WEEK 29 |
He returns to the Fairy's house. She promises him that the following day he shall cease to be a puppet and shall become a boy. Grand breakfast of coffee and milk to celebrate this great event.
UST as the fisherman was on the point of throwing Pinocchio into the
"Get out!" shouted the fisherman threateningly, holding the floured puppet in his hand.
But the poor dog, who was as hungry as a wolf, whined and wagged his tail as much as to say:
"Give me a mouthful of fish and I will leave you in peace."
"Get out, I tell you!" repeated the fisherman, and he stretched out his leg to give him a kick.
But the dog, who, when he was really hungry, would not stand trifling, turned upon him, growling and showing his terrible tusks.
At that moment a little feeble voice was heard in the cave saying entreatingly:
"Save me, Alidoro! If you do not save me I shall be
The dog recognised Pinocchio's voice, and to his extreme surprise perceived that it proceeded from the floured bundle that the fisherman held in his hand.
So what do you think he did? He made a spring, seized the bundle in his mouth, and holding it gently between his teeth he rushed out of the cave and was gone like a flash of lightning.
Seized the bundle in his mouth.
The fisherman, furious at seeing a fish he was so anxious to eat snatched from him, ran after the dog; but he had not gone many steps when he was taken with a fit of coughing and had to give it up.
Alidoro, when he had reached the path that led to the village, stopped, and put his friend Pinocchio gently on the ground.
"How much I have to thank you for!" said the puppet.
"There is no necessity," replied the dog, "You saved me and I have now returned it. You know that we must all help each other in this world."
"But how came you to come to the cave?"
"I was lying on the shore more dead than alive
when the wind brought to me the smell of fried fish. The smell excited my
appetite, and I followed it up. If I had arrived a second
"Do not mention it!" groaned Pinocchio, who
was still trembling with fright. "Do not mention it! If you had arrived a
second later I should by this time have been fried, eaten, and digested.
Alidoro, laughing, extended his right paw to the puppet, who shook it heartily in token of great friendship, and they then separated.
The dog took the road home; and Pinocchio, left alone, went to a cottage not far off, and said to a little old man who was warming himself in the sun:
"Tell me, good man, do you know anything of a poor boy called Eugene who was
wounded in the
"The boy was brought by some fishermen to this cottage, and
"And now he is
"No, he is alive, and has returned to his home."
"Not really? not really?" cried the puppet, dancing with delight. "Then the
wound was not
"It might have been very serious and even fatal," answered the little old man, "for they threw a thick book bound in cardboard at his head."
"And who threw it at him?"
"One of his schoolfellows, a certain
"And who is this Pinocchio?" asked the puppet, pretending ignorance.
"They say that he is a bad boy, a vagabond, a regular
"Calumnies! all calumnies!"
"Do you know this Pinocchio?"
"By sight!" answered the puppet.
"And what is your opinion of him?" asked the little man.
"He seems to me to be a very good boy, anxious to learn, and obedient and
affectionate to his father and
Whilst the puppet was firing off all these lies, he touched his nose and perceived that it had lengthened more than a hand. Very much alarmed he began to cry out:
"Don't believe, good man, what I have been telling you. I know Pinocchio very well, and I can assure you that he is really a very bad boy, disobedient and idle, who instead of going to school runs off with his companions to amuse himself."
He had hardly finished speaking when his nose became shorter and returned to the same size that it was before.
"And why are you all covered with white?" asked the old man suddenly.
"I will tell
"And what have you done with your jacket, your trousers, and your cap?"
"I met with robbers who took them from me. Tell me, good old man, could you perhaps give me some clothes to return home in?"
"My boy, as to clothes, I have nothing but a little sack in which I keep beans. If you wish for it, take it; there it is."
Pinocchio did not wait to be told twice. He took the sack at once, and with a pair of scissors he cut a hole at the end and at each side, and put it on like a shirt. And with this slight clothing he set off for the village.
But as he went he did not feel at all comfortable—so little so, indeed, that for a step forward he took another backwards, and he said, talking to himself:
"How shall I ever present myself to my good little Fairy? What will she say
when she sees
When he reached the village it was night and very dark. A storm had come on, and as the rain was coming down in torrents he went straight to the Fairy's house, resolved to knock at the door, and hoping to be let in.
But when he was there his courage failed him, and instead of knocking he ran away some twenty paces. He returned to the door a second time, but could not make up his mind; he came back a third time, still he dared not; the fourth time he laid hold of the knocker and, trembling, gave a little knock.
He waited and waited. At last, after half an hour had passed, a window on the top floor was opened—the house was four stories high—and Pinocchio saw a big Snail with a lighted candle on her head looking out. She called to him:
"Who is there at this hour?"
"Is the Fairy at home?" asked the puppet.
"The Fairy is asleep and must not be awakened; but who are you?"
"It is I!"
"Who is I?"
"And who is Pinocchio?"
"The puppet who lives in the Fairy's house."
"Ah, I understand!" said the Snail. "Wait for me there. I will come down and open the door directly."
"Be quick, for pity's sake, for I am dying of cold."
"My boy, I am a snail, and snails are never in a hurry."
An hour passed, and then two, and the door was not opened. Pinocchio, who was wet through, and trembling from cold and fear, at last took courage and knocked again, and this time he knocked louder.
At this second knock a window on the lower story opened, and the same Snail appeared at it.
A window in the lower story opened, and the same Snail appeared at it.
"Beautiful little Snail," cried Pinocchio from the street, "I have been waiting for two hours! And two hours on such a bad night seem longer than two years. Be quick, for pity's sake."
"My boy," answered the calm, phlegmatic little
And the window was shut again.
Shortly afterwards midnight struck; then one o'clock, then two o'clock, and the door remained still closed.
Pinocchio at last, losing all patience, seized the knocker in a rage, intending to give a blow that would resound through the house. But the knocker, which was iron, turned suddenly into an eel, and slipping out of his hands disappeared in the stream of water that ran down the middle of the street.
"Ah! is that it?" shouted Pinocchio, blind with rage. "Since the knocker has disappeared, I will kick instead with all my might."
And drawing a little back he gave a tremendous kick against the house door. The blow was indeed so violent that his foot went through the wood and stuck; and when he tried to draw it back again it was trouble thrown away, for it remained fixed like a nail that has been hammered down.
Think of poor Pinocchio! He was obliged to spend the remainder of the night with one foot on the ground and the other in the air.
The following morning at daybreak the door was at last opened. That clever little Snail had taken only nine hours to come down from the fourth story to the house door. It is evident that her exertions must have been great.
"What are you doing with your foot stuck in the door?" she asked the puppet, laughing.
"It was an accident. Do try, beautiful little Snail, if you cannot release me from this torture."
"My boy, that is the work of a carpenter, and I have never been a carpenter."
"Beg the Fairy from
"The Fairy is asleep and must not be wakened."
"But what do you suppose that I can do all day nailed to this door?"
"Amuse yourself by counting the ants that pass down the street."
"Bring me at least something to eat, for I am quite exhausted."
"At once," said the Snail.
In fact, after three hours and a half she returned to Pinocchio carrying a silver tray on her head. The tray contained a loaf of bread, a roast chicken, and four ripe apricots.
The Snail returned carrying a silver tray.
"Here is the breakfast that the Fairy has sent you," said the Snail.
The puppet felt very much comforted at the sight of these good things. But when he began to eat them, what was his disgust at making the discovery that the bread was plaster, the chicken cardboard, and the four apricots painted alabaster.
He wanted to cry. In his desperation he tried to throw away the tray and all that was on it; but instead, either from grief or exhaustion, he fainted away.
When he came to himself he found that he was lying on a sofa, and the Fairy was beside him.
"I will pardon you once more," the Fairy said, "but woe to you if you
behave badly a third
Pinocchio promised, and swore that he would study, and that for the future he would always conduct himself well.
And he kept his word for the remainder of the year. Indeed, at the examinations before the holidays, he had the honour of being the first in the school, and his behaviour in general was so satisfactory and praiseworthy that the Fairy was very much pleased, and said to him:
"To-morrow your wish shall be gratified."
"And that is?"
"To-morrow you shall cease to be a wooden puppet, and you shall become a boy."
No one who had not witnessed it could ever imagine Pinocchio's joy
Unfortunately in the lives of puppets there is always a "but" that spoils everything.
It was on the fifteenth day of June when the ships sailed out of the Chesapeake Bay, leaving on the banks of the river we called the James, a hundred men and boys, all told, to hold their lives and their liberty against thousands upon thousands of naked savages, who had already shown that they desired to be enemies rather than friends.
Even in the eyes of a boy, it was an odd company to battle with the savages and the wilderness, for the greater number were those who called themselves gentlemen, and who believed it beneath their station to do any labor whatsoever, therefore did it seem to me that this new town would be burdened sorely with so many drones.
Master Hunt, the preacher, could in good truth call himself a gentleman, and yet I myself saw him, within two hours after we were landed, nailing a piece of timber between two trees that he might stretch a square of sailcloth over it, thus making what served as the first church in the country of Virginia.
Yet Captain Smith has said again and again, that the discourses of Master Hunt under that poor shelter of cloth, were, to his mind, more like the real praising of God, than any he had ever heard in the costly buildings of the old world.
For the better understanding of certain things which happened to us after we had begun to build the village of Jamestown, it should be remembered that of all the savages in the country roundabout, the most friendly were those who lived in the same settlement with Powhatan, who was, so Captain Smith said, the true head and king of all the Indians in Virginia.
It was in this town of Powhatan's that I discovered how to bake bread without an oven or other fire than what might be built on the open ground, and it was well I had my eyes open at that time, otherwise Captain Smith and I had gone supperless to bed again and again, for there were many days when our stomachs cried painfully because of emptiness.
While my master was talking with the king, Powhatan, on matters concerning affairs at Jamestown, I saw an Indian girl, whose name I afterward came to know was Pocahontas, making bread, and observed her carefully. She had white meal, but whether of barley, or the wheat called Indian corn, or Guinny wheat I could not say, and this she mixed into a paste with hot water; making it of such thickness that it could easily be rolled into little balls or cakes.
After the mixture had been thus shaped, she dropped the balls into a pot of boiling water, letting them stay there until well soaked, when she laid them on a smooth stone in front of the fire until they had hardened and browned like unto bread that has been cooked in the oven.
But I have set myself to the task of telling how we of Jamestown lived during that time when my master was much the same as the head of the government, and it is not well to begin the story with bread making.
First I must explain upon what terms these people, the greater number of whom called themselves gentlemen, and therefore claimed to be ashamed to labor with their hands, had come together under control of those merchants in London, who were known as the London Company.
No person in the town of James was allowed to own any land except as he had his share of the whole. Every one was expected to work for the good of the village, and whatsoever of crops was raised, belonged to all the people. It was not permitted that the more industrious should plant the land and claim that which grew under their toil.
Ours was supposed to be one big family, with each laboring to help the others at the same time he helped himself, and the result was that those who worked only a single hour each day, had as much of the general stores as he who remained in the field from morning until night.
Although my master had agreed to this plan before the fleet sailed from England, he soon came to understand that it was not the best for a new land, where it was needed that each person should labor to the utmost of his powers.
The London Company had provided a certain number of tents made of cloth, which were supposed to be enough to give shelter to all the people, and yet, because those who had charge of the matter had made a mistake, through ignorance or for the sake of gain, there were no more than would provide for the members of the Council, who appeared to think they should be lodged in better fashion than those who were not in authority.
My master could well have laid claim to one of these cloth houses; but because of the charges which had been made against him by Captain Kendall and Captain Martin, the sting of which yet remained, he chose to live by himself. Thus it was that he and I threw up the roof of branches concerning which I have spoken; but it was only to shelter us until better could be built.
Ladybird, ladybird! fly away home!
The fieldmouse has gone to her nest,
The daisies have shut up their sleepy red eyes,
And the bees and birds are at rest.
Ladybird, ladybird! fly away home!
The glowworm is lighting her lamp,
The dew 's falling fast, and your fine speckled wings
Will flag with the close clinging damp.
Ladybird, ladybird! fly away home!
The fairybells tinkle afar!
Make haste, or they 'll catch you, and harness you fast
With a cobweb to Oberon's car.
WEEK 29 |
EARLY two thousand years ago there lived
in Rome a man whose name was Julius
Why was he so great?
He was a brave warrior, and had
At last he made himself the ruler of Rome. Some said that he wished to become its king. But the Romans at that time did not believe in kings.
These simple people stood by the roadside
and watched Cæsar
Some of the fine
"Laugh as you will," said Cæsar, "he has reason to be proud. I would rather be the head man of a village than the second man in Rome!"
It seemed every minute as though the boat would sink. The captain was in great fright. He had crossed the sea many times, but never in such a storm as this. He trembled with fear; he could not guide the boat; he fell down upon his knees; he moaned, "All is lost! all is lost!"
But Cæsar was not afraid. He bade the man get up and take his oars again.
"Why should you be afraid?" he said. "The boat will not be lost; for you have Cæsar on board."
At first Don and Nan thought some plants in the marsh were grasses.
The leaves were shaped very much like grass leaves.
But they grew with their lower ends together in a stem that had three sides.
When the sun touched the leaves they looked very bright.
When the wind touched them their tips rubbed against one another. They made sounds like whispers.
Nan asked Uncle Tom, "What marsh plant has a stem with three sides?"
"Sedge!" said her uncle.
My country, 'tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the Pilgrims' pride,
From every mountain-side
Let freedom ring.
My native country, thee,
Land of the noble free,
Thy name I love;
I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills,
My heart with rapture thrills
Like that above.
Let music swell the breeze,
And ring from all the trees,
Sweet freedom's song;
Let mortal tongues awake,
Let all that breathe partake,
Let rocks their silence break—
The sound prolong.
Our fathers' God, to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing,
Long may our land be bright
With freedom's holy light;
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God, our King.
WEEK 29 |
P ETER RABBIT scampered along down one bank of the Laughing Brook, eagerly watching for a high, gravelly bank such as Grandfather Frog had said that Rattles the Kingfisher likes to make his home in. If Peter had stopped to do a little thinking, he would have known that he was simply wasting time. You see, the Laughing Brook was flowing through the Green Meadows, so of course there would be no high, gravelly bank, because the Green Meadows are low. But Peter Rabbit, in his usual heedless way, did no thinking. He had seen Rattles fly down the Laughing Brook, and so he had just taken it for granted that the home of Rattles must be somewhere down there.
At last Peter reached the place where the Laughing Brook entered the Big River. Of course he hadn't found the home of Rattles. But now he did find something that for the time being made him quite forget Rattles and his home. Just before it reached the Big River the Laughing Brook wound through a swamp in which were many tall trees and a great number of young trees. A great many big ferns grew there and were splendid to hide under. Peter always did like that swamp.
He had stopped to rest in a clump of ferns when he was startled by seeing a great bird alight in a tree just a little way from him. His first thought was that it was a Hawk, so you can imagine how surprised and pleased he was to discover that it was Mrs. Longlegs. Somehow Peter had always thought of Longlegs the Blue Heron as never alighting anywhere except on the ground. But here was Mrs. Longlegs in a tree. Having nothing to fear, Peter crept out from his hiding place that he might see better.
In the tree in which Mrs. Longlegs was perched and just below her he saw a little platform of sticks. He didn't suspect that it was a nest, because it looked too rough and loosely put together to be a nest. Probably he wouldn't have thought about it at all had not Mrs. Longlegs settled herself on it right while Peter was watching. It didn't seem big enough or strong enough to hold her, but it did.
"As I live," thought Peter, "I've found the nest of Longlegs! He and Mrs. Longlegs may be good fishermen but they certainly are mighty poor nest-builders. I don't see how under the sun Mrs. Longlegs ever gets on and off that nest without kicking the eggs out."
Peter sat around for a while, but as he didn't care to let his presence be known, and as there was no one to talk to, he presently made up his mind that being so near the Big River he would go over there to see if Plunger the Osprey was fishing again on this day.
When he reached the Big River, Plunger was not in sight. Peter was disappointed. He had just about made up his mind to return the way he had come, when from beyond the swamp, farther up the Big River, he heard the harsh, rattling cry of Rattles the Kingfisher. It reminded him of what he had come for, and he at once began to hurry in that direction.
Peter came out of the swamp on a little sandy beach. There he squatted for a moment, blinking his eyes, for out there the sun was very bright. Then a little way beyond him he discovered something that in his eager curiosity made him quite forget that he was out in the open where it was anything but safe for a Rabbit to be. What he saw was a high sandy bank. With a hasty glance this way and that way to make sure that no enemy was in sight, Peter scampered along the edge of the water till he was right at the foot of that sandy bank. Then he squatted down and looked eagerly for a hole such as he imagined Rattles the Kingfisher might make. Instead of one hole he saw a lot of holes, but they were very small holes. He knew right away that Rattles couldn't possibly get in or out of a single one of those holes. In fact, those holes in the bank were no bigger than the holes Downy the Woodpecker makes in trees. Peter couldn't imagine who or what had made them.
As Peter sat there staring and wondering a trim little head appeared at the entrance to one of those holes. It was a trim little head with a very small bill and a snowy white throat. At first glance Peter thought it was his old friend, Skimmer the Tree Swallow, and he was just on the point of asking what under the sun Skimmer was doing in such a place as that, when with a lively twitter of greeting the owner of that little home in the bank flew out and circled over Peter's head. It wasn't Skimmer at all. It was Banker the Bank Swallow, own cousin to Skimmer the Tree Swallow. Peter recognized him the instant he got a full view of him.
In the first place Banker was a little smaller than Skimmer. Then
too, he was not nearly so handsome. His back, instead of being
that beautiful rich
"Wha—wha—what were you doing there?" stuttered Peter, his eyes popping right out with curiosity and excitement.
"Why, that's my home," twittered Banker.
"Do—do—do you mean to say that you live in a hole in the ground?" cried Peter.
"Certainly; why not?" twittered Banker as he snapped up a fly just over Peter's head.
"I don't know any reason why you shouldn't," confessed Peter. "But somehow it is hard for me to think of birds as living in holes in the ground. I've only just found out that Rattles the Kingfisher does. But I didn't suppose there were any others. Did you make that hole yourself, Banker?"
"Of course," replied Banker. "That is, I helped make it. Mrs. Banker did her share. 'Way in at the end of it we've got the nicest little nest of straw and feathers. What is more, we've got four white eggs in there, and Mrs. Banker is sitting on them now."
By this time the air seemed to be full of Banker's friends, skimming and circling this way and that, and going in and out of the little holes in the bank.
"I am like my big cousin, Twitter the Purple Martin, fond of society," explained Banker. "We Bank Swallows like our homes close together. You said that you had just learned that Rattles the Kingfisher has his home in a bank. Do you know where it is?"
"No," replied Peter. "I was looking for it when I discovered your home. Can you tell me where it is?"
"I'll do better than that;" replied Banker. "I'll show you where it is."
He darted some distance up along the bank and hovered for an instant close to the top. Peter scampered over there and looked up. There, just a few inches below the top, was another hole, a very much larger hole than those he had just left. As he was staring up at it a head with a long sharp bill and a crest which looked as if all the feathers on the top of his head had been brushed the wrong way, was thrust out. It was Rattles himself. He didn't seem at all glad to see Peter. In fact, he came out and darted at Peter angrily. Peter didn't wait to feel that sharp dagger-like bill. He took to his heels. He had seen what he started out to find and he was quite content to go home.
Peter took a short cut across the Green Meadows. It took him past
a certain tall, dead tree. A sharp cry of
Out over the meadow grass Killy sailed. Suddenly, with beating wings, he kept himself in one place in the air and then dropped down into the grass. He was up again in an instant, and Peter could see that he had a fat grasshopper in his claws. Back to the top of the tall, dead tree he flew and there ate the grasshopper. When it was finished he sat up straight and still, so still that he seemed a part of the tree itself. With those wonderful eyes of his he was watching for another grasshopper or for a careless Meadow Mouse.
Very trim and handsome was Killy. His back was reddish-brown
crossed by bars of black. His tail was reddish-brown with a band
near its end and a white tip. His wings were
As Peter sat there admiring Killy, for he was handsome enough for any one to admire, he noticed for the first time a hole high up in the trunk of the tree, such a hole as Yellow Wing the Flicker might have made and probably did make. Right away Peter remembered what Jenny Wren had told him about Killy's making his nest in just such a hole. "I wonder," thought Peter, "if that is Killy's home."
Just then Killy flew over and dropped in the grass just in front of Peter, where he caught another fat grasshopper. "Is that your home up there?" asked Peter hastily.
"It certainly is, Peter," replied Killy. "This is the third summer Mrs. Killy and I have had our home there."
"You seem to be very fond of grasshoppers," Peter ventured.
"I am," replied Killy. "They are very fine eating when one can get enough of them."
"Are they the only kind of food you eat?" ventured Peter.
Killy laughed. It was a shrill laugh. "I should say not," said he. "I eat spiders and worms and all sorts of insects big enough to give a fellow a decent bite. But for real good eating give me a fat Meadow Mouse. I don't object to a Sparrow or some other small bird now and then, especially when I have a family of hungry youngsters to feed. But take it the season through, I live mostly on grasshoppers and insects and Meadow Mice. I do a lot of good in this world, I'd have you know."
Peter said that he supposed that this was so, but all the time he
kept thinking what a pity it was that Killy ever killed his
feathered neighbors. As soon as he conveniently could he politely
A Rat was traveling along the king's highway. He was a very proud Rat, considering his small size and the bad reputation all Rats have. As Mr. Rat walked along—he kept mostly to the ditch—he noticed a great commotion up the road, and soon a grand procession came in view. It was the King and his retinue.
The King rode on a huge Elephant adorned with the most gorgeous trappings. With the King in his luxurious howdah were the royal Dog and Cat. A great crowd of people followed the procession. They were so taken up with admiration of the Elephant, that the Rat was not noticed. His pride was hurt.
"What fools!" he cried. "Look at me, and you will soon forget that clumsy Elephant! Is it his great size that makes your eyes pop out? Or is it his wrinkled hide? Why, I have eyes and ears and as many legs as he! I am of just as much importance, and"— But just then the royal Cat spied him, and the next instant, the Rat knew he was not quite so important as an Elephant.
A resemblance to the great in some things does not make us great.
WEEK 29 |
The next day when he stood before the Cook-house, Mell the Hen-wife's son heard a greater rattling than before. The Cook's son struck the pot-lids with the ladles more fiercely than before and he cried out in a high voice "This is the last time that I shall ever stand amongst the pots and the pans, the lids and the ladles, for I go to fight the Red Champion for the last time, and after this I will sit beside the King's Chair and the King's daughter, Princess Bright Brow, will sit upon my knee."
He marched down to the sea-shore, his long sword trailing behind him. He walked through the street with his head high, but when he drew near the sea-shore his gait became less grand. His knees began to knock together. He looked out to the sea and when he saw the boat that moved of itself coming towards the shore he clambered into the cave and he drew the bushes round to cover up the entrance.
The boat that moved of itself came to the strand. The Red Champion sprang out on the shingles. He made his proclamation. Then up to him came Mell the Hen-wife's son. "I will strive with you," said he, "as I strove with you yesterday and the day before. And how shall we fight? Shall it be with swords or by wrestling?" "By wrestling let it be today," said the Red Champion.
They laid hands on each other and began to wrestle. And in their bout of wrestling they made holes in the ground and they made hillocks on the ground, and when the day was about to close Mell overthrew the Red Champion. He left him stark on the ground. Then he took the cord he had round his waist and he bound the Red Champion—hands and feet, waist and chest he bound him.
The Cook's son came up to them then. "As you took the red plume and as you took the silver-studded belt, take the Champion too," said Mell. Then the Cook's son took the Red Champion, all bound as he was, and putting him across his shoulders went staggering up the beach and towards the King's Castle.
Mell the Hen-wife's son sat in the supper-room of the Castle again that night. The King's daughter, Princess Bright Brow, was there and she was as white as white rose-leaves and tears were falling down her cheeks. And when the wine had been drunk out of the cups the King stood up and called upon the Cook's son to come up to the High Chair and tell all how he had overthrown and had bound the Red Champion who would have put a tribute upon the Kingdom. The Cook's son came up to the High Chair and he told them a story that was wonderful indeed. And when the story was told the King said "Loose the Red Champion whom you bound, and when he has knelt here and prayed to us for forgiveness the King's daughter will take your hands and will marry you." "Look," said the damsel Sea Swan to Mell the Hen Wife's son, "how the Princess Bright Brow is pulling the hairs from her head in her grief."
The Red Champion was brought in bound and the Cook's son began to try to unbind him. But not one knot could he loosen. He tried and he tried and he broke his nails trying. "This is strange indeed," said the King, "for it used to be said that whoever bound one could loosen one."
He tried again and he tried again and not one cord could he loosen from another. Then the King's daughter Princess Bright Brow looked up. "How strange it would be," said she, "if it was not the Cook's son who bound the Red Champion."
Then up the Hall came Mell the Hen-wife's son. He stood over the Red Champion and he pulled a cord here and he pulled a cord there and in a minute he was unbound. All in the hall began to murmur "Surely the one who unloosed him bound him," said many people.
"He is the one who bound me," said the Red Champion, pointing out Mell the Hen-wife's son, "and besides it was he who cut the red plume off my cap and who took the silver-studded belt from me."
"Speak up and deny what he says," said the King to the Cook's son.
But when the Cook's son tried to speak he stuttered and stammered and his knees began to knock together and his hands went shaking. And when the company looked at him there was not one there who believed he had fought the Red Champion. And when the Cook's son looked round and saw there was not one there who believed in him he gathered the supper-things of the table like an attendant and went out of the room.
"And now," said the King to Mell, the Hen-wife's son, "since there is no doubt but it was you who conquered the champion to you I give my daughter's hand. Take her now for your wife and take half of my kingdom with her."
Then Bright Brow lifted her face to him and she put her hands in his hands.
"Mell," said she, "Mell the Hen-wife's son, I knew for long that you would come to me like this. Forgive me and love me," said she, "and I will love you from this night."
And so Mell the Hen-wife's son and the King's daughter, Princess Bright Brow, came together again. He married her and came to rule over half her father's kingdom. They lived happy ever afterwards, of course. And Mell brought his mother out of the hut beside the poultry-coop and he took her to live in the Castle. And in the end his mother married the Steward who had become a widower and she became the most respected dame in and about the King's Castle. And as for the Cook's son he is still in the Cook-house amongst the pots and the pans, the lids and the ladles.
AS soon as I touched the land, I fell upon my knees and gave God thanks for bringing me safe out of so great danger.
I made the canoe fast to a rock by the shore, and lay down on the grass.
I was so tired that I soon fell asleep and did not waken once until the next morning.
I went up a little hill close by the shore, and looked around to see what part of the island I was in.
To my right I saw some well-known trees which I had visited when I was exploring the island. Then I knew that I was only a little way from my summer house and that I could reach it easily by walking.
I was sick of the sea, and I thought that nothing would be so pleasant as a few days in my quiet bower.
So, with my umbrella over my head, I started across the country. It was a hot day, and I walked slowly.
I stopped often to rest, and did not reach my summer house until it was growing dark.
I saw that everything was standing just as I had left it; for I always kept it in good order.
As soon as I got over the fence, I sat down to rest; and I was so tired that I fell asleep.
Then, all at once in the darkness, I heard a voice calling me, "Robin, Robin, Robin Crusoe!"
I was so full of sleep that I did not wake up at once. But between sleeping and waking I could hear somebody saying, "Robin Crusoe, Robin Crusoe!"
I wondered who it could be, but I was still more than half asleep.
Then the voice screamed in my ear, "ROBIN CRUSOE!"
I sprang to my feet. I was frightened almost out of my wits. Who in the world could be speaking my name in that place?
No sooner were my eyes well open than I saw in the dim light of the moon my Poll Parrot sitting on a post quite close to my shoulder.
"Poor Robin Crusoe," he said. "Poor Robin Crusoe."
He was looking down at me as though in pity.
He was but repeating the words I had taught him. I knew that he was glad to see me, as I also was glad to see him.
I let him sit on my thumb as he often did at home. He rubbed his bill on my face and kept saying: "Poor Robin Crusoe! Where are you? Where have you been?" and other words that he knew.
I wondered how the bird had come to this place, for I had left him at the castle. I asked him; "Why are you here, Poll?"
But he answered me only by saying: "Poor Robin Crusoe! Where have you been?"
I surely believe that the bird loved me.
In the morning I carried him with me back to my castle.
As for the canoe, I would gladly have brought it back to its place in the little river. But I was afraid of being caught again in the furious currents; and so I left it in the safe cove on the other side of the island.
I know a place where the sun is like gold,
And the cherry blooms burst with snow,
And down underneath is the loveliest nook
Where the four-leaf clovers grow.
One leaf is for hope, and one is for faith,
And one is for love, you know,
And God put another one in for luck—
If you search, you will find where they grow.
But you must have hope, and you must have faith,
You must love and be strong—and so—
If you work, if you wait, you will find the place
Where the four-leaf clovers grow.
WEEK 29 |
"I cannot rest from travel. I will drink
Life to the lees: all times I have enjoyed
Greatly and suffered greatly."
T HE Crusades had brought about a contact of East and West. But though they had raised the general standard of life, and made the riches of the East—gold, silks, spices, and jewels—familiar throughout Europe, yet the geography of the East was strangely misty and undefined. To the men of the Middle Ages the world was still very limited. The great Atlantic, which was soon to open out a new world, was yet known as the Sea of Darkness, and many attempts to fathom its mysteries had ended in dismal failure. Still more alarming was the idea of a Sea of Pitchy Darkness, which was supposed to lie to the East of Asia.
In the north the old Vikings, having discovered Iceland and sailed by the northern shores of America without knowing it, had become a settled people, and no longer terrified the world by their coasting raids. Africa, except for the strip of northern coast and Egypt, was still a closed book, and nothing was known of the south and west.
This was somewhat the state of affairs when Marco Polo arose, travelled away to the far East, sailed on the Sea of Pitchy Darkness, and returned home, after many years, travel-stained and unrecognisable, to give the world an account of his wonderful doings.
It seems somewhat natural to find that Venice was the birthplace of this early explorer, for Venice, as we have seen, had the enterprise of the whole world at this time.
The very year that Marco Polo was born in Venice—1254—his father and uncle had started forth on a trading enterprise to Constantinople. They were away for some fifteen years, and when they came back they had some wonderful stories to tell to the young Marco. They told him how they had reached China and been at the court of the Chinese ruler, the Great Khan, as he was called. The boy was fired with enthusiasm to go to this distant country, and to see for himself the wonders of the mysterious new land.
Two years later, when the father and uncle started off again, they took young Marco with them. They sailed from Venice to Acre; but nothing is related of their journey except that they travelled towards the north-east and north, till, after three and a half years, they reached the city of the Great Khan, who was at his summer home among the hills to the north of Pekin. The great man, "Lord of all the Earth," as he was called, was very glad to see them, and asked at once who was the young man with them.
"Sire," answered his father, " 'tis my son, and your liegeman."
"Welcome is he too," said the Great Khan.
Marco soon picked up the language and customs of the Chinese, and became a great favourite at this strange foreign court. Once the Great Khan sent him on a journey—"a good six months' journey distant." Marco returned safely; and so ably did he state all he had seen and heard that the Great Khan cried, "If this young man live, he will become a person of great worth and ability."
For seventeen years the three Polos stayed in China, and Marco explored countries which to this day are hardly understood. He was the first traveller to cross Asia, describing kingdom after kingdom that he had seen with his own eyes. He was the first to explore the deserts and the flowering plains of Persia, to tell the Western world of China, with its mighty rivers, its multitudes of people, its huge cities and great manufactures. He first told us of Thibet, Burmah, Japan, Siberia, and the frozen ocean beyond. So the years passed on, the Great Khan was growing old, and the Venetians yearned for home; but whenever they hinted at leaving China, the Khan growled refusal.
At last their chance came. A relation of the Great Khan was King of Persia. He had lately lost his wife, and now sent to China for a wife of his own nationality. The Polos were chosen to take her to Persia, because they were hardy and adventurous, and the lady must be sent by sea to Persia.
Fourteen ships were built by the Great Khan, each having four masts and able to carry nine sails, with some two hundred and fifty sailors in each. In these ships the Polos sailed away from China with the bride-elect on board. They took a sorrowful leave of the Great Khan, who gave them numbers of rubies and precious stones. After sailing for three months in the unknown China Sea they came to the island of Java, and after another eighteen months on the high seas they reached Persia, to find that the bridegroom was dead. But his son, the new king, married the lady without more ado, and the Venetians sailed on for home.
So one day, in the year 1295, three men appeared in the streets of Venice. They were dressed in Asiatic clothes and spoke with a foreign accent. It was therefore no great matter of surprise when they were refused admission to the family house of the Polos.
"We have been in the service of the Great Khan in China," they urged, but no one believed them.
So they invited a number of friends to a banquet prepared with great magnificence, and when the hour arrived for sitting down to table, all three came forth clothed in long crimson satin robes, after the fashion of the times. When the guests were seated, they took off these robes and put on others of crimson damask, whilst the first suits were cut up and divided among their servants. Soon after they again changed, this time to crimson velvet, while the damask robes were divided as before.
Dinner over, Marco rose, and fetched the three shabby garments in which they had arrived. With sharp knives they then slit up the seams, and from them took the most priceless jewels—rubies, diamonds, emeralds, and sapphires. So their astonished guests knew they spoke the truth, and all Venice came rushing to do them honour.
They stayed at home for a time, and then Marco Polo was made commander of a great and powerful galley to fight
against Venice's rival seaport, Genoa. He was taken prisoner and shut up in Genoa. Here Marco Polo wrote his
book of travels, which are interesting reading
"Great Princes, Emperors, and Kings," he says, "and people of all degrees who desire to get knowledge of the various races of mankind and of sundry regions of the world, take this book and cause it to be read to you."
He was an old man when he had finished dictating his travels to his fellow captive, and he returned to Venice to die.
Once upon a time there was a very old man. He was very, very poor, but he was such a good old man that the people called him "Old Good."
He carried a little wooden bowl in his hand. When he beat on the bowl it sounded a little drum.
And because he was very poor,
He went begging from door to door.
One day he came to a house and asked the people for something to eat, but they said,
"Go 'long, go 'long, go 'long, Old Good,
We wouldn't help you if we could."
He came to another house and asked the people for something to eat, and they said,
"Go 'long, go 'long, go 'long, Old Good,
We wouldn't help you if we could."
He came to another house and asked the people for something to eat, but they also said,
"Go 'long, go 'long, go 'long, Old Good,
We wouldn't help you if we could."
And then he came to the last little house in the village and asked the people there for something to eat. The little boy who met him at the door said,
"Come in, come in, come in, old man,
We'll help you in every way we can."
So he held out his rice-bowl and poured in rice. But it was only half full.
And they poured in more rice, but still it was not full.
And they poured in more rice, but still it was not full.
And it was not full until they had poured in about a bushel of rice.
Then the old man said,
"You have been very good to me, little boy. Now I will tell you what is going to happen. You know there is a stone lion at the door of the temple."
"Yes, I have seen the stone lion at the door of the temple," said the little boy.
"Hear what I say. Whenever the eyes of that stone lion turn red, there is going to a flood."
Then he put his hand into his pocket and took out a little paper boat and said,
"When the flood comes you must save all you have in this little boat.
"If any animals ask you to save them,
You must save them.
"If any insects ask you to save them,
You must save them.
"But if any men or women ask you to save them,
You must not save them."
The next day when the little boy went to school he looked at the eyes of the lion.
Then the next day when the little boy went to school he looked again at the eyes of the lion.
And every day when the little boy went to school he looked at the eyes of the lion.
One day another little boy said to him,
"Why do you look at the eyes of the lion?"
And the little boy said,
"When the eyes of the lion are red,
There is going to be a flood."
The other little boy only laughed at the answer, but that day after school he painted the eyes of the lion red.
The next morning when the first little boy went to school he looked at the eyes of the lion, and, behold! they were red. As soon as he saw this he ran home as fast as he could and said to his mother:
"The eyes of the lion are red;
Therere is going to be a flood."
Then they put their little paper boat out on the ground and it became a large wooden boat.
As soon as they had put all their things into the boat the flood came.
Then a little ant came from an ant's nest and said,
"Oh, please, won't you take us into the boat?"
And they took all the little ants into the boat.
Then many of the little mice swimming around in the water said,
"Oh, please, little boy, take us into the boat?"
And they took all the little mice into the boat.
Then a fierce, big, striped tiger came running out of the woods and said to them,
"Oh, please, little boy, take me into the boat?"
And they took the fierce, big, striped tiger into the boat.
The little boy who had painted the eyes of the lion was in the flood.
He swam to them and said,
"Oh, please, little boy, take me into your boat?"
But the little boy said,
"No, no, little boy. Old Good said that we must not take any people into the boat."
"Oh, please, please, please!" he begged.
They took him into the boat.
When the flood was over they took the naughty little boy to their house. He lived with them ever afterward.
But still sometimes he was a naughty boy.
He did a very naughty thing for which all the family was punished and put into prison.
While they were there, one little mouse after another came to the prison and each said,
"Oh, good little boy,
It was you saved me;
I will cut your cords
And set you free."
So the little mice gnawed to pieces all the that bound them.
Then, one after another, came the little ants to the prison, and each said,
"Oh, good little boy,
It was you saved me;
I will loosen the ground
To set you free."
And the ants built many nests under the walls of the prison.
Then the fierce, big, striped tiger came and said,
"Oh, good little boy,
It was you saved me;
I will dig a big hole
And set you free."
And he dug a big hole where the ants had had loosened the ground, and the walls of the prison fell.
The family came out, went back to their home, and all lived happily together ever afterward.
|Chinese Nursery Tale|
Thistle and darnell and dock grew there,
And a bush, in the corner, of may,
On the orchard wall I used to sprawl
In the blazing heat of the day;
Half asleep and half awake,
While the birds went twittering by,
And nobody there my lone to share
But Nicholas Nye.
Nicholas Nye was lean and gray,
Lame of leg and old,
More than a score of donkey's years
He had seen since he was foaled;
He munched the thistles, purple and spiked,
Would sometimes stoop and sigh,
And turn to his head, as if he said,
"Poor Nicholas Nye!"
Alone with his shadow he'd drowse in the meadow,
Lazily swinging his tail,
At break of day he used to bray,—
Not much too hearty and hale;
But a wonderful gumption was under his skin,
And a clean calm light in his eye,
And once in a while; he'd smile:—
Would Nicholas Nye.
Seem to be smiling at me, he would,
From his bush in the corner, of may,—
Bony and ownerless, widowed and worn,
Knobble-kneed, lonely and grey;
And over the grass would seem to pass
'Neath the deep dark blue of the sky,
Something much better than words between me
And Nicholas Nye.
But dusk would come in the apple boughs,
The green of the glow-worm shine,
The birds in nest would crouch to rest,
And home I'd trudge to mine;
And there, in the moonlight, dark with dew,
Asking not wherefore nor why,
Would brood like a ghost, and as still as a post,
Old Nicholas Nye.
WEEK 29 |
They clung to
each other in speechless satisfaction as Uncle Henry guided the
surrey up to the marble stepping-stone. Betsy jumped out first,
and while Uncle Henry was helping Aunt Frances out, she
was dashing up the walk like a crazy thing. She
flung open the front door and catapulted into Aunt Abigail
coming out. It was like flinging herself into a
"Oh! Oh!" she gasped out. "Aunt Frances is going to be married. And travel around all the time! And she doesn't really want me at all! Can't I stay here? Can't I stay here?"
Cousin Ann was right behind Aunt Abigail, and she heard this. She looked over their shoulders toward Aunt Frances, who was approaching from behind, and said, in her usual calm and collected voice: "How do you do, Frances? Glad to see you, Frances. How well you're looking! I hear you are in for congratulations. Who's the happy man?"
Betsy was overcome with admiration for her coolness in being able to talk so in such an exciting moment. She knew Aunt Abigail couldn't have done it, for she had sat down in a rocking-chair, and was holding Betsy on her lap. The little girl could see her wrinkled old hand trembling on the arm of the chair.
"I hope that means," continued Cousin Ann, going as usual straight to the point, "that we can keep Betsy here with us."
"Oh, would you like to?" asked Aunt Frances, fluttering, as though the idea had never occurred to her before that minute. "Would Elizabeth Ann really like to stay?"
"Oh, I'd like to, all right!" said Betsy, looking confidently up into Aunt Abigail's face.
Aunt Abigail spoke now. She cleared her throat twice before she could bring out a word. Then she said, "Why, yes, we'd kind of like to keep her. We've sort of got used to having her around."
That's what she said, but, as you have noticed before on this exciting day, what people said didn't matter as much as what they looked; and as her old lips pronounced these words so quietly the corners of Aunt Abigail's mouth were twitching, and she was swallowing hard. She said, impatiently, to Cousin Ann, "Hand me that handkerchief, Ann!" And as she blew her nose, she said, "Oh, what an old fool I am!"
Then, all of a sudden, it was as though a great, fresh breeze had blown through the house. They all drew a long breath and began to talk loudly and cheerfully about the weather and Aunt Frances's trip and how Aunt Harriet was and which room Aunt Frances was to have and would she leave her wraps down in the hall or take them upstairs—and, in the midst of this, Betsy, her heart ready to burst, dashed out of doors, followed by Shep. She ran madly toward the barn. She did not know where she was going. She only knew that she must run and jump and shout, or she would explode.
Shep ran and jumped because Betsy did.
To these two wild creatures, careering through the air like bright-blown autumn leaves, appeared little Molly in the barn door.
"Oh, I'm going to stay! I'm going to stay!" screamed Betsy.
But as Molly had not had any notion of the contrary, she only said, "Of course, why not?" and went on to something really important, saying, in a very much capitalized statement, "My kitten can walk! It took three steps just now."
After Aunt Frances got her wraps off, Betsy took her for a tour of inspection. They went all over the house first, with special emphasis laid on the living-room. "Isn't this the loveliest place?" said Betsy, fervently, looking about her at the white curtains, the bright flowers, the southern sunshine, the bookcases, and the bright cooking utensils. It was all full to the brim to her eyes with happiness, and she forgot entirely that she had thought it a very poor, common kind of room when she had first seen it. Nor did she notice that Aunt Frances showed no enthusiasm over it now.
She stopped for a few moments to wash some potatoes and put them into the oven for dinner. Aunt Frances opened her eyes at this. "I always see to the potatoes and the apples, the cooking of them, I mean," explained Betsy proudly. "I've just learned to make apple-pie and brown betty."
Then down into the stone-floored milk-room, where Aunt Abigail was working over butter, and where Betsy, swelling with pride, showed Aunt Frances how deftly and smoothly she could manipulate the wooden paddle and make rolls of butter that weighed within an ounce or two of a pound.
"Mercy, child! Think of your being able to do such things!" said Aunt Frances, more and more astonished.
They went out of doors now, Shep bounding by their side. Betsy was amazed to see that Aunt Frances drew back, quite nervously, whenever the big dog frisked near her. Out in the barn Betsy had a disappointment. Aunt Frances just balked absolutely at those ladder-like stairs—"Oh, I couldn't! I couldn't, dear. Do you go up there? Is it quite safe?"
"Why, Aunt Abigail went up there to see the kittens!" cried Betsy, on the edge of exasperation. But her heart softened at the sight of Aunt Frances's evident distress of mind at the very idea of climbing into the loft, and she brought the kittens down for inspection, Eleanor mewing anxiously at the top of the stairs.
On the way back to the house they had an adventure, a sort of adventure, and it brought home to Betsy once for all how much she loved dear, sweet Aunt Frances, and just what kind of love it was.
As they crossed the barnyard the calf approached them playfully, leaping stiff-legged into the air, and making a pretense of butting at them with its hornless young head.
Betsy and Shep often played with the calf in this way by the half-hour, and she thought nothing of it now; hardly noticed it, in fact.
But Aunt Frances gave a loud, piercing shriek, as though she were being cut into pieces. "Help! Help!" she screamed. "Betsy! Oh, Betsy!"
She had turned as white as a sheet and could not take a single step forward. "It's nothing! It's nothing!" said Betsy, rather impatiently. "He's just playing. We often play with him, Shep and I."
The calf came a little nearer, with lowered head. "Get away!" said Betsy indifferently, kicking at him.
At this hint of masterfulness on Betsy's part, Aunt Frances cried out, "Oh, yes, Betsy, do make him go away! Do make him go away!"
It came over Betsy that Aunt Frances was really frightened, yes, really; and all at once her impatience disappeared, never to come back again. She felt toward Aunt Frances just as she did toward little Molly, and she acted accordingly. She stepped in front of Aunt Frances, picked up a stick, and hit the calf a blow on the neck with it. He moved away, startled and injured, looking at his playfellow with reproachful eyes. But Betsy was relentless. Aunt Frances must not be frightened!
"Here, Shep! Here, Shep!" she called loudly, and when the big dog came bounding to her she pointed to the calf and said sternly, "Take him into the barn! Drive him into the barn, sir!"
Shep asked nothing better than this command, and charged forward, barking furiously and leaping into the air as though he intended to eat the calf up alive. The two swept across the barnyard and into the lower regions of the barn. In a moment Shep reappeared, his tongue hanging out, his tail wagging, his eyes glistening, very proud of himself, and mounted guard at the door.
Aunt Frances hurried along desperately through the gate of the barnyard. As it fell to behind her she sank down on a rock, breathless, still pale and agitated. Betsy threw her arms around her in a transport of affection. She felt that she understood Aunt Frances as nobody else could, the dear, sweet, gentle, timid aunt! She took the thin, nervous white fingers in her strong brown hands. "Oh, Aunt Frances, dear, darling Aunt Frances!" she cried, "how I wish I could always take care of you."
"I'm Mr. Jaybird,
I'm Mr. Jaybird; you watch me!
You've got to rise 'fore
If you want to fool old
O VER and over Sammy Jay hummed this, as he brushed his handsome blue and white coat. Then he laughed as he remarked to no one in particular, for no one was near enough to hear: "Peter Rabbit's got a secret. When Peter goes about whispering, it's a sure sign that he's got a secret. He thinks that he can keep it from me, but he can't. Oh, my, no! I never knew of a secret that could be kept by more than two people, and already I've seen Peter whisper to five. I'll just see what Reddy Fox knows about it."
With a flirt of his tail Sammy Jay started for the Green Meadows, where Reddy Fox was busy hunting for his breakfast.
"It's a fine morning, Reddy Fox," said Sammy Jay.
"It would be finer, if I could fill my stomach faster," replied Reddy.
"That's a pretty good secret of Peter Rabbit's, isn't it?" asked Sammy, pretending to look very wise.
Reddy pricked up his sharp little ears.
"What secret?" he demanded.
"If you don't know, I'm not going to tell," retorted Sammy Jay, just as if he knew all about it, and off he flew to hunt up his cousin, Blacky the Crow. Blacky knew nothing about Peter Rabbit's secret, nor did Shadow the Weasel, whom he met by the way. But Sammy Jay was not in the least bit discouraged.
"I'll try Johnny Chuck; he'll know," said Sammy to himself.
He found Johnny sitting on his doorstep, watching the world go by.
"Good morning, Johnny Chuck," said Sammy, with a low bow.
"Good morning," replied Johnny Chuck, who always is polite.
"Isn't that a fine secret of Peter Rabbit's?" exclaimed Sammy, just as if he knew all about it.
Johnny Chuck raised his eyebrows and put on the most surprised look.
"Do tell me what it is!" he begged.
"Oh, if you don't know, I won't tell, for that wouldn't be fair," replied Sammy, and tried to look very honest and innocent, and then he flew over to the Green Forest. And as he flew, he said to himself: "Johnny Chuck can't fool me; he does know Peter Rabbit's secret."
Over in the Green Forest he found Drummer the Woodpecker making a
great racket on the hollow limb of an old chestnut. Sammy sat down
near by and listened. "My, that's fine! I wish I could do that. You
must be practising," said Sammy at the end of a long
Drummer the Woodpecker felt very much flattered. "I am," said he. "I'm practising for Peter Rabbit's party."
"I thought so," replied Sammy Jay. Of course he hadn't thought anything of the kind.
"He surely will," replied Sammy Jay, and then he flattered and
flattered Drummer the Woodpecker until finally
told all about
Peter's plan for a surprise party for
By and by, as he flew home, Sammy Jay chuckled and said:
"You've got to rise 'fore
If you want to fool old
I once had a sweet little doll, dears,
The prettiest doll in the world;
Her cheeks were so red and so white, dears,
And her hair was so charmingly curled;
But I lost my poor little doll, dears,
As I played in the heath one day;
And I cried for her more than a week, dears,
But I never could find where she lay.
I found my poor little doll, dears,
As I played in the heath one day;
Folks say she's terribly changed, dears,
For her paint is all washed away,
And her arm's trodden off by the cows, dears,
And her hair's not the least bit curled;
Yet for old sake's sake she is still, dears,
The prettiest doll in the world.
WEEK 29 |
I Samuel xvi: 1 to 23.
HEN Samuel told Saul that the Lord would take away the kingdom from him, he did not mean that Saul should lose the kingdom at once. He was no longer God's king; and as soon as the right man in God's sight should be found, and should be trained for his duty as king, then God would take away Saul's power, and would give it to the man whom God had chosen. But it was many years before all this came to pass.
Samuel, who had helped in choosing Saul as king, still loved him, and he felt very sorry to find Saul disobeying God's commands. He wept much, and mourned for Saul. But the Lord said to Samuel:
"Do not weep and mourn any longer over Saul, for I have refused him as king. Fill the horn with oil, and go to Bethlehem in Judah. There find a man named Jesse, for I have chosen a king among his sons."
But Samuel knew that Saul would be very angry, if he should learn that Samuel had named any other man as king in his place. He said to the Lord, "How can I go? If Saul hears of it, he will kill me."
Then the Lord said to Samuel, "Take a young cow with you; and tell the people that you have come to make an offering to the Lord. And call Jesse and his sons to the sacrifice. I will tell you what to do; and you shall anoint the one whom I name to you."
Samuel went over the mountains southward from Ramah to Bethlehem, about ten miles, leading a cow. The rulers of the town were alarmed at his coming, for they feared that he had come to judge the people for some evil-doing. But Samuel said, "I have come in peace to make an offering and to hold a feast to the Lord. Make yourselves ready and come to the sacrifice."
And he invited Jesse and his sons to the service. When they had made themselves ready they came before Samuel. He looked at the sons of Jesse very closely. The oldest was named Eliab; and he was so tall and noble-looking that Samuel thought:
"Surely this young man must be the one whom God has chosen." But the Lord said to Samuel:
"Do not look on his face, nor on the height of his body; for I have not chosen him. Man judges by the outward looks, but God looks at the heart."
Then Jesse's second son, named Shammah, passed by. And the Lord said, "I have not chosen this one." Seven young men came, and Samuel said:
"None of these is the man whom God has chosen. Are these all your children?"
"There is one more," said Jesse. "The youngest of all. He is a boy in the field caring for the sheep."
And Samuel said:
"Send for him; for we will not sit down until he comes." So after a time the youngest son was brought in. His name was David, a word that means "darling," and he was a beautiful boy, perhaps fifteen years old, with fresh cheeks and bright eyes.
As soon as the young David came, the Lord said to Samuel:
"Arise; anoint him, for this is the one whom I have chosen."
Then Samuel poured oil on David's head, in the presence of all his brothers. But no one knew at that time the anointing to mean that David was to be the king. Perhaps they thought that David was chosen to be a prophet like Samuel.
From that time the Spirit of the Lord came upon David; and he began to show signs of coming greatness. He went back to his sheep on the hillsides around Bethlehem, but God was with him. David grew up strong and brave; not afraid of the wild beasts which prowled around and tried to carry away his sheep. More than once he fought with lions and bears, and killed them, when they seized the lambs of his flock. And David, alone all day, practised throwing stones in a sling, until he could strike exactly the place for which he aimed. When he swung his sling, he knew that the stone would go to the very spot at which he was throwing it.
The boy David meeting the lion.
And, young as he was, David thought of God, and prayed to God. And God talked with David, and showed to David his will. And David was more than a shepherd and a fighter of wild beasts. He played upon the harp, and made music, and sang songs about the goodness of God to his people.
One of these songs of David we have all heard, and perhaps know so well that we can repeat it. It is called "The Shepherd Psalm," and begins with the words:
"The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul;
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
I will fear no evil; for thou art with me;
Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies;
Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
Some think that David made this Psalm, while he was himself a shepherd, tending his flock. But it seems rather like the thoughts of a man than of a boy; and it is more likely that long after those days, when David was a king, and remembered his youth, and his flock in the fields, that he saw how God had led him, just as he had led his sheep; and then he wrote this Psalm.
But while the Spirit of God came to David among his sheep, that Spirit left King Saul, because he no longer obeyed God's words. Then Saul became very unhappy, and gloomy in his feelings. There were times when he seemed to lose his mind, and a madness would come upon him; and at almost all times Saul was sad and full of trouble, because he was no more at peace with God.
The servants around Saul noticed that when some one played on the harp and sang, Saul's gloom and trouble passed away, and he became cheerful. At one time Saul said:
"Find some one who can play well, and bring him to me. Let me listen to music; for it drives away my sadness."
One of the young men said:
"I have seen a young man, a son of Jesse in Bethlehem, who can play well. He is handsome in his looks, and agreeable in talking. Then I have heard that he is a brave young man, who can fight as well as he can play; and the Lord is with him."
Then Saul sent a message to Jesse, David's father. He said:
"Send me your son David, who is with the sheep. Let him come and play before me."
Then David came to Saul, bringing with him a present for the king from Jesse. When Saul saw him, he loved him, as did everybody who saw the young David. And David played on the harp, and sang before Saul. And David's music cheered Saul's heart, and drove away his sad feelings.
Saul liked David so well that he made him his armor-bearer; and David carried the shield and spear and sword for Saul when the king was before his army. But Saul did not know that David had been anointed by Samuel. If he had known it, he would have been very jealous of David.
After a time Saul seemed well, and David left him, to be a shepherd once more at Bethlehem.
David plays before Saul.
T HE days went merrily by for the freight-car family. Hardly a day passed, however, without some exciting adventure. Mrs. McAllister, finding out in some way that Violet was a clever seamstress, sent home fine linen handkerchiefs for her to hem. Each one had a tiny colored rose in the corner, and Violet was delighted with the dainty work. She sat sewing daily by the swimming pool while Benny sailed wonderful boats of chips, and waded around to his heart's content.
The freight-car pantry now held marvelous dishes rescued from the dump; such rarities as a regular bread knife, a blue and gold soap dish, and half of a real cut-glass bowl.
Henry proudly deposited thirty-one dollars in the savings bank under the name of Henry James, and worked eagerly for his kind friend, who never asked him any more embarrassing questions.
Benny actually learned to read fairly well. The girls occupied their time making balsam pillows for the four beds, and trying to devise wonderful meals out of very little material. Violet kept a different bouquet daily in the little vase. She had a perfect genius for arranging three purple irises to look like a picture, or a single wood lily with its leaves like a Japanese print. Each day the children enjoyed a cooked dinner, filling in the chinks with perfect satisfaction with bread and butter, or bread and milk, or bread and cheese. They named their queer house, "Home for Tramps," and printed this title in fancy lettering inside the car.
One day Jess began to teach Benny a little arithmetic. He learned very readily that two and one make three.
"I knew that before," he said cheerfully. But it was a different matter when Jess proposed to him that two minus one left one.
"No, it does not left one," said Benny indignantly. "It left two."
"Why, Benny!" cried Jess in astonishment. "Supposing you had two apples and I took away one, wouldn't you have one left?"
"You never would," objected Benny with confidence.
"No, but supposing Watch took one," suggested Jess.
One day the stranger was allowed to see Violet
"Watchie wouldn't take one, neither," said Benny. "Would you, doggie?"
Watch opened one eye and wagged his tail. Jess looked at Violet in despair. "What shall I do with him?" she asked.
Violet took out her chalk and printed clearly on the outside of the freight car the following example:
"Now, Benny, don't you see," she began, "that if you have two things, and somebody takes away one, that you must have one left?"
"I'll show you myself," agreed Benny finally with resignation. "Now see the 2?" He actually made a respectable figure 2 on the freight car. "Now, here's a nice 1. Now, s'posen I take away the 1, don't you see the 2's left right on the car?" He covered the figure 1 with his chubby hand and looked about at his audience expectantly.
Jess rolled over against a tree trunk and laughed till she nearly cried. Violet laughed until she really did cry. And here we come to the first unpleasant incident in the story of the runaway children.
Violet could not stop crying, apparently, and Jess soon made up her mind that she was really ill. She helped her carefully into the car, and heaped all the pine needles around and under her, making her the softest bed she could. Then she wet cloths in the cool water of the brook and laid them across her little sister's hot forehead.
"How glad I am that it is time for Henry to come!" she said to herself, holding Violet's slender brown hands in her cool ones.
Henry came promptly at the usual time. He thought she had a cold, he said. And this seemed likely, for Violet began to cough gently while the rest ate a hasty supper.
"We don't want to let her go to a hospital if we can possibly help it," said Henry, more troubled than he cared to show. "If she goes there we'll have to give her name, and then Grandfather will find us surely."
Jess agreed, and together the two older children kept changing the cool cloths on Violet's aching head. But about ten o'clock that night Violet had a chill. She shivered and shook, and her teeth chattered so that Jess could plainly hear them. Apparently nothing could warm the little girl, although she was completely packed in hay and pine needles.
"I'm going down to Dr. McAllister's," said Henry quietly. "I'm afraid Violet is very ill."
Nobody ever knew how fast he ran down the hill. Even in his famous race, Henry hardly touched his present speed. He was so thoroughly frightened that he never stopped to notice how quickly the doctor seemed to understand what was wanted. He did not even notice that he did not have to tell the doctor which way to drive his car in order to reach the hill. When the car reached the road at the base of the hill, Dr. McAllister said shortly, "Stay here in the car," and disappeared up the hill alone.
When the doctor returned he was carrying Violet in his arms. Jess and Benny and Watch were following closely. Nobody spoke during the drive to the McAllister house as they flew through the darkness. When they stopped at last, the doctor said three words to his mother, who opened the door anxiously.
The three words were, "Pneumonia, I'm afraid." They all heard it.
Irish Mary appeared from the kitchen with hot-water bottles and warm blankets, and Mrs. McAllister flew around, opening beds and bringing pillows. A trained nurse in a white dress appeared like magic from nowhere in particular. They all worked as best they could to get the sick child warmed up. Soon the hot blankets, hot water, and steaming drinks began to take effect and the shivering stopped.
Mrs. McAllister left the sick room then, to attend to the other children. Henry and Benny were left in a large spare room with a double bed. Jess was put in a little dressing room just out of Mrs. McAllister's own room. Upon receiving assurances that Violet was warm again, they went to sleep.
But Violet was not out of danger, for she soon grew as hot as she had been cold. And the doctor never left her side until ten o'clock the next morning. Violet, although very ill, did not have pneumonia.
At about nine o'clock the doctor had a visitor. It was a man who said he would wait. He did wait in the cool front parlor for over half an hour. Then Benny drifted in.
"Where is the doctor?" asked the man sharply of Benny.
"He's nupstairs," answered Benny readily.
"This means a lot of money to him, if he only knew it," said the visitor impatiently.
"Oh, that wouldn't make any difference," Benny replied with great assurance as he started to go out again. But the man caught him.
"What do you mean by that, sonny?" he asked curiously. "What's he doing?"
"He's taking care of my sister Violet. She's sick."
"And you mean he wouldn't leave her even if I gave him a lot of money?"
"Yes, that's it," said Benny politely. "That's what I mean."
The visitor seemed to restrain his impatience with a great effort. "You see, I've lost a little boy somewhere," he said. "The doctor knows where he is, I think. He would be about as old as you are."
"Well, if you don't find him, you can have me, I shouldn't wonder," observed Benny comfortingly. "I like you."
"You do?" said the man in surprise.
"That's because you've got such a nice, soft suit on," explained Benny, stroking the man's knee gently. The gentleman laughed heartily.
"No, I guess it's because you have such a nice, soft laugh," said Benny changing his mind. The fact was that Benny himself did not know why he liked this stranger who was so gruff at times and so pleasant at others. He finally accepted the man's invitation and climbed into his lap to see his dog's picture in his watch, feeling of the "nice soft suit," on the way. The doctor found him here when he came down at ten o'clock.
"Better go and find Watch, Benny," suggested the doctor.
"Perhaps some day I'll come again," observed Benny to his new friend. "I like your dog, and I'm sorry he's dead." With that he scampered off to find Watch, who was very much alive.
"I expected you, Mr. Cordyce," said the doctor smiling, "only not quite so soon."
"I came the moment I heard your name hinted at," said James Cordyce. "My chauffeur heard two workmen say that you knew where my four grandchildren were. That's all I waited to hear. Is it true? And where are they?"
"That was one of them," said the doctor quietly.
"That was one of them!" repeated the man. "That beautiful little boy?"
"Yes, he is beautiful," assented Dr. McAllister. "They all are. The only trouble is, they're all frightened to death to think of your finding them."
"How do you know that?" said Mr. Cordyce, sharply.
"They've changed their name. At least the older boy did. In public, too."
"What did he change it to?"
Dr. McAllister watched his visitor's face closely while he pronounced the name clearly, "Henry James."
A flood of recollections passed over the man's face, and he flushed deeply.
"That boy!" he exclaimed. "That wonderful running boy?"
Then events began to move along rapidly.
Little brook! Little brook!
You have such a happy look—
Such a very merry manner, as you swerve and curve and crook—
And your ripples, one by one,
Reach each other's hands and run
Like laughing little children in the sun!
Little brook, sing to me!
Sing about a bumblebee
That tumbled from a lily-bell and grumbled mumblingly,
Because he wet the film
Of his wings, and had to swim,
While the water-bugs raced round and laughed at him.
Little brook—sing a song
Of a leaf that sailed along
Down the gold-hearted center of your current swift and strong,
And a dragon fly that lit
On the tilting rim of it,
And rode away and wasn't scared a bit.
And sing—how oft in glee
Came a truant boy like me,
Who loved to lean and listen to your lilting melody,
Till the gurgle and refrain
Of your music, in his brain
Wrought a happiness as keen to him as pain.
Little brook—laugh and leap!
Do not let the dreamer weep;
Sing him all the songs of summer till he sink in softest sleep;
And then sing soft and low
Through his dreams of long ago—
Sing back to him the rest he used to know!