Thursday, November 8, 2007



Index according to reading level is appended.
This volume, though intended also for the children's
own reading and for reading aloud, is especially
planned for story-telling. The latter is
a delightful way of arousing a gladsome holiday
spirit, and of showing the inner meanings of
different holidays. As stories used for this purpose
are scattered through many volumes, and as they
are not always in the concrete form required for
story-telling, I have endeavored to bring together
myths, legends, tales, and historical stories
suitable to holiday occasions.
There are here collected one hundred and
twenty stories for seventeen holidays--stories
grave, gay, humorous, or fanciful; also some that
are spiritual in feeling, and others that give the
delicious thrill of horror so craved by boys and
girls at Halloween time. The range of selection
is wide, and touches all sides of wholesome boy
and girl nature, and the tales have the power to
arouse an appropriate holiday spirit.
As far as possible the stories are presented in
their original form. When, however, they are too
long for inclusion, or too loose in structure for
story-telling purposes, they are adapted.
Adapted stories are of two sorts. Condensed:
in which case a piece of literature is shortened,
scarcely any changes being made in the original
language. Rewritten: here the plot, imagery,
language, and style of the original are retained as
far as possible, while the whole is moulded into
form suitable for story-telling. Some few stories
are built up on a slight framework of original
Thus it may be seen that the tales in this
volume have not been reduced to the necessarily
limited vocabulary and uniform style of one editor,
but that they are varied in treatment and
language, and are the products of many minds.
A glance at the table of contents will show that
not only have selections been made from modern
authors and from the folklore of different races,
but that some quaint old literary sources have
been drawn on. Among the men and books contributing
to these pages are the Gesta Romanorum,
Il Libro d'Oro, Xenophon, Ovid, Lucian, the
Venerable Bede, William of Malmesbury. John of
Hildesheim, William Caxton, and the more modern
Washington Irving, Hugh Miller, Charles Dickens,
and Henry Cabot Lodge; also those immortals,
Hans Andersen, the Brothers Grimm, Horace E.
Scudder, and others.
The stories are arranged to meet the needs of
story-telling in the graded schools. Readinglists,
showing where to find additional material
for story-telling and collateral reading, are added.
Grades in which the recommended stories are
useful are indicated.
The number of selections in the volume, as
well as the references to other books, is limited
by the amount and character of available material.
For instance, there is little to be found for
Saint Valentine's Day, while there is an
overwhelming abundance of fine stories for the
Christmas season. Stories like Dickens's ``Christmas
Carol,'' Ouida's ``Dog of Flanders,'' and
Hawthorne's tales, which are too long for inclusion
and would lose their literary beauty if
condensed, are referred to in the lists. Volumes
containing these stories may be procured at the
public library.
A subject index is appended. This indicates
the ethical, historical, and other subject-matter
of interest to the teacher, thus making the volume
serviceable for other occasions besides holidays.
In learning her tale the story-teller is advised
not to commit it to memory. Such a method is
apt to produce a wooden or glib manner of presentation.
It is better for her to read the story
over and over again until its plot, imagery, style,
and vocabulary become her own, and then to retell
it, as Miss Bryant says, ``simply, vitally, joyously.''
NEW YEAR'S DAY (January 1)
THE FAIRY'S NEW YEAR GIFT: Emilie Poulsson, In the Child's World
THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL: Hans Christian Andersen, Stories and Tales
THE TWELVE MONTHS: Alexander Chodsvko, Slav Fairy Tales
THE MAIL-COACH PASSENGERS: Hans Christian Andersen, Fairy Tales
HE RESCUES THE BIRDS: Noah Brooks, Abraham Lincoln
Life of Abraham Lincoln for Boys and Girls
TRAINING FOR THE PRESIDENCY: Orison Swett Matden, Winning Out
WHY LINCOLN WAS CALLED ``HONEST ABE'': Noah Brooks, Abraham Lincoln
Life of Abraham Lincoln for Boys and Girls
Life of Abraham Lincoln for Boys and Girls
LINCOLN THE LAWYER: Z. A. Mudge, The Forest Boy
MR. LINCOLN AND THE BIBLE: Z. A. Mudge, The Forest Boy
SAINT VALENTINE: Millicent Olmsted
A GIRL'S VALENTINE CHARM: The Connoisseur, 1775
MR. PEPYS HIS VALENTINE: Samuel Pepys, Diary
CUPID AND PSYCHE: Josephine Preston Peabody,
Old Greek Folk Stories
THREE OLD TALES: M. L. Weems, Life of
George Washington, with Curious Anecdotes
George Washington
WASHINGTON THE ATHLETE: Albert F. Blaisdell and Francis R. Ball,
Hero Stories from American History
WASHINGTON'S MODESTY: Henry Cabot Lodge, George Washington
WASHINGTON AT YORKTOWN: Henry Cabot lodge, George Washington
RESURRECTION DAY (Easter Sunday) (March or April)
A LESSON OF FAITH: Mrs. Alfred Gatty, Parables from Nature
A CHILD'S DREAM OF A STAR: Charles Dickens
Hans Christian Andersen, Stories and Tales
MAY DAY (May 1)
THE SNOWDROP: Hans Christian Andersen;
Adapted by Bailey and Lewis
THE WATER DROP: Friedrich Wilhelm Carove,
Story without an End, translated by Sarah Austin
THE SPRING BEAUTY: Henry R. Schoolcraft, The Myth of Hiawatha
THE FAIRY TULIPS: English Folk-Tale
THE STREAM THAT RAN AWAY: Mary Austin, The Basket Woman
THE ELVES: Harriet Mazwell Converse,
Myths and legends of the New York State Iroquois
THE CANYON FLOWERS: Ralph Connor, The Sky Pilot
CLYTIE, THE HELIOTROPE: Ovid, Metamorphoses
HYACINTHUS: Ovid, Metamorphoses
ECHO AND NARCISSUS: Ovid, Metamorphoses
MOTHERS' DAY (Second Sunday in May)
THE LARK AND ITS YOUNG ONES: P. V. Ramuswami Raju, Indian Fables
CORNELIA S JEWELS: James Baldwin, Fifty Famous Stories Retold
Stories from Enylish History
THE REVENGE OF CORIOLANUS: Charles Morris, Historical Tales
MEMORIAL DAY (May 30)[1] AND FLAG DAY (June 14)
Confederate Memorial Day is celebrated in some States on
April 26 and in others on May 10.
Hero Stories from American History
THE LITTLE DRUMMER-BOY: Aloert Bushnell Hart,
The Romance of the Civil War
A FLAG INCIDENT: M. M. Thomas, Captain Phil
Camp Fires of the Confederacy
THE YOUNG SENTINEL: Z. A. Mudge, The Forest Boy
THE COLONEL OF THE ZOUAVES: Noah Brooks, Abraham Lincoln
Anecdotes of the Civil War
THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE: Washington Irving, Life of Washington
H. A. Guerber, The Story of the Thirteen Colonies
A BRAVE GIRL: James Johonnot, Stories of Heroic Deeds
THE BOSTON TEA-PARTY: John Andrews, Letter to a friend written in 1773
A GUNPOWDER STORY: John Esten Cooke, Stories of the Old Dominion
THE CAPTURE OF FORT TICONDEROGA: Washington Irving, Life of Washington
WASHINGTON AND THE COWARDS: Washington Irving, Life of Washington
LABOR DAY (First Monday in September)
THE SMITHY: P. V. Ramaswami Raju, Indian Fables
THE NAIL: The Brothers Grimm, German Household Tales
Book of Fables and Folk Stories
Old Fashioned Fairy Tales
The Riserside Third Reader
ARACHNE: Josephine Preston Peabody, Old Greek Folk Stories
THE METAL KING: A German Folk-Tale
THE CHOICE OF HERCULES: Xenophon, Memorabilia of Socrates
BILL BROWN'S TEST: Cleveland Moffett, Careers of Danger and Daring
COLUMBUS DAY (October 12)
COLUMBUS AND THE EGG: James Baldwin, Thirty More Famous Stories Retold
COLUMBUS AT LA RABIDA: Washington Irving, Life of Christopher Columbus
THE MUTINY: A. de Lamartine, Life of Columbus
Washington Irving, Life of Christopher Columbus
HALLOWEEN (October 31)
THE OLD WITCH: The Brothers Grimm, German Household Tales
SHIPPEITARO: Mary F. Nixon-Roulet, Japanese Folk Stories and Fairy Tales
HANSEL AND GRETHEL: The Brothers Grimm, German Household Tales
BURG HILL'S ON FIRE: Elizabeth W. Grierson,
Children's Book of Celtic Stories
THE KING OF THE CATS: Ernest Rhys, Fairy-Gold
THE STRANGE VISITOR: Joseph Jacobs, English Fairy Tales
THANKSGIVING DAY (Last Thursday in November)
The Fast and Thanksgiving Days of New England
THE MASTER OF THE HARVEST: Mrs. Alfred Gatty, Parables from Nature
Life and Miracles of Saint Cuthbert
THE EARS OF WHEAT: The Brothers Grimm, German Household Tales
The Myth of Hiawatha
THE NUTCRACKER DWARF: Count Franz Pocci, Fur Frohliche Kinder
THE SPIRIT OF THE CORN: Harriet Mazwell Converse,
Myths and Legends of the New York State Iroquois
THE HORN OF PLENTY: Ovid, Metamorphoses
CHRISTMAS DAY (December 25)
LITTLE PICCOLA: Celia Thazter, Stories and Poems for Children
THE STRANGER CHILD, A LEGEND: Count Franz Pocci, Fur Frohliche Kinder
SAINT CHRISTOPHER: William Caxton, Golden Legend
THE CHRISTMAS ROSE, AN OLD LEGEND: Lizzie Deas, Flower Favourites
THE PINE TREE: Hans Christian Andersen, Wonder Stories
THE CHRISTMAS CUCKOO: Frances Browne, Granny's Wonderful Chair
J. Stirling Coyne, Illustrated London News
THE THREE PURSES, A LEGEND: William S. Walsh, Story of Santa Klaus
William of Malmesbury and Others
John of Hildesheim, Modernized by H. S. Morris
Florence Holbrook, Book of Nature Myths
THE WONDER TREE: Friedrich Adolph Krummacher, Parables
BAUCIS AND PHILEMON: H. P. Maskell, Francis Storr,
Half-a-Hundred Hero Tales
THE UNFRUITFUL TREE: Friedrich Adolph Krummacher, Parables
THE DRYAD OF THE OLD OAK: James Russell Lowell, Rhoecus (a poem)
DAPHNE: OVID, Metamorphoses BIRD DAY
Phoebe Cary, A Legend of the Northland (poem)
THE BOY WHO BECAME A ROBIN: Henry R. Schoolcraft,
The Myth of Hiawatha
THE TONGUE-CUT SPARROW: A. B. Mitford, Tales of Old Japan
THE MAGPIE'S NEST: Joseph Jacobs, English Fairy Tales
THE KING OF THE BIRDS: The Brothers Grimm, German Household Tales
THE DOVE WHO SPOKE TRUTH: Abbie Farwell Brown, The Curious Book of Birds
THE BUSY BLUE JAY: Olive Thorne Miller, True Bird Stories
BABES IN THE WOODS: John Burroughs, Bird Stories from Burroughs
The Recollections of a Drummer Boy
THE MOTHER MURRE: Dallas Lore Sharp, Summer
Two little boys were at play one day when a
Fairy suddenly appeared before them and said: ``I
have been sent to give you New Year presents.''
She handed to each child a package, and in an
instant was gone.
Carl and Philip opened the packages and found
in them two beautiful books, with pages as pure
and white as the snow when it first falls.
Many months passed and the Fairy came again
to the boys. ``I have brought you each another
book?'' said she, ``and will take the first ones back
to Father Time who sent them to you.''
``May I not keep mine a little longer?'' asked
Philip. ``I have hardly thought about it lately.
I'd like to paint something on the last leaf that
lies open.''
``No,'' said the Fairy; ``I must take it just as it
``I wish that I could look through mine just
once,'' said Carl; ``I have only seen one page at a
time, for when the leaf turns over it sticks fast,
and I can never open the book at more than one
place each day.''
``You shall look at your book,'' said the Fairy,
``and Philip, at his.'' And she lit for them two
little silver lamps, by the light of which they saw
the pages as she turned them.
The boys looked in wonder. Could it be that
these were the same fair books she had given
them a year ago? Where were the clean, white
pages, as pure and beautiful as the snow when it
first falls? Here was a page with ugly, black spots
and scratches upon it; while the very next page
showed a lovely little picture. Some pages were
decorated with gold and silver and gorgeous
colors, others with beautiful flowers, and still
others with a rainbow of softest, most delicate
brightness. Yet even on the most beautiful of the
pages there were ugly blots and scratches.
Carl and Philip looked up at the Fairy at last.
``Who did this?'' they asked. ``Every page was
white and fair as we opened to it; yet now there is
not a single blank place in the whole book!''
``Shall I explain some of the pictures to you?''
said the Fairy, smiling at the two little boys.
``See, Philip, the spray of roses blossomed on this
page when you let the baby have your playthings;
and this pretty bird, that looks as if it were singing
with all its might, would never have been on
this page if you had not tried to be kind and
pleasant the other day, instead of quarreling.''
``But what makes this blot?'' asked Philip.
``That,'' said the Fairy sadly; ``that came when
you told an untruth one day, and this when you
did not mind mamma. All these blots and
scratches that look so ugly, both in your book
and in Carl's, were made when you were naughty.
Each pretty thing in your books came on its page
when you were good.''
``Oh, if we could only have the books again!''
said Carl and Philip.
``That cannot be,'' said the Fairy. ``See! they
are dated for this year, and they must now go back
into Father Time's bookcase, but I have brought
you each a new one. Perhaps you can make these
more beautiful than the others.''
So saying, she vanished, and the boys were left
alone, but each held in his hand a new book open
at the first page.
And on the back of this book was written in
letters of gold, ``For the New Year.''
It was very, very cold; it snowed and it grew
dark; it was the last evening of the year, New
Year's Eve. In the cold and dark a poor little
girl, with bare head and bare feet, was walking
through the streets. When she left her own house
she certainly had had slippers on; but what could
they do? They were very big slippers, and her
mother had used them till then, so big were they.
The little maid lost them as she slipped across the
road, where two carriages were rattling by terribly
fast. One slipper was not to be found again, and
a boy ran away with the other. He said he could
use it for a cradle when he had children of his own.
So now the little girl went with her little naked
feet, which were quite red and blue with the cold.
In an old apron she carried a number of matches,
and a bundle of them in her hand. No one had
bought anything of her all day; no one had given
her a copper. Hungry and cold she went, and
drew herself together, poor little thing! The
snowflakes fell on her long yellow hair, which
curled prettily over her neck; but she did not
think of that now. In all the windows lights were
shining, and there was a glorious smell of roast
goose out there in the street; it was no doubt New
Year's Eve. Yes, she thought of that!
In a corner formed by two houses, one of which
was a little farther from the street than the other,
she sat down and crept close. She had drawn up
her little feet, but she was still colder, and she did
not dare to go home, for she had sold no matches,
and she had not a single cent; her father would
beat her; and besides, it was cold at home, for
they had nothing over the them but a roof through
which the wind whistled, though straw and rags
stopped the largest holes.
Her small hands were quite numb with the cold.
Ah! a little match might do her good if she only
dared draw one from the bundle, and strike it
against the wall, and warm her fingers at it. She
drew one out. R-r-atch! how it spluttered and
burned! It was a warm bright flame, like a little
candle, when she held her hands over it; it was a
wonderful little light! It really seemed to the
little girl as if she sat before a great polished
stove, with bright brass feet and a brass cover.
The fire burned so nicely; it warmed her so well,
--the little girl was just putting out her feet to
warm these, too,--when out went the flame; the
stove was gone;--she sat with only the end of the
burned match in her hand.
She struck another; it burned; it gave a light;
and where it shone on the wall, the wall became
thin like a veil, and she could see through it into
the room where a table stood, spread with a white
cloth, and with china on it; and the roast goose
smoked gloriously, stuffed with apples and dried
plums. And what was still more splendid to behold,
the goose hopped down from the dish, and
waddled along the floor, with a knife and fork in
its breast; straight to the little girl he came. Then
the match went out, and only the thick, damp,
cold wall was before her.
She lighted another. Then she was sitting
under a beautiful Christmas tree; it was greater and
finer than the one she had seen through the glass
door at the rich merchant's. Thousands of candles
burned upon the green branches, and colored pictures
like those in the shop windows looked down
upon them. The little girl stretched forth both
hands toward them; then the match went out.
The Christmas lights went higher and higher.
She saw that now they were stars in the sky: one
of them fell and made a long line of fire.
``Now some one is dying,'' said the little girl,
for her old grandmother, the only person who had
been good to her, but who was now dead, had said:
``When a star falls a soul mounts up to God.''
She rubbed another match against the wall; it
became bright again, and in the light there stood
the old grandmother clear and shining, mild and
``Grandmother!'' cried the child. ``Oh, take
me with you! I know you will go when the match
is burned out. You will go away like the warm
stove, the nice roast goose, and the great glorious
Christmas tree!''
And she hastily rubbed the whole bundle of
matches, for she wished to hold her grandmother
fast. And the matches burned with such a glow
that it became brighter than in the middle of the
day; grandmother had never been so large or so
beautiful. She took the little girl up in her arms,
and both flew in the light and the joy so high, so
high! and up there was no cold, nor hunger, nor
care--they were with God.
But in the corner by the house sat the little
girl, with red cheeks and smiling mouth, frozen to
death on the last evening of the Old Year. The
New Year's sun rose upon the little body, that sat
there with the matches, of which one bundle was
burned. She wanted to warm herself, the people
said. No one knew what fine things she had seen,
and in what glory she had gone in with her
grandmother to the New Year's Day.
There was once a widow who had two daughters,
Helen, her own child by her dead husband, and
Marouckla, his daughter by his first wife. She
loved Helen, but hated the poor orphan because
she was far prettier than her own daughter.
Marouckla did not think about her good looks,
and could not understand why her stepmother
should be angry at the sight of her. The hardest
work fell to her share. She cleaned out the rooms,
cooked, washed, sewed, spun, wove, brought in
the hay, milked the cow, and all this without any
Helen, meanwhile, did nothing but dress herself
in her best clothes and go to one amusement after
But Marouckla never complained. She bore
the scoldings and bad temper of mother and sister
with a smile on her lips, and the patience of a
lamb. But this angelic behavior did not soften
them. They became even more tyrannical and
grumpy, for Marouckla grew daily more beautiful,
while Helen's ugliness increased. So the stepmother
determined to get rid of Marouckla, for
she knew that while she remained, her own daughter
would have no suitors. Hunger, every kind of
privation, abuse, every means was used to make
the girl's life miserable. But in spite of it all
Marouckla grew ever sweeter and more charming.
One day in the middle of winter Helen wanted
some wood-violets.
``Listen,'' cried she to Marouckla, ``you must
go up the mountain and find me violets. I want
some to put in my gown. They must be fresh
and sweet-scented-do you hear?''
``But, my dear sister, whoever heard of violets
blooming in the snow?'' said the poor orphan.
``You wretched creature! Do you dare to disobey
me?'' said Helen. ``Not another word. Off
with you! If you do not bring me some violets
from the mountain forest I will kill you.''
The stepmother also added her threats to those
of Helen, and with vigorous blows they pushed
Marouckla outside and shut the door upon her.
The weeping girl made her way to the mountain.
The snow lay deep, and there was no trace of any
human being. Long she wandered hither and
thither, and lost herself in the wood. She was
hungry, and shivered with cold, and prayed to die.
Suddenly she saw a light in the distance, and
climbed toward it till she reached the top of the
mountain. Upon the highest peak burned a large
fire, surrounded by twelve blocks of stone on
which sat twelve strange beings. Of these the
first three had white hair, three were not quite
so old, three were young and handsome, and the
rest still younger.
There they all sat silently looking at the fire.
They were the Twelve Months of the Year. The
great January was placed higher than the others.
His hair and mustache were white as snow, and in
his hand he held a wand. At first Marouckla was
afraid, but after a while her courage returned, and
drawing near, she said:--
``Men of God, may I warm myself at your
fire? I am chilled by the winter cold.''
The great January raised his head and answered:
``What brings thee here, my daughter?
What dost thou seek?''
``I am looking for violets,'' replied the maiden.
``This is not the season for violets. Dost thou
not see the snow everywhere?'' said January.
``I know well, but my sister Helen and my
stepmother have ordered me to bring them violets
from your mountain. If I return without them
they will kill me. I pray you, good shepherds, tell
me where they may be found.''
Here the great January arose and went over to
the youngest of the Months, and, placing his wand
in his hand, said:--
``Brother March, do thou take the highest place.''
March obeyed, at the same time waving his wand
over the fire. Immediately the flames rose toward
the sky, the snow began to melt and the trees and
shrubs to bud. The grass became green, and from
between its blades peeped the pale primrose. It was
spring, and the meadows were blue with violets.
``Gather them quickly, Marouckla,'' said March.
Joyfully she hastened to pick the flowers, and
having soon a large bunch she thanked them
and ran home. Helen and the stepmother were
amazed at the sight of the flowers, the scent of
which filled the house.
``Where did you find them?'' asked Helen.
``Under the trees on the mountain-side,'' said
Helen kept the flowers for herself and her
mother. She did not even thank her stepsister for
the trouble she had taken. The next day she
desired Marouckla to fetch her strawberries.
``Run,'' said she, ``and fetch me strawberries
from the mountain. They must be very sweet and
``But whoever heard of strawberries ripening in
the snow?'' exclaimed Marouckla.
``Hold your tongue, worm; don't answer me.
If I don't have my strawberries I will kill you,''
said Helen.
Then the stepmother pushed Marouckla into
the yard and bolted the door. The unhappy girl
made her way toward the mountain and to the
large fire round which sat the Twelve Months.
The great January occupied the highest place.
``Men of God, may I warm myself at your fire?
The winter cold chills me,'' said she, drawing near.
The great January raised his head and asked:
``Why comest thou here? What dost thou seek?''
``I am looking for strawberries,'' said she.
``We are in the midst of winter,'' replied
January, ``strawberries do not grow in the snow.''
``I know,'' said the girl sadly, ``but my sister
and stepmother have ordered me to bring them
strawberries. If I do not they will kill me. Pray,
good shepherds, tell me where to find them.''
The great January arose, crossed over to the
Month opposite him, and putting the wand in his
hand, said: ``Brother June, do thou take the
highest place.''
June obeyed, and as he waved his wand over
the fire the flames leaped toward the sky. Instantly
the snow melted, the earth was covered
with verdure, trees were clothed with leaves, birds
began to sing, and various flowers blossomed in
the forest. It was summer. Under the bushes
masses of star-shaped flowers changed into ripening
strawberries, and instantly they covered the
glade, making it look like a sea of blood.
``Gather them quickly, Marouckla,'' said June.
Joyfully she thanked the Months, and having
filled her apron ran happily home.
Helen and her mother wondered at seeing the
strawberries, which filled the house with their
delicious fragrance.
``Wherever did you find them?'' asked Helen
``Right up among the mountains. Those from
under the beech trees are not bad,'' answered
Helen gave a few to her mother and ate the rest
herself. Not one did she offer to her stepsister.
Being tired of strawberries, on the third day she
took a fancy for some fresh, red apples.
``Run, Marouckla,'' said she, ``and fetch me
fresh, red apples from the mountain.''
``Apples in winter, sister? Why, the trees have
neither leaves nor fruit!''
``Idle thing, go this minute,'' said Helen;
``unless you bring back apples we will kill you.''
As before, the stepmother seized her roughly
and turned her out of the house. The poor girl
went weeping up the mountain, across the deep
snow, and on toward the fire round which were
the Twelve Months. Motionless they sat there,
and on the highest stone was the great January.
``Men of God, may I warm myself at your fire?
The winter cold chills me,'' said she, drawing
The great January raised his head. ``Why comest
thou here? What does thou seek?'' asked he.
``I am come to look for red apples,'' replied
``But this is winter, and not the season for red
apples,'' observed the great January.
``I know,'' answered the girl, ``but my sister
and stepmother sent me to fetch red apples from
the mountain. If I return without them they will
kill me.''
Thereupon the great January arose and went
over to one of the elderly Months, to whom he
handed the wand saying:--
``Brother September, do thou take the highest
September moved to the highest stone, and
waved his wand over the fire. There was a flare
of red flames, the snow disappeared, but the fading
leaves which trembled on the trees were sent
by a cold northeast wind in yellow masses to the
glade. Only a few flowers of autumn were visible.
At first Marouckla looked in vain for red apples.
Then she espied a tree which grew at a great
height, and from the branches of this hung the
bright, red fruit. September ordered her to
gather some quickly. The girl was delighted and
shook the tree. First one apple fell, then another.
``That is enough,'' said September; ``hurry
Thanking the Months she returned joyfully.
Helen and the stepmother wondered at seeing the
``Where did you gather them?'' asked the
``There are more on the mountain-top,''
answered Marouckla.
``Then, why did you not bring more?'' said
Helen angrily. ``You must have eaten them on
your way back, you wicked girl.''
``No, dear sister, I have not even tasted them,''
said Marouckla. ``I shook the tree twice. One
apple fell each time. Some shepherds would not
allow me to shake it again, but told me to return
``Listen, mother,'' said Helen. ``Give me my
cloak. I will fetch some more apples myself. I
shall be able to find the mountain and the tree.
The shepherds may cry `Stop!' but I will not
leave go till I have shaken down all the apples.''
In spite of her mother's advice she wrapped
herself in her pelisse, put on a warm hood, and
took the road to the mountain. Snow covered
everything. Helen lost herself and wandered
hither and thither. After a while she saw a light
above her, and, following in its direction, reached
the mountain-top.
There was the flaming fire, the twelve blocks
of stone, and the Twelve Months. At first she
was frightened and hesitated; then she came
nearer and warmed her hands. She did not ask
permission, nor did she speak one polite word.
``What hath brought thee here? What dost
thou seek?'' said the great January severely.
``I am not obliged to tell you, old graybeard.
What business is it of yours?'' she replied
disdainfully, turning her back on the fire and going
toward the forest.
The great January frowned, and waved his
wand over his head. Instantly the sky became
covered with clouds, the fire went down, snow
fell in large flakes, an icy wind howled round the
mountain. Amid the fury of the storm Helen
stumbled about. The pelisse failed to warm her
benumbed limbs.
The mother kept on waiting for her. She looked
from the window, she watched from the doorstep,
but her daughter came not. The hours passed
slowly, but Helen did not return.
``Can it be that the apples have charmed her
from her home?'' thought the mother. Then she
clad herself in hood and pelisse, and went in
search of her daughter. Snow fell in huge masses.
It covered all things. For long she wandered
hither and thither, the icy northeast wind
whistled in the mountain, but no voice answered
her cries.
Day after day Marouckla worked, and prayed,
and waited, but neither stepmother nor sister
returned. They had been frozen to death on the
The inheritance of a small house, a field, and
a cow fell to Marouckla. In course of time an
honest farmer came to share them with her, and
their lives were happy and peaceful.
It was bitterly cold. The sky glittered with stars,
and not a breeze stirred. ``Bump,''--an old pot
was thrown at a neighbor's door; and, ``Bang!
Bang!'' went the guns, for they were greeting the
New Year.
It was New Year's Eve, and the church clock
was striking twelve. ``Tan-ta-ra-ra, tan-ta-rara!''
sounded the horn, and the mail-coach came
lumbering up. The clumsy vehicle stopped at the
gate of the town; all the places had been taken,
for there were twelve passengers in the coach.
``Hurrah! Hurrah!'' cried the people in the
town; for in every house the New Year was being
welcomed; and, as the clock struck, they stood
up, the full glasses in their hands, to drink
success to the newcomer. ``A happy New Year,''
was the cry; ``a pretty wife, plenty of money, and
no sorrow or care!''
The wish passed round, and the glasses clashed
together till they rang again; while before the
town-gate the mail-coach stopped with the
twelve strange passengers. And who were these
strangers? Each of them had his passport and
his luggage with him; they even brought presents
for me, and for you, and for all the people in the
town. Who were they? What did they want?
And what did they bring with them?
``Good-morning!'' they cried to the sentry at
the town-gate.
``Good-morning,'' replied the sentry, for the
clock had struck twelve.
``Your name and profession?'' asked the sentry
of the one who alighted first from the carriage.
``See for yourself in the passport,'' he replied.
``I am myself!''--and a famous fellow he looked,
arrayed in bearskin and fur boots. ``Come to me
to-morrow, and I will give you a New Year's
present. I throw shillings and pence among the
people. I give balls every night, no less than
thirty-one; indeed, that is the highest number
I can spare for balls. My ships are often frozen
in, but in my offices it is warm and comfortable.
MY NAME IS JANUARY. I am a merchant, and I
generally bring my accounts with me.''
Then the second alighted. He seemed a merry
fellow. He was a director of a theater, a manager
of masked balls, and a leader of all the amusements
we can imagine. His luggage consisted of
a great cask.
``We'll dance the bung out of the cask at
carnival-time,'' said he. ``I'll prepare a merry tune
for you and for myself, too. Unfortunately I
have not long to live,--the shortest time, in fact,
of my whole family,--only twenty-eight days.
Sometimes they pop me in a day extra; but I
trouble myself very little about that. Hurrah!''
``You must not shout so,'' said the sentry.
``Certainly I may shout,'' retorted the man.
``I'm Prince Carnival, traveling under THE NAME OF FEBRUARY.''
The third now got out. He looked the
personification of fasting; but he carried his nose very
high, for he was a weather prophet. In his buttonhole
he wore a little bunch of violets, but they
were very small.
``MARCH, MARCH!'' the fourth passenger called
after him, slapping him on the shoulder, ``don't
you smell something good? Make haste into the
guard-room, they are feasting in there. I can
smell it already! FORWARD, MASTER MARCH!''
But it was not true. The speaker only wanted
to make an APRIL FOOL of him, for with that fun
the fourth stranger generally began his career. He
looked very jovial, and did little work.
``If the world were only more settled!'' said
he; ``but sometimes I'm obliged to be in a good
humor, and sometimes a bad one. I can laugh or
cry according to circumstances. I have my summer
wardrobe in this box here, but it would be
very foolish to put it on now!''
After him a lady stepped out of the coach. SHE
CALLED HERSELF MISS MAY. She wore a summer dress
and overshoes. Her dress was light green, and there
were anemones in her hair. She was so scented
with wild thyme that it made the sentry sneeze.
``Your health, and God bless you!'' was her
How pretty she was! and such a singer! Not
a theater singer nor a ballad-singer; no, but a
singer of the woods. For she wandered through
the gay, green forest, and had a concert there for
her own amusement.
``Now comes the young lady,'' said those in the
coach; and out stepped a young dame, delicate,
proud, and pretty. IT WAS MISTRESS JUNE. In her
service people become lazy and fond of sleeping
for hours. She gives a feast on the longest day
of the year, that there may be time for her guests
to partake of the numerous dishes at her table.
Indeed, she keeps her own carriage, but still she
travels by the mail-coach with the rest because
she wishes to show that she is not proud.
But she was not without a protector; her
younger brother, JULY, was with her. He was a
plump, young fellow, clad in summer garments,
and wearing a straw hat. He had very little
luggage because it was so cumbersome in the
great heat. He had, however, swimming-trousers
with him, which are nothing to carry.
Then came the mother herself, MADAME AUGUST,
a wholesale dealer in fruit, proprietress of
a large number of fish-ponds, and a land-cultivator.
She was fat and warm, yet she could use
her hands well, and would herself carry out food
to the laborers in the field. After work, came the
recreations, dancing and playing in the greenwood,
and the ``harvest home.'' She was a thorough housewife.
After her a man stepped out of the coach. He
is a painter, a master of colors, and is NAMED SEPTEMBER.
The forest on his arrival has to change
its colors, and how beautiful are those he chooses!
The woods glow with red, and gold, and brown.
This great master painter can whistle like a
blackbird. There he stood with his color-pot in
his hand, and that was the whole of his luggage.
A landowner followed, who in the month for
sowing seed attends to his ploughing and is fond
of field sports. SQUIRE OCTOBER brought his dog and
his gun with him, and had nuts in his game-bag.
``Crack! Crack!'' He had a great deal of luggage,
even a plough. He spoke of farming, but what
he said could scarcely be heard for the coughing
and sneezing of his neighbor.
It WAS NOVEMBER, who coughed violently as he
got out. He had a cold, but he said he thought
it would leave him when he went out woodcutting,
for he had to supply wood to the whole parish.
He spent his evenings making skates, for he knew,
he said, that in a few weeks they would be needed.
At length the last passenger made her appearance,--
very aged, but her eyes glistened like two stars.
She carried on her arm a flower-pot, in which a
little fir tree was growing. ``This tree I shall
guard and cherish,'' she said, ``that it may grow
large by Christmas Eve, and reach from the floor
to the ceiling, to be adorned with lighted candles,
golden apples, and toys. I shall sit by the fireplace,
and bring a story-book out of my pocket,
and read aloud to all the little children. Then the
toys on the tree will become alive, and the little
waxen Angel at the top will spread out his wings
of gold leaf, and fly down from his green perch.
He will kiss every child in the room, yes, and all
the little children who stand out in the street
singing a carol about the `Star of Bethlehem.' ''
``Well, now the coach may drive away,'' said
the sentry; ``we will keep all the twelve months
here with us.''
``First let the twelve come to me,'' said the
Captain on duty, ``one after another. The passports
I will keep here, each of them for one
month. When that has passed, I shall write the
behavior of each stranger on his passport. MR. JANUARY,
have the goodness to come here.''
And MR. JANUARY stepped forward.
When a year has passed, I think I shall be able
to tell you what the twelve passengers have
brought to you, to me, and to all of us. Just now
I do not know, and probably even they do not
know themselves, for we live in strange times.
Once, while riding through the country with
some other lawyers, Lincoln was missed from the
party, and was seen loitering near a thicket of
wild plum trees where the men had stopped a
short time before to water their horses.
``Where is Lincoln?'' asked one of the lawyers.
``When I saw him last,'' answered another,
``he had caught two young birds that the wind
had blown out of their nest, and was hunting for
the nest to put them back again.''
As Lincoln joined them, the lawyers rallied
him on his tender-heartedness, and he said:--
``I could not have slept unless I had restored
those little birds to their mother.''
In the old days, when Lincoln was one of the
leading lawyers of the State, he noticed a little
girl of ten who stood beside a trunk in front of her
home crying bitterly. He stopped to learn what
was wrong, and was told that she was about to
miss a long-promised visit to Decatur because the
wagon had not come for her.
``You needn't let that trouble you,'' was his
cheering reply. ``Just come along with me and we
shall make it all right.''
Lifting the trunk upon his shoulder, and taking
the little girl by the hand, he went through the
streets of Springfield, a half-mile to the railway
station, put her and her trunk on the train, and
sent her away with a happiness in her heart that
is still there.
``I meant to take good care of your book, Mr.
Crawford,'' said the boy, ``but I've damaged it a
good deal without intending to, and now I want
to make it right with you. What shall I do to
make it good?''
``Why, what happened to it, Abe?'' asked the
rich farmer, as he took the copy of Weems's
``Life of Washington'' which he had lent young
Lincoln, and looked at the stained leaves and
warped binding. ``It looks as if it had been out
through all last night's storm. How came you
to forget, and leave it out to soak?''
``It was this way, Mr. Crawford,'' replied Abe.
``I sat up late to read it, and when I went to bed,
I put it away carefully in my bookcase, as I call
it, a little opening between two logs in the wall of
our cabin. I dreamed about General Washington
all night. When I woke up I took it out to read
a page or two before I did the chores, and you
can't imagine how I felt when I found it in this
shape. It seems that the mud-daubing had got
out of the weather side of that crack, and the
rain must have dripped on it three or four hours
before I took it out. I'm sorry, Mr. Crawford,
and want to fix it up with you, if you can
tell me how, for I have not got money to pay
for it.''
``Well,'' said Mr. Crawford, ``come and shuck
corn three days, and the book 's yours.''
Had Mr. Crawford told young Abraham Lincoln
that he had fallen heir to a fortune the boy
could hardly have felt more elated. Shuck corn
only three days, and earn the book that told all
about his greatest hero!
``I don't intend to shuck corn, split rails, and
the like always,'' he told Mrs. Crawford, after he
had read the volume. ``I'm going to fit myself
for a profession.''
``Why, what do you want to be, now?'' asked
Mrs. Crawford in surprise.
``Oh, I'll be President!'' said Abe with a smile.
``You'd make a pretty President with all your
tricks and jokes, now, wouldn't you?'' said the
farmer's wife.
``Oh, I'll study and get ready,'' replied the
boy, ``and then maybe the chance will come.''
In managing the country store, as in everything
that he undertook for others, Lincoln did his very
best. He was honest, civil, ready to do anything
that should encourage customers to come to the
place, full of pleasantries, patient, and alert.
On one occasion, finding late at night, when he
counted over his cash, that he had taken a few
cents from a customer more than was due, he
closed the store, and walked a long distance to
make good the deficiency.
At another time, discovering on the scales in
the morning a weight with which he had weighed
out a package of tea for a woman the night before,
he saw that he had given her too little for
her money. He weighed out what was due, and
carried it to her, much to the surprise of the
woman, who had not known that she was short
in the amount of her purchase.
Innumerable incidents of this sort are related
of Lincoln, and we should not have space to tell
of the alertness with which he sprang to protect
defenseless women from insult, or feeble children
from tyranny; for in the rude community in
which he lived, the rights of the defenseless were
not always respected as they should have been.
There were bullies then, as now.
One afternoon in February, 1860, when the Sunday
School of the Five-Point House of Industry
in New York was assembled, the teacher saw a
most remarkable man enter the room and take
his place among the others. This stranger was
tall, his frame was gaunt and sinewy, his head
powerful, with determined features overcast by
a gentle melancholy.
He listened with fixed attention to the
exercises. His face expressed such genuine interest
that the teacher, approaching him, suggested that
he might have something to say to the children.
The stranger accepted the invitation with
evident pleasure. Coming forward, he began to
speak and at once fascinated every child in the
room. His language was beautiful yet simple,
his tones were musical, and he spoke with deep
The faces of the boys and girls drooped sadly
as he uttered warnings, and then brightened with
joy as he spoke cheerful words of promise. Once
or twice he tried to close his remarks, but the
children shouted: ``Go on! Oh! do go on!'' and
he was forced to continue.
At last he finished his talk and was leaving the
room quietly when the teacher begged to know
his name.
``Abra'm Lincoln, of Illinois,'' was the modest
Lincoln's practical sense and his understanding
of human nature enabled him to save the life of
the son of his old Clary's Grove friend, Jack
Armstrong, who was on trial for murder. Lincoln,
learning of it, went to the old mother who had
been kind to him in the days of his boyhood
poverty, and promised her that he would get her
boy free.
The witnesses were sure that Armstrong was
guilty, and one of them declared that he had seen
the fatal blow struck. It was late at night, he
said, and the light of the full moon had made it
possible for him to see the crime committed.
Lincoln, on cross-examination, asked him only
questions enough to make the jury see that it was the
full moon that made it possible for the witness to
see what occurred; got him to say two or three
times that he was sure of it, and seemed to give
up any further effort to save the boy.
But when the evidence was finished, and
Lincoln's time came to make his argument, he called
for an almanac, which the clerk of the court had
ready for him, and handed it to the jury. They
saw at once that on the night of the murder there
was no moon at all. They were satisfied that the
witness had told what was not true. Lincoln's
case was won.
George Pickett, who had known Lincoln in
Illinois, years before, joined the Southern army,
and by his conspicuous bravery and ability had
become one of the great generals of the
Confederacy. Toward the close of the war, when a
large part of Virginia had fallen into the
possession of the Union army, the President called at
General Pickett's Virginia home.
The general's wife, with her baby on her arm,
met him at the door. She herself has told the
story for us.
`` `Is this George Pickett's home?' he asked.
``With all the courage and dignity I could
muster, I replied: `Yes, and I am his wife, and
this is his baby.'
`` `I am Abraham Lincoln.'
`` `The President!' I gasped. I had never seen
him, but I knew the intense love and reverence
with which my soldier always spoke of him.
``The stranger shook his head and replied:
`No; Abraham Lincoln, George's old friend.'
``The baby pushed away from me and reached
out his hands to Mr. Lincoln, who took him in his
arms. As he did so an expression of rapt, almost
divine tenderness and love lighted up the sad
face. It was a look that I have never seen on any
other face. The baby opened his mouth wide and
insisted upon giving his father's friend a dewy
``As Mr. Lincoln gave the little one back to me
he said: `Tell your father, the rascal, that I forgive
him for the sake of your bright eyes.' ''
He delighted to advocate the cases of those whom
he knew to be wronged, but he would not defend
the cause of the guilty. If he discovered in the
course of a trial that he was on the wrong side,
he lost all interest, and ceased to make any
Once, while engaged in a prosecution, he
discovered that his client's cause was not a good one,
and he refused to make the plea. His associate,
who was less scrupulous, made the plea and obtained
a decision in their favor. The fee was nine
hundred dollars, half of which was tendered to
Mr. Lincoln, but he refused to accept a single
cent of it.
His honesty was strongly illustrated by the way
he kept his accounts with his law-partner. When
he had taken a fee in the latter's absence, he put
one half of it into his own pocket, and laid the
other half carefully away, labeling it ``Billy,''
the name by which he familiarly addressed his
partner. When asked why he did not make a
record of the amount and, for the time being, use
the whole, Mr. Lincoln answered: ``Because I
promised my mother never to use money belonging
to another person.''
Mr. Lincoln made the great speech of his famous
senatorial campaign at Springfield, Illinois. The
convention before which he spoke consisted of a
thousand delegates together with the crowd that
had gathered with them.
His speech was carefully prepared. Every
sentence was guarded and emphatic. It has since
become famous as ``The Divided House'' speech.
Before entering the hall where it was to be
delivered, he stepped into the office of his lawpartner,
Mr. Herndon, and, locking the door, so
that their interview might be private, took his
manuscript from his pocket, and read one of the
opening sentences: ``I believe this government
cannot endure permanently, half slave and half
Mr. Herndon remarked that the sentiment was
true, but suggested that it might not be GOOD POLICY
to utter it at that time.
Mr. Lincoln replied with great firmness: ``No
matter about the POLICY. It is TRUE, and the
nation is entitled to it. The proposition has been
true for six thousand years, and I will deliver it
as it is written.''
A visitor in Washington once had an appointment
to see Mr. Lincoln at five o'clock in the
morning. The gentleman made a hasty toilet
and presented himself at a quarter of five in the
waiting-room of the President. He asked the
usher if he could see Mr. Lincoln.
``No,'' he replied.
``But I have an engagement to meet him this
morning,'' answered the visitor.
``At what hour?'' asked the usher.
``At five o'clock.''
``Well, sir, he will see you at five.''
The visitor waited patiently, walking to and
fro for a few minutes, when he heard a voice as
if in grave conversation.
``Who is talking in the next room?'' he asked.
``It is the President, sir,'' said the usher, who
then explained that it was Mr. Lincoln's custom
to spend every morning from four to five reading
the Scriptures, and praying.
It was on the morning of February 11, 1861, that
the President-elect, together with his family and
a small party of friends, bade adieu to the city
of Springfield, which, alas! he was never to see
A large throng of Springfield citizens assembled
at the railway station to see the departure, and
before the train left Mr. Lincoln addressed them
in the following words:--
``MY FRIENDS: No one, not in my position, can
appreciate the sadness I feel at this parting. To
this people I owe all that I am. Here I have lived
more than a quarter of a century; here my
children were born, and here one of them lies buried.
I know not how soon I shall see you again. A
duty devolves upon me which is, perhaps, greater
than that which has devolved upon any other
man since the days of Washington. He never
would have succeeded except by the aid of Divine
Providence, upon which he at all times relied.
I feel that I cannot succeed without the same
Divine aid which sustained him, and on the same
Almighty Being I place my reliance for support;
and I hope you, my friends, will all pray that
I may receive that Divine assistance, without
which I cannot succeed, but with which success
is certain. Again I bid you an affectionate farewell.''
The good Saint Valentine was a priest at Rome
in the days of Claudius II. He and Saint Marius
aided the Christian martyrs, and for this kind
deed Saint Valentine was apprehended and
dragged before the Prefect of Rome, who condemned
him to be beaten to death with clubs and
to have his head cut off. He suffered martyrdom
on the 14th day of February, about the year 270.
At that time it was the custom in Rome, a very
ancient custom, indeed, to celebrate in the month
of February the Lupercalia, feasts in honor of a
heathen god.
On these occasions, amidst a variety of pagan
ceremonies, the names of young women were
placed in a box, from which they were drawn by
the men as chance directed.
The pastors of the early Christian Church in
Rome endeavored to do away with the pagan
element in these feasts by substituting the names
of saints for those of maidens. And as the
Lupercalia began about the middle of February, the
pastors appear to have chosen Saint Valentine's
Day for the celebration of this new feast.
So it seems that the custom of young men
choosing maidens for valentines, or saints as patrons
for the coming year, arose in this wise.
Charles, Duke of Orleans, who was taken
prisoner at the battle of Agincourt in 1415, and
detained in England twenty-five years, was the
author of the earliest known written valentines.
He left about sixty of them. They were written
during his confinement in the Tower of London,
and are still to be seen among the royal papers
in the British Museum.
One of his valentines reads as follows:--
``Wilt thou be mine? dear Love, reply--
Sweetly consent or else deny.
Whisper softly, none shall know,
Wilt thou be mine, Love?--aye or no?
``Spite of Fortune, we may be
Happy by one word from thee.
Life flies swiftly--ere it go
Wilt thou be mine, Love?--aye or no?''
Last Friday was Valentine's Day, and I'll tell
you what I did the night before. I got five bay
leaves, and pinned four of them to the four corners
of my pillow, and the fifth to the middle; and then
if I dreamt of my sweetheart, Betty said we would
be married before the year was out.
But to make it more sure, I boiled an egg hard,
and took out the yolk, and filled it with salt, and
when I went to bed ate it, shell and all, without
speaking or drinking after it.
We also wrote our lovers' names upon bits of
paper, and rolled them up in clay and put them
into water; and the first that rose up was to be
our valentine. Would you think it? Mr. Blossom
was my man, and I lay abed and shut my eyes
all the morning, till he came to our house, for I
would not have seen another man before him for
all the world.
This morning, came up to my wife's bedside, I
being up dressing myself, little Will Mercer, to
be her valentine; and brought her name writ upon
blue paper in gold letters, done by himself, very
pretty; and we were both well pleased with it.
But I am also this year my wife's valentine;
and it will cost me five pounds; but that I must
have laid out if we had not been valentines.
I find also that Mrs. Pierce's little girl is my
valentine, she having drawn me; which I am not
sorry for, it easing me of something more that I
must have given to others.
But here I do first observe the fashion of
drawing of mottoes as well as names; so that Pierce,
who drew my wife, did draw also a motto, and
this girl drew another for me. What mine was I
have forgot, but my wife's was: ``Most virtuous
and most fair,'' which, as it may be used, or an
anagram made upon each name, might be; very
Once upon a time, through that Destiny that
overrules the gods, Love himself gave up his
immortal heart to a mortal maiden. And thus it
came to pass:--
There was a certain king who had three beautiful
daughters. The two elder married princes of
great renown; but Psyche, the youngest, was so
radiantly fair that no suitor seemed worthy of
her. People thronged to see her pass through the
city, and sang hymns in her praise, while strangers
took her for the very goddess of beauty herself.
This angered Venus, and she resolved to cast
down her earthly rival. One day, therefore, she
called hither her son, Love (Cupid, some name
him), and bade him sharpen his weapons. He is
an archer more to be dreaded than Apollo, for
Apollo's arrows take life, but Love's bring joy
or sorrow for a whole life long.
``Come, Love,'' said Venus. ``There is a mortal
maid who robs me of my honors in yonder city.
Avenge your mother. Wound this precious
Psyche, and let her fall in love with some churlish
creature mean in the eyes of all men.''
Cupid made ready his weapons, and flew down
to earth invisibly. At that moment Psyche was
asleep in her chamber; but he touched her heart
with his golden arrow of love, and she opened her
eyes so suddenly that he started (forgetting that
he was invisible), and wounded himself with his
own shaft. Heedless of the hurt, moved only by
the loveliness of the maiden, he hastened to pour
over her locks the healing joy that he ever kept
by him, undoing all his work. Back to her dream
the princess went, unshadowed by any thought of
love. But Cupid, not so light of heart, returned
to the heavens, saying not a word of what had
Venus waited long; then, seeing that Psyche's
heart had somehow escaped love, she sent a spell
upon the maiden. From that time, lovely as she
was, not a suitor came to woo; and her parents,
who desired to see her a queen at least, made a
journey to the Oracle, and asked counsel.
Said the voice: ``The Princess Psyche shall
never wed a mortal. She shall be given to one
who waits for her on yonder mountain; he overcomes
gods and men.''
At this terrible sentence the poor parents were
half-distraught, and the people gave themselves
up to grief at the fate in store for their beloved
princess. Psyche alone bowed to her destiny.
``We have angered Venus unwittingly,'' she said,
``and all for sake of me, heedless maiden that
I am! Give me up, therefore, dear father and
mother. If I atone, it may be that the city will
prosper once more.''
So she besought them, until, after many
unavailing denials, the parents consented; and with
a great company of people they led Psyche up
the mountain,--as an offering to the monster
of whom the Oracle had spoken,--and left her
there alone.
Full of courage, yet in a secret agony of grief,
she watched her kindred and her people wind
down the mountain-path, too sad to look back,
until they were lost to sight. Then, indeed, she
wept, but a sudden breeze drew near, dried her
tears, and caressed her hair, seeming to murmur
comfort. In truth, it was Zephyr, the kindly
West Wind, come to befriend her; and as she took
heart, feeling some benignant presence, he lifted
her in his arms, and carried her on wings as even
as a sea-gull's, over the crest of the fateful
mountain and into a valley below. There he left her,
resting on a bank of hospitable grass, and there
the princess fell asleep.
When she awoke, it was near sunset. She
looked about her for some sign of the monster's
approach; she wondered, then, if her grievous
trial had been but a dream. Near by she saw a
sheltering forest, whose young trees seemed to
beckon as one maid beckons to another; and
eager for the protection of the dryads, she went
The call of running waters drew her farther
and farther, till she came out upon an open
place, where there was a wide pool. A fountain
fluttered gladly in the midst of it, and beyond
there stretched a white palace wonderful to see.
Coaxed by the bright promise of the place, she
drew near, and, seeing no one, entered softly. It
was all kinglier than her father's home, and as
she stood in wonder and awe, soft airs stirred
about her. Little by little the silence grew
murmurous like the woods, and one voice, sweeter
than the rest, took words. ``All that you see is
yours, gentle high princess,'' it said. ``Fear
nothing; only command us, for we are here to serve
Full of amazement and delight, Psyche
followed the voice from hall to hall, and through
the lordly rooms, beautiful with everything that
could delight a young princess. No pleasant
thing was lacking. There was even a pool, brightly
tiled and fed with running waters, where she
bathed her weary limbs; and after she had put on
the new and beautiful raiment that lay ready for
her, she sat down to break her fast, waited upon
and sung to by the unseen spirits.
Surely he whom the Oracle had called her
husband was no monster, but some beneficent power,
invisible like all the rest. When daylight waned
he came, and his voice, the beautiful voice of a
god, inspired her to trust her strange destiny and
to look and long for his return. Often she begged
him to stay with her through the day, that she
might see his face; but this he would not grant.
``Never doubt me, dearest Psyche,'' said he.
``Perhaps you would fear if you saw me, and love
is all I ask. There is a necessity that keeps me
hidden now. Only believe.''
So for many days Psyche was content; but
when she grew used to happiness, she thought
once more of her parents mourning her as lost,
and of her sisters who shared the lot of mortals
while she lived as a goddess. One night she told
her husband of these regrets, and begged that
her sisters at least might come to see her. He
sighed, but did not refuse.
``Zephyr shall bring them hither,'' said he.
And on the following morning, swift as a bird,
the West Wind came over the crest of the high
mountain and down into the enchanted valley,
bearing her two sisters.
They greeted Psyche with joy and amazement,
hardly knowing how they had come hither. But
when this fairest of the sisters led them through
her palace and showed them all the treasures that
were hers, envy grew in their hearts and choked
their old love. Even while they sat at feast with
her, they grew more and more bitter; and hoping
to find some little flaw in her good fortune, they
asked a thousand questions.
``Where is your husband?'' said they. ``And
why is he not here with you?''
``Ah,'' stammered Psyche. ``All the day long
--he is gone, hunting upon the mountains.''
``But what does he look like?'' they asked; and
Psyche could find no answer.
When they learned that she had never seen
him, they laughed her faith to scorn.
``Poor Psyche,'' they said. ``You are walking
in a dream. Wake, before it is too late. Have you
forgotten what the Oracle decreed,--that you
were destined for a dreadful creature, the fear of
gods and men? And are you deceived by this
show of kindliness? We have come to warn you.
The people told us, as we came over the mountain,
that your husband is a dragon, who feeds
you well for the present, that he may feast the
better, some day soon. What is it that you trust?
Good words! But only take a dagger some night,
and when the monster is asleep go, light a lamp,
and look at him. You can put him to death easily,
and all his riches will be yours--and ours.''
Psyche heard this wicked plan with horror.
Nevertheless, after her sisters were gone, she
brooded over what they had said, not seeing their
evil intent; and she came to find some wisdom
in their words. Little by little, suspicion ate, like
a moth, into her lovely mind; and at nightfall, in
shame and fear, she hid a lamp and a dagger in
her chamber. Towards midnight, when her husband
was fast asleep, up she rose, hardly daring
to breathe; and coming softly to his side, she
uncovered the lamp to see some horror.
But there the youngest of the gods lay
sleeping,--most beautiful, most irresistible of all
immortals. His hair shone golden as the sun, his
face was radiant as dear Springtime, and from
his shoulders sprang two rainbow wings.
Poor Psyche was overcome with self-reproach.
As she leaned towards him, filled with worship,
her trembling hands held the lamp ill, and some
burning oil fell upon Love's shoulder and awakened him.
He opened his eyes, to see at once his bride and
the dark suspicion in her heart.
``O doubting Psyche!'' he exclaimed with
sudden grief,--and then he flew away, out of the
Wild with sorrow, Psyche tried to follow, but
she fell to the ground instead. When she recovered
her senses, she stared about her. She was
alone, and the place was beautiful no longer.
Garden and palace had vanished with Love.
Over mountains and valleys Psyche journeyed
alone until she came to the city where her two
envious sisters lived with the princes whom they
had married. She stayed with them only long
enough to tell the story of her unbelief and its
penalty. Then she set out again to search for
As she wandered one day, travel-worn but not
hopeless, she saw a lofty palace on a hill near by,
and she turned her steps thither. The place
seemed deserted. Within the hall she saw no
human being,--only heaps of grain, loose ears of
corn half torn from the husk, wheat and barley,
alike scattered in confusion on the floor. Without
delay, she set to work binding the sheaves together
and gathering the scattered ears of corn
in seemly wise, as a princess would wish to see
them. While she was in the midst of her task, a
voice startled her, and she looked up to behold
Demeter herself, the goddess of the harvest,
smiling upon her with good will.
``Dear Psyche,'' said Demeter, ``you are
worthy of happiness, and you may find it yet.
But since you have displeased Venus, go to her
and ask her favor. Perhaps your patience will win
her pardon.''
These motherly words gave Psyche heart, and
she reverently took leave of the goddess and set
out for the temple of Venus. Most humbly she
offered up her prayer, but Venus could not look
at her earthly beauty without anger.
``Vain girl,'' said she, ``perhaps you have come
to make amends for the wound you dealt your
husband; you shall do so. Such clever people can
always find work!''
Then she led Psyche into a great chamber
heaped high with mingled grain, beans, and lentils
(the food of her doves), and bade her separate
them all and have them ready in seemly fashion
by night. Heracles would have been helpless before
such a vexatious task; and poor Psyche, left
alone in this desert of grain, had not courage to
begin. But even as she sat there, a moving thread
of black crawled across the floor from a crevice
in the wall; and bending nearer, she saw that a
great army of ants in columns had come to her
aid. The zealous little creatures worked in
swarms, with such industry over the work they
like best, that, when Venus came at night, she
found the task completed.
``Deceitful girl,'' she cried, shaking the roses
out of her hair with impatience, ``this is my son's
work, not yours. But he will soon forget you.
Eat this black bread if you are hungry, and refresh
your dull mind with sleep. To-morrow you
will need more wit.''
Psyche wondered what new misfortune could
be in store for her. But when morning came,
Venus led her to the brink of a river, and,
pointing to the wood across the water, said: ``Go now
to yonder grove where the sheep with the golden
fleece are wont to browse. Bring me a golden lock
from every one of them, or you must go your
ways and never come back again.''
This seemed not difficult, and Psyche
obediently bade the goddess farewell, and stepped into
the water, ready to wade across. But as Venus
disappeared, the reeds sang louder and the
nymphs of the river, looking up sweetly, blew
bubbles to the surface and murmured: ``Nay,
nay, have a care, Psyche. This flock has not the
gentle ways of sheep. While the sun burns aloft,
they are themselves as fierce as flame; but when
the shadows are long, they go to rest and sleep,
under the trees; and you may cross the river
without fear and pick the golden fleece off the briers
in the pasture.''
Thanking the water-creatures, Psyche sat
down to rest near them, and when the time came,
she crossed in safety and followed their counsel.
By twilight she returned to Venus with her arms
full of shining fleece.
``No mortal wit did this,'' said Venus angrily.
``But if you care to prove your readiness, go now,
with this little box, down to Proserpina and ask
her to enclose in it some of her beauty, for I have
grown pale in caring for my wounded son.''
It needed not the last taunt to sadden Psyche.
She knew that it was not for mortals to go into
Hades and return alive; and feeling that Love had
forsaken her, she was minded to accept her doom
as soon as might be.
But even as she hastened towards the descent,
another friendly voice detained her. ``Stay,
Psyche, I know your grief. Only give ear and
you shall learn a safe way through all these trials.''
And the voice went on to tell her how one might
avoid all the dangers of Hades and come out unscathed.
(But such a secret could not pass from
mouth to mouth, with the rest of the story.)
``And be sure,'' added the voice, ``when
Proserpina has returned the box, not to open it,
ever much you may long to do so.''
Psyche gave heed, and by this device, whatever
it was, she found her way into Hades safely, and
made her errand known to Proserpina, and was
soon in the upper world again, wearied but hopeful.
``Surely Love has not forgotten me,'' she said.
``But humbled as I am and worn with toil, how
shall I ever please him? Venus can never need all
the beauty in this casket; and since I use it for
Love's sake, it must be right to take some.'' So
saying, she opened the box, heedless as Pandora!
The spells and potions of Hades are not for mortal
maids, and no sooner had she inhaled the strange
aroma than she fell down like one dead, quite
But it happened that Love himself was recovered
from his wound, and he had secretly fled
from his chamber to seek out and rescue Psyche.
He found her lying by the wayside; he gathered
into the casket what remained of the philter, and
awoke his beloved.
``Take comfort,'' he said, smiling. ``Return to
our mother and do her bidding till I come again.''
Away he flew; and while Psyche went cheerily
homeward, he hastened up to Olympus, where all
the gods sat feasting, and begged them to intercede
for him with his angry mother.
They heard his story and their hearts were
touched. Zeus himself coaxed Venus with kind
words till at last she relented, and remembered
that anger hurt her beauty, and smiled once
more. All the younger gods were for welcoming
Psyche at once, and Hermes was sent to bring
her hither. The maiden came, a shy newcomer
among those bright creatures. She took the cup
that Hebe held out to her, drank the divine
ambrosia, and became immortal.
Light came to her face like moonrise, two
radiant wings sprang from her shoulders; and even
as a butterfly bursts from its dull cocoon, so the
human Psyche blossomed into immortality.
Love took her by the hand, and they were
never parted any more.
When George was about six years old, he was
made the wealthy master of a hatchet of which,
like most little boys, he was extremely fond. He
went about chopping everything that came his
One day, as he wandered about the garden
amusing himself by hacking his mother's peasticks,
he found a beautiful, young English cherry
tree, of which his father was most proud. He
tried the edge of his hatchet on the trunk of the
tree and barked it so that it died.
Some time after this, his father discovered what
had happened to his favorite tree. He came into
the house in great anger, and demanded to know
who the mischievous person was who had cut
away the bark. Nobody could tell him anything
about it.
Just then George, with his little hatchet, came
into the room.
``George,'' said his father, ``do you know who
has killed my beautiful little cherry tree yonder
in the garden? I would not have taken five
guineas for it!''
This was a hard question to answer, and for a
moment George was staggered by it, but quickly
recovering himself he cried:--
``I cannot tell a lie, father, you know I cannot
tell a lie! I did cut it with my little hatchet.''
The anger died out of his father's face, and
taking the boy tenderly in his arms, he said:--
``My son, that you should not be afraid to tell
the truth is more to me than a thousand trees!
yes, though they were blossomed with silver and
had leaves of the purest gold!''
One fine morning in the autumn Mr. Washington,
taking little George by the hand, walked
with him to the apple orchard, promising that he
would show him a fine sight.
On arriving at the orchard they saw a fine sight,
indeed! The green grass under the trees was
strewn with red-cheeked apples, and yet the
trees were bending under the weight of fruit that
hung thick among the leaves.
``Now, George,'' said his father, ``look, my
son, see all this rich harvest of fruit! Do you
remember when your good cousin brought you a
fine, large apple last spring, how you refused to
divide it with your brothers? And yet I told you
then that, if you would be generous, God would
give you plenty of apples this autumn.''
Poor George could not answer, but hanging
down his head looked quite confused, while with
his little, naked, bare feet he scratched in the soft
``Now, look up, my son,'' continued his father,
``and see how the blessed God has richly provided
us with these trees loaded with the finest fruit.
See how abundant is the harvest. Some of the
trees are bending beneath their burdens, while the
ground is covered with mellow apples, more than
you could eat, my son, in all your lifetime.''
George looked in silence on the orchard, he
marked the busy, humming bees, and heard the
gay notes of the birds fluttering from tree to tree.
His eyes filled with tears and he answered softly:--
``Truly, father, I never will be selfish any
One day Mr. Washington went into the garden
and dug a little bed of earth and prepared it for
seed. He then took a stick and traced on the bed
George's name in full. After this he strewed the
tracing thickly with seeds, and smoothed all over
nicely with his roller.
This garden-bed he purposely prepared close
to a gooseberry-walk. The bushes were hung with
the ripe fruit, and he knew that George would
visit them every morning.
Not many days had passed away when one
morning George came running into the house,
breathless with excitement, and his eyes shining
with happiness.
``Come here! father, come here!'' he cried.
``What's the matter, my son?'' asked his
``O come, father,'' answered George, ``and I'll
show you such a sight as you have never seen in
all your lifetime.''
Mr. Washington gave the boy his hand, which
he seized with great eagerness. He led his father
straight to the garden-bed, whereon in large
letters, in lines of soft green, was written:--
There is a story told of George Washington's
boyhood,--unfortunately there are not many
stories,--which is to the point. His father had
taken a great deal of pride in his blooded horses,
and his mother afterward took pains to keep the
stock pure. She had several young horses that
had not yet been broken, and one of them in
particular, a sorrel, was extremely spirited. No
one had been able to do anything with it, and it
was pronounced thoroughly vicious as people are
apt to pronounce horses which they have not
learned to master.
George was determined to ride this colt, and
told his companions that if they would help him
catch it, he would ride and tame it.
Early in the morning they set out for the
pasture, where the boys managed to surround the
sorrel, and then to put a bit into its mouth.
Washington sprang upon its back, the boys
dropped the bridle, and away flew the angry
Its rider at once began to command. The horse
resisted, backing about the field, rearing and
plunging. The boys became thoroughly alarmed,
but Washington kept his seat, never once losing
his self-control or his mastery of the colt.
The struggle was a sharp one; when suddenly,
as if determined to rid itself of its rider, the
creature leaped into the air with a tremendous bound.
It was its last. The violence burst a blood-vessel,
and the noble horse fell dead.
Before the boys could sufficiently recover to
consider how they should extricate themselves
from the scrape, they were called to breakfast;
and the mistress of the house, knowing that they
had been in the fields, began to ask after her
``Pray, young gentlemen,'' said she, ``have you
seen my blooded colts in your rambles? I hope
they are well taken care of. My favorite, I am
told, is as large as his sire.''
The boys looked at one another, and no one
liked to speak. Of course the mother repeated
her question.
``The sorrel is dead, madam,'' said her son, ``I
killed him.''
And then he told the whole story. They say
that his mother flushed with anger, as her son
often used to, and then, like him, controlled
herself, and presently said, quietly:--
``It is well; but while I regret the loss of my
favorite, I rejoice in my son who always speaks
the truth.''
Many stories are told of the mighty power of
Washington's right arm. It is said that he once
threw a stone from the bed of the stream to the
top of the Natural Bridge, in Virginia.
Again, we are told that once upon a time he
rounded a piece of slate to the size of a silver
dollar, and threw it across the Rappahannock at
Fredericksburg, the slate falling at least thirty
feet on the other side. Many strong men have
since tried the same feat, but have never cleared
the water.
Peale, who was called the soldier-artist, was
once visiting Washington at Mount Vernon. One
day, he tells us, some athletic young men were
pitching the iron bar in the presence of their host.
Suddenly, without taking off his coat, Washington
grasped the bar and hurled it, with little effort,
much farther than any of them had done.
``We were, indeed, amazed,'' said one of the
young men, ``as we stood round, all stripped to
the buff, and having thought ourselves very
clever fellows, while the Colonel, on retiring,
pleasantly said:--
`` `When you beat my pitch, young gentlemen,
I'll try again.' ''
At another time, Washington witnessed a
wrestling-match. The champion of the day
challenged him, in sport, to wrestle. Washington did
not stop to take off his coat, but grasped the
``strong man of Virginia.'' It was all over in a
moment, for, said the wrestler, ``In Washington's
lionlike grasp I became powerless, and was hurled
to the ground with a force that seemed to jar the
very marrow in my bones.''
In the days of the Revolution, some of the
riflemen and the backwoodsmen were men of
gigantic strength, but it was generally believed
by good judges that their commander-in-chief
was the strongest man in the army.
Washington as soon as Fort Duquesne had fallen
hurried home, resigned his commission, and was
married. The sunshine and glitter of the wedding
day must have appeared to Washington deeply
appropriate, for he certainly seemed to have all
that heart of man could desire. Just twentyseven,
in the first flush of young manhood, keen
of sense and yet wise in experience, life must have
looked very fair and smiling. He had left the
army with a well-earned fame, and had come
home to take the wife of his choice, and enjoy the
good will and respect of all men.
While away on his last campaign he had been
elected a member of the House of Burgesses, and
when he took his seat, on removing to Williamsburg,
three months after his marriage, Mr. Robinson,
the Speaker, thanked him publicly in eloquent
words for his services to the country.
Washington rose to reply, but he was so utterly
unable to talk about himself that he stood before
the House stammering and blushing until the
Speaker said:--
``Sit down, Mr. Washington, your modesty
equals your valor, and that surpasses the power
of any language I possess.''
During the assault Washington stood in an
embrasure of the grand battery, watching the
advance of the men. He was always given to
exposing himself recklessly when there was
fighting to be done, but not when he was only an
This night, however, he was much exposed to
the enemy's fire. One of his aides, anxious and
disturbed for his safety, told him that the place
was perilous.
``If you think so,'' was the quiet answer, ``you
are at liberty to step back.''
The moment was too exciting, too fraught with
meaning, to think of peril. The old fighting spirit
of Braddock's field was unchained for the last
time. He would have liked to head the American
assault, sword in hand, and as he could not do
that, he stood as near his troops as he could,
utterly regardless of the bullets whistling in the
air about him. Who can wonder at his intense
excitement at that moment?
Others saw a brilliant storming of two outworks,
but to Washington the whole Revolution
and all the labor and thought and conflict of six
years were culminating in the smoke and din on
those redoubts, while out of the dust and heat of
the sharp, quick fight success was coming.
He had waited long, and worked hard, and his
whole soul went out as he watched the troops
cross the abatis and scale the works. He could
have no thought of danger then, and when all was
over, he turned to Knox and said:--
``The work is done, and well done. Bring me
my horse.''
``Let me hire you as a nurse for my poor children,''
said a butterfly to a quiet caterpillar, who
was strolling along a cabbage-leaf in her odd,
lumbering fashion.
``See these little eggs,'' continued the
butterfly; ``I do not know how long it will be before they
come to life, and I feel very sick. If I should die,
who will take care of my baby butterflies when
I am gone? Will you, kind, mild, green caterpillar?
They cannot, of course, live on your
rough food. You must give them early dew, and
honey from the flowers, and you must let them
fly about only a little way at first. Dear me! it is
a sad pity that you cannot fly yourself. Dear,
dear! I cannot think what made me come and
lay my eggs on a cabbage-leaf! What a place for
young butterflies to be bore upon! Here, take
this gold-dust from my wings as a reward. Oh,
how dizzy I am! Caterpillar! you will remember
about the food--''
And with these words the butterfiy drooped
her wings and died. The green caterpillar, who
had not had the opportunity of even saying
``yes'' or ``no'' to the request, was left standing
alone by the side of the butterfly's eggs.
``A pretty nurse she has chosen, indeed, poor
lady!'' exclaimed she, ``and a pretty business I
have in hand. Why did she ever ask a poor crawling
creature like me to bring up her dainty little
ones! Much they'll mind me, truly, when they
feel the gay wings on their backs, and can fly
However, the poor butterfly was dead, and
there lay the eggs on the cabbage-leaf, and the
green caterpillar had a kind heart, so she resolved
to do her best.
``But two heads are better than one,'' said she;
``I will consult some wise animal on the matter.''
Then she thought and thought till at last she
thought of the lark, and she fancied that because
he went up so high, and nobody knew where he
went to, he must be very clever and know a great
Now in the neighboring cornfield there lived
a lark, and the caterpillar sent a message to him,
begging him to come and talk to her. When he
came she told him all her difficulties, and asked
him how she was to feed and rear the little butterfly
``Perhaps you will be able to inquire and learn
something about it the next time you go up high,''
said the caterpillar timidly.
``Perhaps I can,'' answered the lark; and then
he went singing upwards into the bright, blue
sky, till the green caterpillar could not hear a
sound, nor could she see him any more. So she
began to walk round the butterfly's eggs, nibbling
a bit of the cabbage-leaf now and then as she
moved along.
``What a time the lark has been gone!'' she
cried at last. ``I wonder where he is just now. He
must have flown higher than usual this time. How
I should like to know where he goes, and what he
hears in that curious blue sky! He always sings
going up and coming down, but he never lets any
secret out.''
And the green caterpillar took another turn
round the butterfly's eggs.
At last the lark's voice began to be heard again.
The caterpillar almost jumped for joy, and it was
not long before she saw her friend descend with
hushed note to the cabbage bed.
``News, news, glorious news, friend caterpillar!''
sang the lark, ``but the worst of it is, you won't
believe me!''
``I believe anything I am told,'' said the
caterpillar hastily.
``Well, then, first of all, I will tell you what
those little creatures are to eat''--and the lark
nodded his head toward the eggs. ``What do you
think it is to be? Guess!''
``Dew and honey out of the flowers, I am
afraid!'' sighed the caterpillar.
``No such thing, my good friend,'' cried the
lark exultantly; ``you are to feed them with
``Never!'' said the caterpillar indignantly.
``It was their mother's last request that I should
feed them on dew and honey.''
``Their mother knew nothing about the matter,''
answered the lark; ``but why do you ask
me, and then disbelieve what I say? You have
neither faith nor trust.''
``Oh, I believe everything I am told,'' said the
``Nay, but you do not,'' replied the lark.
``Why, caterpillar, what do you think those
little eggs will turn out to be?''
``Butterflies, to be sure,'' said the caterpillar.
``CATERPILLARS!'' sang the lark; ``and you'll find
it out in time.'' And the lark flew away.
``I thought the lark was wise and kind,''
said the mild, green caterpillar to herself, once
more beginning to walk round the eggs, ``but
I find that he is foolish and saucy instead.
Perhaps he went up TOO high this time. How
I wonder what he sees, and what he does up
``I would tell you if you would believe me,''
sang the lark, descending once more.
``I believe everything I am told,'' answered
the caterpillar.
``Then I'll tell you something else,'' cried the
``Wretched bird,'' exclaimed the caterpillar,
``you are making fun of me. You are now cruel
as well as foolish! Go away! I will ask your advice
no more.''
``I told you you would not believe me,'' cried
the lark.
``I believe everything I am told,'' persisted the
caterpillar,--``everything that it is REASONABLE to
believe. But to tell me that butterflies' eggs are
caterpillars, and that caterpillars leave off crawling
and get wings and become butterflies!--
Lark! you do not believe such nonsense yourself!
You know it is impossible!''
``I know no such thing,'' said the lark. ``When
I hover over the cornfields, or go up into the
depths of the sky, I see so many wonderful things
that I know there must be more. O caterpillar!
it is because you CRAWL, and never get beyond
your cabbage-leaf, that you call anything IMPOSSIBLE.''
``Nonsense,'' shouted the caterpillar, ``I know
what's possible and what's impossible. Look at
my long, green body, and many legs, and then
talk to me about having wings! Fool!''
``More foolish you!'' cried the indignant lark,
``to attempt to reason about what you cannot
understand. Do you not hear how my song
swells with rejoicing as I soar upwards to the
mysterious wonder-world above? Oh, caterpillar,
what comes from thence, receive as I do,--on
``What do you mean by that?'' asked the caterpillar.
``ON FAITH,'' answered the lark.
``How am I to learn faith?'' asked the caterpillar.
At that moment she felt something at her side.
She looked round,--eight or ten little green
caterpillars were moving about, and had already
made a hole in the cabbage-leaf. They had
broken from the butterfly's eggs!
Shame and amazement filled the green caterpillar's
heart, but joy soon followed. For as the
first wonder was possible, the second might be so
``Teach me your lesson, lark,'' she cried.
And the lark sang to her of the wonders of
the earth below and of the heaven above. And the
caterpillar talked all the rest of her life of the
time when she should become a butterfly.
But no one believed her. She nevertheless had
learned the lark's lesson of faith, and when she
was going into her chrysalis, she said:--
``I shall be a butterfly some day!''
But her relations thought her head was wandering,
and they said, ``Poor thing!''
And when she was a butterfly, and was going
to die she said:--
``I have known many wonders,--I HAVE FAITH,
--I can trust even now for the wonder that shall
come next.''
There was once a child, and he strolled about a
good deal, and thought of a number of things. He
had a sister, who was a child, too, and his constant
companion. These two used to wonder all
day long. They wondered at the beauty of the
flowers; they wondered at the height and blueness
of the sky; they wondered at the depth of the
bright water; they wondered at the goodness and
the power of God who made the lovely world.
They used to say to one another, sometimes:
``Supposing all the children upon earth were to
die, would the flowers, and the water, and the sky
be sorry?'' They believed they would be sorry.
``For,''said they, ``the buds are the children of the
flowers, and the little playful streams that gambol
down the hillsides are the children of the water;
and the smallest, bright specks playing at hide
and seek in the sky all night, must surely be the
children of the stars; and they would all be
grieved to see their playmates, the children of
men, no more.''
There was one clear, shining star that used to
come out in the sky before the rest, near the
church spire, above the graves. It was larger and
more beautiful, they thought, than all the others,
and every night they watched for it, standing
hand in hand at a window. Whoever saw it first
cried out: ``I see the star!'' And often they cried
out both together, knowing so well when it would
rise, and where. So they grew to be such friends
with it, that, before lying down in their beds, they
always looked out once again, to bid it good-night;
and when they were turning round to sleep, they
used to say: ``God bless the star!''
But while she was still very young, oh, very,
very young, the sister drooped, and came to be so
weak that she could no longer stand in the window
at night; and then the child looked sadly
out by himself, and when he saw the star turned
round and said to the patient, pale face on the
bed: ``I see the star!'' and then a smile would
come upon the face, and a little weak voice used
to say: ``God bless my brother and the star!''
And so the time came all too soon, when the
child looked out alone, and when there was no
face on the bed; and when there was a little grave
among the graves, not there before; and when the
star made long rays down towards him, as he saw
it through his tears.
Now, these rays were so bright, and they
seemed to make such a shining way from earth to
heaven, that when the child went to his solitary
bed he dreamed about the star; and dreamed
that, lying where he was, he saw a train of people
taken up that sparkling road by angels. And the
star, opening, showed him a great world of light,
where many more such angels waited to receive
All these angels, who were waiting, turned their
beaming eyes upon the people who were carried
up into the star; and some came out from the
long rows in which they stood, and fell upon the
people's necks, and kissed them tenderly, and
went away with them down avenues of light, and
were so happy in their company, that lying in his
bed he wept for joy.
But there were many angels who did not go
with them, and among them one he knew. The
patient face, that once had lain upon the bed,
was glorified and radiant, but his heart found out
his sister among all the host.
His sister's angel lingered near the entrance of
the star, and said to the leader among those who
had brought the people thither:--
``Is my brother come?''
And he said: ``No.''
She was turning hopefully away, when the
child stretched out his arms, and cried: ``O sister,
I am here! Take me!'' And then she turned her
beaming eyes upon him, and it was night; and
the star was shining into the room, making long
rays down towards him, as he saw it through his
From that hour forth, the child looked out
upon the star as on the home he was to go to
when his time should come; and he thought that
he did not belong to the earth alone, but to
the star, too, because of his sister's angel gone
There was a baby born to be a brother to the
child; and while he was so little that he never yet
had spoken word, he stretched his tiny form out
on his bed, and died.
Again the child dreamed of the open star, and
of the company of angels, and the train of people,
and the rows of angels with their beaming eyes
all turned upon those people's faces.
Said his sister's angel to the leader:--
``Is my brother come?''
And he said: ``Not that one, but another.''
As the child beheld his brother's angel in her
arms, he cried: ``O sister, I am here! Take me!''
And she turned and smiled upon him, and the
star was shining.
He grew to be a young man, and was busy at
his books, when an old servant came to him and
``Thy mother is no more. I bring her blessing
on her darling son.''
Again at night he saw the star, and all that
former company. Said his sister's angel to the
``Is my brother come?''
And he said: ``Thy mother!''
A mighty cry of joy went forth through all the
star, because the mother was reunited to her two
children. And he stretched out his arms and
cried: ``O mother, sister, and brother, I am here!
Take me!'' And they answered him: ``Not yet.''
And the star was shining.
He grew to be a man, whose hair was turning
gray, and he was sitting in his chair by the fireside,
heavy with grief, and with his face bedewed
with tears, when the star opened once again.
Said his sister's angel to the leader:--
``Is my brother come?''
And he said: ``Nay, but his maiden daughter.''
And the man, who had been the child, saw his
daughter, newly lost to him, a celestial creature
among those three, and he said: ``My daughter's
head is on my sister's bosom, and her arm is
around my mother's neck, and at her feet there
is the baby of old time, and I can bear the parting
from her, God be praised!''
And the star was shining.
Thus the child came to be an old man, and his
once smooth face was wrinkled, and his steps were
slow and feeble, and his back was bent. And one
night as he lay upon his bed, his children standing
round, he cried, as he had cried so long ago:--
``I see the star!''
They whispered one to another: ``He is dying.''
And he said: ``I am. My age is falling from me
like a garment, and I move towards the star as a
child. And, O my Father, now I thank Thee that
it has so often opened to receive those dear ones
who await me!''
And the star was shining; and it shines upon
his grave.
Once there reigned a queen, in whose garden were
found the most glorious flowers at all seasons and
from all the lands of the world. But more than all
others she loved the roses, and she had many
kinds of this flower, from the wild dog-rose with
its apple-scented green leaves to the most splendid,
large, crimson roses. They grew against the
garden walls, wound themselves around the pillars
and wind-frames, and crept through the
windows into the rooms, and all along the ceilings
in the halls. And the roses were of many colors,
and of every fragrance and form.
But care and sorrow dwelt in those halls. The
queen lay upon a sick-bed, and the doctors said
she must die.
``There is still one thing that can save her,''
said the wise man. ``Bring her the loveliest rose
in the world, the rose that is the symbol of the
purest, the brightest love. If that is held before
her eyes ere they close, she will not die.''
Then old and young came from every side with
roses, the loveliest that bloomed in each garden,
but they were not of the right sort. The flower
was to be plucked from the Garden of Love. But
what rose in all that garden expressed the highest
and purest love?
And the poets sang of the loveliest rose in the
world,--of the love of maid and youth, and of
the love of dying heroes.
``But they have not named the right flower,''
said the wise man. ``They have not pointed out
the place where it blooms in its splendor. It is
not the rose that springs from the hearts of youthful
lovers, though this rose will ever be fragrant
in song. It is not the bloom that sprouts from the
blood flowing from the breast of the hero who
dies for his country, though few deaths are
sweeter than his, and no rose is redder than the
blood that flows then. Nor is it the wondrous
flower to which man devotes many a sleepless
night and much of his fresh life,--the magic
flower of science.''
``But I know where it blooms,'' said a happy
mother, who came with her pretty child to the
bedside of the dying queen. ``I know where the
loveliest rose of love may be found. It springs in
the blooming cheeks of my sweet child, when,
waking from sleep, it opens its eyes and smiles
tenderly at me.''
``Lovely is this rose, but there is a lovelier still,''
said the wise man.
``I have seen the loveliest, purest rose that
blooms,'' said a woman. ``I saw it on the cheeks
of the queen. She had taken off her golden crown.
And in the long, dreary night she carried her sick
child in her arms. She wept, kissed it, and prayed
for her child.''
``Holy and wonderful is the white rose of a
mother's grief,'' answered the wise man, ``but it
is not the one we seek.''
``The loveliest rose in the world I saw at the
altar of the Lord,'' said the good Bishop, ``the
young maidens went to the Lord's Table. Roses
were blushing and pale roses shining on their fresh
cheeks. A young girl stood there. She looked
with all the love and purity of her spirit up to
heaven. That was the expression of the highest
and purest love.''
``May she be blessed,'' said the wise man, ``but
not one of you has yet named the loveliest rose
in the world.''
Then there came into the room a child, the
queen's little son.
``Mother,'' cried the boy, ``only hear what I
have read.''
And the child sat by the bedside and read from
the Book of Him who suffered death upon the
cross to save men, and even those who were not
yet born. ``Greater love there is not.''
And a rosy glow spread over the cheeks of the
queen, and her eyes gleamed, for she saw that
from the leaves of the Book there bloomed the
loveliest rose, that sprang from the blood of
Christ shed on the cross.
``I see it!'' she said, ``he who beholds this, the
loveliest rose on earth, shall never die.''
(MAY 1)
[1] From For the Children's Hour, by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey and
Clara M. Lewis. Copyright by the Milton Bradley Company.
The snow lay deep, for it was winter-time. The
winter winds blew cold, but there was one house
where all was snug and warm. And in the house
lay a little flower; in its bulb it lay, under the
earth and the snow.
One day the rain fell and it trickled through the
ice and snow down into the ground. And presently
a sunbeam, pointed and slender, pierced
down through the earth, and tapped on the bulb.
``Come in,'' said the flower.
``I can't do that,'' said the sunbeam; ``I'm not
strong enough to lift the latch. I shall be stronger
when springtime comes.''
``When will it be spring?'' asked the flower of
every little sunbeam that rapped on its door. But
for a long time it was winter. The ground was still
covered with snow, and every night there was ice in
the water. The flower grew quite tired of waiting.
``How long it is!'' it said. ``I feel quite cramped.
I must stretch myself and rise up a little. I must
lift the latch, and look out, and say `good-morning'
to the spring.''
So the flower pushed and pushed. The walls
were softened by the rain and warmed by the
little sunbeams, so the flower shot up from under
the snow, with a pale green bud on its stalk and
some long narrow leaves on either side. It was
biting cold.
``You are a little too early,'' said the wind and
the weather; but every sunbeam sang: ``Welcome,''
and the flower raised its head from the
snow and unfolded itself--pure and white, and
decked with green stripes.
It was weather to freeze it to pieces,--such
a delicate little flower,--but it was stronger than
any one knew. It stood in its white dress in the
white snow, bowing its head when the snowflakes
fell, and raising it again to smile at the
sunbeams, and every day it grew sweeter.
``Oh!'' shouted the children, as they ran into
the garden, ``see the snowdrop! There it stands
so pretty, so beautiful,--the first, the only one!''
[2] From Deutsches Drittes Lesebuch, by W. H. Weick and C.
Grebner. Copyright, 1886, by Van Antwerp, Bragg & Co. American
Book Company, publishers.
There were once three little butterfly brothers,
one white, one red, and one yellow. They played
in the sunshine, and danced among the flowers
in the garden, and they never grew tired because
they were so happy.
One day there came a heavy rain, and it wet
their wings. They flew away home, but when
they got there they found the door locked and the
key gone. So they had to stay out of doors in the
rain, and they grew wetter and wetter.
By and by they flew to the red and yellow
striped tulip, and said: ``Friend Tulip, will you
open your flower-cup and let us in till the storm
is over?''
The tulip answered: ``The red and yellow
butterflies may enter, because they are like me, but
the white one may not come in.''
But the red and yellow butterflies said: ``If our
white brother may not find shelter in your flowercup,
why, then, we'll stay outside in the rain with
It rained harder and harder, and the poor little
butterflies grew wetter and wetter, so they flew
to the white lily and said: ``Good Lily, will you
open your bud a little so we may creep in out of
the rain?''
The lily answered: ``The white butterfly may
come in, because he is like me, but the red and
yellow ones must stay outside in the storm.''
Then the little white butterfly said: ``If you
won't receive my red and yellow brothers, why,
then, I'll stay out in the rain with them. We
would rather be wet than be parted.''
So the three little butterfiies flew away.
But the sun, who was behind a cloud, heard it
all, and he knew what good little brothers the
butterflies were, and how they had held together
in spite of the wet. So he pushed his face through
the clouds, and chased away the rain, and shone
brightly on the garden.
He dried the wings of the three little
butterflies, and warmed their bodies. They ceased to
sorrow, and danced among the flowers till evening,
then they flew away home, and found the
door wide open.
There was once a child who lived in a little hut,
and in the hut there was nothing but a little bed
and a looking-glass; but as soon as the first
sunbeam glided softly through the casement and
kissed his sweet eyelids, and the finch and the
linnet waked him merrily with their morning
songs, he arose and went out into the green
And he begged flour of the primrose, and sugar
of the violet, and butter of the buttercup. He
shook dewdrops from the cowslip into the cup of
the harebell, spread out a large lime-leaf, set his
breakfast upon it, and feasted daintily. And he
invited a humming-bee and a gay butterfly to
partake of his feast, but his favorite guest was
a blue dragon-fly.
The bee murmured a good deal about his riches,
and the butterfly told his adventures. Such talk
delighted the child, and his breakfast was the
sweeter to him, and the sunshine on leaf and
flower seemed more bright and cheering.
But when the bee had flown off to beg from
flower to flower, and the butterfly had fluttered
away to his play-fellows, the dragon-fly still
remained, poised on a blade of grass. Her slender
and burnished body, more brightly and deeply
blue than the deep blue sky, glistened in the
sunbeam. Her net-like wings laughed at the flowers
because they could not fly, but must stand still
and abide the wind and rain.
The dragon-fly sipped a little of the child's clear
dewdrops and blue violet honey, and then whispered
her winged words. Such stories as the
dragon-fly did tell! And as the child sat
motionless with his blue eyes shut, and his head rested
on his hands, she thought he had fallen asleep;
so she poised her double wings and flew into the
rustling wood.
But the child had only sunk into a dream of
delight and was wishing he were a sunbeam or a
moonbeam; and he would have been glad to hear
more and more, and forever.
But at last as all was still, he opened his eyes
and looked around for his dear guest, but she was
flown far away. He could not bear to sit there
any longer alone, and he rose and went to the
gurgling brook. It gushed and rolled so merrily,
and tumbled so wildly along as it hurried to
throw itself head-over-heels into the river, just
as if the great massy rock out of which it sprang
were close behind it, and could only be escaped
by a breakneck leap.
Then the child began to talk to the little waves
and asked them whence they came. They would
not stay to give him an answer, but danced away
one over another; till at last, that the sweet child
might not be grieved, a water-drop stopped behind
a piece of rock.
``A long time ago,'' said the water-drop, ``I
lived with my countless sisters in the great Ocean,
in peace and unity. We had all sorts of pastimes.
Sometimes we mounted up high into the air, and
peeped at the stars. Then we sank plump down
deep below, and looked how the coral builders
work till they are tired, that they may reach the
light of day at last.
``But I was conceited, and thought myself
much better than my sisters. And so, one day,
when the sun rose out of the sea, I clung fast to
one of his hot beams and thought how I should
reach the stars and become one of them.
``But I had not ascended far when the sunbeam
shook me off, and, in spite of all I could say or do,
let me fall into a dark cloud. And soon a flash of
fire darted through the cloud, and now I thought
I must surely die; but the cloud laid itself down
softly upon the top of a mountain, and so I
``Now I thought I should remain hidden, when,
all on a sudden, I slipped over a round pebble,
fell from one stone to another, down into the
depths of the mountain. At last it was pitch dark
and I could neither see nor hear anything.
``Then I found, indeed, that `pride goeth
before a fall,' for, though I had already laid aside
all my unhappy pride in the cloud, my punishment
was to remain for some time in the heart of
the mountain. After undergoing many purifications
from the hidden virtues of metals and
minerals, I was at length permitted to come up once
more into the free and cheerful air, and to gush
from this rock and journey with this happy
stream. Now will I run back to my sisters in the
Ocean, and there wait patiently till I am called
to something better.''
So said the water-drop to the child, but scarcely
had she finished her story, when the root of a
For-Get-Me-Not caught the drop and sucked her
in, that she might become a floweret, and twinkle
brightly as a blue star on the green firmament of
An old man was sitting in his lodge, by the side
of a frozen stream. It was the end of winter, the
air was not so cold, and his fire was nearly out.
He was old and alone. His locks were white with
age, and he trembled in every joint. Day after
day passed, and he heard nothing but the sound
of the storm sweeping before it the new-fallen
One day while his fire was dying, a handsome
young man approached and entered the lodge.
His cheeks were red, his eyes sparkled. He
walked with a quick, light step. His forehead was
bound with a wreath of sweet-grass, and he
carried a bunch of fragrant flowers in his hand.
``Ah, my son,'' said the old man, ``I am happy
to see you. Come in! Tell me your adventures,
and what strange lands you have seen. I will tell
you of my wonderful deeds, and what I can
perform. You shall do the same, and we will amuse
each other.''
The old man then drew from a bag a curiously
wrought pipe. He filled it with mild tobacco, and
handed it to his guest. They each smoked from
the pipe and then began their stories.
``I am Peboan, the Spirit of Winter,'' said the
old man. ``I blow my breath, and the streams
stand still. The water becomes stiff and hard as
clear stone.''
``I am Seegwun, the Spirit of Spring,'' answered
the youth. ``I breathe, and flowers spring up in
the meadows and woods.''
``I shake my locks,'' said the old man, ``and
snow covers the land. The leaves fall from the
trees, and my breath blows them away. The
birds fly to a distant land, and the animals hide
themselves from the cold.''
``I shake my ringlets,'' said the young man,
``and warm showers of soft rain fall upon the
earth. The flowers lift their heads from the
ground, the grass grows thick and green. My
voice recalls the birds, and they come flying
joyfully from the Southland. The warmth of my
breath unbinds the streams, and they sing the
songs of summer. Music fills the groves whereever
I walk, and all nature rejoices.''
And while they were talking thus a wonderful
change took place. The sun began to rise. A gentle
warmth stole over the place. Peboan, the
Spirit of Winter, became silent. His head drooped,
and the snow outside the lodge melted away.
Seegwun, the Spirit of Spring, grew more radiant,
and rose joyfully to his feet. The robin and
the bluebird began to sing on the top of the lodge.
The stream began to murmur at the door, and
the fragrance of opening flowers came softly on
the breeze.
The lodge faded away, and Peboan sank down
and dissolved into tiny streams of water, that
vanished under the brown leaves of the forest.
Thus the Spirit of Winter departed, and where
he had melted away, there the Indian children
gathered the first blossoms, fragrant and
delicately pink,--the modest Spring Beauty.
Once upon a time there was a good old woman
who lived in a little house. She had in her garden
a bed of beautiful striped tulips.
One night she was wakened by the sounds
of sweet singing and of babies laughing. She
looked out at the window. The sounds seemed
to come from the tulip bed, but she could see
The next morning she walked among her
flowers, but there were no signs of any one having
been there the night before.
On the following night she was again wakened
by sweet singing and babies laughing. She rose
and stole softly through her garden. The moon
was shining brightly on the tulip bed, and the
flowers were swaying to and fro. The old woman
looked closely and she saw, standing by each
tulip, a little Fairy mother who was crooning and
rocking the flower like a cradle, while in each
tulip-cup lay a little Fairy baby laughing and
The good old woman stole quietly back to her
house, and from that time on she never picked
a tulip, nor did she allow her neighbors to touch
the flowers.
The tulips grew daily brighter in color and
larger in size, and they gave out a delicious
perfume like that of roses. They began, too, to
bloom all the year round. And every night the
little Fairy mothers caressed their babies and
rocked them to sleep in the flower-cups.
The day came when the good old woman died,
and the tulip-bed was torn up by folks who did
not know about the Fairies, and parsley was
planted there instead of the flowers. But the
parsley withered, and so did all the other plants
in the garden, and from that time nothing would
grow there.
But the good old woman's grave grew beautiful,
for the Fairies sang above it, and kept it
green; while on the grave and all around it there
sprang up tulips, daffodils, and violets, and other
lovely flowers of spring.
In a short and shallow canyon running eastward
toward the sun, one may find a clear, brown
stream called the Creek of Pinon Pines; that is
not because it is unusual to find pinon trees in
that country, but because there are so few of
them in the canyon of the stream. There are all
sorts higher up on the slopes,--long-leaved yellow
pines, thimble cones, tamarack, silver fir,
and Douglas spruce; but in the canyon there is
only a group of the low-headed, gray nut pines
which the earliest inhabitants of that country
called pinons.
The Canyon of Pinon Pines has a pleasant
outlook and lies open to the sun. At the upper end
there is no more room by the stream border than
will serve for a cattle trail; willows grow in it,
choking the path of the water; there are brown
birches here and ropes of white clematis tangled
over thickets of brier rose.
Low down, the ravine broadens out to inclose
a meadow the width of a lark's flight, blossomy
and wet and good. Here the stream ran once in
a maze of soddy banks and watered all the
ground, and afterward ran out at the canyon's
mouth across the mesa in a wash of bone-white
boulders as far as it could. That was not very
far, for it was a slender stream. It had its source
on the high crests and hollows of the near-by
mountain, in the snow banks that melted and
seeped downward through the rocks. But the
stream did not know any more of that than you
know of what happened to you before you were
born, and could give no account of itself except
that it crept out from under a great heap of
rubble far up in the Canyon of the Pinon Pines.
And because it had no pools in it deep enough
for trout, and no trees on its borders but gray nut
pines; because, try as it might, it could never get
across the mesa to the town, the stream had fully
made up its mind to run away.
``Pray, what good will that do you?'' said the
pines. ``If you get to the town, they will turn
you into an irrigating ditch, and set you to watering crops.''
``As to that,'' said the stream, ``if I once get
started I will not stop at the town.''
Then it would fret between its banks until the
spangled frills of the mimulus were all tattered
with its spray. Often at the end of the summer
it was worn quite thin and small with running,
and not able to do more than reach the meadow.
``But some day,'' it whispered to the stones,
``I shall run quite away.''
If the stream had been inclined for it, there
was no lack of good company on its own borders.
Birds nested in the willows, rabbits came to
drink; one summer a bobcat made its lair up the
bank opposite the brown birches, and often the
deer fed in the meadow.
In the spring of one year two old men came up
into the Canyon of Pinon Pines. They had been
miners and partners together for many years.
They had grown rich and grown poor, and had
seen many hard places and strange times. It was
a day when the creek ran clear and the south
wind smelled of the earth. Wild bees began to
whine among the willows, and the meadow
bloomed over with poppy-breasted larks.
Then said one of the old men: ``Here is good
meadow and water enough; let us build a house
and grow trees. We are too old to dig in the
``Let us set about it,'' said the other; for that
is the way with two who have been a long time
together,--what one thinks of, the other is for
So they brought their possessions, and they
built a house by the water border and planted
trees. One of the men was all for an orchard but
the other preferred vegetables. So they did each
what he liked, and were never so happy as when
walking in the garden in the cool of the day,
touching the growing things as they walked, and
praising each other's work.
They were very happy for three years. By
this time the stream had become so interested it
had almost forgotten about running away. But
every year it noted that a larger bit of the
meadow was turned under and planted, and more
and more the men made dams and ditches by
which to turn the water into their gardens.
``In fact,'' said the stream, ``I am being made
into an irrigating ditch before I have had my
fling in the world. I really must make a start.''
That very winter, by the help of a great storm,
the stream went roaring down the meadow, over
the mesa, and so clean away, with only a track
of muddy sand to show the way it had gone.
All that winter the two men brought water for
drinking from a spring, and looked for the stream
to come back. In the spring they hoped still, for
that was the season they looked for the orchard
to bear. But no fruit grew on the trees, and the
seeds they planted shriveled in the earth. So by
the end of summer, when they understood that
the water would not come back at all, they went
sadly away.
Now the Creek of Pinon Pines did not have
a happy time. It went out in the world on the
wings of the storm, and was very much tossed
about and mixed up with other waters, lost and
Everywhere it saw water at work, turning
mills, watering fields, carrying trade, falling as
hail, rain, and snow; and at the last, after many
journeys it found itself creeping out from under
the rocks of the same old mountain, in the Canyon
of Pinon Pines.
``After all, home is best,'' said the little stream
to itself, and ran about in its choked channels
looking for old friends.
The willows were there, but grown shabby and
dying at the top; the birches were quite dead, and
there was only rubbish where the white clematis
had been. Even the rabbits had gone away.
The little stream ran whimpering in the meadow,
fumbling at the ruined ditches to comfort the
fruit trees which were not quite dead. It was
very dull in those days living in the Canyon of
Pinon Pines.
``But it is really my own fault,'' said the
stream. So it went on repairing the borders as
best it could.
About the time the white clematis had come
back to hide the ruin of the brown birches, a
young man came and camped with his wife and
child in the meadow. They were looking for a
place to make a home.
``What a charming place!'' said the young
wife; ``just the right distance from town, and a
stream all to ourselves. And look, there are fruit
trees already planted. Do let us decide to stay!''
Then she took off the child's shoes and stockings
to let it play in the stream. The water curled
all about the bare feet and gurgled delightedly.
``Ah, do stay,'' begged the happy water. ``I
can be such a help to you, for I know how a garden
should be irrigated in the best manner.''
The child laughed, and stamped the water up
to his bare knees. The young wife watched anxiously
while her husband walked up and down the
stream border and examined the fruit trees.
``It is a delightful place,'' he said, ``and the soil
is rich, but I am afraid the water cannot be depended
upon. There are signs of a great drought
within the last two or three years. Look, there
is a clump of birches in the very path of the
stream, but all dead; and the largest limbs of the
fruit trees have died. In this country one must
be able to make sure of the water-supply. I suppose
the people who planted them must have
abandoned the place when the stream went dry.
We must go on farther.''
So they took their goods and the child and went
on farther.
``Ah, well,'' said the stream, ``that is what is to
be expected when has a reputation for neglecting
one's duty. But I wish they had stayed.
That baby and I understood each other.''
It had made up its mind not to run away again,
though it could not be expected to be quite
cheerful after all that had happened. If you go
to the Canyon of Pinon Pines you will notice that
the stream, where it goes brokenly about the
meadow, has a mournful sound.
The little Elves of Darkness, so says the old
Iroquois grandmother, were wise and mysterious.
They dwelt under the earth, where were deep
forests and broad plains. There they kept
captive all the evil things that wished to injure
human beings,--the venomous reptiles, the wicked
spiders, and the fearful monsters. Sometimes one
of these evil creatures escaped and rushed upward
to the bright, pure air, and spread its poisonous
breath over the living things of the upper-world.
But such happenings were rare, for the Elves of
Darkness were faithful and strong, and did not
willingly allow the wicked beasts and reptiles to
harm human beings and the growing things.
When the night was lighted by the moon's
soft rays, and the woods of the upper-world were
sweet with the odor of the spring-flowers, then
the Elves of Darkness left the under-world, and
creeping from their holes, held a festival in
the woods. And under many a tree, where the
blades of grass had refused to grow, the Little
People danced until rings of green sprang up
beneath their feet. And to the festival came the
Elves of Light,--among whom were Tree-Elves,
Flower-Elves, and Fruit-Elves. They too danced
and made merry.
But when the moonlight faded away, and day
began to break, then the Elves of Darkness
scampered back to their holes, and returned once
more to the under-world; while the Elves of Light
began their daily tasks.
For in the springtime these Little People of the
Light hid in sheltered places. They listened to
the complaints of the seeds that lay covered in
the ground, and they whispered to the earth until
the seeds burst their pods and sent their shoots
upward to the light. Then the little Elves
wandered over the fields and through the woods,
bidding all growing things to look upon the sun.
The Tree-Elves tended the trees, unfolding
their leaves, and feeding their roots with sap
from the earth. The Flower-Elves unwrapped
the baby buds, and tinted the petals of the
opening flowers, and played with the bees and the
But the busiest of all were the Fruit-Elves.
Their greatest care in the spring was the strawberry
plant. When the ground softened from the
frost, the Fruit-Elves loosened the earth around
each strawberry root, that its shoots might push
through to the light. They shaped the plant's
leaves, and turned its blossoms toward the warm
rays of the sun. They trained its runners, and
assisted the timid fruit to form. They painted
the luscious berry, and bade it ripen. And when
the first strawberries blushed on the vines, these
guardian Elves protected them from the evil
insects that had escaped from the world of darkness
And the old Iroquois grandmother tells, how
once, when the fruit first came to earth, the Evil
Spirit, Hahgwehdaetgah, stole the strawberry
plant, and carried it to his gloomy cave, where
he hid it away. And there it lay until a tiny
sunbeam pierced the damp mould, and finding
the little vine carried it back to its sunny fields.
And ever since then the strawberry plant has
lived and thrived in the fields and woods. But
the Fruit-Elves, fearing lest the Evil One should
one day steal the vine again, watch day and
night over their favorite. And when the
strawberries ripen they give the juicy, fragrant fruit
to the Iroquois children as they gather the spring
flowers in the woods.
At first there were no canyons, but only the broad,
open prairie. One day the Master of the Prairie,
walking out over his great lawns, where were only
grasses, asked the Prairie: ``Where are your
And the Prairie said: ``Master, I have no seeds.''
Then he spoke to the birds, and they carried
seeds of every kind of flower and strewed them
far and wide, and soon the Prairie bloomed with
crocuses and roses and buffalo beans and the
yellow crowfoot and the wild sunflowers and the
red lilies, all the summer long.
Then the Master came and was well pleased;
but he missed the flowers he loved best of all,
and he said to the Prairie: ``Where are the
clematis and the columbine, the sweet violets
and wind-flowers, and all the ferns and flowering
And again the Prairie answered: ``Master, I
have no seeds.''
And again he spoke to the birds and again they
carried all the seeds and strewed them far and wide.
But when next the Master came, he could not
find the flowers he loved best of all, and he said:
``Where are those, my sweetest flowers?''
And the Prairie cried sorrowfully: ``O Master,
I cannot keep the flowers, for the winds sweep
fiercely, and the sun beats upon my breast, and
they wither up and fly away.''
Then the Master spoke to the Lightning, and
with one swift blow the Lightning cleft the
Prairie to the heart. And the Prairie rocked and
groaned in agony, and for many a day moaned
bitterly over its black, jagged, gaping wound.
But a little river poured its waters through the
cleft, and carried down deep, black mould, and
once more the birds carried seeds and strewed
them in the canyon. And after a long time the
rough rocks were decked out with soft mosses
and trailing vines, and all the nooks were hung
with clematis and columbine, and great elms
lifted their huge tops high up into the sunlight,
and down about their feet clustered the low
cedars and balsams, and everywhere the violets
and wind-flowers and maiden-hair grew and
bloomed till the canyon became the Master's
place for rest and peace and joy.
There was once a Nymph named Clytie, who
gazed ever at Apollo as he drove his sun-chariot
through the heavens. She watched him as he
rose in the east attended by the rosy-fingered
Dawn and the dancing Hours. She gazed as he
ascended the heavens, urging his steeds still
higher in the fierce heat of the noonday. She
looked with wonder as at evening he guided his
steeds downward to their many-colored pastures
under the western sky, where they fed all night on
Apollo saw not Clytie. He had no thought for
her, but he shed his brightest beams upon her
sister the white Nymph Leucothoe. And when
Clytie perceived this she was filled with envy
and grief.
Night and day she sat on the bare ground
weeping. For nine days and nine nights she
never raised herself from the earth, nor did she
take food or drink; but ever she turned her
weeping eyes toward the sun-god as he moved through
the sky.
And her limbs became rooted to the ground.
Green leaves enfolded her body. Her beautiful
face was concealed by tiny flowers, violet-colored
and sweet with perfume. Thus was she changed
into a flower and her roots held her fast to the
ground; but ever she turned her blossom-covered
face toward the sun, following with eager gaze
his daily flight. In vain were her sorrow and
tears, for Apollo regarded her not.
And so through the ages has the Nymph turned
her dew-washed face toward the heavens, and
men no longer call her Clytie, but the sun-flower,
Once when the golden-beamed Apollo roamed
the earth, he made a companion of Hyacinthus,
the son of King Amyclas of Lacedaemon; and him
he loved with an exceeding great love, for the lad
was beautiful beyond compare.
The sun-god threw aside his lyre, and became
the daily comrade of Hyacinthus. Often they
played games, or climbed the rugged mountain
ridges. Together they followed the chase or
fished in the quiet and shadowy pools; and the
sun-god, unmindful of his dignity, carried the
lad's nets and held his dogs.
It happened on a day that the two friends
stripped off their garments, rubbed the juice of
the olive upon their bodies, and engaged in throwing
the quoit. First Apollo poised it and tossed
it far. It cleaved the air with its weight and fell
heavily to earth. At that moment Hyacinthus
ran forwards and hastened to take up the disc,
but the hard earth sent it rebounding straight
into his face, so that he fell wounded to the
Ah! then, pale and fearful, the sun-god
hastened to the side of his fallen friend. He bore up
the lad's sinking limbs and strove to stanch his
wound with healing herbs. All in vain! Alas! the
wound would not close. And as violets and lilies,
when their stems are crushed, hang their languid
blossoms on their stalks and wither away,
so did Hyacinthus droop his beautiful head and
Then the sun-god, full of grief, cried aloud in
his anguish: ``O Beloved! thou fallest in thy
early youth, and I alone am the cause of thy
destruction! Oh, that I could give my life for thee
or with thee! but since Fate will not permit this,
thou shalt ever be with me, and thy praise shall
dwell on my lips. My lyre struck with my hand,
my songs, too, shall celebrate thee! And thou,
dear lad, shalt become a new flower, and on thy
leaves will I write my lamentations.''
And even as the sun-god spoke, behold! the
blood that had flowed from Hyacinthus's wound
stained the grass, and a flower, like a lily in shape,
sprang up, more bright than Tyrian purple. On
its leaves did Apollo inscribe the mournful
characters: ``ai, ai,'' which mean ``alas! alas!''
And as oft as the spring drives away the winter,
so oft does Hyacinthus blossom in the fresh,
green grass.
Long ago, in the ancient world, there was born
to the blue-eyed Nymph Liriope, a beautiful boy,
whom she called Narcissus. An oracle foretold at
his birth that he should be happy and live to a
good old age if he ``never saw himself.'' As this
prophecy seemed ridiculous his mother soon forgot
all about it.
Narcissus grew to be a stately, handsome
youth. His limbs were firm and straight. Curls
clustered about his white brow, and his eyes
shone like two stars. He loved to wander among
the meadow flowers and in the pathless woodland.
But he disdained his playmates, and would not
listen to their entreaties to join in their games.
His heart was cold, and in it was neither hate nor
love. He lived indifferent to youth or maid, to
friend or foe.
Now, in the forest near by dwelt a Nymph
named Echo. She had been a handmaiden of
the goddess Juno. But though the Nymph was
beautiful of face, she was not loved. She had
a noisy tongue. She told lies and whispered
slanders, and encouraged the other Nymphs in
many misdoings. So when Juno perceived all
this, she ordered the troublesome Nymph away
from her court, and banished her to the wildwood,
bidding her never speak again except in
imitation of other peoples' words. So Echo dwelt
in the woods, and forever mocked the words of
youths and maidens.
One day as Narcissus was wandering alone in
the pathless forest, Echo, peeping from behind
a tree, saw his beauty, and as she gazed her heart
was filled with love. Stealthily she followed his
footsteps, and often she tried to call to him with
endearing words, but she could not speak, for she
no longer had a voice of her own.
At last Narcissus heard the sound of breaking
branches, and he cried out: ``Is there any one
And Echo answered softly: ``Here!''
Narcissus, amazed, looking about on all sides
and seeing no one, cried: ``Come!''
And Echo answered: ``Come!''
Narcissus cried again: ``Who art thou? Whom
seekest thou?''
And Echo answered: ``Thou!''
Then rushing from among the trees she tried
to throw her arms about his neck, but Narcissus
fled through the forest, crying: ``Away! away!
I will die before I love thee!''
And Echo answered mournfully: ``I love
And thus rejected, she hid among the trees, and
buried her blushing face in the green leaves. And
she pined, and pined, until her body wasted quite
away, and nothing but her voice was left. And
some say that even to this day her voice lives in
lonely caves and answers men's words from afar.
Now, when Narcissus fled from Echo, he came
to a clear spring, like silver. Its waters were
unsullied, for neither goats feeding upon the
mountains nor any other cattle had drunk from it,
nor had wild beasts or birds disturbed it, nor had
branch or leaf fallen into its calm waters. The
trees bent above and shaded it from the hot sun,
and the soft, green grass grew on its margin.
Here Narcissus, fatigued and thirsty after his
flight, laid himself down beside the spring to
drink. He gazed into the mirror-like water, and
saw himself reflected in its tide. He knew not
that it was his own image, but thought that he
saw a youth living in the spring.
He gazed on two eyes like stars, on graceful
slender fingers, on clustering curls worthy of
Apollo, on a mouth arched like Cupid's bow, on
blushing cheeks and ivory neck. And as he gazed
his cold heart grew warm, and love for this beautiful
reflection rose up and filled his soul.
He rained kisses on the deceitful stream. He
thrust his arms into the water, and strove to
grasp the image by the neck, but it fled away.
Again he kissed the stream, but the image mocked
his love. And all day and all night, lying there
without food or drink, he continued to gaze into
the water. Then raising himself, he stretched
out his arms to the trees about him, and cried:--
``Did ever, O ye woods, one love as much as I!
Have ye ever seen a lover thus pine for the sake
of unrequited affection?''
Then turning once more, Narcissus addressed
his reflection in the limpid stream:--
``Why, dear youth, dost thou flee away from
me? Neither a vast sea, nor a long way, nor a
great mountain separates us! only a little water
keeps us apart! Why, dear lad, dost thou deceive
me, and whither dost thou go when I try
to grasp thee? Thou encouragest me with
friendly looks. When I extend my arms, thou
extendest thine; when I smile, thou smilest in
return; when I weep, thou weepest; but when
I try to clasp thee beneath the stream, thou
shunnest me and fleest away! Grief is taking
my strength, and my life will soon be over! In
my early days am I cut off, nor is Death grievous
to me, now that he is about to remove my
Thus mourned Narcissus, lying beside the
woodland spring. He disturbed the water with
his tears, and made the woods to resound with
his sighs. And as the yellow wax is melted by the
fire, or the hoar frost is consumed by the heat of
the sun, so did Narcissus pine away, his body
wasting by degrees.
And often as he sighed: ``Alas!'' the grieving
Echo from the wood answered: ``Alas!''
With his last breath he looked into the water
and sighed: ``Ah, youth beloved, farewell!'' and
Echo sighed: ``Farewell!''
And Narcissus, laying his weary head upon the
grass, closed his eyes forever. The Water-Nymphs
wept for him, and the Wood-Dryads lamented
him, and Echo resounded their mourning. But
when they sought his body it had vanished away,
and in its stead had grown up by the brink of the
stream a little flower, with silver leaves and
golden heart,--and thus was born to earth the
woodland flower, Narcissus.
A child went up to a lark and said: ``Good lark,
have you any young ones?''
``Yes, child, I have,'' said the mother lark, ``and
they are very pretty ones, indeed.'' Then she
pointed to the little birds and said: ``This is Fair
Wing, that is Tiny Bill, and that other is Bright
``At home, we are three,'' said the child,
``myself and two sisters. Mother says that we are
pretty children, and she loves us.''
To this the little larks replied: ``Oh, yes, OUR
mother is fond of us, too.''
``Good mother lark,'' said the child, ``will you
let Tiny Bill go home with me and play?''
Before the mother lark could reply, Bright
Eyes said: ``Yes, if you will send your little sister
to play with us in our nest.''
``Oh, she will be so sorry to leave home,''
said the child; ``she could not come away from
our mother.''
``Tiny Bill will be so sorry to leave our nest,''
answered Bright Eyes, ``and he will not go away
from OUR mother.''
Then the child ran away to her mother, saying:
``Ah, every one is fond of home!''
[3] From Fifty Famous Stories Retold. Copyright, 1896, by
American Book Company.
It was a bright morning in the old city of Rome
many hundred years ago. In a vine-covered summerhouse
in a beautiful garden, two boys were
standing. They were looking at their mother and
her friend, who were walking among the flowers
and trees.
``Did you ever see so handsome a lady as our
mother's friend?'' asked the younger boy, holding
his tall brother's hand. ``She looks like a
``Yet she is not so beautiful as our mother,''
said the elder boy. ``She has a fine dress, it is
true; but her face is not noble and kind. It is our
mother who is like a queen.''
``That is true,'' said the other. ``There is no
woman in Rome so much like a queen as our own
dear mother.''
Soon Cornelia, their mother, came down the
walk to speak with them. She was simply dressed
in a plain, white robe. Her arms and feet were
bare, as was the custom in those days; and no
rings or chains glittered about her hands and
neck. For her only crown, long braids of soft
brown hair were coiled about her head; and a
tender smile lit up her noble face as she looked
into her sons' proud eyes.
``Boys,'' she said, ``I have something to tell
They bowed before her, as Roman lads were
taught to do, and said: ``What is it, mother?''
``You are to dine with us to-day, here in the
garden; and then our friend is going to show us
that wonderful casket of jewels of which you have
heard so much.''
The brothers looked shyly at their mother's
friend. Was it possible that she had still other
rings besides those on her fingers? Could she
have other gems besides those which sparkled in
the chains about her neck?
When the simple outdoor meal was over, a
servant brought the casket from the house. The
lady opened it. Ah, how those jewels dazzled the
eyes of the wondering boys! There were ropes of
pearls, white as milk, and smooth as satin; heaps
of shining rubies, red as the glowing coals;
sapphires as blue as the sky that summer day; and
diamonds that flashed and sparkled like the sunlight.
The brothers looked long at the gems. ``Ah!''
whispered the younger; ``if our mother could only
have such beautiful things!''
At last, however, the casket was closed and
carried carefully away.
``Is it true, Cornelia, that you have no jewels?''
asked her friend. ``Is it true, as I have heard it
whispered, that you are poor?''
``No, I am not poor,'' answered Cornelia, and
as she spoke she drew her two boys to her side;
``for here are my jewels. They are worth more
than all your gems.''
The boys never forgot their mother's pride and
love and care; and in after years, when they had
become great men in Rome, they often thought
of this scene in the garden. And the world still
likes to hear the story of Cornelia's jewels.
One day when roses were in bloom, two noblemen
came to angry words in the Temple Gardens, by
the side of the river Thames. In the midst of
their quarrel one of them plucked a white rose
from a bush, and, turning to those who were
near him, said:--
``He who will stand by me in this quarrel, let
him pluck a white rose with me, and wear it in
his hat.''
Then the other gentleman tore a red rose from
another bush, and said:--
``Let him who will stand by me pluck a red
rose, and wear it as his badge.''
Now this quarrel led to a great civil war, which
was called ``The War of the Roses,'' for every
soldier wore a white or red rose in his helmet to
show to which side he belonged.
The leaders of the ``Red Rose'' sided with
King Henry the Sixth and his wife, Queen Margaret,
who were fighting for the English throne.
Many great battles were fought, and wicked
deeds were done in those dreadful times.
In a battle at a place called Hexham, the king's
party was beaten, and Queen Margaret and her
little son, the Prince of Wales, had to flee for
their lives. They had not gone far before they
met a band of robbers, who stopped the queen
and stole all her rich jewels, and, holding a drawn
sword over her head, threatened to take her life
and that of her child.
The poor queen, overcome by terror, fell upon
her knees and begged them to spare her only son,
the little prince. But the robbers, turning from
her, began to fight among themselves as to how
they should divide the plunder, and, drawing
their weapons, they attacked one another. When
the queen saw what was happening she sprang
to her feet, and, taking the prince by the hand,
made haste to escape.
There was a thick wood close by, and the
queen plunged into it, but she was sorely afraid
and trembled in every limb, for she knew that
this wood was the hiding-place of robbers and
outlaws. Every tree seemed to her excited fancy
to be an armed man waiting to kill her and her
little son.
On and on she went through the dark wood,
this way and that, seeking some place of shelter,
but not knowing where she was going. At last
she saw by the light of the moon a tall, fiercelooking
man step out from behind a tree. He
came directly toward her, and she knew by his
dress that he was an outlaw. But thinking that
he might have children of his own, she determined
to throw herself and her son upon his
When he came near she addressed him in a
calm voice and with a stately manner.
``Friend,'' said she, ``I am the queen. Kill me
if thou wilt, but spare my son, thy prince. Take
him, I will trust him to thee. Keep him safe from
those that seek his life, and God will have pity
on thee for all thy sins.''
The words of the queen moved the heart of the
outlaw. He told her that he had once fought on
her side, and was now hiding from the soldiers of
the ``White Rose.'' He then lifted the little prince
in his arms, and, bidding the queen follow, led the
way to a cave in the rocks. There he gave them
food and shelter, and kept them safe for two days,
when the queen's friends and attendants, discovering
their hiding-place, came and took them far
If you ever go to Hexham Forest, you may see
this robber's cave. It is on the bank of a little
stream that flows at the foot of a hill, and to this
day the people call it ``Queen Margaret's Cave.''
Caius Marcius was a noble Roman youth, who
fought valiantly, when but seventeen years of
age, in the battle of Lake Regillus, and was there
crowned with an oaken wreath, the Roman reward
for saving the life of a fellow soldier. This
he showed with joy to his mother, Volumnia,
whom he loved exceedingly, it being his greatest
pleasure to receive praise from her lips.
He afterward won many more crowns in battle,
and became one of the most famous of Roman
soldiers. One of his memorable exploits took
place during a war with the Volscians, in which
the Romans attacked the city of Corioli. Through
Caius's bravery the place was taken, and the
Roman general said: ``Henceforth, let him be
called after the name of this city.'' So ever after
he was known as Caius Marcius Coriolanus.
Courage was not the only marked quality of
Coriolanus. His pride was equally great. He was
a noble of the nobles, so haughty in demeanor and
so disdainful of the commons that they grew to
hate him bitterly.
At length came a time of great scarcity of food.
The people were on the verge of famine, to relieve
which shiploads of corn were sent from Sicily to
Rome. The Senate resolved to distribute this
corn among the suffering people, but Coriolanus
opposed this, saying: ``If they want corn, let
them promise to obey the Patricians, as their
fathers did. Let them give up their tribunes. If
they do this we will let them have corn, and take
care of them.''
When the people heard of what the proud
noble had said, they broke into a fury, and a mob
gathered around the doors of the Senate house,
prepared to seize and tear him in pieces when
he came out. But the tribunes prevented this,
and Coriolanus fled from Rome, exiled from his
native land by his pride and disdain of the
The exile made his way to the land of the
Volscians and became the friend of Rome's great
enemy, whom he had formerly helped to conquer.
He aroused the Volscians' ire against Rome, to
a greater degree than before, and placing himself
at the head of a Volscian army greater than
the Roman forces, marched against his native
city. The army swept victoriously onward,
taking city after city, and finally encamping within
five miles of Rome.
The approach of this powerful host threw the
Romans into dismay. They had been assailed so
suddenly that they had made no preparations for
defense, and the city seemed to lie at the mercy
of its foes. The women ran to the temples to
pray for the favor of the gods. The people
demanded that the Senate should send deputies
to the invading army to treat for peace.
The Senate, no less frightened than the people,
obeyed, sending five leading Patricians to the
Volscian camp. These deputies were haughtily
received by Coriolanus, who offered them such
severe terms that they were unable to accept
them. They returned and reported the matter,
and the Senate was thrown into confusion. The
deputies were sent again, instructed to ask for
gentler terms, but now Coriolanus refused even
to let them enter his camp. This harsh repulse
plunged Rome into mortal terror.
All else having failed, the noble women of
Rome, with Volumnia, the mother of Coriolanus,
at their head, went in procession from the city to
the Volscian camp to pray for mercy.
It was a sad and solemn spectacle, as this train
of noble ladies, clad in their habiliments of woe,
and with bent heads and sorrowful faces, wound
through the hostile camp, from which they were
not excluded as the deputies had been. Even the
Volscian soldiers watched them with pitying eyes,
and spoke no scornful word as they moved slowly
On reaching the midst of the camp, they saw
Coriolanus on the general's seat, with the Volscian
chiefs gathered around him. At first he wondered
who these women could be; but when they came
near, and he saw his mother at the head of the
train, his deep love for her welled up so strongly
in his heart that he could not restrain himself,
but sprang up and ran to meet and kiss her.
The Roman matron stopped him with a dignified
gesture. ``Ere you kiss me,'' she said, ``let
me know whether I speak to an enemy or to my
son; whether I stand here as your prisoner or
your mother.''
He stood before her in silence, with bent head,
and unable to answer.
``Must it, then, be that if I had never borne a
son, Rome would have never seen the camp of
an enemy?'' said Volumnia, in sorrowful tones.
``But I am too old to endure much longer your
shame and my misery. Think not of me, but of
your wife and children, whom you would doom
to death or to life in bondage.''
Then Virgilia, his wife, and his children, came
forward and kissed him, and all the noble ladies
in the train burst into tears and bemoaned the
peril of their country.
Coriolanus still stood silent, his face working
with contending thoughts. At length he cried
out in heart-rending accents: ``O mother! What
have you done to me?''
Then clasping her hand he wrung it vehemently,
saying: ``Mother, the victory is yours!
A happy victory for you and Rome! but shame
and ruin for your son.''
Thereupon he embraced her with yearning
heart, and afterward clasped his wife and children
to his breast, bidding them return with their
tale of conquest to Rome. As for himself, he said,
only exile and shame remained.
Before the women reached home, the army of
the Volscians was on its homeward march. Coriolanus
never led it against Rome again. He lived
and died in exile, far from his wife and children.
The Romans, to honor Volumnia, and those
who had gone with her to the Volscian camp,
built a temple to ``Woman's Fortune,'' on the
spot where Coriolanus had yielded to his mother's
One day a poor woman approached Mr. Lincoln
for an interview. She was somewhat advanced
in years and plainly clad, wearing a faded shawl
and worn hood.
``Well, my good woman,'' said Mr. Lincoln,
``what can I do for you this morning?''
``Mr. President,'' answered she, ``my husband
and three sons all went into the army. My husband
was killed in the battle of----. I get along
very badly since then living all alone, and I
thought that I would come and ask you to release
to me my eldest son.''
Mr. Lincoln looked in her face for a moment,
and then replied kindly:--
``Certainly! Certainly! If you have given us
ALL, and your prop has been taken away, you are
justly entitled to one of your boys.''
He then made out an order discharging the
young man, which the woman took away, thanking
him gratefully.
She went to the front herself with the
President's order, and found that her son had been
mortally wounded in a recent battle, and taken
to the hospital.
She hastened to the hospital. But she was too
late, the boy died, and she saw him laid in a
soldier's grave.
She then returned to the President with his
order, on the back of which the attendant surgeon
had stated the sad facts concerning the
young man it was intended to discharge.
Mr. Lincoln was much moved by her story, and
said: ``I know what you wish me to do now, and
I shall do it without your asking. I shall release
to you your second son.''
Taking up his pen he began to write the order,
while the grief-stricken woman stood at his side
and passed her hand softly over his head, and
stroked his rough hair as she would have stroked
her boy's.
When he had finished he handed her the paper,
saying tenderly, his eyes full of tears:--
``Now you have one of the two left, and I have
one, that is no more than right.''
She took the order and reverently placing her
hand upon his head, said:--
``The Lord bless you, Mr. President. May you
live a thousand years, and may you always be the
head of this great nation.''
(JUNE 14)
On the 14th day of June, 1777, the Continental
Congress passed the following resolution:
``RESOLVED, That the flag of the thirteen United States
be thirteen stripes alternate red and white; that
the Union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field,
representing a new constellation.''
We are told that previous to this, in 1776, a
committee was appointed to look after the matter,
and together with General Washington they
called at the house of Betsy Ross, 239 Arch
Street, Philadelphia.
Betsy Ross was a young widow of twenty-four
heroically supporting herself by continuing the
upholstery business of her late husband, young
John Ross, a patriot who had died in the service
of his country. Betsy was noted for her exquisite
needlework, and was engaged in the flag-making
The committee asked her if she thought she
could make a flag from a design, a rough drawing
of which General Washington showed her. She
replied, with diffidence, that she did not know
whether she could or not, but would try. She
noticed, however, that the star as drawn had
six points, and informed the committee that the
correct star had but five. They answered that
as a great number of stars would be required, the
more regular form with six points could be more
easily made than one with five.
She responded in a practical way by deftly
folding a scrap of paper; then with a single clip
of her scissors she displayed a true, symmetrical,
five-pointed star.
This decided the committee in her favor. A
rough design was left for her use, but she was
permitted to make a sample flag according to her
own ideas of the arrangement of the stars and the
proportions of the stripes and the general form
of the whole.
Sometime after its completion it was presented
to Congress, and the committee had the pleasure
of informing Betsy Ross that her flag was
accepted as the Nation's standard.
In 1814, while the War of 1812 was still going
on, the people of Maryland were in great trouble,
for a British fleet began to attack Baltimore. The
enemy bombarded the forts, including Fort McHenry.
For twenty-four hours the terrific bombardment went on.
``If Fort McHenry only stands, the city is safe,''
said Francis Scott Key to a friend, and they gazed
anxiously through the smoke to see if the flag was
still flying.
These two men were in the strangest place that
could be imagined. They were in a little American
vessel fast moored to the side of the British
admiral's flagship. A Maryland doctor had been
seized as a prisoner by the British, and the
President had given permission for them to go out under
a flag of truce, to ask for his release. The British
commander finally decided that the prisoner might
be set free; but he had no idea of allowing the two
men to go back to the city and carry any
information. ``Until the attack on Baltimore is ended,
you and your boat must remain here,'' he said.
The firing went on. As long as daylight lasted
they could catch glimpses of the Stars and Stripes
whenever the wind swayed the clouds of smoke.
When night came they could still see the banner
now and then by the blaze of the cannon. A little
after midnight the firing stopped. The two men
paced up and down the deck, straining their eyes
to see if the flag was still flying. ``Can the fort
have surrendered?'' they questioned. ``Oh, if
snorning would only come!''
At last the faint gray of dawn appeared. They
could see that some flag was flying, but it was too
dark to tell which. More and more eagerly they
gazed. It grew lighter, a sudden breath of wind
caught the flag, and it floated out on the breeze.
It was no English flag, it was their own Stars and
Stripes. The fort had stood, the city was safe.
Then it was that Key took from his pocket an old
letter and on the back of it he wrote the poem,
``The Star-Spangled Banner.''
The British departed, and the little American
boat went back to the city. Mr. Key gave a copy
of the poem to his uncle, who had been helping to
defend the fort. The uncle sent it to the printer,
and had it struck off on some handbills. Before
the ink was dry the printer caught up one and
hurried away to a restaurant, where many patriots
were assembled. Waving the paper, he
cried, ``Listen to this!'' and he read:--
``O say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous
O'er the ramparts we watch'd were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does the star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?''
``Sing it! sing it!'' cried the whole company.
Charles Durang mounted a chair and then for the
first time ``The Star-Spangled Banner'' was sung.
The tune was ``To Anacreon in Heaven,'' an air
which had long been a favorite. Halls, theaters,
and private houses rang with its strains.
The fleet was out of sight even before the poem
was printed. In the middle of the night the admiral
had sent to the British soldiers this message,
``I can do nothing more,'' and they hurried on
board the vessels. It was not long before they left
Chesapeake Bay altogether,--perhaps with the
new song ringing in their ears as they went.
A few days before a certain regiment received
orders to join General Lyon, on his march to
Wilson's Creek, the drummer-boy of the regiment
was taken sick, and carried to the hospital.
Shortly after this there appeared before the
captain's quarters, during the beating of the
reveille, a good-looking, middle-aged woman,
dressed in deep mourning, leading by the hand
a sharp, sprightly looking boy, apparently about
twelve or thirteen years of age.
Her story was soon told. She was from East
Tennessee, where her husband had been killed
by the Confederates, and all her property
destroyed. Being destitute, she thought that if she
could procure a situation for her boy as drummer,
she could find employment for herself.
While she told her story, the little fellow kept
his eyes intently fixed upon the countenance of
the captain. And just as the latter was about to
say that he could not take so small a boy, the lad
spoke out:--
``Don't be afraid, Captain,'' said he, ``I can
This was spoken with so much confidence that
the captain smiled and said to the sergeant:--
``Well, well, bring the drum, and order our
fifer to come here.''
In a few moments a drum was produced and
the fifer, a round-shouldered, good-natured fellow,
who stood six feet tall, made his appearance.
Upon being introduced to the lad, he stooped
down, resting his hands on his knees, and, after
peering into the little fellow's face for a moment,
``My little man, can you drum?''
``Yes, sir,'' answered the boy promptly. ``I
drummed for Captain Hill in Tennessee.''
The fifer immediately straightened himself,
and, placing his fife to his lips, played the ``Flowers
of Edinburgh,'' one of the most difficult things to
follow with the drum. And nobly did the little
fellow follow him, showing himself to be master of
the drum.
When the music ceased the captain turned to
the mother and observed:--
``Madam, I will take the boy. What is his
``Edward Lee,'' she replied. Then placing her
hand upon the captain's arm, she continued in a
choking voice, ``If he is not killed!--Captain,
--you will bring him back to me?''
``Yes, yes,'' he replied, ``we shall be certain to
bring him back to you. We shall be discharged
in six weeks.''
An hour after, the company led the regiment
out of camp, the drum and fife playing ``The Girl
I left behind me.''
Eddie, as the soldiers called him, soon became
a great favorite with all the men of the company.
When any of the boys returned from foraging,
Eddie's share of the peaches, melons, and other
good things was meted out first. During the
heavy and fatiguing marches, the long-legged
fifer often waded through the mud with the little
drummer mounted on his back, and in the same
fashion he carried Eddie when fording streams.
During the fight at Wilson's Creek, a part
of the company was stationed on the right of
Totten's battery, while the balance of the company
was ordered down into a deep ravine, at the
left, in which it was known a party of Confederates
was concealed.
An engagement took place. The contest in the
ravine continued some time. Totten suddenly
wheeled his battery upon the enemy in that
quarter, and they soon retreated to high ground
behind their lines.
In less than twenty minutes after Totten had
driven the Confederates from the ravine, the
word passed from man to man throughout the
army, ``Lyon is killed!'' And soon after, hostilities
having ceased upon both sides, the order
came for the main part of the Federal force to
fall back upon Springfield, while the lesser part
was to camp upon the ground, and cover the
That night a corporal was detailed for guard
duty. His post was upon a high eminence that
overlooked the deep ravine in which the men had
engaged the enemy. It was a dreary, lonesome
beat. The hours passed slowly away, and at
length the morning light began to streak along the
western sky, making surrounding objects visible.
Presently the corporal heard a drum beating
up the morning call. At first he thought it came
from the camp of the Confederates across the
creek, but as he listened he found that it came
from the deep ravine. For a few moments the
sound stopped, then began again. The corporal
listened closely. The notes of the drum were
familiar to him,--and then he knew that it was
the drummer-boy from Tennessee playing the
morning call.
Just then the corporal was relieved from guard
duty, and, asking permission, went at once to
Eddie's assistance. He started down the hill,
through the thick underbrush, and upon reaching
the bottom of the ravine, he followed the sound
of the drum, and soon found the lad seated upon
the ground, his back leaning against a fallen tree,
while his drum hung upon a bush in front of him.
As soon as the boy saw his rescuer he dropped
his drumsticks, and exclaimed:--
``O Corporal! I am so glad to see you! Give
me a drink.''
The soldier took his empty canteen, and
immediately turned to bring some water from the
brook that he could hear rippling through the
bushes near by, when, Eddie, thinking that he
was about to leave him, cried out:--
``Don't leave me, Corporal, I can't walk.''
The corporal was soon back with the water,
when he discovered that both the lad's feet had
been shot away by a cannon-ball.
After satisfying his thirst, Eddie looked up
into the corporal's face and said:--
``You don't think I shall die, do you? This
man said I should not,--he said the surgeon
could cure my feet.''
The corporal now looked about him and
discovered a man lying in the grass near by. By his
dress he knew him to belong to the Confederate
army. It appeared that he had been shot and
had fallen near Eddie. Knowing that he could
not live, and seeing the condition of the drummerboy,
he had crawled to him, taken off his buckskin
suspenders, and had corded the little fellow's
legs below the knees, and then he had laid
himself down and died.
While Eddie was telling the corporal these
particulars, they heard the tramp of cavalry
coming down the ravine, and in a moment a scout
of the enemy was upon them, and took them both
The corporal requested the officer in charge to
take Eddie up in front of him, and he did so,
carrying the lad with great tenderness and care.
When they reached the Confederate camp the
little fellow was dead.
When marching to Chattanooga the corps had
reached a little wooded valley between the
mountains. The colonel, with others, rode ahead, and,
striking into a bypath, suddenly came upon a
secluded little cabin surrounded by a patch of
cultivated ground.
At the door an old woman, eighty years of age,
was supporting herself on a crutch. As they rode
up she asked if they were ``Yankees,'' and upon
their replying that they were, she said: ``Have
you got the Stars and Stripes with you? My
father fought the Tories in the Revolution, and
my old eyes ache for a sight of the true flag before
I die.''
To gratify her the colonel sent to have the
colors brought that way. When they were unfurled
and planted before her door, she passed
her trembling hands over them and held them
close to her eyes that she might view the stars
once more. When the band gave her ``Yankee
Doodle,'' and the ```Star-Spangled Banner,'' she
sobbed like a child, as did her daughter, a woman
of fifty, while her three little grandchildren gazed
in wonder.
They were Eastern people, who had gone to
New Orleans to try to improve their condition.
Not being successful, they had moved from place
to place to better themselves, until finally they
had settled on this spot, the husband having taken
several acres of land here for a debt.
Then the war burst upon them. The man fled
to the mountains to avoid the conscription, and
they knew not whether he was alive or dead.
They had managed to support life, but were so
retired that they saw very few people.
Leaving them food and supplies, the colonel
and the corps passed on.
In a rifle-pit, on the brow of a hill near Fredericksburg,
were a number of Confederate soldiers who
had exhausted their ammunition in the vain attempt
to check the advancing column of Hooker's
finely equipped and disciplined army which was
crossing the river. To the relief of these few came
the brigade in double-quick time. But no sooner
were the soldiers intrenched than the firing on
the opposite side of the river became terrific.
A heavy mist obscured the scene. The Federal
soldiers poured a merciless fire into the trenches.
Soon many Confederates fell, and the agonized
cries of the wounded who lay there calling for
water, smote the hearts of their helpless comrades.
``Water! Water!'' But there was none to give,
the canteens were-empty.
``Boys,'' exclaimed Nathan Cunningham, a
lad of eighteen, the color-bearer for his regiment,
``I can't stand this any more. They want water,
and water they must have. So let me have a few
canteens and I'll go for some.''
Carefully laying the colors, which he had borne
on many a field, in a trench, he seized some
canteens, and, leaping into the mist, was soon out
of sight.
Shortly after this the firing ceased for a while,
and an order came for the men to fall back to the
main line.
As the Confederates were retreating they met
Nathan Cunningham, his canteens full of water,
hurrying to relieve the thirst of the wounded men
in the trenches. He glanced over the passing
column and saw that the faded flag, which he had
carried so long, was not there. The men in their
haste to obey orders HAD FORGOTTEN OR OVERLOOKED
Quickly the lad sped to the trenches, intent
now not only on giving water to his comrades, but
on rescuing the flag and so to save the honor of
his regiment.
His mission of mercy was soon accomplished.
The wounded men drank freely. The lad then
found and seized his colors, and turned to rejoin
his regiment. Scarcely had he gone three paces
when a company of Federal soldiers appeared
ascending the hill.
``Halt and surrender,'' came the stern command,
and a hundred rifles were leveled at the
boy's breast.
``NEVER! while I hold the colors,'' was his firm
The morning sun, piercing with a lurid glare
the dense mist, showed the lad proudly standing
with his head thrown back and his flag grasped
in his hand, while his unprotected breast was
exposed to the fire of his foe.
A moment's pause. Then the Federal officer
gave his command:--
``Back with your pieces, men, don't shoot that
brave boy.''
And Nathan Cunningham, with colors flying
over his head, passed on and joined his regiment.
His comrades in arms still tell with pride of his
brave deed and of the generous act of a foe.
Richard Kirtland was a sergeant in the Second
Regiment of South Carolina Volunteers. The
day after the great battle of Fredericksburg,
Kershaw's brigade occupied the road at the foot
of Marye's Hill.
One hundred and fifty yards in front of the
road, on the other side of a stone wall, lay Sykes's
division of the United States Army. Between
these troops and Kershaw's command a skirmish
fight was continued through the entire day. The
ground between the lines was literally covered
with dead and dying Federal soldiers.
All day long the wounded were calling, ``Water!
water! water!''
In the afternoon, Sergeant Kirtland, a
Confederate soldier, went to the headquarters of
General Kershaw, and said with deep emotion:
``General, all through last night and to-day; I
have been hearing those poor wounded Federal
soldiers out there cry for water. Let me go and
give them some.''
``Don't you know,'' replied the general, ``that
you would get a bullet through you the moment
you stepped over the wall?''
``Yes, sir,'' said the sergeant; ``but if you will
let me go I am willing to try it.''
The general reflected a minute, then answered:
``Kirtland, I ought not to allow you to take this
risk, but the spirit that moves you is so noble I
cannot refuse. Go, and may God protect you!''
In the face of almost certain death the sergeant
climbed the wall, watched with anxiety by the
soldiers of his army. Under the curious gaze of
his foes, and exposed to their fire, he dropped to
the ground and hastened on his errand of mercy.
Unharmed, untouched, he reached the nearest
sufferer. He knelt beside him, tenderly raised his
drooping head, rested it gently on his breast, and
poured the cooling life-giving water down the
parched throat. This done he laid him carefully
down, placed the soldier's knapsack under his
head, straightened his broken limbs, spread his
coat over him, replaced the empty canteen with
a full one, then turned to another sufferer.
By this time his conduct was understood by
friend and foe alike and the firing ceased on both
For an hour and a half did he pursue his noble
mission, until he had relieved the wounded on all
parts of the battlefield. Then he returned to his
post uninjured.
Surely such a noble deed is worthy of the
admiration of men and angels.
In the summer of 1862, a young man belonging
to a Vermont regiment was found sleeping at his
post. He was tried and sentenced to be shot. The
day was fixed for the execution, and the young
soldier calmly prepared to meet his fate.
Friends who knew of the case brought the
matter to Mr. Lincoln's attention. It seemed that
the boy had been on duty one night, and on the
following night he had taken the place of a comrade
too ill to stand guard. The third night he
had been again called out, and, being utterly
exhausted, had fallen asleep at his post.
As soon as Mr. Lincoln understood the case, he
signed a pardon, and sent it to the camp. The
morning before the execution arrived, and the
President had not heard whether the pardon had
reached the officers in charge of the matter. He
began to feel uneasy. He ordered a telegram to be
sent to the camp, but received no answer. State
papers could not fix his mind, nor could he banish
the condemned soldier boy from his thoughts.
At last, feeling that he MUST KNOW that the lad
was safe, he ordered the carriage and rode rapidly
ten miles over a dusty road and beneath a scorching
sun. When he reached the camp he found that
the pardon had been received and the execution
The sentinel was released, and his heart was
filled with lasting gratitude. When the campaign
opened in the spring, the young man was with his
regiment near Yorktown, Virginia. They were
ordered to attack a fort, and he fell at the first
volley of the enemy.
His comrades caught him up and carried him
bleeding and dying from the field. ``Bear witness,''
he said, ``that I have proved myself not
a coward, and I am not afraid to die.'' Then,
making a last effort, with his dying breath he
prayed for Abraham Lincoln.
Among those who accompanied Mr. Lincoln, the
President-elect, on his journey from Illinois to
the national capital, was Elmer E. Ellsworth, a
young man who had been employed in the law
office of Lincoln and Herndon, Springfield.
He was a brave, handsome, and impetuous
youth, and was among the first to offer his services
to the President in defense of the Union, as
soon as the mutterings of war were heard.
Before the war he had organized a company of
Zouaves from the Chicago firemen, and had
delighted and astonished many people by the
exhibitions of their skill in the evolutions through
which they were put while visiting some chief
cities of the Republic.
Now, being commissioned a second lieutenant in
the United States Army, he went to New York and
organized from the firemen of that city a similar
regiment, known as the Eleventh New York.
Colonel Ellsworth's Zouaves, on the evening
of May 23, were sent with a considerable force
to occupy the heights overlooking Washington
and Alexandria, on the banks of the Potomac,
opposite the national capital.
Next day, seeing a Confederate flag flying from
the Marshall House, a tavern in Alexandria
kept by a secessionist, he went up through the
building to the roof and pulled it down. While
on his way down the stairs, wilh the flag in his
arms, he was met by the tavern-keeper, who shot
and killed him instantly. Ellsworth fell, dyeing the
Confederate flag with the blood that gushed from
his heart. The tavern-keeper was instantly killed
by a shot from Private Brownell, of the Ellsworth
Zouaves, who was at hand when his commander fell.
The death of Ellsworth, needless though it may
have been, caused a profound sensation throughout
the country, where he was well known. He
was among the very first martyrs of the war, as
he had been one of the first volunteers.
Lincoln was overwhelmed with sorrow. He
had the body of the lamented young officer taken
to the White House, where it lay in state until
the burial took place, and, even in the midst of
his increasing cares, he found time to sit alone
and in grief-stricken meditation by the bier of
the dead young soldier of whose career he had
cherished so great hopes.
The life-blood from Ellsworth's heart had
stained not only the Confederate flag, but a gold
medal found under his uniform, bearing the
legend: ``Non solum nobis, sed pro patria''; ``Not
for ourselves alone, but for the country.''
One day, as the general was sitting at his table
in the office, the messenger announced that a
person desired to see him a moment in order to
present a gift.
A German was introduced, who said that he
was commissioned by a house in New York to
present General Scott with a small silk banner.
It was very handsome, of the size of a regimental
flag, and was made of a single piece of silk
stamped with the Stars and Stripes of the proper
The German said that the manufacturers who
had sent the banner, wished to express thus the
great respect they felt for General Scott, and their
sense of his importance to the country in that
perilous time.
The general was highly pleased, and, in accepting
the gift, assured the donors that the flag
should hang in his room wherever he went, and
enshroud him when he died.
As soon as the man was gone, the general
desired that the stars might be counted to see if
ALL the States were represented. They were ALL
The flag was then draped between the windows
over the couch where the general frequently
reclined for rest during the day. It went with him
in his berth when he sailed for Europe, after his
retirement, and enveloped his coffin when he
was interred at West Point.
(JULY 4)
While danger was gathering round New York,
and its inhabitants were in mute suspense and
fearful anticipations, the General Congress at
Philadelphia was discussing, with closed doors,
what John Adams pronounced: ``The greatest
question ever debated in America, and as great
as ever was or will be debated among men.'' The
result was, a resolution passed unanimously on
the 2d of July; ``that these United Colonies are,
and of right ought to be, free and independent
``The 2d of July,'' adds the same patriot
statesman, ``will be the most memorable epoch in the
history of America. I am apt to believe that it
will be celebrated by succeeding generations as
the great anniversary festival. It ought to be
commemorated as the day of deliverance, by
solemn acts of devotion to Almighty God. It
ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade,
with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires,
and illuminations, from one end of this continent
to the other, from this time forth forevermore.''
The glorious event has, indeed, given rise to an
annual jubilee; but not on the day designated by
Adams. The FOURTH of July is the day of national
rejoicing, for on that day the ``Declaration of
Independence,'' that solemn and sublime document,
was adopted.
Tradition gives a dramatic effect to its
announcement. It was known to be under
discussion, but the closed doors of Congress excluded
the populace. They awaited, in throngs, an
appointed signal. In the steeple of the State House
was a bell, imported twenty-three years previously
from London by the Provincial Assembly
of Pennsylvania. It bore the portentous text from
Scripture: ``Proclaim Liberty throughout all the
land, unto all the inhabitants thereof.'' A joyous
peal from that bell gave notice that the bill
had been passed. It was the knell of British domination.
[4] From The Story of the Thirteen Colonies. Copyright, 1898, by
H. A. Guerber. American Book Company, publishers.
John Hancock, President of Congress, was the
first to sign the Declaration of Independence,
writing his name in large, plain letters, and saying:--
``There! John Bull can read my name without
spectacles. Now let him double the price on my
head, for this is my defiance.''
Then he turned to the other members, and
solemnly declared:--
``We must be unanimous. There must be no
pulling different ways. We must all hang together.''
``Yes,'' said Franklin, quaintly: ``we must all
hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang
We are told that Charles Carroll, thinking that
his writing looked shaky, added the words, ``of
Carrollton,'' so that the king should not be able
to make any mistake as to whose name stood
[5] From Stories of Heroic Deeds. Copyright, 1887, by D. Appleton
and Company. American Book Company, publishers.
In the year 1781 the war was chiefly carried on
in the South, but the North was constantly
troubled by bands of Tories and Indians, who
would swoop down on small settlements and make
off with whatever they could lay their hands on.
During this time General Schuyler was staying
at his house, which stood just outside the stockade
or walls of Albany. The British commander
sent out a party of Tories and Indians to capture
the general.
When they reached the outskirts of the city
they learned from a Dutch laborer that the
general's house was guarded by six soldiers, three
watching by night and three by day. They let
the Dutchman go, and as soon as the band was
out of sight he hastened to Albany and warned
the general of their approach.
Schuyler gathered his family in one of the
upper rooms of his house, and giving orders that
the doors and windows should be barred, fired a
pistol from a top-story window, to alarm the
The soldiers on guard, who had been lounging
in the shade of a tree, started to their feet at
the sound of the pistol; but, alas! too late, for
they found themselves surrounded by a crowd
of dusky forms, who bound them hand and foot,
before they had time to resist.
In the room upstairs was the sturdy general,
standing resolutely at the door, with gun in hand,
while his black slaves were gathered about him,
each with a weapon. At the other end of the room
the women were huddled together, some weeping
and some praying.
Suddenly a deafening crash was heard. The
Indian band had broken into the house. With
loud shouts they began to pillage and to destroy
everything in sight. While they were yet busy
downstairs, Mrs. Schuyler sprang to her feet and
rushed to the door; for she had suddenly remembered
that the baby, who was only a few months old,
was asleep in its cradle in a room on the first floor.
The general caught his wife in his arms, and
implored her not to go to certain death, saying
that if any one was to go he would. While this
generous struggle between husband and wife was
going on, their young daughter, who had been
standing near the door, glided by them, and
descended the stairs.
All was dark in the hall, excepting where the
light shone from the dining-room in which the
Indians were pillaging the shelves and fighting over
their booty. How to get past the dining-room
door was the question, but the brave girl did not
hesitate. Reaching the lower hall, she walked
very deliberately forward, softly but quickly passing
the door, and unobserved reached the room
in which was the cradle.
She caught up the baby, crept back past the
open door, and was just mounting the stairs,
when one of the savages happened to see her.
``WHIZ''--and his sharp tomahawk struck the
stair rail within a few inches of the baby's head.
But the frightened girl hurried on, and in a few
seconds was safe in her father's arms.
As for the Indians, fearing an attack from
the near-by garrison, they hastened away with
the booty they had collected, and left General
Schuyler and his family unharmed.
[5] From a letter written to a friend in 1773.
On November 29, 1773, there arrived in Boston
Harbor a ship carrying an hundred and odd chests
of the detested tea. The people in the country
roundabout, as well as the town's folk, were
unanimous against allowing the landing of it; but
the agents in charge of the consignment persisted
in their refusal to take the tea back to London.
The town bells were rung, for a general muster of
the citizens. Handbills were stuck up calling on
``Friends! Citizens! Countrymen!''
Mr. Rotch, the owner of the ship, found himself
exposed not only to the loss of his ship, but
to the loss of the money-value of the tea itself,
if he should attempt to send her back without
clearance papers from the custom-house; for the
admiral kept a vessel in readiness to seize any
ship which might leave without those papers.
Therefore, Mr. Rotch declared that his ship
should not carry back the tea without either the
proper clearance or the promise of full indemnity
for any losses he might incur.
Matters continued thus for some days, when
a general muster was called of the people of Boston
and of all the neighboring towns. They met,
to the number of five or six thousand, at ten
o'clock in the morning, in the Old South Meeting-
House; where they passed a unanimous vote THAT THE
A committee, with Mr. Rotch, was sent to the
custom-house to demand a clearance. This the
collector said he could not give without the duties
first being paid. Mr. Rotch was then sent to ask
for a pass from the governor, who returned answer
that ``consistent with the rules of government
and his duty to the king he could not grant
one without they produced a previous clearance
from the office.''
By the time Mr. Rotch returned to the Old
South Meeting-House with this message, the
candles were lighted and the house still crowded
with people. When the governor's message was
read a prodigious shout was raised, and soon afterward
the moderator declared the meeting dissolved.
This caused another general shout, outdoors
and in, and what with the noise of breaking
up the meeting, one might have thought that the
inhabitants of the infernal regions had been let
That night there mustered upon Fort Hill
about two hundred strange figures, SAID TO BE
in blankets, with heads muffled, and had coppercolored
countenances. Each was armed with a
hatchet or axe, and a pair of pistols. They spoke
a strange, unintelligible jargon.
They proceeded two by two to Griffin's Wharf,
where three tea-ships lay, each with one hundred
and fourteen chests of the ill-fated article on
board. And before nine o'clock in the evening
every chest was knocked into pieces and flung
over the sides.
Not the least insult was offered to any one,
save one Captain Conner, who had ripped up the
linings of his coat and waistcoat, and, watching
his opportunity, had filled them with tea. But,
being detected, he was handled pretty roughly.
They not only stripped him of his clothes, but
gave him a coat of mud, with a severe bruising
into the bargain. Nothing but their desire not to
make a disturbance prevented his being tarred
and feathered.
The tea being thrown overboard, all the
Indians disappeared in a most marvelous fashion.
The next day, if a stranger had walked through
the streets of Boston, and had observed the calm
composure of the people, he would hardly have
thought that ten thousand pounds sterling of
East India Company's tea had been destroyed
the night before.
[6] From Stories of the Old Dominion. Used by permission of the
American Book Company, publishers.
In the autumn of 1777 the English decided to
attack Fort Henry, at Wheeling, in northwestern
Virginia. This was an important border fort
named in honor of Patrick Henry, and around
which had grown up a small village of about
twenty-five log houses.
A band of Indians, under the leadership of one
Simon Girty, was supplied by the English with
muskets and ammunition, and sent against the
fort. This Girty was a white man, who, when a
boy, had been captured by Indians, and brought
up by them. He had joined their tribes, and was
a ferocious and bloodthirsty leader of savage
When the settlers at Wheeling heard that
Simon Girty and his Indians were advancing on the
town, they left their homes and hastened into the
fort. Scarcely had they done so when the savages
made their appearance.
The defenders of the fort knew that a desperate
fight must now take place, and there seemed little
probability that they would be able to hold out
against their assailants. They had only forty
two fighting men, including old men and boys,
while the Indian force numbered about five
What was worse they had but a small amount
of gunpowder. A keg containing the main supply
had been left by accident in one of the village
houses. This misfortune, as you will soon
see, brought about the brave action of a young
After several encounters with the savages,
which took place in the village, the defenders
withdrew to the fort. Then a number of Indians
advanced with loud yells, firing as they came. The
fire was returned by the defenders, each of whom
had picked out his man, and taken deadly aim.
Most of the attacking party were killed, and the
whole body of Indians fell back into the near-by
woods, and there awaited a more favorable
opportunity to renew hostilities.
The men in the fort now discovered, to their
great dismay, that their gunpowder was nearly
gone. What was to be done? Unless they could
get another supply, they would not be able to
hold the fort, and they and their women and children
would either be massacred or carried into
Colonel Shepherd, who was in command,
explained to the settlers exactly how matters stood.
He also told them of the forgotten keg of powder
which was in a house standing about sixty yards
from the gate of the fort.
It was plain to all that if any man should
attempt to procure the keg, he would almost surely
be shot by the lurking Indians. In spite of this
three or four young men volunteered to go on the
dangerous mission.
Colonel Shepherd replied that he could not
spare three or four strong men, as there were
already too few for the defense. Only one man
should make the attempt and they might decide
who was to go. This caused a dispute.
Just then a young girl stepped forward and
said that SHE was ready to go. Her name was
Elizabeth Zane, and she had just returned from
a boarding-school in Philadelphia. This made
her brave offer all the more remarkable, since she
had not been bred up to the fearless life of the
At first the men would not hear of her running
such a risk. She was told that it meant certain
death. But she urged that they could not spare
a man from the defense, and that the loss of one
girl would not be an important matter. So after
some discussion the settlers agreed that she should
go for the powder.
The house, as has already been stated, stood
about sixty yards from the fort, and Elizabeth
hoped to run thither and bring back the powder
in a few minutes. The gate was opened, and she
passed through, running like a deer.
A few straggling Indians were dodging about
the log houses of the town; they saw the fleeing
girl, but for some reason they did not fire upon
her. They may have supposed that she was
returning to her home to rescue her clothes. Possibly
they thought it a waste of good ammunition
to fire at a woman, when they were so sure of
taking the fort before long. So they looked on
quietly while, with flying skirts, Elizabeth ran
across the open, and entered the house.
She found the keg of powder, which was not
large. She lifted it with both arms, and, holding the
precious burden close to her breast, she darted out
of the house and ran in the direction of the fort.
When the Indians saw what she was carrying
they uttered fierce yells and fired. The bullets
fell like hail about her, but not one so much as
touched her garments. With the keg hugged to
her bosom, she ran on, and reached the fort in
safety. The gate closed upon her just as the
bullets of the Indians buried themselves in its
thick panels.
The rescued gunpowder enabled the little
garrison to hold out until help arrived from the other
settlements near Wheeling. And Girty, seeing
that there were no further hopes of taking Fort
Henry, withdrew his band.
Thus a weak but brave girl was the means of
saving strong men with their wives and children.
It was a heroic act, and Americans should never
forget to honor the name of Elizabeth Zane.
Some bold spirits in Connecticut conceived the
project of surprising the old forts of Ticonderoga
and Crown Point, already famous in the French
War. Their situation on Lake Champlain gave
them the command of the main route into Canada
so that the possession of them would be allimportant
in case of hostilities. They were feebly
garrisoned and negligently guarded, and abundantly
furnished with artillery and military stores
so needed by the patriot army.
At this juncture Ethan Allen stepped forward,
a patriot, and volunteered with his ``Green
Mountain Boys.'' He was well fitted for the
enterprise. During the border warfare over the New
Hampshire Grants, he and his lieutenants had
been outlawed by the Legislature of New York
and rewards offered for their apprehension. He
and his associates had armed themselves, set New
York at defiance, and had sworn they would be
the death of any one who should try to arrest
Thus Ethan Allen had become a kind of Robin
Hood among the mountains. His experience as
a frontier champion, his robustness of mind and
body, and his fearless spirit made him a most
desirable leader in the expedition against Fort
Ticonderoga. Therefore he was appointed at the
head of the attacking force.
Accompanied by Benjamin Arnold and two
other officers, Allen and his party of soldiers who
had been enlisted from several States, set out and
arrived at Shoreham, opposite Fort Ticonderoga
on the shore of Lake Champlain. They reached
the place at night-time. There were only a few
boats on hand, but the transfer of men began
immediately. It was slow work. The night wore
away; day was about to break, and but eightythree
men, with Allen and Arnold, had crossed.
Should they wait for the rest to cross over, day
would dawn, the garrison wake, and their enterprise
might fail.
Allen drew up his men, addressed them in his
own emphatic style, and announced his intention
of making a dash at the fort without waiting for
more force.
``It is a desperate attempt,'' said he, ``and I
ask no man to go against his will. I will take the
lead, and be the first to advance. You that are
willing to follow, poise your firelocks!''
Not a firelock but was poised!
They mounted the hill briskly but in silence,
guided by a boy from the neighborhood.
The day dawned as Allen arrived at a sallyport.
A sentry pulled trigger on him, but his
piece missed fire. He retreated through a covered
way. Allen and his men followed. Another
sentry thrust at an officer with his bayonet, but
was struck down by Allen, and begged for quarter.
It was granted on condition of his leading the
way instantly to the quarters of the commandant,
Captain Delaplace, who was yet in bed.
Being arrived there, Allen thundered at the
door, and demanded a surrender of the fort. By
this time his followers had formed into two lines
on the parade-ground, and given three hearty
The commandant appeared at the door halfdressed,
the frightened face of his pretty wife
peering over his shoulder. He gazed at Allen in
bewildered astonishment.
``By whose authority do you act?'' exclaimed
``In the name of the Continental Congress!''
replied Allen, with a flourish of his sword, and an
oath which we do not care to subjoin.
There was no disputing the point. The garrison,
like the commandant, had been startled from
sleep, and made prisoners as they rushed forth
in their confusion. A surrender accordingly took
place. The captain and forty-eight men who
composed his garrison were sent prisoners to Hartford,
in Connecticut.
And thus without the loss of a single man, one
of the important forts, commanding the main
route into Canada, fell into the hands of the
During the evacuation of New York by Washington,
two divisions of the enemy, encamped on
Long Island, one British under Sir Henry Clinton,
the other Hessian under Colonel Donop, emerged
in boats from the deep wooded recesses of Newtown
Inlet, and under cover of the fire from the
ships began to land at two points between Turtle
and Kip's Bays.
The breastworks were manned by patriot
militia who had recently served in Brooklyn.
Disheartened by their late defeat, they fled at
the first advance of the enemy. Two brigades
of Putnam's Connecticut troops, which had been
sent that morning to support them, caught the
panic, and, regardless of the commands and
entreaties of their officers, joined in the general
At this moment Washington, who had mounted
his horse at the first sound of the cannonade,
came galloping to the scene of confusion. Riding
in among the fugitives he endeavored to rally and
restore them to order. All in vain. At the first
appearance of sixty or seventy redcoats, they
broke again without firing a shot, and fled in
headlong terror.
Losing all self-command at the sight of such
dastardly conduct, Washington dashed his hat
upon the ground in a transport of rage.
``Are these the men,'' exclaimed he, ``with
whom I am to defend America!''
In a paroxysm of passion and despair he
snapped his pistols at some of them, threatened
others with his sword, and was so heedless of his
own danger that he might have fallen into the
hands of the enemy, who were not eighty yards
distant, had not an aide-de-camp seized the
bridle of his horse, and absolutely hurried him
It was one of the rare moments of his life when
the vehement element of his nature was stirred
up from its deep recesses. He soon recovered his
self-possession, and took measures against the
general peril.
Once words ran high in a smithy.
The furnace said: ``If I cease to burn, the
smithy must close.''
The bellows said: ``If I cease to blow, no fire,
no smithy.''
The hammer and anvil, also, each claimed the
sole credit for keeping up the smithy.
The ploughshare that had been shaped by the
furnace, the bellows, the hammer and the anvil,
cried: ``It is not each of you alone, that keeps up
the smithy, but ALL TOGETHER.''
[7] From the Riverside Fourth Reader.
A merchant had done good business at the fair;
he had sold his wares, and filled his bag with gold
and silver. Then he set out at once on his journey
home, for he wished to be in his own house before
At noon he rested in a town. When he wanted
to go on, the stable-boy brought his horse, saying:
``A nail is wanting, sir, in the shoe of his left
hind foot.''
``Let it be wanting,'' answered the merchant;
``the shoe will stay on for the six miles I have still
to go. I am in a hurry.''
In the afternoon he got down at an inn and had
his horse fed. The stable-boy came into the room
to him and said: ``Sir, a shoe is wanting from your
horse's left hind foot. Shall I take him to the
``Let it still be wanting,'' said the man; ``the
horse can very well hold out for a couple of miles
more. I am in a hurry.''
So the merchant rode forth, but before long the
horse began to limp. He had not limped long
before he began to stumble, and he had not
stumbled long before he fell down and broke his
leg. The merchant had to leave the horse where
he fell, and unstrap the bag, take it on his back,
and go home on foot.
``That unlucky nail,'' said he to himself, ``has
made all this trouble.''
There was once a shoemaker who worked very
hard and was honest. Still, he could not earn
enough to live on. At last, all he had in the world
was gone except just leather enough to make one
pair of shoes. He cut these out at night, and
meant to rise early the next morning to make
them up.
His heart was light in spite of his troubles, for
his conscience was clear. So he went quietly to
bed, left all his cares to God, and fell asleep. In
the morning he said his prayers, and sat down to
work, when, to his great wonder, there stood the
shoes, already made, upon the table.
The good man knew not what to say or think.
He looked at the work. There was not one false
stitch in the whole job. All was neat and true.
That same day a customer came in, and the
shoes pleased him so well that he readily paid a
price higher than usual for them. The shoemaker
took the money and bought leather enough to
make two pairs more. He cut out the work in the
evening, and went to bed early. He wished to
be up with the sun and get to work.
He was saved all trouble, for when he got up
in the morning, the work was done. Pretty soon
buyers came in, who paid him well for his goods.
So he bought leather enough for four pairs more.
He cut out the work again overnight, and found
it finished in the morning as before. So it went
on for some time. What was got ready at night
was always done by daybreak, and the good man
soon was well-to-do.
One evening, at Christmas-time, he and his
wife sat over the fire, chatting, and he said: ``I
should like to sit up and watch to-night, that we
may see who it is that comes and does my work
for me.'' So they left the light burning, and hid
themselves behind a curtain to see what would
As soon as it was midnight, there came two
little Elves. They sat upon the shoemaker's
bench, took up all the work that was cut out, and
began to ply their little fingers. They stitched
and rapped and tapped at such a rate that the
shoemaker was amazed, and could not take his
eyes off them for a moment.
On they went till the job was done, and the
shoes stood, ready for use, upon the table. This
was long before daybreak. Then they ran away
as quick as lightning.
The next day the wife said to the shoemaker:
``These little Elves have made us rich, and we
ought to be thankful to them, and do them some
good in return. I am vexed to see them run about
as they do. They have nothing upon their backs
to keep off the cold. I'll tell you what we must
do. I will make each of them a shirt, and a coat
and waistcoat, and a pair of pantaloons into the
bargain. Do you make each of them a little pair
of shoes.''
The good shoemaker liked the thought very
well. One evening he and his wife had the clothes
ready, and laid them on the table instead of the
work they used to cut out. Then they went and
hid behind the curtain to watch what the little
Elves would do.
At midnight the Elves came in and were going
to sit down at their work as usual. But when they
saw the clothes lying there for them, they laughed
and were in high glee. They dressed themselves in
the twinkling of an eye, and danced and capered
and sprang about as merry as could be, till at
last they danced out of the door, and over the
The shoemaker saw them no more, but everything
went well with him as long as he lived.
It is well known that the Fairy People cannot
abide meanness. They like to be liberally dealt
with when they beg or borrow of the human race;
and, on the other hand, to those who come to
them in need, they are invariably generous.
Now there once lived a certain housewife who
had a sharp eye to her own interests, and gave
alms of what she had no use for, hoping to get
some reward in return. One day a Hillman
knocked at her door.
``Can you lend us a saucepan, good mother?''
said he. ``There's a wedding in the hill, and all
the pots are in use.''
``Is he to have one?'' asked the servant lass
who had opened the door.
``Aye, to be sure,'' answered the housewife;
``one must be neighborly.''
But when the maid was taking a saucepan from
the shelf, the housewife pinched her arm and
whispered sharply: ``Not that, you good-fornothing!
Get the old one out of the cupboard.
It leaks, and the Hillmen are so neat, and such
nimble workers, that they are sure to mend it
before they send it home. So one obliges the
Fairy People, and saves sixpence in tinkering!''
Thus bidden the maid fetched the saucepan,
which had been laid by until the tinker's next
visit, and gave it to the Hillman, who thanked
her and went away.
In due time the saucepan was returned, and,
as the housewife had foreseen, it was neatly
mended and ready for use.
At supper-time the maid filled the pan with
milk, and set it on the fire for the children's
supper. But in a few minutes the milk was so burnt
and smoked that no one could touch it, and even
the pigs refused to drink it.
``Ah, good-for-nothing hussy!'' cried the
housewife, as she refilled the pan herself, ``you would
ruin the richest with your carelessness! There's
a whole quart of good milk wasted at once!''
``AND THAT'S TWOPENCE!'' cried a voice that
seemed to come from the chimney, in a whining
tone, like some discontented old body going over
her grievances.
The housewife had not left the saucepan for two
minutes, when the milk boiled over, and it was
all burnt and smoked as before.
``The pan must be dirty,'' muttered the good
woman in vexation, ``and there are two full
quarts of milk as good as thrown to the dogs.''
``AND THAT'S FOURPENCE!'' added the voice in
the chimney.
After a thorough cleaning the saucepan was
once more filled and set on the fire, but with no
better success. The milk boiled over again, and
was hopelessly spoiled. The housewife shed tears
of anger at the waste and cried: ``Never before
did such a thing befall me since I kept house!
Three quarts of new milk burnt for one meal.''
``AND THAT'S SIXPENCE!'' cried the voice in the
chimney. ``You didn't save the tinkering after
all, mother!''
With that the Hillman himself came tumbling
down from the chimney, and went off laughing
through the door.
But from then on the saucepan was as good as
any other.
Once upon a time in Japan, there was a poor
stone-cutter, named Hofus, who used to go every
day to the mountain-side to cut great blocks of
stone. He lived near the mountain in a little
stone hut, and worked hard and was happy.
One day he took a load of stone to the house
of a rich man. There he saw so many beautiful
things that when he went back to his mountain
he could think of nothing else. Then he began to
wish that he too might sleep in a bed as soft as
down, with curtains of silk, and tassels of gold.
And he sighed:--
``Ah me! Ah me!
If Hofus only were rich as he!''
To his surprise, the voice of the Mountain
Spirit answered:--
``Have thou thy wish!''
When Hofus returned home that evening his
little hut was gone, and in its place stood a great
palace. It was filled with beautiful things, and
the best of all was a bed of down, with curtains
of silk and tassels of gold.
Hofus decided to work no more. But he was
not used to being idle, and time passed slowly,--
the days seemed very long.
One day as he sat by the window he saw a
carriage dash past. It was drawn by snow-white
horses. In it sat a prince, while before and behind
were servants in suits of blue and white. One was
holding a golden umbrella over the prince.
When the stone-cutter saw this, he began to
feel unhappy, and he sighed:--
``Ah me! Ah me!
If Hofus only a prince might be!''
And again the same voice that he had heard on
the mountain answered:--
``Be thou a prince!''
Straightway Hofus was a prince. He had servants
dressed in crimson and gold, and he rode in
a carriage with a golden umbrella over his head.
For a short time he was happy, but one day,
as he walked in the garden, he saw that the
flowers were drooping, the grass was dry and
brown. And when he rode out he felt the hot sun
burn him in spite of his umbrella.
``The sun is mightier than I,'' thought he, and
then he sighed:--
``Ah me! Ah me!
If Hofus only the sun might be!''
And the voice answered:--
``Be thou the sun!''
Straightway the great sun he became. He
burned the grass and rice fields. he dried up the
streams. Rich and poor alike suffered from the
terrible heat.
One day a cloud came and rested in front of
him, and hid the earth from his sight. He was
angry and cried:--
``Ah me! Ah me!
If Hofus only a cloud might be!''
And the voice answered:--
``Be thou a cloud!''
Straightway a cloud he became. He floated
before the face of the sun, and hid the earth
from it.
Then day after day the cloud dropped rain.
The rivers overflowed, and the rice-fields were
covered with water. Towns were swept away.
Only the great rocks on the mountain-side stood
unmoved midst the flood.
The cloud looked at them in wonder, then he
``Ah me! Ah me!
If Hofus only a rock might be!''
And the voice answered:--
``Be thou a rock!''
Straightway a rock he became. Proudly he
stood. The sun could not burn him and the rain
could not move him.
``Now, at last,'' he said, ``no one is mightier
than I.''
But one day he was waked from his dreams by
a noise,--tap! tap! tap!--down at his feet. He
looked and there was a stone-cutter driving his
tool into the rock. Another blow and the great
rock shivered; a block of stone broke away.
``That man is mightier than I!'' cried Hofus,
and he sighed:--
``Ah me! Ah me!
If Hofus only the man might be!''
And the voice answered:--
``Be thou thyself!''
And straightway Hofus was himself again,--
a poor stone-cutter, working all day upon the
mountain-side, and going home at night to his
little hut. But he was content and happy, and
never again did he wish to be other than Hofus
the stone-cutter.
There was a certain maiden of Lydia, Arachne
by name, renowned throughout the country for
her skill as a weaver. She was as nimble with her
fingers as Calypso, that Nymph who kept Odysseus
for seven years in her enchanted island. She
was as untiring as Penelope, the hero's wife, who
wove day after day while she watched for his
return. Day in and day out, Arachne wove too.
The very Nymphs would gather about her loom,
Naiads from the water and Dryads from the trees.
``Maiden,'' they would say, shaking the leaves
or the foam from their hair, in wonder, ``Pallas
Athena must have taught you!''
But this did not please Arachne. She would not
acknowledge herself a debtor, even to that goddess
who protected all household arts, and by
whose grace alone one had any skill in them.
``I learned not of Athena,'' said she. ``If she
can weave better, let her come and try.''
The Nymphs shivered at this, and an aged
woman, who was looking on, turned to Arachne.
``Be more heedful of your words, my daughter,''
said she. ``The goddess may pardon you if you
ask forgiveness, but do not strive for honors with
the immortals.''
Arachne broke her thread, and the shuttle
stopped humming.
``Keep your counsel,'' she said. ``I fear not
Athena; no, nor any one else.''
As she frowned at the old woman, she was
amazed to see her change suddenly into one tall,
majestic, beautiful,--a maiden of gray eyes and
golden hair, crowned with a golden helmet. It
was Athena herself.
The bystanders shrank in fear and reverence;
only Arachne was unawed and held to her foolish
In silence the two began to weave, and the
Nymphs stole nearer, coaxed by the sound of the
shuttles, that seemed to be humming with delight
over the two webs,--back and forth like bees.
They gazed upon the loom where the goddess
stood plying her task, and they saw shapes and
images come to bloom out of the wondrous colors,
as sunset clouds grow to be living creatures when
we watch them. And they saw that the goddess,
still merciful, was spinning; as a warning for
Arachne, the pictures of her own triumph over
reckless gods and mortals.
In one corner of the web she made a story of
her conquest over the sea-god Poseidon. For the
first king of Athens had promised to dedicate
the city to that god who should bestow upon it the
most useful gift. Poseidon gave the horse. But
Athena gave the olive,--means of livelihood,--
symbol of peace and prosperity, and the city was
called after her name. Again she pictured a vain
woman of Troy, who had been turned into a
crane for disputing the palm of beauty with a
goddess. Other corners of the web held similar
images, and the whole shone like a rainbow.
Meanwhile Arachne, whose head was quite
turned with vanity, embroidered her web with
stories against the gods, making light of Zeus
himself and of Apollo, and portraying them as
birds and beasts. But she wove with marvelous
skill; the creatures seemed to breathe and speak,
yet it was all as fine as the gossamer that you find
on the grass before rain.
Athena herself was amazed. Not even her
wrath at the girl's insolence could wholly overcome
her wonder. For an instant she stood entranced;
then she tore the web across, and three
times she touched Arachne's forehead with her
``Live on, Arachne,'' she said. ``And since it is
your glory to weave, you and yours must weave
forever.'' So saying, she sprinkled upon the
maiden a certain magical potion.
Away went Arachne's beauty; then her very
human form shrank to that of a spider, and so
remained. As a spider she spent all her days
weaving and weaving; and you may see something
like her handiwork any day among the rafters.
Once long ago there was a high mountain whose
rocks were veined with gold and silver and seamed
with iron. At times, from a huge rent in the
mountain-side, there shot out roaring, red flames,
and clouds of black smoke. And when the
village folk in the valley below saw this, they would
say: ``Look! the Metal King is at his forge.'' For
they knew that in the gloomy heart of the mountain,
the Metal King and his Spirits of the Mines
wrought in gold and iron.
When the storm raged over the valley, the
Metal King left his cavern and riding on the wings
of the wind, with thundering shouts, hurled his
red-hot bolts into the valley, now killing the
peasants and their cattle, now burning houses and
But when the weather was soft and mild, and
the breezes blew gently about the mouth of his
cavern, the Metal King returned to his forge in
the depths of the mountain, and there shaped
ploughshares and many other implements of iron.
These he placed outside his cavern door, as gifts
to the poor peasants.
It happened, on a time, there lived in that
valley a lazy lad, who would neither till his fields
nor ply a trade. He was avaricious, but he longed
to win gold without mining, and wealth and fame
without labor. So it came to pass that he set
out one day to find the mountain treasure of the
Metal King.
Taking a lighted lantern in one hand, a hatchet
in the other, and a bundle of twigs under his
arm, he entered the dark cavern. The dampness
smote his cheek, bats flapped their wings in his
face. Shivering with fear and cold, he pressed
on through a long passage under an arched and
blackened roof. As he passed along he dropped
his twigs, one after another, so that they might
guide him aright when he returned.
He came at last to a place where the passage
branched off in two directions,--to the right and
to the left. Choosing the right-hand path, he
walked on and at length came to an iron door. He
struck it twice with his hammer. It flew open,
and a strong current of air rushing forth put out
his light.
``Come in! Come in!'' shouted a voice like the
rolling of thunder, and the cavern echoes gave
back the sounds.
Almost overcome by terror and shivering in
every limb, the lad entered. As he stepped forward
a dazzling light shone from the vaulted
roof upheld by massive columns, and across
the crystal side-walls flittered curious, shadowy
The Metal King, huge and fierce-eyed,
surrounded by the misshapen Spirits of the Mines,
sat upon a block of pure silver, with a pile of
shining gold lying before him.
``Come in, my friend!'' he shouted again, and
again the echoes rolled through the cavern.
``Come near, and sit beside me.''
The lad advanced, pale and trembling, and
took his seat upon the silver block.
``Bring out more treasure,'' cried the Metal
King, and at his command the Mountain Spirits
fluttered away like dreams, only to return in a
moment and pile high before the wondering lad
bars of red gold, mounds of silver coin, and stacks
of precious jewels.
And when the lad saw all that wealth he felt
his heart burst with longing to grasp it, but when
he tried to put out his hand, he found that he
could not move his arm, nor could he lift his feet,
nor turn his head.
``Thou seest these riches,'' said the Metal
King; ``they are but a handful compared with
those thou mayest gain if thou wilt work with us
in the mines. Hard is the service but rich the
reward! Only say the word, and for a year and
a day thou shalt be a Mountain Spirit.''
``Nay,'' stammered the lad, in great terror,
``nay, I came not to work. All I beg of thee is
one bar of gold and a handful of the jewels that
lie here. If they are mine I can dress better than
the village lads, and ride in my own coach!''
``Lazy, ungrateful wretch!'' cried the Metal
King, rising from his seat, while his figure seemed
to tower until his head touched the cavern roof,
``wouldst thou seize without pay the treasures
gained through the hard labor of my Mountain
Spirits! Hence! Get thee gone to thy place!
Seek not here for unearned riches! Cast away thy
discontented disposition and thou shalt turn
stones into gold. Dig well thy garden and thy
fields, sow them and tend them diligently, search
the mountain-sides; and thou shalt gain through
thine industry mines of gold and silver!''
Scarcely had the Metal King spoken when
there was heard a screeching as of ravens, a
crying as of night owls, and a mighty storm wind
came rushing against the lad; and catching him
up it drove him forth along the dark passage, and
down the mountain-side, so that in a minute he
found himself on the steps of his own house.
And from that time on a strange change came
over the lad. He no longer idled and dreamed of
sudden wealth, but morning, noon, and evening
he labored diligently, sowing his fields, cultivating
his garden, and mining on the mountain-side.
Years came and went; all he touched prospered,
and he grew to be the richest man in that country;
but never again did he see the Metal King
or the Spirits of the Mines.
Long, long ago, when the world was young, there
were many deeds waiting to be wrought by daring
heroes. It was then that the mighty Hercules,
who was yet a lad, felt an exceeding great and
strong desire to go out into the wide world to seek
his fortune.
One day, while wandering alone and thoughtful,
he came to a place where two paths met. And
sitting down he gravely considered which he
should follow.
One path led over flowery meadows toward the
darkening distance; the other, passing over rough
stones and rugged, brown furrows, lost itself in
the glowing sunset.
And as Hercules gazed into the distance, he
saw two stately maidens coming toward him.
The first was tall and graceful, and wrapped
round in a snow-white mantle. Her countenance
was calm and beautiful. With gracious mien and
modest glance she drew near the lad.
The other maiden made haste to outrun the
first. She, too, was tall, but seemed taller than
she really was. She, too, was beautiful, but her
glance was bold. As she ran, a rosy garment like
a cloud floated about her form, and she kept
looking at her own round arms and shapely hands,
and ever and anon she seemed to gaze admiringly
at her shadow as it moved along the ground. And
this fair one did outstrip the first maiden, and
rushing forward held out her white hands to the
lad, exclaiming:--
``I see thou art hesitating, O Hercules, by what
path to seek thy fortune. Follow me along this
flowery way, and I will make it a delightful and
easy road. Thou shalt taste to the full of every
kind of pleasure. No shadow of annoyance shall
ever touch thee, nor strain nor stress of war and
state disturb thy peace. Instead thou shalt tread
upon carpets soft as velvet, and sit at golden
tables, or recline upon silken couches. The fairest
of maidens shall attend thee, music and perfume
shall lull thy senses, and all that is delightful to
eat and drink shall be placed before thee. Never
shalt thou labor, but always live in joy and ease.
Oh, come! I give my followers liberty and delight!''
And as she spoke the maiden stretched forth
her arms, and the tones of her voice were sweet
and caressing.
``What, O maiden,'' asked Hercules, ``is thy
``My friends,'' said she, ``call me Happiness,
but mine enemies name me Vice.''
Even as she spoke, the white-robed maiden,
who had drawn near, glided forward, and addressed
the lad in gracious tones and with words
stately and winning:--
``O beloved youth, who wouldst wander forth
in search of Life, I too, would plead with thee!
I, Virtue, have watched and tended thee from a
child. I know the fond care thy parents have
bestowed to train thee for a hero's part. Direct now
thy steps along yon rugged path that leads to my
dwelling. Honorable and noble mayest thou become
through thy illustrious deeds.
``I will not seduce thee by promises of vain
delights; instead will I recount to thee the things
that really are. Lasting fame and true nobility
come not to mortals save through pain and labor.
If thou, O Hercules, seekest the gracious gifts of
Heaven, thou must remain constant in prayer;
if thou wouldst be beloved of thy friends, thou
must serve thy friends; if thou desirest to be
honored of the people thou must benefit the people;
if thou art anxious to reap the fruits of the
earth, thou must till the earth with labor; and if
thou wishest to be strong in body and accomplish
heroic deeds, thou must teach thy body to obey
thy mind. Yea, all this and more also must thou
``Seest thou not, O Hercules,'' cried Vice,
``over how difficult and tedious a road this Virtue
would drive thee? I, instead, will conduct thy
steps by a short and easy path to perfect Happiness.''
``Wretched being!'' answered Virtue, ``wouldst
thou deceive this lad! What lasting Happiness
hast thou to offer! Thou pamperest thy followers
with riches, thou deludest them with idleness;
thou surfeitest them with luxury; thou enfeeblest
them with softness. In youth they grow slothful
in body and weak in mind. They live without
labor and wax fat. They come to a wretched old
age, dissatisfied, and ashamed, and oppressed by
the memory of their ill deeds; and, having run
their course, they lay themselves down in
melancholy death and their name is remembered no
``But those fortunate youths who follow me
receive other counsel. I am the companion of
virtuous men. Always I am welcome in the
homes of artisans and in the cottages of tillers of
the soil. I am the guardian of industrious
households, and the rewarder of generous masters and
faithful servants. I am the promoter of the labors
of peace. No honorable deed is accomplished
without me.
``My friends have sweet repose and the
untroubled enjoyment of the fruits of their efforts.
They remember their deeds with an easy conscience
and contentment, and are beloved of their
friends and honored by their country. And when
they have run their course, and death overtakes
them, their names are celebrated in song and
praise, and they live in the hearts of their
grateful countrymen.
``Come, then, O Hercules, thou son of noble
parents, come, follow thou me, and by thy
worthy and illustrious deeds secure for thyself
exalted Happiness.''
She ceased, and Hercules, withdrawing his
gaze from the face of Vice, arose from his place,
and followed Virtue along the rugged, brown path
of Labor.
There was once a great emperor who made a law
that whosoever worked on the birthday of his
eldest son should be put to death. He caused this
decree to be published throughout his empire,
and, sending for his chief magician, said to him:--
``I wish you to devise an instrument which will
tell me the name of each laborer who breaks my
new law.''
``Sire,'' answered the magician, ``your will
shall be accomplished.'' And he straightway
constructed a wonderful, speaking statue, and placed
it in the public square of the capital city. By its
magic power this statue could discern all that
went on in the empire on the birthday of the
eldest prince, and it could tell the name of each
laborer who worked in secret on that day. Thus
things continued for some years, and many men
were put to death.
Now, there was in the capital city a carpenter
named Focus. He was a diligent workman,
laboring at his trade from early morning till late at
night. One year, when the prince's birthday came
round, he continued to work all that day.
The next morning he arose, dressed himself,
and, before any one was astir in the streets, went
to the magic statue and said:--
``O statue, statue! because you have
denounced so many of our citizens, causing them
to be put to death, I vow, if you accuse me, I will
break your head!''
Shortly after this the emperor dispatched
messengers to the statue to inquire if the law had
been broken the day before. When the statue
saw them, it exclaimed:--
``Friends, look up! What see ye written on
my forehead?''
They looked up and beheld three sentences
that ran thus:--
``Times are altered!
``Men grow worse!
``He who speaks the truth will have his head broken!''
``Go,'' said the statue, ``declare to His Majesty
what ye have seen and read.''
The messenger accordingly departed and returned
in haste to the emperor, and related to
him all that had occurred.
The emperor ordered his guard to arm and to
march instantly to the public square, where the
statue was, and commanded that if any one had
attempted to injure it, he should be seized, bound
hand and foot, and dragged to the judgment hall.
The guard hastened to do the emperor's
bidding. They approached the statue and said:--
``Our emperor commands you to tell who it is
that threatened you.''
The statue answered: ``Seize Focus the
carpenter. Yesterday he defied the emperor's edict;
this morning he threatened to break my head.''
The soldiers immediately arrested Focus, and
dragged him to the judgment hall.
``Friend,'' said the emperor, ``what do I hear
of you? Why do you work on my son's birthday?''
``Your Majesty,'' answered Focus, ``it is
impossible for me to keep your law. I am obliged
to earn eight pennies every day, therefore was I
forced to work yesterday.''
``And why eight pennies?'' asked the emperor.
``Every day through the year,'' answered
Focus, ``I am bound to repay two pennies I borrowed
in my youth; two I lend; two I lose; and
two I spend.''
``How is this?'' said the emperor; ``explain
yourself further.''
``Your Majesty,'' replied Focus, ``listen to me.
I am bound each day to repay two pennies to my
old father, for when I was a boy he expended upon
me daily the like sum. Now he is poor and needs
my assistance, and I return what I formerly
borrowed. Two other pennies I lend my son, who is
pursuing his studies, in order that, if by chance
I should fall into poverty, he may restore the
loan to me, just as I am now doing to his grandfather.
Again, I lose two pennies on my wife, who
is a scold and has an evil temper. On account of
her bad disposition I consider whatever I give
her entirely lost. Lastly, two other pennies I
spend on myself for meat and drink. I cannot
do all this without working every day. You now
know the truth, and, I pray you, give a righteous
``Friend, ``said the emperor, ``you have answered
well. Go and work diligently at your calling.''
That same day the emperor annulled the law
forbidding labor on his son's birthday. Not long
after this he died, and Focus the carpenter, on
account of his singular wisdom, was elected
emperor in his stead. He governed wisely, and after
his death there was deposited in the royal archives
a portrait of Focus wearing a crown adorned with
eight pennies.
David Fraser was a famous Scotch hewer. On
hearing that it had been remarked among a party
of Edinburgh masons that, though regarded as
the first of Glasgow stone-cutters, he would find
in the eastern capital at least his equals, he
attired himself most uncouthly in a long-tailed coat
of tartan, and, looking to the life the untamed,
untaught, conceited little Celt, he presented
himself on Monday morning, armed with a letter
of introduction from a Glasgow builder, before
the foreman of an Edinburgh squad of masons
engaged upon one of the finer buildings at that
time in the course of erection.
The letter specified neither his qualifications
nor his name. It had been written merely to
secure for him the necessary employment, and
the necessary employment it did secure.
The better workmen of the party were engaged,
on his arrival, in hewing columns, each of
which was deemed sufficient work for a week; and
David was asked somewhat incredulously, by the
foreman, if he could hew.
``Oh, yes, HE THOUGHT he could hew.''
``Could he hew columns such as these?''
``Oh, yes, HE THOUGHT he could hew columns such
as these.''
A mass of stone, in which a possible column
lay hid, was accordingly placed before David, not
under cover of the shed, which was already
occupied by workmen, but, agreeably to David's
own request, directly in front of it, where he
might be seen by all, and where he straightway
commenced a most extraordinary course of antics.
Buttoning his long tartan coat fast around him,
he would first look along the stone from the one
end, anon from the other, and then examine it in
front and rear; or, quitting it altogether for the
time, he would take up his stand beside the other
workmen, and, after looking at them with great
attention, return and give it a few taps with the
mallet, in a style evidently imitative of theirs, but
monstrously a caricature.
The shed all that day resounded with roars of
laughter; and the only thoroughly grave man on
the ground was he who occasioned the mirth of
all the others.
Next morning David again buttoned his coat;
but he got on much better this day than the
former. He was less awkward and less idle,
though not less observant than before; and he
succeeded ere evening in tracing, in workmanlike
fashion, a few draughts along the future column.
He was evidently greatly improving!
On the morning of Wednesday he threw off his
coat; and it was seen that, though by no means in
a hurry, he was seriously at work. There were no
more jokes or laughter; and it was whispered in
the evening that the strange Highlander had made
astonishing progress during the day.
By the middle of Thursday he had made up for
his two days' trifling, and was abreast of the
other workmen. Before night he was far ahead of
them; and ere the evening of Friday, when they
had still a full day's work on each of their
columns, David's was completed in a style that defied
criticism; and, his tartan coat again buttoned
around him, he sat resting himself beside it.
The foreman went out and greeted him.
``Well,'' he said, ``you have beaten us all. You
certainly CAN hew!''
``Yes,'' said David, ``I THOUGHT I could hew
columns. Did the other men take much more than
a week to learn?''
``Come, come, DAVID FRASER,'' replied the
foreman, ``we all guess who you are. You have had
your week's joke out; and now, I suppose, we
must give you your week's wages, and let you go
``Yes,'' said David, ``work waits for me in
Glasgow; but I just thought it might be well to
know how you hewed on this east side of the
All firemen have courage, but it cannot be known
until the test how many have this particular kind,
--Bill Brown's kind.
What happened was this: Engine 29, pumping
and pounding her prettiest, stood at the northwest
corner of Greenwich and Warren streets,
so close to the blazing drug-house that Driver
Marks thought it wasn't safe there for the three
horses, and led them away. That was fortunate,
but it left Brown alone, right against the cheek
of the fire, watching his boiler, stoking in coal,
keeping his steam-gauge at 75. As the fire gained,
chunks of red-hot sandstone began to smash down
on the engine. Brown ran his pressure up to 80,
and watched the door anxiously where the boys
had gone in.
Then the explosion came, and a blue flame,
wide as a house, curled its tongues halfway across
the street, enwrapping engine and man, setting
fire to the elevated railway station overhead, or
such wreck of it as the shock had left.
Bill Brown stood by his engine, with a wall
of fire before him and a sheet of fire above him.
He heard quick footsteps on the pavements,
and voices, that grew fainter and fainter, crying,
``Run for your lives!'' He heard the hose-wagon
horses somewhere back in the smoke go plunging
away, mad with fright and their burns. He was
alone with the fire, and the skin was hanging in
shreds on his hands, face, and neck. Only a
fireman knows how one blast of flame can shrivel
up a man, and the pain over the bared surfaces
was,--well, there is no pain worse than that
of fire scorching in upon the quick flesh seared
by fire.
Here, I think, was a crisis to make a very
brave man quail. Bill Brown knew perfectly well
why every one was running; there was going to
be another explosion in a couple of minutes,
maybe sooner, out of this hell in front of him.
And the order had come for every man to save
himself, and every man had done it except the
lads inside. And the question was, Should he run
or should he stay and die? It was tolerably certain
that he would die if he stayed. On the other
hand, the boys of old 29 were in there. Devanny
and McArthur, and Gillon and Merron, his
friends, his chums. He'd seen them drag the
hose in through that door,--there it was now,
a long, throbbing snake of it,--and they hadn't
come out. Perhaps they were dead. Yes, but
perhaps they weren't. If they were alive, they
needed water now more than they ever needed
anything before. And they couldn't get water
if he quit his engine.
Bill Brown pondered this a long time, perhaps
four seconds; then he fell to stoking in coal, and
he screwed her up another notch, and he eased
her running parts with the oiler. Explosion or
not, pain or not, alone or not, he was going to
stay and make that engine hum. He had done
the greatest thing a man can do,--had offered
his life for his friends.
It is pleasant to know that this sacrifice was
averted. A quarter of a minute or so before the
second and terrible explosion, Devanny and his
men came staggering from the building. Then it
was that Merron fell, and McArthur checked his
fight to save him. Then it was, but not until
then, that Bill Brown left Engine 29 to her fate
(she was crushed by the falling walls), and ran
for his life with his comrades. He had waited for
them, he had stood the great test.
[8] From Thirty More Famous Stories Retold. Copyright, 1903, by
American Book Company.
One day Columbus was at a dinner which a
Spanish gentleman had given in his honor, and
several persons were present who were jealous of
the great admiral's success. They were proud,
conceited fellows, and they very soon began to
try to make Columbus uncomfortable.
``You have discovered strange lands beyond
the seas,'' they said, ``but what of that? We do
not see why there should be so much said about
it. Anybody can sail across the ocean; and
anybody can coast along the islands on the other
side, just as you have done. It is the simplest
thing in the world.''
Columbus made no answer; but after a while
he took an egg from a dish and said to the company:--
``Who among you, gentlemen, can make this
egg stand on end?''
One by one those at the table tried the
experiment. When the egg had gone entirely around
and none had succeeded, all said that it could
not be done.
Then Columbus took the egg and struck its
small end gently upon the table so as to break
the shell a little. After that there was no trouble
in making it stand upright.
``Gentlemen,'' said he, ``what is easier than to
do this which you said was impossible? It is the
simplest thing in the world. Anybody can do
About half a league from the little seaport of
Palos de Moguer, in Andalusia, there stood, and
continues to stand at the present day, an ancient
convent of Franciscan friars, dedicated to Santa
Maria de Rabida.
One day a stranger on foot, in humble guise,
but of a distinguished air, accompanied by a
small boy, stopped at the gate of the convent and
asked of the porter a little bread and water for
his child. While receiving this humble refreshment,
the prior of the convent, Juan Perez de
Marchena, happened to pass by, and was struck
with the appearance of the stranger. Observing
from his air and accent that he was a foreigner,
he entered into conversation with him and soon
learned the particulars of his story.
That stranger was Columbus.
Accompanied by his little son Diego, he was
on his way to the neighboring town of Huelva,
to seek a brother-in-law, who had married a
sister of his deceased wife.
The prior was a man of extensive information.
His attention had been turned in some measure
to geographical and nautical science. He was
greatly interested by the conversation of Columbus,
and struck with the grandeur of his views.
When he found, however, that the voyager was
on the point of abandoning Spain to seek the
patronage of the court of France, the good friar
took the alarm.
He detained Columbus as his guest, and sent
for a scientific friend to converse with him. That
friend was Garcia Fernandez, a physician of
Palos. He was equally struck with the appearance
and conversation of the stranger. Several
conferences took place at the convent, at which
veteran mariners and pilots of Palos were present.
Facts were related by some of these navigators
in support of the theory of Columbus. In a
word, his project was treated with a deference
in the quiet cloisters of La Rabida and among the
seafaring men of Palos which had been sought in
vain among sages and philosophers.
Among the navigators of Palos was one Martin
Alonzo Pinzon, the head of a family of wealth,
members of which were celebrated for their
adventurous expeditions. He was so convinced of the
feasibility of Columbus's plan that he offered to
engage in it with purse and person, and to bear the
expenses of Columbus in an application to court.
Fray Juan Perez, being now fully persuaded of
the importance of the proposed enterprise, advised
Columbus to repair to the court, and make
his propositions to the Spanish sovereigns,
offering to give him a letter of recommendation to his
friend, the Prior of the Convent of Prado and
confessor to the queen, and a man of great political
influence; through whose means he would,
without doubt, immediately obtain royal audience
and favor. Martin Alonzo Pinzon, also, generously
furnished him with money for the journey,
and the Friar took charge of his youthful son,
Diego, to maintain and educate him in the convent.
Thus aided and encouraged and elated with
fresh hopes, Columbus took leave of the little
junto at La Rabida, and set out, in the spring of
1486, for the Castilian court, which had just
assembled at Cordova, where the sovereigns were
fully occupied with their chivalrous enterprise for
the conquest of Granada. But alas! success was
not yet! for Columbus met with continued
disappointments and discouragements, while his
projects were opposed by many eminent prelates
and Spanish scientists, as being against religion
and unscientific. Yet in spite of this opposition,
by degrees the theory of Columbus began to
obtain proselytes. He appeared in the presence
of the king with modesty, yet self-possession,
inspired by a consciousness of the dignity and
importance of his errand; for he felt himself, as
he afterwards declared in his letters, animated as
if by a sacred fire from above, and considered
himself an instrument in the hand of Heaven to
accomplish its great designs. For nearly seven
years of apparently fruitless solicitation, Columbus
followed the royal court from place to place, at
times encouraged by the sovereigns, and at others
At last he looked round in search of some other
source of patronage, and feeling averse to subjecting
himself to further tantalizing delays and
disappointments of the court, determined to repair
to Paris. He departed, therefore, and went to the
Convent of La Rabida to seek his son Diego.
When the worthy Friar Juan Perez de Marchena
beheld Columbus arrive once more at the gate of
his convent after nearly seven years of fruitless
effort at court, and saw by the humility of his
garb the poverty he had experienced, he was
greatly moved; but when he found that he was
about to carry his proposition to another country,
his patriotism took alarm.
The Friar had once been confessor to the
queen, and knew that she was always accessible
to persons of his sacred calling. He therefore
wrote a letter to her, and at the same time
entreated Columbus to remain at the convent
until an answer could be received. The latter
was easily persuaded, for he felt as if on leaving
Spain he was again abandoning his home.
The little council at La Rabida now cast round
their eyes for an ambassador to send on this
momentous mission. They chose one Sebastian
Rodriguez, a pilot of Lepe, one of the most
shrewd and important personages in this maritime
neighborhood. He so faithfully and successfully
conducted his embassy that he returned
shortly with an answer.
Isabella had always been favorably disposed
to the proposition of Columbus. She thanked
Juan Perez for his timely services and requested
him to repair immediately to the court, leaving
Columbus in confident hope until he should hear
further from her. This royal letter, brought back
by the pilot at the end of fourteen days, spread
great joy in the little junto at the convent.
No sooner did the warm-hearted friar receive
it than he saddled his mule, and departed,
privately, before midnight to the court. He
journeyed through the countries of the Moors,
and rode into the new city of Santa Fe where
Ferdinand and Isabella were engaged in besieging
the capital of Granada.
The sacred office of Juan Perez gained him a
ready admission into the presence of the queen.
He pleaded the cause of Columbus with enthusiasm.
He told of his honorable motives, of his
knowledge and experience, and his perfect
capacity to fulfill the undertaking. He showed the
solid principles upon which the enterprise was
founded, and the advantage that must attend its
success, and the glory it must shed upon the
Spanish Crown.
Isabella, being warm and generous of nature
and sanguine of disposition, was moved by the
representations of Juan Perez, and requested that
Columbus might be again sent to her. Bethinking
herself of his poverty and his humble plight, she
ordered that money should be forwarded to him,
sufficient to bear his traveling expenses, and to
furnish him with decent raiment.
The worthy friar lost no time in communicating
the result of his mission. He transmitted
the money, and a letter, by the hand of an
inhabitant of Palos, to the physician, Garcia
Fernandez, who delivered them to Columbus
The latter immediately changed his threadbare
garb for one more suited to the sphere of a court,
and purchasing a mule, set out again, reanimated
by hopes, for the camp before Granada.
This time, after some delay, his mission was
attended with success. The generous spirit of
Isabella was enkindled, and it seemed as if the
subject, for the first time, broke upon her mind in
all its real grandeur. She declared her resolution
to undertake the enterprise, but paused for
a moment, remembering that King Ferdinand
looked coldly on the affair, and that the royal
treasury was absolutely drained by the war.
Her suspense was but momentary. With an
enthusiasm worthy of herself and of the cause,
she exclaimed: ``I undertake the enterprise for
my own crown of Castile, and will pledge my
jewels to raise the necessary funds.'' This was
the proudest moment in the life of Isabella. It
stamped her renown forever as the patroness of
the discovery of the New World.
When Columbus left the Canaries to pass with
his three small ships into the unknown seas, the
eruptions of Teneriffe illuminated the heavens
and were reflected in the sea. This cast terror
into the minds of his seamen. They thought that
it was the flaming sword of the angel who
expelled the first man from Eden, and who now was
trying to drive back in anger those presumptuous
ones who were seeking entrance to the forbidden
and unknown seas and lands. But the admiral
passed from ship to ship explaining to his men,
in a simple way, the action of volcanoes, so that
the sailors were no longer afraid.
But as the peak of Teneriffe sank below the
horizon, a great sadness fell upon the men. It
was their last beacon, the farthest sea-mark of
the Old World. They were seized with a nameless
terror and loneliness.
Then the admiral called them around him in
his own ship, and told them many stories of the
things they might hope to find in the wonderful
new world to which they were going,--of the
lands, the islands, the seas, the kingdoms, the
riches, the vegetation, the sunshine, the mines of
gold, the sands covered with pearls, the mountains
shining with precious stones, the plains
loaded with spices. These stories, tinged with the
brilliant colors of their leader's rich imagination,
filled the discouraged sailors with hope and good
But as they passed over the trackless ocean,
and saw day by day the great billows rolling
between them and the mysterious horizon, the
sailors were again filled with dread. They lacked
the courage to sail onward into the unknown
distance. The compass began to vacillate, and
no longer pointed toward the north; this confused
both Columbus and his pilots. The men
fell into a panic, but the resolute and patient
admiral encouraged them once more. So buoyed
up by his faith and hope, they continued to sail
onwards over the pathless waters.
The next day a heron and a tropical bird flew
about the masts of the ships, and these seemed to
the wondering sailors as two witnesses come to
confirm the reasoning of Columbus.
The weather was mild and serene, the sky clear,
the waves transparent, the dolphins played across
the bows, the airs were warm, and the perfumes,
which the waves brought from afar, seemed to exhale
from their foam. The brilliancy of the stars
and the deep beauty of the night breathed a feeling
of calm security that comforted and sustained
the sailors.
The sea also began to bring its messages.
Unknown vegetations floated upon its surface. Some
were rock-plants, that had been swept off the cliffs
by the waves; some were fresh-water plants; and
others, recently torn from their roots, were still full
of sap. One of them carried a live crab,--a little
sailor afloat on a tuft of grass. These plants and
living things could not have passed many days in
the water without fading and dying. And all
encouraged the sailors to believe that they were
nearing land.
At eve and morning the distant waning clouds,
like those that gather round the mountain-tops,
took the form of cliffs and hills skirting the
horizon. The cry of ``land'' was on the tip of every
tongue. But Columbus by his reckoning knew that
they must still be far from any land, but fearing to
discourage his men he kept his thoughts to himself,
for he found no trustworthy friend among his
companions whose heart was firm enough to bear
his secret.
During the long passage Columbus conversed
with his own thoughts, and with the stars, and
with God whom he felt was his protector. He
occupied his days in making notes of what he
observed. The nights he passed on deck with his
pilots, studying the stars and watching the seas.
He withdrew into himself, and his thoughtful
gravity impressed his companions sometimes
with respect and sometimes with mistrust and awe.
Each morning the bows of the vessels plunged
through the fantastic horizon which the evening
mist had made the sailors mistake for a shore.
They kept rolling on through the boundless and
bottomless abyss. Gradually terror and discontent
once more took possession of the crews. They
began to imagine that the steadfast east wind
that drove them westward prevailed eternally
in this region, and that when the time came to
sail homeward, the same wind would prevent their
return. For surely their provisions and water
could not hold out long enough for them to beat
their way eastward over those wide waters!
Then the sailors began to murmur against the
admiral and his seeming fruitless obstinacy, and
they blamed themselves for obeying him, when it
might mean the sacrifice of the lives of one hundred
and twenty sailors.
But each time the murmurs threatened to break
out into mutiny, Providence seemed to send more
encouraging signs of land. And these for the time
being changed the complaints to hopes. At evening
little birds of the most delicate species, that
build their nests in the shrubs of the garden
and orchard, hovered warbling about the masts.
Their delicate wings and joyous notes bore no
signs of weariness or fright, as of birds swept far
away to sea by a storm. These signs again aroused
The green weeds on the surface of the ocean
looked like waving corn before the ears are ripe.
The vegetation beneath the water delighted the
eyes of the sailors tired of the endless expanse of
blue. But the seaweed soon became so thick that
they were afraid of entangling their rudders and
keels, and of remaining prisoners forever in the
forests of the ocean, as ships of the northern seas
are shut in by ice. Thus each joy soon turned to
fear,--so terrible to man is the unknown.
The wind ceased, the calms of the tropics
alarmed the sailors. An immense whale was seen
sleeping on the waters. They fancied there were
monsters in the deep which would devour their
ships. The roll of the waves drove them upon
currents which they could not stem for want of
wind. They imagined they were approaching
the cataracts of the ocean, and that they were
being hurried toward the abysses into which the
deluge had poured its world of waters.
Fierce and angry faces crowded round the mast.
The murmurs rose louder and louder. They talked
of compelling the pilots to put about and of throwing
the admiral into the sea. Columbus, to whom
their looks and threats revealed these plans,
defied them by his bold bearing or disconcerted
them by his coolness.
Again nature came to his assistance, by giving
him fresh breezes from the east, and a calm sea
under his bows. Before the close of the day came
the first cry of ``Land ho!'' from the lofty poop.
All the crews, repeating this cry of safety, life, and
triumph, fell on their knees on the decks,and struck
up the hymn, ``Glory be to God in heaven and
upon earth.'' When it was over, all climbed as
high as they could up the masts, yards, and rigging
to see with their own eyes the new land that
had been sighted.
But the sunrise destroyed this new hope all too
quickly. The imaginary land disappeared with
the morning mist, and once more the ships seemed
to be sailing over a never-ending wilderness of
Despair took possession of the crews. Again
the cry of ``Land ho!'' was heard. But the sailors
found as before that their hopes were but a passing
cloud. Nothing wearies the heart so much as
false hopes and bitter disappointments.
Loud reproaches against the admiral were
heard from every quarter. Bread and water were
beginning to fail. Despair changed to fury. The
men decided to turn the heads of the vessels toward
Europe, and to beat back against the winds
that had favored the admiral, whom they intended
to chain to the mast of his own vessel and to give
up to the vengeance of Spain should they ever
reach the port of their own country.
These complaints now became clamorous. The
admiral restrained them by the calmness of his
countenance. He called upon Heaven to decide
between himself and the sailors. He flinched not.
He offered his life as a pledge, if they would but
trust and wait for three days more. He swore
that, if, in the course of the third day, land was
not visible on the horizon, he would yield to
their wishes and steer for Europe.
The mutinous men reluctantly consented and
allowed him three days of grace.
. . . . . . . . . .
At sunrise on the second day rushes recently
torn up were seen floating near the vessels. A
plank hewn by an axe, a carved stick, a bough
of hawthorn in blossom, and lastly a bird's nest
built on a branch which the wind had broken, and
full of eggs on which the parent-bird was sitting,
were seen swimming past on the waters. The
sailors brought on board these living witnesses
of their approach to land. They were like a
message from the shore, confirming the promises of
The overjoyed and repentant mutineers fell on
their knees before the admiral whom they had
insulted but the day before, and craved pardon
for their mistrust.
As the day and night advanced many other
sights and sounds showed that land was very near.
Toward day delicious and unknown perfumes borne
on a soft land breeze reached the vessels, and there
was heard the roar of the waves upon the reefs.
The dawn, as it spread over the sky, gradually
raised the shores of an island from the waves.
Its distant extremities were lost in the morning
mist. As the sun rose it shone on the land ascending
from a low yellow beach to the summit of hills
whose dark-green covering contrasted strongly
with the clear blue of the heavens. The foam of
the waves broke on the yellow sand, and forests
of tall and unknown trees stretched away, one
above another, over successive terraces of the
island. Green valleys, and bright clefts in the
hollows afforded a half glimpse into these mysterious
wilds. And thus the land of golden promises, the
land of future greatness, first appeared to
Christopher Columbus, the Admiral of the Ocean, and
thus he gave a New World to the nations to come.
It was on Friday morning, the 12th of October,
that Columbus first beheld the New World. As the
day dawned he saw before him an island, several
leagues in extent, and covered with trees like a
continual orchard. Though apparently uncultivated
it was populous, for the inhabitants were
seen issuing from all parts of the woods and
running to the shore. They were perfectly naked,
and, as they stood gazing at the ships, appeared
by their attitudes and gestures to be lost in astonishment.
Columbus made signals for the ships to cast
anchor and the boats to be manned and armed.
He entered his own boat, richly attired in scarlet,
and holding the royal standard; while Martin
Alonzo Pinzon and his brother put off in company
in their boats, each with a banner of the enterprise
emblazoned with a green cross, having on
either side the letters ``F.'' and ``Y.,'' the initials
of the Castilian monarchs Fernando and Ysabel,
surmounted by crowns.
As he approached the shore, Columbus was
delighted with the purity and suavity of the
atmosphere, the crystal transparency of the sea,
and the extraordinary beauty of the vegetation.
He beheld also fruits of an unknown kind upon
the trees which overhung the shores.
On landing he threw himself on his knees, kissed
the earth, and returned thanks to God with tears
of joy. His example was followed by the rest.[9]
``Almighty and Eternal God,'' prayed Columbus,
``who by the energy of Thy creative word
hast made the firmament, the earth and the sea;
blessed and glorified be thy name in all places!
May thy majesty and dominion be exalted for
ever and ever, as Thou hast permitted thy holy
name to be made known and spread by the most
humble of thy servants, in this hitherto unknown
portion of Thine empire.''
[9] This prayer is taken from Lamartine.
Columbus, then rising, drew his sword,
displayed the royal standard, and assembling around
him the two captains and the rest who had landed,
he took solemn possession in the name of the
Castilian sovereigns, giving the island the name
of San Salvador.
There was once a little girl who was very willful
and who never obeyed when her elders spoke to
her; so how could she be happy?
One day she said to her parents: ``I have heard
so much of the old witch that I will go and see
her. People say she is a wonderful old woman,
and has many marvelous things in her house, and
I am very curious to see them.''
But her parents forbade her going, saying:
``The witch is a wicked old woman, who performs
many godless deeds; and if you go near her, you
are no longer a child of ours.''
The girl, however, would not turn back at her
parents' command, but went to the witch's house.
When she arrived there the old woman asked
``Why are you so pale?''
``Ah,'' she replied, trembling all over, ``I have
frightened myself so with what I have just seen.''
``And what did you see?'' inquired the old
``I saw a black man on your steps.''
``That was a collier,'' replied she.
``Then I saw a gray man.''
``That was a sportsman,'' said the old woman.
``After him I saw a blood-red man.''
``That was a butcher,'' replied the old woman.
``But, oh, I was most terrified,'' continued the
girl, ``when I peeped through your window, and
saw not you, but a creature with a fiery head.''
``Then you have seen the witch in her proper
dress,'' said the old woman. ``For you I have long
waited, and now you shall give me light.''
So saying the witch changed the little girl into
a block of wood, and then threw it on the fire;
and when it was fully alight, she sat down on the
hearth and warmed herself, saying:--
``How good I feel! The fire has not burned like
this for a long time!''
[10] From Japanese Folk-Stories and Fairy Tales. Copyright, 1908,
by American Book Company.
Once upon a time there was a brave soldier lad
who was seeking his fortune in the wide, wide
world. One day he lost his way in a pathless
forest, and wandered about until he came at length
to a small clearing in the midst of which stood a
ruined temple. The huge trees waved above its
walls, and the leaves in the thicket whispered
around them. No sun ever shone there, and no
human being lived there.
A storm was coming up, and the soldier lad took
refuge among the ruins.
``Here is all I want,'' said he. ``Here I shall have
shelter from the storm-god's wrath, and a comfortable
place to sleep in.''
So he wrapped himself in his cloak, and, lying
down, was soon fast asleep. But his slumbers did
not last long. At midnight he was wakened by fearful
shrieks, and springing to his feet, he looked out
at the temple door.
The storm was over. Moonlight shone on the
clearing. And there he saw what seemed to be a
troop of monstrous cats, who like huge phantoms
marched across the open space in front of the
temple. They broke into a wild dance, uttering
shrieks, howls, and wicked laughs. Then they all
sang together:--
``Whisper not to Shippeitaro
That the Phantom Cats are near;
Whisper not to Shippeitaro,
Lest he soon appear!''
The soldier lad crouched low behind the door,
for brave as he was he did not wish these fearful
creatures to see him. But soon, with a chorus
of wild yells, the Phantom Cats disappeared as
quickly as they had come, and all was quiet as
Then the soldier lad lay down and went to sleep
again, nor did he waken till the sun peered into
the temple and told him that it was morning. He
quickly found his way out of the forest and walked
on until he came to the cottage of a peasant.
As he approached he heard sounds of bitter
weeping. A beautiful young maiden met him at
the door, and her eyes were red with crying. She
greeted him kindly.
``May I have some food?'' said he.
``Enter and welcome,'' she replied. ``My parents
are just having breakfast. You may join
them, for no one passes our door hungry.''
Thanking her the lad entered, and her parents
greeted him courteously but sadly, and shared
their breakfast with him. He ate heartily, and,
when he was finished, rose to go.
``Thank you many times for this good meal,
kind friends,'' said he, ``and may happiness be
``Happiness can never again be ours!''
answered the old man, weeping.
``You are in trouble, then,'' said the lad. ``Tell
me about it; perhaps I can help you in some way.''
``Alas!'' replied the old man, ``There is within
yonder forest a ruined temple. It is the abode of
horrors too terrible for words. Each year a demon,
whom no one has ever seen, demands that the
people of this land give him a beautiful maiden
to devour. She is placed in a cage and carried to
the temple just at sunset. This year it is my daughter's
turn to be offered to the fiend!'' And the old
man buried his face in his hands and groaned.
The soldier lad paused to think for a moment,
then he said:--
``It is terrible, indeed! But do not despair. I
think I know a way to help you. Who is Shippeitaro?''
``Shippeitaro is a beautiful dog, owned by our
lord, the prince,'' answered the old man.
``That is just the thing!'' cried the lad. ``Only
keep your daughter closely at home. Do not let
her out of your sight. Trust me and she shall be
Then the soldier lad hurried away, and found
the castle of the prince. He begged that he might
borrow Shippeitaro just for one night.
``You may take him upon the condition that
you bring him back safely,'' said the prince.
``To-morrow he shall return in safety,''
answered the lad.
Taking Shippeitaro with him, he hurried to
the peasant's cottage, and, when evening was
come, he placed the dog in the cage which was to
have carried the maiden. The bearers then took
the cage to the ruined temple, and, placing it on
the ground, ran away as fast as their legs would
carry them.
The lad, laughing softly to himself, hid inside
the temple as before, and so quiet was the spot
that he fell asleep. At midnight he was aroused
by the same wild shrieks he had heard the night
before. He rose and looked out at the temple door.
Through the darkness, into the moonlight, came
the troop of Phantom Cats. This time they were
led by a fierce, black Tomcat. As they came nearer
they chanted with unearthly screeches:--
``Whisper not to Shippeitaro
That the Phantom Cats are near;
Whisper not to Shippeitaro,
Lest he soon appear!''
With that the great Tomcat caught sight of the
cage and, uttering a fearful yowl, sprang upon it,
With one blow of his claws he tore open the lid,
when, instead of the dainty morsel he expected,
out jumped Shippeitaro!
The dog sprang upon the Tomcat, and caught
him by the throat; while the Phantom Cats stood
still in amazement. Drawing his sword the lad
hurried to Shippeitaro's side, and what with
Shippeitaro's teeth and the lad's hard blows, in
an instant the great Tomcat was torn and cut into
pieces. When the Phantom Cats saw this, they
uttered one wild shriek and fled away, never to
return again.
Then the soldier lad, leading Shippeitaro,
returned in triumph to the peasant's cottage. There
in terror the maiden awaited his arrival, but great
was the joy of herself and her parents when they
knew that the Tomcat was no more.
``Oh, sir,'' cried the maiden, ``I can never thank
you! I am the only child of my parents, and no
one would have been left to care for them if I
had been the monster's victim.''
``Do not thank me,'' answered the lad. ``Thank
the brave Shippeitaro. It was he who sprang upon
the great Tomcat and chased away the Phantom
Hard-by a great forest dwelt a poor wood-cutter
with his two children and his wife who was
their stepmother. The boy was called Hansel
and the girl Grethel. The wood-cutter had little
to bite and to break, and once when a great
famine fell on the land he could no longer get
daily bread. Now when he thought over this by
night in his bed, and tossed about in his trouble,
he groaned, and said to his wife:--
``What is to become of us? How are we to feed
our poor children, when we no longer have anything
even for ourselves?''
``I'll tell you what, husband,'' answered the
woman; ``early to-morrow morning we will take
the children out into the woods where it is the
thickest; there we will light a fire for them, and
give each of them one piece of bread more, and
then we will go to our work and leave them alone.
They will not find the way home again, and we
shall be rid of them.''
``No, wife,'' said the man, ``I will not do that;
how can I bear to leave my children alone in the
woods?--the wild beasts would soon come and
tear them to pieces.''
``Oh, you fool!'' said she. ``Then we must all
four die of hunger; you may as well plane the
planks for our coffins.'' And she left him no peace
until he said he would do as she wished.
``But I feel very sorry for the poor children, all
the same,'' said the man.
The two children had also not been able to
sleep for hunger, and had heard what their father's
wife had said to their father.
Grethel wept bitter tears, and said to Hansel,
``Now all is over with us.''
``Be quiet, Grethel,'' said Hansel, ``do not be
troubled; I will soon find a way to help us.''
And when the old folks had fallen asleep, he
got up, put on his little coat, opened the door
below, and crept outside. The moon shone brightly,
and the white pebbles which lay in front of the
house shone like real silver pennies. Hansel stooped
and put as many of them in the little pocket of his
coat as he could make room for. Then he went
back, and said to Grethel, ``Be at ease, dear little
sister, and sleep in peace; God will not forsake us.''
And he lay down again in his bed.
When the day dawned, but before the sun had
risen, the woman came and awoke the two children,
``Get up, you lazy things! we are going into the
forest to fetch wood.'' She gave each a little piece
of bread, and said, ``There is something for your
dinner, but do not eat it up before then, for you
will get nothing else.''
Grethel took the bread under her apron, as
Hansel had the stones in his pocket. Then they
all set out together on the way to the forest,
and Hansel threw one after another of the white
pebble-stones out of his pocket on the road.
When they had reached the middle of the forest,
the father said, ``Now, children, pile up some wood
and I will light a fire that you may not be cold.''
Hansel and Grethel drew brushwood together
till it was as high as a little hill.
The brushwood was lighted, and when the
flames were burning very high the woman said:--
``Now, children, lie down by the fire and rest;
we will go into the forest and cut some wood.
When we have done, we will come back and fetch
you away.''
Hansel and Grethel sat by the fire, and when
noon came, each ate a little piece of bread, and
as they heard the strokes of the wood-axe they
were sure their father was near. But it was not
the axe, it was a branch which he had tied to a
dry tree, and the wind was blowing it backward
and forward. As they had been sitting such a long
time they were tired, their eyes shut, and they fell
fast asleep. When at last they awoke, it was dark
Grethel began to cry, and said, ``How are we to
get out of the forest now?''
But Hansel comforted her, saying, ``Just wait
a little, until the moon has risen, and then we will
soon find the way.''
And when the full moon had risen, Hansel took
his little sister by the hand, and followed the
pebbles, which shone like bright silver pieces,
and showed them the way.
They walked the whole night long, and by
break of day came once more to their father's
They knocked at the door, and when the woman
opened it, and saw that it was Hansel and Grethel,
she said, ``You naughty children, why have you
slept so long in the forest? we thought you were
never coming back at all!''
The father, however, was glad, for it had cut
him to the heart to leave them behind alone.
Not long after, there was once more a great lack
of food in all parts, and the children heard the
woman saying at night to their father:--
``Everything is eaten again; we have one halfloaf
left, and after that there is an end. The
children must go; we will take them farther into the
wood, so that they will not find their way out again;
there is no other means of saving ourselves!''
The man's heart was heavy, and he thought,
``It would be better to share our last mouthful
with the children.''
The woman, however, would listen to nothing
he had to say, but scolded him. He who says A
must say B, too, and as he had given way the first
time, he had to do so a second time also.
The children were still awake and had heard
the talk. When the old folks were asleep, Hansel
again got up, and wanted to go and pick up
pebbles, but the woman had locked the door, and
he could not get out.
So he comforted his little sister, and said:--
``Do not cry, Grethel; go to sleep quietly, the
good God will help us.''
Early in the morning came the woman, and
took the children out of their beds. Their bit of
bread was given to them, but it was still smaller
than the time before. On the way into the forest
Hansel crumbled his in his pocket, and often
threw a morsel on the ground until little by little,
he had thrown all the crumbs on the path.
The woman led the children still deeper into
the forest, where they had never in their lives been
before. Then a great fire was again made, and she
``Just sit there, you children, and when you
are tired you may sleep a little; we are going into
the forest to cut wood, and in the evening when we
are done, we will come and fetch you away.''
When it was noon, Grethel shared her piece of
bread with Hansel, who had scattered his by the
way. Then they fell asleep, and evening came and
went, but no one came to the poor children.
They did not awake until it was dark night, and
Hansel comforted his little sister, and said:--
``Just wait, Grethel, until the moon rises, and
then we shall see the crumbs of bread which I
have scattered about; they will show us our way
home again.''
When the moon came they set out, but they
found no crumbs, for the many thousands of birds
which fly about in the woods and fields had picked
them all up.
Hansel said to Grethel, ``We shall soon find the
But they did not find it. They walked the whole
night and all the next day, too, from morning
till evening, but they did not get out of the forest;
they were very hungry, for they had nothing to
eat but two or three berries which grew on the
ground. And as they were so tired that their legs
would carry them no longer, they lay down under
a tree and fell asleep.
It was now three mornings since they had left
their father's house. They began to walk again,
but they always got deeper into the forest, and
if help did not come soon, they must die of hunger
and weariness. When it was midday, they
saw a beautiful snow-white bird sitting on a bough.
It sang so sweetly that they stood still and
listened to it. And when it had done, it spread its
wings and flew away before them, and they followed
it until they reached a little house, on the
roof of which it perched; and when they came quite
up to the little house, they saw it was built of
bread and covered with cakes, but that the windows
were of clear sugar.
``We will set to work on that,'' said Hansel,
``and have a good meal. I will eat a bit of the roof,
and you, Grethel, can eat some of the window, it
will taste sweet.''
Hansel reached up, and broke off a little of the
roof to try how it tasted, and Grethel leaned
against the window and nibbled at the panes.
Then a soft voice cried from the room,--
``Nibble, nibble, gnaw,
Who is nibbling at my little house?''
The children answered:--
``The wind, the wind,
The wind from heaven'';
and went on eating. Hansel, who thought the
roof tasted very nice, tore down a great piece of
it; and Grethel pushed out the whole of one round
window-pane, sat down, and went to eating it.
All at once the door opened, and a very, very
old woman, who leaned on crutches, came creeping
out. Hansel and Grethel were so scared that they
let fall what they had in their hands.
The old woman, however, nodded her head, and
said, ``Oh, you dear children, who has brought you
here? Do come in, and stay with me. No harm
shall happen to you.''
She took them both by the hand, and led them
into her little house. Then good food was set
before them, milk and pancakes, with sugar, apples,
and nuts. Afterwards two pretty little beds were
covered with clean white linen, and Hansel and
Grethel lay down in them, and thought they were
in heaven.
The old woman had only pretended to be so
kind; she was in reality a wicked witch, who
lay in wait for children, and had built the little
bread house in order to coax them there.
Early in the morning, before the children were
awake, she was already up, and when she saw
both of them sleeping and looking so pretty, with
their plump red cheeks, she muttered to herself,
``That will be a dainty mouthful!''
Then she seized Hansel, carried him into a little
stable, and shut him in behind a grated door. He
might scream as he liked,--it was of no use. Then
she went to Grethel, shook her till she awoke and
cried: ``Get up, lazy thing; fetch some water, and
cook something good for your brother; he is in the
stable outside, and is to be made fat. When he
is fat, I will eat him.''
Grethel began to weep, but it was all in vain; she
was forced to do what the wicked witch told her.
And now the best food was cooked for poor
Hansel, but Grethel got nothing but crab-shells.
Every morning the woman crept to the little
stable, and cried, ``Hansel, stretch out your finger
that I may feel if you will soon be fat.''
Hansel, however, stretched out a little bone to
her, and the old woman, who had dim eyes, could
not see it; she thought it was Hansel's finger, and
wondered why he grew no fatter. When four weeks
had gone by, and Hansel still was thin, she could
wait no longer.
``Come, Grethel,'' she cried to the girl, ``fly
round and bring some water. Let Hansel be fat
or lean, to-morrow I will kill him, and cook him.''
Ah, how sad was the poor little sister when she
had to fetch the water, and how her tears did flow
down over her cheeks!
``Dear God, do help us,'' she cried. ``If the
wild beasts in the forest had but eaten us, we
should at any rate have died together.''
``Just keep your noise to yourself,'' said the
old woman; ``all that won't help you at all.''
Early in the morning, Grethel had to go out and
hang up the kettle with the water, and light the fire.
``We will bake first,'' said the old woman. ``I
have already heated the oven, and got the dough
She pushed poor Grethel out to the oven, from
which the flames of fire were already darting.
``Creep in,'' said the witch, ``and see if it is
heated, so that we can shut the bread in.'' And
when once Grethel was inside, she meant to shut
the oven and let her bake in it, and then she would
eat her, too.
But Grethel saw what she had in her mind, and
said, ``I do not know how I am to do it; how do
you get in?''
``Silly goose,'' said the old woman. ``The door
is big enough; just look, I can get in myself!''
and she crept up and thrust her head into the
oven. Then Grethel gave her a push that drove
her far into it, and shut the iron door, tight.
Grethel ran as quick as lightning to Hansel,
opened his little stable, and cried, ``Hansel, we
are saved! The old witch is dead!''
Then Hansel sprang out like a bird from its
cage when the door is opened for it. How they did
dance about and kiss each other. And as they
had no longer any need to fear her, they went
into the witch's house, and in every corner there
stood chests full of pearls and jewels.
``These are far better than pebbles!'' said
Hansel, and filled his pockets, and Grethel said,
``I, too, will take something home with me,'' and
filled her pinafore.
``But now we will go away,'' said Hansel, ``that
we may get out of the witch's forest.'' When
they had walked for two hours, they came to a
great piece of water. ``We cannot get over,'' said
Hansel; ``I see no foot-plank and no bridge.''
``And no boat crosses, either,'' answered
Grethel, ``but a white duck is swimming there; if I
ask her, she will help us over.'' Then she cried,--
``Little duck, little duck, dost thou see,
Hansel and Grethel are waiting for thee?
There's never a plank or bridge in sight,
Take us across on thy back so white.''
The duck came to them, and Hansel sat on
its back, and told his sister to sit by him.
``No,'' replied Grethel, ``that will be too
heavy for the little duck; she shall take us across,
one after the other.''
The good little duck did so, and when they were
once safely across and had walked for a short time,
they knew where they were, and at last they saw
from afar their father's house.
Then they began to run, rushed in, and threw
themselves into their father's arms. The man
had not known one happy hour since he had left
the children in the forest; the woman, however,
was dead. Grethel emptied her pinafore until
pearls and precious stones rolled about the floor,
and Hansel threw one handful after another out
of his pocket to add to them. Then all care was
at an end, and they lived happily together ever
My tale is done; there runs a mouse; whosoever
catches it may make himself a big fur cap
out of it.
Once upon a time there was a rich farmer who had
a thrifty wife. She used to go out and gather all
the little bits of wool which she could find on the
hillsides, and bring them home. Then, after her
family had gone to bed, she would sit up and card
the wool and spin it into yarn, then she would
weave the yarn into cloth to make garments for
her children.
But all this work made her feel very tired, so
that one night, sitting at her loom, she laid down
her shuttle and cried:--
``Oh, that some one would come from far or
near, from land or sea, to help me!''
No sooner had the words left her lips than she
heard some one knocking at the door.
``Who is there?'' cried she.
``Tell Quary, good housewife,'' answered a
wee, wee voice. ``Open the door to me. As long
as I have you'll get.''
She opened the door and there on the threshold
stood a queer, little woman, dressed in a green
gown and wearing a white cap on her head.
The good housewife was so astonished that she
stood and stared at her strange visitor; but without
a word the little woman ran past her, and
seated herself at the spinning-wheel.
The good housewife shut the door, but just then
she heard another knock.
``Who is there?'' said she.
``Tell Quary, good housewife. Open the door
to me,'' said another wee, wee voice. ``As long as
I have you'll get.''
And when she opened the door there was another
queer, little woman, in a lilac frock and a green
cap, standing on the threshold.
She, too, ran into the house without waiting
to say, ``By your leave,'' and picking up the distaff,
began to put some wool on it.
Then before the housewife could get the door
shut, a funny little manikin, with green trousers
and a red cap, came running in, and followed the
tiny women into the kitchen, seized hold of a handful
of wool, and began to card it. Another wee,
wee woman followed him, and then another tiny
manikin, and another, and another, until it
seemed to the good housewife that all the fairies
and pixies in Scotland were coming into her
The kitchen was alive with them. Some of them
hung the great pot over the fire to boil water to
wash the wool that was dirty. Some teased the
clean wool, and some carded it. Some spun it
into yarn, and some wove the yarn into great webs
of cloth.
And the noise they made was like to make her
head run round. ``Splash! splash! Whirr! whirr!
Clack! clack!'' The water in the pot bubbled
over. The spinning-wheel whirred. The shuttle
in the loom flew backwards and forwards.
And the worst of it was that all the Fairies cried
out for something to eat, and although the good
housewife put on her griddle and baked bannocks
as fast as she could, the bannocks were
eaten up the moment they were taken off the
fire, and yet the Fairies shouted for more.
At last the poor woman was so troubled that
she went into the next room to wake her husband.
But although she shook him with all her might,
she could not wake him. It was very plain to see
that he was bewitched.
Frightened almost out of her senses, and leaving
the Fairies eating her last batch of bannocks, she
stole out of the house and ran as fast as she could
to the cottage of the Wise Man who lived a mile
She knocked at his door till he got up and put
his head out of the window, to see who was there;
then she told him the whole story.
``Thou foolish woman,'' said he, ``let this be a
lesson to thee never to pray for things thou dost
not need! Before thy husband can be loosed from
the spell the Fairies must be got out of the house
and the fulling-water, which they have boiled,
must be thrown over him. Hurry to the little hill
that lies behind thy cottage, climb to the top of
it, and set the bushes on fire; then thou must shout
three times: `BURG HILL'S ON FIRE!' Then will all the
little Fairies run out to see if this be true, for they
live under the hill. When they are all out of the
cottage, do thou slip in as quickly as thou canst,
and turn the kitchen upside down. Upset everything
the Fairies have worked with, else the things
their fingers have touched will open the door to
them, and let them in, in spite of thee.''
So the good housewife hurried away. She
climbed to the top of the little hill back of her
cottage, set the bushes on fire, and cried out three
times as loud as she was able: ``BURG HILL'S ON FIRE!''
And sure enough, the door of the cottage was
flung wide open, and all the little Fairies came
running out, knocking each other over in their
eagerness to be first at the hill.
In the confusion the good housewife slipped
away, and ran as fast as she could to her cottage;
and when she was once inside, it did not take her
long to bar the door, and turn everything upside
She took the band off the spinning-wheel, and
twisted the head of the distaff the wrong way. She
lifted the pot of fulling-water off the fire, and
turned the room topsy-turvy, and threw down the
Scarcely had she done so, when the Fairies
returned, and knocked at the door.
``Good housewife! let us in,'' they cried.
``The door is shut and bolted, and I will not
open it,'' answered she.
``Good spinning-wheel, get up and open the
door,'' they cried.
``How can I,'' answered the spinning-wheel,
``seeing that my band is undone?''
``Kind distaff, open the door for us,'' said they.
``That would I gladly do,'' said the distaff,
``but I cannot walk, for my head is turned the
wrong way.''
``Weaving-loom, have pity, and open the door.''
``I am all topsy-turvy, and cannot move,''
sighed the loom.
``Fulling-water, open the door,'' they implored.
``I am off the fire,'' growled the fulling-water,
``and all my strength is gone.''
``Oh! Is there nothing that will come to our
aid, and open the door?'' they cried.
``I will,'' said a little barley-bannock, that
had lain hidden, toasting on the hearth; and it
rose and trundled like a wheel quickly across the
But luckily the housewife saw it, and she nipped
it between her finger and thumb, and, because it
was only half-baked, it fell with a ``splatch'' on
the cold floor.
Then the Fairies gave up trying to get into the
kitchen, and instead they climbed up by the windows
into the room where the good housewife's
husband was sleeping, and they swarmed upon
his bed and tickled him until he tossed about
and muttered as if he had a fever.
Then all of a sudden the good housewife
remembered what the Wise Man had said about the
fulling-water. She ran to the kitchen and lifted a
cupful out of the pot, and carried it in, and threw
it over the bed where her husband was.
In an instant he woke up in his right senses.
Then he jumped out of bed, ran across the room
and opened the door, and the Fairies vanished.
And they have never been seen from that day to
Once upon a time there were two brothers who
lived in a lonely house in a very lonely part of
Scotland. An old woman used to do the cooking,
and there was no one else, unless we count her
cat and their own dogs, within miles of them.
One autumn afternoon the elder of the two,
whom we will call Elshender, said he would not
go out; so the younger one, Fergus, went alone to
follow the path where they had been shooting the
day before, far across the mountains.
He meant to return home before the early
sunset; however, he did not do so, and Elshender
became very uneasy as he watched and waited
in vain till long after their usual supper-time.
At last Fergus returned, wet and exhausted, nor
did he explain why he was so late.
But after supper when the two brothers were
seated before the fire, on which the peat crackled
cheerfully, the dogs lying at their feet, and the old
woman's black cat sitting gravely with half-shut
eyes on the hearth between them, Fergus recovered
himself and began to tell his adventures.
``You must be wondering,'' said he, ``what
made me so late. I have had a very, very strange
adventure to-day. I hardly know what to say
about it. I went, as I told you I should, along our
yesterday's track. A mountain fog came on just
as I was about to turn homewards, and I completely
lost my way. I wandered about for a long
time not knowing where I was, till at last I saw a
light, and made for it, hoping to get help.
``As I came near it, it disappeared, and I found
myself close to an old oak tree. I climbed into
the branches the better to look for the light, and,
behold! there it was right beneath me, inside the
hollow trunk of the tree. I seemed to be looking
down into a church, where a funeral was taking
place. I heard singing, and saw a coffin
surrounded by torches, all carried by--But I know
you won't believe me, Elshender, if I tell you!''
His brother eagerly begged him to go on, and
threw a dry peat on the fire to encourage him.
The dogs were sleeping quietly, but the cat was
sitting up, and seemed to be listening just as
carefully and cannily as Elshender himself. Both
brothers, indeed, turned their eyes on the cat as
Fergus took up his story.
``Yes,'' he continued, ``it is as true as I sit here.
The coffin and the torches were both carried by
CATS, and upon the coffin were marked a crown and
a scepter!''
He got no farther, for the black cat started up,
``My stars! old Peter's dead, and I'm the King
o' the Cats!''--Then rushed up the chimney,
and was seen no more.
A woman was sitting at her reel one night; and
still she sat, and still she reeled, and still she
wished for company.
In came a pair of broad, broad soles, and sat down
at the fireside!
And still she sat, and still she reeled, and still she
wished for company.
In came a pair of small, small legs, and sat down
on the broad, broad soles!
And still she sat, and still she reeled, and still she
wished for company.
In came a pair of thick, thick knees, and sat down
on the small, small legs!
And still she sat, and still she reeled, and still she
wished for company.
In came a pair of thin, thin thighs, and sat down
on the thick, thick knees!
And still she sat, and still she reeled, and still she
wished for company.
In came a pair of huge, huge hips, and sat down
on the thin, thin thighs!
And still she sat, and still she reeled, and still she
wished for company.
In came a wee, wee waist, and sat down on the
huge, huge hips!
And still she sat, and still she reeled, and still she
wished for company.
In came a pair of broad, broad shoulders, and sat
down on the wee, wee waist!
And still she sat, and still she reeled, and still she
wished for company.
In came a pair of small, small arms, and sat down
on the broad, broad shoulders!
And still she sat, and still she reeled, and still she
wished for company.
In came a pair of huge, huge hands, and sat down
on the small, small arms!
And still she sat, and still she reeled, and still she
wished for company.
In came a small, small neck, and sat down on the
broad, broad shoulders!
And still she sat, and still she reeled, and still she
wished for company.
In came a huge, huge head, and sat down on the
small, small neck!
. . . . . . . . .
``How did you get such broad, broad feet?''
quoth the Woman.
``Much tramping, much tramping!'' (GRUFFLY.)
``How did you get such small, small legs?''
``AIH-H-H!--late--and WEE-E-E-moul!'' (WHININGLY.)
``How did you get such thick, thick knees?''
``Much praying, much praying!'' (PIOUSLY.)
``How did you get such thin, thin thighs?''
``Aih-h-h!--late--and wee-e-e-moul!'' (WHININGLY.)
``How did you get such big, big hips?''
``Much sitting, much sitting!'' (GRUFFLY.)
``How did you get such a wee, wee waist?''
``Aih-h-h!--late--and wee-e-e-moul!'' (WHININGLY.)
``How did you get such broad, broad shoulders?''
``With carrying broom, with carrying broom!''
``How did you get such small arms?''
``Aih-h-h!--late--and wee-e-e-moul!'' (WHININGLY.)
``How did you get such huge, huge hands?''
``Threshing with an iron flail! Threshing with an
iron flail!'' (GRUFFLY.)
``How did you get such a small, small neck?''
``Aih-h-h!--late--and wee-e-e-moul!'' (PITIFULLY.)
``How did you get such a huge, huge head?''
``Much knowledge, much knowledge!'' (KEENLY.)
``What do you come for?''
In the kingdom of England there is a hillock in
the midst of a dense wood. Thither in old days
knights and their followers were wont to repair
when tired and thirsty after the chase. When one
of their number called out, ``I thirst!'' there
immediately started up a Goblin with a cheerful
countenance, clad in a crimson robe, and bearing
in his outstretched hand a large drinking-horn
richly ornamented with gold and precious jewels,
and full of the most delicious, unknown beverage.
The Goblin presented the horn to the thirsty
knight, who drank and instantly felt refreshed
and cool. After the drinker had emptied the horn,
the Goblin offered a silken napkin to wipe the
mouth. Then, without waiting to be thanked, the
strange creature vanished as suddenly as he had
Now once there was a knight of churlish nature,
who was hunting alone in those parts. Feeling
thirsty and fatigued, he visited the hillock and
cried out:--
``I thirst!''
Instantly the Goblin appeared and presented
the horn.
When the knight had drained it of its delicious
beverage, instead of returning the horn, he thrust
it into his bosom, and rode hastily away.
He boasted far and wide of his deed, and his
feudal lord hearing thereof caused him to be
bound and cast into prison; then fearing lest he,
too, might become partaker in the theft and
ingratitude of the knight, the lord presented the
jeweled horn to the King of England, who carefully
preserved it among the royal treasures. But
never again did the benevolent Goblin return to
the hillock in the wood.
There was once in Great Britain, a knight named
Albert, strong in arms and adorned with every
virtue. One day as he was seeking for adventure,
he chanced to wander into a castle where he was
hospitably entertained.
At night, after supper, as was usual in great
families during the winter, the household gathered
about the hearth and occupied the time in
relating divers tales.
At last they told how in the near-by plain of
Wandlesbury there was a haunted mound. There
in old days the Vandals, who laid waste the land
and slaughtered Christians, had pitched their
camp and built about it a great rampart. And it
was further related that in the hush of the night,
if any one crossed the plain, ascended the mound,
and called out in a loud voice, ``Let my adversary
appear!'' there immediately started up from the
ruined ramparts a huge, ghostly figure, armed
and mounted for battle. This phantom then
attacked the knight who had cried out and
speedily overcame him.
Now, when Albert heard this marvelous tale, he
greatly doubted its truth, and was determined to
put the matter to a test. As the moon was shining
brightly, and the night was quiet, he armed,
mounted, and immediately hastened to the plain
of Wandlesbury, accompanied by a squire of noble
He ascended the mound, dismissed his attendant,
and shouted:--
``Let my adversary appear!''
Instantly there sprang from the ruins a huge,
ghostly knight completely armed and mounted on
an enormous steed.
This phantom rushed upon Albert, who spurred
his horse, extended his shield, and drove at his
antagonist with his lance. Both knights were
shaken by the encounter. Albert, however, so
resolutely and with so strong an arm pressed his
adversary that the latter was thrown violently to
the ground. Seeing this Albert hastily seized the
steed of the fallen knight, and started to leave
the mound.
But the phantom, rising to his feet, and seeing
his horse led away, flung his lance and cruelly
wounded Albert in the thigh. This done he vanished
as suddenly as he had appeared.
Our knight, overjoyed at his victory, returned
in triumph to the castle, where the household
crowded around him and praised his bravery. But
when he put off his armor he found the cuish
from his right thigh filled with clots of blood
from an angry wound in his side. The family,
alarmed, hastened to apply healing herbs and
The captured horse was then brought forward.
He was prodigiously large, and black as jet. His
eyes were fierce and flashing, his neck proudly
arched, and he wore a glittering war-saddle upon
his back.
As the first streaks of dawn began to appear,
the animal reared wildly, snorted as if with pain
and anger, and struck the ground so furiously
with his hoofs that the sparks flew. The black
cock of the castle crew and the horse, uttering a
terrible cry, instantly disappeared.
And every year, on the selfsame night, at the
selfsame hour, the wounds of the knight Albert
broke out afresh, and tormented him with agony.
Thus till his dying day he bore in his body a
yearly reminder of his encounter with the Phantom
Knight of the Vandal Camp.
After prayer and fasting and a farewell feast,
the Pilgrim Fathers left the City of Leyden, and
sought the new and unknown land. ``So they lefte
y goodly & pleasante citie,'' writes their historian
Bradford, ``which had been ther resting place
near 12 years, but they knew they were pilgrimes
& looked not much on those things, but lift up
their eyes to y Heavens their dearest cuntrie, and
quieted their spirits.''
When, after many vexing days upon the deep,
the pilgrims first sighted the New World, they
were filled with praise and thanksgiving. Going
ashore they fell upon their knees and blessed the
God of Heaven. And after that, whenever they
were delivered from accidents or despair, they
gave God ``solemne thanks and praise.'' Such
were the Pilgrims and such their habit day by
The first winter in the New World was marked
by great suffering and want. Hunger and illness
thinned the little colony, and caused many
graves to be made on the near-by hillside.
The spring of 1621 opened. The seed was sown
in the fields. The colonists cared for it without
ceasing, and watched its growth with anxiety; for
well they knew that their lives depended upon a
full harvest.
The days of spring and summer flew by, and the
autumn came. Never in Holland or England had
the Pilgrims seen the like of the treasures bounteous
Nature now spread before them. The woodlands
were arrayed in gorgeous colors, brown,
crimson, and gold, and swarmed with game of all
kinds, that had been concealed during the summer.
The little farm-plots had been blessed by the
sunshine and showers, and now plentiful crops
stood ready for the gathering. The Pilgrims,
rejoicing, reaped the fruit of their labors, and
housed it carefully for the winter. Then, filled
with the spirit of thanksgiving, they held the first
harvest-home in New England.
For one whole week they rested from work,
feasted, exercised their arms, and enjoyed various
recreations. Many Indians visited the colony,
amongst these their greatest king, Massasoit, with
ninety of his braves. The Pilgrims entertained
them for three days. And the Indians went out
into the woods and killed fine deer, which they
brought to the colony and presented to the governor
and the captain and others. So all made
merry together.
And bountiful was the feast. Oysters, fish and
wild turkey, Indian maize and barley bread,
geese and ducks, venison and other savory meats,
decked the board. Kettles, skillets, and spits were
overworked, while knives and spoons, kindly
assisted by fingers, made merry music on pewter
plates. Wild grapes, ``very sweete and strong,''
added zest to the feast. As to the vegetables, why,
the good governor describes them thus:--
``All sorts of grain which our own land doth yield,
Was hither brought, and sown in every field;
As wheat and rye, barley, oats, beans, and pease
Here all thrive and they profit from them raise;
All sorts of roots and herbs in gardens grow,--
Parsnips, carrots, turnips, or what you'll sow,
Onions, melons, cucumbers, radishes,
Skirets, beets, coleworts and fair cabbages.''
Thus a royal feast it was the Pilgrims spread
that first golden autumn at Plymouth, a feast
worthy of their Indian guests.
All slumbering discontents they smothered with
common rejoicings. When the holiday was over,
they were surely better, braver men because they
had turned aside to rest awhile and be thankful
together. So the exiles of Leyden claimed the
harvests of New England.
This festival was the bursting into life of a new
conception of man's dependence on God's gifts in
Nature. It was the promise of autumnal
Thanksgivings to come.
The Master of the Harvest walked by the side of
his cornfields in the springtime. A frown was on
his face, for there had been no rain for several
weeks, and the earth was hard from the parching
of the east winds. The young wheat had not been
able to spring up.
So as he looked over the long ridges that
stretched in rows before him, he was vexed and
began to grumble and say:--
``The harvest will be backward, and all things
will go wrong.''
Then he frowned more and more, and uttered
complaints against Heaven because there was no
rain; against the earth because it was so dry;
against the corn because it had not sprung up.
And the Master's discontent was whispered all
over the field, and along the ridges where the
corn-seed lay. And the poor little seeds murmured:--
``How cruel to complain! Are we not doing our
best? Have we let one drop of moisture pass by
unused? Are we not striving every day to be
ready for the hour of breaking forth? Are we
idle? How cruel to complain!''
But of all this the Master of the Harvest heard
nothing, so the gloom did not pass from his face.
Going to his comfortable home he repeated to his
wife the dark words, that the drought would ruin
the harvest, for the corn was not yet sprung up.
Then his wife spoke cheering words, and taking
her Bible she wrote some texts upon the flyleaf,
and after them the date of the day.
And the words she wrote were these: ``The eyes
of all wait upon Thee; and Thou givest them their
meat in due season. Thou openest Thine hand
and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.
How excellent is Thy loving-kindness, O God!
therefore the children of men put their trust under
the shadow of Thy wings. Thou hast put gladness
in my heart, more than in the time that their corn
and their wine increased.''
And so a few days passed as before, and the
house was gloomy with the discontent of the Master.
But at last one evening there was rain all over
the land, and when the Master of the Harvest
went out the next morning for his early walk by
the cornfields, the corn had sprung up at last.
The young shoots burst out at once, and very
soon all along the ridges were to be seen rows of
tender blades, tinting the whole field with a
delicate green. And day by day the Master of the
Harvest saw them, and was satisfied, but he
spoke of other things and forgot to rejoice.
Then a murmur rose among the corn-blades.
``The Master was angry because we did not come
up; now that we have come forth why is he not
glad? Are we not doing our best? From morning
and evening dews, from the glow of the sun,
from the juices of the earth, from the freshening
breezes, even from clouds and rain, are we not
taking food and strength, warmth and life? Why
does he not rejoice?''
And when the Master's wife asked him if the
wheat was doing well he answered, ``Fairly well,''
and nothing more.
But the wife opened her Book, and wrote again
on the flyleaf: ``Who hath divided a watercourse
for the overflowing of waters, or a way for the
lightning of thunder, to cause it to rain on the
earth where no man is, on the wilderness wherein
there is no man, to satisfy the desolate and waste
ground, and to cause the bud of the tender herb
to spring forth? For He maketh small the drops
of water; they pour down rain according to the
vapor thereof, which the clouds do drop and distil
upon man abundantly. Also can any understand
the spreadings of the clouds, or the noise of his
Very peaceful were the next few weeks. All
nature seemed to rejoice in the fine weather. The
corn-blades shot up strong and tall. They burst
into flowers and gradually ripened into ears of
grain. But alas! the Master of the Harvest had
still some fault to find. He looked at the ears
and saw that they were small. He grumbled and
``The yield will be less than it ought to be. The
harvest will be bad.''
And the voice of his discontent was breathed
over the cornfield where the plants were growing
and growing. They shuddered and murmured:
``How thankless to complain! Are we not growing
as fast as we can? If we were idle would we
bear wheat-ears at all? How thankless to complain!''
Meanwhile a few weeks went by and a drought
settled on the land. Rain was needed, so that the
corn-ears might fill. And behold, while the wish
for rain was yet on the Master's lips, the sky
became full of heavy clouds, darkness spread over
the land, a wild wind arose, and the roaring of
thunder announced a storm. And such a storm!
Along the ridges of corn-plants drove the rainladen
wind, and the plants bent down before it
and rose again like the waves of the sea. They
bowed down and they rose up. Only where the
whirlwind was the strongest they fell to the
ground and could not rise again.
And when the storm was over, the Master of
the Harvest saw here and there patches of overweighted
corn, yet dripping from the thundershower,
and he grew angry with them, and forgot
to think of the long ridges where the corn-plants
were still standing tall and strong, and where the
corn-ears were swelling and rejoicing.
His face grew darker than ever. He railed
against the rain. He railed against the sun
because it did not shine. He blamed the wheat
because it might perish before the harvest.
``But why does he always complain?'' moaned
the corn-plants. ``Have we not done our best
from the first? Has not God's blessing been with
us? Are we not growing daily more beautiful in
strength and hope? Why does not the Master
trust, as we do, in the future richness of the
Of all this the Master of the Harvest heard
nothing. But his wife wrote on the flyleaf of her
Book: ``He watereth the hills from his chambers,
the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works.
He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle and
herb for the service of man, that he may bring
forth food out of the earth, and wine that maketh
glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face
to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man's
And day by day the hours of sunshine were
more in number. And by degrees the green cornears
ripened into yellow, and the yellow turned
into gold, and the abundant harvest was ready,
and the laborers were not wanting.
Then the bursting corn broke out into songs
of rejoicing. ``At least we have not labored and
watched in vain! Surely the earth hath yielded
her increase! Blessed be the Lord who daily
loadeth us with benefits! Where now is the Master
of the Harvest? Come, let him rejoice with us!''
And the Master's wife brought out her Book
and her husband read the texts she had written
even from the day when the corn-seeds were held
back by the first drought, and as he read a new
heart seemed to grow within him, a heart that was
thankful to the Lord of the Great Harvest. And
he read aloud from the Book:--
``Thou visitest the earth and waterest it; thou
greatly enrichest it with the river of God which
is full of water; thou preparest them corn, when
thou hast so provided for it. Thou waterest the
ridges thereof abundantly; thou settlest the furrows
thereof; thou makest it soft with showers;
thou blessest the springing thereof. Thou
crownest the year with thy goodness, and thy paths
drop fatness. They drop upon the pastures of the
wilderness, and the little hills rejoice on every
side. The pastures are clothed with flocks. The
valleys also are covered over with corn; they shout
for joy, they also sing.--O that men would praise
the Lord for His goodness, and for his wonderful
works to the children of men!''
Once upon a time, the good Saint Cuthbert of
Lindesfarne, went forth from his monastery to
preach to the poor. He took with him a young
lad as his only attendant. Together they walked
along the dusty way. The heat of the noonday
sun beat upon their heads, and fatigue overcame
``Son,'' said Saint Cuthbert, ``do you know
any one on the road, whom we may ask for food
and a place in which to rest?''
``I was just thinking the same thing,'' answered
the lad, ``but I know nobody on the road who will
entertain us. Alas! why did we not bring along
provisions? How can we proceed on our long
journey without them?''
``My son,'' answered the saint, ``learn to have
trust in God, who never will suffer those to perish
of hunger who believe in Him.''
Then looking up and seeing an eagle flying in
the air, he added, ``Do you see the eagle yonder?
It is possible for God to feed us by means of this
While they were talking thus, they came to a
river, and, lo! the eagle stood on the bank.
``Son,'' said Saint Cuthbert, ``run and see what
provision God has made for us by his handmaid
the bird.''
The lad ran, and found a good-sized fish that
the eagle had just caught. This he brought to the
``What have you done?'' exclaimed the good
man, ``why have you not given a part to God's
handmaid? Cut the fish in two pieces, and give
her one, as her service well deserves.''
The lad did as he was bidden, and the eagle,
taking the half fish in her beak, flew away.
Then entering a neighboring village, Saint
Cuthbert gave the other half to a peasant to cook,
and while the lad and the villagers feasted, the
good saint preached to them the Word of God
Ages upon ages ago, says the German grandmother,
when angels used to wander on earth, the
ground was more fruitful than it is now. Then the
stalks of wheat bore not fifty or sixty fold, but
four times five hundred fold. Then the wheatears
grew from the bottom to the top of the stalk.
But the men of the earth forgot that this blessing
came from God, and they became idle and selfish.
One day a woman went through a wheat-field,
and her little child, who accompanied her, fell
into a puddle and soiled her frock. The mother
tore off a handful of the wheat-ears and cleaned
the child's dress with them.
Just then an angel passed by and saw her.
Wrathfully he spoke:--
``Wasteful woman, no longer shall the wheatstalks
produce ears. You mortals are not worthy
of the gifts of Heaven!''
Some peasants who were gathering wheat in
the fields heard this, and falling on their knees,
prayed and entreated the angel to leave the wheat
alone, not only on their account, but for the sake
of the little birds who otherwise must perish of
The angel pitied their distress, and granted a
part of the prayer. And from that day to this the
ears of wheat have grown as they do now.
Long, long ago, in a beautiful part of this country,
there lived an Indian with his wife and children.
He was poor and found it hard to provide food
enough for his family. But though needy he was
kind and contented, and always gave thanks to
the Great Spirit for everything that he received.
His eldest son, Wunzh, was likewise kind and
gentle and thankful of heart, and he longed
greatly to do something for his people.
The time came that Wunzh reached the age
when every Indian boy fasts so that he may see in
a vision the Spirit that is to be his guide through
life. Wunph's father built him a little lodge apart,
so that the boy might rest there undisturbed during
his days of fasting. Then Wunzh withdrew to
begin the solemn rite.
On the first day he walked alone in the woods
looking at the flowers and plants, and filling his
mind with the beautiful images of growing things
so that he might see them in his night-dreams. He
saw how the flowers and herbs and berries grew,
and he knew that some were good for food, and
that others healed wounds and cured sickness.
And his heart was filled with even a greater
longing to do something for his family and his
``Truly,'' thought he, ``the Great Spirit made
all things. To Him we owe our lives. But could
He not make it easier for us to get our food than
by hunting and catching fish? I must try to find
this out in my vision.''
So Wunzh returned to his lodge and fasted
and slept. On the third day he became weak and
faint. Soon he saw in a vision a young brave
coming down from the sky and approaching the
lodge. He was clad in rich garments of green and
yellow colors. On his head was a tuft of nodding
green plumes, and all his motions were graceful
and swaying.
``I am sent to you, O Wunzh,'' said the skystranger,
``by that Great Spirit who made all
things in sky and earth. He has seen your fasting,
and knows how you wish to do good to your people,
and that you do not seek for strength in war
nor for the praise of warriors. I am sent to tell
you how you may do good to your kindred. Arise
and wrestle with me, for only by overcoming me
may you learn the secret.''
Wunzh, though he was weak from fasting, felt
courage grow in his heart, and he arose and
wrestled with the stranger. But soon he became
weaker and exhausted, and the stranger, seeing
this, smiled gently on him and said: ``My friend,
this is enough for once, I will come again
to-morrow.'' And he vanished as suddenly as he had
The next day the stranger came, and Wunzh felt
himself weaker than before; nevertheless he rose
and wrestled bravely. Then the stranger spoke a
second time. ``My friend,'' he said, ``have courage!
To-morrow will be your last trial.'' And he
disappeared from Wunzh's sight.
On the third day the stranger came as before,
and the struggle was renewed. And Wunzh,
though fainter in body, grew strong in mind and
will, and he determined to win or perish in the
attempt. He exerted all his powers, and, lo! in a
while, he prevailed and overcame the stranger.
``O Wunzh, my friend,'' said the conquered
one, ``you have wrestled manfully. You have met
your trial well. To-morrow I shall come again and
you must wrestle with me for the last time. You
will prevail. Do you then strip off my garments,
throw me down, clean the earth of roots and
weeds, and bury me in that spot. When you have
done so, leave my body in the ground. Come
often to the place and see whether I have come to
life, but be careful not to let weeds or grass grow
on my grave. If you do all this well, you will soon
discover how to benefit your fellow creatures.''
Having said this the stranger disappeared.
In the morning Wunzh's father came to him
with food. ``My son,'' he said, ``you have fasted
long. It is seven days since you have tasted food,
and you must not sacrifice your life. The Master
of Life does not require that.''
``My father,'' replied the boy, ``wait until the
sun goes down to-morrow. For a certain reason I
wish to fast until that hour.''
``Very well,'' said the old man, ``I shall wait
until the time arrives when you feel inclined to
eat.'' And he went away.
The next day, at the usual hour, the sky
stranger came again. And, though Wunzh had
fasted seven days, he felt a new power arise within
him. He grasped the stranger with superhuman
strength, and threw him down. He took from him
his beautiful garments, and, finding him dead,
buried him in the softened earth, and did all else
as he had been directed.
He then returned to his father's lodge, and
partook sparingly of food. There he abode for some
time. But he never forgot the grave of his friend.
Daily he visited it, and pulled up the weeds and
grass, and kept the earth soft and moist. Very
soon, to his great wonder, he saw the tops of green
plumes coming through the ground.
Weeks passed by, the summer was drawing to a
close. One day Wunzh asked his father to follow
him. He led him to a distant meadow. There, in
the place where the stranger had been buried,
stood a tall and graceful plant, with brightcolored,
silken hair, and crowned by nodding
green plumes. Its stalk was covered with waving
leaves, and there grew from its sides clusters of
milk-filled ears of corn, golden and sweet, each
ear closely wrapped in its green husks.
``It is my friend!'' shouted the boy joyously;
``it is Mondawmin, the Indian Corn! We need
no longer depend on hunting, so long as this gift
is planted and cared for. The Great Spirit has
heard my voice and has sent us this food.''
Then the whole family feasted on the ears of
corn and thanked the Great Spirit who gave it. So
Indian Corn came into the world.
Two boys gathered some hazelnuts in the woods.
They sat down under a tree and tried to eat them,
but they did not have their knives, and could not
bite open the nuts with their teeth.
``Oh,'' they complained, ``if only some one
would come and open the nuts for us!''
Hardly had they said this when a little man
came through the woods. And such a strange
little man! He had a great, great head, and from
the back of it a slender pigtail hung down to his
heels. He wore a golden cap, a red coat and yellow
As he came near he sang:--
``Hight! hight! Bite! bite!
Hans hight I! Nuts bite I!
I chase the squirrels through the trees,
I gather nuts just as I please,
I place them 'twixt my jaws so strong,
And crack and eat them all day long!''
The boys almost died of laughter when they
saw this funny little man, who they knew was a
Wood Dwarf.
They called out to him: ``If you know how to
crack nuts, why, come here and open ours.''
But the little man grumbled through his long
white beard:--
``If I crack the nuts for you
Promise that you'll give me two.''
``Yes, yes,'' cried the boys, ``you shall have all
the nuts you wish, only crack some for us, and be
quick about it!''
The little man stood before them, for he could
not sit down because of his long, stiff pigtail that
hung down behind, and he sang:--
``Lift my pigtail, long and thin,
Place your nuts my jaws within,
Pull the pigtail down, and then
I'll crack your nuts, my little men.''
The boys did as they were told, laughing hard
all the time. Whenever they pulled down the pigtail,
there was a sharp CRACK, and a broken nut
sprang out of the Nutcracker's mouth.
Soon all the hazelnuts were opened, and the
little man grumbled again:--
``Hight! hight! Bite! bite!
Your nuts are cracked, and now my pay
I'll take and then I'll go away.''
Now one of the boys wished to give the little
man his promised reward, but the other, who was
a bad boy, stopped him, saying:--
``Why do you give that old fellow our nuts?
There are only enough for us. As for you,
Nutcracker, go away from here and find some for
Then the little man grew angry, and he
grumbled horribly:--
``If you do not pay my fee,
Why, then, you've told a lie to me!
I am hungry, you're well fed,
Quick, or I'll bite off your head!''
But the bad boy only laughed and said: ``You 'll
bite off my head, will you! Go away from here
just as fast as you can, or you shall feel these nutshells,''
and he shook his fist at the little man.
The Nutcracker grew red with rage. He pulled
up his pigtail, snapping his jaws together,--CRACK,
--and the bad boy's head was off.
Once upon a time, one Lucian the Greek was
filled with a desire to see strange countries, and
especially to discover whether there was any
opposite shore to the ocean by which he lived.
So having purchased a vessel, he strengthened
it for a voyage, that he knew would without doubt
be long and stormy. Then he chose fifty stout
young fellows having the same love of adventure
as himself, and next he hired the best captain that
could be got for money, and put a store of provisions
and water on board.
All this being done, he set sail. For many days
he and his companions voyaged on deep waters
and in strange seas. At times the wind was fair
and gentle, and at others it blew so hard that the
sea rose in a terrible manner.
One day there came a violent whirlwind which
twisted the ship about, and, lifting it into the air,
carried it upward into the sky, until it reached
the Moon. There Lucian and his comrades disembarked
and visited the inhabitants of Moonland.
They took part in a fierce battle between the
Moon-Folk, the Sun-Folk, and an army of Vulture-
Horsemen; and, after many other wonderful
adventures, they departed from Moonland, and
sailing through the sky, visited the Morning Star.
Then the wind dropping, the ship settled once
more upon the sea, and they sailed on the water.
One morning the wind began to blow vehemently,
and they were driven by storm for days.
On the third day they fell in with the Pumpkin
Pirates. These were savages who were wont to
sally forth from the islands that lay in the seas
thereabouts, and plunder them that sailed by.
For ships they had large pumpkins, each being
not less than ninety feet in length. These pumpkins
they dried, and afterward dug out all the
inner part of them till they were quite hollow.
For masts they had reeds, and for sails, in the
place of canvas, pumpkin leaves.
These savages attacked Lucian's vessel with
two ships' or rather two pumpkins' crews, and
wounded many of his company. For stones they
used the pumpkin-seeds, which were about the
bigness of a large apple.
Lucian's company fought for some time,
without gaining the advantage, when about noon they
saw coming toward them, in the rear of the Pumpkin
Pirates, the Nut-Shell Sailors. These two
tribes were at war with each other.
As soon as the Pumpkin Pirates saw the others
approaching, they left off fighting Lucian's crew,
and prepared to give battle to the Nut-Shell Sailors.
When Lucian saw this he ordered the captain
to set all sails; and they departed with speed. But
looking back he could see that the Nut-Shell Sailors
had the best of the battle, being superior in
numbers, having five crews against two of the
Pumpkin Pirates, and also because their ships
were stronger. As for their ships, they were the
shells of nuts which had been split in half, each
measuring fifteen fathoms, or thereabouts.
As soon as the Pumpkin Pirates and the Nut-
Shell Sailors were out of sight, Lucian set himself
to dressing the wounds of his injured companions.
And from that time on both Lucian and his crew
wore their armor continually, not knowing when
another strange enemy might come upon them.
There was a time, says the Iroquois grandmother,
when it was not needful to plant the cornseed
nor to hoe the fields, for the corn sprang up of
itself, and filled the broad meadows. Its stalks
grew strong and tall, and were covered with leaves
like waving banners, and filled with ears of pearly
grain wrapped in silken green husks.
In those days Onatah, the Spirit of the Corn,
walked upon the earth. The sun lovingly touched
her dusky face with the blush of the morning, and
her eyes grew soft as the gleam of the stars on
dark streams. Her night-black hair was spread
before the breeze like a wind-driven cloud.
As she walked through the fields, the corn, the
Indian maize, sprang up of itself from the earth
and filled the air with its fringed tassels and
whispering leaves. With Onatah walked her two
sisters, the Spirits of the Squash and the Bean. As
they passed by, squash-vines and bean-plants
grew from the corn-hills.
One day Onatah wandered away alone in search
of early dew. Then the Evil One of the earth,
Hahgwehdaetgah, followed swiftly after. He
grasped her by the hair and dragged her beneath
the ground down to his gloomy cave. Then, sending
out his fire-breathing monsters, he blighted
Onatah's grain. And when her sisters, the Spirits
of the Squash and the Bean, saw the flamemonsters
raging through the fields, they flew far
away in terror.
As for poor Onatah, she lay a trembling captive
in the dark prison-cave of the Evil One. She
mourned the blight of her cornfields, and sorrowed
over her runaway sisters.
``O warm, bright sun!'' she cried, ``if I may
walk once more upon the earth, never again will I
leave my corn!''
And the little birds of the air heard her cry, and
winging their way upward they carried her vow
and gave it to the sun as he wandered through the
blue heavens.
The sun, who loved Onatah, sent out many
searching beams of light. They pierced through
the damp earth, and entering the prison-cave,
guided her back again to her fields.
And ever after that she watched her fields alone,
for no more did her sisters, the Spirits of the
Squash and Bean, watch with her. If her fields
thirsted, no longer could she seek the early dew.
If the flame-monsters burned her corn, she could
not search the skies for cooling winds. And when
the great rains fell and injured her harvest, her
voice grew so faint that the friendly sun could not
hear it.
But ever Onatah tenderly watched her fields
and the little birds of the air flocked to her service.
They followed her through the rows of corn, and
made war on the tiny enemies that gnawed at the
roots of the grain.
And at harvest-time the grateful Onatah
scattered the first gathered corn over her broad lands,
and the little birds, fluttering and singing, joyfully
partook of the feast spread for them on the
Aeneus, King of Aetolia, had a daughter whose
name was Deianira. So beautiful was the maiden
that her fame spread throughout the world, and
many princes came to woo her. Among these were
two strangers, who drove all the other suitors from
the hall of King Aeneus.
One was Hercules, huge of limb and broad of
shoulder. He was clad in the skins of beasts, and
carried in his hand a knotted club. His tangled
hair hung down upon his brawny neck, and his
fierce eyes gleamed from behind his shaggy brows.
The other stranger was Achelous, god of the
Calydonian River. Slender and graceful was he,
and clad in flowing green raiment. In his hand he
carried a staff of plaited reeds, and on his head was
a crown of water-lilies. His voice was soft and
caressing, like the gentle murmur of summer brooks.
``O King Aeneus,'' said Achelous, standing
before the throne, ``behold I am the King of
Waters. If thou wilt receive me as thy son-in-law
I will make the beautiful Deianira queen of my
river kingdom.''
``King Aeneus,'' said the mighty Hercules,
stepping forward, ``Deianira is mine, and I will
not yield her to this river-god.''
``Impertinent stranger!'' cried Achelous,
turning toward the hero, while his voice rose till it
sounded like the thunder of distant cataracts, and
his green garment changed to the blackness of
night,--``impertinent stranger! how darest thou
claim this maiden,--thou who hast mortal blood
in thy veins! Behold me, the god Achelous, the
powerful King of the Waters! I wind with majesty
through the rich lands of my wide realms. I
make all fields through which I flow beautiful with
grass and flowers. By my right divine I claim this
But with scowling eye and rising wrath
Hercules made answer. ``Thou wouldst fight with
words, like a woman, while I would win by my
strength! My right hand is better than my tongue.
If thou wouldst have the maiden, then must thou
first overcome me in combat.''
Thereupon Achelous threw off his raiment and
began to prepare himself for the struggle. Hercules
took off his garment of beasts' skins, and
cast aside his club. The two then anointed their
bodies with oil, and threw yellow sand upon
They took their places, they attacked, they
retired, they rushed again to the conflict. They
stood firm, and they yielded not. Long they
bravely wrestled and fought; till at length
Hercules by his might overcame Achelous and bore
him to the ground. He pressed him down, and,
while the fallen river-god lay panting for breath,
the hero seized him by the neck.
Then did Achelous have recourse to his magic
arts. Transforming himself into a serpent he
escaped from the hero. He twisted his body into
winding folds, and darted out his forked tongue
with frightful hissings.
But Hercules laughed mockingly, and cried out:
``Ah, Achelous! While yet in my cradle I strangled
two serpents! And what art thou compared
to the Hydra whose hundred heads I cut off?
Every time I cut of I one head two others grew in
its place. Yet did I conquer that horror, in spite
of its branching serpents that darted from every
wound! Thinkest thou, then, that I fear thee,
thou mimic snake?'' And even as he spake he
gripped, as with a pair of pincers, the back of the
river-god's head.
And Achelous struggled in vain to escape.
Then, again having recourse to his magic, he
became a raging bull, and renewed the fight. But
Hercules, that mighty hero, threw his huge arms
over the brawny neck of the bull, and dragged
him about. Then seizing hold of his horns, he
bent his head to one side, and bearing down
fastened them into the ground. And that was not
enough, but with relentless hand he broke one of
the horns, and tore it from Achelous's forehead.
The river-god returned to his own shape. He
roared aloud with rage and pain, and hiding his
mutilated head in his mantle, rushed from the
hall and plunged into the swirling waters of his
Then the goddess of Plenty, and all the Wood-
Nymphs and Water-Nymphs came forward to
greet the conqueror with song and dance. They
took the huge horn of Achelous and heaped it high
with the rich and glowing fruits and flowers of
autumn. They wreathed it with vines and with
clustering grapes, and bearing it aloft presented it
to Hercules and his beautiful bride Deianira.
And ever since that day has the Horn of Plenty
gladdened men's hearts at Harvest-Time.
In the sunny land of France there lived many
years ago a sweet little maid named Piccola.
Her father had died when she was a baby, and
her mother was very poor and had to work hard
all day in the fields for a few sous.
Little Piccola had no dolls and toys, and she
was often hungry and cold, but she was never sad
nor lonely.
What if there were no children for her to play
with! What if she did not have fine clothes and
beautiful toys! In summer there were always the
birds in the forest, and the flowers in the fields and
meadows,--the birds sang so sweetly, and the
flowers were so bright and pretty!
In the winter when the ground was covered
with snow, Piccola helped her mother, and knit
long stockings of blue wool.
The snow-birds had to be fed with crumbs, if
she could find any, and then, there was Christmas
But one year her mother was ill and could not
earn any money. Piccola worked hard all the day
long, and sold the stockings which she knit, even
when her own little bare feet were blue with the
As Christmas Day drew near she said to her
mother, ``I wonder what the good Saint Nicholas
will bring me this year. I cannot hang my stocking
in the fireplace, but I shall put my wooden
shoe on the hearth for him. He will not forget
me, I am sure.''
``Do not think of it this year, my dear child,''
replied her mother. ``We must be glad if we have
bread enough to eat.''
But Piccola could not believe that the good
saint would forget her. On Christmas Eve she
put her little wooden patten on the hearth before
the fire, and went to sleep to dream of Saint
As the poor mother looked at the little shoe,
she thought how unhappy her dear child would be
to find it empty in the morning, and wished that
she had something, even if it were only a tiny
cake, for a Christmas gift. There was nothing in
the house but a few sous, and these must be saved
to buy bread.
When the morning dawned Piccola awoke and
ran to her shoe.
Saint Nicholas had come in the night. He had
not forgotten the little child who had thought of
him with such faith.
See what he had brought her. It lay in the
wooden patten, looking up at her with its two
bright eyes, and chirping contentedly as she
stroked its soft feathers.
A little swallow, cold and hungry, had flown
into the chimney and down to the room, and
had crept into the shoe for warmth.
Piccola danced for joy, and clasped the
shivering swallow to her breast.
She ran to her mother's bedside. ``Look,
look!'' she cried. ``A Christmas gift, a gift from
the good Saint Nicholas!'' And she danced again
in her little bare feet.
Then she fed and warmed the bird, and cared
for it tenderly all winter long; teaching it to take
crumbs from her hand and her lips, and to sit on
her shoulder while she was working.
In the spring she opened the window for it to
fly away, but it lived in the woods near by all
summer, and came often in the early morning to
sing its sweetest songs at her door.
There once lived a laborer who earned his daily
bread by cutting wood. His wife and two children,
a boy and girl, helped him with his work.
The boy's name was Valentine, and the girl's,
Marie. They were obedient and pious and the
joy and comfort of their poor parents.
One winter evening, this good family gathered
about the table to eat their small loaf of bread,
while the father read aloud from the Bible. Just
as they sat down there came a knock on the window,
and a sweet voice called:--
``O let me in! I am a little child, and I have
nothing to eat, and no place to sleep in. I am so
cold and hungry! Please, good people, let me in!''
Valentine and Marie sprang from the table and
ran to open the door, saying:--
``Come in, poor child, we have but very little
ourselves, not much more than thou hast, but
what we have we will share with thee.''
The stranger Child entered, and going to the
fire began to warm his cold hands.
The children gave him a portion of their bread,
and said:--
``Thou must be very tired; come, lie down in
our bed, and we will sleep on the bench here before
the fire.''
Then answered the stranger Child: ``May God
in Heaven reward you for your kindness.''
They led the little guest to their small room,
laid him in their bed, and covered him closely,
thinking to themselves:--
``Oh! how much we have to be thankful for!
We have our nice warm room and comfortable
bed, while this Child has nothing but the sky for a
roof, and the earth for a couch.''
When the parents went to their bed, Valentine
and Marie lay down on the bench before the fire,
and said one to the other:--
``The stranger Child is happy now, because he
is so warm! Good-night!''
Then they fell asleep.
They had not slept many hours, when little
Marie awoke, and touching her brother lightly,
``Valentine, Valentine, wake up! wake up!
Listen to the beautiful music at the window.''
Valentine rubbed his eyes and listened. He
heard the most wonderful singing and the sweet
notes of many harps.
``Blessed Child,
Thee we greet,
With sound of harp
And singing sweet.
``Sleep in peace,
Child so bright,
We have watched thee
All the night.
``Blest the home
That holdeth Thee,
Peace, and love,
Its guardians be.''
The children listened to the beautiful singing,
and it seemed to fill them with unspeakable happiness.
Then creeping to the window they looked
They saw a rosy light in the east, and, before
the house in the snow, stood a number of little
children holding golden harps and lutes in their
hands, and dressed in sparkling, silver robes.
Full of wonder at this sight, Valentine and
Marie continued to gaze out at the window, when
they heard a sound behind them, and turning saw
the stranger Child standing near. He was clad in
a golden garment, and wore a glistening, golden
crown upon his soft hair. Sweetly he spoke to the
``I am the Christ Child, who wanders about the
world seeking to bring joy and good things to loving
children. Because you have lodged me this
night I will leave with you my blessing.''
As the Christ Child spoke He stepped from the
door, and breaking off a bough from a fir tree that
grew near, planted it in the ground, saying:--
``This bough shall grow into a tree, and every
year it shall bear Christmas fruit for you.''
Having said this He vanished from their sight,
together with the silver-clad, singing children--
the angels.
And, as Valentine and Marie looked on in wonder,
the fir bough grew, and grew, and grew,
into a stately Christmas Tree laden with golden
apples, silver nuts, and lovely toys. And after
that, every year at Christmas time, the Tree bore
the same wonderful fruit.
And you, dear boys and girls, when you gather
around your richly decorated trees, think of the
two poor children who shared their bread with a
stranger child, and be thankful.
Christopher was a Canaanite, and he was of a
right great stature, twelve cubits in height, and
had a terrible countenance. And it is said that as
he served and dwelled with the King of Canaan,
it came in his mind that he would seek the
greatest prince that was in the world, and him would
he serve and obey.
So he went forth and came to a right great
king, whom fame said was the greatest of the
world. And when the king saw him he received
him into his service, and made him to dwell in
his court.
Upon a time a minstrel sang before him a song
in which he named oft the devil. And the king,
who was a Christian, when he heard him name
the devil, made anon the sign of the cross.
And when Christopher saw that he marveled,
and asked what the sign might mean. And because
the king would not say, he said: ``If thou
tell me not, I shall no longer dwell with thee.''
And then the King told him, saying: ``Alway
when I hear the devil named make I this sign lest
he grieve or annoy me.''
Then said Christopher to him: ``Fearest thou
the devil? Then is the devil more mighty and
greater than thou art. I am then deceived, for I
had supposed that I had found the most mighty
and the most greatest lord in all the world!
Fare thee well, for I will now go seek the devil
to be my lord and I his servant.''
So Christopher departed from this king and
hastened to seek the devil. And as he went by a
great desert he saw a company of knights, and one
of them, a knight cruel and horrible, came to him
and demanded whither he went.
And Christopher answered: ``I go to seek the
devil for to be my master.''
Then said the knight: ``I am he that thou
And then Christopher was glad and bound himself
to be the devil's servant, and took him for his
master and lord.
Now, as they went along the way they found
there a cross, erect and standing. And anon as the
devil saw the cross he was afeared and fled. And
when Christopher saw that he marveled and
demanded why he was afeared, and why he fled
away. And the devil would not tell him in no
Then Christopher said to him: ``If thou wilt not
tell me, I shall anon depart from thee and shall
serve thee no more.''
Wherefore the devil was forced to tell him and
said: ``There was a man called Christ, which was
hanged on the cross, and when I see his sign I am
sore afraid and flee from it.''
To whom Christopher said: ``Then he is greater
and more mightier than thou, since thou art
afraid of his sign,and I see well that I have labored
in vain, and have not founden the greatest lord of
the world. I will serve thee no longer, but I will
go seek Christ.''
And when Christopher had long sought where
he should find Christ, at last he came into a great
desert, to a hermit that dwelt there. And he
inquired of him where Christ was to be found.
Then answered the hermit: ``The king whom
thou desirest to serve, requireth that thou must
often fast.''
Christopher said: ``Require of me some other
thing and I shall do it, but fast I may not.''
And the hermit said: ``Thou must then wake
and make many prayers.''
And Christopher said: ``I do not know how to
pray, so this I may not do.''
And the hermit said: ``Seest thou yonder deep
and wide river, in which many people have
perished? Because thou art noble, and of high
stature and strong of limb, so shalt thou live by
the river and thou shalt bear over all people who
pass that way. And this thing will be pleasing
to our Lord Jesu Christ, whom thou desirest to
serve, and I hope he shall show himself to thee.''
Then said Christopher: ``Certes, this service
may I well do, and I promise Him to do it.''
Then went Christopher to this river, and built
himself there a hut. He carried a great pole in his
hand, to support himself in the water, and bore
over on his shoulders all manner of people to the
other side. And there he abode, thus doing many
And on a time, as he slept in his hut, he heard
the voice of a child which called him:--
``Christopher, Christopher, come out and bear
me over.''
Then he awoke and went out, but he found no
man. And when he was again in his house he
heard the same voice, crying:--
``Christopher, Christopher, come out and bear
me over.''
And he ran out and found nobody.
And the third time he was called and ran
thither, and he found a Child by the brink of the
river, which prayed him goodly to bear him over
the water.
And then Christopher lifted up the Child on his
shoulders, and took his staff, and entered into the
river for to pass over. And the water of the river
arose and swelled more and more; and the Child
was heavy as lead, and always as Christopher
went farther the water increased and grew more,
and the Child more and more waxed heavy, insomuch
that Christopher suffered great anguish and
was afeared to be drowned.
And when he was escaped with great pain, and
passed over the water, and set the Child aground,
he said:--
``Child, thou hast put me in great peril. Thou
weighest almost as I had all the world upon me.
I might bear no greater burden.''
And the Child answered: ``Christopher, marvel
thee nothing, for thou hast not only borne all the
world upon thee, but thou hast borne Him that
created and made all the world, upon thy
shoulders. I am Jesu Christ the King whom thou
servest. And that thou mayest know that I say
the truth, set thy staff in the earth by thy house,
and thou shalt see to-morn that it shall bear
flowers and fruit.''
And anon the Child vanished from his eyes.
And then Christopher set his staff in the earth,
and when he arose on the morn, he found his staff
bearing flowers, leaves, and dates.
When the Magi laid their rich offerings of myrrh,
frankincense, and gold, by the bed of the sleeping
Christ Child, legend says that a shepherd maiden
stood outside the door quietly weeping.
She, too, had sought the Christ Child. She, too,
desired to bring him gifts. But she had nothing to
offer, for she was very poor indeed. In vain she
had searched the countryside over for one little
flower to bring Him, but she could find neither
bloom nor leaf, for the winter had been cold.
And as she stood there weeping, an angel
passing saw her sorrow, and stooping he brushed
aside the snow at her feet. And there sprang up
on the spot a cluster of beautiful winter roses,--
waxen white with pink tipped petals.
``Nor myrrh, nor frankincense, nor gold,'' said
the angel, ``is offering more meet for the Christ
Child than these pure Christmas Roses.''
Joyfully the shepherd maiden gathered the
flowers and made her offering to the Holy Child.
Once upon a time,--so long ago that the world
has forgotten the date,--in a city of the North of
Europe,--the name of which is so hard to
pronounce that no one remembers it,--there was a
little boy, just seven years old, whose name was
Wolff. He was an orphan and lived with his aunt,
a hard-hearted, avaricious old woman, who never
kissed him but once a year, on New Year's Day;
and who sighed with regret every time she gave
him a bowlful of soup.
The poor little boy was so sweet-tempered that
he loved the old woman in spite of her bad treatment,
but he could not look without trembling at
the wart, decorated with four gray hairs, which
grew on the end of her nose.
As Wolff's aunt was known to have a house of
her own and a woolen stocking full of gold, she did
not dare to send her nephew to the school for the
poor. But she wrangled so that the schoolmaster
of the rich boys' school was forced to lower his
price and admit little Wolff among his pupils.
The bad schoolmaster was vexed to have a boy
so meanly clad and who paid so little, and he
punished little Wolff severely without cause,
ridiculed him, and even incited against him his
comrades, who were the sons of rich citizens.
They made the orphan their drudge and mocked
at him so much that the little boy was as miserable
as the stones in the street, and hid himself
away in corners to cry--when the Christmas
season came.
On the Eve of the great Day the schoolmaster
was to take all his pupils to the midnight mass,
and then to conduct them home again to their
parents' houses.
Now as the winter was very severe, and a
quantity of snow had fallen within the past few
days, the boys came to the place of meeting
warmly wrapped up, with fur-lined caps drawn
down over their ears, padded jackets, gloves and
knitted mittens, and good strong shoes with
thick soles. Only little Wolff presented himself
shivering in his thin everyday clothes, and wearing
on his feet socks and wooden shoes.
His naughty comrades tried to annoy him in
every possible way, but the orphan was so busy
warming his hands by blowing on them, and was
suffering so much from chilblains, that he paid no
heed to the taunts of the others. Then the band
of boys, marching two by two, started for the
parish church.
It was comfortable inside the church, which
was brilliant with lighted tapers. And the pupils,
made lively by the gentle warmth, the sound of
the organ, and the singing of the choir, began to
chatter in low tones. They boasted of the midnight
treats awaiting them at home. The son of
the Mayor had seen, before leaving the house, a
monstrous goose larded with truffles so that it
looked like a black-spotted leopard. Another boy
told of the fir tree waiting for him, on the branches
of which hung oranges, sugar-plums, and punchinellos.
Then they talked about what the Christ
Child would bring them, or what he would leave
in their shoes which they would certainly be careful
to place before the fire when they went to bed.
And the eyes of the little rogues, lively as a crowd
of mice, sparkled with delight as they thought of
the many gifts they would find on waking,--the
pink bags of burnt almonds, the bonbons, lead
soldiers standing in rows, menageries, and magnificent
jumping-jacks, dressed in purple and gold.
Little Wolff, alas! knew well that his miserly
old aunt would send him to bed without any supper;
but as he had been good and industrious all
the year, he trusted that the Christ Child would
not forget him, so he meant that night to set his
wooden shoes on the hearth.
The midnight mass was ended. The worshipers
hurried away, anxious to enjoy the treats awaiting
them in their homes. The band of pupils, two by
two, following the schoolmaster, passed out of the
Now, under the porch, seated on a stone bench,
in the shadow of an arched niche, was a child
asleep,--a little child dressed in a white garment
and with bare feet exposed to the cold. He was
not a beggar, for his dress was clean and new, and
--beside him upon the ground, tied in a cloth, were
the tools of a carpenter's apprentice.
Under the light of the stars, his face, with its
closed eyes, shone with an expression of divine
sweetness, and his soft, curling blond hair seemed
to form an aureole of light about his forehead.
But his tender feet, blue with the cold on this
cruel night of December, were pitiful to see!
The pupils so warmly clad and shod, passed
with indifference before the unknown child.
Some, the sons of the greatest men in the city,
cast looks of scorn on the barefooted one. But
little Wolff, coming last out of the church, stopped
deeply moved before the beautiful, sleeping child.
``Alas!'' said the orphan to himself, ``how
dreadful! This poor little one goes without stockings
in weather so cold! And, what is worse, he
has no shoe to leave beside him while he sleeps, so
that the Christ Child may place something in it to
comfort him in all his misery.''
And carried away by his tender heart, little
Wolff drew off the wooden shoe from his right
foot, placed it before the sleeping child; and as
best as he was able, now hopping, now limping,
and wetting his sock in the snow, he returned to
his aunt.
``You good-for-nothing!'' cried the old woman,
full of rage as she saw that one of his shoes was
gone. ``What have you done with your shoe, little
Little Wolff did not know how to lie, and,
though shivering with terror as he saw the gray
hairs on the end of her nose stand upright, he
tried, stammering, to tell his adventure.
But the old miser burst into frightful laughter.
``Ah! the sweet young master takes off his shoe
for a beggar! Ah! master spoils a pair of shoes for
a barefoot! This is something new, indeed! Ah!
well, since things are so, I will place the shoe that
is left in the fireplace, and to-night the Christ
Child will put in a rod to whip you when you
wake. And to-morrow you shall have nothing to
eat but water and dry bread, and we shall see if
the next time you will give away your shoe to the
first vagabond that comes along.''
And saying this the wicked woman gave him
a box on each ear, and made him climb to his
wretched room in the loft. There the heartbroken
little one lay down in the darkness, and,
drenching his pillow with tears, fell asleep.
But in the morning, when the old woman,
awakened by the cold and shaken by her cough,
descended to the kitchen, oh! wonder of wonders!
she saw the great fireplace filled with bright toys,
magnificent boxes of sugar-plums, riches of all
sorts, and in front of all this treasure, the wooden
shoe which her nephew had given to the vagabond,
standing beside the other shoe which she
herself had placed there the night before, intending
to put in it a handful of switches.
And as little Wolff, who had come running at
the cries of his aunt, stood in speechless delight
before all the splendid Christmas gifts, there
came great shouts of laughter from the street.
The old woman and the little boy went out to
learn what it was all about, and saw the gossips
gathered around the public fountain. What could
have happened? Oh, a most amusing and extraordinary
thing! The children of all the rich men of
the city, whose parents wished to surprise them
with the most beautiful gifts, had found nothing
but switches in their shoes!
Then the old woman and little Wolff remembered
with alarm all the riches that were in their
own fireplace, but just then they saw the pastor
of the parish church arriving with his face full of
Above the bench near the church door, in the
very spot where the night before a child, dressed
in white, with bare feet exposed to the great cold,
had rested his sleeping head, the pastor had seen a
golden circle wrought into the old stones. Then
all the people knew that the beautiful, sleeping
child, beside whom had lain the carpenter's tools,
was the Christ Child himself, and that he had
rewarded the faith and charity of little Wolff.
Out in the woods stood such a nice little Pine
Tree: he had a good place; the sun could get at
him; there was fresh air enough; and round him
grew many big comrades, both pines and firs.
But the little Pine wanted so very much to be a
grown-up tree.
He did not think of the warm sun and of the fresh
air, he did not care for the little cottage-children
who ran about and prattled when they were looking
for wild strawberries and raspberries. Often
they came with a whole jug full, or had their
strawberries strung on a straw, and sat down near the
little Tree and said, ``Oh, what a nice little fellow!''
This was what the Tree could not bear to hear.
The year after he had shot up a good deal, and
the next year after he was still bigger; for with
pine trees one can always tell by the shoots how
many years old they are.
``Oh, were I but such a big tree as the others
are,'' sighed the little Tree. ``Then I could
spread my branches so far, and with the tops look
out into the wide world! Birds would build nests
among my branches; and when there was a
breeze, I could nod as grandly as the others
He had no delight at all in the sunshine, or in
the birds, or the red clouds which morning and
evening sailed above him.
When now it was winter and the snow all
around lay glittering white, a hare would often
come leaping along, and jump right over the little
Tree. Oh, that made him so angry! But two
winters went by, and with the third the Tree was
so big that the hare had to go round it. ``Oh,
to grow, to grow, to become big and old, and be
tall,'' thought the Tree: ``that, after all, is the
most delightful thing in the world!''
In autumn the wood-cutters always came and
felled some of the largest trees. This happened
every year, and the young Pine Tree, that was
now quite well grown, trembled at the sight; for
the great stately trees fell to the earth with noise
and cracking, the branches were lopped off, and
the trees looked quite bare, they were so long and
thin; you would hardly know them for trees, and
then they were laid on carts, and horses dragged
them out of the wood.
Where did they go to? What became of them?
In spring, when the Swallow and the Stork
came, the Tree asked them, ``Don't you know
where they have been taken? Have you not met
them anywhere?''
The Swallow did not know anything about it;
but the Stork looked doubtful, nodded his head,
and said, ``Yes; I have it; I met many new ships
as I was flying from Egypt; on the ships were
splendid masts, and I dare say it was they that
smelt so of pine. I wish you joy, for they lifted
themselves on high in fine style!''
``Oh, were I but old enough to fly across the sea!
How does the sea really look? and what is it like?''
``Aye, that takes a long time to tell,'' said the
Stork, and away he went.
``Rejoice in thy youth!'' said the Sunbeams,
``rejoice in thy hearty growth, and in the young
life that is in thee!''
And the Wind kissed the Tree, and the Dew
wept tears over him, but the Pine Tree understood it not.
When Christmas came, quite young trees were
cut down; trees which were not even so large or of
the same age as this Pine Tree, who had no rest or
peace, but always wanted to be off. These young
trees, and they were always the finest looking,
always kept their branches; they were laid on
carts, and the horses drew them out of the wood.
``Where are they going to?'' asked the Pine
Tree. ``They are not taller than I; there was one,
indeed, that was much shorter;--and why do
they keep all their branches? Where are they
carrying them to?''
``We know! we know!'' chirped the Sparrows.
``We have peeped in at the windows down there in
the town. We know where they are carrying them
to. Oh, they are going to where it is as bright and
splendid as you can think! We peeped through
the windows, and saw them planted in the middle
of the warm room, and dressed with the most
splendid things,--with gilded apples, with
gingerbread, with toys and many hundred lights!''
``And then?'' asked the Pine Tree, and he
trembled in every bough. ``And then? What
happens then?''
``We did not see anything more: it beat everything!''
``I wonder if I am to sparkle like that!'' cried
the Tree, rejoicing. ``That is still better than to
go over the sea! How I do suffer for very longing!
Were Christmas but come! I am now tall, and
stretch out like the others that were carried off
last year! Oh, if I were already on the cart! I
wish I were in the warm room with all the splendor
and brightness. And then? Yes; then will come
something better, something still grander, or why
should they dress me out so? There must come
something better, something still grander,--but
what? Oh, how I long, how I suffer! I do not
know myself what is the matter with me!''
``Rejoice in us!'' said the Air and the Sunlight;
``rejoice in thy fresh youth out here in the open
But the Tree did not rejoice at all; he grew and
grew; and he stood there in all his greenery; rich
green was he winter and summer. People that
saw him said, ``That's a fine tree!'' and toward
Christmas he was the first that was cut down.
The axe struck deep into the very pith; the Tree
fell to the earth with a sigh: he felt a pang--it
was like a swoon; he could not think of happiness,
for he was sad at being parted from his home,
from the place where he had sprung up. He well
knew that he should never see his dear old comrades,
the little bushes and flowers around him,
any more; perhaps not even the birds! The setting
off was not at all pleasant.
The Tree only came to himself when he was
unloaded in a courtyard with other trees, and
heard a man say, ``That one is splendid! we don't
want the others.'' Then two servants came in
rich livery and carried the Pine Tree into a large
and splendid room. Portraits were hanging on
the walls, and near the white porcelain stove
stood two large Chinese vases with lions on the
covers. There, too, were large easy-chairs, silken
sofas, large tables full of picture-books, and full of
toys worth a hundred times a hundred dollars--
at least so the children said. And the Pine Tree
was stuck upright in a cask filled with sand: but
no one could see that it was a cask, for green cloth
was hung all around it, and it stood on a gayly
colored carpet. Oh, how the Tree quivered!
What was to happen? The servants, as well as the
young ladies, dressed it. On one branch there
hung little nets cut out of colored paper; each net
was filled with sugar-plums; gilded apples and
walnuts hung as though they grew tightly there,
and more than a hundred little red, blue, and white
tapers were stuck fast into the branches. Dolls
that looked for all the world like men--the Tree
had never seen such things before--fluttered
among the leaves, and at the very top a large star
of gold tinsel was fixed. It was really splendid--
splendid beyond telling.
``This evening!'' said they all; ``how it will
shine this evening!''
``Oh,'' thought the Tree, ``if it were only
evening! If the tapers were but lighted! And then I
wonder what will happen! I wonder if the other
trees from the forest will come to look at me!
I wonder if the sparrows will beat against the
window-panes! I wonder if I shall take root here,
and stand dressed so winter and summer!''
Aye, aye, much he knew about the matter! but
he had a real back-ache for sheer longing, and a
back-ache with trees is the same thing as a headache
with us.
The candles were now lighted. What brightness!
What splendor! The Tree trembled so in
every bough that one of the tapers set fire to a
green branch. It blazed up splendidly.
Now the Tree did not even dare to tremble.
That was a fright! He was so afraid of losing
something of all his finery, that he was quite
confused amidst the glare and brightness; and now
both folding-doors opened, and a troop of children
rushed in as if they would tip the whole Tree over.
The older folks came quietly behind; the little
ones stood quite still, but only for a moment, then
they shouted so that the whole place echoed their
shouts, they danced round the Tree, and one
present after another was pulled off.
``What are they about?'' thought the Tree.
``What is to happen now?'' And the lights burned
down to the very branches, and as they burned
down they were put out one after the other, and
then the children had leave to plunder the Tree.
Oh, they rushed upon it so that it cracked in all its
limbs; if its tip-top with the gold star on it had
not been fastened to the ceiling, it would have
tumbled over.
The children danced about with their pretty
toys; no one looked at the Tree except the old
nurse, who peeped in among the branches; but it
was only to see if there was a fig or an apple that
had been forgotten.
``A story! a story!'' cried the children, and they
dragged a little fat man toward the Tree. He sat
down under it, and said, ``Now we are in the
shade, and the Tree can hear very well too. But I
shall tell only one story. Now which will you
have: that about Ivedy-Avedy, or about Klumpy-
Dumpy who tumbled downstairs, and came to the
throne after all, and married the princess?''
``Ivedy-Avedy,'' cried some; ``Klumpy-
Dumpy,'' cried the others. There was such a
bawling and screaming!--the Pine Tree alone
was silent, and he thought to himself, ``Am I not
to bawl with the rest?--am I to do nothing
whatever?''--for he was one of them, and he had done
what he had to do.
And the man told about Klumpy-Dumpy who
tumbled downstairs, and came to the throne after
all, and married the princess. And the children
clapped their hands, and cried out, ``Go on, go
on!'' They wanted to hear about Ivedy-Avedy
too, but the little man only told them about
Klumpy-Dumpy. The Pine Tree stood quite still
and thoughtful: the birds in the wood had never
told anything like this. ``Klumpy-Dumpy fell
downstairs, and yet he married the princess! Yes,
yes, that's the way of the world!'' thought the
Pine Tree, and he believed it all, because it was
such a nice man who told the story.
``Well, well! who knows, perhaps I may fall
downstairs, too, and so get a princess!'' And he
looked forward with joy to the next day when he
should be decked out with lights and toys, fruits
and tinsel.
``To-morrow I won't tremble!'' thought the
Pine Tree. ``I will enjoy to the full all my
splendor! To-morrow I shall hear again the story of
Klumpy-Dumpy, and perhaps that of Ivedy-
Avedy too.'' And the whole night the Tree stood
still in deep thought.
In the morning the servant and the maid came in.
``Now all the finery will begin again,'' thought
the Pine. But they dragged him out of the room,
and up the stairs into the attic; and here in a dark
corner, where no daylight could enter, they left
him. ``What's the meaning of this?'' thought the
Tree. ``What am I to do here? What shall I see
and hear now, I wonder?'' And he leaned against
the wall and stood and thought and thought.
And plenty of time he had, for days and nights
passed, and nobody came up; and when at last
somebody did come, it was only to put some great
trunks in the corner. There stood the Tree quite
hidden; it seemed as if he had been entirely forgotten.
``'T is now winter out-of-doors!'' thought the
Tree. ``The earth is hard and covered with snow;
men cannot plant me now; therefore I have been
put up here under cover till spring! How thoughtful
that is! How good men are, after all! If it
were not so dark here, and so terribly lonely! Not
even a hare. Out there it was so pleasant in the
woods, when the snow was on the ground, and the
hare leaped by; yes--even when he jumped over
me; but I did not like it then. It is terribly lonely
``Squeak! squeak!'' said a little Mouse at the
same moment, peeping out of his hole. And then
another little one came. They snuffed about the
Pine Tree, and rustled among the branches.
``It is dreadfully cold,'' said the little Mouse.
``But for that, it would be delightful here, old
Pine, wouldn't it!''
``I am by no means old,'' said the Pine Tree.
``There are many a good deal older than I am.''
``Where do you come from?'' asked the Mice;
``and what can you do?'' They were so very
curious. ``Tell us about the most beautiful spot
on earth. Have you been there? Were you ever in
the larder, where cheeses lie on the shelves, and
hams hang from above; where one dances about
on tallow candles; where one goes in lean and
comes out fat?''
``I don't know that place,'' said the Tree.
``But I know the wood where the sun shines, and
where the little birds sing.''
And then he told his story from his youth up;
and the little Mice had never heard the like
before; and they listened and said,
``Well, to be sure! How much you have seen!
How happy you must have been!''
``I!'' said the Pine Tree, and he thought over
what he had himself told. ``Yes, really those
were happy times.'' And then he told about
Christmas Eve, when he was decked out with
cakes and candles.
``Oh,'' said the little Mice, ``how lucky you have
been, old Pine Tree!''
``I am not at all old,'' said he. ``I came from
the wood this winter; I am in my prime, and am
only rather short of my age.''
``What delightful stories you know!'' said the
Mice: and the next night they came with four
other little Mice, who were to hear what the Tree
had to tell; and the more he told, the more plainly
he remembered all himself; and he thought:
``That was a merry time! But it can come! it can
come! Klumpy-Dumpy fell down stairs, and yet
he got a princess! Maybe I can get a princess
too!'' And all of a sudden he thought of a nice
little Birch Tree growing out in the woods: to the
Pine, that would be a really charming princess.
``Who is Klumpy-Dumpy?'' asked the little
So then the Pine Tree told the whole fairy tale,
for he could remember every single word of it; and
the little Mice jumped for joy up to the very top
of the Tree. Next night two more Mice came,
and on Sunday two Rats, even; but they said the
stories were not amusing, which vexed the little
Mice, because they, too, now began to think
them not so very amusing either.
``Do you know only that one story?'' asked the
``Only that one!'' answered the Tree. ``I heard
it on my happiest evening; but I did not then
know how happy I was.''
``It is a very stupid story! Don't you know one
about bacon and tallow candles? Can't you tell
any larder-stories?''
``No,'' said the Tree.
``Thank you, then,'' said the Rats; and they
went home.
At last the little Mice stayed away also; and
the Tree sighed: ``After all, it was very pleasant
when the sleek little Mice sat round me and heard
what I told them. Now that too is over. But I
will take good care to enjoy myself when I am
brought out again.''
But when was that to be? Why, it was one
morning when there came a number of people and
set to work in the loft. The trunks were moved,
the tree was pulled out and thrown down; they
knocked him upon the floor, but a man drew him
at once toward the stairs, where the daylight shone.
``Now life begins again,'' thought the Tree. He
felt the fresh air, the first sunbeam,--and now
he was out in the courtyard. All passed so quickly
that the Tree quite forgot to look to himself, there
was so much going on around him. The court
adjoined a garden, and all was in flower; the roses
hung over the fence, so fresh and smelling so
sweetly; the lindens were in blossom, the Swallows
flew by, and said, ``Quirre-virre-vit! my husband
is come!'' But it was not the Pine Tree that they
``Now, I shall really live,'' said he with joy, and
spread out his branches; dear! dear! they were all
dry and yellow. It was in a corner among weeds
and nettles that he lay. The golden star of tinsel
was still on top of the Tree, and shone in the
bright sunshine.
In the courtyard a few of the merry children
were playing who had danced at Christmas
round the Tree, and were so glad at the sight of
him. One of the littlest ran and tore off the golden
``See what is still on the ugly old Christmas
Tree!'' said he, and he trampled on the branches,
so that they cracked under his feet.
And the Tree saw all the beauty of the flowers,
and the freshness in the garden; he saw himself,
and he wished he had stayed in his dark corner in
the attic: he thought of his fresh youth in the
wood, of the merry Christmas Eve, and of the
little Mice who had heard so gladly the story of
``Gone! gone!'' said the poor Tree. ``Had I but
been happy when I could be. Gone! gone!''
And the gardener's boy came and chopped the
Tree into small pieces; there was a whole heap
lying there. The wood flamed up finely under
the large brewing kettle, and it sighed so deeply!
Each sigh was like a little shot. So the children
ran to where it lay and sat down before the fire,
and peeped in at the blaze, and shouted ``Piff!
paff!'' But at every snap there was a deep sigh.
The Tree was thinking of summer days in the
wood, and of winter nights when the stars shone;
it was thinking of Christmas Eve and Klumpy-
Dumpy, the only fairy tale it had heard and knew
how to tell,--and so the Tree burned out.
The boys played about in the court, and the
youngest wore the gold star on his breast which
the Tree had worn on the happiest evening of his
life. Now, that was gone, the Tree was gone, and
gone too was the story. All, all was gone, and
that's the way with all stories.
Once upon a time there stood in the midst of a
bleak moor, in the North Country, a certain village.
All its inhabitants were poor, for their fields
were barren, and they had little trade; but the
poorest of them all were two brothers called Scrub
and Spare, who followed the cobbler's craft.
Their hut was built of clay and wattles. The door
was low and always open, for there was no
window. The roof did not entirely keep out the rain
and the only thing comfortable was a wide fireplace,
for which the brothers could never find
wood enough to make sufficient fire. There they
worked in most brotherly friendship, though with
little encouragement.
On one unlucky day a new cobbler arrived in
the village. He had lived in the capital city of the
kingdom and, by his own account, cobbled for the
queen and the princesses. His awls were sharp,
his lasts were new; he set up his stall in a neat
cottage with two windows. The villagers soon
found out that one patch of his would outwear
two of the brothers'. In short, all the mending
left Scrub and Spare, and went to the new cobbler.
The season had been wet and cold, their barley
did not ripen well, and the cabbages never halfclosed
in the garden. So the brothers were poor
that winter, and when Christmas came they had
nothing to feast on but a barley loaf and a piece of
rusty bacon. Worse than that, the snow was very
deep and they could get no firewood.
Their hut stood at the end of the village;
beyond it spread the bleak moor, now all white and
silent. But that moor had once been a forest;
great roots of old trees were still to be found in it,
loosened from the soil and laid bare by the winds
and rains. One of these, a rough, gnarled log, lay
hard by their door, the half of it above the snow,
and Spare said to his brother:--
``Shall we sit here cold on Christmas while the
great root lies yonder? Let us chop it up for
firewood, the work will make us warm.''
``No,'' said Scrub, ``it's not right to chop wood
on Christmas; besides, that root is too hard to be
broken with any hatchet.''
``Hard or not, we must have a fire,'' replied
Spare. ``Come, brother, help me in with it. Poor
as we are there is nobody in the village will have
such a yule log as ours.''
Scrub liked a little grandeur, and, in hopes of
having a fine yule log, both brothers strained and
strove with all their might till, between pulling
and pushing, the great old root was safe on the
hearth, and beginning to crackle and blaze with
the red embers.
In high glee the cobblers sat down to their
bread and bacon. The door was shut, for there
was nothing but cold moonlight and snow outside;
but the hut, strewn with fir boughs and ornamented
with holly, looked cheerful as the ruddy
blaze flared up and rejoiced their hearts.
Then suddenly from out the blazing root they
heard: ``Cuckoo! cuckoo!'' as plain as ever the
spring-bird's voice came over the moor on a May
``What is that?'' said Scrub, terribly
frightened; ``it is something bad!''
``Maybe not,'' said Spare.
And out of the deep hole at the side of the root,
which the fire had not reached, flew a large, gray
cuckoo, and lit on the table before them. Much
as the cobblers had been surprised, they were still
more so when it said:--
``Good gentlemen, what season is this?''
``It's Christmas,'' said Spare.
``Then a merry Christmas to you!'' said the
cuckoo. ``I went to sleep in the hollow of that old
root one evening last summer, and never woke till
the heat of your fire made me think it was summer
again. But now since you have burned my
lodging, let me stay in your hut till the spring
comes round,--I only want a hole to sleep in,
and when I go on my travels next summer be
assured I will bring you some present for your
``Stay and welcome,'' said Spare, while Scrub
sat wondering if it were something bad or not.
``I'll make you a good warm hole in the
thatch,'' said Spare. ``But you must be hungry
after that long sleep,--here is a slice of barley
bread. Come help us to keep Christmas!''
The cuckoo ate up the slice, drank water from a
brown jug, and flew into a snug hole which Spare
scooped for it in the thatch of the hut.
Scrub said he was afraid it wouldn't be lucky;
but as it slept on and the days passed he forgot
his fears.
So the snow melted, the heavy rains came,
the cold grew less, the days lengthened, and one
sunny morning the brothers were awakened by
the cuckoo shouting its own cry to let them know
the spring had come.
``Now I'm going on my travels,'' said the
bird, ``over the world to tell men of the spring.
There is no country where trees bud, or flowers
bloom, that I will not cry in before the year goes
round. Give me another slice of barley bread to
help me on my journey, and tell me what present
I shall bring you at the twelvemonth's end.''
Scrub would have been angry with his brother
for cutting so large a slice, their store of barley
being low, but his mind was occupied with what
present it would be most prudent to ask for.
``There are two trees hard by the well that lies
at the world's end,'' said the cuckoo; ``one of
them is called the golden tree, for its leaves are all
of beaten gold. Every winter they fall into the
well with a sound like scattered coin, and I know
not what becomes of them. As for the other, it is
always green like a laurel. Some call it the wise,
and some the merry, tree. Its leaves never fall,
but they that get one of them keep a blithe heart
in spite of all misfortunes, and can make themselves
as merry in a hut as in a palace.''
``Good master cuckoo, bring me a leaf off that
tree!'' cried Spare.
``Now, brother, don't be a fool!'' said Scrub;
``think of the leaves of beaten gold! Dear master
cuckoo, bring me one of them!''
Before another word could be spoken the
cuckoo had flown out of the open door, and was
shouting its spring cry over moor and meadow.
The brothers were poorer than ever that year.
Nobody would send them a single shoe to mend,
and Scrub and Spare would have left the village
but for their barley-field and their cabbagegarden.
They sowed their barley, planted their
cabbage, and, now that their trade was gone,
worked in the rich villagers' fields to make out a
scanty living.
So the seasons came and passed; spring,
summer, harvest, and winter followed each other as
they have done from the beginning. At the end of
the latter Scrub and Spare had grown so poor and
ragged that their old neighbors forgot to invite
them to wedding feasts or merrymakings, and the
brothers thought the cuckoo had forgotten them,
too, when at daybreak on the first of April they
heard a hard beak knocking at their door, and a
voice crying:--
``Cuckoo! cuckoo! Let me in with my presents!''
Spare ran to open the door, and in came the
cuckoo, carrying on one side of its bill a golden
leaf larger than that of any tree in the North
Country; and in the other side of its bill, one like
that of the common laurel, only it had a fresher
``Here,'' it said, giving the gold to Scrub and
the green to Spare, ``it is a long carriage from the
world's end. Give me a slice of barley bread, for I
must tell the North Country that the spring has
Scrub did not grudge the thickness of that slice,
though it was cut from their last loaf. So much
gold had never been in the cobbler's hands before,
and he could not help exulting over his brother.
``See the wisdom of my choice,'' he said,
holding up the large leaf of gold. ``As for yours, as
good might be plucked from any hedge, I wonder
a sensible bird would carry the like so far.''
``Good master cobbler,'' cried the cuckoo,
finishing its slice, ``your conclusions are more
hasty than courteous. If your brother is
disappointed this time, I go on the same journey every
year, and for your hospitable entertainment will
think it no trouble to bring each of you whichever
leaf you desire.''
``Darling cuckoo,'' cried Scrub, ``bring me a
golden one.''
And Spare, looking up from the green leaf on
which he gazed as though it were a crown-jewel,
``Be sure to bring me one from the merry tree.''
And away flew the cuckoo.
``This is the feast of All Fools, and it ought to
be your birthday,'' said Scrub. ``Did ever man
fling away such an opportunity of getting rich?
Much good your merry leaves will do in the
midst of rags and poverty!''
But Spare laughed at him, and answered with
quaint old proverbs concerning the cares that
come with gold, till Scrub, at length getting
angry, vowed his brother was not fit to live with a
respectable man; and taking his lasts, his awls,
and his golden leaf, he left the wattle hut, and
went to tell the villagers.
They were astonished at the folly of Spare, and
charmed with Scrub's good sense, particularly
when he showed them the golden leaf, and told
that the cuckoo would bring him one every spring.
The new cobbler immediately took him into
partnership; the greatest people sent him their
shoes to mend. Fairfeather, a beautiful village
maiden, smiled graciously upon him; and in the
course of that summer they were married, with a
grand wedding feast, at which the whole village
danced except Spare, who was not invited, because
the bride could not bear his low-mindedness,
and his brother thought him a disgrace to the
As for Scrub he established himself with
Fairfeather in a cottage close by that of the new
cobbler, and quite as fine. There he mended shoes to
everybody's satisfaction, had a scarlet coat and a
fat goose for dinner on holidays. Fairfeather, too,
had a crimson gown, and fine blue ribbons; but
neither she nor Scrub was content, for to buy this
grandeur the golden leaf had to be broken and
parted With piece by piece, so the last morsel was
gone before the cuckoo came with another.
Spare lived on in the old hut, and worked in the
cabbage-garden. (Scrub had got the barley-field
because he was the elder.) Every day his coat
grew more ragged, and the hut more weatherbeaten;
but people remarked that he never
looked sad or sour. And the wonder was that,
from the time any one began to keep his company,
he or she grew kinder, happier, and content.
Every first of April the cuckoo came tapping at
their doors with the golden leaf for Scrub, and the
green for Spare. Fairfeather would have entertained
it nobly with wheaten bread and honey,
for she had some notion of persuading it to bring
two golden leaves instead of one; but the cuckoo
flew away to eat barley bread with Spare, saying
it was not fit company for fine people, and liked
the old hut where it slept so snugly from Christmas
till spring.
Scrub spent the golden leaves, and remained
always discontented; and Spare kept the merry
I do not know how many years passed in this
manner, when a certain great lord, who owned
that village, came to the neighborhood. His
castle stood on the moor. It was ancient and
strong, with high towers and a deep moat. All
the country as far as one could see from the highest
turret belonged to its lord; but he had not been
there for twenty years, and would not have come
then only he was melancholy. And there he lived
in a very bad temper. The servants said nothing
would please him, and the villagers put on their
worst clothes lest he should raise their rents.
But one day in the harvest-time His Lordship
chanced to meet Spare gathering water-cresses at
a meadow stream, and fell into talk with the
cobbler. How it was nobody could tell, but from that
hour the great lord cast away his melancholy. He
forgot all his woes, and went about with a noble
train, hunting, fishing, and making merry in his
hall, where all travelers were entertained, and all
the poor were welcome.
This strange story spread through the North
Country, and great company came to the cobbler's
hut,--rich men who had lost their money,
poor men who had lost their friends, beauties who
had grown old, wits who had gone out of fashion,
--all came to talk with Spare, and, whatever
their troubles had been, all went home merry.
The rich gave him presents, the poor gave him
thanks. Spare's coat ceased to be ragged, he had
bacon with his cabbage, and the villagers began
to think there was some sense in him.
By this time his fame had reached the capital
city, and even the court. There were a great
many discontented people there; and the king
had lately fallen into ill humor because a
neighboring princess, with seven islands for her dowry,
would not marry his eldest son.
So a royal messenger was sent to Spare, with a
velvet mantle, a diamond ring, and a command
that he should repair to court immediately.
``To-morrow is the first of April,'' said Spare,
``and I will go with you two hours after sunrise.''
The messenger lodged all night at the castle,
and the cuckoo came at sunrise with the merry
``Court is a fine place,'' it said, when the
cobbler told it he was going, ``but I cannot come
there; they would lay snares and catch me; so be
careful of the leaves I have brought you, and give
me a farewell slice of barley bread.''
Spare was sorry to part with the cuckoo, little
as he had of its company, but he gave it a slice
which would have broken Scrub's heart in former
times, it was so thick and large. And having
sewed up the leaves in the lining of his leather
doublet, he set out with the messenger on his way
to court.
His coming caused great surprise there.
Everybody wondered what the king could see in such
a common-looking man; but scarcely had His
Majesty conversed with him half an hour, when
the princess and her seven islands were forgotten
and orders given that a feast for all comers should
be spread in the banquet hall.
The princes of the blood, the great lords and
ladies, the ministers of state, after that discoursed
with Spare, and the more they talked the lighter
grew their hearts, so that such changes had never
been seen at court.
The lords forgot their spites and the ladies their
envies, the princes and ministers made friends
among themselves, and the judges showed no
As for Spare, he had a chamber assigned him in
the palace, and a seat at the king's table. One
sent him rich robes, and another costly jewels; but
in the midst of all his grandeur he still wore the
leathern doublet, and continued to live at the
king's court, happy and honored, and making all
others merry and content.
Once, long ago, there lived near the ancient city
of Strasburg, on the river Rhine, a young and
handsome count, whose name was Otto. As the
years flew by he remained unwed, and never so
much as cast a glance at the fair maidens of the
country round; for this reason people began to
call him ``Stone-Heart.''
It chanced that Count Otto, on one Christmas
Eve, ordered that a great hunt should take place
in the forest surrounding his castle. He and his
guests and his many retainers rode forth, and
the chase became more and more exciting. It
led through thickets, and over pathless tracts of
forest, until at length Count Otto found himself
separated from his companions.
He rode on by himself until he came to a spring
of clear, bubbling water, known to the people
around as the ``Fairy Well.'' Here Count Otto
dismounted. He bent over the spring and began
to lave his hands in the sparkling tide, but to his
wonder he found that though the weather was
cold and frosty, the water was warm and delightfully
caressing. He felt a glow of joy pass through
his veins, and, as he plunged his hands deeper, he
fancied that his right hand was grasped by another,
soft and small, which gently slipped from
his finger the gold ring he always wore. And, lo!
when he drew out his hand, the gold ring was gone.
Full of wonder at this mysterious event, the
count mounted his horse and returned to his
castle, resolving in his mind that the very next
day he would have the Fairy Well emptied by his
He retired to his room, and, throwing himself
just as he was upon his couch, tried to sleep; but
the strangeness of the adventure kept him restless
and wakeful.
Suddenly he heard the hoarse baying of the
watch-hounds in the courtyard, and then the
creaking of the drawbridge, as though it were
being lowered. Then came to his ear the patter of
many small feet on the stone staircase, and next
he heard indistinctly the sound of light footsteps
in the chamber adjoining his own.
Count Otto sprang from his couch, and as he
did so there sounded a strain of delicious music,
and the door of his chamber was flung open.
Hurrying into the next room, he found himself in
the midst of numberless Fairy beings, clad in gay
and sparkling robes. They paid no heed to him,
but began to dance, and laugh, and sing, to the
sound of mysterious music.
In the center of the apartment stood a splendid
Christmas Tree, the first ever seen in that country.
Instead of toys and candles there hung on
its lighted boughs diamond stars, pearl necklaces,
bracelets of gold ornamented with colored jewels,
aigrettes of rubies and sapphires, silken belts
embroidered with Oriental pearls, and daggers
mounted in gold and studded with the rarest
gems. The whole tree swayed, sparkled, and
glittered in the radiance of its many lights.
Count Otto stood speechless, gazing at all this
wonder, when suddenly the Fairies stopped dancing
and fell back, to make room for a lady of
dazzling beauty who came slowly toward him.
She wore on her raven-black tresses a golden
diadem set with jewels. Her hair flowed down
upon a robe of rosy satin and creamy velvet. She
stretched out two small, white hands to the count
and addressed him in sweet, alluring tones:--
``Dear Count Otto,'' said she, ``I come to
return your Christmas visit. I am Ernestine, the
Queen of the Fairies. I bring you something you
lost in the Fairy Well.''
And as she spoke she drew from her bosom a
golden casket, set with diamonds, and placed it in
his hands. He opened it eagerly and found within
his lost gold ring.
Carried away by the wonder of it all, and
overcome by an irresistible impulse, the count pressed
the Fairy Ernestine to his heart, while she, holding
him by the hand, drew him into the magic
mazes of the dance. The mysterious music floated
through the room, and the rest of that Fairy
company circled and whirled around the Fairy Queen
and Count Otto, and then gradually dissolved
into a mist of many colors, leaving the count and
his beautiful guest alone.
Then the young man, forgetting all his former
coldness toward the maidens of the country
round about, fell on his knees before the Fairy
and besought her to become his bride. At last
she consented on the condition that he should
never speak the word ``death'' in her presence.
The next day the wedding of Count Otto and
Ernestine, Queen of the Fairies, was celebrated
with great pomp and magnificence, and the two
continued to live happily for many years.
Now it happened on a time, that the count and
his Fairy wife were to hunt in the forest around
the castle. The horses were saddled and bridled,
and standing at the door, the company waited,
and the count paced the hall in great impatience;
but still the Fairy Ernestine tarried long in her
chamber. At length she appeared at the door of
the hall, and the count addressed her in anger.
``You have kept us waiting so long,'' he cried,
``that you would make a good messenger to send
for Death!''
Scarcely had he spoken the forbidden and fatal
word, when the Fairy, uttering a wild cry, vanished
from his sight. In vain Count Otto, overwhelmed
with grief and remorse, searched the
castle and the Fairy Well, no trace could he find
of his beautiful, lost wife but the imprint of her
delicate hand set in the stone arch above the
castle gate.
Years passed by, and the Fairy Ernestine did
not return. The count continued to grieve.
Every Christmas Eve he set up a lighted tree in
the room where he had first met the Fairy, hoping
in vain that she would return to him.
Time passed and the count died. The castle
fell into ruins. But to this day may be seen above
the massive gate, deeply sunken in the stone arch,
the impress of a small and delicate hand.
And such, say the good folk of Strasburg, was
the origin of the Christmas Tree.
When Saint Nicholas was Bishop of Myra, there
were among his people three beautiful maidens,
daughters of a nobleman. Their father was so
poor that he could not afford to give them dowries,
and as in that land no maid might marry
without a dowry, so these three maidens could
not wed the youths who loved them.
At last the father became so very poor that he
no longer had money with which to buy food or
clothes for his daughters, and he was overcome by
shame and sorrow. As for the daughters they
wept continually, for they were both cold and
One day Saint Nicholas heard of the sad state
of this noble family. So at night, when the
maidens were asleep, and the father was watching,
sorrowful and lonely, the good saint took a handful
of gold, and, tying it in a purse, set off for the
nobleman's house. Creeping to the open window
he threw the purse into the chamber, so that it
fell on the bed of the sleeping maidens.
The father picked up the purse, and when he
opened it and saw the gold, he rejoiced greatly,
and awakened his daughters. He gave most of the
gold to his eldest child for a dowry, and thus she
was enabled to wed the young man whom she loved.
A few days later Saint Nicholas filled another
purse with gold, and, as before, went by night
to the nobleman's house, and tossed the purse
through the open window. Thus the second
daughter was enabled to marry the young man
whom she loved.
Now, the nobleman felt very grateful to the
unknown one who threw purses of gold into his
room and he longed to know who his benefactor
was and to thank him. So the next night he
watched beneath the open window. And when
all was dark, lo! good Saint Nicholas came for the
third time, carrying a silken purse filled with gold,
and as he was about to throw it on the youngest
maiden's bed, the nobleman caught him by his
robe, crying:--
``Ohs good Saint Nicholas! why do you hide
yourself thus?''
And he kissed the saint's hands and feet, but
Saint Nicholas, overcome with confusion at having
his good deed discovered, begged the nobleman
to tell no man what had happened.
Thus the nobleman's third daughter was enabled
to marry the young man whom she loved;
and she and her father and her two sisters lived
happily for the remainder of their lives.
When the heathen raged through the forests of
the ancient Northland there grew a giant tree
branching with huge limbs toward the clouds.
It was the Thunder Oak of the war-god Thor.
Thither, under cover of night, heathen priests
were wont to bring their victims--both men and
beasts--and slay them upon the altar of the
thunder-god. There in the darkness was wrought
many an evil deed, while human blood was poured
forth and watered the roots of that gloomy tree,
from whose branches depended the mistletoe, the
fateful plant that sprang from the blood-fed veins
of the oak. So gloomy and terror-ridden was the
spot on which grew the tree that no beasts of field or
forest would lodge beneath its dark branches, nor
would birds nest or perch among its gnarled limbs.
Long, long ago, on a white Christmas Eve,
Thor's priests held their winter rites beneath the
Thunder Oak. Through the deep snow of the
dense forest hastened throngs of heathen folk, all
intent on keeping the mystic feast of the mighty
Thor. In the hush of the night the folk gathered
in the glade where stood the tree. Closely they
pressed around the great altar-stone under the
overhanging boughs where stood the whiterobed
priests. Clearly shone the moonlight on all.
Then from the altar flashed upward the
sacrificial flames, casting their lurid glow on the
straining faces of the human victims awaiting the blow
of the priest's knife.
But the knife never fell, for from the silent
avenues of the dark forest came the good Saint
Winfred and his people. Swiftly the saint drew
from his girdle a shining axe. Fiercely he smote
the Thunder Oak, hewing a deep gash in its
trunk. And while the heathen folk gazed in horror
and wonder, the bright blade of the axe
circled faster and faster around Saint Winfred's
head, and the flakes of wood flew far and wide
from the deepening cut in the body of the tree.
Suddenly there was heard overhead the sound
of a mighty, rushing wind. A whirling blast
struck the tree. It gripped the oak from its
foundations. Backward it fell like a tower,
groaning as it split into four pieces.
But just behind it, unharmed by the ruin,
stood a young fir tree, pointing its green spire to
Saint Winfred dropped his axe, and turned to
speak to the people. Joyously his voice rang out
through the crisp, winter air:--
``This little tree, a young child of the forest,
shall be your holy tree to-night. It is the tree of
peace, for your houses are built of fir. It is the
sign of endless life, for its leaves are forever green.
See how it points upward to heaven! Let this be
called the tree of the Christ Child. Gather about
it, not in the wildwood, but in your own homes.
There it will shelter no deeds of blood, but loving
gifts and rites of kindness. So shall the peace of
the White Christ reign in your hearts!''
And with songs of joy the multitude of heathen
folk took up the little fir tree and bore it to the
house of their chief, and there with good will and
peace they kept the holy Christmastide.
There is a golden Christmas legend and it
relates how Joseph of Arimathea--that good man
and just, who laid our Lord in his own sepulcher,
was persecuted by Pontius Pilate, and how he
fled from Jerusalem carrying with him the Holy
Grail hidden beneath a cloth of samite, mystical
and white.
For many moons he wandered, leaning on his
staff cut from a white-thorn bush. He passed
over raging seas and dreary wastes, he wandered
through trackless forests, climbed rugged mountains,
and forded many floods. At last he came to
Gaul where the Apostle Philip was preaching the
glad tidings to the heathen. And there Joseph
abode for a little space.
Now, upon a night while Joseph lay asleep in
his hut, he was wakened by a radiant light. And
as he gazed with wondering eyes he saw an
angel standing by his couch, wrapped in a cloud
of incense.
``Joseph of Arimathea,'' said the angel, ``cross
thou over into Britain and preach the glad tidings
to King Arvigarus. And there, where a Christmas
miracle shall come to pass, do thou build the
first Christian church in that land.''
And while Joseph lay perplexed and wondering
in his heart what answer he should make, the
angel vanished from his sight.
Then Joseph left his hut and calling the Apostle
Philip, gave him the angel's message. And, when
morning dawned, Philip sent him on his way,
accompanied by eleven chosen followers. To the
water's side they went, and embarking in a little
ship, they came unto the coasts of Britain.
And they were met there by the heathen who
carried them before Arvigarus their king. To him
and to his people did Joseph of Arimathea preach
the glad tidings; but the king's heart, though
moved, was not convinced. Nevertheless he gave
to Joseph and his followers Avalon, the happy
isle, the isle of the blessed, and he bade them
depart straightway and build there an altar to their
And a wonderful gift was this same Avalon,
sometimes called the Island of Apples, and also
known to the people of the land as Ynis-witren,
the Isle of Glassy Waters. Beautiful and peaceful
was it. Deep it lay in the midst of a green valley,
and the balmy breezes fanned its apple orchards,
and scattered afar the sweet fragrance of rosy
blossoms or ripened fruit. Soft grew the green
grass beneath the feet. The smooth waves gently
lapped the shore, and water-lilies floated on the
surface of the tide; while in the blue sky above
sailed the fleecy clouds.
And it was on the holy Christmas Eve that
Joseph and his companions reached the Isle of
Avalon. With them they carried the Holy Grail
hidden beneath its cloth of snow-white samite.
Heavily they toiled up the steep ascent of the
hill called Weary-All. And when they reached
the top Joseph thrust his thorn-staff into the
And, lo! a miracle! the thorn-staff put forth
roots, sprouted and budded, and burst into a mass
of white and fragrant flowers! And on the spot
where the thorn had bloomed, there Joseph built
the first Christian church in Britain. And he
made it ``wattled all round'' of osiers gathered
from the water's edge. And in the chapel they
placed the Holy Grail.
And so, it is said, ever since at Glastonbury
Abbey--the name by which that Avalon is
known to-day--on Christmas Eve the white
thorn buds and blooms.
Now, when the Children of Israel were gone
out of Egypt, and had won and made subject to
them Jerusalem and all the land lying about,
there was in the Kingdom of Ind a tall hill called
the Hill of Vaws, or the Hill of Victory. On this
hill were stationed sentinels of Ind, who watched
day and night against the Children of Israel, and
afterward against the Romans.
And if an enemy approached, the keepers of the
Hill of Vaws made a great fire to warn the
inhabitants of the land so that the men might make
ready to defend themselves.
Now in the time when Balaam prophesied of
the Star that should betoken the birth of Christ,
all the great lords and the people of Ind and in the
East desired greatly to see this Star of which he
spake; and they gave gifts to the keepers of the
Hill of Vaws, and bade them, if they saw by
night or by day any star in the air, that had not
been seen aforetime, that they, the keepers, should
send anon word to the people of Ind.
And thus was it that for so long a time the fame
of this Star was borne throughout the lands of the
East. And the more the Star was sought for, and
the more its fame increased, so much the more all
the people of the Land of Ind desired to see it.
So they ordained twelve of the wisest and greatest
of the clerks of astronomy, that were in all that
country about, and gave them great hire to keep
watch upon the Hill of Vaws for the Star that was
prophesied of Balaam.
Now, when Christ was born in Bethlehem of
Judea, His Star began to rise in the manner of a
sun, bright shining. It ascended above the Hill of
Vaws, and all that day in the highest air it abode
without moving, insomuch that when the sun
was hot and most high there was no difference in
shining betwixt them.
But when the day of the nativity was passed
the Star ascended up into the firmament, and it
had right many long streaks and beams, more
burning and brighter than a brand of fire; and,
as an eagle flying and beating the air with his
wings, right so the streaks and beams of the Star
stirred about.
Then all the people, both man and woman, of
all that country about when they saw this marvelous
Star, were full of wonder thereat; yet they
knew well that it was the Star that was prophesied
of Balaam, and long time was desired of all
the people in that country.
Now, when the three worshipful kings, who at
that time reigned in Ind, Chaldea, and Persia,
were informed by the astronomers of this Star,
they were right glad that they had grace to see the
Star in their days.
Wherefore these three worshipful kings,
Melchior, Balthazar, and Jasper (in the same hour
the Star appeared to all three), though each of
them was far from the other, and none knew of
the others' purpose, decided to go and seek and
worship the Lord and King of the Jews, that was
new born, as the appearance of the Star announced.
So each king prepared great and rich gifts, and
trains of mules, camels, and horses charged with
treasure, and together with a great multitude of
people they set forth on their journeys.
Now, when these three worshipful kings were
passed forth out of their kingdoms, the Star went
before each king and his people. When they stood
still and rested, the Star stood still; and when they
went forward again, the Star always went before
them in virtue and strength and gave light all the
And, as it is written, in the time that Christ
was born, there was peace in all the world, wherefore
in all the cities and towns through which
they went there was no gate shut neither by night
nor by day; and all the people of those same cities
and towns marveled wonderfully as they saw
kings and vast multitudes go by in great haste;
but they knew not what they were, nor whence
they came, nor whither they should go.
Furthermore these three kings rode forth over
hills, waters, valleys, plains, and other divers and
perilous places without hindrance, for all the way
seemed to them plain and even. And they never
took shelter by night nor by day, nor ever rested,
nor did their horses and other beasts ever eat or
drink till they had come to Bethlehem. And all
this time it did seem to them as one day.
But when the three blessed kings had come
near to Jerusalem, then a great cloud of darkness
hid the Star from their sight. And when Melchior
and his people were come fast by the city, they
abode in fog and darkness. Then came Balthazar,
and he abode under the same cloud near unto
Melchior. Thereupon appeared Jasper with all
his host.
So these three glorious kings, each with his host
and burdens and beasts, met together in the
highway without the city of Jerusalem. And,
notwithstanding that none of them ever before had
seen the other, nor knew him, nor had heard of
his coming, yet at their meeting each one with
great reverence and joy kissed the other. So
afterward, when they had spoken together and each
had told his purpose and the cause of his journey,
they were much more glad and fervent. So they
rode forth, and at the uprising of the sun, they came
into Jerusalem. And yet the Star appeared not.
So then these three worshipful kings, when
they were come into the city, asked of the people
concerning the Child that was born; and when
Herod heard this he was troubled and all Jerusalem
with him, and he privately summoned to him
these three kings and learned of them the time
when the Star appeared. He then sent them
forth, bidding them find the young Child and
return to him.
Now when these three kings were passed out of
Jerusalem the Star appeared to them again as it
did erst, and went before them till they were come
to Bethlehem.
Now, the nearer the kings came to the place
where Christ was born, the brighter shined the
Star, and they entered Bethlehem the sixth hour
of the day. And they rode through the streets
till they came before a little house. There the Star
stood still, and then descended and shone with so
great a light that the little house was full of
radiance; till anon the Star went upward again into
the air, and stood still always above the same
And the three kings went into the little house
and found the Child with his mother, and they
fell down and worshiped him, and offered him
And you shall understand that these three kings
had brought great gifts from their own lands, rich
ornaments and divers golden vessels, and many
jewels and precious stones, and both gold and
silver,--these they had brought to offer to the King
of the Jews. But when they found the Lord in a
little-house, in poor clothes, and when they saw
that the Star gave so great and holy a light in all
the place that it seemed as though they stood in a
furnace of fire, then were they so sore afraid, that
of all the rich jewels and ornaments they had
brought with them, they chose from their treasures
what came first to their hands. For Melchior
took a round apple of gold in his hand, and
thirty gilt pennies, and these he offered unto our
Lord; and Balthazar took out of his treasury incense;
and Jasper took out myrrh, and that he
offered with weeping and tears.
And now after these three kings had worshiped
the Lord, they abode in Bethlehem for a little
space, and as they abode, there came a command
to them, in their sleep, that they should not
return to Herod; and so by another way they went
home to their kingdoms. But the Star that had
gone before appeared no more.
So these three kings, who had suddenly met
together in the highway before Jerusalem, went
home together with great joy and honor. And
when, after many days' journey over perilous
places, they had come to the Hill of Vaws, they
made there a fair chapel in worship of the Child
they had sought. Also they agreed to meet
together at the same place once in the year, and they
ordained that the Hill of Vaws should be the place
of their burial.
So when the three worshipful kings had done
what they would, they took leave of each other,
and each one with his people rode to his own land
Now, after many years, a little before the feast
of Christmas, there appeared a wonderful Star
above the cities where these three kings dwelt,
and they knew thereby that their time was come
when they should pass from earth. Then with
one consent they built, at the Hill of Vaws, a fair
and large tomb, and there the three Holy Kings,
Melchior, Balthazar, and Jasper died, and were
buried in the same tomb by their sorrowing
Now after much time had passed away, Queen
Helen, the mother of the Emperor Constantine,
began to think greatly of the bodies of these three
kings, and she arrayed herself, and, accompanied
by many attendants, went into the Land of Ind.
And you shall understand that after she had
found the bodies of Melchior, Balthazar, and
Jasper, Queen Helen put them into one chest and
ornamented it with great riches, and she brought
them into Constantinople, with joy and reverence,
and laid them in a church that is called
Saint Sophia; and this church the Emperor
Constantine did make,--he alone, with a little child,
set up all the marble pillars thereof.
Now, after the death of the Emperor Constantine
a persecution against the Christian faith
arose, and in this persecution the bodies of the
three worshipful kings were set at naught. Then
came the Emperor Mauricius of Rome, and,
through his counsel, the bodies of these three
kings were carried to Italy, and there they were
laid in a fair church in the city of Milan.
Then afterward, in the process of time, the city
of Milan rebelled against the Emperor Frederick
the First, and he, being sore beset, sent to Rainald,
Archbishop of Cologne, asking for help.
This Archbishop with his army did take the
city of Milan, and delivered it to the Emperor.
And for this service did the Emperor grant, at
the Archbishop's great entreaty, that he should
carry forth to Cologne the bodies of the three
blessed kings.
Then the Archbishop, with great solemnity and
in procession, did carry forth from the city of
Milan the bodies of the three kings, and brought
them unto Cologne and there placed them in the
fair church of Saint Peter. And all the people of
the country roundabout, with all the reverence
they might, received these relics, and there in the
city of Cologne they are kept and beholden of all
manner of nations unto this day.
Thus endeth the legend of these three blessed
kings,--Melchior, Balthazar, and Jasper.
There was a little tree that stood in the woods
through both good and stormy weather, and it
was covered from top to bottom with needles
instead of leaves. The needles were sharp and
prickly, so the little tree said to itself:--
``All my tree comrades have beautiful green
leaves, and I have only sharp needles. No one
will touch me. If I could have a wish I would ask
for leaves of pure gold.''
When night came the little tree fell asleep, and,
lo! in the morning it woke early and found itself
covered with glistening, golden leaves.
``Ah, ah!'' said the little tree, ``how grand I
am! No other tree in the woods is dressed in
But at evening time there came a peddler with
a great sack and a long beard. He saw the glitter
of the golden leaves. He picked them all and
hurried away leaving the little tree cold and
``Alas! alas!'' cried the little tree in sorrow;
``all my golden leaves are gone! I am ashamed
to stand among the other trees that have such
beautiful foliage. If I only had another wish I
would ask for leaves of glass.''
Then the little tree fell asleep, and when it
woke early, it found itself covered with bright
and shining leaves of glass.
``Now,'' said the little tree, ``I am happy. No
tree in the woods glistens like me.''
But there came a fierce storm-wind driving
through the woods. It struck the glass, and in a
moment all the shining leaves lay shattered on
the ground.
``My leaves, my glass leaves!'' moaned the
little tree; ``they lie broken in the dust, while all
the other trees are still dressed in their beautiful
foliage. Oh! if I had another wish I would ask for
green leaves.''
Then the little tree slept again, and in the
morning it was covered with fresh, green foliage.
And it laughed merrily, and said: ``Now, I need
not be ashamed any more. I am like my comrades
of the woods.''
But along came a mother-goat, looking for
grass and herbs for herself and her young ones.
She saw the crisp, new leaves; and she nibbled,
and nibbled, and nibbled them all away, and she
ate up both stems and tender shoots, till the little
tree stood bare.
``Alas!'' cried the little tree in anguish, ``I
want no more leaves, neither gold ones nor glass
ones, nor green and red and yellow ones! If I
could only have my needles once more, I would
never complain again.''
And sorrowfully the little tree fell asleep, but
when it saw itself in the morning sunshine, it
laughed and laughed and laughed. And all the
other trees laughed, too, but the little tree did not
care. Why did they laugh? Because in the night
all its needles had come again! You may see this
for yourself. Just go into the woods and look, but
do not touch the little tree. Why not? BECAUSE IT
Winter was coming, and the birds had flown
far to the south, where the air was warm and they
could find berries to eat. One little bird had
broken its wing and could not fly with the others.
It was alone in the cold world of frost and snow.
The forest looked warm, and it made its way to
the trees as well as it could, to ask for help.
First it came to a birch tree. ``Beautiful birch
tree,'' it said, ``my wing is broken, and my friends
have flown away. May I live among your
branches till they come back to me?''
``No, indeed,'' answered the birch tree, drawing
her fair green leaves away. ``We of the great
forest have our own birds to help. I can do
nothing for you.''
``The birch is not very strong,'' said the little
bird to itself, ``and it might be that she could not
hold me easily. I will ask the oak.'' So the bird
said: ``Great oak tree, you are so strong, will you
not let me live on your boughs till my friends
come back in the springtime?''
``In the springtime!'' cried the oak. ``That is a
long way off. How do I know what you might do
in all that time? Birds are always looking for
something to eat, and you might even eat up some
of my acorns.''
``It may be that the willow will be kind to me,''
thought the bird, and it said: ``Gentle willow, my
wing is broken, and I could not fly to the south
with the other birds. May I live on your branches
till the springtime?''
The willow did not look gentle then, for she
drew herself up proudly and said: ``Indeed, I do
not know you, and we willows never talk to people
whom we do not know. Very likely there are
trees somewhere that will take in strange birds.
Leave me at once.''
The poor little bird did not know what to do.
Its wing was not yet strong, but it began to fly
away as well as it could. Before it had gone far a
voice was heard. ``Little bird,'' it said, ``where
are you going?''
``Indeed, I do not know,'' answered the bird
sadly. ``I am very cold.''
``Come right here, then,'' said the friendly
spruce tree, for it was her voice that had called.
``You shall live on my warmest branch all winter
if you choose.''
``Will you really let me?'' asked the little bird
``Indeed, I will,'' answered the kind-hearted
spruce tree. ``If your friends have flown away, it
is time for the trees to help you. Here is the
branch where my leaves are thickest and softest.''
``My branches are not very thick,'' said the
friendly pine tree, ``but I am big and strong, and
I can keep the North Wind from you and the
``I can help, too,'' said a little juniper tree. ``I
can give you berries all winter long, and every
bird knows that juniper berries are good.''
So the spruce gave the lonely little bird a home;
the pine kept the cold North Wind away from it;
and the juniper gave it berries to eat. The other
trees looked on and talked together wisely.
``I would not have strange birds on my
boughs,'' said the birch.
``I shall not give my acorns away for any one,''
said the oak.
``I never have anything to do with strangers,''
said the willow, and the three trees drew their
leaves closely about them.
In the morning all those shining, green leaves
lay on the ground, for a cold North Wind had
come in the night, and every leaf that it touched
fell from the tree.
``May I touch every leaf in the forest?'' asked
the wind in its frolic.
``No,'' said the Frost King. ``The trees that
have been kind to the little bird with the broken
wing may keep their leaves.''
This is why the leaves of the spruce, the pine,
and the juniper are always green.
Long, long ago, so the legend says, when Joseph
and Mary and the Holy Babe fled out of
Bethlehem into Egypt, they passed through the
green wildwood. And flowers and trees and
plants bent their heads in reverence.
But the proud aspen held its head high and
refused even to look at the Holy Babe. In vain the
birds sang in the aspen's branches, entreating it
to gaze for one moment at the wonderful One;
the proud tree still held its head erect in scorn.
Then outspake Mary, his mother. ``O aspen
tree,'' she said, ``why do you not gaze on the Holy
Child? Why do you not bow your head? A star
arose at his birth, angels sang his first lullaby,
kings and shepherds came to the brightness of his
rising; why, then, O aspen, do you refuse to honor
your Lord and mine?''
But the aspen could not answer. A strange
shivering passed through its stem and along its
boughs, which set its leaves a-quivering. It
trembled before the Holy Babe.
And so from age to age, even unto this day, the
proud aspen shakes and shivers.
One day in the springtime, Prince Solomon was
sitting under the palm trees in the royal gardens,
when he saw the Prophet Nathan walking near.
``Nathan,'' said the Prince, ``I would see a
The Prophet smiled. ``I had the same desire
in the days of my youth,'' he replied.
``And was it fulfilled?'' asked Solomon.
``A Man of God came to me,'' said Nathan,
``having a pomegranate seed in his hand.
`Behold,' he said, `what will become of this.' Then
he made a hole in the ground, and planted the
seed, and covered it over. When he withdrew his
hand the clods of earth opened, and I saw two
small leaves coming forth. But scarcely had I
beheld them, when they joined together and became
a small stem wrapped in bark; and the stem grew
before my eyes,--and it grew thicker and higher
and became covered with branches.
``I marveled, but the Man of God motioned me
to be silent. `Behold,' said he, `new creations
``Then he took water in the palm of his hand,
and sprinkled the branches three times, and, lo!
the branches were covered with green leaves, so
that a cool shade spread above us, and the air
was fined with perfume.
`` `From whence come this perfume and this
shade?' cried I.
`` `Dost thou not see,' he answered, `these
crimson flowers bursting from among the leaves, and
hanging in clusters?'
``I was about to speak, but a gentle breeze
moved the leaves, scattering the petals of the
flowers around us. Scarcely had the falling flowers
reached the ground when I saw ruddy pomegranates
hanging beneath the leaves of the tree,
like almonds on Aaron's rod. Then the Man of
God left me, and I was lost in amazement.''
``Where is he, this Man of God?'' asked Prince
Solomon eagerly. ``What is his name? Is he
still alive?''
``Son of David,'' answered Nathan, ``I have
spoken to thee of a vision.''
When the Prince heard this he was grieved to
the heart. ``How couldst thou deceive me thus?''
he asked.
But the Prophet replied: ``Behold in thy father's
gardens thou mayest daily see the unfolding
of wonder trees. Doth not this same miracle happen
to the fig, the date, and the pomegranate?
They spring from the earth, they put out branches
and leaves, they flower, they fruit,--not in a
moment, perhaps, but in months and years,--
but canst thou tell the difference betwixt a
minute, a month, or a year in the eyes of Him with
whom one day is as a thousand years, and a
thousand years as one day?''
[11] From Deutsches Drittes Lesebuch, by W. H. Weick and C.
Grebner. Copyright, 1886, by Van Antwerp, Bragg & Co.
American Book Company, publishers.
The oak said to the reed that grew by the river:
``It is no wonder that you make such a sorrowful
moaning, for you are so weak that the little wren
is a burden for you, and the lightest breeze must
seem like a storm-wind. Now look at me! No
storm has ever been able to bow my head. You
will be much safer if you grow close to my side so
that I may shelter you from the wind that is now
playing with my leaves.''
``Do not worry about me,'' said the reed; ``I
have less reason to fear the wind than you have.
I bow myself, but I never break. He who laughs
last, laughs best!''
That night there came a fearful hurricane. The
oak stood erect. The reed bowed itself before the
blast. The wind grew more furious, and, uprooting
the proud oak, flung it on the ground.
When the morning came there stood the slender
reed, glittering with dewdrops, and softly
swaying in the breeze.
On the slopes of the Phrygian hills, there once
dwelt a pious old couple named Baucis and
Philemon. They had lived all their lives in a tiny
cottage of wattles, thatched with straw, cheerful and
content in spite of their poverty.
As this worthy couple sat dozing by the fireside
one evening in the late autumn, two strangers
came and begged a shelter for the night. They
had to stoop to enter the humble doorway, where
the old man welcomed them heartily and bade
them rest their weary limbs on the settle before
the fire.
Meanwhile Baucis stirred the embers, blowing
them into a flame with dry leaves, and heaped on
the fagots to boil the stew-pot. Hanging from the
blackened beams was a rusty side of bacon. Philemon
cut off a rasher to roast, and, while his
guests refreshed themselves with a wash at the
rustic trough, he gathered pot-herbs from his
patch of garden. Then the old woman, her hands
trembling with age, laid the cloth and spread the
It was a frugal meal, but one that hungry
wayfarers could well relish. The first course was an
omelette of curdled milk and eggs, garnished with
radishes and served on rude oaken platters. The
cups of turned beechwood were filled with homemade
wine from an earthen jug. The second
course consisted of dried figs and dates, plums,
sweet-smelling apples, and grapes, with a piece
of clear, white honeycomb. What made the meal
more grateful to the guests was the hearty spirit
in which it was offered. Their hosts gave all they
had without stint or grudging.
But all at once something happened which
startled and amazed Baucis and Philemon. They
poured out wine for their guests, and, lo! each
time the pitcher filled itself again to the brim.
The old couple then knew that their guests were
not mere mortals; indeed, they were no other
than Jupiter and Mercury come down to earth
in the disguise of poor travelers. Being ashamed
of their humble entertainment, Philemon hurried
out and gave chase to his only goose, intending
to kill and roast it. But his guests forbade him,
``In mortal shape we have come down, and at a
hundred houses asked for lodging and rest. For
answer a hundred doors were shut and locked
against us. You alone, the poorest of all, have
received us gladly and given us of your best. Now
it is for us to punish these impious people who
treat strangers so churlishly, but you two shall be
spared. Only leave your cottage and follow us to
yonder mountain-top.''
So saying, Jupiter and Mercury led the way,
and the two old folks hobbled after them. Presently
they reached the top of the mountain, and
Baucis and Philemon saw all the country round,
with villages and people, sinking into a marsh;
while their own cottage alone was left standing.
And while they gazed, their cottage was
changed into a white temple. The doorway became
a porch with marble columns. The thatch
grew into a roof of golden tiles. The little garden
about their home became a park.
Then Jupiter, regarding Baucis and Philemon
with kindly eyes, said: ``Tell me, O good old man
and you good wife, what may we do in return for
your hospitality?''
Philemon whispered for a moment with Baucis,
and she nodded her approval. ``We desire,'' he
replied, ``to be your servants, and to have the
care of this temple. One other favor we would
ask. From boyhood I have loved only Baucis,
and she has lived only for me. Let the selfsame
hour take us both away together. Let me never
see the tomb of my wife, nor let her suffer the
misery of mourning my death.''
Jupiter and Mercury, pleased with these
requests, willingly granted both, and endowed
Baucis and Philemon with youth and strength as
well. The gods then vanished from their sight,
but as long as their lives lasted Baucis and
Philemon were the guardians of the white temple that
once had been their home.
And when again old age overtook them, they
were standing one day in front of the sacred
porch, and Baucis, turning her gaze upon her
husband, saw him slowly changing into a gnarled
oak tree. And Philemon, as he felt himself rooted
to the ground, saw Baucis at the same time turning
into a leafy linden.
And as their faces disappeared behind the green
foliage, each cried unto the other, ``Farewell,
dearest love!'' and again, ``Dearest love,
farewell!'' And their human forms were changed to
trees and branches.
And still, if you visit the spot, you may see an
oak and a linden tree with branches intertwined.
A farmer had a brother in town who was a gardener,
and who possessed a magnificent orchard
full of the finest fruit trees, so that his skill and his
beautiful trees were famous everywhere.
One day the farmer went into town to visit his
brother, and was astonished at the rows of trees
that grew slender and smooth as wax tapers.
``Look, my brother,'' said the gardener; ``I will
give you an apple tree, the best from my garden,
and you, and your children, and your children's
children shall enjoy it.''
Then the gardener called his workmen and
ordered them to take up the tree and carry it to
his brother's farm. They did so, and the next
morning the farmer began to wonder where he
should plant it.
``If I plant it on the hill,'' said he to himself,
``the wind might catch it and shake down the
delicious fruit before it is ripe; if I plant it close to the
road, passers-by will see it and rob me of its luscious
apples; but if I plant it too near the door of
my house, my servants or the children may pick
the fruit.''
So, after he had thought the matter over, he
planted the tree behind his barn, saying to himself:
``Prying thieves will not think to look for it
But behold, the tree bore neither fruit nor
blossoms the first year nor the second; then the
farmer sent for his brother the gardener, and
reproached him angrily, saying:--
``You have deceived me, and given me a barren
tree instead of a fruitful one. For, behold, this is
the third year and still it brings forth nothing but
The gardener, when he saw where the tree was
planted, laughed and said:--
``You have planted the tree where it is exposed
to cold winds, and has neither sun nor warmth.
How, then, could you expect flowers and fruit?
You have planted the tree with a greedy and
suspicious heart; how, then, could you expect to
reap a rich and generous harvest?''
In olden times there was a youth named Rhoecus.
One day as he wandered through the wood he saw
an ancient oak tree, trembling and about to fall.
Full of pity for so fair a tree, Rhoecus carefully
propped up its trunk, and as he did so he heard a
soft voice murmur:--
It sounded like the gentle sighing of the wind
through the leaves; and while Rhoecus paused
bewildered to listen, again he heard the murmur
like a soft breeze:--
And there stood before him, in the green glooms
of the shadowy oak, a wonderful maiden.
``Rhoecus,'' said she, in low-toned words, serene
and full, and as clear as drops of dew, ``I am the
Dryad of this tree, and with it I am doomed to
live and die. Thou hadst compassion on my oak,
and in saving it thou hast saved my life. Now,
ask me what thou wilt that I can give, and it
shall be thine.''
``Beauteous nymph,'' answered Rhoecus, with a
flutter at the heart, ``surely nothing will satisfy
the craving of my soul save to be with thee forever.
Give to me thy love!''
``I give it, Rhoecus,'' answered she with sadness
in her voice, ``though it be a perilous gift. An hour
before sunset meet me here.''
And straightway she vanished, and Rhoecus
could see nothing but the green glooms beneath
the shadowy oak. Not a sound came to his straining
ears but the low, trickling rustle of the leaves,
and, from far away on the emerald slope, the
sweet sound of an idle shepherd's pipe.
Filled with wonder and joy Rhoecus turned his
steps homeward. The earth seemed to spring
beneath him as he walked. The clear, broad sky
looked bluer than its wont, and so full of joy was
he that he could scarce believe that he had not
Impatient for the trysting-time, he sought some
companions, and to while away the tedious hours,
he played at dice, and soon forgot all else.
The dice were rattling their merriest, and Rhoecus
had just laughed in triumph at a happy throw,
when through the open window of the room there
hummed a yellow bee. It buzzed about his ears,
and seemed ready to alight upon his head. At this
Rhoecus laughed, and with a rough, impatient
hand he brushed it off and cried:--
``The silly insect! does it take me for a rose?''
But still the bee came back. Three times it
buzzed about his head, and three times he rudely
beat it back. Then straight through the window
flew the wounded bee, while Rhoecus watched its
fight with angry eyes.
And as he looked--O sorrow!--the red disk
of the setting sun descended behind the sharp
mountain peak of Thessaly.
Then instantly the blood sank from his heart, as
if its very walls had caved in, for he remembered
the trysting-hour-now gone by! Without a word
he turned and rushed forth madly through the city
and the gate, over the fields into the wood.
Spent of breath he reached the tree, and,
listening fearfully, he heard once more the low voice
But as he looked he could see nothing but the
deepening glooms beneath the oak.
Then the voice sighed: ``O Rhoecus, nevermore
shalt thou behold me by day or night! Why didst
thou fail to come ere sunset? Why didst thou
scorn my humble messenger, and send it back to
me with bruised wings? We spirits only show ourselves
to gentle eyes! And he who scorns the
smallest thing alive is forever shut away from all
that is beautiful in woods and fields. Farewell!
for thou canst see me no more!''
Then Rhoecus beat his breast and groaned aloud.
``Be pitiful,'' he cried. ``Forgive me yet this
``Alas,'' the voice replied, ``I am not unmerciful!
I can forgive! But I have no skill to heal thy
spirit's eyes, nor can I change the temper of thy
heart.'' And then again she murmured, ``Nevermore!''
And after that Rhoecus heard no other sound,
save the rustling of the oak's crisp leaves, like
surf upon a distant shore.
In ancient times, when Apollo, the god of the
shining sun, roamed the earth, he met Cupid, who
with bended bow and drawn string was seeking
human beings to wound with the arrows of love.
``Silly boy,'' said Apollo, ``what dost thou with
the warlike bow? Such burden best befits my
shoulders, for did I not slay the fierce serpent, the
Python, whose baleful breath destroyed all that
came nigh him? Warlike arms are for the mighty,
not for boys like thee! Do thou carry a torch with
which to kindle love in human hearts, but no
longer lay claim to my weapon, the bow!''
But Cupid replied in anger: ``Let thy bow
shoot what it will, Apollo, but my bow shall shoot
THEE!'' And the god of love rose up, and beating
the air with his wings, he drew two magic arrows
from his quiver. One was of shining gold and with
its barbed point could Cupid inflict wounds of
love; the other arrow was of dull silver and its
wound had the power to engender hate.
The silver arrow Cupid fixed in the breast of
Daphne, the daughter of the river-god Peneus;
and forthwith she fled away from the homes of
men, and hunted beasts in the forest.
With the golden arrow Cupid grievously
wounded Apollo, who fleeing to the woods saw
there the Nymph Daphne pursuing the deer; and
straightway the sun-god fell in love with her
beauty. Her golden locks hung down upon her
neck, her eyes were like stars, her form was slender
and graceful and clothed in clinging white.
Swifter than the light wind she flew, and Apollo
followed after.
``O Nymph! daughter of Peneus,'' he cried,
``stay, I entreat thee! Why dost thou fly as a
lamb from the wolf, as a deer from the lion, or as a
dove with trembling wings Bees from the eagle! I
am no common man! I am no shepherd! Thou
knowest not, rash maid, from whom thou art flying!
The priests of Delphi and Tenedos pay their
service to me. Jupiter is my sire. Mine own
arrow is unerring, but Cupid's aim is truer, for he
has made this wound in my heart! Alas! wretched
me! though I am that great one who discovered
the art of healing, yet this love may not be healed
by my herbs nor my skill!''
But Daphne stopped not at these words, she
flew from him with timid step. The winds fluttered
her garments, the light breezes spread her
flowing locks behind her. Swiftly Apollo drew
near even as the keen greyhound draws near to
the frightened hare he is pursuing. With trembling
limbs Daphne sought the river, the home of
her father, Peneus. Close behind her was Apollo,
the sun-god. She felt his breath on her hair and
his hand on her shoulder. Her strength was spent,
she grew pale, and in faint accents she implored
the river:--
``O save me, my father, save me from Apollo,
the sun-god!''
Scarcely had she thus spoken before a heaviness
seized her limbs. Her breast was covered with
bark, her hair grew into green leaves, and her
arms into branches. Her feet, a moment before so
swift, became rooted to the ground. And Daphne
was no longer a Nymph, but a green laurel tree.
When Apollo beheld this change he cried out
and embraced the tree, and kissed its leaves.
``Beautiful Daphne,'' he said, ``since thou cannot
be my bride, yet shalt thou be my tree. Henceforth
my hair, my lyre, and my quiver shall be
adorned with laurel. Thy wreaths shall be given
to conquering chiefs, to winners of fame and joy;
and as my head has never been shorn of its locks,
so shalt thou wear thy green leaves, winter and
Apollo ceased speaking and the laurel bent its
new-made boughs in assent, and its stem seemed
to shake and its leaves gently to murmur.
Afar in the Northland, where the winter days are
so short and the nights so long, and where they
harness the reindeer to sledges, and where the
children look like bear's cubs in their funny, furry
clothes, there, long ago, wandered a good Saint on
the snowy roads.
He came one day to the door of a cottage, and
looking in saw a little old woman making cakes,
and baking them on the hearth.
Now, the good Saint was faint with fasting, and
he asked if she would give him one small cake
wherewith to stay his hunger.
So the little old woman made a VERY SMALL
cake and placed it on the hearth; but as it lay
baking she looked at it and thought: ``That is
a big cake, indeed, quite too big for me to give
Then she kneaded another cake, much smaller,
and laid that on the hearth to cook, but when she
turned it over it looked larger than the first.
So she took a tiny scrap of dough, and rolled it
out, and rolled it out, and baked it as thin as a
wafer; but when it was done it looked so large that
she could not bear to part with it; and she said:
``My cakes are much too big to give away,''--
and she put them on the shelf.
Then the good Saint grew angry, for he was
hungry and faint. ``You are too selfish to have a
human form,'' said he. ``You are too greedy to
deserve food, shelter, and a warm fire. Instead,
henceforth, you shall build as the birds do, and
get your scanty living by picking up nuts and
berries and by boring, boring all the day long, in
the bark of trees.''
Hardly had the good Saint said this when the
little old woman went straight up the chimney,
and came out at the top changed into a redheaded
woodpecker with coal-black feathers.
And now every country boy may see her in the
woods, where she lives in trees boring, boring,
boring for her food.
Once upon a time there was an old Indian who
had an only son, whose name was Opeechee. The
boy had come to the age when every Indian lad
makes a long fast, in order to secure a Spirit to be
his guardian for life.
Now, the old man was very proud, and he
wished his son to fast longer than other boys, and
to become a greater warrior than all others. So he
directed him to prepare with solemn ceremonies
for the fast.
After the boy had been in the sweating lodge
and bath several times, his father commanded
him to lie down upon a clean mat, in a little
lodge apart from the rest.
``My son,'' said he, ``endure your hunger like a
man, and at the end of TWELVE DAYS, you shall
receive food and a blessing from my hands.''
The boy carefully did all that his father
commanded, and lay quietly with his face covered,
awaiting the arrival of his guardian Spirit who
was to bring him good or bad dreams.
His father visited him every day, encouraging
him to endure with patience the pangs of hunger
and thirst. He told him of the honor and renown
that would be his if he continued his fast to the
end of the twelve days.
To all this the boy replied not, but lay on his
mat without a murmur of discontent, until the
ninth day; when he said:--
``My father, the dreams tell me of evil. May I
break my fast now, and at a better time make a
new one?''
``My son,'' replied the old man, ``you know not
what you ask. If you get up now, all your glory
will depart. Wait patiently a little longer. You
have but three days more to fast, then glory and
honor will be yours.''
The boy said nothing more, but, covering
himself closer, he lay until the eleventh day, when he
spoke again:--
``My father,'' said he, ``the dreams forebode
evil. May I break my fast now, and at a better
time make a new one?''
``My son,'' replied the old man again, ``you know
not what you ask. Wait patiently a little longer.
You have but one more day to fast. To-morrow I
will myself prepare a meal and bring it to you.''
The boy remained silent, beneath his covering,
and motionless except for the gentle heaving of
his breast.
Early the next morning his father, overjoyed at
having gained his end, prepared some food. He
took it and hastened to the lodge intending to set
it before his son.
On coming to the door of the lodge what was his
surprise to hear the boy talking to some one. He
lifted the curtain hanging before the doorway,
and looking in saw his son painting his breast with
vermilion. And as the lad laid on the bright color
as far back on his shoulders as he could reach, he
was saying to himself:--
``My father has destroyed my fortune as a
man. He would not listen to my requests. I shall
be happy forever, because I was obedient to my
parent; but he shall suffer. My guardian Spirit
has given me a new form, and now I must go!''
At this his father rushed into the lodge, crying:
``My son! my son! I pray you leave me not!''
But the boy, with the quickness of a bird, flew
to the top of the lodge, and perching upon the
highest pole, was instantly changed into a most
beautiful robin redbreast.
He looked down on his father with pity in his
eyes, and said:--
``Do not sorrow, O my father, I am no longer
your boy, but Opeechee the robin. I shall always
be a friend to men, and live near their dwellings.
I shall ever be happy and content. Every day will
I sing you songs of joy. The mountains and fields
yield me food. My pathway is in the bright air.''
Then Opeechee the robin stretched himself as
if delighting in his new wings, and caroling his
sweetest song, he flew away to the near-by trees.
Once upon a time there lived a little old man and
a little old woman. The little old man had a kind
heart, and he kept a young sparrow, which he
cared for tenderly. Every morning it used to sing
at the door of his house.
Now, the little old woman was a cross old thing,
and one day when she was going to starch her
linen, the sparrow pecked at her paste. Then she
flew into a great rage and cut the sparrow's tongue
and let the bird fly away.
When the little old man came home from the
hills, where he had been chopping wood, he found
the sparrow gone.
``Where is my little sparrow?'' asked he.
``It pecked at my starching-paste,'' answered
the little old woman, ``so I cut its evil tongue and
let it fly away.''
``Alas! Alas!'' cried the little old man. ``Poor
thing! Poor thing! Poor little tongue-cut sparrow!
Where is your home now?''
And then he wandered far and wide seeking his
pet and crying:--
``Mr. Sparrow, Mr. Sparrow, where are you
And he wandered on and on, over mountain
and valley, and dale and river, until one day at
the foot of a certain mountain he met the lost bird.
The little old man was filled with joy and the
sparrow welcomed him with its sweetest song.
It led the little old man to its nest-house,
introduced him to its wife and small sparrows, and set
before him all sorts of good things to eat and
``Please partake of our humble fare,'' sang the
sparrow; ``poor as it is, you are welcome.''
``What a polite sparrow,'' answered the little
old man, and he stayed for a long time as the
bird's guest. At last one day the little old man
said that he must take his leave and return home.
``Wait a bit,'' said the sparrow.
And it went into the house and brought out
two wicker baskets. One was very heavy and the
other light.
``Take the one you wish,'' said the sparrow,
``and good fortune go with you.''
``I am very feeble,'' answered the little old man,
``so I will take the light one.''
He thanked the sparrow, and, shouldering the
basket, said good-bye. Then he trudged off
leaving the sparrow family sad and lonely.
When he reached home the little old woman
was very angry, and began to scold him, saying:--
``Well, and pray where have you been all these
days? A pretty thing, indeed, for you to be
gadding about like this!''
``Oh,'' he replied, ``I have been on a visit to the
tongue-cut sparrow, and when I came away it
gave me this wicker basket as a parting gift.''
Then they opened the basket to see what was
inside, and lo and behold! it was full of gold,
silver, and other precious things!
The little old woman was as greedy as she was
cross, and when she saw all the riches spread
before her, she could not contain herself for joy.
``Ho! Ho!'' cried she. ``Now I'll go and call on
the sparrow, and get a pretty present, too!''
She asked the old man the way to the sparrow's
house and set forth on her journey. And she
wandered on and on over mountain and valley,
and dale and river, until at last she saw the
tongue-cut sparrow.
``Well met, well met, Mr. Sparrow,'' cried she.
``I have been looking forward with much pleasure
to seeing you.'' And then she tried to flatter it
with soft, sweet words.
So the bird had to invite her to its nest-house,
but it did not feast her nor say anything about a
parting gift. At last the little old woman had to
go, and she asked for something to carry with her
to remember the visit by. The sparrow, as before,
brought out two wicker baskets. One was very
heavy and the other light.
The greedy little old woman, choosing the
heavy one, carried it off with her.
She hurried home as fast as she was able, and
closing her doors and windows so that no one
might see, opened the basket. And, lo and behold!
out jumped all sorts of wicked hobgoblins
and imps, and they scratched and pinched her to
As for the little old man he adopted a son, and
his family grew rich and prosperous.
Ages ago a flock of more than a thousand quails
lived together in a forest in India. They would
have been happy, but that they were in great
dread of their enemy, the quail-catcher. He used
to imitate the call of the quail; and when they
gathered together in answer to it, he would throw
a great net over them, stuff them into his basket,
and carry them away to be sold.
Now, one of the quails was very wise, and he
``Brothers! I've thought of a good plan. In
future, as soon as the fowler throws his net over
us, let each one put his head through a mesh in
the net and then all lift it up together and fly
away with it. When we have flown far enough,
we can let the net drop on a thorn bush and escape
from under it.''
All agreed to the plan; and next day when the
fowler threw his net, the birds all lifted it together
in the very way that the wise quail had
told them, threw it on a thorn bush and escaped.
While the fowler tried to free his net from the
thorns, it grew dark, and he had to go home.
This happened many days, till at last the
fowler's wife grew angry and asked her husband:--
``Why is it that you never catch any more
Then the fowler said: ``The trouble is that all
the birds work together and help one another. If
they would only quarrel, I could catch them fast
A few days later, one of the quails accidentally
trod on the head of one of his brothers, as they
alighted on the feeding-ground.
``Who trod on my head?'' angrily inquired the
quail who was hurt.
``Don't be angry, I didn't mean to tread on
you,'' said the first quail.
But the brother quail went on quarreling.
``I lifted all the weight of the net; you didn't
help at all,'' he cried.
That made the first quail angry, and before long
all were drawn into the dispute. Then the fowler
saw his chance. He imitated the cry of the quail
and cast his net over those who came together.
They were still boasting and quarreling, and they
did not help one another lift the net. So the
hunter lifted the net himself and crammed them
into his basket. But the wise quail gathered his
friends together and flew far away, for he knew
that quarrels are the root of misfortune.
All the birds of the air came to the magpie and
asked her to teach them how to build nests. For
the magpie is the cleverest bird of all at building
nests. So she put all the birds round her and
began to show them how to do it. First of all she
took some mud and made a sort of round cake
with it.
``Oh, that's how it's done!'' said the thrush,
and away it flew; and so that's how thrushes build
their nests.
Then the magpie took some twigs and arranged
them round in the mud.
``Now I know all about it!'' said the blackbird,
and off it flew; and that's how the blackbirds
make their nests to this very day.
Then the magpie put another layer of mud over
the twigs.
``Oh, that 's quite obvious!'' said the wise owl,
and away it flew; and owls have never made
better nests since.
After this the magpie took some twigs and
twined them round the outside.
``The very thing!'' said the sparrow, and off he
went; so sparrows make rather slovenly nests to
this day.
Well, then Madge magpie took some feathers
and stuff, and lined the nest very comfortably
with it.
``That suits me!'' cried the starling, and off it
flew; and very comfortable nests have starlings.
So it went on, every bird taking away some
knowledge of how to build nests, but none of them
waiting to the end.
Meanwhile Madge magpie went on working
and working without looking up, till the only bird
that remained was the turtle-dove, and that
hadn't paid any attention all along, but only
kept on saying its silly cry: ``Take two, Taffy,
take two-o-o-o!''
At last the magpie heard this just as she was
putting a twig across, so she said: ``One's enough.''
But the turtle-dove kept on saying: ``Take
two, Taffy, take two-o-o-o!''
Then the magpie got angry and said: ``One's
enough, I tell you!''
Still the turtle-dove cried: ``Take two, Taffy,
take two-o-o-o!''
At last, and at last, the magpie looked up and
saw nobody near her but the silly turtle-dove,
and then she got rarely angry and flew away and
refused to tell the birds how to build nests again.
And that is why different birds build their nests
Many years ago there was near the sea a convent
famed for the rich crops of grain that grew on its
farm. On a certain year a large flock of wild geese
descended on its fields and devoured first the
corn, and then the green blades.
The superintendent of the farm hastened to
the convent and called the lady abbess.
``Holy mother,'' said he, ``this year the nuns will
have to fast continually, for there will be no food.''
``Why is that?'' asked the abbess.
``Because,'' answered the superintendent, ``a
flood of wild geese has rained upon the land, and
they have eaten up the corn, nor have they left a
single green blade.''
``Is it possible,'' said the abbess, ``that these
wicked birds have no respect for the property of
the convent! They shall do penance for their
misdeeds. Return at once to the fields, and order
the geese from me to come without delay to the
convent door, so that they may receive just punishment
for their greediness.''
``But, mother,'' said the superintendent, ``this
is not a time for jesting! These are not sheep to
be guided into the fold, but birds with long, strong
wings, to fly away with.''
``Do you understand me!'' answered the abbess.
``Go at once, and bid them come to me
without delay, and render an account of their
The superintendent ran back to the farm, and
found the flock of evildoers still there. He raised
his voice and clapping his hands, cried:--
``Come, come, ye greedy geese! The lady abbess
commands you to hasten to the convent
Wonderful sight! Hardly had he uttered these
words than the geese raised their necks as if to
listen, then, without spreading their wings, they
placed themselves in single file, and in regular
order began to march toward the convent. As
they proceeded they bowed their heads as if confessing
their fault and as though about to receive
Arriving at the convent, they entered the
courtyard in exact order, one behind the other,
and there awaited the coming of the abbess. All
night they stood thus without making a sound, as
if struck dumb by their guilty consciences. But
when morning came, they uttered the most pitiful
cries as though asking pardon and permission to
Then the lady abbess, taking compassion on
the repentant birds, appeared with some nuns
upon a balcony. Long she talked to the geese,
asking them why they had stolen the convent
grain. She threatened them with a long fast, and
then, softening, began to offer them pardon if
they would never again attack her lands, nor eat
her corn. To which the geese bowed their heads
low in assent. Then the abbess gave them her
blessing and permission to depart.
Hardly had she done so when the geese, spreading
their wings, made a joyous circle above the
convent towers, and flew away. Alighting at some
distance they counted their number and found
one missing. For, alas! in the night, when they
had been shut in the courtyard, the convent cook,
seeing how fat they were, had stolen one bird and
had killed, roasted, and eaten it.
When the birds discovered that one of their
number was missing, they again took wing and,
hovering over the convent, they uttered mournful
cries, complaining of the loss of their comrade,
and imploring the abbess to return him to the
Now, when the lady abbess heard these
melancholy pleas, she assembled her household, and
inquired of each member where the bird might be.
The cook, fearing that it might be already known
to her, confessed the theft, and begged for pardon.
``You have been very audacious,'' said the
abbess, ``but at least collect the bones and bring
them to me.''
The cook did as directed, and the abbess at a
word caused the bones to come together and to
assume flesh, and afterwards feathers, and, lo! the
original bird rose up.
The geese, having received their lost companion,
rejoiced loudly, and, beating their wings
gratefully, made many circles over the sacred
cloister, before they flew away. Neither did they
in future ever dare to place a foot on the lands of
the convent, nor to touch one blade of grass.
One day the birds took it into their heads that
they would like a master, and that one of their
number must be chosen king. A meeting of all the
birds was called, and on a beautiful May morning
they assembled from woods and fields and meadows.
The eagle, the robin, the bluebird, the owl,
the lark, the sparrow were all there. The cuckoo
came, and the lapwing, and so did all the other
birds, too numerous to mention. There also came
a very little bird that had no name at all.
There was great confusion and noise. There
was piping, hissing, chattering and clacking, and
finally it was decided that the bird that could fly
the highest should be king.
The signal was given and all the birds flew in a
great flock into the air. There was a loud rustling
and whirring and beating of wings. The air was
full of dust, and it seemed as if a black cloud were
floating over the field.
The little birds soon grew tired and fell back
quickly to earth. The larger ones held out longer,
and flew higher and higher, but the eagle flew
highest of any. He rose, and rose, until he seemed
to be flying straight into the sun.
The other birds gave out and one by one they
fell back to earth; and when the eagle saw this
he thought, ``What is the use of flying any higher?
It is settled: I am king!''
Then the birds below called in one voice:
``Come back, come back! You must be our king!
No one can fly as high as you.''
``Except me!'' cried a shrill, shrill voice, and
the little bird without a name rose from the eagle's
back, where he had lain hidden in the feathers,
and he flew into the air. Higher and higher he
mounted till he was lost to sight, then, folding his
wings together, he sank to earth crying shrilly: ``I
am king! I am king!''
``You, our king!'' the birds cried in anger;
``you have done this by trickery and cunning. We
will not have you to reign over us.''
Then the birds gathered together again and
made another condition, that he should be king
who could go the deepest into the earth.
How the goose wallowed in the sand, and the
duck strove to dig a hole! All the other birds, too,
tried to hide themselves in the ground. The little
bird without a name found a mouse's hole, and
creeping in cried:--
``I am king! I am king!''
``You, our king!'' all the birds cried again,
more angrily than before. ``Do you think that we
would reward your cunning in this way? No, no!
You shall stay in the earth till you die of hunger!''
So they shut up the little bird in the mouse's
hole, and bade the owl watch him carefully night
and day. Then all the birds went home to bed,
for they were very tired; but the owl found it
lonely and wearisome sitting alone staring at the
mouse's hole.
``I can close one eye and watch with the other,''
he thought. So he closed one eye and stared
steadfastly with the other; but before he knew it
he forgot to keep that one open, and both eyes
were fast asleep.
Then the little bird without a name peeped out,
and when he saw Master Owl's two eyes tight
shut, he slipped from the hole and flew away.
From this time on the owl has not dared to
show himself by day lest the birds should pull him
to pieces. He flies about only at night-time, hating
and pursuing the mouse for having made the
hole into which the little bird crept.
And the little bird also keeps out of sight, for he
fears lest the other birds should punish him for
his cunning. He hides in the hedges, and when he
thinks himself quite safe, he sings out: ``I am
king! I am king!''
And the other birds in mockery call out: ``Yes,
yes, the hedge-king! the hedge-king!''
The dove and the wrinkled little bat once went on
a journey together. When it came toward night
a storm arose, and the two companions sought
everywhere for a shelter. But all the birds were
sound asleep in their nests and the animals in their
holes and dens. They could find no welcome
anywhere until they came to the hollow tree
where old Master Owl lived, wide awake in the
``Let us knock here,'' said the shrewd bat; ``I
know the old fellow is not asleep. This is his
prowling hour, and but that it is a stormy night
he would be abroad hunting.--What ho, Master
Owl!'' he squeaked, ``will you let in two stormtossed
travelers for a night's lodging?''
Gruffly the selfish old owl bade them enter, and
grudgingly invited them to share his supper. The
poor dove was so tired that she could scarcely eat,
but the greedy bat's spirits rose as soon as he saw
the viands spread before him. He was a sly fellow,
and immediately began to flatter his host into
good humor. He praised the owl's wisdom and his
courage, his gallantry and his generosity; though
every one knew that however wise old Master Owl
might be, he was neither brave nor gallant. As for
his generosity--both the dove and the bat well
remembered his selfishness toward the poor wren,
when the owl alone of all the birds refused to give
the little fire-bringer a feather to help cover his
scorched and shivering body.
All this flattery pleased the owl. He puffed and
ruffled himself, trying to look as wise, gallant, and
brave as possible. He pressed the bat to help
himself more generously to the viands, which
invitation the sly fellow was not slow to accept.
During this time the dove had not uttered a
word. She sat quite still staring at the bat, and
wondering to hear such insincere speeches of
flattery. Suddenly the owl turned to her.
``As for you, Miss Pink-Eyes,'' he said gruffly,
``you keep careful silence. You are a dull tablecompanion.
Pray, have you nothing to say for
``Yes,'' exclaimed the mischievous bat; ``have
you no words of praise for our kind host? Methinks
he deserves some return for this wonderfully
generous, agreeable, tasteful, well-appointed,
luxurious, elegant, and altogether acceptable
banquet. What have you to say, O little dove?''
But the dove hung her head, ashamed of her
companion, and said very simply: ``O Master
Owl, I can only thank you with all my heart for
the hospitality and shelter which you have given
me this night. I was beaten by the storm, and
you took me in. I was hungry, and you gave me
your best to eat. I cannot flatter nor make pretty
speeches like the bat. I never learned such
manners. But I thank you.''
``What!'' cried the bat, pretending to be
shocked, ``is that all you have to say to our
obliging host? Is he not the wisest, bravest, most
gallant and generous of gentlemen? Have you no
praise for his noble character as well as for his
goodness to us? I am ashamed of you! You do
not deserve such hospitality. You do not deserve
this shelter.''
The dove remained silent. Like Cordelia in the
play she could not speak untruths even for her
own happiness.
``Truly, you are an unamiable guest,'' snarled
the owl, his yellow eyes growing keen and fierce
with anger and mortified pride. ``You are an
ungrateful bird, Miss, and the bat is right. You
do not deserve this generous hospitality which I
have offered, this goodly shelter which you asked.
Away with you! Leave my dwelling! Pack off
into the storm and see whether or not your silence
will soothe the rain and the wind. Be off, I say!''
``Yes, away with her!'' echoed the bat, flapping
his leathery wings.
And the two heartless creatures fell upon the
poor little dove and drove her out into the dark
and stormy night.
Poor little dove! All night she was tossed and
beaten about shelterless in the storm, because she
had been too truthful to flatter the vain old owl.
But when the bright morning dawned, draggled
and weary as she was, she flew to the court of
King Eagle and told him all her trouble. Great
was the indignation of that noble bird.
``For his flattery and his cruelty let the bat
never presume to fly abroad until the sun goes
down,'' he cried. ``As for the owl, I have already
doomed him to this punishment for his treatment
of the wren. But henceforth let no bird have anything
to do with either of them, the bat or the owl.
Let them be outcasts and night-prowlers, enemies
to be attacked and punished if they appear
among us, to be avoided by all in their loneliness.
Flattery and inhospitality, deceit and cruelty,--
what are more hideous than these? Let them
cover themselves in darkness and shun the happy
light of day.
``As for you, little dove, let this be a lesson to
you to shun the company of flatterers, who are
sure to get you into trouble. But you shall
always be loved for your simplicity and truth. And
as a token of our affection your name shall be
used by poets as long as the world shall last to
rhyme with LOVE.''
One of the most interesting birds who ever lived
in my Bird Room was a blue jay named Jakie.
He was full of business from morning till night,
scarcely ever a moment still.
Poor little fellow! He had been stolen from the
nest before he could fly, and reared in a house,
long before he was given to me. Of course he
could not be set free, for he did not know how to
take care of himself.
Jays are very active birds, and being shut up in
a room, my blue jay had to find things to do, to
keep himself busy. If he had been allowed to
grow up out of doors, he would have found plenty
to do, planting acorns and nuts, nesting, and
bringing up families.
Sometimes the things he did in the house were
what we call mischief because they annoy us, such
as hammering the woodwork to pieces, tearing
bits out of the leaves of books, working holes
in chair seats, or pounding a cardboard box to
pieces. But how is a poor little bird to know what
is mischief?
Many things which Jakie did were very funny.
For instance, he made it his business to clear up
the room. When he had more food than he could
eat at the moment, he did not leave it around, but
put it away carefully,--not in the garbage pail,
for that was not in the room, but in some safe
nook where it did not offend the eye. Sometimes
it was behind the tray in his cage, or among the
books on the shelf. The places he liked best were
about me,--in the fold of a ruffle or the loop of a
bow on my dress, and sometimes in the side of my
slipper. The very choicest place of all was in my
loosely bound hair. That, of course, I could not
allow, and I had to keep very close watch of him,
for fear I might have a bit of bread or meat thrust
among my locks.
In his clearing up he always went carefully over
the floor, picking up pins, or any little thing he
could find, and I often dropped burnt matches,
buttons, and other small things to give him something
to do. These he would pick up and put
nicely away.
Pins Jakie took lengthwise in his beak, and at
first I thought he had swallowed them, till I saw
him hunt up a proper place to hide them. The
place he chose was between the leaves of a book.
He would push a pin far in out of sight, and then
go after another. A match he always tried to put
in a crack, under the baseboard, between the
breadths of matting, or under my rockers. He
first placed it, and then tried to hammer it in out
of sight. He could seldom get it in far enough to
suit him, and this worried him. Then he would
take it out and try another place.
Once the blue jay found a good match, of the
parlor match variety. He put it between the
breadths of matting, and then began to pound on
it as usual. Pretty soon he hit the unburnt end
and it went off with a loud crack, as parlor
matches do. Poor Jakie jumped two feet into the
air, nearly frightened out of his wits; and I was
frightened, too, for I feared he might set the
house on fire.
Often when I got up from my chair a shower of
the bird's playthings would fall from his various
hiding-places about my dress,--nails, matches,
shoe-buttons, bread-crumbs, and other things.
Then he had to begin his work all over again.
Jakie liked a small ball or a marble. His game
was to give it a hard peck and see it roll. If it
rolled away from him, he ran after it and pecked
again; but sometimes it rolled toward him, and
then he bounded into the air as if he thought it
would bite. And what was funny, he was always
offended at this conduct of the ball, and went off
sulky for a while.
He was a timid little fellow. Wind or storm
outside the windows made him wild. He would
fly around the room, squawking at the top of his
voice; and the horrible tin horns the boys liked to
blow at Thanksgiving and Christmas drove him
Once I brought a Christmas tree into the room
to please the birds, and all were delighted with it
except my poor little blue jay, who was much
afraid of it. Think of the sadness of a bird being
afraid of a tree!
Jakie had decided opinions about people who
came into the room to see me, or to see the birds.
At some persons he would squawk every moment.
Others he saluted with a queer cry like ``Ob-ble!
ob-ble! ob-ble!'' Once when a lady came in with a
baby, he fixed his eyes on that infant with a savage
look as if he would like to peck it, and jumped
back and forth in his cage, panting but perfectly
Jakie was very devoted to me. He always
greeted me with a low, sweet chatter, with wings
quivering, and, if he were out of the cage, he
would come on the back of my chair and touch
my cheek or lips very gently with his beak, or
offer me a bit of food if he had any; and to me
alone when no one else was near, he sang a low,
exquisite song. I afterwards heard a similar song
sung by a wild blue jay to his mate while she was
sitting, and so I knew that my dear little captive
had given me his sweetest--his love-song.
One of Jakie's amusements was dancing across
the back of a tall chair, taking funny little steps,
coming down hard, ``jouncing'' his body, and
whistling as loud as he could. He would keep up
this funny performance as long as anybody would
stand before him and pretend to dance too.
My jay was fond of a sensation. One of his
dearest bits of fun was to drive the birds into a
panic. This he did by flying furiously around the
room, feathers rustling, and squawking as loud as
he could. He usually managed to fly just over the
head of each bird, and as he came like a catapult,
every one flew before him, so that in a minute the
room was full of birds flying madly about, trying
to get out of his way. This gave him great
Once a grasshopper got into the Bird Room,
probably brought in clinging to some one's dress
in the way grasshoppers do. Jakie was in his cage,
but he noticed the stranger instantly, and I
opened the door for him. He went at once to look
at the grasshopper, and when it hopped he was so
startled that he hopped too. Then he picked the
insect up, but he did not know what to do with it,
so he dropped it again. Again the grasshopper
jumped directly up, and again the jay did the
same. This they did over and over, till every one
was tired laughing at them. It looked as if they
were trying to see who could jump the highest.
There was another bird in the room, however,
who knew what grasshoppers were good for. He
was an orchard oriole, and after looking on awhile,
he came down and carried off the hopper to eat.
The jay did not like to lose his plaything; he ran
after the thief, and stood on the floor giving low
cries and looking on while the oriole on a chair
was eating the dead grasshopper. When the oriole
happened to drop it, Jakie,--who had got a new
idea what to do with grasshoppers,--snatched it
up and carried it under a chair and finished it.
I could tell many more stories about my bird,
but I have told them before in one of my ``grown-up''
books, so I will not repeat them here.
One day in early May, Ted and I made an expedition
to the Shattega, a still, dark, deep stream
that loiters silently through the woods not far
from my cabin. As we paddled along, we were on
the alert for any bit of wild life of bird or beast
that might turn up.
There were so many abandoned woodpecker
chambers in the small dead trees as we went along
that I determined to secure the section of a tree
containing a good one to take home and put up
for the bluebirds. ``Why don't the bluebirds occupy
them here?'' inquired Ted. ``Oh,'' I replied,
``blue birds do not come so far into the woods as
this. They prefer nesting-places in the open, and
near human habitations.'' After carefully scrutinizing
several of the trees, we at last saw one that
seemed to fill the bill. It was a small dead treetrunk
seven or eight inches in diameter, that
leaned out over the water, and from which the top
had been broken. The hole, round and firm, was
ten or twelve feet above us. After considerable
effort I succeeded in breaking the stub off near
the ground, and brought it down into the boat.
``Just the thing,'' I said; ``surely the bluebirds
will prefer this to an artificial box.'' But, lo and
behold, it already had bluebirds in it! We had not
heard a sound or seen a feather till the trunk was
in our hands, when, on peering into the cavity, we
discovered two young bluebirds about half grown.
This was a predicament indeed!
Well, the only thing we could do was to stand
the tree-trunk up again as well as we could, and
as near as we could to where it had stood before.
This was no easy thing. But after a time we had
it fairly well replaced, one end standing in the
mud of the shallow water and the other resting
against a tree. This left the hole to the nest about
ten feet below and to one side of its former position.
Just then we heard the voice of one of the
parent birds, and we quickly paddled to the other
side of the stream, fifty feet away, to watch her
proceedings, saying to each other, ``Too bad! too
bad!'' The mother bird had a large beetle in her
beak. She alighted upon a limb a few feet above
the former site of her nest, looked down upon us,
uttered a note or two, and then dropped down
confidently to the point in the vacant air where
the entrance to her nest had been but a few
moments before. Here she hovered on the wing a
second or two, looking for something that was not
there, and then returned to the perch she had just
left, apparently not a little disturbed. She hammered
the beetle rather excitedly upon the limb
a few times, as if it were in some way at fault,
then dropped down to try for her nest again.
Only vacant air there! She hovers and hovers,
her blue wings flickering in the checkered light;
surely that precious hole MUST be there; but no,
again she is baffled, and again she returns to her
perch, and mauls the poor beetle till it must be
reduced to a pulp. Then she makes a third
attempt, then a fourth, and a fifth, and a sixth,
till she becomes very much excited. ``What could
have happened? Am I dreaming? Has that beetle
hoodooed me?'' she seems to say, and in her dismay
she lets the bug drop, and looks bewilderedly
about her. Then she flies away through the
woods, calling. ``Going for her mate,'' I said to
Ted. ``She is in deep trouble, and she wants
sympathy and help.''
In a few minutes we heard her mate answer,
and presently the two birds came hurrying to the
spot, both with loaded beaks. They perched upon
the familiar limb above the site of the nest, and
the mate seemed to say, ``My dear, what has
happened to you? I can find that nest.'' And he
dived down, and brought up in the empty air just
as the mother had done. How he winnowed it
with his eager wings! How he seemed to bear on
to that blank space! His mate sat regarding him
intently, confident, I think, that he would find
the clue. But he did not. Baffled and excited, he
returned to the perch beside her. Then she tried
again, then he rushed down once more, then they
both assaulted the place, but it would not give up
its secret. They talked, they encouraged each
other, and they kept up the search, now one, now
the other, now both together. Sometimes they
dropped down to within a few feet of the entrance
to the nest, and we thought they would surely
find it. No, their minds and eyes were intent only
upon that square foot of space where the nest had
been. Soon they withdrew to a large limb many
feet higher up, and seemed to say to themselves,
``Well, it is not there, but it must be here
somewhere; let us look about.'' A few minutes elapsed,
when we saw the mother bird spring from her
perch and go straight as an arrow to the nest. Her
maternal eye had proved the quicker. She had
found her young. Something like reason and
common sense had come to her rescue; she had
taken time to look about, and behold! there was
that precious doorway. She thrust her head into
it, then sent back a call to her mate, then went
farther in, then withdrew. ``Yes, it is true, they
are here, they are here!'' Then she went in again,
gave them the food in her beak, and then gave
place to her mate, who, after similar demonstrations
of joy, also gave them his morsel.
Ted and I breathed freer. A burden had been
taken from our minds and hearts, and we went
cheerfully on our way. We had learned something,
too; we had learned that when in the deep
woods you think of bluebirds, bluebirds may be
nearer you than you think.
``Old Abe'' was the war-eagle of the Eighth
Wisconsin Volunteers. Whoever it may have
been that first conceived the idea, it was certainly
a happy thought to make a pet of an eagle. For
the eagle is our national bird, and to carry an
eagle along with the colors of a regiment on the
march, and in battle, and all through the whole
war, was surely very appropriate, indeed.
``Old Abe's'' perch was on a shield, which was
carried by a soldier, to whom, and to whom alone,
he looked as to a master. He would not allow any
one to carry or even to handle him, except this
soldier, nor would he ever receive his food from
any other person's hands. He seemed to have
sense enough to know that he was sometimes a
burden to his master on the march, however, and,
as if to relieve him, would occasionally spread his
wings and soar aloft to a great height, the men of
all regiments along the line of march cheering him
as he went up.
He regularly received his rations from the
commissary, like any enlisted man. Whenever
fresh meat was scarce, and none could be found
for him by foraging parties, he would take things
into his own claws, as it were, and go out on a
foraging expedition himself. On some such
occasions he would be gone two or three days at a
time, during which nothing whatever was seen of
him; but he would invariably return, and seldom
would come back without a young lamb or a
chicken in his talons. His long absences occasioned
his regiment not the slightest concern, for the men
knew that, though he might fly many miles away
in quest of food, he would be quite sure to find
them again.
In what way he distinguished the two hostile
armies so accurately that he was never once
known to mistake the gray for the blue, no one
can tell. But so it was, that he was never known
to alight save in his own camp, and amongst his
own men.
At Jackson, Mississippi, during the hottest part
of the battle before that city, ``Old Abe'' soared
up into the air, and remained there from early
morning until the fight closed at night, no doubt
greatly enjoying his bird's-eye view of the battle.
He did the same at Mission Ridge. He was, I
believe, struck by Confederate bullets two or
three times, but his feathers were so thick that
his body was not much hurt. The shield on which
he was carried, however, showed so many marks
of Confederate balls that it looked on top as if a
groove plane had been run over it.
At the Centenial celebration held in
Philadelphia, in 1876, ``Old Abe'' occupied a prominent
place on his perch on the west side of the nave
in the Agricultural Building. He was evidently
growing old, and was the observed of all
observers. Thousands of visitors, from all sections
of the country, paid their respects to the grand
old bird, who, apparently conscious of the honors
conferred upon him, overlooked the sale of his
biography and photographs going on beneath his
perch with entire satisfaction.
As was but just and right, the soldier who had
carried him during the war continued to have
charge of him after the war was over, until the
day of his death, which occurred at the capital of
Wisconsin, in 1881.
One of the most striking cases of mother-love
which has ever come under my observation, I saw
in the summer of 1912 on the bird rookeries of
the Three-Arch Rocks Reservation off the coast
of Oregon.
We were making our slow way toward the top
of the outer rock. Through rookery after rookery
of birds, we climbed until we reached the edge of
the summit. Scrambling over this edge, we found
ourselves in the midst of a great colony of nesting
murres--hundreds of them--covering this steep
rocky part of the top.
As our heads appeared above the rim, many of
the colony took wing and whirred over us out to
sea, but most of them sat close, each bird upon its
egg or over its chick, loath to leave, and so expose
to us the hidden treasure.
The top of the rock was somewhat cone-shaped,
and in order to reach the peak and the colonies on
the west side we had to make our way through
this rookery of the murres. The first step among
them, and the whole colony was gone, with a rush
of wings and feet that sent several of the topshaped
eggs rolling, and several of the young birds
toppling over the cliff to the pounding waves and
ledges far below.
We stopped, but the colony, almost to a bird,
had bolted, leaving scores of eggs, and scores of
downy young squealing and running together for
shelter, like so many beetles under a lifted board.
But the birds had not every one bolted, for here
sat two of the colony among the broken rocks.
These two had not been frightened off. That both
of them were greatly alarmed, any one could see
from their open beaks, their rolling eyes, their
tense bodies on tiptoe for flight. Yet here they
sat, their wings out like props, or more like gripping
hands, as if they were trying to hold themselves
down to the rocks against their wild desire
to fly.
And so they were, in truth, for under their
extended wings I saw little black feet moving.
Those two mother murres were not going to
forsake their babies! No, not even for these
approaching monsters, such as they had never
before seen, clambering over their rocks.
What was different about these two? They had
their young ones to protect. Yes, but so had
every bird in the great colony its young one, or its
egg, to protect, yet all the others had gone. Did
these two have more mother-love than the
others? And hence, more courage, more intelligence?
We took another step toward them, and one of
the two birds sprang into the air, knocking her
baby over and over with the stroke of her wing,
and coming within an inch of hurling it across the
rim to be battered on the ledges below. The other
bird raised her wings to follow, then clapped them
back over her baby. Fear is the most contagious
thing in the world; and that flap of fear by the
other bird thrilled her, too, but as she had
withstood the stampede of the colony, so she caught
herself again and held on.
She was now alone on the bare top of the rock,
with ten thousand circling birds screaming to her
in the air above, and with two men creeping up to
her with a big black camera that clicked ominously.
She let the multitude scream, and with
threatening beak watched the two men come on.
A motherless baby, spying her, ran down the rock
squealing for his life. She spread a wing, put her
bill behind him and shoved him quickly in out of
sight with her own baby. The man with the
camera saw the act, for I heard his machine click,
and I heard him say something under his breath
that you would hardly expect a mere man and a
game-warden to say. But most men have a good
deal of the mother in them; and the old bird
had acted with such decision, such courage, such
swift, compelling instinct, that any man, short
of the wildest savage, would have felt his heart
quicken at the sight.
``Just how compelling might that motherinstinct
be?'' I wondered. ``Just how much
would that mother-love stand?'' I had dropped
to my knees, and on all fours had crept up within
about three feet of the bird. She still had chance
for flight. Would she allow me to crawl any
nearer? Slowly, very slowly, I stretched forward
on my hands, like a measuring-worm, until my
body lay flat on the rocks, and my fingers were
within three INCHES of her. But her wings were
twitching, a wild light danced in her eyes, and her
head turned toward the sea.
For a whole minute I did not stir. I was
watching--and the wings again began to tighten about
the babies, the wild light in the eyes died down,
the long, sharp beak turned once more toward me.
Then slowly, very slowly, I raised my hand,
touched her feathers with the tip of one finger--
with two fingers--with my whole hand, while
the loud camera click-clacked, click-clacked
hardly four feet away!
It was a thrilling moment. I was not killing
anything. I had no long-range rifle in my hands,
coming up against the wind toward an unsuspecting
creature hundreds of yards away. This was no
wounded leopard charging me; no mother-bear
defending with her giant might a captured cub. It
was only a mother-bird, the size of a wild duck,
with swift wings at her command, hiding under
those wings her own and another's young, and
her own boundless fear!
For the second time in my life I had taken
captive with my bare hands a free wild bird. No,
I had not taken her captive. She had made herself
a captive; she had taken herself in the strong net
of her mother-love.
And now her terror seemed quite gone. At the
first touch of my hand I think she felt the love
restraining it, and without fear or fret she let me
reach under her and pull out the babies. But she
reached after them with her bill to tuck them
back out of sight, and when I did not let them go,
she sidled toward me, quacking softly, a language
that I perfectly understood, and was quick to
respond to. I gave them back, fuzzy and black
and white. She got them under her, stood up over
them, pushed her wings down hard around them,
her stout tail down hard behind them, and
together with them pushed in an abandoned egg
that was close at hand. Her own baby, some one
else's baby, and some one else's forsaken egg! She
could cover no more; she had not feathers enough.
But she had heart enough; and into her mother's
heart she had already tucked every motherless
egg and nestling of the thousands of frightened
birds, screaming and wheeling in the air high over
her head.
(The grades assigned are merely suggestive, as some of the stories
may be used in higher or lower grades than here indicated.)
For grades 1-4.
An All-the-Year-Round Story, in Poulsson, In the Child's
World; Peter the Stone-Cutter, in Macdonell, Italian
Fairy Book; The Forest Full of Friends, in Alden, Why the
Chimes Rang.
For grades 5-8.
A Chinese New Year's in California, in Our Holidays
Retold from St. Nicholas; A New Year's Talk, in Stevenson,
Days and Deeds (prose); Story of the Year, in Andersen,
Stories and Tales; The Animals' New Year's Eve, in Lagerlof,
Further Adventures of Nils.
For grades 1-4.
A Westfield Incident, in Moores, Abraham Lincoln, page
87; Lincoln and the Little Horse, in Werner's Readings, no.
46; Lincoln and the Pig, in Gross, Lincoln's Own Stories;
Lincoln and the Small Dog, in Moores, Aoraham Lincoln,
page 25.
For grades 5-6.
A Backwoods Boyhood, in Moores, Abraham Lincoln;
Choosing Abe Lincoln Captain, in Schauffler, Lincoln's
Birthday; Following the Surveyor's Chain, in Baldwin,
Abraham Lincoln; His Good Memory of Names, in Gallaher,
Best Lincoln Stories; Lincoln and the Doorkeeper, in Gross,
Lincoln's Own Stories, page 78, Lincoln and the Unjust Client,
in Moores, Abraham Lincoln, page 46; Lincoln's Kindness to
a Disabled Soldier, in Gallaher, Best Lincoln Stories; The
Clary's Grove Boys, in Noah Brooks, Abraham Lincoln page
51; The Snow Boys, in Noah Brooks, Abraham Lincoln page
For grades 7-8.
Counsel Assigned, Andrews; He Knew lincoln, Tarbell;
Lincoln and the Sleeping Senhnel, Chittenden; Lincoln
Remembered Him, in Gallaher, Best Lincoln Stories; Lincoln's
Springfield Farewell, in Moores, Abraham lincoln, page 82;
Perfect Tribute, Andrews.
For grades 1-4.
A Sunday Valentine, in White, When Molly was Six;
Beauty and the Beast, in Lang, Blue Fairy Book, East of the
Sun and West of the Moon, in Lang, Blue Fairy Book; The
Fair One With Golden Locks, in Scudder, Children's Book;
The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood, in Scudder, Children's
Book; The Valentine (poem), in Brown, Fresh Posies.
For grades 5-6.
Gracieuse and Percinet, in D'Aulnoy, Fairy Tales; Jorinda
and Joringel, in Grimm, German Household Tales; The Day-
Dream, Tennyson (poem), in Story-Telling Poems; The
Singing, Soaring Lark, in Grimm, German Household Tales
William and the Werewolf, in Darton, Wonder Book of Old
For grades 7-8.
As You Like It, Shakespeare; Brunhild, in Baldwin, Story
of Siegfried; Floris and Blanchefleur, in Darton, Wonder
Book of Old Romance; Palamon and Arcita, in Darton, Tales
of the Canterbury Pilgrims; The Fair Maid of Perth, Scott,
chapters 2-6; The Singing Leaves, Lowell (poem); The
Tempest, Shakespeare.
For grades 1-4.
Little George Washington, and Great George Washington,
in Wiggin and Smith, Story Hour; The Virginia Boy, in
Wilson, Nature Study, Second Reader.
For grades 54.
A Christmas Surprise, in Tappan, American Hero Stories
Dolly Madison, in Tappan, American Hero Stories; Going
to Sea, in Scudder, George Washinyton, page 33; How George
Washington was Made Commander-in-Chief, in Tomlinson,
War for Independence; The Home of Washington, and
The Appearance of the Enemy, in Madison, Peggy Owen at
Yorktown; Young Washington in the Woods, in Eggleston,
Strange Stories from History.
For grades 7-8.
Anecdotes and Stories, in Schauffler, Washington's Birthday;
He Resigns his Commission, in Lodge, George Washington,
vol. I, page 338; The British at Mount Vernon, in Lodge,
George Washington, vol. I, page 295; The Young Surveyor,
in Scudder, George Washington; Washington Offered the
Supreme Power, in Lodge, George Washington, vol. I, page 328;
Washington's Farewell to His Officers, in Lodge, George
Washington, vol. I, page 387.
For grades 1-4.
Easter Eggs, von Schmid; The Boy Who Discovered the
Spring, in Alden, Why the Chimes Rang; Herr Oster Hase,
in Bailey and Lewis, For the Children's Hour; The Legend
of Easter Eggs, O'Brien (poem), in Story-Telling Poems; The
Rabbit's Ransom, Vawter; The White Hare, in Stevenson,
Days and Deeds (prose).
For grades 5-8.
Easter, Gilder (poem); The General's Easter Box, in Our
Holidays Retold from St. Nicholas; The Trinity Flower,
Ewing; What Easter is, in Stevenson, Days and Deeds (prose).
For grades 1-4.
A Story of the Springtime, in Kupfer, Legends of Greeee
and Rome; How the Water Lily Came, in Judd, Wigwam
Stories; The Brook in the King's Garden, in Alden, Why the
Chimes Rang; The Legend of the Dandelion, in Bailey and
Lewis, For the Children's Hour; The Lilac Bush, in Riverside
Fourth Reader; The Maple Leaf and the Violet, in
Wiggin and Smith, Story Flour; The Story of the Anemone
in Coe, First Book of Stories for the Story-Teller; The Story
of the First Butterflies, in Holbrook, Book of Nature Myths;
The Story of the First Snowdrops, in Holbrook, Book of Nature
Myths; The Story of the Rainbow, in Coe, First Book
of Stories for the Story-Teller; Two Little Seeds, in MacDonald,
David Elginbrod, chapter, ``The Cave in the Straw;
``Why the Morning-Glory Climbs, in Bryant, How to Tell
Stories to Children.
For grades 5-6.
Ladders to Heaven, Ewing; The Daisy, in Andersen,
Wonder Stories; Five out of One Shell, in Andersen, Stories and
Tales; The Pomegranate Seeds, in Hawthorne, Tanglewood
For grades 7-8.
The May-Pole at Merry Mount, in Hawthorne, Twice-
Told Tales; The Opening of the Eyes of Jasper, in Dyer
The Richer Life; The Prisoner and the Flower, in Stevenson,
Days and Deeds (prose).
For grades 1-4.
Hans and the Wonderful Flower, in Bailey and Lewis
For the Children's Hour; The Closing Door, in Lindsay
Mother Stories; The Laughter of a Samurai, in Nixon-Roulet,
Japanese Folk-Stories; The Fairy Who Came to our
House, in Bailey and Lewis, For the wrhildren's Hour; The
Little Traveler, in Lindsay, Mother Stories; Thorwald and
the Star-Children, in Boyesen, Modern Vikings.
For grades 5-6.
Lincoln's Letter to a Mother, in Moores, Abraham Lincoln,
page 105; My Angel Mother, in Baldwin, Abraham
Lincoln; Napoleon and the English Sailor Boy, Campbell
(poem), in Story-Telling Poems; The Song of the Old Mother,
Yeats (poem), in Riverside Eighth Reader; Valentine and
Ursine (poem), in Lanier, Boy's Perey.
For grades 7-8.
A Patriot Mother, in Tomlinson, War for Independence;
Lincoln's Letter, in Gross, Lincoln's Own Stories; President
for One Hour, in St. Nicholas Christmas Book; The Conqueror's
Grave, Bryant (poem); The Gracci, in Morris,
Historical Tales (Roman); The Knight's Toast attributed to
Scott (poem), in Story-Telling Poems; Young Manhood, in
Noah Brooks, Abraham Lincoln.
For grades 3-6.
A Boy Who Won the Cross, in Hart and Stevens, Romance
of the Civil War; A Story of the Flag, in Our Holidays Retold
from St. Nicholas; Betsy's Battle Flag, Irving (poem), in
Stevenson, Poems of Ameriean History; Noteworthy Flag Incidents,
in Smith, Our Nation's Flag; The Legs of Duncan
Ketcham, in Price, Lads and Lassies of Other Days; The
Origin of Memorial Day, in Stevenson, Days and Deeds (prose);
The Planting of the Colors, in Thomas, Captain Phil, page
For grades 7-8.
Kearny at Seven Pines, Stedman (poem); Quivira, Guiterman
(poem), in Story-Telling Poems; Reading the List, in
Sehauffler, Memorial Day; Remember the Alamo, in Lodge
and Roosevelt, Hero Tales, Reuben James, Roche, (poem), in
Story-Telling Poems; The Defense of the Alamo, Miller
(poem), in Stevenson, Poems of American History; The Fire
Rekindled, in Schauffler, Memorial Day; The Flag-Bearer,
in Lodge and Roosevelt, Hero Tales; The March of the First
Brigade, in Riverside Eighth Reader.
For grades S-6.
A Winter at Valley Forge, in Tappan, American Hero
Stories; Cornwallis's Buckles, in Revolutionary Stories Retold
from St. Nicholas; Ethan Allen, in Johonnot, Stories of
Heroic Deeds; Fourth of July Among the Indians, in Indian
Stories Retold from St. Nicholas; How ``Mad Anthony''
Took Stony Point, in Tappan, American Hero Stories; How
the ``Swamp Fox'' Made the British Miserable, in Tappan,
American Hero Stories; John Paul Jones, in Tappan, American
Hero Stories; Laetitia and the Redcoats, in Revolutionary
Stories Retold from St. Nicholas; Molly Pitcher, in
Revolutionary Stories Retold from St. Nicholas; Paul Revere's Ride
Longfellow (poem), in Story-Telling Poems; Prescott and the
Yankee Boy, in Johonnot, Stories of Heroic Deeds; Rodney's
Ride, Brooks (poem), in Story-Telling Poems; The Boston
Massacre, in Hawthorne, Grandfather's Chair; The Bulb of
the Crimson Tulip, in Revolutionary Stories Retold from St
Nicholas; The First Day of the Revolution, in Tappan;
American Hero Stories.
For grades 7-8.
A Woman's Heroism, in Tomlinson, Warfor Independence;
Grandmother's Story of Bunker-Hill Battle, Holmes (poem);
How the Major Joined Marion's Men, in Tomlinson, War for
Independence; Molly Pitcher, Sherwood (poem), in Stevenson,
Poems of American History; Patrick Henry, in Morris
Historical Tales, American, Second Series; Song of Marion's
Men, Bryant (poem); That Bunker Hill Powder, in Revolutionary
Stories Retold from St. Nicholas; The Mantle of St.
John de Matha, Whittier (poem); The Tory's Farewell, in
Hawthorne, Grandfather's Chair.
For grades 1-4.
Dust Under the Rug, in Lindsay, Mother Stories, Giant
Energy and Fairy Skill, in Lindsay, Mother Stories; How
Flax was Given to Men, in Holbrook, Book of Nature Myths;
My Friend the Housekeeper, in Riverside Fourth Reader,
Peasant Truth, in Riverside Third Reader; Prometheus, the
Giver of Fire in Coe, First Book of Stories for the Story-
Teller; Six Soidiers of Fortune, in Grimm, German Household
Tales; The Country Maid and her Milk-Pail, in Scudder,
Book of Fables and Folk-Stories; The Flax, in Andersen,
Wonder Stories; The Hammer and the Anvil, in Ramaswami
Raju, Indian Fables; The Honest Woodman, in Poulsson,
In the Child's World; The Little Gray Pony, in Lindsay,
Mother Stories; The Little House in the Wood, in Grimm,
German Household Tales; The Old Man Who Lived in a
Wood (poem), in Story-Telling Poems; The Pixy Flower, in
Rhys, Fairy-Gold; The Spandies, in Gilchrist, Helen and the
Uninvited Guests, page 15; The Three Trades, in Grimm,
German Household Tales; The Toy of the Giant's Child, von
Chamisso (poem), in Story-Telling Poems; Vegetable Lambs,
in Curtis, Story of Cotton; Vulcan the Mighty Smith, in
Poulsson, In the Child's World.
For grades 5-6.
A Handful of Clay, in Riverside Sixth Reader; How they
Built the Ship Argo in Iolcos, in Kingsley, Greek Heroes;
Icarus and DEedalus, in Peabody, Old Greek Folk-Stones;
Master of All Masters, in Jacobs, English Fairy Tales; The
Dwarf's Gifts, in Brown, In the Days of Giants; The Forging
of Balmung, in Baldwin, Hero Tales; The Giant Builder,
in Brown, In the Days of Giants; The God of Fire, in
Francillon, Gods and Heroes; The Wicked Hornet, in Baldwin,
The Sampo; The Wish-Ring, in Fairy Stories Retold from St.
Nicholas; The Wounds of Labor, in d'Amicis, Heart (Cuore);
Weland's Sword, in Kipling, Puck of Pook's Hill.
For grades 74.
Careers of Danger and Daring, Moffett; David Maydole,
Hammer-Maker, in Riverside Seventh Reader; Jack Farley's
Flying Switch, in Warman, Short Rails; Histories of Two
Boys, in Riverside Seventh Reader; History of Labor Day,
in Stevenson, Days and Deeds (prose); The Arms of Aeneas,
in Church, Stories from Virgil; The Blacksmith Boy and the
Battle, in Marden, Winning Out; The Duke's Armorer, in
Stories of Chivalry Retold from St. Nicholas; The Scullion
Boy's Opportunity, in Marden, Winning Out; The Vision of
Anton the Clockmaker, in Dyer, The Richer Life, Tubal
Cain, Mackay (poem), in Story-Telling Poems.
For grades 4-8.
Columbus, Miller (poem), in Riverside Seventh Reader;
Columbus at the Convent, Trowbridge (poem), in Stevenson,
Poems of American History; Guanahani, in Maores, Christopher
Columbus; How Diego Mendez Got Food for Columbus
in Higginson, American Explorers; How Diego Mendez
Saved Columbus, in Higginson, American Ewplorers; In
Search of the Grand Khan, in Moores, Christopher Columbus;
The Garden of Eden, in Moores, Christopher Columbus.
For grades 1-4.
The Smith and the Fairies, in Grierson, Children's Book of
Celtic Stories; The Witch, in Lang, Yellow Fairy Book; The
Witch That was a Hare, in Rhys, English Fairy Book; Tom-
Tit Tot (Rumpelstiltskin), in Jacobs, English Fairy Tales.
For grades 5-6.
Mr. Fox, in Jacobs, English Fairy Tales; The Godfather,
in Grimm, German Household Tales; The Golden Arm, in
Jacobs, Enylish Fairy Tales; The Robber Bridegroom, in
Grimm, German Household Tales; The Story of a Cat, Bedoliere;
The Youth Who Could not Shiver or Shake, in Grimm,
German Household Tales.
For grades 7-8.
Alice Brand, in Scott, Lady of the Lake (poem); All-
Hallow-Eve Myths, in Our Holidays Retold from St. Nicholas;
Black Andie's Tale of Tod Lapraik, in Stevenson, David
Balfour; History of Hallowe'en, in Stevenson, Days and
Deeds (prose); Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and Rip Van Winkle
Irving; Macbeth, Shakespeare; The Bottle Imp, in Stevenson,
Island Nights' Entertainments; The Devil and Tom
Walker, Irving; The Fire-King, Scott (poem); The Speaking
Rat, in Dickens, Uncommercial Traveller, chapter 15.
For grades 1-4
A Thanksgiving Dinner, in White, When Molly was Six;
The Chestnut Boys, in Poulsson, In the Child's World; The
First Thanksgiving Day, in Wiggin and Smith, Story Hour;
The Marriage of Mondahmin, in Judd, Wigwam Stories; The
Turkey's Nest, in Lindsay, More Mother Stories; The Visit,
in Lindsay, More Mother Stories; Turkeys Turning the
Tables, in Howells, Christmas Every Day.
For grades 5-6.
A Dinner That Ran Away, in Miller, Kristy's Surprise
Party; A Mystery in the Kitchen, in Miller, Kristy's Surprise
Party; Ann Mary, Her Two Thanksgivings, in Wilkins,
Young Lueretia; An Old-Time Thanksgiving, in Indian Stories
Retold from St. Nicholas; The Coming of Thanksgiving, and
The Season of Pumpkin Pies, in Warner, Being a Boy; The
Magic Apples, in Brown, In the Days of Giants; St. Francis's
Sermon to the Birds, Longfellow (poem), in Story-Telling
For grades 7-8.
An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving, Alcott; The First
Thanksgiving Day, Preston (poem), in Story-Telling Poems; The
Night Before Thanksgiving, in Jewett, The Queen's Twin;
The Peace Message (poem), in Stevenson, Poems of Amercan
History; The Turkey Drive, in Sharp, Winter.
For grades 1-4.
A Christmas Tree Reversed, in Brown, lattle Miss Phoebe
Gay; Babouseka, Thomas (poem), in Story-Telling Poems;
Christmas Every Day, Howells; Fulfilled, in Bryant, How to
Tell Stories to Children; His Christmas Turkey, in Vawter,
The Rabbi's Ransom; In the Great Walled Country, in Alden,
Why the Chimes Rang; Little Girl's Christmas, in Dickinson
and Skinner, Children's Book of Christmas Stories; Santa
Claus and the Mouse, Poulsson (poem), in St. Nicholas
Christmas Book; The Christmas Cake, in Lindsay, More
Mother Stories; The Christmas Tree, in Austin, Basket
Woman; The First New England Christmas, in Stone and
Fickett, Every-Day Life in the Colonies; The Golden Cobwebs,
in Bryant, How to Tell Stories to Children; The Moon of
Yule, in Davis, The Moons of Balbanea; The Rileys' Christmas,
in White, When Molly was Six; The Story of Gretehen
in Lindsay, Mother Stories; The Three Kings of Cologne, Field
(poem), in Story-Telling Poems; The Turkey Doll, Gates; The
Voyage of the Wee Red Cap, in Dickinson and Skinner, Children's
Book of Christmas Stories; Toinette and the Elves, in
Dickinson and Skinner, Children's Book of Christmas Stones;
'Twas the Night Before Christmas, Moore (poem); Why the
Chimes Rang, Alden.
For grades 5-6.
Christmas Before Last, in Stockton, Bee-Man of Orn;
Christmas in the Alley, in Miller, Kristy's Queer Christmas;
Dog of Flanders, Ramee; Felix, in Stein, Troubadour Tales;
Good King Wenceslas (poem), in Story-Telling Poems;
Hope's Christmas Tree, in Miller, Kristy's Surprise Party,
How a Bear Brought Christmas, in Miller, Kristy's Queer
Christmas; How Santa Claus Came to Simpson's Bar, in
Harte, Luck of Roaring Camp; How Uncle Sam Observes
Christmas, in Our Holidays Retold from St. Nicholas; Lottie's
Christmas Tree, in Miller, Kristy's Rainy Day Picnic; St.
Nicholas and the Innkeeper, in Walsh, Story of Santa Klaus;
St. Nicholas and the Robbers, in Walsh, Story of Santa
Klaus; St. Nicholas and the Slave Boy, in Walsh, Story of
Santa Klaus; Santa Claus on a Lark, Gladden; Solomon
Crow's Christmas Pockets, Stuart; The Birds' Christmas
Carol, Wiggin; The Coming of the Prince, in Field, Christmas
Tales and Christmas Verse; The Festival of St. Nicholas,
in Dodge, Hans Brinker; The Peace Egg, Ewing; The Symbol
and the Saint, in Field, Christmas Tales and Christmas
For grades 7-8.
A Christmas Carol, Dickens; A Still Christmas, Repplier,
in Morris, In the Yule-Log Glow; The First Christmas Tree,
Van Dyke; The Lost Word, Van Dyke; The Mansion, Van
Dyke; The Other Wise Man, Van Dyke; Cosette, in Hugo, Les
Miserables, book 3; Where Love is, There God is Also, Tolstoy.
For grades 1-4.
Flower of the Almond and Fruit of the Fig, in Foote, Little
Fig-Tree Stories; Earl and the Dryad, in Brown, Star Jewels;
The Girl Who Became a Pine Tree, in Judd, Wigwam Stories;
The Kind Old Oak, in Poulsson, In the Child's World; The
Oak Tree, in Vawter, The Rabbit's Ransom; The Workman
and the Trees, in Ramaswami Raju, Indian Fables.
For grades 5-6.
Apple-Seed John, Child (poem), in Story-Telling Poems;
How the Children Saved Hamburg, in Marden, Winning
Out; How the Indians Learned to Make Maple Sugar, in
University of the State of New York, Legends and Poetry of
the Forests; Old Pipes and the Dryad, in Stockton, Bee-Man
of Orn; Tale of Old Man and the Birch Tree, in University of
the State of New York, Legends and Poetry of the Forests;
The Elm and the Vine, Rosas (poem), in Story-Telling
Poems; The Gourd and the Palm (poem), in Story-Telling
Poems; The Planting of the Apple Tree, Bryant (poem), in
Riverside Fifth Reader.
For grades 7-8.
Brier-Rose, Boyesen (poem), in Story-Telling Poems; How
the Charter was Saved, in Morris, Historical Tales, American;
O-So-Ah, the Tall Pine Speaks, in University of the
State of New York, Legends and Poetry of the Forests; The
Eliot Oak, in Drake, New England Legends; The First of
the Trees, in University of the State of New York, Legends
and Poetry of the Forests; The Liberty Tree, in Hawthorne,
Grandfather's Chair, part 3. chapter 2; The Plucky Prince,
May Bryant (poem), in Story-Telling Poems; The Story of
a Thousand-Year Pine, Mills; The Washington Elm, in
Drake, New England Legends.
For grades 1-4.
Out of the Nest, in Lindsay, More Mother Stories; The Fox
and the Crow, in Jacobs, Aesop's Fables; The Jackdaw and
the Doves, in Scudder, Book of Fables and Folk-Stories; The
Jay and the Peacock, in Jacobs, Aesop's Fables; The King, the
Falcon, and the Drinking Cup, in Dutton, The Tortoise and
the Geese; The Lark and her Young Ones, in Scudder, Book of
Fables and Folk-Stories; The Monk and the Bird, in Scudder,
Book of legends; The Owl and his School, in Ramaswami
Raju, Indian Fables; The Owl and the Pussy-Cat, Lear
(poem), in Story-Telling Poems; The Partridge and the Crow,
in Dutton, The Tortoise and the Geese; The Pious Robin, in
Brown, Curious Book of Birds; The Rustic and the Nightingale,
in Dutton, The Tortoise and the Geese; The Sparrows,
Thaxter (poem), in Story-Telling Poems; The Sparrows and
the Snake, in Dutton, The Tortoise and the Geese; The Spendthrift
and the Swallow, in Scudder, Book of Fables and Folk-
Stories; The Story of the First Mocking-Bird, in Holbrook,
Book of Nature Myths; The Story of the Oriole, in Holbrook,
Book of Nature Myths; The Wren Who Brought Fire, in
Brown, Curious Book of Birds; Why the Peacock's Tail has
a Hundred Eyes, in Holbrook, Book of Nature Myths; Why
the Peetweet Cries for Rain, in Holbrook, Book of Nature
For grades 5-6.
A Madcap Thrush, in Miller, True Bird Stories; Antics in
the Bird Room, in Miller, True Bird Stories; Fate of the
Children of Lir, in Grierson, Children's Book of Celtie Stories;
Halcyone, in Brown, Curious Book of Birds; St. Francis's Sermon
to the Birds, Longfellow (poem), in Story-Telling Poems;
Saint Kentigern and the Robin, in Brown, Book of Saints
and Friendly Beasts; The Donkey and the Mocking-Bird,
Rosas (poem), in Story-Telling Poems; The Early Girl, in
Brown, Curious Book of Birds; The Nightingale, in Andersen,
Wonder Stories; The Parrot, Campbell (poem), in Story-
Telling Poems, The Phoenix, in Brown, Curious Book of
Birds; The Robin, Whittier (poem); The Sauey Oriole, in
Miller, True Bird Stories; The Wild Swans, in Andersen,
Wonder Stories; Walter son der Vogelweid, Longfellow
For grades 7-8.
Arnaux, the Chroniele of a Homing Pigeon, in Thompson-
Seton, Animal Heroes; King Edwin's Feast, Chadwiek
(poem), in Story-Telling Poems; Our New Neighbors at
Ponkapog, in Riverside Seventh Reader; The Abbot of Inisfalen,
Allingham (poem), in Story-Telling Poems; The Birds
of Killingworth, Longfellow (poem); The Downy Woodpecker,
in Bird Stories from Burroughs; The Eagle, Tennyson
(poem); The Emperor's Bird's-Nest, Longfellow (poem),
in Story-Telling Poems; The Falcon of Ser Federigo, Longfellow
(poem); The Gulls, in Breck, Wilderness Pets, pages
103, 161; The House Wren, in Bird Stories from Burroughs;
The Keeper of the Nest, in Roberts, The Feet of the Furtive;
The Screech Owl, in Bird Stories from Burroughs; The Song
Sparrow, in Bird Stories from Burroughs.

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