Text of Plan #953
  WEEK 29  


The Wonderful Wizard of Oz  by L. Frank Baum

The Council with the Munchkins

SHE was awakened by a shock, so sudden and severe that if Dorothy had not been lying on the soft bed she might have been hurt. As it was, the jar made her catch her breath and wonder what had happened; and Toto put his cold little nose into her face and whined dismally. Dorothy sat up and noticed that the house was not moving; nor was it dark, for the bright sunshine came in at the window, flooding the little room. She sprang from her bed and with Toto at her heels ran and opened the door.

The little girl gave a cry of amazement and looked about her, her eyes growing bigger and bigger at the wonderful sights she saw.

The cyclone had set the house down, very gently—for a cyclone—in the midst of a country of marvelous beauty. There were lovely patches of green sward all about, with stately trees bearing rich and luscious fruits. Banks of gorgeous flowers were on every hand, and birds with rare and brilliant plumage sang and fluttered in the trees and bushes. A little way off was a small brook, rushing and sparkling along between green banks, and murmuring in a voice very grateful to a little girl who had lived so long on the dry, gray prairies.

While she stood looking eagerly at the strange and beautiful sights, she noticed coming toward her a group of the queerest people she had ever seen. They were not as big as the grown folk she had always been used to; but neither were they very small. In fact, they seemed about as tall as Dorothy, who was a well-grown child for her age, although they were, so far as looks go, many years older.

Three were men and one a woman, and all were oddly dressed. They wore round hats that rose to a small point a foot above their heads, with little bells around the brims that tinkled sweetly as they moved. The hats of the men were blue; the little woman's hat was white, and she wore a white gown that hung in plaits from her shoulders; over it were sprinkled little stars that glistened in the sun like diamonds. The men were dressed in blue, of the same shade as their hats, and wore well polished boots with a deep roll of blue at the tops. The men, Dorothy thought, were about as old as Uncle Henry, for two of them had beards. But the little woman was doubtless much older: her face was covered with wrinkles, her hair was nearly white, and she walked rather stiffly.

When these people drew near the house where Dorothy was standing in the doorway, they paused and whispered among themselves, as if afraid to come farther. But the little old woman walked up to Dorothy, made a low bow and said, in a sweet voice,

"You are welcome, most noble Sorceress, to the land of the Munchkins. We are so grateful to you for having killed the wicked Witch of the East, and for setting our people free from bondage."

Dorothy listened to this speech with wonder. What could the little woman possibly mean by calling her a sorceress, and saying she had killed the wicked Witch of the East? Dorothy was an innocent, harmless little girl, who had been carried by a cyclone many miles from home; and she had never killed anything in all her life.

But the little woman evidently expected her to answer; so Dorothy said, with hesitation,

"You are very kind; but there must be some mistake. I have not killed anything."

"Your house did, anyway," replied the little old woman, with a laugh; "and that is the same thing. See!" she continued, pointing to the corner of the house; "there are her two toes, still sticking out from under a block of wood."

Dorothy looked, and gave a little cry of fright. There, indeed, just under the corner of the great beam the house rested on, two feet were sticking out, shod in silver shoes with pointed toes.

"Oh, dear! oh, dear!" cried Dorothy, clasping her hands together in dismay; "the house must have fallen on her. What ever shall we do?"

"There is nothing to be done," said the little woman, calmly.

"But who was she?" asked Dorothy.

"She was the wicked Witch of the East, as I said," answered the little woman. "She has held all the Munchkins in bondage for many years, making them slave for her night and day. Now they are all set free, and are grateful to you for the favour."

"Who are the Munchkins?" enquired Dorothy.

"They are the people who live in this land of the East, where the wicked Witch ruled."

"Are you a Munchkin?" asked Dorothy.

"No; but I am their friend, although I live in the land of the North. When they saw the Witch of the East was dead the Munchkins sent a swift messenger to me, and I came at once. I am the Witch of the North."

"Oh, gracious!" cried Dorothy; "are you a real witch?"

"Yes, indeed;" answered the little woman. "But I am a good witch, and the people love me. I am not as powerful as the wicked Witch was who ruled here, or I should have set the people free myself."

"But I thought all witches were wicked," said the girl, who was half frightened at facing a real witch.

"Oh, no; that is a great mistake. There were only four witches in all the Land of Oz, and two of them, those who live in the North and the South, are good witches. I know this is true, for I am one of them myself, and cannot be mistaken. Those who dwelt in the East and the West were, indeed, wicked witches; but now that you have killed one of them, there is but one wicked Witch in all the Land of Oz—the one who lives in the West."

"But," said Dorothy, after a moment's thought, "Aunt Em has told me that the witches were all dead—years and years ago."

"Who is Aunt Em?" inquired the little old woman.

"She is my aunt who lives in Kansas, where I came from."

The Witch of the North seemed to think for a time, with her head bowed and her eyes upon the ground. Then she looked up and said,

"I do not know where Kansas is, for I have never heard that country mentioned before. But tell me, is it a civilized country?"

"Oh, yes;" replied Dorothy.

"Then that accounts for it. In the civilized countries I believe there are no witches left; nor wizards, nor sorceresses, nor magicians. But, you see, the Land of Oz has never been civilized, for we are cut off from all the rest of the world. Therefore we still have witches and wizards amongst us."

"Who are the Wizards?" asked Dorothy.

"Oz himself is the Great Wizard," answered the Witch, sinking her voice to a whisper. "He is more powerful than all the rest of us together. He lives in the City of Emeralds."

Dorothy was going to ask another question, but just then the Munchkins, who had been standing silently by, gave a loud shout and pointed to the corner of the house where the Wicked Witch had been lying.

"What is it?" asked the little old woman; and looked, and began to laugh. The feet of the dead Witch had disappeared entirely and nothing was left but the silver shoes.

"She was so old," explained the Witch of the North, "that she dried up quickly in the sun. That is the end of her. But the silver shoes are yours, and you shall have them to wear." She reached down and picked up the shoes, and after shaking the dust out of them handed them to Dorothy.

"The Witch of the East was proud of those silver shoes," said one of the Munchkins; "and there is some charm connected with them; but what it is we never knew."

Dorothy carried the shoes into the house and placed them on the table. Then she came out again to the Munchkins and said,

"I am anxious to get back to my Aunt and Uncle, for I am sure they will worry about me. Can you help me find my way?"

The Munchkins and the Witch first looked at one another, and then at Dorothy, and then shook their heads.

"At the East, not far from here," said one, "there is a great desert, and none could live to cross it."

"It is the same at the South," said another, "for I have been there and seen it. The South is the country of the Quadlings."

"I am told," said the third man, "that it is the same at the West. And that country, where the Winkies live, is ruled by the wicked Witch of the West, who would make you her slave if you passed her way."

"The North is my home," said the old lady, "and at its edge is the same great desert that surrounds this land of Oz. I'm afraid, my dear, you will have to live with us."

Dorothy began to sob, at this, for she felt lonely among all these strange people. Her tears seemed to grieve the kind-hearted Munchkins, for they immediately took out their handkerchiefs and began to weep also. As for the little old woman, she took off her cap and balanced the point on the end of her nose, while she counted "one, two, three" in a solemn voice. At once the cap changed to a slate, on which was written in big, white chalk marks:


The little old woman took the slate from her nose, and, having read the words on it, asked,

"Is your name Dorothy, my dear?"

"Yes," answered the child, looking up and drying her tears.

"Then you must go to the City of Emeralds. Perhaps Oz will help you."

"Where is this City?" asked Dorothy.

"It is exactly in the center of the country, and is ruled by Oz, the Great Wizard I told you of."

"Is he a good man?" enquired the girl, anxiously.

"He is a good Wizard. Whether he is a man or not I cannot tell, for I have never seen him."

"How can I get there?" asked Dorothy.

"You must walk. It is a long journey, through a country that is sometimes pleasant and sometimes dark and terrible. However, I will use all the magic arts I know of to keep you from harm."

"Won't you go with me?" pleaded the girl, who had begun to look upon the little old woman as her only friend.

"No, I cannot do that," she replied; "but I will give you my kiss, and no one will dare injure a person who has been kissed by the Witch of the North."

She came close to Dorothy and kissed her gently on the forehead. Where her lips touched the girl they left a round, shining mark, as Dorothy found out soon after.

"The road to the City of Emeralds is paved with yellow brick," said the Witch; "so you cannot miss it. When you get to Oz do not be afraid of him, but tell your story and ask him to help you. Good-bye, my dear."

The three Munchkins bowed low to her and wished her a pleasant journey, after which they walked away through the trees. The Witch gave Dorothy a friendly little nod, whirled around on her left heel three times, and straightway disappeared, much to the surprise of little Toto, who barked after her loudly enough when she had gone, because he had been afraid even to growl while she stood by.

But Dorothy, knowing her to be a witch, had expected her to disappear in just that way, and was not surprised in the least.



The Clucking Hen

"Will you take a walk with me,

My little wife, to-day?

There's barley in the barley field,

And hayseed in the hay."

"Thank you;" said the clucking hen;

"I've something else to do;

I'm busy sitting on my eggs,

I cannot walk with you."

"Cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck,"

Said the clucking hen;

"My little chicks will soon be hatched,

I'll think about it then."

The clucking hen sat on her nest,

She made it in the hay;

And warm and snug beneath her breast,

A dozen white eggs lay.

Crack, crack, went all the eggs,

Out dropped the chickens small!

"Cluck," said the clucking hen,

"Now I have you all."

"Come along, my little chicks,

I'll take a walk with you."

"Hallo!" said the barn-door cock,



  WEEK 29  


Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans  by Edward Eggleston

The First Steamboat

T HE first good steamboat was built in New York. She was built by Robert Fulton. Her name was "Clermont." When the people saw her, they laughed. They said that such a boat would never go. For thousands of years boat-men had made their boats go by using sails and oars. People had never seen any such boat as this. It seemed foolish to believe that a boat could be pushed along by steam.

The time came for Fulton to start his boat. A crowd of people were standing on the shore. The black smoke was coming out of the smokestack. The people were laughing at the boat. They were sure that it would not go.

At last the boat's wheels began to turn round. Then the boat began to move. There were no oars. There were no sails. But still the boat kept moving. Faster and faster she went. All the people now saw that she could go by steam. They did not laugh any more. They began to cheer.


Seeing the First Steamboat

The little steamboat ran up to Albany. The people who lived on the river did not know what to make of it. They had never heard of a steamboat. They could not see what made the boat go.

There were many sailing vessels on the river. Fulton's boat passed some of these in the night. The sailors were afraid when they saw the fire and smoke. The sound of the steam seemed dreadful to them. Some of them went downstairs in their ships for fear. Some of them went ashore. Perhaps they thought it was a living animal that would eat them up.

But soon there were steamboats on all the large rivers.


A. A. Milne

The Dormouse and the Doctor

There once was a Dormouse who lived in a bed

Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red),

And all the day long he'd a wonderful view

Of geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue).

A Doctor came hurrying round, and he said:

"Tut-tut, I am sorry to find you in bed.

Just say 'Ninety-nine,' while I look at your chest. . . .

Don't you find that chrysanthemums answer the best?"

The Dormouse looked round at the view and replied

(When he'd said "Ninety-nine") that he'd tried and he'd tried,

And much the most answering things that he knew

Were geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue).

The Doctor stood frowning and shaking his head,

And he took up his shiny silk hat as he said:

"What the patient requires is a change," and he went

To see some chrysanthemum people in Kent.

The Dormouse lay there, and he gazed at the view

Of geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue),

And he knew there was nothing he wanted instead

Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red).

The Doctor came back and, to show what he meant,

He had brought some chrysanthemum cuttings from Kent.

"Now these," he remarked, "give a much  better view

Than geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue)."

They took out their spades and they dug up the bed

Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red),

And they planted chrysanthemums (yellow and white).

"And now," said the Doctor, "we'll soon  have you right."

The Dormouse looked out, and he said with a sigh:

"I suppose all these people know better than I.

It was silly, perhaps, but I did  like the view

Of geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue)."

The Doctor came round and examined his chest,

And ordered him Nourishment, Tonics, and Rest,

"How very effective," he said as he shook

The thermometer, "all these chrysanthemums look!"

The Dormouse turned over to shut out the sight

Of the endless chrysanthemums (yellow and white).

"How lovely," he thought, "to be back in a bed

Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red)."

The Doctor said, "Tut! It's another attack!"

And ordered him Milk and Massage-of-the-back,

And Freedom-from-worry and Drives-in-a-car,

And murmured, "How sweet your chrysanthemums are!"

The Dormouse lay there with his paws to his eyes,

And imagined himself such a pleasant surprise:

"I'll pretend  the chrysanthemums turn to a bed

Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red)!"

The Doctor next morning was rubbing his hands,

And saying, "There's nobody quite understands

These cases as I do! The cure has begun!

How fresh the chrysanthemums look in the sun!"

The Dormouse lay happy, his eyes were so tight

He could see no chrysanthemums, yellow or white,

And all that he felt at the back of his head

Were delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red).

And that is the reason (Aunt Emily said)

If a Dormouse gets in a chrysanthemum bed,

You will find (so Aunt Emily says) that he lies

Fast asleep on his front with his paws to his eyes.


  WEEK 29  


Among the Farmyard People  by Clara Dillingham Pierson

The Wonderful Shiny Egg


"C UT-CUT-CA-DAH-CUT! Cut-cut-cut-ca-dah-cut!" called the Dorking Hen, as she strutted around the poultry-yard. She held her head very high, and paused every few minutes to look around in her jerky way and see whether the other fowls were listening. Once she even stood on her left foot right in the pathway of the Shanghai Cock, and cackled into his very ears.

Everybody pretended not to hear her. The people in the poultry-yard did not like the Dorking Hen very well. They said that she put on airs. Perhaps she did. She certainly talked a great deal of the place from which she and the Dorking Cock came. They had come in a small cage from a large poultry farm, and the Dorking Hen never tired of telling about the wonderful, noisy ride that they took in a dark car drawn by a great, black, snorting creature. She said that this creature's feet grew on to his sides and whirled around as he ran, and that he breathed out of the top of his head. When the fowls first heard of this, they were much interested, but after a while they used to walk away from her, or make believe that they saw Grasshoppers whom they wanted to chase.

When she found that people were not listening to her, she cackled louder than ever. "Cut-cut-ca-dah-cut! Look at the egg—the egg—the egg that I have laid."

"Is there any particular reason why we should look at the egg—the egg—the egg—the egg that you have laid?" asked the Shanghai Cock, who was the grumpiest fowl in the yard.

Now, usually if the Dorking Hen had been spoken to in this way, she would have ruffled up her head feathers and walked away, but this time she had news to tell and so she kept her temper. "Reason?" she cackled. "Yes indeed! It is the finest egg that was ever laid in this poultry-yard."

"Hear her talk!" said a Bantam Hen. "I think it is in very poor taste to lay such large eggs as most of the Hens do here. Small ones are much more genteel."

"She must forget an egg that I laid a while ago with two yolks," said a Shanghai Hen. "That was the largest egg ever laid here, and I have always wished that I had hatched it. A pair of twin chickens would have been so interesting."

"Well," said the Dorking Hen, who could not keep still any longer, "small eggs may be genteel and large ones may be interesting, but my last one is bee-autiful."

"Perhaps you'd just as soon tell us about it as to brag without telling?" grumbled the Shanghai Cock. "I suppose it is grass color, or sky color, or hay color, or speckled, like a sparrow's egg."

"No," answered the Dorking Hen, "it is white, but it is shiny."

"Shiny!" they exclaimed. "Who ever heard of a shiny egg?"

"Nobody," she replied, "and that is why it is so wonderful."

"Don't believe it," said the Shanghai Cock, as he turned away and began scratching the ground.

Now the Dorking Hen did get angry. "Come to see it, if you don't believe me," she said, as she led the others into the Hen-house.

She flew up to the row of boxes where the Hens had their nests, and picked her way along daintily until she reached the farthest one. "Now look," said she.

One by one the fowls peeped into the box, and sure enough, there it lay, a fine, shiny, white egg. The little Bantam, who was really a jolly, kind-hearted creature, said, "Well, it is a beauty. I should be proud of it myself."

"It is whiter than I fancy," said the Shanghai Cock, "but it certainly does shine."

"I shall hatch it," said the Dorking Hen, very decidedly. "I shall hatch it and have a beautiful Chicken with shining feathers. I shall not hatch all the eggs in the nest, but roll this one away and sit on it."

"Perhaps," said one of her friends, "somebody else may have laid it after all, and not noticed. You know it is not the only one in the nest."

"Pooh!" said the Dorking Hen. "I guess I know! I am sure it was not there when I went to the nest and it was there when I left. I must have laid it."

The fowls went away, and she tried to roll the shiny one away from the other eggs, but it was slippery and very light and would not stay where she put it. Then she got out of patience and rolled all the others out of the nest. Two of them fell to the floor and broke, but she did not care. "They are nothing but common ones, anyway," she said.

When the farmer's wife came to gather the eggs she pecked at her and was very cross. Every day she did this, and at last the woman let her alone. Every day she told the other fowls what a wonderful Chicken she expected to have. "Of course he will be of my color," said she, "but his feathers will shine brightly. He will be a great flyer, too. I am sure that is what it means when the egg is light." She came off the nest each day just long enough to stroll around and chat with her friends, telling them what wonderful things she expected, and never letting them forget that it was she who had laid the shiny egg. She pecked airily at the food, and seemed to think that a Hen who was hatching such a wonderful Chicken should have the best of everything. Each day she told some new beauty that was to belong to her child, until the Shanghai Cock fairly flapped his wings with impatience.

Day after day passed, and the garden beyond the barn showed rows of sturdy green plants, where before there had been only straight ridges of fine brown earth. The Swallows who were building under the eaves of the great barn, twittered and chattered of the wild flowers in the forest, and four other Hens came off their nests with fine broods of downy Chickens. And still the Dorking Hen sat on her shiny egg and told what a wonderful Chicken she expected to hatch. This was not the only egg in the nest now, but it was the only one of which she spoke.

At last a downy Chicken peeped out of one of the common eggs, and wriggled and twisted to free himself from the shell. His mother did not hurry him or help him. She knew that he must not slip out of it until all the blood from the shell-lining had run into his tender little body. If she had pushed the shell off before he had all of this fine red blood, he would not have been a strong Chicken, and she wanted her children to be strong.

The Dorking Cock walked into the Hen-house and stood around on one foot. He came to see if the shiny egg had hatched, but he wouldn't ask. He thought himself too dignified to show any interest in newly hatched Chickens before a Hen. Still, he saw no harm in standing around on one foot and letting the Dorking Hen talk to him if she wanted to. When she told him it was one of the common eggs that had hatched, he was quite disgusted, and stalked out of doors without a word.

The truth was that he had been rather bragging to the other Cocks, and only a few minutes later he spoke with pride of the time when "our" shiny egg should hatch. "For," he said, "Mrs. Dorking and I have been quite alone here as far as our own people are concerned. It is not strange that we should feel a great pride in the wonderful egg and the Chicken to be hatched from it. A Dorking is a Dorking after all, my friends." And he flapped his wings, stretched his neck, and crowed as loudly as he could.

"Yes," said the Black Spanish Cock afterward, "a Dorking certainly is a Dorking, although I never could see the sense of making such a fuss about it. They are fat and they have an extra toe on each foot. Why should a fowl want extra toes? I have four on each foot, and I can scratch up all the food I want with them."

"Well," said the grumpy old Shanghai Cock. "I am sick and tired of this fuss. Common eggs are good enough for Shanghais and Black Spanish and Bantams, and I should think——"

Just at this minute they heard a loud fluttering and squawking in the Hen-house and the Dorking Hen crying, "Weasel! Weasel!" The Cocks ran to drive the Weasel away, and the Hens followed to see it done. All was noise and hurry, and they saw nothing of the Weasel except the tip of his bushy tail as he drew his slender body through an opening in the fence.

The Dorking Hen was on one of the long perches where the fowls roost at night, the newly hatched Chicken lay shivering in the nest, and on the floor were the pieces of the wonderful shiny egg. The Dorking Hen had knocked it from the nest in her flight.

The Dorking Cock looked very cross. He was not afraid of a Weasel, and he did not see why she should be. "Just like a Hen!" he said.

The Black Spanish Hen turned to him before he could say another word. "Just like a Cock!" she exclaimed. "I never raise Chickens myself. It is not the custom among the Black Spanish Hens. We lay the eggs and somebody else hatches them. But if I had been on the nest as long as Mrs. Dorking has, do you suppose I'd let any fowl speak to me as you spoke to her? I'd—I'd—" and she was so angry that she couldn't say another word, but just strutted up and down and cackled.

A motherly old Shanghai Hen flew up beside Mrs. Dorking. "We are very sorry for you," she said. "I know how I should have felt if I had broken my two-yolked egg just as it was ready to hatch."

The Bantam Hen picked her way to the nest. "What a dear little Chicken!" she cried, in her most comforting tone. "He is so plump and so bright for his age. But, my dear, he is chilly, and I think you should cuddle him under your wings until his down is dry."

The Dorking Hen flew down. "He is a dear," she said, "and yet when he was hatched I didn't care much for him, because I had thought so long about the shiny egg. It serves me right to lose that one, because I have been so foolish. Still, I do not know how I could stand it if it were not for my good neighbors."

While Mrs. Dorking was talking with the Bantam by her nest, the Black Spanish Hen scratched a hole in the earth under the perches, poked the pieces of the shiny egg into it, and covered them up. "I never raise Chickens myself," she said, "but if I did——"

The Shanghai Cock walked away with the Dorking Cock. "I'm sorry for you," he said, "and I am more sorry for Mrs. Dorking. She is too fine a Hen to be spoken to as you spoke to her this morning, and I don't want to hear any more of your fault-finding. Do you understand?" And he ruffled his neck feathers and stuck his face close to that of the Dorking Cock. They stared into each other's eyes for a minute; then the Dorking Cock, who was not so big and strong as the Shanghai, shook his head and answered sweetly, "It was rude of me. I won't do it again."

From that day to this, nobody in the poultry yard has ever spoken of the shiny egg, and the Dorkings are much liked by the other fowls. Yet if it had not been for her trouble, Mrs. Dorking and her neighbors would never have become such good friends. The little Dorkings are fine, fat-breasted Chicks, with the extra toe on each foot of which all that family are so proud.



Olive A. Wadsworth

Over in the Meadow

Over in the meadow,

In a nest built of sticks,

Lived a black mother crow

And her little crows six.

"Caw," said the mother;

"We caw," said the six—

So they cawed and they cawed

In their nest built of sticks.

Over in the meadow,

Where the grass is so even,

Lived a gay mother cricket

And her little crickets seven.

"Chirp!" said the mother;

"We chirp," said the seven—

So they chirped cheery notes

In the grass soft and even.

Over in the meadow,

By an old mossy gate,

Lived a brown mother lizard,

And her little lizards eight.

"Bask!" said the mother;

"We bask," said the eight—

So they basked in the sun

By the old mossy gate.

Over in the meadow,

Where the quiet pools shine,

Lived a green mother frog

And her little froggies nine.

"Croak," said the mother;

"We croak," said the nine—

So they croaked and they splashed

Where the quiet pools shine.

Over in the meadow

In a dark little den,

Lived a gray mother spider

And her little spiders ten.

"Spin," said the mother;

"We spin," said the ten—

So they spun lace webs

In their dark little den.

Over in the meadow,

In the soft summer even,

Lived a mother firefly

And her little flies eleven.

"Glow," said the mother;

"We glow," said the eleven—

So they glowed like stars

In the soft summer even.

Over in the meadow,

Where the men dig and delve

Lived a wise mother ant,

And her little ants twelve.

"Toil," said the mother;

"We toil," said the twelve—

So they toiled and were wise

Where the men dig and delve.


  WEEK 29  


Fairy Tales Too Good To Miss—Around the Fire  by Lisa M. Ripperton

The Hare and the Hedgehog

T HIS story, my dear young folks, seems to be false, but it really is true, for my grandfather, from whom I have it, used always, when relating it, to say complacently, "It must be true, my son, or else no one could tell it to you." The story is as follows.

One Sunday morning about harvest time, just as the buckwheat was in bloom, the sun was shining brightly in heaven, the east wind was blowing warmly over the stubble-fields, the larks were singing in the air, the bees buzzing among the buckwheat, the people were all going in their Sunday clothes to church, and all creatures were happy, and the hedgehog was happy too.


The hedgehog, however, was standing by his door with his arms akimbo, enjoying the morning breezes, and slowly trilling a little song to himself, which was neither better nor worse than the songs which hedgehogs are in the habit of singing on a blessed Sunday morning.


Whilst he was thus singing half aloud to himself, it suddenly occurred to him that, while his wife was washing and drying the children, he might very well take a walk into the field, and see how his turnips were going on. The turnips were, in fact, close beside his house, and he and his family were accustomed to eat them, for which reason he looked upon them as his own. No sooner said than done.

The hedgehog shut the house-door behind him, and took the path to the field. He had not gone very far from home, and was just turning round the sloe-bush which stands there outside the field, to go up into the turnip-field, when he observed the hare who had gone out on business of the same kind, namely, to visit his cabbages. When the hedgehog caught sight of the hare, he bade him a friendly good morning.


But the hare, who was in his own way a distinguished gentleman, and frightfully haughty, did not return the hedgehog's greeting, but said to him, assuming at the same time a very contemptuous manner, "How do you happen to be running about here in the field so early in the morning?"

"I am taking a walk," said the hedgehog.

"A walk!" said the hare, with a smile. "It seems to me that you might use your legs for a better purpose."

This answer made the hedgehog furiously angry, for he can bear anything but an attack on his legs, just because they are crooked by nature. So now the hedgehog said to the hare, "You seem to imagine that you can do more with your legs than I with mine."

"That is just what I do think," said the hare.

"That can be put to the test," said the hedgehog. "I wager that if we run a race, I will outstrip you."

"That is ridiculous! You with your short legs!" said the hare, "but for my part I am willing, if you have such a monstrous fancy for it. What shall we wager?"

"A golden louis-d'or and a bottle of brandy," said the hedgehog.

"Done," said the hare.

"Shake hands on it, and then we may as well come off at once."

"Nay," said the hedgehog, "there is no such great hurry! I am still fasting, I will go home first, and have a little breakfast. In half-an-hour I will be back again at this place."

Hereupon the hedgehog departed, for the hare was quite satisfied with this. On his way the hedgehog thought to himself, "The hare relies on his long legs, but I will contrive to get the better of him. He may be a great man, but he is a very silly fellow, and he shall pay for what he has said."


So when the hedgehog reached home, he said to his wife, "Wife, dress thyself quickly, thou must go out to the field with me."

"What is going on, then?" said his wife.

"I have made a wager with the hare, for a gold louis-d'or and a bottle of brandy. I am to run a race with him, and thou must be present."

"Good heavens, husband," the wife now cried, "art thou not right in thy mind, hast thou completely lost thy wits? What can make thee want to run a race with the hare?"

"Hold thy tongue, woman," said the hedgehog, "that is my affair. Don't begin to discuss things which are matters for men. Be off, dress thyself, and come with me."

What could the hedgehog's wife do? She was forced to obey him, whether she liked it or not.

So when they had set out on their way together, the hedgehog said to his wife, "Now pay attention to what I am going to say. Look you, I will make the long field our race-course. The hare shall run in one furrow, and I in another, and we will begin to run from the top. Now all that thou hast to do is to place thyself here below in the furrow, and when the hare arrives at the end of the furrow, on the other side of thee, thou must cry out to him, 'I am here already!' "

Then they reached the field, and the hedgehog showed his wife her place, and then walked up the field. When he reached the top, the hare was already there.

"Shall we start?" said the hare.

"Certainly," said the hedgehog.

"Then both at once." So saying, each placed himself in his own furrow. The hare counted, "Once, twice, thrice, and away!" and went off like a whirlwind down the field.

The hedgehog, however, only ran about three paces, and then he stooped down in the furrow, and stayed quietly where he was.

When the hare therefore arrived in full career at the lower end of the field, the hedgehog's wife met him with the cry, "I am here already!"


The hare was shocked and wondered not a little, he thought no other than that it was the hedgehog himself who was calling to him, for the hedgehog's wife looked just like her husband. The hare, however, thought to himself, "That has not been done fairly," and cried, "It must be run again, let us have it again."

And once more he went off like the wind in a storm, so that he seemed to fly. But the hedgehog's wife stayed quietly in her place. So when the hare reached the top of the field, the hedgehog himself cried out to him, "I am here already." The hare, however, quite beside himself with anger, cried, "It must be run again, we must have it again."

"All right," answered the hedgehog, "for my part we'll run as often as you choose."

So the hare ran seventy-three times more, and the hedgehog always held out against him, and every time the hare reached either the top or the bottom, either the hedgehog or his wife said, "I am here already."

At the seventy-fourth time, however, the hare could no longer reach the end. In the middle of the field he fell to the ground, blood streamed out of his mouth, and he lay dead on the spot. But the hedgehog took the louis-d'or which he had won and the bottle of brandy, called his wife out of the furrow, and both went home together in great delight, and if they are not dead, they are living there still.


This is how it happened that the hedgehog made the hare run races with him on the Buxtehuder heath till he died, and since that time no hare has ever had any fancy for running races with a Buxtehuder hedgehog.

The moral of this story, however, is, firstly, that no one, however great he may be, should permit himself to jest at any one beneath him, even if he be only a hedgehog. And, secondly, it teaches, that when a man marries, he should take a wife in his own position, who looks just as he himself looks. So whosoever is a hedgehog let him see to it that his wife is a hedgehog also, and so forth.


Robert Louis Stevenson

Looking-Glass River

Smooth it glides upon its travel,

Here a wimple, there a gleam—

O the clean gravel!

O the smooth stream!

Sailing blossoms, silver fishes,

Paven pools as clear as air—

How a child wishes

To live down there!

We can see our coloured faces

Floating on the shaken pool

Down in cool places,

Dim and very cool;

Till a wind or water wrinkle,

Dipping marten, plumping trout,

Spreads in a twinkle

And blots all out.

See the rings pursue each other;

All below grows black as night,

Just as if mother

Had blown out the light!

Patience, children, just a minute—

See the spreading circles die;

The stream and all in it

Will clear by-and-by.


  WEEK 29  


On the Shores of the Great Sea  by M. B. Synge

Some Greek Colonies

"Hear, for thy children speak, from the uttermost parts of the sea."


N OW, while Greece was settling down after her warfare with Persia, let us take a glance at her possessions abroad and see how her children over the seas are getting on.

One of her largest and most important colonies was Cyrene, on the north coast of Africa, and opposite the southern point of Greece. It was one of the fairest spots on the face of the earth. Standing about ten miles from the sea, high above sea-level, it was sheltered from the hot blasts of the desert and open to the cool breezes of the Mediterranean, over whose blue waters it commanded a glorious view. Terraces—rich and fertile—stretched from mountain to shore. To the west her boundaries reached those of Carthage, being marked by the "Altar of the Philæni."

A curious story is told of how the men of Carthage and the men of Cyrene agreed on their boundary. Carthage belonged to the Phœnicians and Cyrene to the Greeks, and these were rival Powers on the shores of the Mediterranean.

It was arranged that at a given time two men from each city should start, and the spot where they met, should be the boundary. The men of Carthage chose two brothers called the Philæni. They ran much faster than the Greeks of Cyrene, so that the Greeks accused them of starting before the appointed time. After some dispute the Greeks agreed to accept the spot as boundary, if the Philæni would consent to be buried alive, at this very spot in the sand. The brothers bravely agreed, for their country's sake, to suffer death; they were accordingly buried alive in the sand, in the full vigour of their manhood. Their grateful countrymen erected the altar to their memory. It was known as the Altar of the Philæni.

But still more important than Cyrene, was the Greek colony of Syracuse, the capital of Sicily—the old legendary land of the Cyclops—known to the ancients, as Greater Greece.

The great haven of Syracuse, with its island and its hill, occupied the most striking site on the east coast of Sicily, and could not fail to invite early colonists. So, three hundred years before this, the Greeks had driven out the Phœnicians, who had a station there, and now it was one of their most thriving colonies. Like the colonists at Cyrene, the "lord" of Syracuse sent his racehorses and chariots to contend in the great games at Olympia, and the Grecian poets wrote odes in honour of Sicilian victories. Possessing such a fine harbour, this colony of Syracuse had her own ships.

Let us see what these ships were like at this time. The early Greek warships were long and narrow, with twenty-five benches, on each of which sat two oarsmen,—that is to say, they were rowed by no less than fifty oars. Later the Greeks built their ships with two rows of benches, one above the other, so that the number of oarsmen and the speed could be increased without adding to the length of the ship.

But about this time the Phœnicians invented a new sort of ship, and the Greeks soon copied them. The new ship had three banks of oars, and was rowed by no less than one hundred and seventy men. This was the kind of ship that was used by the Greeks at the battle of Salamis. These "triremes," as they were called, had a square sail to be raised when the wind was favourable. Now the men of Syracuse invented an improvement to these triremes as warships. The old idea in naval warfare was to dash the pointed beak of the ship's front into the enemy's vessel, so cutting it in two and causing it to sink. The men of Syracuse made their beaks, or prows, of bronze, which was more effective, and it gave them the victory over the Phœnicians in the harbour of Syracuse.


Thomas Bailey Aldrich

Cradle Song

Ere the moon begins to rise

Or a star to shine,

All the bluebells close their eyes—

So close thine,—

Thine, dear, thine!

Birds are sleeping in the nest

On the swaying bough,

Thus, against the mother's breast—

So sleep thou—

Sleep, sleep, thou!


  WEEK 29  


The Irish Twins  by Lucy Fitch Perkins


By this time they had reached the schoolhouse. The Schoolmaster was standing in the door calling the children to come in.

He was a tall man dressed in a worn suit of black. He wore glasses on his nose, and carried a stick in his hand.


The schoolhouse had only one room, with four small windows, and Larry hung his cap and Eileen her shawl, on nails driven into the wall.

The schoolroom had benches for the children to sit on, with long desks in front of them. On the wall hung a printed copy of the Ten Commandments. At one side there was a fireplace, but, as it was summer, there was no fire in it.

The Master rapped on his desk, which was in the front of the room, and the children all hurried to their seats. Larry sat on one side of the room, with the boys. Eileen sat on the other, with the girls.

The Master called the roll. There were fifteen boys and thirteen girls. When the roll was called and the number marked down on a slate in front of the school, the Master said, "First class in reading."

All the little boys and girls of the size of Larry and Eileen came forward and stood in a row. There were just three of them: Larry and Eileen and Dennis.


"Larry, you may begin," said the Master.

Larry read the first lines of the lesson. They were, "To do ill is a sin.

"Can you run far?"

Larry wondered who it was that had done ill, and if he were running away because of it, and who stopped him to ask, "Can you run far?" He was thinking about it when Eileen read the next two sentences

They were, "Is he friend or foe?

"Did you hurt your toe?"

This did not seem to Larry to clear the mystery.

"Next!" called the Master.

Dennis stood next. He read, "He was born in a house on the hill.

"Is rice a kind of corn?

"Get me a cork for the ink jar."

Just at this point the Master went to the open door to drive away some chickens that wanted to come in, and as Dennis had not been told to stop he went right on. Dennis was eight, and he could read quite fast if he kept his finger on the place. This is what he read:—

"The morn is the first part of the day.

"This is my son, I hope you will like him.

"Sin not, for God hates sin.

"Can a worm walk?

"No, it has no feet, but it can creep.

"Did you meet Fred in the street?

"Weep no more."

By this time the chickens were frightened away and Dennis was nearly out of breath.

The Master came back. Then Eileen had a turn. They could almost say the lessons by heart, they knew them so well.

After the reading-lesson they went back to their benches, and studied in loud whispers, but Larry was thinking of something else. He drew a pig with a curly tail on his slate—like this—


He held it up for Dennis to see. He wanted to tell him about Diddy and the Fair, but the Master saw what he had done. "Come here, Larry McQueen, and bring your slate," he said. "Sure, I 'll teach you better manners. Get up on this stool now, and show yourself." He put a large paper dunce-cap on Larry's head, and made him sit up on a stool before the whole school!


The other children laughed, all but Eileen. She hid her face on her desk, and two little tears squeezed out between her fingers.

But Larry did n't cry. He pretended he did n't care at all. He sat there for what seemed a very long time, while other children recited other lessons in reading, and grammar, and arithmetic. The Master gave him this poem to learn by heart:—

"I thank the Goodness and the Grace

That on my birth have smiled,

And made me in these Christian days,

A happy English child."

Larry wondered why he was called an English child, when he knew he was Irish. And he was n't so sure either about the "Christian days"; but he learned it and said it to the teacher before he got down off the stool. It seemed to him that it was about three days before noontime came. At last they were dismissed, and the Twins went out with the other children into the schoolyard to eat their luncheon. Dennis ate his with them, and Larry told him the Secret.

After lunch they went back into the dark, smoky little schoolroom for more lessons, and when three o'clock came, how glad they were to go dancing out into the sunshine again, and walk home along the familiar road, with the air sweet about them and the little birds singing in the fields.


Edward Lear

Nonsense Alphabet

A was an ant

Who seldom stood still,

And who made a nice house

In the side of a hill.

Nice little ant!

B was a bat,

Who slept all the day,

And fluttered about

When the sun went away.

Brown little bat!

C was a camel;

You rode on his hump;

And if you fell off,

You came down such a bump!

What a high camel!

D was a duck

With spots on his back,

Who lived in the water,

And always said "Quack!"

Dear little duck!

E was an elephant,

Stately and wise:

He had tusks and a trunk,

And two queer little eyes.

Oh, what funny small eyes!

F was a fish

Who was caught in a net;

But he got out again,

And is quite alive yet.

Lively young fish!

G was a goat

Who was spotted with brown:

When he did not lie still

He walked up and down.

Good little goat!

H was a hat

Which was all on one side;

Its crown was too high,

And its brim was too wide.

Oh, what a hat!

I was some ice

So white and so nice,

But which nobody tasted;

And so it was wasted.

All that good ice!

J was a jug,

So pretty and white,

With fresh water in it

At morning and night.

Nice little jug!

K was a kite

Which flew out of sight,

Above houses so high,

Quite into the sky.

Fly away, kite!

L was a lily,

So white and so sweet!

To see it and smell it

Was quite a nice treat.

Beautiful lily!

M was a man,

Who walked round and round;

And he wore a long coat

That came down to the ground.

Funny old man!

N was a net

Which was thrown in the sea

To catch fish for dinner

For you and for me!

Nice little net!

O was an orange

So yellow and round:

When it fell off the tree,

It fell down to the ground.

Down to the ground!

P was a Polly,

All red, blue, and green,

The most beautiful Polly

That ever was seen.

Poor little Polly!

Q was a quail

With a very short tail;

And he fed upon corn

In the evening and morn.

Quaint little quail!

R was a rabbit,

Who had a bad habit

Of eating the flowers

In gardens and bowers.

Naughty fat rabbit!

S was the sugar-tongs,


To take up the sugar

To put in our tea


T was a tortoise,

All yellow and black:

He walked slowly away,

And he never came back.

Torty never came back!

U was an urn

All polished and bright,

And full of hot water

At noon and at night.

Useful old urn!

V was a veil

With a border upon it,

And a ribbon to tie it

All round a pink bonnet.

Pretty green veil!

W was a watch,

Where, in letters of gold,

The hour of the day

You might always behold.

Beautiful watch!

X was King Xerxes

Who wore on his head

A mighty large turban,

Green, yellow, and red.

Look at King Xerxes!

Y was a yew,

Which flourished and grew

By a quiet abode

Near the side of a road.

Dark little yew!

Z was the zebra,

All striped white and black

And if he were tame,

You might ride on his back.

Pretty striped Zebra!


  WEEK 29  


In God's Garden  by Amy Steedman

Saint Christopher

Part 1 of 2

Long ago in a far distant land there lived a boy called Offero. He was taller and stronger and braver than any of his companions, and he was called Offero, which means bearer, because he could carry the heaviest burdens on his broad shoulders, without stooping under their weight. His was the grandest kind of strength too, for it was not only strength of body, but strength of heart and soul besides.

As Offero grew into manhood he began to tire of being first only in games and play, and he longed to use his strength for some real end, feeling sure there was work in the world waiting for his hand.

Sometimes as he strode across the olive-clad hills, and felt the wind in his hair, and drew in great breaths of life and strength, he would see before him a dim vision of some great purpose, ever beckoning him on, and in his ear a voice would sound, that bade him use his strength only for the highest.

Night and day Offero thought upon the vision, and it seemed to him that its meaning was that he should go out into the world and do a man's work. And, since for him the highest meant strength and fearlessness, he vowed that he would search until he found the bravest and strongest king and would take service only with him.

So Offero set out and, after many weary wanderings, he came to the gates of a great city. Here, in a palace built of alabaster, lived one whom the people called the greatest king on earth. He had more soldiers and horsemen and chariots than any other monarch, and the banner of crimson and gold that floated over the palace roof, had never been lowered in the face of any foe.

But Offero scarcely noticed all the glitter and splendour of the palace, or the crowd of waiting men. He was only eager to see the king, whom every one said was as brave and strong as a lion. No one stopped him as he strode on. Even the royal guards at the palace door stood back to let him pass. He was dusty and travel-stained, and his armour was dull and dinted by many a hard blow, but there was that in his walk and in his eyes, and the grasp of his great hand upon his sword, that made every one fall back to let him pass.

The king was seated upon his throne making wise laws for his people, when Offero entered the audience hall. Straight to the steps of the throne he went, and kneeling there placed his sword at the king's feet and offered to be his true servant. For a moment the king looked in wonder and astonishment at this giant, and the great sword that stretched along the widest step of his ivory throne. Then with a look of pride at the strength of the man kneeling at his feet, he bade Offero rise and use his sword henceforth only in the king's service.

So Offero became the king's servant, and not one of the king's enemies could stand against him. Wherever there was danger to be met or fighting to be done, there he was ever to be found, and he made his master's name more feared and honoured than that of any other monarch in the world. His work filled all his time and thoughts, and the vision he had seen grew so dim that it had nearly faded from his memory, when one night a minstrel came to the court.

This minstrel had a harp of gold and his fingers woke the sweetest music from the golden strings, but sweeter than all was his voice as he sang of brave deeds and mighty battles, the wisdom of the wise and the courage of the strong.

The heart of Offero was charmed by the music as he sat idly among the rest of the courtiers, listening in the great audience chamber.

But as the minstrel sang, Offero noticed that the king looked disturbed and once or twice made a strange sign with his hand when a certain evil name was repeated in the song. It almost seemed to Offero as if at such times a look of fear came into his eyes.

Waiting behind the rest when the minstrel was gone, Offero looked gravely into the king's eyes and said:

"My liege, wilt thou tell thy servant, why thou didst make that sign upon thy forehead and what the look that came into thine eyes may mean—thou who fearest no man?"

Then the king answered Offero saying:

"That sign is the sign of the cross, and I make it upon my brow whenever I hear the name of Satan, the Evil Spirit, because I fear him, and because that sign alone can protect me from him."

And Offero bowed his head, and standing there before the king he answered sadly:

"Fare thee well, O my king, for I may not serve thee longer. I have promised only to serve the greatest and one who feared nothing, so I must e'en seek this Evil Spirit. If thou fearest him, must he not be more powerful than thou?"

So Offero went sorrowfully out of the king's presence, and away from the splendid court and the fair city. And as he went the vision which of late had faded from him grew clearer, and seemed to beckon him on and on. And the voice that of old sounded in his ears spoke to him once more, so that his heart became light and his purpose grew strong.

Now after many days of toilsome wanderings, Offero came at last to the skirt of a great dark wood. The pines were so thick that never a sunbeam could pierce through their tops, and the trunks of the trees could only just be seen ghostly grey in the everlasting twilight that reigned there.

Deeper and darker grew the wood as Offero went on, until he came to the darkest part of all, and there he found the Evil Spirit and his court.

Offero could see nothing clearly in the gloom, but one great shadow stood out, bigger and stronger than any of the other shadows that flitted about, and on its brow was the outline of a kingly crown.

"What seekest thou here?" asked the Evil One, in a deep strong voice, like the roar of distant thunder.

"I seek to serve the greatest and strongest king on earth, and one who knows no fear," answered Offero.

"Then is thy quest ended," said the shadowy king, with uplifted head and proud gesture, "for I indeed am the greatest king of all, and I know not what that word fear meaneth."

So Offero became one of the servants of the King of Evil, and his work was heavy and his wages light. But that seemed but a small matter to him, if only he had indeed found the highest.

Time passed on until there came a day when the Evil One rode out with all his servants and Offero at their head. And as they passed out of the wood they came to a cross set up by the wayside. It was only a rough cross of wood, standing out clear against the sky, the grass beneath worn by those who had knelt before it, and a bunch of wild flowers laid at its foot by some grateful hand. But when the eye of the Evil One fell upon it, he shuddered and, turning quickly round, plunged back into the wood, followed by all his servants. And Offero saw he was trembling from head to foot.

"Stop," cried Offero, barring his way, for he was not afraid even of the great Shadow upon the fierce black horse. "I would fain know what this meaneth, ere we go further. Didst thou not say thou wert stronger than all and feared nothing? and lo! thou tremblest like a child before a piece of crossed wood."

"It is not the cross I fear," answered the Evil One, "but Him who once hung upon it."

"And who is He that you should tremble at the very thought of Him?" asked Offero. "Is He a greater and stronger king than thou?"

"He is greater, and He is stronger," answered Satan, "and He is the only one I fear."

Then Offero rode away from the dark wood and the evil company, out into the sunshine and light. And as he looked at the blue sky, and felt the warmth of the blessed sunshine once more, the vision seemed to rise again before his eyes, ever beckoning him onward, and in his ear the same voice sounded, bidding him seek on, until he should indeed find the highest.


Christina Georgina Rossetti

Hopping Frog

Hopping frog, hop here and be seen,

I'll not pelt you with stick or stone:

Your cap is laced and your coat is green;

Good-bye, we'll let each other alone.

Plodding toad, plod here and be looked at,

You the finger of scorn is crooked at:

But though you're lumpish, you're harmless too;

You won't hurt me, and I won't hurt you.