GOOD STORIES FOR GREAT HOLIDAYS
ARRANGED FOR STORY-TELLING AND READING ALOUD
AND FOR THE CHILDREN'S OWN READING
By Frances Jenkins Olcott
Index according to reading level is appended.
TO THE STORY-TELLER
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 matter.
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. Reading-lists, 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
LINCOLN'S BIRTHDAY (February 10)
HE RESCUES THE BIRDS: Noah Brooks, Abraham Lincoln
LINCOLN AND THE LITTLE GIRL: Charles W. Moores, 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
A STRANGER AT FIVE-POINTS: Adapted
A SOLOMON COME TO JUDGMENT: Charles W. Moores, Life of Abraham Lincoln for Boys and Girls
GEORGE PICKETT'S FRIEND: Charles W. Moores, Life of Abraham Lincoln for Boys and Girls
LINCOLN THE LAWYER: Z. A. Mudge, The Forest Boy
THE COURAGE OF HIS CONVICTIONS: Adapted
MR. LINCOLN AND THE BIBLE: Z. A. Mudge, The Forest Boy
HIS SPRINGFIELD FAREWELL ADDRESS [Lincoln]
SAINT VALENTINE'S DAY (February 14)
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
WASHINGTON'S BIRTHDAY (February 22)
THREE OLD TALES: M. L. Weems, Life of George Washington, with Curious Anecdotes
YOUNG GEORGE AND THE COLT: Horace E. Scudder, 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
THE LOVELIEST ROSE IN THE WORLD: Hans Christian Andersen, Stories and Tales
MAY DAY (May 1) THE SNOWDROP: Hans Christian Andersen; Adapted by Bailey and Lewis
THE THREE LITTLE BUTTERFLY BROTHERS: From the German
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
QUEEN MARGARET AND THE ROBBERS: Albert F. Blaisdell, Stories from Enylish History
THE REVENGE OF CORIOLANUS: Charles Morris, Historical Tales
THE WIDOW AND HER THREE SONS
MEMORIAL DAY (May 30) AND FLAG DAY (June 14) Confederate Memorial Day is celebrated in some States on April 26 and in others on May 10.
BETSY ROSS AND THE FLAG: Harry Pringle Ford
THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER: Eva March Tappan, 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
TWO HERO-STORIES OF THE CIVIL WAR: Ben La Bree, Camp Fires of the Confederacy
THE YOUNG SENTINEL: Z. A. Mudge, The Forest Boy
THE COLONEL OF THE ZOUAVES: Noah Brooks, Abraham Lincoln
GENERAL SCOTT AND THE STARS AND STRIPES: E. D. Townsend, Anecdotes of the Civil War
INDEPENDENCE DAY (July 4)
THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE: Washington Irving, Life of Washington
THE SIGNING OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE: 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
THE ELVES AND THE SHOEMAKER: Horace E. Scudder, Book of Fables and Folk Stories
THE HILLMAN AND THE HOUSEWIFE: Juliana Horatia Ewing, Old Fashioned Fairy Tales
HOFUS THE STONE CUTTER, A JAPANESE LEGEND: 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
THE SPEAKING STATUE: Gesta Romanorum
THE CHAMPION STONE CUTTER: Hugh Miller
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
THE FIRST LANDING OF COLUMBUS IN THE NEW WORLD: 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
THE BENEVOLENT GOBLIN: Gesta Romanorum
THE PHANTOM KNIGHT OF THE VANDAL CAMP: Gesta Romanorum
THANKSGIVING DAY (Last Thursday in November)
THE FIRST HARVEST-HOME IN PLYMOUTH: W. De Loss Lore, Jr., The Fast and Thanksgiving Days of New England
THE MASTER OF THE HARVEST: Mrs. Alfred Gatty, Parables from Nature
SAINT CUTHBERT'S EAGLE: The Venerable Bede, Life and Miracles of Saint Cuthbert
THE EARS OF WHEAT: The Brothers Grimm, German Household Tales
HOW INDIAN CORN CAME INTO THE WORLD: Henry R. Schoolcraft, The Myth of Hiawatha
THE NUTCRACKER DWARF: Count Franz Pocci, Fur Frohliche Kinder
THE PUMPKIN PIRATES, A TALE FROM LUCIAN: Alfred J. Church, The Greek Gulliver
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 WOODEN SHOES OF LITTLE WOLFF: Francois Coppee
THE PINE TREE: Hans Christian Andersen, Wonder Stories
THE CHRISTMAS CUCKOO: Frances Browne, Granny's Wonderful Chair
THE CHRISTMAS FAIRY OF STRASBURG, A GERMAN FOLK-TALE: J. Stirling Coyne, Illustrated London News
THE THREE PURSES, A LEGEND: William S. Walsh, Story of Santa Klaus
THE THUNDER OAK, A SCANDINAVIAN LEGEND: William S. Walsh and Others
THE CHRISTMAS THORN OF GLASTONBURY, A LEGEND OF ANCIENT BRITAIN: William of Malmesbury and Others
THE THREE KINGS OF COLOGNE, A LEGEND OF THE MIDDLE AGES: John of Hildesheim, Modernized by H. S. Morris
THE LITTLE TREE THAT LONGED FOR OTHER LEAVES: Friedrieh Ruckert
WHY THE EVERGREEN TREES NEVER LOSE THEIR LEAVES: Florence Holbrook, Book of Nature Myths
WHY THE ASPEN QUIVERS: Old legend
THE WONDER TREE: Friedrich Adolph Krummacher, Parables
THE PROUD OAK TREE: Old Fable
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
THE OLD WOMAN WHO BECAME A WOODPECKER: 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 QUAILS, A LEGEND OF THE JATAKA: Riverside Fourth Reader
THE MAGPIE'S NEST: Joseph Jacobs, English Fairy Tales
THE GREEDY GEESE: Il Libro d'Oro
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 PRIDE OF THE REGIMENT: Harry M. Rieffer, The Recollections of a Drummer Boy
THE MOTHER MURRE: Dallas Lore Sharp, Summer
REFERENCE LISTS FOR STORY-TELLING AND COLLATERAL READING
GOOD STORIES FOR GREAT HOLIDAYS
THE FAIRY'S NEW YEAR GIFT
BY EMILIE POULSSON (ADAPTED)
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 is."
"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."
THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL
BY HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN (TRANSLATED)
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 lovely.
"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.
THE TWELVE MONTHS
A SLAV LEGEND
BY ALEXANDER CHODZKO (ADAPTED)
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 help.
Helen, meanwhile, did nothing but dress herself in her best clothes and go to one amusement after another.
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 Marouckla.
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 ripe."
"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 crossly.
"Right up among the mountains. Those from under the beech trees are not bad," answered Marouckla.
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 near.
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 Marouckla.
"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 place."
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 home."
Thanking the Months she returned joyfully. Helen and the stepmother wondered at seeing the fruit.
"Where did you gather them?" asked the stepsister.
"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 home."
"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 mountain.
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.
THE MAIL-COACH PASSENGERS
BY HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN (ADAPTED)
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-ra-ra!" 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 greeting.
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,—OLD MOTHER DECEMBER! The dame was 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.
HE RESCUES THE BIRDS
BY NOAH BROOKS (ADAPTED)
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."
LINCOLN AND THE LITTLE GIRL
BY CHARLES W. MOORES
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.
TRAINING FOR THE PRESIDENCY
BY ORISON SWETT MARDEN
"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."
WHY LINCOLN WAS CALLED "HONEST ABE"
BY NOAH BROOKS
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.
A STRANGER AT FIVE-POINTS
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 feeling.
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 response.
A SOLOMON COME TO JUDGMENT
BY CHARLES W. MOORES
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'S FRIEND
BY CHARLES W. MOORES
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 kiss.
"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.'"
LINCOLN THE LAWYER
BY Z. A. MUDGE (ADAPTED)
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 exertion.
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."
THE COURAGE OF HIS CONVICTIONS
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 law-partner, 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 free."
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."
MR. LINCOLN AND THE BIBLE
BY Z. A. MUDGE (ADAPTED)
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.
HIS SPRINGFIELD FAREWELL ADDRESS
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 again.
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."
SAINT VALENTINE'S DAY
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.
A PRISONER'S VALENTINE
BY MILLICENT OLMSTED (ADAPTED)
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?"
A GIRL'S VALENTINE CHARM
AS TOLD BY HERSELF
(FROM THE CONNOISSEUR, 1775)
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.
MR. PEPYS HIS VALENTINE
AS RELATED BY HIMSELF IN 1666
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 pretty.
CUPID AND PSYCHE
BY JOSEPHINE PRESTON PEABODY
THE ENCHANTED PALACE
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 passed.
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 thither.
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 you."
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 window.
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.
THE TRIAL OF PSYCHE:
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 Love.
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 overcome.
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.
THREE OLD TALES
BY M. L. WEEMS (ADAPTED)
I. THE CHERRY TREE
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 way.
One day, as he wandered about the garden amusing himself by hacking his mother's pea-sticks, 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!"
II. THE APPLE ORCHARD
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 ground.
"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 more."
III. THE GARDEN-BED
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 father.
"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:—
YOUNG GEORGE AND THE COLT
BY HORACE E. SCUDDER
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 animal.
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 stock.
"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."
WASHINGTON THE ATHLETE
BY ALBERT F. BLAISDELL AND FRANCIS E. BALL
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.
BY HENRY CABOT LODGE (ADAPTED)
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 twenty-seven, 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."
WASHINGTON AT YORKTOWN
BY HENRY CABOT LODGE
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 observer.
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 out-works, 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."
RESURRECTION DAY (EASTER)
(MARCH OR APRIL)
A LESSON OF FAITH
BY MRS. ALFRED GATTY (ADAPTED)
"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 butterfly 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 away."
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 deal.
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 creatures.
"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 cabbage-leaves!"
"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 caterpillar.
"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 yonder!"
"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 lark. "YOU WILL ONE DAY BE A BUTTERFLY YOURSELF!"
"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 trust."
"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 too.
"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."
A CHILD'S DREAM OF A STAR
BY CHARLES DICKENS
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!"