cure all ills."

He then laid his aged head upon the block, and, when the axe fell, the old courtier's troubles were over.


Clara Dillingham Pierson

The Contented Earthworms



A FTER a long and soaking rain, the Earthworms came out of their burrows, or rather, they came part way out, for each Earthworm put out half of his body, and, as there were many of them and they lived near to each other, they could easily visit without leaving their own homes. Two of these long, slimy people were talking, when a Potato Bug strolled by. "You poor things," said he, "what a wretched life you must lead. Spending one's days in the dark earth must be very dreary."

[77] "Dreary!" exclaimed one of the Earthworms, "it is delightful. The earth is a snug and soft home. It is warm in cold weather and cool in warm weather. There are no winds to trouble us, and no sun to scorch us."

"But," said the Potato Bug, "it must be very dull. Now, out in the grass, one finds beautiful flowers, and so many families of friends."

"And down here," answered the Worm, "we have the roots. Some are brown and woody, like those of the trees, and some are white and slender and soft. They creep and twine, until it is like passing through a forest to go among them. And then, there are the seeds. Such busy times as there are in the ground in spring-time! Each tiny seed awakens and begins to grow. Its roots must strike downward, and its stalk upward toward the light. Sometimes the seeds are buried in the earth with the root end up, and then they [78] have a great time getting twisted around and ready to grow."

"Still, after the plants are all growing and have their heads in the air, you must miss them."

"We have the roots always," said the Worm. "And then, when the summer is over, the plants have done their work, helping to make the world beautiful and raise their seed babies, and they wither and droop to the earth again, and little by little the sun and the frost and the rain help them to melt back into the earth. The earth is the beginning and the end of plants."

"Do you ever meet the meadow people in it?" asked the Potato Bug.

"Many of them live here as babies," said the Worm. "The May Beetles, the Grasshoppers, the great Humming-bird Moths, and many others spend their babyhood here, all wrapped in eggs or cocoons. Then, when they are strong enough, and [79] their legs and wings are grown, they push their way out and begin their work. It is their getting-ready time, down here in the dark. And then, there are the stones, and they are so old and queer. I am often glad that I am not a stone, for to have to lie still must be hard to bear. Yet I have heard that they did not always lie so, and that some of the very pebbles around us tossed and rolled and ground for years in the bed of a river, and that some of them were rubbed and broken off of great rocks. Perhaps they are glad now to just lie and rest."

"Truly," said the Potato Bug, "you have a pleasant home, but give me the sunshine and fresh air, my six legs, and my striped wings, and you are welcome to it all."

"You are welcome to them all," answered the Worms, "We are contented with smooth and shining bodies, with which we can bore and wriggle our way [80] through the soft, brown earth. We like our task of keeping the earth right for the plants, and we will work and rest happily here."

The Potato Bug went his way, and said to his brothers, "What do you think? I have been talking with Earthworms who would not be Potato Bugs if they could." And they all shook their heads in wonder, for they thought that to be Potato Bugs was the grandest and happiest thing in the world.


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 6  


Amy Steedman

Saint Patrick

Part 2 of 2

The glad season of Easter was close at hand, but it held no meaning for the people of this dark land. True, they had their own religion, a strange worship of the sun, and their priests, who were called Druids, were said to possess magical powers and great wisdom. They had great festivals too in which all the people joined, and one of these was just about to be held at Tara. Here the Druids were all assembled to do honour to the sun, which was becoming powerful enough to put winter to flight and warm the spring buds into summer blossoms. For some days before the feast, every fire was put out, and not a [54] light was allowed to be kindled, on pain of death, until the great festal light should be lighted on the Hill of Tara.

Now Patrick was brave as a lion, and his heart was set on delivering his message and spreading the True Light in this heathen darkness, so there was no room for fear. The gathering of the priests and the presence of the powerful King Laoghaire seemed to him a splendid opportunity of fighting the powers of evil.

Across hill and dale he travelled swiftly with his little band of followers until he reached the Hill of Slane, close to Tara. There, on Easter Eve, when the land was wrapt in darkness, when not the faintest glimmer of a light could be seen in the solemn blackness that brooded over Tara's Hill, he lit his Easter fire and watched the tongues of flame as they shot up and lighted the whole country round.

The King and his councillors the Druids came hastily together in anger and astonishment when they saw the glowing light.

"Who has dared to do this thing?" asked the King in a fury.

"It is none of our people," said the priest: "it is the challenge of an enemy."

The wise men were troubled and talked together in half-fearful tones. There was an ancient prophecy which rung in their ears, and made them wonder if the man they had seen wending his way at the head of his little company that day to the Hill of Slane was possessed of some magic power.

[55] Slowly one of the Druids chanted the verse, while the others listened sullenly.

"He comes, he comes with shaven crown,

from off the storm-tossed sea,

His garment piercèd at the neck,

with crook-like staff comes he.

Far in his house, at its east end,

his cups and patins lie.

His people answer to his voice:

Amen, Amen, they cry. Amen, Amen."

"Whoe'er he be, he shall not come to challenge our power," quoth the King. "We will go forth and punish this bold stranger."

Down the dark silent hillside the King and his councillors rode furiously, and never stopped until they reached the Hill of Slane. But there the Druids called a halt.

"Let a messenger be sent to fetch forth the man," they said; "we will not venture within the line of his magic fire."

"We will receive him here," said the King, "and let no man rise when he approaches lest he should think that in any way we seek to honour him."

So the men sat down silently to wait until the messenger should return, and ere long Patrick was seen to come swiftly down the hill towards them. That was the man, there was no doubt of it. As he came nearer they could see the shaven crown, the robe pierced at the neck, and in his hand the crook-like staff, while from the hill-top could be heard the music of the Easter hymn and the chanting of the loud "Amen."

The company sat silent and unmoved as Patrick approached. Only one little lad, watching with [56] intent eyes the face of the stranger, rose to his feet in reverent greeting, forgetting the King's command.

A gentle look came into Patrick's eyes as he noticed the eager greeting and, raising his hand, he blessed the little lad.

"Who art thou, and what is thy errand here?" thundered the King.

"I am a torchbearer," answered Patrick. "I bring the True Light to lighten this dark land, to spread around peace and goodwill. All I ask is that thou wilt hear my message."

Alone and unarmed but quite fearless, Patrick stood up before the angry men next day, and spoke such words as they had never heard before. It was a new and wonderful teaching, and many of the wise men and nobles listened eagerly; and when he was done they came and asked to be baptized and enrolled under the banner of Patrick's God.

That was a glad Eastertide for the bishop, and as time went on the light spread far and wide. Many there were who shut their eyes and loved the darkness rather than the light, but Patrick was wise in his dealings with them all. He was never harsh or scornful of their beliefs, but always tried to lead them through what was good and beautiful in their own religion, using old customs and feasts to do honour to Christ, giving them a new meaning that linked them to His service.

Then, too, he wisely tried to win over the chief men of the land to become Christians, knowing that their followers would the more readily follow their masters. Young boys were also his special [57] care, remembering as he always did his bitter years of lonely slavery, and these lads were to him as sons. The boy he had blessed on that Easter Eve on the hillside of Slane was now one of his followers, and years afterwards we hear of him as Bishop of Slane. It was one of these lads whom Patrick loved so well, whose bravery and loyal devotion once saved the good bishop's life.

Coming one day to the spot where a great stone marked the place of the Druids' worship, Patrick overthrew the stone that he might set up an altar instead. This was considered a terrible insult, and one of the heathen chiefs vowed that, come what might, he would kill Patrick wherever he found him.

Now the lad who drove Patrick's chariot heard this threat, and accordingly guarded his master with increased watchfulness. At last, however, his enemy's opportunity came, for Patrick's journeying took him past the chief's abode. The boy Oran knew that his master had no fear and would never turn aside to escape danger, so, as they neared the place, he thought of a plan to save him.

"I grow so weary with this long day of driving, my master," he said. "My hands can scarce hold the reins. If thou wouldst but drive for a space and let me rest, all would be well."

"Thou shouldst have asked sooner, my son," said the bishop kindly. "I am but a hard master to overtask thy strength."

So saying, Patrick changed seats, and gathering up the reins, drove on, while the boy sat behind [58] in his master's seat, and prayed that the gathering darkness might close in swiftly, so that no one could mark the change.

Very soon they reached the outskirts of a dense wood, and from the sheltering trees a dark figure sprang out. The frightened horse reared for a moment, there was a singing sound of some weapon whizzing through the air, and when Patrick turned to see what it meant, the boy lay dead with a javelin in his heart—the murderer's weapon, which had been meant for the master. Well might Patrick, as he knelt there in his bitter grief, bear in his heart the echo of his Master's words, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

Journeying on from place to place teaching the people, Patrick came at one time to Cruachan, and there, by the well of Clebach, he stopped to rest in the early morning with his little band of followers. Very earnestly they talked together in the dim morning light, and they had no eyes to notice the glorious golden banners flung out in the east to herald the rising sun, nor did they notice two white-clad figures that came stealing up towards the well where they sat.

When the day is just awakening, and the stillness and mystery of the night still lies hid in sleepy hollows and shadowy woods, there is a magic spell upon the earth. It is the same old world, and yet all is fresh, all is good and beautiful. Fear is not yet awake. Wild creatures are tame and friendly. Who would hurt them in this magic hour? Every [59] flower holds its drop of dew close at its heart; there will be time enough to open later on when the sunbeams steal in and drink the crystal drops. Some there are who call this time "God's hour," and say the strange hush and peacefulness are there because the good God walks through His world at dawn.

It was at this hour that King Laoghaire's two daughters, Ethne and Fedelin, stole up the hillside to bathe in the clear waters of the Clebach spring. Hand in hand they climbed, glancing half fearfully at the hollows where the shadows still lingered, and speaking in whispers lest they should frighten the fairies that had been dancing all night on the hillside.

Suddenly, when they came in sight of the well, they stopped in amazement and half in fear. Had they caught the fairies at last, or were these spirits, these quiet solemn men seated there like a circle of grey ghosts?

Slowly Ethne the Fair went forward and spoke to the spirit who seemed to be king among the rest.

"Whence do you come?" she asked, "and what is your name?"

Fedelin the Ruddy then drew near to hear the answer. She was no longer afraid when she saw how kindly was the look in the stranger's eyes.

"Nay," answered Patrick, "it matters little who I am and whence I came, for I must soon pass away. Better it were to seek to know the God whom I serve, for He liveth for ever."

"Who is your God?" asked Ethne, "and where [60] is He? Is He in heaven or in earth, in the sea or in mountains?"

"How can we know Him?" asked Fedelin. "Where is He to be found?"

"My God is the God of all men, and He is everywhere," answered Patrick. Then, pointing to the rosy east, the mist-wrapt mountains and homely meadowland, he told them how God had made the world and all that is in it, how He loved it, and had sent His son, born of a pure virgin, to redeem it.

"He is the King of Heaven and Earth," said Patrick, "and it is meet that ye, the daughters of an earthly king, should also be the children of the heavenly King."

It was a wonderful story, and the two maidens listened with breathless attention. "Teach us most diligently how we may believe in the heavenly King," they said. "Show us how we may see Him face to face, and whatsoever thou shalt say unto us, we will do."

The clear water of the fountain was close at hand, and Patrick led the two fair princesses to the brink and there baptized them in the name of Christ.

"Yet can ye not see the King face to face," he said, "until ye sleep in death and your souls shall wing their way up to His starry chamber."

The maidens earnestly prayed that they might not have long to wait, and the old story tells us that then they "received the Eucharist of God, and they slept in death." Like two fair flowers [61] just opening their petals in the dawning light, the Master's hand gathered them before the heat and dust of the working day had time to wither their freshness or soil their spotless purity.

Many there were besides these gentle maidens who learned to believe in Patrick's God. His teaching came like a trumpet-call to the strong men and lawless chieftains who ruled the land. They were brave and fearless warriors these heathen chiefs, men who met pain and suffering with unflinching courage and scorned to show their hurt; men after Patrick's own heart, fit soldiers to serve his King. There was one, Aengus by name, King of Munster, who gladly obeyed the call and welcomed Patrick to his palace, asking that he might be baptized and received as God's servant. The water was brought and Patrick, leaning on his crozier, did not notice that the sharp point was resting on the foot of Aengus. Deeper and deeper the point pierced the bare foot as Patrick went through the service, but not a sign did the brave man make. This, he thought, must be part of his baptism, and he was ready, nay, eager to endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

Not until Patrick tried to lift his staff did he perceive what he had done, and then, in spite of his sorrow, the sight of that pierced foot made him thank God in his heart for a brave man's endurance.

It was the custom of many of these chieftains when they became Christians, to give Patrick a piece of land on which to build a church, so ere [62] long churches and monasteries were built wherever Patrick journeyed, and there he left teachers to carry on his work. All who loved learning found their way to these monasteries, and among them were many of the Druids, who were the poets and musicians of that time. They tuned their harps now in God's service, and so beautiful was the music they made that it is said "the angels of heaven stooped down to listen," and the harp became the badge of Christian Ireland.

As a rule Patrick was allowed to choose which piece of land he wanted, but when he came to Armagh, the chieftain, whose name was Daire, would only allow him to have a piece of low-lying meadowland, and refused to give him the good place on the hillside which Patrick had wanted. Then, perhaps feeling a little ashamed of himself, he thought that he would make it up to the good bishop by presenting him with a splendid present. This was a wonderful brass cauldron which had been brought from over the sea, and there was no other like it in the land. So Daire came to where Patrick was and presented the cauldron.

"This cauldron is thine," said Daire. "Gratzacham" (I thank thee), answered the saint. That was all, and Daire went home, becoming more and more angry as he went.

"The man is a fool," he said; "he can say nothing for a wonderful cauldron of three firkins except Gratzacham."

Then, turning to his slaves, he added: "Go and bring us back our cauldron."

[63] So back they went and said to Patrick, "We must take away the cauldron." And all that Patrick said was, "Gratzacham, take it."

Now, when they returned to Daire, carrying the cauldron, he asked them, "What said the Christian when ye took away the cauldron?"

"He said Gratzacham again," answered the slaves.

"He saith the same when I give as when I take away," said Daire. "He is a man not easily moved, and he shall have his cauldron back."

And not only was the cauldron returned, but the chieftain himself came to Patrick and told him he should have the piece of land which he desired. Together they went to climb the hill, and when they came to the place they found there a roe lying with her fawn. The men ran forward and would have killed the fawn, but Patrick was quicker than they, and he lifted the little creature gently in his arms and carried it to another place of safety. The roe seemed to know he was a friend, and trotted happily by his side until he stooped down and gave her back her fawn once more. Some say that the altar of the great cathedral of Armagh covers the spot where once on the grassy hillside the fawn found a shelter in the arms of Saint Patrick.

The years went by, and each day was filled by Patrick with service for his Master, until the useful life drew to a close. Then, in the spring of the Year, when the March winds were blowing, when the shamrocks he loved were decking the land in dainty green, came the King's command, "Come up [64] higher." It was but a gentle call, for he had dwelt so close to the Master that it was only a step from the Seen to the Unseen, and he needed no loud summons, for his feet were on the threshold of home.

"Christ with me, Christ before me,

Christ behind me, Christ within me,

Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

Christ at my right, Christ at my left,

Christ in the fort,

Christ in the chariot-seat,

Christ in the ship."

So runs part of the beautiful old hymn of Saint Patrick, and we do not wonder that he who was so truly a follower of Christ came to be called a saint.

A helpless captive, a hard-worked slave, a lonely swineherd! Who would have dreamed that to him would have belonged the honour of leading into freedom and light the land of his captivity? Who would have thought that the lowly slave would be the torchbearer of the King, the patron saint of the green isle of Erin?


Harriette Taylor Treadwell

The Old Woman and the Pig

Part 2 of 2


The old woman met an ox.

She said, "Ox, ox, drink water. Water won't quench fire, Fire won't burn stick, Stick won't beat dog, Dog won't bite pig, [33] Pig won't get over the stile, And I can not get home to-night."

The ox said, "I won't drink water."


The old woman met a butcher.

She said, "Butcher, butcher, kill ox. Ox won't drink water, [34] Water won't quench fire, Fire won't burn stick, Stick won't beat dog, Dog won't bite pig, Pig won't get over the stile, And I can not get home to-night."

The butcher said, "I won't kill ox."


The old woman met a rope.

[35] She said, "Rope, rope, hang butcher. Butcher won't kill ox, Ox won't drink water, Water won't quench fire, Fire won't burn stick, Stick won't beat dog, Dog won't bite pig, Pig won't get over the stile, And I can not get home to-night."

The rope said, "I won't hang butcher."


[36] The old woman met a rat.

She said, "Rat, rat, gnaw rope. Rope won't hang butcher, Butcher won't kill ox, Ox won't drink water, Water won't quench fire, Fire won't burn stick, [37] Stick won't beat dog, Dog won't bite pig, Pig won't get over the stile, And I can not get home to-night."

The rat said, "Get me some cheese, And I will gnaw the rope."


The old woman got some cheese.

She gave it to the rat.

[38] The rat began to gnaw the rope, The rope began to hang the butcher, The butcher began to kill the ox, The ox began to drink the water, The water began to quench the fire, The fire began to burn the stick, The stick began to beat the dog, The dog began to bite the pig, The pig got over the stile, And the old woman got home that night.




Three Little Maidens

There were three little maidens as busy as elves,

As busy as elves and as good, O!

They had a wheelbarrow as big as themselves,

And they swept up the leaves in the wood, O!


  WEEK 6  


James Baldwin

A Story of Robin Hood

[28] IN the rude days of King Richard and King John there were many great woods in England. The most famous of these was Sherwood forest, where the king often went to hunt deer. In this forest there lived a band of daring men called outlaws.

They had done something that was against the laws of the land, and had been forced to hide themselves in the woods to save their lives. There they spent their time in roaming about among the trees, in hunting the king's deer, and in robbing rich travelers that came that way.

There were nearly a hundred of these outlaws, and their leader was a bold fellow called Robin Hood. They were dressed in suits of green, and armed with bows and arrows; and sometimes they carried long wooden lances and broad-swords, which they knew how to handle well. Whenever they had taken anything, it was brought and laid at the feet of Robin Hood, whom they called their king. He then divided it fairly among them, giving to each man his just share.

Robin never allowed his men to harm anybody but the rich men who lived in great houses and did no work. He was always kind to the poor, and [29] he often sent help to them; and for that reason the common people looked upon him as their friend.

Long after he was dead, men liked to talk about his deeds. Some praised him, and some blamed him. He was, indeed, a rude, lawless fellow; but at that time, people did not think of right and wrong as they do now.

A great many songs were made up about Robin Hood, and these songs were sung in the cottages and huts all over the land for hundreds of years afterward.

Here is a little story that is told in one of those songs:—

Robin Hood was standing one day under a green tree by the roadside. While he was listening to the birds among the leaves, he saw a young man passing by. This young man was dressed in a fine suit of bright red cloth; and, as he tripped gayly along the road, he seemed to be as happy as the day.

"I will not trouble him," said Robin Hood, "for I think he is on his way to his wedding."

The next day Robin stood in the same place. He had not been there long when he saw the same young man coming down the road. But he did not seem to be so happy this time. He had [30] left his scarlet coat at home, and at every step he sighed and groaned.

"Ah the sad day! the sad day!" he kept saying to himself.

Then Robin Hood stepped out from under the tree, and said,—

"I say, young man! Have you any money to spare for my merry men and me?"

"I have nothing at all," said the young man, "but five shillings and a ring."

"A gold ring?" asked Robin.

"Yes," said the young man, "it is a gold ring. Here it is."

"Ah, I see!" said Robin; "it is a wedding ring."

"I have kept it these seven years," said the young man; "I have kept it to give to my bride on our wedding day. We were going to be married yesterday. But her father has promised her to a rich old man whom she never saw. And now my heart is broken."

"What is your name?" asked Robin.

"My name is Allin-a-Dale," said the young man.

"What will you give me, in gold or fee," said Robin, "if I will help you win your bride again in spite of the rich old man to whom she has been promised?"


[31] "I have no money," said Allin, "but I will promise to be your servant."

"How many miles is it to the place where the maiden lives?" asked Robin.

[32] "It is not far," said Allin. "But she is to be married this very day, and the church is five miles away."

Then Robin made haste to dress himself as a harper; and in the afternoon he stood in the door of the church.

"Who are you?" said the bishop, "and what are you doing here?"

"I am a bold harper," said Robin, "the best in the north country."

"I am glad you have come," said the bishop kindly. "There is no music that I like so well as that of the harp. Come in, and play for us."

"I will go in," said Robin Hood; "but I will not give you any music until I see the bride and bride-groom."

Just then an old man came in. He was dressed in rich clothing, but was bent with age, and was feeble and gray. By his side walked a fair young girl. Her cheeks were very pale, and her eyes were full of tears.

"This is no match," said Robin. "Let the bride choose for herself."

Then he put his horn to his lips, and blew three times. The very next minute, four and twenty men, all dressed in green, and carrying long bows in their hands, came running across the fields. [33] And as they marched into the church, all in a row, the foremost among them was Allin-a-Dale.

"Now whom do you choose?" said Robin to the maiden.

"I choose Allin-a-Dale," she said blushing.

"And Allin-a-Dale you shall have," said Robin; "and he that takes you from Allin-a-Dale shall find that he has Robin Hood to deal with."

And so the fair maiden and Allin-a-Dale were married then and there, and the rich old man went home in a great rage.

"And thus having ended this merry wedding,

The bride looked like a queen:

And so they returned to the merry green wood,

Amongst the leaves so green."


Lucy Fitch Perkins

One Sunday


Part 1 of 2


O NE Sunday morning in early fall, Kit and Kat woke up and peeped out from their cupboard bed to see what was going on in the world.

The sun was shining through the little panes of the kitchen window, making square patches of light on the floor. The kettle was singing on the fire, and Vrouw Vedder was already putting away the breakfast things.

Father Vedder was lighting his pipe with a coal from the fire. He had on his black Sunday clothes, all ready for church. Father Vedder did not look at Kit and Kat at all. He just puffed away at his pipe and said to himself,

"If there are any Twins anywhere that want to go to church with me, they'd better get dressed and eat their breakfasts."

Kit and Kat tumbled out of the cupboard at once.

[88] Vrouw Vedder came to help them dress.

I can't tell you how many petticoats she put on Kat, but it was ever so many. And over them all she put a skirt of plaid. There was a waist of a different color, and over that a kerchief with bright red roses on it. And over the skirt she put a new, clean apron.

Kit was dressed very splendidly too. He had full baggy trousers of velveteen that reached to his ankles, and a jacket that buttoned with big silver buttons. His trousers had pockets in them.

Kit and Kat both wore stockings, which Vrouw Vedder had knit, and their best shoes of stout leather.

When they were all dressed, Vrouw Vedder stood them up side by side and had them turn around slowly to be sure they were all right.

"Now see that you behave well in meeting," she said. "Sit up straight. Look at the Dominie, and do not whisper."

"Yes, Mother," said Kit and Kat.

[89] Then she tied a big apron over each of them and gave them each a bowl of bread and milk. While they were eating it, Father Vedder went out and looked at the pigs, and chickens, and ducks, and geese, and smoked his pipe.

When he came in, Kit and Kat were quite ready. Vrouw Vedder had tied on Kat's little white-winged cap, and put Kit's hat on. She kissed them good-bye, and they were off—one on each side of Father Vedder, holding tight to his hands.

[90] Mother Vedder looked after them proudly, from the doorway. She did not go to church that day.

They walked slowly along the roadway in the bright sunshine. Many of their neighbors and friends, all dressed in their best, were walking to church, too.


Father Vedder and Kit and Kat went a little out of their way, in order to pass a large windmill that was swinging its arms around and creaking out a kind of sleepy windmill song. This is the song it seemed to sing:—

Around, and around, and around, I go,

Sometimes fast and sometimes slow.

I pump the water and grind the grain,

The marshy fields of the Lowlands, drain.

I harness the wind to turn my mill,

Around, and around, and around with a will!

Perhaps it was listening to the windmill song that made Kat say,

"Why do we have windmills, father?"

Kit and Kat said "Why?" every few steps on that walk. You see, they didn't often have their father all to themselves, to ask questions of.

[91] "Why, what a little Dutch girl," said Father Vedder, "not to know what windmills are for! They pump the water out of the fields, to be sure! Don't you know how wet the fields are sometimes? If we didn't keep pumping the water out, they would be so wet we could not make gardens at all."

"Does the wind pump the water?" asked Kat.

"Of course it does, goosie girl! and grinds the grain too. The wind blows against the great arms and turns them round and round. That works the pumps; and the pumps suck the water out of the fields, and it is poured out into the canals. If it weren't for the good old windmills working away, who knows but the water would get the best of us some day and cover up all our land!"

"Wouldn't the dykes keep out the sea?" asked Kit.

"Suppose the dykes should break!" said Father Vedder. "Even one little break can let in lots of water. The dykes have to be [92] watched day and night all the time, and the least bit of a hole stopped up right away, so it can't grow any bigger and let in the sea."

"Oh dear," Kat said, "what a leaky country!"

She ran near the mill and let the wind from the fans blow her hair and the white wings on her cap.

As the great fans swung near the ground, Kit jumped up and caught hold of one. It lifted him right off the ground as it swung around, and in a minute he was dangling high in the air.


"Jump, jump, quick," shouted Father Vedder.

Kit let go and dropped to the ground just in time. In another minute he would have been carried clear over.

As it was, he sat down very hard on the ground, and had to have the dirt brushed off of his Sunday clothes.

"I am surprised at you," Father Vedder said, while he brushed him. "You are too [94] small to swing on windmills, and besides it is the Sabbath day. Don't you ever do it again until you are big enough to be called Christopher!"

Sitting down so hard in the dirt had hurt Kit a little bit, and scared him a good deal, so he said, "No, father."

Then they walked all around the mill. They peeped inside a door which was open, and saw the pumps working away.

"Yes," said Father Vedder, "it is nip and tuck between wind and water in Holland. Let us sit down here on the canal bank, in the sunshine, and I will tell you what hard work has to be done to keep this good land of ours. And it is a good land! We should be thankful for it! Just see the rich green meadows over there, with the cows grazing in them!"—Father Vedder pointed to the beautiful fields across the canal. "The grass is so rich and fresh, that the cows here give more milk than any other cows in the whole world!"


"That's what Mother says," said Kat.

[95] "The Holland butter and cheese are famous everywhere," went on Father Vedder; "and we have all the good milk we want to drink, besides. The Dutch gardens, too, are the finest in the world."

"And ours is one of the best of Dutch gardens, isn't it, Father?" said Kit.

[96] "It's a very good garden," said Father Vedder, proudly. "No one can raise better onions and cabbage and carrots than I can. And the Dutch bulbs! Our tulips and hyacinths make the whole world bloom!"

"Holland is really the greatest country there is; isn't it?" said Kit.

"We—ll, not in point of size, perhaps," Father Vedder admitted; "but in pluck, my boy, it is! Did you know that sometimes people call Holland the Land of Pluck?"

"I don't see why," said Kat. "I'm Dutch, but I'm afraid of lots of things! I'm afraid of spiders and of cross geese, and of falling into the water!"

"You're a girl, if you are Dutch," said Kit. "Boys are always pluckier than girls; aren't they, Father?"

"Really plucky people never boast," said Father Vedder.

Kit looked the other way and dug the toe of his shoe into the dirt. Kat snuggled up to her Father and sniffed at Kit.

"So there, Kit!" was all she said.

[97] "There's pluck enough to go round," said Father Vedder mildly, "and we all need it—boys and girls, and men and women too. It was pluck that made Holland, and it's pluck that keeps her from slipping back into the sea."

"How did pluck make Holland?" asked Kit.

"There wasn't any Holland in the first place," Father Vedder answered. "There were only some marshes and some lands under water. But people built a wall of earth around these flats; and then they pumped out the water from the space inside the wall, and made canals through the land, and drained it. And after all that work, we have our rich fields."

"How does pluck keep them?" asked Kat.

"The dykes have to be watched and mended all the time," said Father Vedder. "And the windmills have to work and work, to keep the fields drained. No one can be lazy in Holland. Each one has to work well for what he gets. If Holland should grow [98] lazy, she would soon be back again in the Zuyder Zee! So, my children, you see you must learn well and work hard. And that is all my sermon to-day."

"It is a better sermon than the Dominie will preach, I know," said Kat.

"Tut, tut! You must never say such things," said Father Vedder. He got up and held out his hands to the Twins.

"Come! we must walk along, or we shall be late for church," he said. "Here comes the Dominie now."

There indeed was the Dominie! Kit and Kat knew him well. No one else dressed as he did. He wore a high silk hat, and long, black coat and trousers, such as city people wear.

As he came along the road, all the people bowed respectfully; the little boys took off their caps, and the little girls bobbed a courtesy. Kit and Kat bobbed and courtesied too, and the Dominie smiled at them and laid his hand on Kit's head.


"I wish he'd come to see us again," said Kit, after the Dominie had passed by.

[99] Father Vedder was pleased.

"I am glad to see that you love your pastor, my son," he said.

"Well," said Kit, "I don't really like him so very  much, because we have to be washed, and recite the catechism, and mind all our manners when he comes. But Mother always has such good things to eat when the Dominie comes—doesn't she, Kat?—cake and preserves—and everything!"

"If it weren't for the catechism and such [100] things, it would be something like St. Nicholas day!" sighed Kat. "But the Dominie never forgets! And last time I couldn't tell what saving grace was! The cakes are good, but—"

"Good Dutch boys and girls always learn their catechism well," said Father Vedder; "then they are glad to see the good Dominie as well as the cakes. Now no more chatter! Here is a penny for each of you to put in the bag when it is passed."

He gave them each a penny. Kit put his in his pocket. Kat didn't have a pocket, so she held hers tight in her hand.

At the church door they met Grandfather and Grandmother.

Grandfather looked very fine indeed, in his black clothes; and Grandmother was all dressed up in her best black dress, with a fresh white cap, and a shawl over her shoulders. She carried a large psalm book with golden clasps in one hand, and a scent bottle in the other. She had some peppermints too. Kit and Kat smelled them.


[101] They all went into the church together, and an old woman led them to their seats. Kit and Kat sat one each side of Grandmother. Grandfather and Father Vedder sat on the other side of the church with all the rest of the men.

[102] "You must sit very still and look straight before you," said Grandmother.

Kit remembered the peppermints and sat up like a soldier. So did Kat.

Pretty soon the schoolmaster came in and went up into the pulpit. He read a chapter from the Bible, and then the Dominie stood up in the pulpit and began to preach. He preached a long time.

Kit and Kat tried very hard to sit still, just as Grandmother had said; but pretty soon their heads began to nod.

Grandmother gave them each a peppermint.

They waked up for a minute. But the Dominie kept right on preaching, until they were both sound asleep with their heads on Grandmother's shoulders,—one on each side; and if they had been awake to see, they might have thought that Grandmother took a nap too.


The sermon was so very long that a great many people went to sleep. So, by and by, the Dominie said,

[103] "We will all sing the Ninety-first Psalm."

Everybody woke up.

Grandmother opened the great golden clasps of her psalm book, and stood up with all the rest of the people. She stood up quickly, so that no one would think she had been asleep. She forgot that the Twins were asleep too, with their heads on her shoulders. That was why, when she got up, Kit and Kat fell against each other and bumped their heads!

[104] They forgot that they were in church. They said "Ow!" both together, and Kat began to cry. But Grandmother said "Sh! sh!" and gave them each a peppermint; and that made them feel much better.


Pretty soon the schoolmaster came along with a little bag on the end of a long stick. He passed it to each person. Kit and Kat each put in a penny, though Kit had a hard time to get his out of his pocket. But Grandmother was so upset about the Twins getting bumped, that she forgot and put in a peppermint instead.



Bimble, Bamble, Bumble

There was an old woman who rode on a broom,

With a high gee ho, gee humble,

And she took her old cat along for a groom,

With a bimble, bamble, bumble.

They went along and they came to the sky,

With a high gee ho, gee humble,

But the ride so long made them very hungry,

With a bimble, bamble, bumble.

Said Tom, "I can find not a mouse to eat,"

With a high gee ho, gee humble;

"So let us go back again, I entreat,"

With a bimble, bamble, bumble.

The old woman would not go back so soon,

With a high gee ho, gee humble,

She wanted to visit the man in the moon,

With a bimble, bamble, bumble.

Said Tom, "I will go alone to the house,"

With a high gee ho, gee humble,

"For there I can catch a rat or a mouse,"

With a bimble, bamble, bumble.

"But," said the old woman, "how will you go?"

With a high gee ho, gee humble;

Said Tom, "I'll run down this pretty rainbow,"

With a bimble, bamble, bumble.


  WEEK 6  


Mary Macgregor

Siegfried Subdues Brunhild

[71] The little ship had sailed on now close beneath the castle, so close indeed that as the King looked up to the window he could catch glimpses of beautiful maidens passing to and fro.

Sir Siegfried also looked and laughed aloud for glee. It would be but a little while until Brunhild was won and he was free to return to his winsome lady Kriemhild.

By this time the maidens in the castle had caught sight of the ship, and many bright eyes were peering down upon King Gunther and his three brave comrades.

"Look well at the fair maidens, sire," said Siegfried to the King. "Among them all show me her whom thou wouldst choose most gladly as your bride."

"Seest thou the fairest of the band," cried the [72] King, "she who is clad in a white garment? It is she and no other whom I would wed."

Right merrily then laughed Siegfried. "The maiden," said he gaily, "is in truth none other than Queen Brunhild herself."

The King and his warriors now moored their vessel and leaped ashore, Siegfried leading with him the King's charger. For each knight had brought his steed with him from the fair land of Burgundy.

More bright than ever beamed the bright eyes of the ladies at the castle window. So fair, so gallant a knight never had they seen, thought the damsels as they gazed upon Sir Siegfried. And all the while King Gunther dreamed their glances were bent on no other than himself.

Siegfried held the noble steed until King Gunther had mounted, and this he did that Queen Brunhild might not know that he was the Prince of the Netherlands, owing service to no man. Then going back to the ship the hero brought his own horse to land, mounted, and rode with the King toward the castle gate.

King and Prince were clad alike. Their [73] steeds as well as their garments were white as snow, their saddles were bedecked with jewels, and on the harness hung bells, all of bright red gold. Their shields shone as the sun, their spears they wore before them, their swords hung by their side.

Behind them followed Hagen and Dankwart, their armour black as the plumage of the wild raven, their shields strong and mighty.

As they approached the castle the gates were flung wide open, and the liegemen of the great Queen came out to greet the strangers with words of welcome. They bid their hirelings also take the shields and chargers from their guests.

But when a squire demanded that the strangers should also yield their swords, grim Hagen smiled his grimmest, and cried, "Nay, our swords will we e'en keep lest we have need of them." Nor was he too well pleased when Siegfried told him that the custom in Isenland was that no guest should enter the castle carrying a weapon. It was but sullenly that he let his sword be taken away along with his mighty shield.

[74] After the strangers had been refreshed with wine, her liegemen sent to the Queen to tell her that strange guests had arrived.

"Who are the strangers who come thus unheralded to my land?" haughtily demanded Brunhild.

But no one could tell her who the warriors were, though some murmured that the tallest and fairest might be the great hero Siegfried.

It may be that the Queen thought that if the knight were indeed Siegfried she would revenge herself on him now for the mischievous pranks he had played the last time he was in her kingdom. In any case she said, "If the hero is here he shall enter into contest with me, and he shall pay for his boldness with his life, for I shall be the victor."

Then with five hundred warriors, each with his sword in hand, Brunhild came down to the knights from Burgundy.

"Be welcome, Siegfried," she cried, "yet wherefore hast thou come again to Isenland?"

"I thank thee for thy greeting, lady," said the Prince, "but thou hast welcomed me before my lord. He, King Gunther, ruler over the [75] fair realms of Burgundy, hath come hither to wed with thee."

Brunhild was displeased that the mighty hero should not himself seek to win her as a bride, yet since for all his prowess he seemed but a vassal of the King, she answered, "If thy master can vanquish me in the contests to which I bid him, then I will be his wife, but if I conquer thy master, his life, and the lives of his followers will be forfeited."

"What dost thou demand of my master?" asked Hagen.

"He must hurl the spear with me, throw the stone from the ring, and leap to where it has fallen," said the Queen.

Now while Brunhild was speaking, Siegfried whispered to the King to fear nothing, but to accept the Queen's challenge. "I will be near though no one will see me, to aid thee in the struggle," he whispered.

Gunther had such trust in the Prince that he at once cried boldly, "Queen Brunhild, I do not fear even to risk my life that I may win thee for my bride."

Then the bold maiden called for her armour, [76] but when Gunther saw her shield, "three spans thick with gold and iron, which four chamberlains could hardly bear," his courage began to fail.

While the Queen donned her silken fighting doublet, which could turn aside the sharpest spear, Siegfried slipped away unnoticed to the ship, and swiftly flung around him his Cloak of Darkness. Then unseen by all, he hastened back to King Gunther's side.

A great javelin was then given to the Queen, and she began to fight with her suitor, and so hard were her thrusts that but for Siegfried the King would have lost his life.

"Give me thy shield," whispered the invisible hero in the King's ear, "and tell no one that I am here." Then as the maiden hurled her spear with all her force against the shield which she thought was held by the King, the shock well-nigh drove both Gunther and his unseen friend to their knees.


The maiden hurled her spear

But in a moment Siegfried's hand had dealt the Queen such a blow with the handle of his spear (he would not use the sharp point against a woman) that the maiden cried aloud, [77] "King Gunther, thou hast won this fray." For as she could not see Siegfried because of his Cloak of Darkness, she could not but believe that it was the King who had vanquished her.

In her wrath the Queen now sped to the ring, where lay a stone so heavy that it could scarce be lifted by twelve strong men.

But Brunhild lifted it with ease, and threw it twelve arms' length beyond the spot on which she stood. Then, leaping after it, she alighted even farther than she had thrown the stone.

Gunther now stood in the ring, and lifted the stone which had again been placed within it. He lifted it with an effort, but at once Siegfried's unseen hand grasped it and threw it with such strength that it dropped even beyond the spot to which it had been flung by the Queen. Lifting King Gunther with him Siegfried next jumped far beyond the spot on which the Queen had alighted. And all the warriors marvelled to see their Queen thus vanquished by the strange King. For you must remember that not one of them could see that it was Siegfried who had done these deeds of prowess.

[78] Now in the contest, still unseen, Siegfried had taken from the Queen her ring and her favourite girdle.

With angry gestures Brunhild called to her liegemen to come and lay their weapons down at King Gunther's feet to do him homage. Henceforth they must be his thralls and own him as their lord.

As soon as the contests were over, Siegfried had slipped back to the ship and hidden his Cloak of Darkness. Then boldly he came back to the great hall, and pretending to know nothing of the games begged to be told who had been the victor, if indeed they had already taken place.

When he had heard that Queen Brunhild had been vanquished, the hero laughed, and cried gaily, "Then, noble maiden, thou must go with us to Rhineland to wed King Gunther."

"A strange way for a vassal to speak," thought the angry Queen, and she answered with a proud glance at the knight. "Nay, that will I not do until I have summoned my kinsmen and my good lieges. For I will myself say farewell to them ere ever I will go to Rhineland."

[79] Thus heralds were sent throughout Brunhild's realms, and soon from morn to eve her kinsmen and her liegemen rode into the castle, until it seemed as though a mighty army were assembling.

"Does the maiden mean to wage war against us," said Hagen grimly. "I like not the number of her warriors."

Then said Siegfried, "I will leave thee for a little while and go across the sea, and soon will I return with a thousand brave warriors, so that no evil may befall us."

So the Prince went down alone to the little ship and set sail across the sea.


Clara Dillingham Pierson

The Measuring Worm's Joke



O NE day there crawled over the meadow fence a jolly young Measuring Worm. He came from a bush by the roadside, and although he was still a young Worm he had kept his eyes open and had a very good idea how things go in this world. "Now," thought he, as he rested on the top rail of the fence, "I shall meet some new friends. I do hope they will be [82] pleasant. I will look about me and see if anyone is in sight." So he raised his head high in the air and, sure enough, there were seven Caterpillars of different kinds on a tall clump of weeds near by.

The Measuring Worm hurried over to where they were, and making his best bow said: "I have just come from the roadside and think I shall live in the meadow. May I feed with you?"

The Caterpillars were all glad to have him, and he joined their party. He asked many questions about the meadow, and the people who lived there, and the best place to find food. The Caterpillars said, "Oh, the meadow is a good place, and the people are nice enough, but they are not at all fashionable—not at all."

"Why," said the Measuring Worm, "if you have nice people and a pleasant place in which to live, I don't see what more you need."

"That is all very well," said a black and [83] yellow Caterpillar, "but what we want is fashionable society. The meadow people always do things in the same way, and one gets so tired of that. Now can you not tell us something different, something that Worms do in the great world from which you come?"

Just at this minute the Measuring Worm had a funny idea, and he wondered if the Caterpillars would be foolish enough to copy him. He thought it would be a good joke if they did, so he said very soberly, "I notice that when you walk you keep your body quite close to the ground. I have seen many Worms do the same thing and it is all right if they wish to, but none of my family ever do so. Did you notice how I walk?"

"Yes, yes," cried the Caterpillars, "show us again."

So the Measuring Worm walked back and forth for them, arching his body as high as he could, and stopping every little [84] while to raise his head and look haughtily around.

"What grace!" exclaimed the Caterpillars. "What grace, and what style!" and one black and brown one tried to walk in the same way.

The Measuring Worm wanted to laugh to see how awkward the black and brown Caterpillar was, but he did not even smile, and soon every one of the Caterpillars was trying the same thing, and saying "Look at me. Don't I do well?" or, "How was that?"

You can just imagine how those seven Caterpillars looked when trying to walk like the Measuring Worm. Every few minutes one of them would tumble over, and they all got warm and tired. At last they thought they had learned it very well, and took a long rest, in which they planned to take a long walk and show the other meadow people the fashion they had received from the outside world.

[85] "We will walk in a line," they said, "as far as we can, and let them all see us. Ah, it will be a great day for the meadow when we begin to set the fashions!"

The mischievous young Measuring Worm said not a word, and off they started. The big black and yellow Caterpillar went first, the black and brown one next, and so on down to the smallest one at the end of the line, all arching their bodies as high as they could. All the meadow people stared at them, calling each other to come and look, and whenever the Caterpillars reached a place where there were many watching them, they would all raise their heads and look around exactly as the Measuring Worm had done. When they got back to their clump of bushes, they had the most dreadful backaches, but they said to each other, "Well, we have been fashionable for once."

And, at the same time, out in the grass, the meadow people were saying, [86] "Did you ever see anything so ridiculous in your life?" All of which goes to show how very silly people sometimes are when they think too much of being fashionable.


Thomas Hood

Precocious Piggy

"Where are you going to, you little pig?"

"I'm leaving my Mother, I'm growing so big!"

"So big, young pig,

So young, so big!

What, leaving your Mother, you foolish young pig!"

"Where are you going to, you little pig?"

"I've got a new spade, and I'm going to dig."

"To dig, little pig?

A little pig dig!

Well, I never saw a pig with a spade that could dig!"

"Where are you going to, you little pig?"

"Why, I'm going to have a nice ride in a gig!"

"In a gig, little pig!

What, a pig in a gig!

Well, I never saw a pig ride in a gig!"

"Where are you going to, you little pig?"

"Well, I'm going to the ball to dance a fine jig!"

"A jig, little pig!

A pig dance a jig!

Well, I never before saw a pig dance a jig!"

"Where are you going to, you little pig?"

"I'm going to the fair to run a fine rig."

"A rig, little pig!

A pig run a rig!

Well, I never before saw a pig run a rig!"

"Where are you going to, you little pig?"

"I 'm going to the barber's to buy me a wig!"

"A wig, little pig!

A pig in a wig!

Why, whoever before saw a pig in a wig!"


  WEEK 6  


Edward Eggleston

Franklin Asks the Sunshine Something

[32] ONE day Franklin was eating dinner at the house of a friend. The lady of the house, when she poured out the coffee, found that it was not hot.

She said, "I am sorry that the coffee is cold. It is because the servant forgot to scour the coffee-pot. Coffee gets cold more quickly when the coffee-pot is not bright."

This set Franklin to thinking. He thought that a black or dull thing would cool more quickly that a white or bright one. That made him think that a black thing would take in heat more quickly than a white one.

He wanted to find out if this were true or not. There was nobody who knew, so there was nobody to ask. But Franklin thought that he would ask the sunshine. Maybe the sunshine would tell him whether a black thing would heat more quickly than a white thing.

But how could he ask the sunshine?

There was snow on the ground. Franklin spread a white cloth on the snow. Then he spread a black cloth on the snow near the white one. When he came to look at them, he saw that the snow under [33] the black cloth melted away much sooner than that under the white cloth.

That is the way that the sunshine told him that black would take in heat more quickly than white. After he had found this out, many people got white hats to wear in the summer time. A white hat is cooler than a black one.

Some time when there is snow on the ground, you can take a white and a black cloth and ask the sunshine the same question.


Edward Eggleston

Franklin and the Kite

WHEN Franklin wanted to know whether the ants could talk or not, he asked the ants, and they told him. When he wanted to know something else, he asked the sunshine about it, as you have read in another story. That is the way that Franklin came to know so many things. He knew how to ask questions of everything.

Once he asked the lightning a question. And the lightning gave him an answer.

Before the time of Franklin, people did not know what lightning was. They did not know what made the thunder. Franklin thought much about it. At last he proved what it was. He asked the lightning a question, and made it tell what it was.

[34] To tell you this story, I shall have to use one big word. Maybe it is too big for some of my little friends that will read this book. Let us divide it into parts. Then you will not be afraid of it. The big word is electricity.

Those of you who live in towns have seen the streets lighted by electricity. But in Franklin's time there were no such lights. People knew very little about this strange thing with a big name.

But Franklin found out many things about it that nobody had ever known before. He began to think that the little sparks he got from electricity were small flashes of lighting. He thought that the little cracking sound of these sparks was a kind of baby thunder.

So he thought that he would try to catch a little bit of lightning. Perhaps he could put it into one of the little bottles used to hold electricity . Then if it behaved like electricity, he would know what it was. But catching lightning is not easy. How do you think he did it?

First he made a kite. It was not a kite just like a boy's kite. He wanted a kite that would fly when it rained. Rain would spoil a paper kite in a minute. So Franklin used a silk handkerchief to cover his kite, instead of paper.


He put a little sharp-pointed wire at the top of [36] his kite. This was a kind of lightning rod to draw the lightning into the kite. His kite string was a common hemp string. To this he tied a key, because lightning will follow metal.

The end of the string that he held in his hand was a silk ribbon, which was tied to the hemp string of the kite. Electricity will not follow silk.

One night when there was a storm coming, he went out with his son. They stood under a cow shed, and he sent his kite up in the air.

After a while he held his knuckle to the key. A tiny spark flashed between the key and his knuckle. It was a little flash of lightning.


Franklin's Discovery

Then he took his little bottle fixed to hold electricity . He filled it with the electricity that came from the key. He carried home a bottle of lightning. So he found out what made it thunder and lightning.

After that he used to bring the lightning into his house on rods and wires. He made the lightning ring bells and do many other strange things.


Ellen C. Babbitt

The Sandy Road


O NCE upon a time a merchant, with his goods packed in many carts, came to a desert. He was on his way to the country on the other side of the desert.

The sun shone on the fine sand, making it as hot as the top of a stove. No man could walk on it in the sunlight. But at night, after the sun went down, the sand cooled, and then men could travel upon it.

So the merchant waited until after dark, and then set out. Besides the goods that he was going to sell, he took jars of water and of rice, and firewood, so that the rice could be cooked.

All night long he and his men rode on and on. One man was the pilot. He rode first, for he knew the stars, and by them he guided the drivers.

At daybreak they stopped and camped. They unyoked the oxen, and fed them. They built fires and [26] cooked the rice. Then they spread a great awning over all the carts and the oxen, and the men lay down under it to rest until sunset.


They built fires and cooked the rice.

In the early evening, they again built fires and cooked rice. After supper, they folded the awning and put it away. They yoked the oxen, and, as soon as the sand was cool, they started again on their journey across the desert.

Night after night they traveled in this way, resting during the heat of the day. At last one morning the pilot said: "In one more night we shall get out of [27] the sand." The men were glad to hear this, for they were tired.

After supper that night the merchant said: "You may as well throw away nearly all the water and the firewood. By to-morrow we shall be in the city. Yoke the oxen and start on."

Then the pilot took his place at the head of the line. But, instead of sitting up and guiding the drivers, he lay down in the wagon on the cushions. Soon he was fast asleep, because he had not slept for many nights, and the light had been so strong in the daytime that he had not slept well then.

All night long the oxen went on. Near daybreak, the pilot awoke and looked at the last stars fading in the light. "Halt!" he called to the drivers. "We are in the same place where we were yesterday. The oxen must have turned about while I slept."

They unyoked the oxen, but there was no water for them to drink. They had thrown away the water that was left the night before. So the men spread the awning over the carts, and the oxen lay down, tired and thirsty. The men, too, lay down saying, "The wood and water are gone—we are lost."

But the merchant said to himself, "This is no time [28] for me to sleep. I must find water. The oxen cannot go on if they do not have water to drink. The men must have water. They cannot cook the rice unless they have water. If I give up, we shall all be lost!"


"There must be water somewhere below."

On and on he walked, keeping close watch of the ground. At last he saw a tuft of grass. "There must be water somewhere below, or that grass would not be there," he said.

He ran back, shouting to the men, "Bring the spade and the hammer!"

[29] They jumped up, and ran with him to the spot where the grass grew. They began to dig, and by and by they struck a rock and could dig no further. Then the merchant jumped down into the hole they had dug, and put his ear to the rock. "I hear water running under this rock," he called to them. "We must not give up!" Then the merchant came up out of the hole and said to a serving-lad: "My boy, if you give  up we are lost! You go down and try!"

The boy stood up straight and raised the hammer high above his head and hit the rock as hard as ever he could. He would not give in. They must be saved. Down came the hammer. This time the rock broke. And the boy had hardly time to get out of the well before it was full of cool water. The men drank as if they never could get enough, and then they watered the oxen, and bathed.

Then they split up their extra yokes and axles, and built a fire, and cooked their rice. Feeling better, they rested through the day. They set up a flag on the well for travelers to see.

At sundown, they started on again, and the next morning reached the city, where they sold the goods, and then returned home.



My Maid Mary

My maid Mary she minds the dairy,

While I go a-hoeing and a-mowing each morn;

Gaily runs the little reel and the little spinning wheel,

Whilst I am singing and mowing my corn.