WEEK 32 |
Pinocchio gets donkey's ears; and then he becomes a real little donkey and begins to bray.
W HAT was this surprise?
I will tell you, my dear little readers. The surprise was that Pinocchio when he
awoke scratched his head; and in scratching his head he
He discovered to his great astonishment that his ears had grown more than a hand.
You know that the puppet from his birth had always had very small ears—so small that they were not visible to the naked eye. You can imagine then what he felt when he found that during the night his ears had become so long that they seemed like two brooms.
He went at once in search of a glass that he might look at himself, but not being able to find one he filled the basin of his washing-stand with water, and he saw reflected what he certainly would never have wished to see. He saw his head embellished with a magnificent pair of donkey's ears!
His head embellished with donkey's ears.
Only think of poor Pinocchio's sorrow, shame, and despair!
He began to cry and roar, and he beat his head against the wall; but the more he cried the longer his ears grew: they grew, and grew, and became hairy towards the points.
At the sound of his loud outcries a beautiful little Marmot that lived on the first floor came into the room. Seeing the puppet in such grief she asked earnestly:
"What has happened to you, my dear fellow-lodger?"
"I am ill, my dear little Marmot, very
"Then feel and see if by chance I have got fever."
The little Marmot raised her right
"My friend, I am grieved to be obliged to give
"What is it?"
"You have got a very bad
"What fever is it?"
"It is donkey fever."
"That is a fever that I do not understand," said the puppet, but he understood it only too well.
"Then I will explain it to you," said the Marmot. "You must know that in two
or three hours you will be no longer a puppet, or a
"Then what shall I be?"
"In two or three hours you will become really and truly a little donkey, like those that draw carts and carry cabbages and salad to market."
"Oh! unfortunate that I am! unfortunate that I am!" cried Pinocchio, seizing his two ears with his hands, and pulling them and tearing them furiously as if they had been some one else's ears.
"My dear boy," said the Marmot, by way of consoling him, "what can you do to prevent it? It is destiny. It is written in the decrees of wisdom that all boys who are lazy, and who take a dislike to books, to schools, and to masters, and who pass their time in amusement, games, and diversions, must end sooner or later by becoming transformed into so many little donkeys."
"But is it really so?" asked the puppet, sobbing.
"It is indeed only too true! And tears are now useless. You should have thought of it sooner!"
"But it was not my fault: believe me, little Marmot, the fault was all
"And who is this Candlewick?"
"One of my schoolfellows. I wanted to return
home: I wanted to be obedient. I wished to study and to earn a good
"And why did you follow the advice of that false friend? of that bad companion?"
And he turned to go out. But when he reached the door he remembered his donkey's ears, and feeling ashamed to show them in public, what do you think he did? He took a big cotton cap, and putting it on his head he pulled it well down over the point of his nose.
He then set out, and went everywhere in search of Candlewick. He looked for him in the streets, in the squares, in the little theatres, in every possible place; but he could not find him. He inquired for him of everybody he met, but no one had seen him.
He then went to seek him at his house; and having reached the door he knocked.
"Who is there?" asked Candlewick from within.
"It is I!" answered the puppet.
"Wait a moment and I will let you in."
After half an hour the door was opened, and imagine Pinocchio's feelings when upon going into the room he saw his friend Candlewick with a big cotton cap on his head which came down over his nose.
At the sight of the cap Pinocchio felt almost consoled, and thought to himself:
"Has my friend got the same illness that I have? Is he also suffering from
And pretending to have observed nothing he asked him, smiling:
"How are you, my dear Candlewick?"
"Very well; as well as a mouse in a Parmesan cheese."
"Are you saying that seriously?"
"Why should I tell you a lie?"
"Excuse me; but why, then, do you keep that cotton cap on your head which covers up your ears?"
The doctor ordered me to wear it because I have hurt this knee. And you, dear puppet, why have you got on that cotton cap pulled down over your nose?"
"The doctor prescribed it because I have grazed my foot."
After these words a long silence followed, during which the two friends did nothing but look mockingly at each other.
At last the puppet said in a soft mellifluous voice to his companion:
"Satisfy my curiosity, my dear Candlewick: have you ever suffered from disease of the ears?"
"Never! Only since this morning one of my ears aches."
"Mine is also paining me."
"Both of them. And you?"
"Both of them. Can we have got the same illness?"
"I fear so."
"Will you do me a kindness, Candlewick?"
"Willingly! With all my heart."
"Will you let me see your ears?"
"Why not? But first, my dear Pinocchio, I should like to see yours."
"No: you must be the first."
"No, dear! First you and then I!"
"Well," said the puppet, "let us come to an agreement like good friends."
"Let us hear it."
"We will both take off our caps at the same moment. Do you agree?"
And Pinocchio began to count in a loud voice:
"One! Two! Three!"
At the word three! the two boys took off their caps and threw them into the air.
And then a scene followed that would seem incredible if it was not true. That is, that when Pinocchio and Candlewick discovered that they were both struck with the same misfortune, instead of feeling full of mortification and grief, they began to prick their ungainly ears and to make a thousand antics, and they ended by going into bursts of laughter.
And they laughed, and laughed, and laughed, until they had to hold themselves together. But in the midst of their merriment, Candlewick suddenly stopped, staggered, and changing colour said to his friend:
"Help, help, Pinocchio!"
"What is the matter with you?"
"Alas, I cannot any longer stand upright."
"No more can I," exclaimed Pinocchio, tottering and beginning to cry.
And whilst they were talking they both doubled up and began to run round the room on their hands and feet. And as they ran, their hands became hoofs, their faces lengthened into muzzles, and their backs became covered with a light gray hairy coat sprinkled with black.
But do you know what was the worst moment for these two wretched boys? The worst and the most humiliating moment was when their tails grew. Vanquished by shame and sorrow they wept and lamented their fate.
Oh, if they had but been wiser! But instead of sighs and lamentations they could
only bray like asses; and they brayed loudly and said in chorus:
Whilst this was going on some one knocked at the door, and a voice on the outside said:
"Open the door! I am the little man, I am the coachman, who brought you to this country. Open at once, or it will be the worse for you!"
In the first place, the shell fish called oysters are readily cooked, or may be eaten raw with great satisfaction. I know not what our people of Virginia would have done without them, and yet it was only by chance or accident that we came to learn how nourishing they are.
A company of our gentlemen had set off to explore the country very shortly after we came ashore from the fleet, and while going through that portion of the forest which borders upon the bay, happened upon four savages who were cooking something over the fire.
The Indians ran away in alarm, and, on coming up to discover what the brown men had which was good to eat, the explorers found a large number of oysters roasting on the coals. Through curiosity, one of our gentlemen tasted of the fish, and, much to his surprise, found it very agreeable to the stomach.
Before telling his companions the result of his experiment, he ate all the oysters that had been cooked, which were more than two dozen large ones, and then, instead of exploring the land any further on that day, our gentlemen spent their time gathering and roasting the very agreeable fish.
As a matter of course, the news of this discovery spread throughout the settlement, and straightway every person was eating oysters; but they soon tired of them, hankering after wheat of some kind.
Among those who served some of the gentlemen even as Nathaniel and I aimed to serve Captain Smith, was James Brumfield, a lazy, shiftless lad near to seventeen years old. Being hungry, and not inclined to build a fire, because it would be necessary to gather fuel, he ventured to taste of a raw oyster. Finding it pleasant to the mouth, he actually gorged himself until sickness put an end to the gluttonous meal.
It can thus be seen that even though Nathaniel and I had never been apprenticed to a cook, it was not difficult for us to serve our master with oysters roasted or raw, laid on that which answered in the stead of a table, in their own shells.
Then again the Indian girl had shown us how to boil beans, peas, Indian corn, and pumpkins together, making a kind of porridge which is most pleasant, and affords a welcome change from oysters; but the great drawback is that we are not able to come at the various things needed for the making of it, except when our gentlemen have been fortunate in trading with the brown men, which is not often.
This Indian corn, pounded and boiled until soft, is a dish Captain Smith eats of with an appetite, provided it is well salted, and one does not need to be a king's cook in order to make it ready for the table. The pounding is the hardest and most difficult portion of the task, for the kernels are exceeding flinty, and fly off at a great distance when struck a glancing blow.
Nathaniel and I have brought inside our house a large, flat rock, on which we pound the corn, and one of us is kept busy picking up the grains that fly here and there as if possessed of an evil spirit. Newsamp is the name which the savages give to this cooking of wheat.
I have an idea that when we get a mill for grinding, it will be possible to break the kernels easily and quickly between the millstones, without crushing a goodly portion of them to meal.
When the Indian corn is young, that is to say, before it has grown hard, the ears as plucked from the stalks may be roasted before the coals with great profit, and when we would give our master something unusually pleasing, Nathaniel and I go abroad in search of the gardens made by the savages, where we may get, by bargaining, a supply of roasting ears.
With a trencher of porridge, and a dozen roasting ears, together with a half score of the bread-balls such as I have already written about, Captain Smith can satisfy his hunger with great pleasure, and then it is that he declares he has the most comfortable home in all Virginia, thanks to his "houseboys," as he is pleased to call us.
The Indians have roots, which some of our gentlemen call sweet potatoes, which are by no means unpleasant to the taste, the only difficulty being that we cannot get any great quantity of them. Our master declares that when we make a garden, this root shall be the first thing planted, and after it has ripened, we will have some cooked every day.
Nathaniel and I have no trouble in preparing the root, for it may be roasted in the ashes, boiled into a pudding which should be well salted, or mixed with the meal of Indian corn and made into a kind of sweet cake.
However, we lads have not had good success in baking this last dish, because of the ashes which fly out of the fire when the wind blows ever so slightly. Captain Smith declares that he would rather have the ashes without the meal and sweet potato, if indeed he must eat any, but of course when he speaks thus, it is only in the way of making sport.
Captain Kendall, who, because he has made two voyages to the Indies, believes himself a wondrously wise man, says that he who eats sweet potatoes at least once each day will not live above seven years, and he who eats them twice every day will become blind, after which all his teeth will drop out.
Because of this prediction, many of our gentlemen are not willing even so much as to taste of the root, but Captain Smith says that wise men may grow fat where fools starve, therefore he gathers up all the sweet potatoes which the others have thrown away, for they please him exceeding well.
On gossamer nights when the moon is low,
And stars in the mist are hiding,
Over the hill where the foxgloves grow
You may see the fairies riding.
Kling! Klang! Kling!
Their stirrups and their bridles ring,
And their horns are loud and their bugles blow,
When the moon is low.
WEEK 32 |
ANY miles beyond Rome there was a famous country which we
call Greece. The people of Greece were not
Some of the people in the southern part of the country were
One of the strange rules which the Spartans had, was that they should speak briefly, and never use more words than were needed. And so a short answer is often spoken of as being laconic; that is, as being such an answer as a Lacon would be likely to give.
There was in the northern part of Greece a land called
In a few days, an answer was brought back to him. When he opened the letter, he found only one word written there.
That word was "IF."
It was as much as to say, "We are not afraid of you so long as the little word 'if' stands in your way."
The water ran very fast in the brook. It ran over little stones.
The brook was fresh and clean. It was a good home for some water plants and some water animals.
Johnny Darter was a water animal and he lived in the brook.
He was a fish and he liked to swim in fast water.
He could swim up the brook and down the brook.
When he swam up he went head first. But when he swam down he went tail first.
Johnny Darter was a grown fish but he was a small one. He was not three inches long.
His eyes were near the top of his head. His mouth was wide. His head looked somewhat like the head of a frog. He had a row of dark marks on each side of his body.
This little fish had eight fins.
Two fins were along the middle of his back. He could put them up like little sails. Or he could put them down.
One fin was on the end of his tail.
One fin was on the middle of the under part of his body. It was not far from his tail.
Four fins were on his sides near his head. They were low on his body. There were two on each side.
He could move his four side fins like wings when he swam. He could put the ends down on the stones in the brook and walk with his fins.
One day Don and Nan caught Johnny Darter. They put him into a pail and looked at all his fins.
Then Nan said, "He is so scared! He wishes he were in the brook."
So they let Johnny Darter go back to his home in the brook.
"He swims up the brook faster than the water goes down!" said Don.
Thank you, pretty cow, that made
Pleasant milk to soak my bread,
Every day and every night,
Warm, and fresh, and sweet, and white.
Do not chew the hemlock rank,
Growing on the reedy bank;
But the yellow cowslip eat,
That will make it very sweet.
Where the purple violet grows,
Where the bubbling water flows,
Where the grass is fresh and fine,
Pretty cow, go there and dine.
WEEK 32 |
A S Peter Rabbit passed one of the apple-trees in the Old Orchard, a thin, wiry voice hailed him. "It's a wonder you wouldn't at least say you're glad to see me back, Peter Rabbit," said the voice.
Peter, who had been hopping along rather fast, stopped abruptly to look up. Running along a limb just over his head, now on top and now underneath, was a little bird with a black and white striped coat and a white waistcoat. Just as Peter looked it flew down to near the base of the tree and began to run straight up the trunk, picking things from the bark here and there as it ran. Its way of going up that tree trunk reminded Peter of one of his winter friends, Seep Seep the Brown Creeper.
"It strikes me that this is a mighty poor welcome for one who has just come all the way from South America," said the little black and white bird with twinkling eyes.
"Oh, Creeper, I didn't know you were here!" cried Peter. "You know I'm glad to see you. I'm just as glad as glad can be. You are such a quiet fellow I'm afraid I shouldn't have seen you at all if you hadn't spoken. You know it's always been hard work for me to believe that you are really and truly a Warbler."
"Why so?" demanded Creeper the Black and White Warbler, for that is the name by which he is commonly known. "Why so? Don't I look like a Warbler?"
"Ye-es," said Peter slowly. "You do look like one but you don't act like one."
"In what way don't I act like one I should like to know?" demanded Creeper.
"Well," replied Peter, "all the rest of the Warblers are the uneasiest folks I know of. They can't seem to keep still a minute. They are everlastingly flitting about this way and that way and the other way. I actually get tired watching them. But you are not a bit that way. Then the way you run up tree trunks and along the limbs isn't a bit Warbler-like. Why don't you flit and dart about as the others do?"
Creeper's bright eyes sparkled. "I don't have to," said he. "I'm going to let you into a little secret, Peter. The rest of them get their living from the leaves and twigs and in the air, but I've discovered an easier way. I've found out that there are lots of little worms and insects and eggs on the trunks and big limbs of the trees and that I can get the best kind of a living there without flitting about everlastingly. I don't have to share them with anybody but the Woodpeckers, Nuthatches, and Tommy Tit the Chickadee."
"That reminds me," said Peter. "Those folks you have mentioned nest in holes in trees; do you?"
"I should say not," retorted Creeper. "I don't know of any Warbler who does. I build on the ground, if you want to know. I nest in the Green Forest. Sometimes I make my nest in a little hollow at the base of a tree; sometimes I put it under a stump or rock or tuck it in under the roots of a tree that has been blown over. But there, Peter Rabbit, I've talked enough. I'm glad you're glad that I'm back, and I'm glad I'm back too."
Creeper continued on up the trunk of the tree, picking here and picking there. Just then Peter caught sight of another friend whom he could always tell by the black mask he wore. It was Mummer the Yellow-throat. He had just darted into the thicket of bushes along the old stone wall. Peter promptly hurried over there to look for him.
When Peter reached the place where he had caught a glimpse of Mummer, no one was to be seen. Peter sat down, uncertain which way to go. Suddenly Mummer popped out right in front of Peter, seemingly from nowhere at all. His throat and breast were bright yellow and his back wings and tail a soft olive-green. But the most remarkable thing about him was the mask of black right across his cheeks, eyes and forehead. At least it looked like a mask, although it really wasn't one.
"Hello, Mummer!" cried Peter.
"Hello yourself, Peter Rabbit!" retorted Mummer and then disappeared as suddenly as he had appeared.
Peter blinked and looked in vain all about.
"Looking for some one?" asked Mummer, suddenly popping into view where Peter least expected him.
"For goodness' sake, can't you sit still a minute?" cried Peter. "How do you expect a fellow can talk to you when he can't keep his eyes on you more than two seconds at a time."
"Who asked you to talk to me?" responded Mummer, and popped out of sight. Two seconds later he was back again and his bright little eyes fairly shone with mischief. Then before Peter could say a word Mummer burst into a pleasant little song. He was so full of happiness that Peter couldn't be cross with him.
"There's one thing I like about you, Mummer," declared Peter, "and that is that I never get you mixed up with anybody else. I should know you just as far as I could see you because of that black mask across your face. Has Mrs. Yellow-throat arrived yet?"
"Certainly," replied another voice, and Mrs. Yellow-throat flitted across right in front of Peter. For just a second she sat still, long enough for him to have one good look at her. She was dressed very like Mummer save that she did not wear the black mask.
Peter was just about to say something polite and pleasant when from just back of him there sounded a loud, very emphatic, "Chut! Chut!" Peter whirled about to find another old friend. It was Chut-Chut the Yellow-breasted Chat, the largest of the Warbler family. He was so much bigger than Mummer that it was hard to believe that they were own cousins. But Peter knew they were, and he also knew that he could never mistake Chut-Chut for any other member of the family because of his big size, which was that of some of the members of the Sparrow family. His back was a dark olive-green, but his throat and breast were a beautiful bright yellow. There was a broad white line above each eye and a little white line underneath. Below his breast he was all white.
To have seen him you would have thought that he suspected Peter might do him some harm. He acted that way. If Peter hadn't known him so well he might have been offended. But Peter knew that there is no one among his feathered friends more cautious than Chut-Chut the Chat. He never takes anything for granted. He appears to be always on the watch for danger, even to the extent of suspecting his very best friends.
When he had decided in his own mind that there was no danger, Chut-Chut came out for a little gossip. But like all the rest of the Warblers he couldn't keep still. Right in the middle of the story of his travels from far-away Mexico he flew to the top of a little tree, began to sing, then flew out into the air with his legs dangling and his tail wagging up and down in the funniest way, and there continued his song as he slowly dropped down into the thicket again. It was a beautiful song and Peter hastened to tell him so.
Chut-Chut was pleased. He showed it by giving a little concert all by himself. It seemed to Peter that he never had heard such a variety of whistles and calls and songs as came from that yellow throat. When it was over Chut-Chut abruptly said good-by and disappeared. Peter could hear his sharp "Chut! Chut!" farther along in the thicket as he hunted for worms among the bushes.
"I wonder," said Peter, speaking out loud without thinking, "where he builds his nest. I wonder if he builds it on the ground, the way Creeper does."
"No," declared Mummer, who all the time had been darting about close at hand. "He doesn't, but I do. Chut-Chut puts his nest near the ground, however, usually within two or three feet. He builds it in bushes or briars. Sometimes if I can find a good tangle of briars I build my nest in it several feet from the ground, but as a rule I would rather have it on the ground under a bush or in a clump of weeds. Have you seen my cousin Sprite the Parula Warbler, yet?"
"Not yet," said Peter, as he started for home.
One bright day in late autumn a family of Ants were bustling about in the warm sunshine, drying out the grain they had stored up during the summer, when a starving Grasshopper, his fiddle under his arm, came up and humbly begged for a bite to eat.
"What!" cried the Ants in surprise, "haven't you stored anything away for the winter? What in the world were you doing all last summer?"
"I didn't have time to store up any food," whined the Grasshopper; "I was so busy making music that before I knew it the summer was gone."
The Ants shrugged their shoulders in disgust.
"Making music, were you?" they cried. "Very well; now dance!" And they turned their backs on the Grasshopper and went on with their work.
There's a time for work and a time for play.
WEEK 32 |
T HE Sea-Swan told the story to the pigeons of the rock, and the Boy Who Knew What the Birds said heard every word of it. I was once a Sea-Maiden, she said., and my name was Eevil, and I was known through all the Kingdoms that are Under-Wave for my beautiful hair—my long, beautiful, green hair. Something was in me that made me want to dance, and I used to rise up through the water, and dance on the shore of the island that is called Hathony.
Mananaun, as you, creatures, know, is Lord of the Sea, and what he commands in the Kingdoms-Under-Wave has to be. Now Mananaun made a Promise to a King of an Earth-Kingdom, and the promise was that be would give this King whatever he asked for. The King died according to the ways of men, and his son, whose name was Branduv, came to rule him.
Branduv called Mananaun out of the sea, and he asked that he renew the promise he had made to his father. The Lord of the Sea did not want a promise to lapse because of the death of a man, and he renewed it to the man's son. Then Mananaun told him he would take him and show him the Kingdoms of the Sea and whatever he saw that he desired there would be given to him. He took him in his boat of glass "The Ocean Sweeper" to visit the Kingdoms of the Sea.
They came to Moy Mell, the Plain of Pleasure, and there Mananaun gave Branduv a branch of everlasting blossoms; they came to another Kingdom and there Mananaun gave him a sword that was the best wrought in the world; they came to a third Kingdom and there Mananaun gave him a pair of hounds that could run down the silver-antlered stag. But as yet Branduv the King had asked no gift from Mananaun.
They came to Mananaun's own Kingdom, Silver-Cloud Plain, and there Branduv was left alone while Mananaun drank the Ale of the Ever-Living Ones. The King saw from the shores of Silver-Cloud Plain "The Ocean Sweeper," and he directed that the boat bring him to the island. And the boat travelled as the one in it wished.
Only one thing had ever made me fearful of dancing on the shore of the Island of Hathony—that was the presence there of a pair of Ravens. These Ravens had once been Sea-maidens, but they had desired men for husbands, and they had gone to them. The men forsook them, and they had become first Witches and afterwards Ravens. Ever since their change they wished harm to the Maidens of the Sea. I had been frightened of them, but now I had seen them flapping about so often that I was no longer or I was only a little, afraid.
I came up through the sea and I danced upon the shore of the island, and the play of the waves was in my dance, and my long soft green hair fell over my foam-white, foam soft body. I danced on, O my listeners, and as no one had ever seen me looked upon, I thought no one looked upon me now.
But this King of the earthly Kingdom saw me. He saw me as I danced by the waves, and I was the fairest thing he had ever looked upon. At first he was all wonder and no robber's thoughts were in his mind. But the Ravens came to him. One perched on one shoulder and one perched on the other, and one said "If you carry Eevil off you will have the fairest wife in all the world," and the other said " If you leave her here you will never look on anything as fair again."
The Ravens flapped before him to guide him to a place in the dark rocks where he might hide and to which I might come. He followed where they led. But I saw his shadow on a rock. I drew back and the sea took me and drew me into its depths. "The sea has taken her," said Branduv to the Ravens.
"Mananaun is Lord of the Sea," said one of the Ravens.
"And Mananaun has promised you a gift, and he cannot refuse what you will ask," said the other Raven.
Then the Ravens flapped away and Mananaun came to where the King was standing. "You have asked me for a gift," said Mananaun, "think now of what you desire before I take you back to your own island." Then said Branduv, "What I ask is that you bestow upon me the Sea-maiden who was dancing here, Eevil."
Mananaun in anger lifted his spear. But then he remembered he was bound by a promise to Branduv. He lowered the spear he had raised. "I will give you any other gift you ask," said he, "even my own boat " 'The Ocean Sweeper.' "
"I hold you to your promise," said Branduv, "and I declare to you that I shall take no other gift unless it be the maiden who was here dancing by the sea."
"It must be then that I give her you," said Mananaun, and his face was dark.
WHEN the weather was fine I often went over to the other side of the island to look at my canoe.
Sometimes I spent several days at my summer house. Then, going over to where the canoe was kept, I took short sails along the shore. These little voyages gave me a great deal of pleasure.
One morning as I was going to the canoe a strange thing happened.
I was walking slowly along and looking down, and what do you think I saw?
I saw the print of a man's naked foot in the sand.
The sight made me cold all over.
I stood like one that had seen a ghost. I looked around. I listened. I trembled.
I went to the top of a little hill to look farther. Then I walked up the shore and down the shore. I saw no other tracks.
I went back to make sure that I was not dreaming. Yes, there in the sand was the print of man's foot. It showed the toes, the heel, and the sole of the foot. I was not dreaming.
My mind was filled with a thousand thoughts and questions. Where was the man who made that track? Who was he? How did he get there?
I was so frightened that I did not go to the canoe. I turned back and went to my castle as fast as I could.
Whether I went over by the ladder or through the hole in the rock, I do not know. But I shut myself up as quickly as I could and began to get ready to defend myself.
That night I could not sleep. I lay in my hammock, and thought and thought.
The track must have been made by an Indian or some other wild savage. This savage had come perhaps from the land that I had seen far across the sea.
Perhaps he had come to the island alone. Perhaps he had come with many others of his kind. But where was he now?
I was so much afraid that I did not stir out of my castle for three days and nights. I was almost starved, for I had only two or three barley cakes in my kitchen.
Little by little I became brave enough to go out again. I crept softly down to my fields to milk the goats. Poor things! They were glad enough to see me.
But every sound made me start and look around. I fancied that I saw a savage behind every tree. I lived for days like some hunted thing that trembles at its own shadow.
And all because I had seen the print of a foot in the sand!
Little by little I grew bolder, and I made up my mind to strengthen my castle. If savage Indians should indeed come and find me, I would be ready for them.
So I carried out earth and small stones, and piled them up against the castle wall till it was ten feet thick. I have already told you how strong it was at first, and how I had made a dense hedge of trees on the outside. It was now so strong that nothing could break through it.
Through the wall at certain places I made five holes large enough for a man's arm to reach in. In each of these holes I planted a gun; for you will remember that I brought several from the ship.
Each one of these guns was fitted in a frame that could be drawn back and forth. They worked so well in their places that I could shoot off all five of them in less than two minutes.
Many a weary month did I work before I had my wall to my notion. But at last it was finished.
The hedge that was before it grew up so thick and high that no man nor animal could see through it. If you had seen it, you would not have dreamed there was anything inside of it, much less a house.
For two years I lived in fear. All that I did was to make my home stronger and safer.
Far in the woods I built a large pen of logs and stakes. Around it I planted a hedge like that in front of the castle. Then I put a dozen young goats into it, to feed upon the grass and grow.
If savages should come, and if they should kill the other goats, they could not find these; for they were too well hidden in the deep woods.
All these things I did because I had seen the print of a man's foot in the sand.
The Owl and the Pussy-Cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat:
They took some honey, and plenty of money
Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
"O lovely Pussy, O Pussy, my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
What a beautiful Pussy you are!"
Pussy said to the Owl, "You elegant fowl,
How charmingly sweet you sing!
Oh! let us be married; too long we have tarried:
But what shall we do for a ring?"
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the bong-tree grows;
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood,
With a ring at the end of his nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.
"Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring?" Said the Piggy, "I will."
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.
WEEK 32 |
"To open up those wastes of tide
No generation opened before."
W E now open a wonderful new chapter in the world's history, a chapter full of mystery, adventure, and discovery, when the spirit of enterprise was awakened and the eyes of all men were turned towards the boundless Sea of Darkness and the unknown lands beyond.
It had been a triumphant day for the old Phœnicians when they had at last sailed through the terrible pillars of Hercules — which were supposed to mark the bounds of the world—and found a great rough sea rolling in beyond the Mediterranean. This farthest point of legendary adventure was now to be the starting-point of the new voyagers. Portugal, lying just outside the Pillars of Hercules,—or Gibraltar, as we call the narrow passage now,—was the home of those who were the first to break the charm of the Mediterranean. Until this time the Great Sea had been the centre of all civilisation. Around its shores had been grouped the chief races of mankind—the Phœnicians and Carthaginians, the Greeks and Romans; over her blue waters the traffic of the world had passed.
True, the men of the Middle Ages were beginning to dream of something beyond. Through the dreaded Sea of Darkness had been found narrow belts of light. Ships from Venice braved the dreaded Bay of Biscay to get to the Netherlands for the sake of trading with Bruges and Ghent. It took them eight long months to reach the bleak North Sea from their sunny waters of the Adriatic.
The men of Portugal, the extreme west of Europe, looked out over the rough waters of the Sea of Darkness. Their capital, Lisbon, stood at the mouth of the river Tagus, which flowed into the unknown ocean; and they must often have wondered what lay beyond this great strong sea, the waves of which dashed higher than those of the Mediterranean Sea.
Only five centuries ago this great Atlantic Ocean, across which steamers from all countries are steaming
But now a great light was to be shed over this mysterious sea. One man—born and bred in Portugal—was to awake his sleeping nation to the wonderful possibilities of the unknown sea. His name was Prince Henry of Portugal. His father was King John of Portugal, and his mother was an Englishwoman—Queen Philippa.
This Queen had shared the throne of Portugal with King John for twenty-eight years, and her son Henry was but twenty when she lay dying. He was just starting with his father and two brothers for a great Moorish port on the African side of the Straits of Gibraltar. The three princes had all asked for knighthood, and the king had decided that they should have a chance of winning their spurs in this African Crusade. They were due to sail from Lisbon on July 25th, 1415. On the 13th Queen Philippa died. Her last thought was for the success of her husband and sons.
"What wind blows so strongly against this side of the house?" she asked.
"It is blowing from the north," answered her sons.
"It is the right wind for your voyage," she murmured, with her last breath. A few days later the motherless princes left Lisbon with their father to win their knighthood.
Prince Henry, though the youngest of the three brothers, was the first to win knighthood. The king's face was bright with joy as Prince Henry approached him, and he welcomed him with the proposal that, as he had borne himself so gloriously, he should receive the honour of knighthood before his brothers. But the prince besought the king that as his brothers Edward and Pedro were older than he was, they might first receive the honour due to them too. The king was pleased with the young man's modesty, and next day the three princes, in full armour, each bearing unsheathed the sword the Queen had given him, were invested with knighthood.
It was three years before Prince Henry returned to live in Portugal. He had shown himself a worthy soldier, and his renown stood high in Europe. He received invitations from the Pope, the Emperor of Germany, and the King of England, to take command of their armies, but Prince Henry had other ideas for his life. He wanted to learn more of the Sea of Darkness over which he had tossed from Lisbon to the coast of Africa. He wanted to know how far that coast on the west extended, what was beyond that great sea across which man had never yet sailed. These things he yearned to know, and these things he now set himself to learn.
Once upon a time when little Buchettino was sweeping the stairs of his house he heard a noise. He looked down and found a bright penny. Then he said to himself,
"What shall I buy with this penny?
"Shall I buy some dates? No, for then I should have to throw away the stones.
"Shall I buy some apples? No, for then I should have to throw away the core.
"Shall I buy some nuts? No, for then I should have to throw away the shells.
"What shall I buy with this penny?
"I will buy a penny's worth of figs."
Away he ran to the nearest shop, bought a penny's worth of figs, and climbed up a big tree. He sat down upon a branch and began to eat his figs.
Soon a Giant passed by. When he saw Buchettino he called out,
Give me a fig with your own little hand;
If not I will climb up and eat you."
Then little Buchettino threw him one fig, but it fell into the dirt.
Give me a fig with your own little hand;
If not I will climb up and eat you,"
called out the Giant again.
Then Buchettino threw him another fig, but fell into the dirt.
Give me a fig with your own little hand;
If not I will climb up and eat you."
called out the Giant again in an angry tone.
Little Buchettino did not know that the Giant was trying to catch him. So he leaned down and gave the Giant a fig with his own little hand.
"Now I have you," snapped the Giant.
He quickly caught Buchettino by the arm, pushed him into his big bag, threw the bay, over his shoulder, and started for his home, calling out,
Put the kettle on the fire,
For I have caught Buchettino."
The Giant was very near his house when he happened to think of something he had to do before going home. So he put the bag on the ground and walked off as quickly as he could. Buchettino, you may be sure, was glad to hear his footsteps sound farther and farther away.
"Now is my time," he said to himself. With a little knife which he always carried in his pocket he cut a hole in the bag big enough for him to creep through. Then he slipped out quietly, filled the bag with stones, and ran toward his home as fast as he could go.
When the Giant came back he picked up his bag, threw it over his shoulder, and started off, calling out again,
Put the kettle on the fire,
For I have caught Buchettino."
"Yes, yes," answered his wife as he came near. "I have put the kettle on the fire."
"Then we will cook Buchettino. Come, come; help me. Take hold of one end of this bag,
For I have caught Buchettino;
I have caught little Buchettino."
The Giant and his wife took hold of the bag and carried it to the hearth. They emptied it into the kettle. Splash! The bag was full of stones.
How angry that Giant was! He roared out, "Buchettino put stones into my bag. He ran away, but I'll catch him yet! I'll catch Buchettino!"
The next day he went back to the place where he had caught little Buchettino. But no Buchettino was there. He walked up and down the roads. He looked into all the hiding-places, saying to himself over and over, "I'll catch Buchettino yet!"
At last he raised his eyes and looked all over the tops of the houses. There he saw Buchettino standing upon a roof laughing and laughing and laughing. For Buchettino had seen the Giant, too.
"Oh, Buchettino, there you are!" called out the Giant, this time in a very sweet voice. "Tell me how you climbed up on that roof?"
"Oh," said Buchettino, "do you really wish to know?"
"I do, indeed," answered the Giant.
"Then listen. I put dishes upon dishes, glasses upon glasses, pans upon pans, kettles on kettles until they were piled up as high as this roof. Then I climbed and climbed and climbed upon them, and here I am!"
"Aha!" laughed the Giant. "Wait a bit." And with that he quickly piled dishes upon dishes, glasses upon glasses, pans upon pans, and kettles upon kettles, until they were piled high as the roof.
Then he began to climb and climb and climb. But when he had climbed almost to the top—crash—crack—bang—br-r-r-r-r. Down came dishes upon dishes, glasses upon glasses, pans upon pans, and kettles upon kettles, all on top of that wicked Giant!
|Italian Nursery Tale|
There was an old woman
Went blackberry picking
Along the hedges
From Weep to Wicking.
Half a pottle—
No more she had got,
When out steps a Fairy
From her green grot;
And says, "Well, Jill,
Would 'ee pick 'ee mo?"
And Jill, she curtseys,
And looks just so.
"Be off," says the Fairy,
"As quick as you can,
Over the meadows
To the little green lane,
That dips to the hayfields
Of Farmer Grimes:
I've berried those hedges
A score of times;
Bushel on bushel
I'll promise 'ee, Jill,
This side of supper
If 'ee pick with a will."
She glints very bright,
And speaks her fair;
Then lo, and behold!
She has faded in air.
Be sure old Goodie
She trots betimes
Over the meadows
To Farmer Grimes.
And never was queen
With jewellery rich
As those same hedges
From twig to ditch;
Like Dutchmen's coffers,
Fruit, thorn, and flower—
They shone like William
And Mary's bower.
And be sure Old Goodie
Went back to Weep,
So tired with her basket
She scarce could creep.
When she comes in the dusk
To her cottage door,
There's Towser wagging
As never before,
To see his Missus
So glad to be
Come from her fruit-picking
Back to he.
And soon as next morning
Dawn was grey,
The pot on the hob
Was simmering away;
And all in a stew
And a hugger-mugger
Towser and Jill
A-boiling of sugar,
And the dark clear fruit
That from Faërie came,
For syrup and jelly
And blackberry jam.
Twelve jolly gallipots
Jill put by;
And one little teeny one,
One inch high;
And that she's hidden
A good thumb deep,
Half way over
From Wicking to Weep.
WEEK 32 |
One day Mrs. Brent took down the dinner horn and
blew upon it two strong blasts. This was a signal that
Little Balser, who was helping his father down in the
clearing, should come to the house. Baler was glad
enough to drop his hoe and to run home. When he reached
the house his mother
"Balser, go up to the drift and catch a mess of fish for dinner. Your father is tired of deer meat three times a day, and I know he would like a nice dish of fried redeyes at noon."
"All right, mother," said Balser. And he immediately
took down his fishing-pole and line, and got the spade
to dig bait. Where he had collected a small gourdful of
angle-worms, his mother called to
"You had better take a gun. You may meet a bear; your father loaded the gun this morning, and you must be careful in handling it."
Balser took the gun, which was a heavy rifle considerably longer than himself, and started up the river toward the drift, about a quarter of a mile away.
There had been rain during the night and the ground near the drift was soft.
Here, Little Balser noticed fresh bear tracks, and his breath began to come quickly. You may be sure he peered closely into every dark thicket, and looked behind all the large trees and logs, and had his eyes wide open lest perchance "Mr. Bear" should step out and surprise him with an affectionate hug, and thereby put an end to Little Balser forever.
So he walked on cautiously, and, if the truth must be told, somewhat tremblingly, until he reached the drift.
Balser was but a little fellow, yet the stern necessities of a settler's life had compelled his father to teach him the use of a gun: and although Balser had never killed a bear, he had shot several deer, and upon one occasion had killed a wildcat, "almost as big as a cow," he said.
"A wildcat almost as big as a cow"
I have no doubt the wildcat seemed "almost as big as a cow" to Balser when he killed it, for it must have frightened him greatly, as wildcats were sometimes dangerous animals for children to encounter. Although Balser had never met a bear face to face and alone, yet he felt, and many a time had said, that there wasn't a bear in the world big enough to frighten him, if he but had his gun.
He had often imagined and minutely detailed to his parents and little brother just what he would do if he should meet a bear. He would wait calmly and quietly until his bearship should come within a few yards of him, and then he would slowly lift his gun. Bang! And Mr. Bear would be dead with a bullet in his heart.
"Little Balser noticed fresh bear tracks,
and his breath began to come quickly."
But when he saw the fresh bear tracks, and began to realize that he would probably have an opportunity to put his theories about bear killing into practice, he began to wonder if, after all, he would become frightened and miss his aim. Then he thought of how the bear, in that case, would be calm and deliberate, and would put his theories into practice by walking very politely up to him, and making a very satisfactory dinner of a certain boy whom he could name. But as he walked on and no bear appeared, his courage grew stronger as the prospect of meeting the enemy grew less, and he again began saying to himself that no bear could frighten him, because he had his gun and he could and would kill it.
"Fresh bear tracks"
So Balser reached the drift; and having looked carefully about him, leaned his gun against a tree, unwound his fishing-line from the pole, and walked out of the end of a log which extended into the river some twenty or thirty feet.
Here he threw in his line, and soon was so busily engaged drawing out sunfish and redeyes, and now and then a bass, which was hungry enough to bite at a worm, that all thought of the bear went out of his mind.
After he had caught enough fish for a sumptuous dinner he bethought him of going home, and as he turned toward the shore, imagine, if you can, his consternation when he saw upon the bank, quietly watching him, a huge black bear.
"Imagine . . . his consternation when he saw upon the bank,
quietly watching him, a huge black bear."
If the wildcat had seemed as large as a cow to Balser, of what size do you suppose that bear appeared? A cow! An elephant, surely, was small compared with the huge black fellow standing upon the bank.
It is true, Balser had never seen an elephant, but his father had, and so had his friend Tom Fox, who lived down the river; and they all agreed that an elephant was "purt nigh as big as all outdoors."
The bear had a peculiar, determined expression about
him that seemed to
"That boy can't get away; he's out on the log where the water is deep, and if he jumps into the river I can easily jump in after him and catch him before he can swim a dozen strokes. He'll have to come off the log in a short time, and then I'll proceed to devour him."
"The bear had a peculiar, determined expression about him."
About the same train of thought had also been rapidly passing through Balser's mind. His gun was on the bank where he had left it, and in order to reach it he would have to pass the bear. He dated not jump into the water, for any attempt to escape on his part would bring the bear upon him instantly. He was very much frightened, but, after all, was a cool-headed little fellow for his age; so he concluded that he would not press matters, as the bear did not seem inclined to do so, but so long as the bear remained watching him on the bank would stay upon the log where he was, and allow the enemy to eye him to his heart's content.
There they stood, the boy and the bear, each eying the other as though they were the best of friends, and would like to eat each other, which, in fact, was literally true.
Time sped very slowly for one of them, you may be sure; and it seemed to Balser that he had been standing almost an age in the middle of Blue River on that wretched shaking log, when he heard his mother's dinner horn, reminding him that it was time to go home.
Balser quite agreed with his mother, and gladly would he have gone, I need not tell you; but there stood the bear, patient, determined, and fierce; and Little Balser soon was convinced in his own mind that his time had come to die.
He hoped that when his father should go home to dinner and find him still absent, he would come up the river in search of him, and frighten away the bear. Hardly had this hope sprung up in his mind, when it seemed that the same thought had also occurred to the bear, for he began to move down toward the shore end of the log upon which Balser was standing.
Slowly came the bear until he reached the end of the log, which for a moment he examined suspiciously, and then, to Balser's great alarm, cautiously stepped out upon it and began to walk toward him.
Balser thought of the folks at home, and, above all, of his baby sister; and when he felt that he should never see them again, and that they would in all probability never know of his fate, he began to grow heavy hearted and was almost paralyzed with fear.
On came the bear, putting one great paw in front of the other, and watching Balser intently with his little black eyes. His tongue hung out, and his great red mouth was open to its widest, showing the sharp, long, glittering teeth that would soon be feasting on a first-class boy dinner.
When the bear got within a few feet of Balser—so close he could almost feel the animal's hot breath as it slowly approached—the boy grew desperate with fear, and struck at the bear with the only weapon he had—his string of fish.
"When the bear got within a few feet of Balser . . .
the boy grew desperate with fear, and struck at the beast
with the only weapon he had—his string of fish."
Now, bears love fish and blackberries above all other food; so when Balser's string of fish struck the bear in the mouth, he grabbed at them, and in doing so lost his foothold on the slippery log and fell into the water with a great splash and plunge.
This was Balser's chance for life, so he flung the fish to the bear, and ran for the bank with a speed worthy of the cause.
When he reached the bank his self-confidence returned, and he remembered all the things he had said he would do if he should meet a bear.
The bear had caught the fish, and again had climbed upon the log, where he was deliberately devouring them.
"The bear had caught the fish and again had climbed upon the log."
This was Little Balser's chance for death—to the bear. Quickly snatching up the gun, he rested it in the fork of a small tree near by, took deliberate aim at the bear, which was not five yards away, and shot him through the heart. The bear dropped into the water dead, and floated downstream a little way, where he lodged at a ripple a short distance below.
Balser, after he had killed the bear, became more frightened than he had been at any time during the adventure, and ran home screaming. That afternoon his father went to the scene of battle and took the bear out of the water. It was very fat and large, and weighed, so Mr. Brent said, over six hundred pounds.
Balser was firmly of the opinion that he himself was also very fat and large, and weighed at least as much as the bear. He was certainly entitled to feel "big"; for he had got himself out of an ugly scrape in a brave, manly, and cool-headed manner, and had achieved a victory of which a man might have been proud.
The news of Balser's adventure soon spread among the neighbours and he became quite a hero: for the bear he had killed was one of the largest that had ever been seen in that neighbourhood, and, besides the gallons of rich bear oil it yielded, there were three or four hundred pounds of bear meat; and no other food is more strengthening for winter diet.
There was also the soft, furry skin, which Balser's mother tanned, and with it made a coverlid for Balser's bed, under which he and his little brother lay many a cold night, cozy and "snug as a bug in a rug."
S LOWLY Prickly Porky the Porcupine climbed down from the top of the tall poplar tree where he had been getting his breakfast of tender young bark. He grunted as he worked his way down, for he had with him a bundle of bark to take over to Peter Rabbit's surprise party. When he reached the ground, Prickly Porky shook himself until he rattled the thousand little spears hidden in his long coat.
"Who dares to laugh at me?" demanded Prickly Porky, shaking himself until all the little spears rattled again, and some of them began to peep out of his long coat.
"No one is laughing at you," replied a voice right behind him.
Prickly Porky turned around. There sat old
Prickly Porky scowled, and a few more little spears peeped out of his
long coat. You know no one likes to be laughed at, and it certainly
did look as if old
Mr. Toad stopped laughing and hopped a step nearer. "It's a joke," said he, and slowly winked one eye.
"I don't see any joke," said Prickly Porky, and his voice was very fretful.
Mr. Toad hopped a step nearer. "Are you going to Peter Rabbit's party?"
"Of course I am. What a foolish question," replied Prickly Porky.
"To be sure, a very foolish question, a very foolish question,
Prickly Porky laid down his bundle of tender young bark and stared at
Old Mr. Toad chuckled deep down in his throat. "I was underneath a piece of bark on which Sammy Jay was sitting when the plan was made. Of course he didn't know I was there, and of course I didn't tell him."
"Of course not," interrupted Prickly Porky, beginning to grin.
"Of course not," continued Mr. Toad, grinning, too. Then he told Prickly Porky all about the plan he had overheard, how Reddy Fox and Shadow the Weasel and Blacky the Crow were to hide near Unc' Billy Possum's hollow tree, and how Sammy Jay was to frighten away everybody else by pretending that Bowser the Hound was coming.
"Have you told Peter Rabbit?" asked Prickly Porky.
"Not yet, but I'm going to, by and by," replied old
"Of course I will if I can, but how can I?" answered Prickly Porky promptly.
Old Mr. Toad hopped up, and stretching up on tiptoe, whispered in one of Prickly Porky's ears. Prickly Porky began to smile. Then he began to chuckle. Finally he laughed until he had to hold his sides.
"Will you do it?" asked Mr. Toad.
Prickly Porky reached for his bundle of tender young bark. "Of course
I will," said he, still chuckling. "Come on,
Upon a showery night and still,
Without a sound of warning,
A trooper band surprised the hill,
And held it in the morning.
We were not waked by bugle notes,
No cheer our dreams invaded,
And yet, at dawn their yellow coats
On the green slopes paraded.
We careless folk the deed forgot;
'Till one day, idly walking,
We marked upon the self-same spot
A crowd of vet'rans talking.
They shook their trembling heads and gray
With pride and noiseless laughter;
When, well-a-day! they blew away
And ne'er were heard of after!
WEEK 32 |
I Samuel xxi: 1, to xxii: 23.
ROM his meeting with Jonathan, David went forth to be a wanderer, having no home as long as Saul lived. He went away so suddenly that he was without either bread to eat, or a sword for defence. On his way he called at a little city called Nob, where the Tabernacle was then standing, although the holy ark was still in another place by itself. (See Story 51.) The chief priest, Ahimelech, was surprised to see David coming alone. David said to him, "The king has sent me upon an errand of which no one is to be told, and my men are to meet me in a secret place. Can you give me a few loaves of bread?"
"There is no bread here," said the priest, "except the holy bread from the table in the holy house. The priests have just taken it away to put new bread in its place." (For an account of the table and the bread, see Story 27.)
"Let me have that bread," said David, "for we are the Lord's, and are holy."
So the priest gave David the holy bread, which was to be eaten by the priests alone. David said also, "Have you a spear, or a sword, which I can take with me? The king's errand was so sudden that I had no time to bring my weapons."
"There is no sword here," said the priest, "except the sword of Goliath of Gath, whom you slew in the valley of Elah. It is wrapped in a cloth, in the closet with the priest's robe. If you wish that sword, you can have it." (See Story 58.)
"There is no sword like that," said David; "give it to me." So David took the giant's sword, and five loaves of bread, and went away. But where should he go? Nowhere in Saul's kingdom would he be safe; and he went down to live among his old enemies, the Philistines, on the plain.
David took the giant's sword.
But the Philistines had not forgotten David, who had slain their great Goliath, and beaten them in many battles. They would have seized him and killed him; but David acted as though he was crazy. Then the king of the Philistines said, "Let this poor crazy man go! We do not want him here."
And David escaped from among them, and went to live in the wilderness of Judah. He found a great cave, called the cave of Adullam, and hid in it. Many people heard where he was, and from all parts of the land, especially from his own tribe of Judah, men who were not satisfied with the rule of King Saul, gathered around David. Soon he had a little army of four hundred men, who followed David as their captain.
All of these men with David were good fighters, and some of them were very brave in battle. Three of these men at one time wrought a great deed for David. While David was in the great cave, with his men, the Philistines were holding the town of Bethlehem, which had been David's home. David said one day: "How I wish that I could have a drink of the water from the well that is beside the gate of Bethlehem!"
This was the well from which he had drawn water and drank when a boy; and it seemed to him that there was no water so good to his taste.
Those three brave men went out together, walked to Bethlehem, fought their way through the Philistines who were on guard, drew a vessel of water from the well, and then fought their way back through the enemies.
But when they brought the water to David, he would not drink it. He said:
"This water was bought by the blood of three brave men. I will not drink it; but I will pour it out as an offering to the Lord, for it is sacred." So David poured out the water as a most precious gift to the Lord. Saul soon heard that David, with a band of men, was hiding among the mountains of Judah. One day while Saul was sitting in Gibeah, out of doors under a tree, with his nobles around him, he said, "You are men of my own tribe of Benjamin, yet none of you will help me to find this son of Jesse, who has made an agreement with my own son against me, and who has gathered an army, and is waiting to rise against me. Is no one of you with me and against mine enemy?"
The water from the well of Bethlehem.
One man, whose name was Doeg, an Edomite, said, "I was at the city of the priests some time ago, and saw the son of Jesse come to the chief priest, Ahimelech; and the priest gave him loaves of bread and a sword." "Send for Ahimelech and all the priests," commanded King Saul; and they took all the priests as prisoners, eighty-five men in all, and brought them before King Saul. And Saul said to them, "Why have you priests joined with David, the son of Jesse, to rebel against me, the king? You have given him bread, and a sword, and have shown yourselves his friends."
Then Ahimelech, the priest, answered the king, "There is no one among all the king's servants as faithful as David; and he is the king's son-in-law, living in the palace, and sitting in the king's council. What wrong have I done in giving him bread? I knew nothing of any evil that he had wrought against the king."
Then the king was very angry. He said, "You shall die, Ahimelech, and all your father's family, because you have helped this man, my enemy. You knew that he was hiding from me, and did not tell me of him."
And the king ordered his guards to kill all the priests. But they would not obey him, for they felt that it was a dreadful deed to lay hands upon the priests of the Lord. This made Saul all the more furious, and he turned to Doeg, the Edomite, the man who had told of David's visit to the priest, and Saul said to Doeg, "You are the only one among my servants who is true to me. Do you kill these priests who have been unfaithful to their king."
And Doeg, the Edomite, obeyed the king, and killed eighty-five men who wore the priestly garments. He went to the city of the priests, and killed all their wives and children, and burned the city.
One priest alone escaped, a young man named Abiathar, the son of Ahimelech. He came to David with the terrible news, that Saul had slain all the priests, and he brought the high-priest's breast-plate and his robes.
David said to him, "I saw this man Doeg, the Edomite, there on that day, and I knew that he would tell Saul. Without intending to do harm, I have caused the death of all your father's house. Stay with me, and fear not. I will care for your life with my own."
Abiathar was now the high-priest, and he was with David, and not with Saul. All through the land went the news of Saul's dreadful deed, and everywhere the people began to turn from Saul, and to look toward David as the only hope of the nation.
M R. CORDYCE had been planning this day for more than a week. He had sent his most trusted foreman to his own beautiful home, to superintend matters there. The house was being remodeled entirely, after Mr. Cordyce's own plans, and everywhere were carpenters, painters and decorators.
On the very day that Mr. Cordyce received word that it was finished, he suggested the drive.
"Do you live all alone, Grandfather?" asked Benny.
"All alone," answered Mr. Cordyce. "No company at all." At first Benny did not consider this the exact truth. He considered a cook company, and also a butler, and a housekeeper. And when he saw the array of maids he kept perfectly quiet. The house was enormous, certainly. It was at least a quarter of a mile from its own front gate—and everywhere were gardens.
"Do you live here?" said Henry, thunderstruck, as they rolled quietly along the beautiful drive.
"You do, too, if you like it," observed his grandfather, watching his face.
The inside of the house was more wonderful than even the older children had ever dreamed. The velvet rugs were so thick and soft that no footfall could be heard. Everywhere were flowers. The great stairway with steps of marble rose from the center of the big hallway. But it was upstairs that the children felt most at home.
Here the rooms were not quite so large. They were sunny and homelike.
"This is Violet's room!" cried Benny. It was unmistakable. There were violets on the wallpaper. The bed was snow white with a thick quilt of violet silk. On the little table were English violets, pouring their fragrance into the room.
"What a beautiful room!" sighed Violet, sinking down into one of the soft cushioned chairs.
But all the children shouted when they saw Benny's room. The wallpaper was blue, covered with large figures of cats and dogs, the Three Bears, and Peter Rabbit. There was a swinging rocking-horse, nearly as large as a real horse, a blackboard, a tool chest, and low tables and chairs exactly the right size for Benny. There was an electric train with cars nearly as large as the little boy himself.
"Can I run the cars all day?" asked Benny.
"Oh, no," replied Henry quickly. "You're going to school as soon as it begins."
This was the first that his grandfather had heard about school, but he agreed with Henry, and chuckled to himself.
"The finest schools in the country," he said. This came true, for all the children finally went to the public schools, and are they not the finest schools in the country?
In Jess' room Benny discovered a bed for Watch. It was, in fact, a regular dog's straw hamper, but it was lined with heavy quilted silk and padded with wool. Watch got in at once, sniffed in every corner, turned around three times, and lay down.
Just then a distant doorbell rang. It had such a low, musical chime that the children listened delightedly, never once giving a thought as to who it might be.
But almost at once a soft-footed servant appeared, saying that a man wanted to see Mr. Cordyce "about the dog." The moment Jess heard that word "dog" she was frightened. She had never thought Watch a common runaway dog, and it always made her uncomfortable to see passers-by gaze curiously at him as he ran by her side.
"They won't take Watch away?" she whispered to Henry, her breath almost gone.
"Indeed they will not!" declared Henry. "We'll never, never give him up."
However, Henry followed his grandfather and Jess with great anxiety.
It was indeed about Watch that the man wanted to talk, and Jess' heart sank again when she saw the dog jump delightedly upon the man, and return his caresses with short barks.
"He's a runaway, sir, from my kennels out in Townsend," the man explained to Mr. Cordyce. "I have two hundred Airedales out there, and this one was sold the day before he ran away. So you see I have to turn him over to the lady I sold him to."
"Oh, no, you don't," returned Mr. Cordyce quickly. "I will give you three times what the dog is worth."
The man glanced around uneasily. "I couldn't do that, sir," he explained. "You see, it isn't a question of money; it's a question of my promised word to the lady."
Mr. Cordyce failed to "see." "She can find another dog, among two hundred Airedales, I guess," he returned. "And, besides, you don't know positively that this is the right dog."
"Excuse me," replied the man, very much embarrassed, "he's the dog, all right. He knows me, as you see. His name is Rough No. 3. He has a black spot inside his ear."
It was too true. Indeed, at the mere mention of his name the dog cocked an ear and wagged his tail. But he had seated himself as close to Jess as possible, and licked her hand when she patted him.
But it appeared that Henry could understand the man's position even if Mr. Cordyce could not. He now put in a timid word of his own.
"If the lady would agree to let the dog go, would you be willing?"
"Sure," said the man, shooting a glance at Henry.
"I almost know any one would let us keep Watch, Grandfather," said Henry earnestly, "if they knew how much he had done for us."
"I'm sure of it, my boy," returned Mr. Cordyce kindly.
The fact that Henry had been the first to make headway with the dog fancier, had not escaped him.
But it was clear that Jess would not be able to sleep until the matter had been settled, so the moment the man had gone, the children set out from their beautiful new home to the address of the lady who had bought Watch.
The big car purred along from Greenfield to Townsend in no time. And the whole family, including Watch himself, trooped up the veranda steps to interview the lady who held it in her power to break their hearts, or to make them very happy.
She was not terrible to look at. In fact she was quite young, quite lively, and very, very pretty. She asked them all to sit down, which they did gravely, for even Benny was worried about losing "Watchie," his favorite pillow. He could not wait for his grandfather to begin. He struggled down from his chair and dashed over to the young lady saying, in one breath, "You'll let us keep Watchie, please, won't you, because we want him so bad, and Jess didn't know he was your dog?"
By degrees the lady understood just what dog it was.
"We have had him so long," explained Henry, eagerly, "it would be almost like letting Benny go away. Watch never leaves us even for a minute, ever since Jess took the briar out of his foot."
"So you are the children who lived in the freight car!" observed the lively young lady. "I've heard all about that. How did you like it?"
"All right," replied Henry, with an effort. "But we never could have done it without Watch. He stayed and looked after the girls while I was away, and he just thinks everything of Jess."
"Well," said the young lady, laughing, "I can see you're worrying terribly about that dog. Now listen! I wouldn't take that dog away from you any more than I'd take Benny! In fact, not so much. I think maybe I'd like to keep Benny instead."
Benny was apparently quite willing that she should. He climbed into her lap before any one could stop him, and gave her one of his best bear hugs. And from that moment they were firm friends. But the children always spoke of her as the "lady who owns Watch," although Mr. Cordyce paid for the dog in less time than you can imagine. It made no difference to the children that Watch was a very valuable dog. They had loved him when he had not been worth a cent; and now they loved him more, simply because they had so nearly lost him.
It was a happy and reunited family which gathered around the Cordyce dining table that evening. The maids smiled in the kitchen to hear the children laugh; and the children laughed because Watch actually sat up at the table in the seat of honor beside Jess, and was waited upon by a butler.
I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.
The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow—
Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;
For he sometimes shoots up taller like an india-rubber ball,
And he sometimes gets so little that there's none of him at all.
He hasn't got a notion of how children ought to play,
And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.
He stays so close beside me, he's a coward, you can see;
I'd think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me!
One morning, very early, before the sun was up,
I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup;
But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy-head,
Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.