Text of Plan #426
  WEEK 9  

  Monday  


Lawton B. Evans

More Adventures of John Smith

WHEN John Smith arrived in England, he found a ship with colonists on board ready to sail for the New World. He was asked to join the party and try his fortune in the strange land across the ocean. Of course, he agreed, and the ship soon set sail. Now, the King had arranged for the new colony to be governed by twelve counselors, whose names were put in a sealed envelope, not to be opened until the vessel reached America. There was much quarrelling on board as to which among the adventurers was the greatest; you may be sure that Smith did a deal of boasting, and would allow that no one was greater than he. His vain [36] talk so alarmed some of those present and so enraged others that they put him in irons and kept him thus until they reached land.

They founded Jamestown, in Virginia but the colonists were not suited to the rude work of the wilderness. They were gentlemen who wanted gold, and they did not care to cut down trees, build houses, and plant gardens. Smith warned them they had better plant their gardens in the spring; if they wanted gold, they could seek it afterwards. But they would not listen to him, and went about the woods, digging around trees and seeking in the gullies for the precious metal. This made the Indians laugh, for they knew that the winter would find the white folks without food. And so it came to pass. A terrible starving time fell upon them, and many of them died.

The Indians would not sell corn to the colonists, and so Smith set out to make them. He and a few men went up the James River in a boat, until they came to an Indian village. Here they made signs that Smith would exchange hatchets and beads for corn. The Indians knew the whites were starving, and shook their heads, "No." The trinkets Smith offered did not tempt them, but they said they would give a small piece of bread for Smith's gun and sword.

[37] Smith knew the Indians were afraid of his gun, so he fired it off several times. This frightened the Indians so much that they ran, yelling, into the woods, which gave Smith and his men the opportunity to seize a quantity of corn. The Indians soon came back, carrying their painted idol which they thought would destroy the white men. But Smith and his men fired their guns again, whereupon, the Indians dropped the idol and ran away into the woods for the second time.

Smith seized the idol and started to carry it away. When the Indians returned and saw him with their precious god, they gladly exchanged a boat load of corn for it; by their manner they showed Smith plainly that they wished he would go away as quietly as possible. This the brave Captain was not slow to do, especially as he had a large amount of good corn.

Later on, Captain Smith decided to explore the country, and, with a few men and two Indian guides he sailed up the Chickahominy River in search of adventure. After he had sailed for some distance, with an Indian guide he went ashore, leaving the rest of the party to boil the pot for supper. He had not gone very far before he heard cries and sounds of strife from the direction of the canoe. The Indians had attacked the party [38] and had killed every one of them. This left Smith and his guide alone in a wilderness, surrounded by hostile savages.

Smith now tied the Indian fast to his own arm, so that he could not escape and both began to run. An arrow whizzed out from the bushes, striking Smith in the thigh. Signs of Indians were all around. Their forms skulked in the undergrowth, and their arrows flew through the air. Smith seized his guide and held him in front as a shield to protect himself from the arrows. In this way the brave soldier tried to walk backwards towards his canoe, but, not seeing where he was walking, he backed into a quicksand up to his waist.

The Indians, realizing the plight of Smith and the Indian guide, ran yelling from the woods, and made them both captive. They were pulled from the mud, washed clean, and their clothes were dried before a fire. Smith knew that this was all in preparation for a great time when he would be tortured to death.

Soon the Indians came with Smith to their Chief, Opecancanough, who looked at the captive with angry face. Smith thought his hour had arrived, but he resolved to put it off as long as he could. So he took out his pocket compass and [39] showed it to the Indians. They looked at the trembling needle, which they could see but not touch, on account of the glass, and were so astonished that they decided not to kill Smith at once, but to send him to Powhatan.

When Powhatan saw the white man, he was greatly pleased, and ordered him fed abundantly that he might be fat when the time came to kill him. Smith ate so much bread and deer meat and vegetables that he fell ill, and asked Powhatan to let him send word to his friends at Jamestown.

Smith wrote a note on a piece of bark, with a bit of burnt stick, and gave it to a messenger to take to the colony. The messenger quickly delivered the note, and came back with presents for Powhatan. But Powhatan said that any man who could make a piece of bark talk by merely marking on it was a magician, and should be put to death.

One day Smith was brought in before the savage old Chief, bound with thongs, and laid upon a stone, while the warriors prepared to beat out his brains. This would have been the end of Captain John Smith if Powhatan's daughter, Pocahontas, had not rushed in and begged her father to spare the life of the white man. Old Powhatan ordered Smith unbound, and he was led away to continue his adventures in the wilds of America.

 



Clara Dillingham Pierson

Mr. Green Frog and His Visitors

[Illustration]

[114]

O NE day a young Frog who lived down by the river, came hopping up through the meadow. He was a fine-looking fellow, all brown and green, with a white vest, and he came to see the sights. The oldest Frog on the river bank had told him that he [115] ought to travel and learn to know the world, so he had started at once.

Young Mr. Green Frog had very big eyes, and they stuck out from his head more than ever when he saw all the strange sights and heard all the strange sounds of the meadow. Yet he made one great mistake, just as bigger and better people sometimes do when they go on a journey; he didn't try to learn from the things he saw, but only to show off to the meadow people how much he already knew, and he boasted a great deal of the fine way in which he lived when at home.

Mr. Green Frog told those whom he met that the meadow was dreadfully dry, and that he really could not see how they lived there. He said they ought to see the lovely soft mud that there was in the marsh, and that there the people could sit all day with their feet in water in among the rushes where the sunshine never came. "And then," he said, "to eat grass as the [116] Grasshoppers did! If they would go home with him, he would show them how to live."

The older Grasshoppers and Crickets and Locusts only looked at each other and opened their funny mouths in a smile, but the young ones thought Mr. Green Frog must be right, and they wanted to go back with him. The old Hoppers told them that they wouldn't like it down there, and that they would be sorry that they had gone; still the young ones teased and teased and teased and teased until everybody said: "Well, let them go, and then perhaps they will be contented when they return."

At last they all set off together,—Mr. Green Frog and the young meadow people. Mr. Green Frog took little jumps all the way and bragged and bragged. The Grasshoppers went in long leaps, the Crickets scampered most of the way, and the Locusts fluttered. It was a very gay [117] little party, and they kept saying to each other, "What a fine time we shall have!"

When they got to the marsh, Mr. Green Frog went in first with a soft "plunk" in the mud. The rest all followed and tried to make believe that they liked it, but they didn't—they didn't at all. The Grasshoppers kept bumping against the tough, hard rushes when they jumped, and then that would tumble them over on their backs in the mud, and there they would lie, kicking their legs in the air, until some friendly Cricket pushed them over on their feet again. The Locusts couldn't fly at all there, and the Crickets got their shiny black coats all grimy and horrid.

They all got cold and wet and tired—yes, and hungry too, for there were no tender green things growing in among the rushes. Still they pretended to have a good time, even while they were think- [118] ing how they would like to be in their dear old home.

After the sun went down in the west it grew colder still, and all the Frogs in the marsh began to croak to the moon, croaking so loudly that the tired little travellers could not sleep at all. When the Frogs stopped croaking and went to sleep in the mud, one tired Cricket said: "If you like this, stay.  I am going home as fast as my six little legs will carry me." And all the rest of the travellers said: "So am I," "So am I," "So am I."

Mr. Green Frog was sleeping soundly, and they crept away as quietly as they could out into the silvery moonlight and up the bank towards home. Such a tired little party as they were, and so hungry that they had to stop and eat every little while. The dew was on the grass and they could not get warm.

The sun was just rising behind the eastern forest when they got home. They [119] did not want to tell about their trip at all, but just ate a lot of pepper-grass to make them warm, and then rolled themselves in between the woolly mullein leaves to rest all day long. And that was the last time any of them ever went away with a stranger.

 



George MacDonald

A Verse

The lightning and thunder,

They go and they come,

But the stars and the stillness

Are always at home.

 


  WEEK 9  

  Tuesday  


Amy Steedman

Saint Bridget

[76] THE mist of long years enfolds the story of Bridget, the dearly loved saint of Ireland. Though we strive to see her clearly, the mist closes round and only lifts to show us, here and there, a flash of light upon her life, and while we gaze in wonder the light is gone.

But all the time, behind the mist, we feel there is a gracious presence, a white-robed maiden with a pure strong soul, who dwelt in the green isle of Erin; a gentle saint who dwells there still in the hearts of her people to bless and comfort them as of old. The mist of years cannot dim the eyes of those who love Saint Bridget's memory, nor can it bewilder their faithful hearts. Wise men may dispute the facts of her life, but to the poor, who love her, she is just their friend, the dear Saint Bridget whose touch made sick folk well, whose blessing increased the store of the poor, who helped sad weary mothers, and bent in loving tenderness over many a tiny cradle in those long ago days.

So now it comforts the mother's heart, when there are many little hungry mouths to fill, to remember how Saint Bridget's faith ever found a way to feed the poor and needy. When the cradle is made ready for the little one whom God will send, it is for Saint Bridget's blessing that the mother prays, count- [77] ing it the greatest gift that God can give. She is such a homelike saint this Bridget of the fair green island, and she dwells so close to the heart of the people, that it is their common everyday life which holds the most loving memory of her helpful kindness.

In the first days of early spring her little flame-spiked flowers speak to them from the roadside, and bring her message of joy and hope, telling of the return of life, the swelling of green buds, the magic of the spring. We call her flower the common dandelion, but to Saint Bridget's friends it is "the little flame of God" or "the flower of Saint Bride." She herself has many names. Bride or Bridget, "Christ's Foster-Mother," Saint Bridget of the Mantle, the Pearl of Ireland.

Many stories and legends have grown up around the memory of Saint Bridget, but all agree in telling us that she was a little maiden of noble birth, and that her father, Dubtach, was of royal descent. We know too that she was born in the little village of Fochard in the north of Ireland, about the time when good Saint Patrick was beginning to teach the Irish people how to serve the Lord Christ.

Bridget was a strange thoughtful child, fond of learning, but clever with her hands as well as her head. In those days even noble maidens had plenty of hard work to do, and Bridget was never idle. In the early morning there were the cows to drive out to pasture, when the dew hung dainty jewels upon each blade of grass and turned the spiders' webs into a miracle of flimsy lace. The [78] great mild-eyed cows had to be carefully herded as they wandered up the green hillside, for, should any stray too far afield, there was ever the chance of a lurking robber ready to seize his chance. Then, when the cows were safely driven home again, there was the milking to be done and the butter to be churned.

But in spite of all this work, Bridget found time for other things as well. There was always time to notice the hungry look in a beggar's face as she passed him on the road, time to stop and give him her share of milk and home-made bread, time to help any one in pain who chanced to come her way. The very touch of the child's kind, strong little hands seemed to give relief and many a poor sufferer blessed her as she passed, and talked of white-robed angels they had seen walking by her side, guiding and teaching her. And sure it was that in all that land there was no child with so kind a heart as little Bridget's, and no one with as fair a face.

Now the older Bridget grew the more and more beautiful she became, and her loveliness was good to look upon. She was as straight and fair as a young larch tree; her hair was yellow as the golden corn, and her eyes as deep and blue as the mountain lakes. Many noble lords sought to marry her, but Bridget loved none of them. There was but one Lord of her life, and she had made up her mind to serve Him.

"We will have no more of this," said her father angrily; "choose a prince of noble blood, and wed him as I bid thee."

[79] "I have chosen the noblest Prince of all," said Bridget steadfastly, "and He is the Lord Christ."

"Thou shalt do as thou art bidden and marry the first man who asks thee," said her brothers, growing more and more angry.

But Bridget knew that God would help her, and prayed earnestly to Him. Then in His goodness God took away her beauty from her for a while, and men, seeing she was no longer fair to look upon, left her in peace.

At this time Bridget was but a young maiden of sixteen years, but old enough, she thought, to give up her life to the service of God. The good Bishop Maccail, to whom she went, was perplexed as he looked at the young maid and her companions. Did she know what God's service meant, he wondered? Was she ready to endure hardness instead of enjoying a soft life of pleasure and ease?

But even as he doubted, the legend says, he saw a strange and wonderful light begin to shine around the maiden's head, rising upwards in a column of flame, and growing brighter and brighter until it was lost in the glory of the shining sky.

"Truly this is a miracle," said the Bishop, shading his eyes, which were blinded by the dazzling light. "He who, each morning, sendeth His bright beams aslant the earth to wake our sleeping eyes, hath in like manner sent this wondrous light to clear my inward vision and show my doubting heart that the maiden is one whom God hath chosen to do His work."

Even then the careful Bishop sought to know [80] more of Bridget's life ere he trusted the truth of the miracle. But there was nought to tell that was not good and beautiful. Out on the green hills, at work in the home, all her duties had been well and carefully performed. Happy, willing service had she given to all who needed her help, and there was but one fault to be found with her.

"She gives away everything that comes to her hand," said her parents. "No matter how little milk the cows are giving, the first beggar who asks for a drink has his cup filled. If there is but one loaf of bread in the house, it is given away. The poor have but to ask, and Bridget will give all that she can find."

"That is true," said Bridget gently, "but ye would not have me send them hungry away? Is it not Christ Himself we help when we help His poor?"

"Well, well, perhaps thou art right," answered her parents; "and this we must say, that in spite of all that is given away, we have never wanted aught ourselves, but rather our store has been increased."

Hearing all this, the Bishop hesitated no longer, but laid his hands in blessing upon Bridget's head, and consecrated both her and her companions to the service of God. And it is said that as she knelt before the altar, while the Bishop placed a white veil upon her head, she leaned her hand upon the altar step, and at her touch the dry wood became green and living once more, so pure and holy was the hand that touched it. At first there were but few maidens who joined [81] themselves with Bridget in her work, but as time went on the little company grew larger and larger. Then Bridget determined to build their home beneath the shelter of an old oak tree which grew near her native village. It was from this oak tree that the convent was known in after years as "the cell of the oak" or Kil-dare. Here the poor and those in distress found their way from all parts, and never was any poor soul turned away without help from the good sisters and the tender-hearted Bridget. Here the sick were healed, the sorrowful comforted, and the hungry fed. Here the people learned to know the love of Christ through the tender compassion of His servant.

Far and near the fame of Bridget spread, not only in Ireland but over many lands, and the love of her became so deeply rooted in the hearts of the people, that even to-day her memory is like a green tree bearing living leaves of faith and affection.

There are so many wonderful stories clustering round the name of Saint Bridget that they almost make her seem a dim and shadowy person, but there is one thing that shines through even the wildest legend. The tender heart and the helping hand of good Saint Bridget are the keynote of all the wonders that have been woven around her name. We see her swift on all errands of mercy, eager to help the helpless, ready to aid all who were oppressed, and protecting all who were too weak to help themselves.

One story tells us of a poor wood-cutter who [82] by mistake had slain a tame wolf, the King's favourite pet, and who for this was condemned to die. As soon as the news was brought to Saint Bridget, she lost not a moment, but set out in the old convent cart to plead with the King for his life. Perhaps her pleading might have been in vain had it not been that as she drove through the wood a wolf sprang out of the undergrowth and leapt into the car. Loving all animals, tame or wild, Saint Bridget nodded a welcome to her visitor and patted his head, and he, quite contentedly, crouched down at her feet, as tame as any dog.

Arrived at the palace, Saint Bridget demanded to see the King, and with the wolf meekly following, was led into his presence.

"I have brought thee another tame wolf," said Saint Bridget, "and bid thee pardon that poor soul, who did thee a mischief unknowingly."

So the matter was settled to every one's satisfaction. The King was delighted with his new pet, the poor man was pardoned, and Saint Bridget went home rejoicing.

Those sisters who dwelt in the Cell of the Oak seemed to be specially protected from all harm, and it is said that many a robber knew to his cost how useless it was to try and rob Saint Bridget.

Once there came a band of thieves who, with great cunning, managed to drive off all the cows belonging to the convent, and in the twilight to escape unnoticed. So far all went well, and the robbers laughed to think how clever they had been. But when they reached the river which they were [83] obliged to cross, they found the waters had risen so high that it was almost impossible to drive the cows across. Thinking to keep their clothes dry, they took them off and bound them in bundles to the horns of the cows, and then prepared to cross the ford. But Saint Bridget's wise cows knew a better way than that, and immediately there was a stampede, and they set off home at a gallop, and never stopped until they reached the convent stable. The thieves raced after them with all their might, but could not overtake them, and so, crestfallen and ashamed, they had at last to beg for pardon and pray that their clothes might be returned to them.

In those days there were many lepers in Ireland, and when there was no one else to help and pity them, the poor outcasts were always sure of a kindly welcome from the gracious lady of Kildare. One of the stories tells of a wretched leper who came to Saint Bridget, so poor and dirty and diseased that no one would come near him. But like our blessed Lord, Saint Bridget felt only compassion for him, and with her own hands washed his feet and bathed his poor aching head. Then, seeing that his clothes must be washed, she bade one of the sisters standing by to wrap her white mantle round the man until his own clothes should be ready. But the sister shuddered and turned away; she could not bear to think of her cloak being wrapped around the miserable leper. Quick to mark disobedience and unkindness, a stern look came into Saint Bridget's blue eyes as she put her own cloak over the shivering form.

[84] "I leave thy punishment in God's hands," she said quietly; and even as she spoke, the sister was stricken with the terrible disease, and as the cloak touched the beggar, he was healed of his leprosy.

Tears of repentance streamed down the poor sister's face, and her punishment was more than tender-hearted Saint Bridget could bear to see. Together they prayed to God for pardon, and at Saint Bridget's touch the leprosy was healed.

So Saint Bridget lived her life of mercy and loving-kindness, and because the people loved and honoured her above all saints, they placed her in their hearts next to the Madonna herself, and, by some curious instinct of tender love and worship, there came to be woven about her a legend which has earned for her the titles of "Christ's Foster-Mother" and "Saint Bridget of the Mantle."

It was on that night, so the legend runs, when the Blessed Virgin came to Bethlehem, weary and travel-worn, and could find no room in the village inn, that Saint Bridget was sent by God to help and comfort her. In the quiet hours of the starry night, when on the distant hills the wondering shepherds heard the angels' song, Saint Bridget passed the stable door and paused, marvelling at the light that shone with such dazzling brilliance from within. Surely no stable lantern could shed such a glow as that which shone around the manger there. Softly Saint Bridget entered and found the fair young Mother bending over the tiny newborn Child, wrapping His tender little limbs about with swaddling bands.

There was no need to ask who He was. Bridget [85] knew it was the King, and kneeling there, she worshipped too. Then very tenderly she led the young Mother to a soft bed of sweet bay and prayed her that she would rest awhile.

"Sweet Mary," she implored, "rest, and I meanwhile will watch and tend the Child." And Mary, looking into Bridget's kind blue eyes, and feeling the touch of her tender strong hands, trusted her with her Treasure, and bade her take the Child and watch Him until the morning should break.

So Bridget took off her soft mantle and wrapped the Baby in it, and, sitting there, rocked Him to sleep, crooning to Him all the sweetest baby songs she knew.

Perhaps it was Saint Bridget's tender love for little children, and her gentle care for all poor mothers, that helped to weave this curious legend, but there is a beautiful truth hidden deep in the heart of the strange story too. For did not Christ Himself say of all kind deeds done to the poor, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto Me"; and again, "Whosoever shall do the will of My Father which is in heaven, the same is My brother and sister and mother."

So it is that Saint Bridget bears the name of Christ's foster-mother and is linked in this loving way with the Mother of our Lord. Year by year her memory lives on, and when February, the month of Saint Bride, comes round, when the bleating of the first lambs is heard on the hills, and the little flower of Saint Bridget lights up the wayside [86] with its tiny yellow flame, the thought of good Saint Bridget, Christ's foster-mother, fills many a poor mother's heart with comfort. Did she not care for all young things and helpless weary souls? Did she not show how, by helping others, she helped the dear Lord Himself? Does she not still point out the way by which they too may find Him and live in the light of His love?

 



Harriette Taylor Treadwell

Chicken Little


[Illustration]



[Illustration]

[66] Chicken Little was in the woods.

A seed fell on his tail.

Chicken Little said, "The sky is falling. I will run."



[Illustration]

[67] Chicken Little met Henny Penny.


He said, "The sky is falling, Henny Penny."


Henny Penny said, "How do you know, Chicken Little?"


Chicken Little said, "Some of it fell on my tail."


[68] "We will run," said Henny Penny.

"We will run and tell the king."


[Illustration]

They met Turkey Lurkey.

Henny Penny said, "The sky is falling, Turkey Lurkey."


"How do you know, Henny Penny?"


"Chicken Little told me."


[69] "How do you know, Chicken Little?"


"I saw it with my eyes. I heard it with my ears. Some of it fell on my tail."


Turkey Lurkey said, "We will run. We will run and tell the king."


[Illustration]

They met Ducky Lucky.


[70] Turkey Lurkey said, "The sky is falling, Ducky Lucky."


"How do you know, Turkey Lurkey?"


"Henny Penny told me."


"How do you know, Henny Penny?"


"Chicken Little told me."


"How do you know, Chicken Little?"


"I saw it with my eyes. I heard it with my ears. Some of it fell on my tail."


Ducky Lucky said, [71] "We will run. We will run and tell the king."


[Illustration]

They met Goosey Loosey.


Ducky Lucky said, "The sky is falling, Goosey Loosey."


"How do you know, Ducky Lucky?"


"Turkey Lurkey told me."


[72] "How do you know, Turkey Lurkey?"


"Henny Penny told me."


"How do you know, Henny Penny?"


"Chicken Little told me."


"How do you know, Chicken Little?"


"I saw it with my eyes. I heard it with my ears. Some of it fell on my tail."


Goosey Loosey said, "We will run. We will run and tell the king."



[Illustration]

[73] They met Foxy Loxy.


Goosey Loosey said, "The sky is falling, Foxy Loxy."


"How do you know, Goosey Loosey?"


"Ducky Lucky told me."


[74] "How do you know, Ducky Lucky?"


"Turkey Lurkey told me."


"How do you know, Turkey Lurkey?"


"Henny Penny told me."


"How do you know, Henny Penny?"


"Chicken Little told me."


"How do you know, Chicken Little?"


"I saw it with my eyes. I heard it with my ears. Some of it fell on my tail."



[Illustration]

[75] Foxy Loxy said, "We will run. We will run into my den, And I will tell the king."


They ran into Foxy Loxy's den, But they did not come out again.


[76] Chicken Little was in the woods.


A seed fell on his tail.


He met Henny Penny and said, "The sky is falling. I saw it with my eyes. I heard it with my ears. Some of it fell on my tail."


He met Turkey Lurkey, Ducky Lucky, and Goosey Loosey.


They ran to tell the king.


They met Foxy Loxy.


They ran into his den,


And they did not come out again.

 



Kate Greenaway

Somewhere Town

Which is the way to Somewhere Town?

Oh, up in the morning early.

Over the tiles and the chimney pots,

That is the way quite clearly.


And which is the door to Somewhere Town?

Oh, up in the morning early.

The round red sun is the door to go through,

That is the way quite clearly.

 


  WEEK 9  

  Wednesday  


James Baldwin

Other Wise Men of Gotham

ONE day, news was brought to Gotham that the king was coming that way, and that he would pass through the town. This did not please the men of Gotham at all. They hated the king, for they knew that he was a cruel, bad man. If he came to their town, they would have to find food and lodging for him and his men; and if he saw anything that pleased him, he would be sure to take it for his own. What should they do?

They met together to talk the matter over.

"Let us chop down the big trees in the woods, so that they will block up all the roads that lead into the town," said one of the wise men.

"Good!" said all the rest.

So they went out with their axes, and soon all the roads and paths to the town were filled with logs and brush. The king's horsemen would have a hard time of it getting into Gotham. They would [43] either have to make a new road, or give up the plan altogether, and go on to some other place.

When the king came, and saw that the road had been blocked up, he was very angry.

"Who chopped those trees down in my way?" he asked of two country lads that were passing by.

"The men of Gotham," said the lads.

"Well," said the king, "go and tell the men of Gotham that I shall send my sheriff into their town, and have all their noses cut off."

The two lads ran to the town as fast as they could, and made known what the king had said.

Everybody was in great fright. The men ran from house to house, carrying the news, and asking one another what they should do.

"Our wits have kept the king out of the town," said one; "and so now our wits must save our noses."

"True, true!" said the others. "But what shall we do?"

Then one, whose name was Dobbin, and who was thought to be the wisest of them all, said, "Let me tell you something. Many a man has been punished because he was wise, but I have never heard of any one being harmed because he was a fool. So, when the king's sheriff comes, let us all act like fools."

[44] "Good, good!" cried the others. "We will all act like fools."

It was no easy thing for the king's men to open the roads; and while they were doing it, the king grew tired of waiting, and went back to London. But very early one morning, the sheriff with a party of fierce soldiers rode through the woods, and between the fields, toward Gotham. Just before they reached the town, they saw a queer sight. The old men were rolling big stones up the hill, and all the young men were looking on, and grunting very loudly.

The sheriff stopped his horses, and asked what they were doing.

"We are rolling stones uphill to make the sun rise," said one of the old men.

"You foolish fellow!" said the sheriff. "Don't you know that the sun will rise without any help?"

"Ah! will it?" said the old man. "Well, I never thought of that. How wise you are!"

"And what are you doing?" said the sheriff to the young men.

"Oh, we do the grunting while our fathers do the working," they answered.

"I see," said the sheriff. "Well, that is the way the world goes everywhere. " And he rode on toward the town.

[45] He soon came to a field where a number of men were building a stone wall.

"What are you doing?" he asked.

"Why, master," they answered, "there is a cuckoo in this field, and we are building a wall around it so as to keep the bird from straying away."

"You foolish fellows!" said the sheriff. "Don't you know that the bird will fly over the top of your wall, no matter how high you build it?"

"Why, no," they said. "We never thought of that. How very wise you are!"

The sheriff next met a man who was carrying a door on his back.

"What are you doing?" he asked.

"I have just started on a long journey, " said the man.

"But why do you carry that door?" asked the sheriff.

"I left my money at home."

"Then why didn't you leave the door at home too?"

"I was afraid of thieves; and you see, if I have the door with me, they can't break it open and get in."

"You foolish fellow!" said the sheriff. "It would be safer to leave the door at home, and carry the money with you."

"Ah, would it, though?" said the man. "Now, [46] I never thought of that. You are the wisest man that I ever saw."

Then the sheriff rode on with his men; but every one that they met was doing some silly thing.

"Truly I believe that the people of Gotham are all fools," said one of the horsemen.

"That is true," said another. "It would be a shame to harm such simple people."

"Let us ride back to London, and tell the king all about them," said the sheriff.

"Yes, let us do so," said the horsemen.

So they went back, and told the king that Gotham was a town of fools; and the king laughed, and said that if that was the case, he would not harm them, but would let them keep their noses.

 



Lucy Fitch Perkins

The Day They Got Their Skates

[Illustration]

Part 1 of 3

[139]

O NE morning, when Kit and Kat ran out early to feed their ducklings, the frost nipped their noses and ears.

"It's getting colder every day. Very soon winter will come," Kat said.

They ran down to the canal. The old goose and the gander and the goslings—now half grown—were standing on the bank, looking unhappy: there was a thin sheet of ice all over the canal, and they could not go swimming.

Kit took a stick and broke the ice. Thin sheets of it, like pieces of broken glass, were soon floating about; and the old goose, the gander, and all the goslings went down the bank in a procession into the water.

[140] They swam about among the pieces of ice for a while, but it was so cold that they soon came up on the bank into the sun again and wiggled their tails to shake out the water. Then they all sat down in the sun to get their feet warm.

Kit and Kat ran up and down the road and played tag until their cheeks were red and they were warm as toast. Then they ran into Vrouw Vedder's warm kitchen.

The kettle was singing on the fire, and there was a smell of coffee in the air. Vrouw Vedder gave the Twins some in a large cup. She put in a good deal of milk and gave them each a piece of sugar to sweeten it with.

"Is it Sunday?" asked Kat. On Sundays they sometimes had coffee. On other days they had milk.

"No," said Vrouw Vedder; "but it is cold, and I thought a cup of coffee would warm us all up."

While they were drinking their coffee, [141] Kit and Kat talked about the ice, and what fun they would have with their sleds on the canals when winter came.

"I tell you what it is, Kat," said Kit; "I think we're big enough to have skates. Hans Hite isn't much bigger than I am, and he had skates last winter. I mean to ask Father this very day."

"Yah," said Kat—that is the way Dutch Twins always say yes—"Yah, and let us be very good and help mother all we can. I think maybe they will give skates to good Twins quite soon, even if we aren't very big yet—not big enough to be called Christopher and Katrina."

Vrouw Vedder was heating water and getting out her scrubbing brushes, so Kit and Kat knew that she was going to clean something.

"What are you going to scrub to-day, Mother?" asked Kit.

"I'm going to scrub the stable," said Vrouw Vedder. "It is getting too cold for the cows to stay all night in the pastures. [142] Father means to bring Mevrouw Holstein in to-night, and I want her stable to be nice and clean for her."

"We'll help you," said Kit and Kat very politely.

"Good children!" their mother said. "You may carry the brushes." So they opened a door beside the fireplace, and walked right into the stable.

The stable was really a part of the house. There were two stalls in the stable. Vrouw Vedder took her pails of water and her brushes and began to scrub. She scrubbed the walls, and the sides of the stalls, and the floor. The Twins scrubbed, too, until they were tired; and the stable was so clean, you would have liked to live there yourself.

"Let's play out here," said Kat. "Let's play house."

"All right," said Kit. "I'll be the father, and you be the mother."

"But who will be Twins?" said Kat.

"Let's get the ducklings," said Kit.

[143] "They can be Twins, of course," said Kat. "They are, anyway."

So Kit ran out and brought in the ducklings. They were so tame they always ran to Kit and Kat, when they saw them coming. They were almost ducks now, they had grown so big.

"Let's give the Twins their dinner," said Kat. So she got some grain, and they both sat down on a little box and held the ducks in their laps and fed them from their hands. The ducks ate greedily.

"You have very bad manners," said Kat. "You will get your clothes all dirty." She took two rags and tied them around the ducks' necks for bibs. The ducks did not like bibs. They quacked.

"Now don't say anything like that," said Kat. "You must do just as you are told and not spill your food."

Then Kit got some water and a spoon and gave the Twins a drink, but they did not like the drink either.

"Now we must put them to sleep," said [144] Kat. They rocked the ducks in their arms, but the ducks squawked dreadfully.


[Illustration]

"What bad children to cry so!" said Kit. "You can have both the Twins"; and he gave his duck to Kat.

"You fix a bed for them," said Kat. So Kit turned up the box they had been sitting on, and put some hay in it; and they put the ducks in on the hay.

Pretty soon the ducks went to sleep. Kit and Kat ran away to play out of doors and forgot all about them.

[145] They didn't think about them again until Father Vedder came home at night with Mevrouw Holstein. When he put the cow into the stall, he stumbled over the box. It was rather dark in the stable.

"Quack, quack!" said the ducks.

Kit and Kat were helping Father put the cow into the stall and get some hay for her. When the ducks quacked, Father Vedder said,

"What in the world is this?"

"Oh, our Twins! our Twins!" cried Kit and Kat. "Don't let Mevrouw Holstein step on the Twins!"

Father Vedder pulled out the box. Kit and Kat each took a duck and carried it out to the poultry house.

"Twins are a great care," said Kit and Kat.

"Now is the time to ask," whispered Kat to Kit, that night, when Father Vedder had finished his supper and was lighting his pipe. "You must ask very politely,—just the very politest way you can."

[146] They went and stood before their father. They put their feet together. Kit made a bow, and Kat bobbed a curtsy.

"Dear parent," said Kit.

"That's a good start," whispered Kat. "Go on."

"Well, well, what now?" said Father Vedder.

"Dear parent, Kat and I are quite big now. I think we must be nearly  four feet and a half high. Don't you think we are big enough to have skates this winter?"

"So that's it!" said Father Vedder. Then he smoked his pipe again.

"There was ice on the canal this morning," said Kat.

"So you think you are big enough to skate, do you?" said Father Vedder, at last. Mother Vedder was clearing away the supper. "What do you think about it, Mother?" said Father Vedder.

"They have been very good children," said the Vrouw. "There are the skates you and I had when we were children. We might [147] try them on and see if they are big enough to wear them. They are in the bag hanging back of the press."

Kit and Kat almost screamed with joy.

"Our feet are quite large. I'm sure we can wear them," they said.

Father Vedder got the bag down and took out two pairs of skates. They had long curling ends on the runners. The Twins sat down on the floor. Father Vedder tried on the skates.

"They are still pretty large; but you will grow," he told the Twins. "You may have [148] them if you will be very careful and not let them get rusty. By and by we will teach you to skate."


[Illustration]

The Twins practiced standing in the skates on the kitchen floor; and, when bedtime came, they took the skates to bed with them.

"O Kit," said Kat, "I never supposed we'd get them so soon. Did you?"

"Well," said Kit, "you see, we're pretty big and very  good. That makes a difference."

"It's very nice to be good when people notice it, isn't it?" said Kat.

"Yah," said Kit. "I'm going to be good now right along, all the time; for very soon St. Nicholas will come, and he leaves only a rod in the shoes of bad children. And if you've been bad, you have to tell him about it."

"Oh! Oh!" said Kat. "I'm going to be good all the time too. I'm going to be good until after the feast of St. Nicholas, anyway."

 



Elizabeth Prentiss

Cradle Song

Sleep, baby, sleep!

Thy father's watching the sheep,

Thy mother's shaking the dreamland tree,

And down drops a little dream for thee.

Sleep, baby, sleep.


Sleep, baby, sleep!

The large stars are the sheep;

The little stars are the lambs, I guess,

The bright moon is the shepherdess.

Sleep, baby, sleep.

 


  WEEK 9  

  Thursday  


Mary Macgregor

Siegfried Is Slain

[106] Hagen did not delay to carry out his wicked plot. Four days later, thirty-two strangers rode into Rhineland, and demanded to see King Gunther. These were the men who had been hired by the counsellor to bring false tidings of battle.

When the heralds stood before the King their spokesman said, "We come from King Ludegast and King Ludeger, who have gathered together new armies with which to invade thy land, and forthwith they challenge thee to combat."

Then the King pretended that he did not know that these were false heralds with false tidings. He frowned, and his eyes flashed anger at the strangers as he listened to their words.

[107] Siegfried, who had heard the strangers' words, cried eagerly, "Fear not, O King, I and my warriors will fight for thee, even as aforetime we have done."

Well pleased then seemed Gunther at the hero's words. As though he really feared the armies of the foreign kings, he graciously thanked Siegfried for his offered aid.

Gaily then did Siegfried summon his thousand warriors and bade them polish their armour and make their shields shine, for they must go forth to fight for the realm of Burgundy.

"Now," thought Hagen, "is the moment to win from Kriemhild the secret of her lord's strength," so he hastened to her apartments to bid her farewell. For he, too, was going forth to battle.

When Kriemhild saw the grim warrior she cried, "If thou art near to my lord in the battlefield, guard him for my sake, and ever shalt thou have Queen Kriemhild's thanks."

"Right gladly will I serve Siegfried for thy sake," said the false knight. "Tell me how best I may guard thy lord."

[108] "Thou art my kinsman, Hagen," said the noble lady, "therefore will I trust thee with the secret of his strength."

Then the Queen told the warrior of the tiny spot between her husband's shoulders on which the linden leaf had fallen while he bathed in the dragon's blood, and how, while all the rest of his body was too tough to be pierced by spear or arrow, on that spot, he might be wounded as easily as any other man.

Hagen's eyes glittered. The life of the King was well-nigh in his hands.

"If this be so, noble lady, I beg of thee sew a token upon his garment, that I may know the spot which I must guard with my shield, and if need be with my life," said the counsellor.

Then Kriemhild promised to sew a tiny cross upon Siegfried's tunic, that so Hagen might the better be able to shield her lord.

Bowing low, Hagen said farewell, then hastened from the presence of the gentle lady whose trust he meant to betray and that right cruelly.

The next morning Siegfried set out, merrily as was his wont, at the head of his warriors, [109] and close behind him rode Hagen, his keen eyes searching for the little cross.

It was there, the token which the lady Kriemhild had sewn with eager hands on her lord's tunic, thinking thus to guard him from all harm.

There was no need now for the pretence of war, for Hagen himself held Siegfried's life in his hands. The wicked counsellor, therefore, ordered two of his own followers to ride away in secret, bidding them return in a day or two, travel-stained, as though they had come from afar. With them they were to bring tidings of submission and peace from Ludegast and Ludeger.

Thus, before Siegfried and his great host had marched into the enemy's land they were stayed by heralds who brought messages of peace and good-will to Gunther, and much against his wish the gallant hero had to return to Worms, no battle fought, no enemy conquered.

But if Siegfried grieved, Kriemhild rejoiced at his return. Already she had begun to be sorry that she had trusted her kinsman, Hagen.

[110] Gunther, too, seemed happy to welcome Siegfried. "Now that there is peace we will go a-hunting," he said to the hero. Now this hunt had been planned by Hagen.

Then Siegfried went to say farewell to his beautiful wife ere he rode away to the hunt.

But Kriemhild clung to him, begging her dear lord not to leave her. She longed to warn him, too, against Hagen, yet this she did not dare to do.

"Ah, my lord," she cried, "last night I dreamed that two wild boars chased thee, and again I dreamed that as thou didst ride into the valley two mountains fell upon thee and hid thee for ever from my sight. Go not to the hunt, my dear lord Siegfried."

Yet the hero would not heed the dreams of his lady. Gently he loosened her hands, and saying farewell, he left her weeping.

Out in the glad sunshine Siegfried smiled. He would be back so soon to comfort his dear wife, and then she, too, would laugh at her fears, and thinking thus he joined Gunther and his merry huntsmen, and together they rode toward the forest.

[111] Never had there been such a hunt or such merry huntsmen, and no prey seemed to escape the hero Siegfried.

A strong and savage ox he felled to the ground with his own hand. A lion sprang toward him, but swiftly the hero drew his bow, and it lay harmless at his feet. An elk, a buffalo, four strong bisons, a fierce stag, and many a hart and hind were slain by his prowess. But when, with his sword, he slew a wild boar that had attacked him, his comrades slipped the leash round the hounds and cried, "Lord Siegfried, nought is there left alive in the forest. Let us return to the camp with our spoils."

At that moment, clear and loud rang out the hunting horn. It was the King who bade it sound that his merry huntsmen might come to feast with him in the green meadow on the outskirts of the forest.

Now the horn had roused a grisly bear, and Siegfried, seeing it, jumped from his charger, chased it, and having at length caught it with his strong right hand, bound it without receiving even a scratch from its claws or a bite from its jaws.

[112] Then the hero dragged the bear back to his charger, tied it to his saddle, and mounting rode quickly forward to the camp.

King Gunther watched him as he drew near, and so gallant and brave he looked, that his heart grew heavy because he had listened to the cruel counsels of his uncle Hagen.

The hero wore a tunic of black velvet, a riding cap of sable. By his side hung his good sword Balmung, a quiver thrust through his girdle was filled with arrows, the shafts of which were golden.

Before he reached the camp, Siegfried again alighted and loosed the great bear, and bewildered, the brute sprang forward into the camp kitchen.

Up sprang the scullions from the fire, kettles were toppled over, the fire was put out, fish, fowl, meat, all lay in the black and smoking ashes.

Then Gunther and his merry huntsmen chased the huge bear into the wood, and while all were swift, none was so swift as Siegfried. His good sword Balmung flashed in the air, and the bear was slain and carried back to the camp.

[113] Now Hagen had arranged the feast for the huntsmen, and for his own purpose he had ordered no wine.

"Where are the cupbearers?" cried Siegfried, who was thirsty after the day's sport.

"They have gone across the Rhine whither they thought we hunted," said Hagen, the false knight. "But there is a spring of cold water a little way off, thither may we go to quench our thirst."

Siegfried soon rose to go to the fountain. Then Hagen drew near and said, "Ofttimes I have heard that thou art sure and swift of foot. Wilt thou race with me to the spring?"

"If thou art at the fountain before me," said the mighty hero, "I will even lay myself at thy feet."

Gunther heard Siegfried's words and shuddered. Yet now he dared not save the hero from his foe.

"I will bear my spear, my sword, my quiver, and my shield as I race," said Siegfried. But Hagen and King Gunther, who also wished to run, stripped off their upper garments, that they might run more lightly.

[114] Fleet of foot were Hagen and the King, yet fleeter still was Siegfried. He reached the well, loosened his sword, and laid it with his bow and arrows on the ground, and leant his spear against a linden tree that grew close to the fountain.

He looked down into the spring, yet though his thirst was great, so courteous was he that he would not drink before King Gunther.

When Gunther reached the well, he knelt at once to drink, then having quenched his thirst he turned and wandered back along the hillside toward his merry huntsmen.

As Siegfried now bent over the spring, Hagen with stealthy steps crept near and drew the hero's sword and quiver out of his reach. Stealthy still, he seized the spear which rested against the linden tree. Then while Siegfried drank of the cool, clear water, Hagen stabbed him, straight through the little cross of silk which Kriemhild's gentle hand had sewed, he stabbed.


[Illustration]

While Siegfried drank of the clear, cool water, Hagen stabbed him

The cruel deed was done, and Hagen turned to flee, leaving the spear there where he had [115] thrust it, between the hero's shoulders, where once, alas! had lain a linden leaf.

Siegfried sprang to his feet as he felt the cruel blow, and reached for his quiver that he might speed the traitor to his death, but neither quiver nor sword could he find.

Then unarmed save for his shield the wounded hero ran, nor could Hagen escape him. With his shield Siegfried struck the false knight such heavy blows that the precious stones dropped out of the shield and were scattered, and Hagen lay helpless at King Siegfried's feet.

But Siegfried had no sword with which to slay his enemy, moreover his wound began to smart until he writhed with pain. Then, his strength failing him, he fell upon the green grass, while around him gathered Gunther and his huntsmen.

Sore wounded was King Siegfried, even unto death, and Gunther, sorry now the cruel deed was done, wept as he looked down upon the stricken King.

"Never would I have been slain, save by treachery," murmured Siegfried. "Yet how can I think of aught but my beautiful wife Kriem- [116] hild. Unto thee, O King Gunther, do I entrust her. If there be any faith in thee, defend her from all her foes."

No more could he say, for he was faint from his wound, and ere long the hero lay still on the grass, dead.

Then the knights, when they saw that the mighty King no longer breathed, laid him on a shield of gold, and when night fell they carried him thus, back to the royal city.

When Kriemhild knew that her lord, King Siegfried, was dead, bitter were her tears. Full well did she know that it was Hagen who had slain him, and greatly did she bemoan her foolishness in telling the grim counsellor the secret known to her alone.

The body of the great hero was laid in a coffin of gold and silver and carried to the Minster. Then when the days of mourning were over, the old King Siegmund and his warriors went sadly back to the Netherlands.

But Kriemhild stayed at Worms, and for thirteen years she mourned the loss of her dear lord.

Her sufferings, during these years, were made [117] the greater through the greed of Hagen. For at the cruel warrior's bidding, Gunther went to the Queen and urged her to send for the treasure of the Nibelungs.

"It shall be guarded for thy use in the royal city," said the King.

In her grief Kriemhild cared little where the treasure was kept; and seeing this, her brother sent in her name to command that it should be brought to Worms.

No sooner, however, did it reach the city than it was seized upon by Hagen the traitor, and Kriemhild's wealth was no longer her own.

That henceforth it might be secure from every one save himself and King Gunther, Hagen buried the great treasure beneath the fast-flowing river Rhine.

When thirteen years had passed away, Kriemhild married Etzel, the powerful King of the Huns, and then at last Hagen began to fear. Would the lady to whom he had been so false punish him now that she was again a mighty Queen?

The years passed by, and Hagen was beginning to forget his fears when heralds came [118] from Etzel, the King of the Huns, bidding King Gunther and his knights come visit Queen Kriemhild in her distant home. The command of Etzel was obeyed.

But no sooner did Hagen stand before her throne than Kriemhild commanded him to give her back the hidden treasure. This the grim counsellor refused to do.

"Then shalt not thou nor any of thy company return to Burgundy," cried Kriemhild.

And as the Queen said, so it was, for the warriors of King Etzel fought with the warriors of King Gunther, until after a grievous slaughter not one Burgundian was left alive. Thus after many years was King Siegfried's death avenged by Queen Kriemhild.

 



Clara Dillingham Pierson

The Dignified Walking-Sticks

[Illustration]

[120]

T HREE Walking-Sticks from the forest had come to live in the big maple tree near the middle of the meadow. Nobody knew exactly why they had left the forest, where all their sisters and cousins and aunts lived. Perhaps they were not happy with their relatives. But then, if one is a Walking-Stick, you know, one does not care so very much about one's family.

These Walking-Sticks had grown up the best way they could, with no father or mother to care for them. They had never been taught to do anything useful, or to think much about other people. When they were hungry they ate some leaves, and never thought what they [121] should eat the next time that they happened to be hungry. When they were tired they went to sleep, and when they had slept enough they awakened. They had nothing to do but to eat and sleep, and they did not often take the trouble to think. They felt that they were a little better than those meadow people who rushed and scrambled and worked from morning until night, and they showed very plainly how they felt. They said it was not genteel to hurry, no matter what happened.

One day the Tree Frog was under the tree when the large Brown Walking-Stick decided to lay some eggs. He saw her dropping them carelessly around on the ground, and asked, "Do you never fix a place for your eggs?"

"A place?" said the Brown Walking-Stick, waving her long and slender feelers to and fro. "A place? Oh, no! I think they will hatch where they are. It is too much trouble to find a place."

[122] "Puk-r-r-rup!" said the Tree Frog. "Some mothers do not think it too much trouble to be careful where they lay eggs."

"That may be," said the Brown Walking-Stick, "but they do not belong to our family." She spoke as if those who did not belong to her family, might be good but could never be genteel. She had once told her brother, the Five-Legged Walking-Stick, that she would not want to live if she could not be genteel. She thought the meadow people very common.

The Five-Legged Walking-Stick looked much like his sister. He had the same long, slender body, the same long feelers, and the same sort of long, slender legs. If you had passed them in a hay-field, you would surely have thought each a stem of hay, unless you happened to see them move. The other Walking-Stick, their friend, was younger and green. You would have thought her a blade of grass.

It is true that the brother had the same [123] kind of legs as his sister, but he did not have the same number. When he was young and green he had six, then came a dreadful day when a hungry Nuthatch saw him, flew down, caught him, and carried him up a tree. He knew just what to expect, so when the Nuthatch set him down on the bark to look at him, he unhooked his feet from the bark and tumbled to the ground. The Nuthatch tried to catch him and broke off one of his legs, but she never found him again, although she looked and looked and looked. That was because he crawled into a clump of ferns and kept very still.

His sister came and looked at him and said, "Now if you were only a Spider it would not be long before you would have six legs again."

Her brother waved first one feeler and then the other, and said: "Do you think I would be a Spider for the sake of growing legs? I would rather be a Walking- [124] Stick without any legs than to be a Spider with a hundred." Of course you know Spiders never do have a hundred, and a Walking-Stick wouldn't be walking without any, but that was just his way of speaking, and it showed what kind of insect he was. His relatives all waved their feelers, one at a time, and said, "Ah, he has the true Walking-Stick spirit!" Then they paid no more attention to him, and after a while he and his sister and their green little friend left the forest for the meadow.

On the day when the grass was cut, they had sat quietly in their trees and looked genteel. Their feelers were held quite close together, and they did not move their feet at all, only swayed their bodies gracefully from side to side. Now they were on the ground, hunting through the flat piles of cut grass for some fresh and juicy bits to eat. The Tree Frog was also out, sitting in a cool, damp corner of [125] the grass rows. The young Grasshoppers were kicking up their feet, the Ants were scrambling around as busy as ever, and life went on quite as though neither men nor Horses had ever entered the meadow.

"See!" cried a Spider who was busily looking after her web, "there comes a Horse drawing something, and the farmer sitting on it and driving."

When the Horse was well into the meadow, the farmer moved a bar, and the queer-looking machine began to kick the grass this way and that with its many stiff and shining legs. A frisky young Grasshopper kicked in the same way, and happened—just happened, of course—to knock over two of his friends. Then there was a great scrambling and the Crickets frolicked with them. The young Walking-Stick thought it looked like great fun and almost wished herself some other kind of insect, so that she could [126] tumble around in the same way. She did not quite wish it, you understand, and would never have thought of it if she had turned brown.

"Ah," said the Five-Legged Walking-Stick, "what scrambling! How very common!"

"Yes, indeed!" said his sister. "Why can't they learn to move slowly and gracefully? Perhaps they can't help being fat, but they might at least act genteel."

"What is it to be genteel?" asked a Grasshopper suddenly. He had heard every word that the Walking-Stick said.

"Why," said the Five-Legged Walking-Stick, "it is just to be genteel. To act as you see us act, and to——"

Just here the hay-tedder passed over them, and every one of the Walking-Sticks was sent flying through the air and landed on his back. The Grasshoppers declare that the Walking-Sticks tumbled and kicked and flopped around in a dread- [127] fully common way until they were right side up. "Why," said the Measuring Worm, "you act like anybody else when the hay-tedder comes along!"

The Walking-Sticks looked very uncomfortable, and the brother and sister could not think of anything to say. It was the young green one who spoke at last. "I think," said she, "that it is much easier to act genteel when one is right side up."

 



Anonymous

God's Care

In the pleasant sunny meadows,

Where the buttercups are seen,

And the daisies' little shadows

Lie along the level green,


Flocks of quiet sheep are feeding,

Little lambs are playing near,

And the watchful shepherd leading

Keeps them safe from harm and fear.


Like the lambs we little children

Have a shepherd kind and good;

It is God who watches o'er us,

Gives us life and daily food.

 


  WEEK 9  

  Friday  


Edward Eggleston

A Great Good Man

SOME men are great soldiers. Some are great law-makers. Some men write great books. Some men make great inventions. Some men are great speakers.

Now you are going to read about a man that was great in none of these things. He was not a [44] soldier. He was not a great speaker. He was never rich. He was a poor schoolteacher. He never held any office.

And yet he was a great man. He was great for his goodness.

He was born in France. But most of his life was passed in Philadelphia before the Revolution.

He was twenty-five years old when he became a schoolteacher. He thought that he could do more good in teaching than in any other way.

Schoolmasters in his time were not like our teachers. Children were treated like little animals. In old times the schoolmaster was a little king. He walked and talked as if he knew everything. He wanted all the children to be afraid of him.

But Benezet was not that kind of man. He was very gentle. He treated the children more kindly than their fathers and mothers did. Nobody in this country had ever seen a teacher like him.

He built a play-room for the children of his school. He used to take them to this room during school time for a little amusement. He managed each child as he found best. Some he could persuade to be good. Some he shamed into being good. But this was very different from the cruel [45] beatings that other teachers of that time gave their pupils.

Of course the children came to love him very much. After they grew to be men and women, they kept their love for the good little schoolmaster. As long as they lived they listened to his advice.

There were no good school-books in his time. He wrote some little books to make learning easier to his pupils. He taught them many things not in their books. He taught them to be kind to brutes, and gentle with one another. He taught them to be noble. He made them despise every kind of meanness.

He was a great teacher. That is better than being a great soldier.

Benezet was a good man in many ways. He was the friend of all poor people. Once he found a poor man suffering with cold for want of a coat. He took off his own coat in the street and put it on the poor man, and then went home in his shirt sleeves.

In those days negroes were stolen from Africa to be sold into America. Benezet wrote little books against this wrong. He sent these books over all the world almost. He also tried to persuade the white men of his own country to be honest and kind with the Indians.

[46] Great men in other countries were pleased with his books. They wrote him letters. When any of them came to this country, they went to see him. They wanted to see a man that was good to everybody. His house was a plain one. But great men liked to sit at the table of the good schoolmaster.

There was war between the English and French at that time. Canada belonged to the French. Our country belonged to the English. There was a country called Acadia. It was a part of what is now Nova Scotia. The people of Acadia were French.


[Illustration]

Departure of the Acadians

The English took the Acadians away from their homes. They sent them to various places. Many families were divided. The poor Acadians lost their homes and all that they had.

Many hundreds of these people were sent to Philadelphia. Benezet became their friend. As he was born in France, he could speak their lan- [47] guage. He got a large house built for some of them to stay in. He got food and clothing for them. He helped them to get work, and did them good in many other ways.

One day Benezet's wife came to him with a troubled face. She said, "There have been thieves in the house. Two of my blankets have been stolen."

"Never mind, my dear," said Benezet, "I gave them to some of the poor Acadians."

One old Acadian was afraid of Benezet. He did not see why Benezet should take so much trouble for other people. He thought that Benezet was only trying to get a chance to sell the Acadians for slaves. When Benezet heard this, he had a good laugh.

Many years after this the Revolution broke out. It brought trouble to many people. Benezet helped as many as he could.

After a while the British army took Philadelphia. They sent their soldiers to stay in the houses of the people. The people had to take care of the soldiers. This was very hard for the poor people.

One day Benezet saw a poor woman. Her face showed that she was in trouble.

"Friend, what is the matter?" Benezet said to her. [48] She told him that six soldiers of the British army had been sent to stay in her house. She was a washer-woman. But while the soldiers filled up the house she could not do any washing. She and her children were in want.

Benezet went right away to see the general that was in command of the soldiers. The good man was in such a hurry that he forgot to get a pass. The soldiers at the general's door would not let him go in.

At last some one told the general that a queer-looking fellow wanted to see him.

"Let him come up," said the general.

The odd little man came in. He told the general all about the troubles of the poor washer-woman. The general sent word that the soldiers must not stay any longer in her house.

The general liked the kind little man. He told him to come to see him again. He told the soldiers at his door to let Benezet come in whenever he wished to.

Soon after the Revolution was over, Benezet was taken ill. When the people of Philadelphia heard that he was ill, they gathered in crowds about his house. Everybody loved him. Everybody wanted to know whether he was better or not. At last the doctors said he could not get well. [49] Then the people wished to see the good man once more. The doors were opened. The rooms and halls of his house were filled with people coming to say good-bye to Benezet, and going away again.

When he was buried, it seemed as if all Philadelphia had come to his fu-ner-al. The rich and the poor, the black and the white, crowded the streets. The city had never seen so great a funeral.

In the company was an American general. He said, "I would rather be Anthony Benezet in that coffin than General Washington in all his glory."

 



Ellen C. Babbitt

The Foolish, Timid Rabbit

[39]

O NCE upon a time, a Rabbit was asleep under a palm-tree. All at once he woke up, and thought:

[Illustration]
  He jumped up and ran.  

"What if the world should break up! What then would become of me?"

At that moment, some Monkeys dropped a cocoanut. It fell down on the ground just back of the Rabbit.

Hearing the noise, the Rabbit said to himself: "The earth is all breaking up!"

And he jumped up and ran just as fast as he could, without even looking back to see what made the noise.

[40] Another Rabbit saw him running, and called after him, "What are you running so fast for?"

"Don't ask me!" he cried.

But the other Rabbit ran after him, begging to know what was the matter.


[Illustration]

The lion

Then the first Rabbit said: "Don't you know? The earth is all breaking up!"

And on he ran, and the second Rabbit ran with him.

The next Rabbit they met ran with them when he heard that the earth was all breaking up.

One Rabbit after another joined them, until there were hundreds of Rabbits running as fast as they could go.

[41] They passed a Deer, calling out to him that the earth was all breaking up. The Deer then ran with them.


[Illustration]

Saw the animals running.

The Deer called to a Fox to come along because the earth was all breaking up.

On and on they ran, and an Elephant joined them.

At last the Lion saw the animals running, and heard their cry that the earth was all breaking up.

He thought there must be some mistake, so he ran to the foot of a hill in front of them and roared three times.

[42] This stopped them, for they knew the voice of the King of Beasts, and they feared him.

"Why are you running so fast?" asked the Lion.

"Oh, King Lion," they answered him, "the earth is all breaking up!"

"Who saw it breaking up?" asked the Lion.

"I didn't," said the Elephant. "Ask the Fox—he told me about it."

"I didn't," said the Fox.

"The Rabbits told me about it," said the Deer.

One after another of the Rabbits said: "I did not see it, but another Rabbit told me about it."

At last the Lion came to the Rabbit who had first said the earth was all breaking up.

"Is it true that the earth is all breaking up?" the Lion asked.

"Yes, O Lion, it is," said the Rabbit. "I was asleep under a palm-tree. I woke up and thought, 'What would become of me if the earth should all break up?' At that very moment, I heard the sound of the earth breaking up, and I ran away."

"Then," said the Lion, "you and I will go back to the place where the earth began to break up, and see what is the matter."

[43] So the Lion put the little Rabbit on his back, and away they went like the wind. The other animals waited for them at the foot of the hill.

The Rabbit told the Lion when they were near the place where he slept, and the Lion saw just where the Rabbit had been sleeping.

He saw, too, the cocoanut that had fallen to the ground near by. Then the Lion said to the Rabbit, "It must have been the sound of the cocoanut falling to the ground that you heard. You foolish Rabbit!"

And the Lion ran back to the other animals, and told them all about it.

If it had not been for the wise King of Beasts, they might be running still.


[Illustration]

Away they went like the wind.

 



Mary F. Butts

Winter Night

Blow, wind, blow!

Drift the flying snow!

Send it twirling, whirling overhead!

There's a bedroom in a tree

Where, snug as snug can be,

The squirrel nests in his cozy bed.


Shriek, wind, shriek!

Make the branches creak!

Battle with the boughs till break o' day!

In a snow-cave warm and tight,

Through the icy winter night

The rabbit sleeps the peaceful hours away.


Call, wind, call!

In entry and in hall!

Straight from off the mountain white and wild!

Soft purrs the pussy-cat,

On her little fluffy mat,

And beside her nestles close her furry child.


Scold, wind, scold!

So bitter and so bold!

Shake the windows with your tap, tap, tap!

With half-shut dreamy eyes

The drowsy baby lies

Cuddled closely in his mother's lap.