Gateway to the Classics: Ten Boys Who Lived on the Road from Long Ago to Now by Jane Andrews
Ten Boys Who Lived on the Road from Long Ago to Now by  Jane Andrews

The Road to Long Ago

I S there anything pleasanter than going back to the time when your fathers and mothers were children, and hearing all about how they lived, and what they did, and what stories their fathers and mothers used to tell them?

How you would like to take a journey to the old house where your grandfather lived when he was a boy, and spend a day among the old rooms, from attic to cellar, and in the garden and barn and yard, and through the streets of the town (if he lived in a town), or through the woods and fields of the country (if his home was there); see the brook where he used to fish, and the pond where he used to skate, or swim, or row his boat! And then, when you had lived his childhood all over with him for a few days, wouldn't it be a fine thing to go on to your great-grandfather's old home, and do the same thing there, and then to your great-great-grandfather's?

But you will stop me, and say, "That isn't possible. The house isn't standing now in which my great-great-grandfather lived." Perhaps he didn't even live in this country; and it is possible that no one has ever told you where he did live, and you could n't find your way to his old home, even if it were still standing; and so your journey back to long ago would have to end just where it was growing most curious and interesting.

Now I have been making a journey very much like this, and I want to tell you about it; or rather, I am going to let the boys I met on the way tell you about it, for they knew more than I did, and indeed I got all my information from them.

I will just tell you first where the road lies, and then I will let the boys speak for themselves. In this year, 1885, journeys can be very quickly made. We can go to England in a week, and to Calcutta in thirty-five days or less. But as my journey was to Long Ago as well as to Far Away, it was not quick, but slow, and I shall have to give you a strange list of way stations that will hardly compare with that of any railroad in the world.

Here it is:—

From Now to the old Revolutionary Days.

From the Revolution to the time of the Puritans,

both in England and America.

From Puritans to the Reign of Queen Elizabeth.

From Queen Elizabeth to the Age of Chivalry.

From the Age of Chivalry to the early Saxons.

From Saxons to Romans.

From Romans to Greeks.

From Greeks to Persians.

From Persians to Hindus and Aryans.

If we could count up the time from station to station along our way, we should find that we had needed between three and four thousand years to make our journey to Long Ago.

We have stopped at ten stations on the way, and at each one there lived a boy with a story to tell.

There was Jonathan Dawson, the Yankee boy, who told us about New England ways of living one hundred and twenty-five years ago; and Ezekiel Fuller, the Puritan lad, who had lived through persecutions and troubles in England, and had come at last to begin a new life in a new land; and Roger, who longed to sail the Spanish main; and Gilbert, the page, who would one day become a knight; and Wulf, who came with the fierce Saxon bands to conquer Britain; and little Horatius, whose home was on the Palatine Hill in Rome; and Cleon, who told me wonderful tales of the Greek games and the old heroes; and Darius, whose brother was in the Persian army, and who had seen the great King Cyrus with his own eyes; and, last of all, Kablu, who, when a little child, came down with a great troop of his people from the high mountain land to the fertile plain of Hindustan, where the great river Indus waters all the broad valley, and the people live in ease and happiness because the sun-god has blessed their land.

And now we have gone back, far back, and long, long ago, until we can no longer find the path, and no friendly child stands at the roadside to welcome us or point out our way.

We have gone as far as the oldest of our great, great grandfathers can take us; and it is away back there, in the land of Long Ago, that we will first stop to listen to the story of Kablu, the Aryan boy, who came down to the plains of the Indus.

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