THE CHILD'S WORLD
HETTY S. BROWNE Extension worker in rural school practice Winthrop Normal and Industrial College Rock Hill, S.C.
SARAH WITHERS Principal Elementary Grades and Critic Teacher Winthrop Normal and Industrial College
W.K. TATE Professor of Rural Education George Peabody College for Teachers Nashville, Tenn.
JOHNSON PUBLISHING COMPANY Richmond, Virginia
Success with the Child's World Readers is in no wise dependent on the use of the chart, manual, or cards.
Modern teachers of reading, however, recognize the saving of time and effort to be accomplished for both their pupils and themselves by the use of cards, chart, and manual, and look to the publisher to provide these accessories in convenient form and at moderate cost.
The following aids are therefore offered in the belief that they will make the work of the teacher, trained or untrained, more effective.
Child's World Reader Charts......................$6.00 (10 beautiful charts in colors 27x37—20 lessons)
Child's World Manual.............................75c (Suggestions and outlines for first 5 grades)
Child's World Word Cards........................$1.00 (129 cards—258 words in Primer vocabulary)
Child's World Phrase Cards........................75c (48 cards—96 phrases)
Child's World Phonic Cards...................80c (80 cards printed both sides)
JOHNSON PUBLISHING COMPANY
For permission to use copyrighted material the authors and publishers express their indebtedness to The Independent for "Who Loves the Trees Best?" by Alice M. Douglas; to Oliver Herford and the Century Company for "The Elf and the Dormouse"; to the American Folklore Society for "How Brother Rabbit Fooled the Whale and the Elephant," by Alcee Fortier; to the Outlook for "Making the Best of It," by Frances M. Fox, and "Winter Nights," by Mary F. Butts; to Harper Brothers for "The Animals and the Mirror," from Told by the Sand Man; to Rand McNally & Company for "Little Hope's Doll," from Stories of the Pilgrims, by Margaret Pumphrey; to Daughady & Company for "Squeaky and the Scare Box," from Christmas Stories, by Georgene Faulkner; to D.C. Heath & Company for "The Little Cook's Reward," from Stories of the Old North State, by Mrs. L.A. McCorkle; to Charles Scribner's Sons for "A Good Play" and "Block City," by Robert Louis Stevenson, "The Glad New Year," from Rhymes and Jingles, by Mary Mapes Dodge, "A Christmas Wish" and "Rock-a-by-Lady," by Eugene Field; to Houghton Mifflin Company for permission to adapt selections from Hiawatha; to Doubleday, Page & Company for "The Sand Man," by Margaret Vandergrift, from The Posy Ring—Wiggin and Smith; to James A. Honey for "The Monkey's Fiddle," from South African Tales; to Maud Barnard for "Donal and Conal"; to Maud Barnard and Emilie Yonker for their versions of Epaminondas.
Supplementary Historical Reading
Life of General Robert E. Lee For Third and Fourth Grades
Life of General Thomas J. Jackson For Third and Fourth Grades
Life of Washington For Fourth and Fifth Grades
Life of General N.B. Forrest For Fifth Grade
Life of General J.E.B. Stuart For Fifth and Sixth Grades
Soldier Life in the Army of Northern Virginia For Fifth Grade
Tennessee History Stories For Third and Fourth Grades
North Carolina History Stories For Fourth and Fifth Grades
Texas History Stories For Fifth and Sixth Grades
Half-Hours in Southern History For Sixth and Seventh Grades
The Yemassee (Complete Edition) For Seventh and Eighth Grades
(Ask for catalog containing list of other supplementary reading)
JOHNSON PUBLISHING COMPANY RICHMOND, VA.
PHILEMON AND BAUCIS, Flora J. Cooke, 9
THE POPLAR TREE, Flora J. Cooke, 15
WHO LOVES THE TREES BEST?, Alice May Douglas, 18
LEAVES IN AUTUMN, 19
A STORY OF BIRD LIFE, Henry Ward Beecher, 20
BOB WHITE, George Cooper, 25
HOW MARY GOT A NEW DRESS, 26
THE PLAID DRESS, 30
THE GODDESS OF THE SILKWORM, 34
THE FLAX, Hans Christian Andersen, 37
THE WONDERFUL WORLD, William Brighty Rands, 41
THE HILLMAN AND THE HOUSEWIFE, Juliana H. Ewing, 42
THE ELF AND THE DORMOUSE, Oliver Herford, 46
THE BELL OF ATRI, Italian Tale, 48
A DUMB WITNESS, Arabian Tale, 53
GIVING THANKS, 56
THE HARE AND THE HEDGEHOG, Grimm, 58
EPAMINONDAS, Southern Tale, 67
HOW BROTHER RABBIT FOOLED THE WHALE AND THE ELEPHANT, Southern Folk Tale, 73
A CHRISTMAS WISH, Eugene Field, 79
THE CHRISTMAS BELLS, Old Tale Retold, 82
GOD BLESS THE MASTER OF THE HOUSE, Old English Rime, 89
SQUEAKY AND THE SCARE BOX, Georgene Faulkner, 90
THE GLAD NEW YEAR, Mary Mapes Dodge, 99
MAKING THE BEST OF IT, Frances M. Fox, 100
THE ANIMALS AND THE MIRROR, F.A. Walker, 106
THE BARBER OF BAGDAD, Eastern Tale, 115
WINTER NIGHTS, Mary F. Butts, 122
LITTLE HOPE'S DOLL, Margaret Pumphrey, 123
NAHUM PRINCE, 130
THE LITTLE COOK'S REWARD, Mrs. L.A. McCorkle, 134
ROCK-A-BY, HUSH-A-BY, LITTLE PAPOOSE, Charles Myall, 139
THE TAR WOLF, The Indian Tar-Baby Story, 140
THE RABBIT AND THE WOLF, Southern Indian Tale, 149
BLOCK CITY, Robert Louis Stevenson, 154
A GOOD PLAY, Robert Louis Stevenson, 155
THE MONKEY'S FIDDLE, African Tale, 156
THE THREE TASKS, Grimm, 163
THE WORLD'S MUSIC, Gabriel Setoun, 170
THE SLEEPING BEAUTY, Grimm, 172
THE UGLY DUCKLING, Hans Christian Andersen, 181
THE WHITE BLACKBIRD, Adapted from Alfred de Musset, 192
THE BROWN THRUSH, Lucy Larcom, 199
THE KING AND THE GOOSEHERD, Old Tale, 200
DONAL AND CONAL, Irish Tale, 206
WHO TOLD THE NEWS?, 212
THE BIRDS OF KILLINGWORTH, Adapted from Longfellow, 213
THE TRAILING ARBUTUS, Indian Legend, 218
HIDDEN TREASURE, Grimm, 223
THE LITTLE BROWN BROTHER, Emily Nesbit, 228
HOW THE FLOWERS GROW, Gabriel Setoun, 229
WISE MEN OF GOTHAM, Old English Story, 230
THE MILLER'S GUEST, English Ballad (adapted), 233
SADDLE TO RAGS, English Ballad (adapted), 239
THE ROCK-A-BY LADY, Eugene Field, 244
THE SAND MAN, Margaret Vandergrift, 246
A DICTIONARY, 249
SUGGESTIONS TO TEACHERS, 253
Oh, for a nook and a story-book, With tales both new and old; For a jolly good book whereon to look Is better to me than gold.
—OLD ENGLISH SONG.
PHILEMON AND BAUCIS
Long ago, on a high hill in Greece, Philemon and Baucis lived.
They were poor, but they were never unhappy. They had many hives of bees from which they got honey, and many vines from which they gathered grapes. One old cow gave them all the milk that they could use, and they had a little field in which grain was raised.
The old couple had as much as they needed, and were always ready to share whatever they had with any one in want. No stranger was ever turned from their door.
At the foot of the hill lay a beautiful village, with pleasant roads and rich pasture lands all around. But it was full of wicked, selfish, people, who had no love in their hearts and thought only of themselves.
At the time of this story, the people in the village were very busy. Zeus, who they believed ruled the world, had sent word that he was about to visit them. They were preparing a great feast and making everything beautiful for his coming.
One evening, just at dark, two beggars came into the valley. They stopped at every house and asked for food and a place to sleep; but the people were too busy or too tired to attend to their needs. They were thinking only of the coming of Zeus.
Footsore and weary, the two beggars at last climbed the hill to the hut of Philemon and Baucis. These good people had eaten very little, for they were saving their best food for Zeus.
When they saw the beggars, Philemon said, "Surely these men need food more than Zeus. They look almost starved."
"Indeed, they do!" said Baucis, and she ran quickly to prepare supper for the strangers.
She spread her best white cloth upon the table, and brought out bacon, herbs, honey, grapes, bread, and milk. She set these upon the table in all the best dishes she had and called the strangers in.
Then what do you suppose happened? The dishes that the strangers touched turned to gold. The pitcher was never empty, although they drank glass after glass of milk. The loaf of bread stayed always the same size, although the strangers cut slice after slice.
"These are strange travelers," whispered the old couple to each other. "They do wonderful things."
That night Philemon and Baucis slept upon the floor that the strangers might have their one bed. In the morning they went with the travelers to the foot of the hill to see them safely started on their way.
"Now, good people," said one of the strangers, "we thank you, and whatever you wish shall be yours."
As he said this, his face became like that of the sun. Then Philemon and Baucis knew that Zeus had spoken to them.
"Grant, O Zeus, that one of us may not outlive the other," they cried in one voice.
"Your wish is granted," said Zeus; "yes, and more. Return to your home and be happy."
Philemon and Baucis turned homeward, and, lo! their hut was changed to a beautiful castle.
The old people turned around to thank their guests, but they had disappeared.
In this castle Philemon and Baucis lived many years. They still did all they could for others, and were always so happy that they never thought of wishing anything for themselves.
As the years passed, the couple grew very old and feeble. One day Baucis said to Philemon, "I wish we might never die, but could always live together."
"Ah, that is my wish, too!" sighed old Philemon.
The next morning the marble palace was gone; Baucis and Philemon were gone; but there on the hilltop stood two beautiful trees, an oak and a linden.
No one knew what became of the good people. After many years, however, a traveler lying under the trees heard them whispering to each other.
"Baucis," whispered the oak.
"Philemon," replied the linden.
There the trees stood through sun and rain, always ready to spread their leafy shade over every tired stranger who passed that way.
—FLORA J. COOKE.
THE POPLAR TREE
Long ago the poplar used to hold out its branches like other trees. It tried to see how far it could spread them.
Once at sunset an old man came through the forest where the poplar trees lived. The trees were going to sleep, and it was growing dark.
The man held something under his cloak. It was a pot of gold—the very pot of gold that lies at the foot of the rainbow. He had stolen it and was looking for some place to hide it. A poplar tree stood by the path.
"This is the very place to hide my treasure," the man said. "The branches spread out straight, and the leaves are large and thick. How lucky that the trees are all asleep!"
He placed the pot of gold in the thick branches, and then ran quickly away.
The gold belonged to Iris, the beautiful maiden who had a rainbow bridge to the earth. The next morning she missed her precious pot. It always lay at the foot of the rainbow, but it was not there now.
Iris hurried away to tell her father, the great Zeus, of her loss. He said that he would find the pot of gold for her.
He called a messenger, the swift-footed Mercury, and said, "Go quickly, and do not return until you have found the treasure."
Mercury went as fast as the wind down to the earth. He soon came to the forest and awakened the trees.
"Iris has lost her precious pot of gold that lies at the foot of the rainbow. Have any of you seen it?" he asked.
The trees were very sleepy, but all shook their heads.
"We have not seen it," they said.
"Hold up your branches," said Mercury. "I must see that the pot of gold is not hidden among them."
All of the trees held up their branches. The poplar that stood by the path was the first to hold up his. He was an honest tree and knew he had nothing to hide.
Down fell the pot of gold. How surprised the poplar tree was! He dropped his branches in shame. Then he held them high in the air.
"Forgive me," he said. "I do not know how it came to be there; but, hereafter, I shall always hold my branches up. Then every one can see that I have nothing hidden."
Since then the branches have always grown straight up; and every one knows that the poplar is an honest and upright tree.
—FLORA J. COOKE.
WHO LOVES THE TREES BEST?
Who loves the trees best? "I," said the Spring; "Their leaves so beautiful To them I bring."
Who loves the trees best? "I," Summer said; "I give them blossoms, White, yellow, red."
Who loves the trees best? "I," said the Fall; "I give luscious fruits, Bright tints to all."
Who loves the trees best? "I love them best," Harsh Winter answered; "I give them rest."
—ALICE MAY DOUGLAS.
LEAVES IN AUTUMN
Red and gold, and gold and red, Autumn leaves burned overhead; Hues so splendid Softly blended, Oh, the glory that they shed! Red and gold, and gold and red.
Gold and brown, and brown and gold, Of such fun the west wind told That they listened, And they glistened, As they wrestled in the cold; Gold and brown, and brown and gold.
Brown and gold, and red and brown, How they hurried, scurried down For a frolic, For a rolic, Through the country and the town, Brown and gold, and red and brown.
A STORY OF BIRD LIFE
Once there came to our fields a pair of birds. They had never built a nest nor seen a winter.
Oh, how beautiful was everything! The fields were full of flowers, the grass was growing tall, and the bees were humming everywhere.
One of the birds fell to singing, and the other bird said, "Who told you to sing?"
He answered, "The flowers and the bees told me. The blue sky told me, and you told me."
"When did I tell you to sing?" asked his mate.
"Every time you brought in tender grass for the nest," he replied. "Every time your soft wings fluttered off again for hair and feathers to line it."
Then his mate asked, "What are you singing about?"
"I am singing about everything," he answered. "I sing because I am happy."
By and by five little speckled eggs were in the nest, and the mother bird asked, "Is there anything in all the world as pretty as my eggs?"
A week or two afterward, the mother said, "Oh, what do you think has happened? One of my eggs has been peeping and moving."
Soon another egg moved, then another, and another, till five eggs were hatched.
The little birds were so hungry that it kept the parents busy feeding them. Away they both flew. The moment the little birds heard them coming back, five yellow mouths flew open wide.
"Can anybody be happier?" said the father bird to the mother bird. "We will live in this tree always. It is a tree that bears joy."
The very next day one of the birds dropped out of the nest, and in a moment a cat ate it up. Only four remained, and the parent birds were very sad. There was no song all that day, nor the next.
Soon the little birds were big enough to fly. The first bird that tried his wings flew from one branch to another. His parents praised him, and the other baby birds wondered how he had done it.
The little one was so proud of it that he tried again. He flew and flew and couldn't stop flying. At last he fell plump! down by the kitchen door. A little boy caught him and carried him into the house.
Now only three birds were left. The sun no longer seemed bright to the birds, and they did not sing so often.
In a little time the other birds learned to use their wings, and they flew away and away. They found their own food and made their own nests.
Then the old birds sat silent and looked at each other a long while. At last the mother bird asked, "Why don't you sing?"
"I can't sing," the father bird answered. "I only think and think!"
"What are you thinking of?"
"I am thinking how everything changes. The leaves are falling, and soon there will be no roof over our heads. The flowers are all gone. Last night there was a frost. Almost all the birds have flown away, and I am restless. Something calls me, and I feel that I must fly away, too."
"Let us fly away together!" the mother bird said.
Then they rose silently up in the air. They looked to the north; far away they saw the snow coming. They looked to the south; there they saw green leaves.
All day they flew. All night they flew and flew, till they found a land where there was no winter. There it was summer all the time; flowers always blossomed and birds always sang.
—HENRY WARD BEECHER
There's a plump little chap in a speckled coat, And he sits on the zigzag rails remote, Where he whistles at breezy, bracing morn, When the buckwheat is ripe, and stacked is the corn: "Bob White! Bob White! Bob White!"
Is he hailing some comrade as blithe as he? Now I wonder where Robert White can be! O'er the billows of gold and amber grain There is no one in sight—but, hark again: "Bob White! Bob White! Bob White!"
Ah! I see why he calls; in the stubble there Hide his plump little wife and babies fair! So contented is he, and so proud of the same, That he wants all the world to know his name: "Bob White! Bob White! Bob White!"
HOW MARY GOT A NEW DRESS
Mary lived a long time ago. She was a little girl when your great-great-grandmother was a little girl.
In those days all cloth had to be made at home. Aunt Dinah, Aunt Chloe, and Aunt Dilsey were kept busy spinning and weaving to make clothes for the whole plantation.
One day Mary's mother said, "Aunt Dilsey, Mary needs a new dress, and I want you to weave some cloth at once. Can you weave some very fine cloth?"
"Yes, ma'am," said Aunt Dilsey. "I have some cotton I've been saving to make her a dress."
Aunt Dilsey got out the cards and carded the cotton smooth and fine. Then she fastened a roll of this cotton to the spindle and sent the wheel whirling around with a "Zum-m-m-m—Zum-m-m-m!"
Mary stood and watched the old woman.
"Aunt Dilsey," she said, "the spinning wheel sings a song, and I know what it says. Grandmother told me. It says,
'A hum and a whirl, A twist and a twirl, This is for the girl With the golden curl! Zum-m-m-m-m-m! Zum-m-m-m-m-m!'"
"And that means you, honey," said Aunt Dilsey.
When the yarn was ready, Aunt Dilsey fastened it in the loom and began to weave. The threads went over and under, over and under. As Aunt Dilsey wove, she hummed. Mary stood by and sang this song,
"Over and under and over we go, Weaving the cotton as white as the snow, Weaving the cloth for a dress, oh, ho! As over and under and over we go."
After the cloth had been woven, Aunt Dilsey took it out of the loom. Then she bleached it until it was as white as snow. Now it was ready to be made into a dress.
"Mother, do tell me how you are going to make the dress," said Mary. "Will it have ruffles on it like Sue's? Will it have trimming on it? And how many buttons will you put on it? Sue's dress has twelve; I know, for I counted them."
Mother did not answer all these questions; she just smiled as the scissors went snip, snip into the cloth. But she did cut out ruffles, and Aunt Maria began to hem them.
By and by grandmother came into the room.
"Mary," she said, "here is some lace I got in England. Mother may put it on your dress."
How happy Mary was! She danced for joy.
Mother put on the lace, and grandmother worked the buttonholes. How many do you suppose she worked? Why, she worked twelve!
When the dress was finished, it was just like Sue's. Only it was a great deal finer, for Mary's dress had three ruffles and Sue's had only two! And, then, there was the lace from England!
THE PLAID DRESS
"I want a warm plaid dress," said a little girl. "The days are colder, and the frost will soon be here. But how can I get it? Mother says that she cannot buy one for me."
The old white sheep in the meadow heard her, and he bleated to the shepherd, "The little girl wants a warm plaid dress. I will give my wool. Who else will help?"
The kind shepherd said, "I will." Then he led the old white sheep to the brook and washed its wool. When it was clean and white, he said, "The little girl wants a warm plaid dress. The sheep has given his wool, and I have washed it clean and white. Who else will help?"
"We will," said the shearers. "We will bring our shears and cut off the wool."
The shearers cut the soft wool from the old sheep, and then they called, "The little girl wants a new dress. The sheep has given his wool. The shepherd has washed it; and we have sheared it. Who else will help?"
"We will," cried the carders. "We will comb it out straight and smooth."
Soon they held up the wool, carded straight and smooth, and they cried, "The little girl wants a new dress. The sheep has given his wool. The shepherd has washed the wool. The shearers have cut it, and we have carded it. Who else will help?"
"We will," said the spinners. "We will spin it into thread."
"Whirr, whirr!" How fast the spinning wheels turned, singing all the time.
Soon the spinners said, "The little girl wants a new dress. The sheep has given his wool. The shepherd has washed the wool. The shearers have cut it. The carders have carded it, and we have spun it into thread. Who else will help?"
"We will," said the dyers. "We will dye it with beautiful colors."
Then they dipped the woven threads into bright dye, red and blue and green and brown.
As they spread the wool out to dry, the dyers called: "The little girl wants a new dress. The sheep has given his wool. The shepherd has washed the wool. The shearers have cut it. The carders have carded it. The spinners have spun it, and we have dyed it with bright beautiful colors. Who else will help?"
"We will," said the weavers. "We will make it into cloth."
"Clickety-clack! clickety-clack!" went the loom, as the colored thread was woven over and under over and under. Before long it was made into beautiful plaid cloth.
Then the little girl's mother cut and made the dress. It was a beautiful plaid dress, and the little girl loved to wear it. Every time she put it on, she thought of her friends who had helped her,—the sheep, the shearers, the carders, the spinners, the dyers, the weavers, and her own dear mother.
THE GODDESS OF THE SILKWORM
Hoangti was the emperor of China. He had a beautiful wife whose name was Si-ling. The emperor and his wife loved their people and always thought of their happiness.
In those days the Chinese people wore clothes made of skins. By and by animals grew scarce, and the people did not know what they should wear. The emperor and empress tried in vain to find some other way of clothing them.
One morning Hoangti and his wife were in the beautiful palace garden. They walked up and down, up and down, talking of their people.
Suddenly the emperor said, "Look at those worms on the mulberry trees, Si-ling. They seem to be spinning."
Si-ling looked, and sure enough, the worms were spinning. A long thread was coming from the mouth of each, and each little worm was winding this thread around its body.
Si-ling and the emperor stood still and watched the worms. "How wonderful!" said Si-ling.
The next morning Hoangti and the empress walked under the trees again. They found some worms still winding thread. Others had already spun their cocoons and were fast asleep. In a few days all of the worms had spun cocoons.
"This is indeed a wonderful, wonderful thing!" said Si-ling. "Why, each worm has a thread on its body long enough to make a house for itself!"
Si-ling thought of this day after day. One morning as she and the emperor walked under the trees, she said, "I believe I could find a way to weave those long threads into cloth."
"But how could you unwind the threads?" asked the emperor.
"I'll find a way," Si-ling said. And she did; but she had to try many, many times.
She put the cocoons in a hot place, and the little sleepers soon died. Then the cocoons were thrown into boiling water to make the threads soft. After that the long threads could be easily unwound.
Now Si-ling had to think of something else; she had to find a way to weave the threads into cloth. After many trials, she made a loom—the first that was ever made. She taught others to weave, and soon hundreds of people were making cloth from the threads of the silkworm.
The people ever afterward called Si-ling "The Goddess of the Silkworm." And whenever the emperor walked with her in the garden, they liked to watch the silkworms spinning threads for the good of their people.
It was spring. The flax was in full bloom, and it had dainty little blue flowers that nodded in the breeze.
"People say that I look very well," said the flax. "They say that I am fine and long and that I shall make a beautiful piece of linen. How happy I am! No one in the world can be happier."
"Oh, yes," said the fence post, "you may grow and be happy, and you may sing, but you do not know the world as I do. Why, I have knots in me." And it creaked;
"Snip, snap, snurre, Basse, lurre, The song is ended."
"No, it is not ended," said the flax. "The sun will shine, and the rain will fall, and I shall grow and grow. No, no, the song is not ended."
One day some men came with sharp reap hooks. They took the flax by the head and cut it off at the roots. This was very painful, you may be sure.
Then the flax was laid in water and was nearly drowned. After that it was put on a fire and nearly roasted. All this was frightful. But the flax only said, "One cannot be happy always. By having bad times as well as good, we become wise."
After the flax had been cut and steeped and roasted, it was put on a spinning wheel. "Whir-r-r, whir-rr-r," went the spinning wheel; it went so fast that the flax could hardly think.
"I have been very happy in the sunshine and the rain," it said. "If I am in pain now, I must be contented."
At last the flax was put in the loom. Soon it became a beautiful piece of white linen.
"This is very wonderful," said the flax. "How foolish the fence post was with its song of—
'Snip, snap, snurre, Basse, lurre, The song is ended.'
The song is not ended, I am sure. It has only just begun.
"After all that I have suffered, I am at last made into beautiful linen. How strong and fine I am, and how long and white! This is even better than being a plant bearing flowers. I have never been happier than I am now."
After some time the linen was cut into pieces and sewed with needles. That was not pleasant; but at last there were twelve pretty white aprons.
"See," said the flax, "I have been made into something. Now I shall be of some use in the world. That is the only way to be happy."
Years passed by, and the linen was so worn that it could hardly hold together.
"The end must come soon," said the flax.
At last the linen did fall into rags and tatters; it was torn into shreds and boiled in water. The flax thought the end had come.
But no, the end was not yet. After being made into pulp and dried, the flax became beautiful white paper.
"This is a surprise, a glorious surprise," it said. "I am finer than ever, and I shall have fine things written on me. How happy I am!"
And sure enough, the most beautiful stories and verses were written upon it. People read the stories and verses, and they were made wiser and better. Their children and their children's children read them, too, and so the song was not ended.
—HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN.
THE WONDERFUL WORLD
Great, wide, beautiful, wonderful World, With the wonderful water round you curled, And the wonderful grass upon your breast, World, you are beautifully drest.
The wonderful air is over me, And the wonderful wind is shaking the tree— It walks on the water, and whirls the mills, And talks to itself on the top of the hills.
You friendly Earth, how far do you go, With the wheat-fields that nod and the rivers that flow, With cities and gardens, and cliffs and isles, And people upon you for thousands of miles?
Ah! you are so great, and I am so small, I hardly can think of you, World, at all; And yet, when I said my prayers to-day, A whisper within me seemed to say, "You are more than the Earth, though you are such a dot! You can love and think, and the Earth cannot!"
—William Brighty Rands.
THE HILLMAN AND THE HOUSEWIFE
As every one knows, fairies are always just. They are kind to others, and in return they expect others to be kind to them. In some countries across the sea there are fairies called Hillmen.
Now, there once lived a certain housewife who liked to make bargains. She gave away only those things for which she had no use, and then expected always to get something in return.
One day a Hillman knocked at her door.
"Can you lend us a saucepan?" he asked. "There's a wedding on the hill, and all the pots are in use."
"Is he to have one?" whispered the servant who opened the door.
"Aye, to be sure," answered the housewife; "one must be neighborly. Get the saucepan for him, lass."
The maid turned to take a good saucepan from the shelf, but the housewife stopped her.
"Not that, not that," she whispered. "Get the old one out of the cupboard. It leaks, but that doesn't matter. The Hillmen are so neat and are such nimble workers that they are sure to mend it before they send it home. I can oblige the fairies and save sixpence in tinkering, too."
The maid brought the old saucepan that had been laid by until the tinker's next visit, and gave it to the Hillman. He thanked her and went away.
When the saucepan was returned, it had been neatly mended, just as the housewife thought it would be.
At night the maid filled the pan with milk and set it on the fire to heat for the children's supper. In a few moments the milk was so smoked and burnt that no one would touch it. Even the pigs refused to drink it.
"Ah, you good-for-nothing!" cried the housewife. "There's a quart of milk wasted at once."
"And that's twopence," cried a queer little voice that seemed to come from the chimney.
The housewife filled the saucepan again and set it over the fire. It had not been there more than two minutes before it boiled over and was burnt and smoked as before.
"The pan must be dirty," muttered the woman, who was very much vexed. "Two full quarts of milk have been wasted."
"And that's fourpence!" added the queer little voice from the chimney.
The saucepan was scoured; then it was filled with milk the third time and set over the fire. Again the milk boiled over and was spoiled.
Now the housewife was quite vexed. "I have never had anything like this to happen since I first kept house," she exclaimed. "Three quarts of milk wasted!"
"And that's sixpence," cried the queer little voice from the chimney. "You didn't save the tinkering after all, mother!"
With that the Hillman himself came tumbling from the chimney and ran off laughing. But from that time, the saucepan was as good as any other.
—JULIANA H. EWING.
THE ELF AND THE DORMOUSE
Under a toad stool Crept a wee Elf, Out of the rain To shelter himself.
Under the toad stool Sound asleep, Sat a big Dormouse All in a heap.
Trembled the wee Elf Frightened, and yet Fearing to fly away Lest he get wet.
To the next shelter— Maybe a mile! Sudden the wee Elf Smiled a wee smile;
Tugged till the toad stool Toppled in two; Holding it over him, Gayly he flew.
Soon he was safe home, Dry as could be. Soon woke the Dormouse— "Good gracious me!
"Where is my toad stool?" Loud he lamented. And that's how umbrellas First were invented.
THE BELL OF ATRI
Good King John of Atri loved his people very much and wished to see them happy. He knew, however, that some were not; he knew that many suffered wrongs which were not righted. This made him sad.
One day the king thought of a way to help his people. He had a great bell hung in a tower in the market place. He had the rope made so long that a child could reach it.
Then the king sent heralds through the streets to tell the people why he had put the bell in the market place. The heralds blew their trumpets long and loud, and the people came from their homes to hear the message.
"Know ye," cried a herald, "that whenever a wrong is done to any man, he has but to ring the great bell in the square. A judge will go to the tower to hear the complaint, and he will see that justice is done."
"Long live our good king!" shouted the people. "Now our wrongs shall be righted."
And so it was. Whenever anyone was wronged, he rang the bell in the tower. The judge put on his rich robes and went there. He listened to the complaint, and the guilty were punished.
The people in Atri were now very happy, and the days went swiftly by. The bell hung in its place year after year, and it was rung many times. By and by the rope became so worn that one could scarcely reach it.
The king said, "Why, a child could not reach the rope now, and a wrong might not be righted. I must put in a new one."
So he ordered a rope from a distant town. In those days it took a long time to travel from one town to another. What should they do if somebody wished to ring the bell before the new rope came?
"We must mend the rope in some way," said a man.
"Here," said another; "take this piece of grapevine and fasten it to the rope. Then it will be long enough for any one to reach."
This was done, and for some time the bell was rung in that way.
One hot summer noon everything was very still. All the people were indoors taking their noonday rest.
Suddenly they were awakened by the arousing bell:
Some one—hath done—a wrong, Hath done—a wrong! Hath done—a wrong!
The judge started from a deep sleep, turned on his couch, and listened. Could it be the bell of justice?
Again the sound came:
Some one—hath done—a wrong! Hath done—a wrong! Hath done—a wrong!
It was the bell of justice. The judge put on his rich robes and, panting, hurried to the market place.
There he saw a strange sight: a poor steed, starved and thin, tugging at the vines which were fastened to the bell. A great crowd had gathered around.
"Whose horse is this?" the judge asked.
"It is the horse of the rich soldier who lives in the castle," said a man. "He has served his master long and well, and has saved his life many times. Now that the horse is too old to work, the master turns him out. He wanders through the lanes and fields, picking up such food as can be found."
"His call for justice shall be heard," said the judge. "Bring the soldier to me."
The soldier tried to treat the matter as a jest. Then he grew angry and said in an undertone, "One can surely do what he pleases with his own."
"For shame!" cried the judge. "Has the horse not served you for many years? And has he not saved your life? You must build a good shelter for him, and give him the best grain and the best pasture. Take the horse home and be as true to him as he has been to you."
The soldier hung his head in shame and led the horse away. The people shouted and applauded.
"Great is King John," they cried, "and great the bell of Atri!"
A DUMB WITNESS
One day at noontime a poor man was riding along a road. He was tired and hungry, and wished to stop and rest. Finding a tree with low branches, he tied his horse to one of them. Then he sat down to eat his dinner.
Soon a rich man came along and started to tie his horse to the same tree.
"Do not fasten your horse to that tree," cried the poor man. "My horse is savage and he may kill yours. Fasten him to another tree."
"I shall tie my horse where I wish," the rich man replied; and he tied his horse to the same tree. Then he, too, sat down to eat.
Very soon the men heard a great noise. They looked up and saw that their horses were kicking and fighting. Both men rushed to stop them, but it was too late; the rich man's horse was dead.
"See what your horse has done!" cried the rich man in an angry voice. "But you shall pay for it! You shall pay for it!"
Then he dragged the man before a judge.
"Oh, wise judge," he cried, "I have come to you for justice. I had a beautiful, kind, gentle horse which has been killed by this man's savage horse. Make the man pay for the horse or send him to prison."
"Not so fast, my friend," the judge said. "There are two sides to every case."
He turned to the poor man. "Did your horse kill this man's horse?" he asked.
The poor man made no reply.
The judge asked in surprise, "Are you dumb? Can you not talk?"
But no word came from the poor man's lips.
Then the judge turned to the rich man.
"What more can I do?" he asked. "You see for yourself this poor man cannot speak."
"Oh, but he can," cried the rich man. "He spoke to me."
"Indeed!" said the judge. "When?"
"He spoke to me when I tied my horse to the tree."
"What did he say?" asked the judge.
"He said, 'Do not fasten your horse to that tree. My horse is savage and may kill yours.'"
"0 ho!" said the judge. "This poor man warned you that his horse was savage, and you tied your horse near his after the warning. This puts a new light on the matter. You are to blame, not he."
The judge turned to the poor man and said, "My man, why did you not answer my questions?"
"Oh, wise judge," said the poor man, "if I had told you that I warned him not to tie his horse near mine, he would have denied it. Then how could you have told which one of us to believe? I let him tell his own story, and you have learned the truth."
This speech pleased the judge. He praised the poor man for his wisdom, and sent the rich man away without a penny.
For the hay and the corn and the wheat that is reaped, For the labor well done, and the barns that are heaped, For the sun and the dew and the sweet honeycomb, For the rose and the song, and the harvest brought home— Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving!
For the trade and the skill and the wealth in our land, For the cunning and strength of the working-man's hand, For the good that our artists and poets have taught, For the friendship that hope and affection have brought— Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving!
For the homes that with purest affection are blest, For the season of plenty and well-deserved rest, For our country extending from sea to sea, The land that is known as "The Land of the Free"— Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving!
THE HARE AND THE HEDGEHOG
PLACE: A farmer's cabbage field.
TIME: A fine morning in spring.
(The hedgehog is standing by his door looking at the cabbage field which he thinks is his own.)
HEDGEHOG: Wife, have you dressed the children yet?
WIFE: Just through, my dear.
HEDGEHOG: Well, come out here and let us look at our cabbage patch.
(Wife comes out.)
HEDGEHOG: Fine crop, isn't it? We should be happy.
WIFE: The cabbage is fine enough, but I can't see why we should be so happy.
HEDGEHOG: Why, my dear, there are tears in your voice. What is the matter?
WIFE: I suppose I ought not to mind it, but those dreadful hares nearly worry the life out of me.
HEDGEHOG: What are they doing now?
WIFE: Doing? What are they not doing? Why, yesterday I brought my pretty babies out here to get some cabbage leaves. We were eating as well-behaved hedgehogs always eat, and those horrid hares almost made us cry.
HEDGEHOG: What did they do?
WIFE: They came to our cabbage patch and they giggled and said, "Oh, see the little duck-legged things! Aren't they funny?" Then one jumped over a cabbage just to hurt our feelings.
HEDGEHOG: Well, they are mean, I know, but we won't notice them. I'll get even with them one of these days. Ah, there comes one of them now.
WIFE: Yes, and he laughed at me yesterday. He said, "Good-morning, Madam Shortlegs." I won't speak to him. I'll hide till he goes by.
(Wife hides behind a cabbage.)
HEDGEHOG: Good-morning, sir.
HARE: Are you speaking to me?
HEDGEHOG: Certainly; do you see any one else around?
HARE: How dare you speak to me?
HEDGEHOG: Oh, just to be neighborly.
HARE: I shall ask you not to speak to me hereafter. I think myself too good to notice hedgehogs.
HEDGEHOG: Now, that is strange.
HARE: What is strange?
HEDGEHOG: Why, I have just said to my wife that we wouldn't notice you.
HARE: Wouldn't notice me, indeed, you silly, short-legged, duck-legged thing!
HEDGEHOG: Well, my legs are quite as good as yours, sir.
HARE: As good as mine! Who ever heard of such a thing? Why, you can do little more than crawl.
HEDGEHOG: That may be as you say, but I'll run a race with you any day.
HARE: Ha, ha, ha! Ho, ho, ho! A race with a hedgehog! Well, well, well!
HEDGEHOG: Are you afraid to run with me?
HARE: Of course not. It will be no race at all, but I'll run just to show you how silly you are.
HEDGEHOG: Good! You run in that furrow; I will run in this. We shall see who gets to the fence first. Let's start from the far end of the furrow.
HARE: I will run to the brook and back while you are getting there. Go ahead.
HEDGEHOG: I wouldn't stay too long if I were you.
HARE: Oh, I'll be back before you reach the end of the furrow.
(The hare runs off to the brook.)
HEDGEHOG: Wife, wife, did you hear what I said to the hare?
WIFE: Did I hear? I should say I did. What are you thinking of? Have you lost your senses?
HEDGEHOG: You shouldn't speak that way to me. What do you know about a man's business? Come here and let me whisper something to you.
(He whispers and then walks to far end of the furrow. His wife laughs.)
WIFE: Ha, ha! I see. I see. Nothing wrong with your brains.
"Short legs, long wit, Long legs, not a bit,"
as my grandmother used to say. The hare will find that out today.
(She stoops down in the near end of the furrow. The hare returns and takes his place.)
HARE: Well, are you ready?
HEDGEHOG: Of course I am,—ready and waiting.
HARE: One for the money, Two for the show, Three to make ready, And here we go!
(The hare runs as swiftly as the wind. The hedgehog starts with him, but stops and stoops low in the furrow. When the hare reaches the other end, the hedgehog's wife puts up her head.)
WIFE: Well, here I am.
HARE: What does this mean?
WIFE: It means what it means.
HARE: We'll try again. Are you ready?
WIFE: Of course I am.
HARE: One for the money, Two for the show, Three to make ready, And here we go!
(The hare runs swiftly back again. Wife starts, but stops and stoops low. The hare reaches the other end. The hedgehog puts up his head.)
HEDGEHOG: Here I am.
HARE: I can't understand this.
HEDGEHOG: It is very clear to me.
HARE: Well, we'll try again. Are you ready?
HEDGEHOG: I'm always ready.
HARE: One for the money, Two for the show, Three to make ready, And here we go!
(Again the wife puts up her head and the hare is bewildered.)
WIFE: You see I am here.
HARE: I just can't believe it.
WIFE: A perfectly simple thing.
HARE: We'll try once more. You can't beat me another time.
WIFE: Don't boast. You had better save your breath for the race; you will need it.
HARE: One for the money, Two for the show, Three to make ready, And here we go!
(When the hare reaches the other end of the field, the hedgehog puts up his head.)
HARE: This is very strange.
HEDGEHOG: Shall we run again? You seem a little tired, but I am perfectly fresh.
HARE (panting): No, no! The race is yours.
HEDGEHOG: Will you call my wife and children names any more?
HARE: No, no! I'll never do that again.
HEDGEHOG: Very well. And if you wish a race at any time, friend hare, just call by for me.
HARE (walking off shaking his head): It's very strange. I hope none of the other hares will hear of this race.
WIFE (as she meets the hedgehog): I thought I should hurt myself laughing. As my grandmother used to say,
"Short legs, long wit, Long legs, not a bit."
Epaminondas had a good kind granny, who cooked at "the big house." Epaminondas liked to go to see her, for she always gave him something to take home with him.
One day when Epaminondas went to see granny, she was baking a cake, and she gave Epaminondas a piece to eat. As he was leaving, granny said, "Epaminondas, you may take a slice home to your mammy."
Epaminondas took it in his little hands and squeezing it just as tight as he could, ran all the way home. When his mammy saw him, she said, "What's that, Epaminondas?"
"Cake, mammy. Granny sent it to you."
"Cake!" cried his mammy. "Epaminondas, don't you know that's no way to carry cake? When your granny gives you cake, put it in your hat; then put your hat on your head and come home. You hear me, Epaminondas?"
The next time Epaminondas went to see his granny, she was churning, and she gave him a pat of fresh butter to carry to his mammy.
Epaminondas said to himself, "What was it mammy said? Oh, yes! I know. She said, 'Put it in your hat and put the hat on your head and come home.' I'll do just what she told me."
Epaminondas put the pat of butter in his hat, put his hat on his head, and went home.
It was a hot day, and soon the butter began to melt. Drip, drip, drip, it went into his ears. Drip, drip, drip, it went into his eyes. Drip, drip, drip, it went down his back. When Epaminondas reached home, he had no butter in his hat. It was all on him.
Looking at him hard, his mammy said, "Epaminondas, what in the world is that dripping from your hat?"
"Butter, mammy. Granny sent it to you."
"Butter!" cried his mammy. "Oh, Epaminondas! Don't you know how to carry butter? You must wrap it in a cabbage leaf, and take it to the spring. Then you must cool it in the water, and cool it in the water, and cool it in the water. When you have done this, take the butter in your hands and come home. You hear me, Epaminondas?"
The next time Epaminondas went to see his granny, she wasn't baking cake and she wasn't churning. She was sitting in a chair knitting.
She said, "Epaminondas, look in the woodshed, and you'll see something you like."
Epaminondas looked in the woodshed, and there he found four little puppies. He played with them all the afternoon, and when he started home, his granny gave him one.
Epaminondas remembered what his mammy had told him. He wrapped the puppy in a big cabbage leaf, and took it to the spring. He cooled it in the water, and cooled it in the water, and cooled it in the water. Then he took it in his hands, and went home.
When his mammy saw him, she said, "Epaminondas, what is that in your hands?"
"A puppy dog, mammy."
"A puppy dog!" cried his mammy. "Oh, Epaminondas! What makes you act so foolish? That's no way to carry a puppy. The way to carry a puppy is to tie a string around his neck and put him on the ground. Then you take the other end of the string in your hand and come along home. You hear me, Epaminondas?"
Epaminondas was going to be right the next time; he got a piece of string and put it in his pocket to have it ready.
The next day company came to see Epaminondas's mammy, and she had no bread for dinner. She called Epaminondas and said, "Run to 'the big house' and ask your granny to send me a loaf of bread for dinner."
"Yes, mammy," said Epaminondas. And off he ran.
Granny gave him a loaf just from the oven—a nice, brown, crusty loaf. This time Epaminondas was certainly going to do what mammy had told him.
He proudly got out his string and tied it to the loaf. Then he put the loaf on the ground, and taking the other end of the string in his hand, he went along home.
When he reached home, his mammy gave one look at the thing tied to the end of the string.
"What have you brought, Epaminondas?" she cried.
"Bread, mammy. Granny sent it to you."
"Oh, Epaminondas! Epaminondas! How could you be so foolish?" cried his mammy. "Now I have no bread for dinner. I'll have to go and get some myself."
She went into the house and got her bonnet. When she came out, she said, "Epaminondas, do you see those three mince pies I've put on the doorstep to cool. Well, now, you hear me, Epaminondas. You be careful how you step on those pies!"
His mammy went off down the road; Epaminondas went to the door and looked out. "Mammy told me to be careful how I step on those mince pies," he said, "so I must be careful how I do it. I'll step right in the middle of every one."
And he did!
When his mammy came home, there were no pies for dinner.
Now she was angry all over, and something happened. I don't know, and you don't know, but we can guess.
Poor Epaminondas!—SOUTHERN TALE.
HOW BROTHER RABBIT FOOLED THE WHALE AND THE ELEPHANT
One day Brother Rabbit was running along on the sand, lippety, lippety, lippety. He was going to a fine cabbage field. On the way he saw the whale and the elephant talking together.
Brother Rabbit said, "I'd like to know what they are talking about." So he crouched down behind some bushes and listened.
This is what Brother Rabbit heard the whale say:
"You are the biggest thing on the land, Brother Elephant, and I am the biggest thing in the sea. If we work together, we can rule all the animals in the world. We can have our own way about everything."
"Very good, very good," trumpeted the elephant. "That suits me. You keep the sea, and I will keep the land."
"That's a bargain," said the whale, as he swam away.
Brother Rabbit laughed to himself. "They won't rule me," he said, as he ran off.
Brother Rabbit soon came back with a very long and a very strong rope and his big drum. He hid the drum in some bushes. Then taking one end of the rope, he walked up to the elephant.
"Oh, dear Mr. Elephant," he said, "you are big and strong; will you have the kindness to do me a favor?"
The elephant was pleased, and he trumpeted, "Certainly, certainly. What is it?"
"My cow is stuck in the mud on the shore, and I can't pull her out," said Brother Rabbit. "If you will help me, you will do me a great service. You are so strong, I am sure you can get her out."
"Certainly, certainly," trumpeted the elephant.
"Thank you," said the rabbit. "Take this rope in your trunk, and I will tie the other end to my cow. Then I will beat my drum to let you know when to pull. You must pull as hard as you can, for the cow is very heavy."
"Huh!" trumpeted the elephant, "I'll pull her out, or break the rope."
Brother Rabbit tied the rope to the elephant's trunk and ran off, lippety, lippety.
He ran till he came to the shore where the whale was. Making a bow, Brother Rabbit said, "0, mighty and wonderful Whale, will you do me a favor?"
"What is it?" asked the whale.
"My cow is stuck in the mud on the shore," said Brother Rabbit, "and I cannot pull her out. Of course you can do it. If you will be so kind as to help me, I shall be very much obliged."
"Certainly," said the whale, "certainly."
"Thank you," said Brother Rabbit, "take hold of this rope, and I will tie the other end to my cow. Then I will beat my big drum to let you know when to pull. You must pull as hard as you can, for my cow is very heavy."
"Never fear," said the whale, "I could pull a dozen cows out of the mud."
"I am sure you could," said the rabbit politely. "Only be sure to begin gently. Then pull harder and harder till you get her out."
The rabbit ran away into the bushes where he had hidden the drum and began to beat it. Then the whale began to pull and the elephant began to pull. In a minute the rope tightened till it was stretched as hard as a bar of iron.
"This is a very heavy cow," said the elephant, "but I'll pull her out." Bracing his fore feet in the earth, he gave a tremendous pull.
But the whale had no way to brace himself.
"Dear me," he said. "That cow must surely be stuck tight." Lashing his tail in the water, he gave a marvelous pull.
He pulled harder; the elephant pulled harder. Soon the whale found himself sliding toward the land. He was so provoked with the cow that he went head first, down to the bottom of the sea.
That was a pull! The elephant was jerked off his feet, and came slipping and sliding toward the sea. He was very angry.
"That cow must be very strong to drag me in this way," he said. "I will brace myself."
Kneeling down on the ground, he twisted the rope around his trunk. Then he began to pull his very best, and soon the whale came up out of the water.
Then each saw that the other had hold of the rope.
"How is this?" cried the whale. "I thought I was pulling Brother Rabbit's cow."
"That is what I thought," said the elephant. "Brother Rabbit is making fun of us. He must pay for this. I forbid him to eat a blade of grass on land, because he played a trick on us."
"And I will not allow him to drink a drop of water in the sea," said the whale.
But Little Rabbit sat in the bushes and laughed, and laughed, and laughed.
"Much do I care," he said. "I can get all the green things I want, and I don't like salt water."
—SOUTHERN FOLK TALE.
A CHRISTMAS WISH
I'd like a stocking made for a giant, And a meeting house full of toys; Then I'd go out on a happy hunt For the poor little girls and boys; Up the street and down the street, And across and over the town, I'd search and find them every one, Before the sun went down.
One would want a new jack-knife Sharp enough to cut; One would long for a doll with hair, And eyes that open and shut; One would ask for a china set With dishes all to her mind; One would wish a Noah's ark With beasts of every kind.
Some would like a doll cook-stove And a little toy wash tub; Some would prefer a little drum, For a noisy rub-a-dub; Some would wish for a story book, And some for a set of blocks; Some would be wild with happiness Over a new tool-box.
And some would rather have little shoes, And other things warm to wear, For many children are very poor, And the winter is hard to bear; I'd buy soft flannels for little frocks, And a thousand stockings or so, And the jolliest little coats and cloaks, To keep out the frost and snow.
I'd load a wagon with caramels And candy of every kind, And buy all the almond and pecan nuts And taffy that I could find; And barrels and barrels of oranges I'd scatter right in the way, So the children would find them the very first thing, When they wake on Christmas day.
THE CHRISTMAS BELLS
Long, long ago, in a far away city, there was a large church. The tower of this church was so high that it seamed to touch the clouds, and in the high tower there were three wonderful bells. When they rang, they made sweet music.
There was something strange about these bells. They were never heard to ring except on Christmas eve, and no one knew who rang them. Some people thought it was the wind blowing through the tower. Others thought the angels rang them when a gift pleased the Christ Child.
Although the people did not know what rang the bells, they loved to hear them. They would come from miles around to listen to the wonderful music. When they had heard the bells, they would go out of the church, silent but happy. Then all would go back to their homes feeling that Christmas had come, indeed.
One Christmas eve the people in the church waited and waited, but the bells did not ring. Silently and sadly they went home. Christmas after Christmas came and went. Nearly one hundred years passed by, and in all that time the bells did not ring.
People sometimes asked one another, "Do you suppose the bells ever did ring?"
"Yes," said one very old man. "I have often heard my father tell how beautifully they rang on Christmas eve. There was more love in the world then."
Every Christmas eve the church was filled with people who waited and listened. They hoped that the bells would ring again as they had rung long ago. Though many gifts were laid on the altar, still the bells did not ring.
Christmas was near at hand again, and every one was happy.
Not far from the city two little brothers lived on a farm—Pedro and Little Brother.
Their father was poor and had no gift to lay on the altar. But Pedro had saved all his earnings, and he had one shining silver piece. His father had promised the little boys that they might go to the church on Christmas eve and take the gift.
It was quite dark when the lads started on their way to the city. The snow was falling fast, but they buttoned their little jackets close about them and walked along briskly. They were not far from the church when they heard a low whine of distress. Little Brother, clinging to Pedro in fear, cried, "What is it, Pedro, what is it?"
Pedro ran across the street, and there under a small heap of snow, what do you think he found? A little black and white dog, shivering with cold, and nearly starved. Pedro opened his jacket, and put the dog inside to keep it warm.
"You will have to go to the church alone, Little Brother," Pedro said. "I must take this little dog back to the farm, and give it food, else it will die."
"But I don't want to go alone, Pedro," said Little Brother.
"Won't you please go and put my gift on the altar, Little Brother? I wish so much to have it there to-night."
"Yes, Pedro, I will," said Little Brother.
He took the gift and started toward the church. Pedro turned and went home.
When Little Brother came to the great stone church and looked up at the high tower, he felt that he could not go in alone. He stood outside a long time watching the people as they passed in. At last he entered quietly and took a seat in a corner.
When Little Brother went into the church, all the people were seated. They sat quietly hoping that at last the bells would ring again as in the days of old.
The organ pealed out a Christmas hymn. The choir and the people arose, and all sang the grand old anthem. Then a solemn voice said, "Bring now your gifts to the altar."
The king arose and went forward with stately tread. Bowing before the altar, he laid upon it his golden crown. Then he walked proudly back to his seat. All the people listened, but the bells did not ring.
Then the queen arose and with haughty step walked to the front. She took from her neck and wrists her beautiful jewels and laid them upon the altar. All the people listened, but the bells did not ring.
Then the soldiers came marching proudly forward. They took their jeweled swords from their belts and laid them upon the altar. All the people listened, but the bells did not ring.
Then the rich men came hurrying forward. They counted great sums of gold and laid them in a businesslike way upon the altar. All the people listened, but the bells did not ring.
"Can I go all alone to the front of the church and lay this small gift on the altar?" said Little Brother. "Oh, how can I? how can I?"
Then he said, "But I told Pedro I would, and I must."
So he slipped slowly around by the outer aisle. He crept quietly up to the altar and softly laid the silver piece upon the very edge.
And listen! What do you think was heard? The bells, the bells!
Oh, how happy the people were! And how happy Little Brother was! He ran out of the church and down the road toward the farm.
Pedro had warmed the dog and fed it, and was now on the way to the city. He hoped that he might see the people come out of the church.
Down the road Little Brother came running. Throwing himself into Pedro's arms, he cried, "Oh, Pedro, Pedro! The bells, the bells! I wish you could have heard them; and they rang when I laid your gift on the altar."
"I did hear them, Little Brother," said Pedro. "Their sound came to me over the snow,—the sweetest music I ever heard."
Long years after, when Pedro grew to be a man, he was a great musician. Many, many people came to hear him play.
Some one said to him one day, "How can you play so sweetly? I never heard such music before."
"Ah," said Pedro, "but you never heard the Christmas bells as I heard them that Christmas night years and years ago."
—OLD TALE RETOLD.
GOD BLESS THE MASTER OF THIS HOUSE
God bless the master of this house, The mistress, also, And all the little children That round the table go: And all your kin and kinsfolk, That dwell both far and near; I wish you a merry Christmas And a happy new year.
—OLD ENGLISH RIME.
SQUEAKY AND THE SCARE BOX
Once upon a time a family of mice lived in the pantry wall. There was a father mouse, there was a mother mouse, and there were three little baby mice.
One little mouse had sharp bright eyes and could see everything, even in the darkest holes. He was called Sharpeyes. His brother could sniff and smell anything, wherever it might be hidden, and he was called Sniffy. The baby mouse had such a squeaky little voice that he was called Squeaky. He was always singing, "Ee-ee-ee!"
Mother mouse was very wise, and she had taught her babies to run and hide when they saw the old cat coming. She had also taught them not to go near a trap. The little mice obeyed their mother, and they were happy in their home in the pantry wall.
They had many good times together. I could not tell you about all of these, but I am going to tell you about their Christmas party and what happened to Squeaky.
It was the night before Christmas. The stockings hung by the chimney, and the tall tree was standing in the parlor. The children were asleep, and the father and mother had gone upstairs to bed.
In the pantry wall, the little mice were all wide-awake.
"Ee-ee-ee!" squeaked Squeaky; "why can't we creep into the big room and see the tall Christmas tree? The children have talked about it for days, and we have never seen one. Mother, please let us go and see it."
"Yes," said Sniffy, "do let us go. Everything smells so good. The children and the cook made long strings of pop corn to-day. I found a little on the pantry floor, and I want some more."
"I peeped out of our hole," said Sharpeyes, "and I saw cake and candy all ready for the children. Oh, I do want a bite of those good things! Please let us have a Christmas party."
"Well," said mother mouse, "I will ask your father. If he says it is safe, we will go."
When mother mouse asked father mouse, he said, "I will go out first and look all about. If it is safe, I will come back for you."
So father mouse crept softly through the pantry, down the long hall, and into the parlor. The cat was nowhere to be seen. Father mouse ran back to the pantry and cried, "The cat is not near; come and see the tree."
Then all the mice came scampering from the hole in the wall. They crept through the pantry, down the long hall, and into the parlor. When they saw the tall Christmas tree, they squeaked again and again in their joy. Then they ran around and around the tree to see what was on it.
On the floor they saw a wonderful doll's house. "How fine it would be to live there!" they squeaked.
They ran up and down the stairs, sat on the chairs, and lay down in the beds. Oh, they had a merry time!
Then Sniffy said, "I smell that good pop corn again. Let's climb up into the Christmas tree and get some."
They climbed up into the tree. They nibbled the pop corn; they nibbled the candy; they nibbled the nuts; and they nibbled the cakes.
Soon Sharpeyes cried out, "Come here, I see a mouse! I see a mouse! But he doesn't look like our family at all."
"I should say not," sniffed Sniffy; "and how good he smells!"
"Why, he is good to eat!" squeaked Squeaky; and they all began to eat the chocolate mouse.
Then they found another candy mouse—a pretty pink one. They were so busy eating it that they forgot to watch and listen; then—bang! The door was opened, and the lights were turned on.
With a squeak, the mice scampered down from the tree; then they ran along the hall, through the pantry, and back to their home. There was the father mouse, and the mother mouse, and Sharpeyes, and Sniffy. But where was Squeaky?
Now, as Squeaky tried to run down the tree, he fell heels over head. Down, down, down, he fell until he was caught in a funny box. An ugly man with black hair and black whiskers seemed to be hopping out of the box.
When Squeaky saw the lights turned on, he hid under the dress of this queer man. He lay very, very still, for he had been taught to be still when danger was near. He heard voices. The father and mother had come back.
"Yes," the father was saying; "it would have been a shame to forget this train. I would like it to come right out from under the tree. Help me put the track down, mother."
When the train was just where it should be, the mother turned to the beautiful tree.
"Why, look at that Jack-in-the-box," she said. "The man is hanging out. That will never do. I will shut the box. Teddy must see the man jump out."
The mother pushed the man with the black hair down, down, into the box and shut the lid. Poor Squeaky felt the springs close down on him and squeaked, "Ee-ee-"
"That was a fine squeak," said the father. "The toys are wonderful these days."
"Yes," said the mother, as she turned off the light. "When I was a child, we did not have such toys."
"I am in a trap," said poor Squeaky, "but there isn't even a bit of cheese in it. I wonder what kind of trap it is; nothing seems to hurt me. Well, I am safe for a while, and I hope I shall soon get out."
Squeaky lay in the box all night, and wondered what Sniffy and Sharpeyes were doing. The next morning, he heard children calling, "Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!" And soon the toys were taken down, one by one. Then such a noise was heard—drums beating, horns tooting, children shouting. You should have heard it.
"See our new doll's house!" cried one child.
"See my new train! How fast it goes!" cried another.
"And see my beautiful dolly!" cried another. "She can open and shut her eyes."
By and by the mother took the box from the tree. "Come here, Teddy," she said. "Here is a scare box. We will have some fun. Watch me open the lid."
Teddy stood by his mother and watched closely.
"Are you ready?" asked his mother. "Well, let us count. One, two, three!"
The lid flew open, and out jumped the man with the black hair and black whiskers. And with a squeak of joy, out jumped the mouse.
"Ee-ee-ee!" he cried, as he ran away.
"Ee!" said the Jack-in-the-box.
"Whee-ee-ee!" cried the boy with delight.
"Oh,—a mouse! a mouse!" cried the mother. Then she threw the box on the floor and jumped up on her chair.
"Where? where?" cried all the children.
But they saw only the tip of Squeaky's tail as he ran across the hall to the pantry. Another moment and he was safe in the hole in the pantry wall.
The children's father laughed as he helped their mother climb down from the chair.
"Well," he said, "how did you enjoy Teddy's scare box?"
THE GLAD NEW YEAR
It's coming, boys, It's almost here. It's coming, girls, The grand New Year.
A year to be glad in, Not to be sad in; A year to live in, To gain and give in.
A year for trying, And not for sighing; A year for striving And healthy thriving.
It's coming, boys, It's almost here. It's coming, girls, The grand New Year.
—MARY MAPES DODGE.
MAKING THE BEST OF IT
"What a dreary day it is!" grumbled the old gray goose to the brown hen. They were standing at the henhouse window watching the falling snow which covered every nook and corner of the farmyard.
"Yes, indeed," said the brown hen. "I should almost be willing to be made into a chicken pie on such a day."
She had scarcely stopped talking when Pekin duck said fretfully, "I am so hungry that I am almost starved."
A little flock of chickens all huddled together wailed in sad tones, "And we are so thirsty!"
In fact, all the feathered folk in the henhouse seemed cross and fretful. It is no wonder they felt that way, for they had had nothing to eat or drink since early in the morning. The cold wind howled around their house. Hour after hour went by, but no one came near the henhouse.
The handsome white rooster, however, seemed as happy as usual. That is saying a great deal, for a jollier old fellow than he never lived in a farmyard. Sunshine, rain, or snow were all the same to him, and he crowed quite as merrily in stormy weather as in fair.
"Well," he said, laughing, as he looked about the henhouse, "you all seem to be having a fit of dumps."
Nobody answered the white rooster, but a faint cluck or two came from some of the hens. They immediately put their heads back under their wings, however, as if ashamed of having spoken at all.
This was too much for the white rooster. He stood first on one yellow foot and then on the other. Turning his head from side to side, he said, "What's the use of looking so sad? Any one would think that you expected to be eaten by a band of hungry foxes."
Just then a brave little white bantam rooster hopped down from his perch. He strutted over to the big rooster and caused quite a flutter in the henhouse by saying:
"We're lively enough when our crops are full, but when we are starving, it is a wonder that we can hold our heads up at all. If I ever see that farmer's boy again, I'll—I'll—I'll peck his foot!"
"You won't see him until he feeds us," said the white rooster, "and then I guess you will peck his corn."
"Oh, oh!" moaned the brown hen. "Don't speak of a peck of corn."
"Madam," said the white rooster, bowing very low, "your trouble is my own,—that is, I'm hungry, too. But we might be worse off. We might be in a box on our way to market. It is true that we haven't had anything to eat to-day, but we at least have room enough to stretch our wings."
"Why, that is a fact," clucked the brown hen. And all the feathered family—even the smallest chickens—stretched their wings, and looked a little more cheerful.
"Now, then," went on the rooster, "suppose we have a little music to cheer us and help pass the hours until roosting time. Let us all crow. There, I beg your pardon, ladies; I am sorry you can't crow. Let us sing a happy song. Will you be kind enough to start a merry tune, Mrs. Brown Hen?"
The brown hen shook herself proudly, tossed her head back and began,—"Ca-ca-ca-ca-ca-ca!" In less than two minutes every one in the henhouse had joined her. The white rooster was the loudest of all, and the little bantam rooster stretched his neck and did the best he could.
Now, the horses, cows, and sheep were not far away. They heard the happy voices, and they, too, joined in the grand chorus. The pigs did their best to sing louder than all the rest.
Higher and higher, stronger and stronger, rose the chorus. Louder and louder quacked the ducks. Shriller and shriller squealed the pigs.
They were all so happy that they quite forgot their hunger until the door of the henhouse burst open, and in came three chubby children. Each was carrying a dish of hot chicken food.
"Don't stop your music, Mr. Rooster," said the little girl, who was bundled up until you could scarcely see her dear little face.
"You see, we were so lonesome that we didn't know what to do. We heard you folk singing out here, and we laughed and laughed until we almost cried. Then we went to tell Jack about you. He was lonesome, too, for he's sick with a sore throat, you know. He said, 'Why, those poor hens! They haven't been fed since morning! Go and feed them.' And so we came."
"Cock-a-doodle-doo!" said the white rooster. "This comes of making the best of things. Cock-a-doodle-doo!" And nobody asked him to stop crowing.
—FRANCES M. FOX.
THE ANIMALS AND THE MIRROR
Aunt Susan sent an old-fashioned looking-glass to the barn to be stored in the loft, with other old furniture. The farm boy stood it on the floor of the barn until he should have time to put it away. The mirror was broad and long, and it was set in a dark wooden frame.
An old duck wandered into the barn and caught sight of herself in the mirror. "There is another duck," she said. "I wonder who she is."
And she walked toward the reflection. "She is rather friendly," the duck went on. "She is walking toward me. What large feet she has, but her feathers are very handsome."
Just then she bumped into the mirror. "Goodness!" she cried; "if that duck isn't in a glass case! Why are you in there?"
"Well, you needn't answer if you don't want to," she said, walking away. "A glass case is a good place for you."
Just then a pig came along, and nosing around, he came in front of the mirror.
"What are you doing here?" he asked, thinking he saw another pig. His nose hit the glass, and he stepped back.
"So you are in a glass pen," he said. "You are not very handsome, and your nose is not so long as mine; I cannot see why you should have a glass pen."
And away he trotted to tell the other pigs about the very plain-looking pig.
Kitty came along next and walked in front of the mirror, turning her head and swinging her tail. She had seen a mirror before and knew what it was. The cat wished to look in the mirror, but she saw the dog coming in the door, and she did not want him to think her vain.
The dog walked over to the mirror and gazed in it. Then he looked foolish, although he had seen a mirror before, too, but not so often as puss.
"Thought it was another dog, didn't you?" she laughed. "Here comes the donkey. Let us hide behind those barrels and see what he does."
The donkey went up to the mirror.
"If they haven't another donkey!" he said. "I suppose I should speak first, as I have lived here so long. Why, he is coming to meet me. That is friendly, indeed."
Bump! his nose hit the glass.
"Well, I had better give up!" he said. "You are in a glass case, but I don't know why you should be. You are a homely creature, and your ears are not so long as mine." And he walked off with a disgusted air.
The cat rolled over and over, and the dog buried his head in his paws. "Did you ever see anything so funny?" he said to puss.
"Hush!" she replied, "Here is the rooster."
The rooster stopped quite still when he saw himself in the mirror.
"Well, where did you come from?" he asked, ruffling up his feathers. He walked straight to the mirror and flew at the other rooster. Bang! He went against the glass.
"In a glass case, are you?" he said. He stretched out his neck and looked very fierce. "You should be; you are a sight—your feathers are ruffled, and you are not half so handsome as I am."
And off he walked, satisfied that he was handsomer than the other rooster.
"Oh, dear!" laughed the cat. "I certainly shall scream. They all think they are handsomer than their reflections. Here comes the turkey gobbler. Let us see what he does."
The gobbler walked slowly over to the mirror and looked at his reflection.
"Now," he asked, "where in the world did they get you? You are an old, bald-headed creature, and your feathers need oiling. You look like a last year's turkey." And off he strutted.
The cat and the dog leaned against the barrels and laughed until the tears ran down their faces.
"Keep still," said the dog. "Here comes speckled hen and her chickens."
Speckled hen walked around, picking up bits of corn. Suddenly she looked up and saw the mirror.
"There is a hen with a brood of chicks, but they are not so handsome as mine," she said, walking toward the looking-glass. "Where do you live? I know you do not belong here." And she looked closer at the other hen.
Click! Her bill hit the glass.
"Well, if she isn't in a glass coop!" the hen said, stepping back. "If master has bought her and those chicks, there will be trouble. Mercy! One of the chicks is bow-legged, and they are a skinny looking lot."
Then she clucked to her chicks and walked out of the barn.
"Oh, dear! Oh, dear!" laughed the dog; "they all think the same. They certainly are a conceited lot. Here comes the goose."
The goose waddled over to the mirror.
"Well, well! If there isn't a new goose!" she said, "and she is walking toward me. I must be friendly."
Snap! Her bill struck the mirror.
"Oh, you are in a glass box!" she said. "Have you come to stay?" And she stretched out her neck.
"My, but you have a long neck!" she went on, "and your feathers are nice and smooth. I suppose you cannot hear in that box."
Then she walked away, nodding good-by. The other goose, of course, nodded also, and goosey went away satisfied.
"She is not so much of a goose as the others," the cat remarked.
"The peacock is coming," said the dog. "Keep quiet."
In walked the peacock. Seeing another bird, as he supposed, he spread his beautiful tail to its full width. He walked about, but never a word did he say.
"Now, what do you make out of that?" asked the dog. "Did he know that he was looking in a looking-glass, or wouldn't he speak to another bird?"
"I do not know," said the cat, "but here comes the goat. Hide, quick!"
Billy was clattering over the boards, when suddenly he saw the other goat. He looked at him a minute. "I'll show him," he said, running at the mirror with head down.
Bang! Smash! Crash! and Billy jumped back, a very much astonished goat.
"Now you have done it," said the horse, who had been watching all the time from his stall. "All the animals will get out and run away."
"What are you talking about?" said the dog, who was laughing so hard he could scarcely talk. "There are no animals in there. That is a looking-glass; you see yourself when you are in front of it."
"Do you mean to tell me that those animals have all been looking at themselves and finding fault with their own looks?" asked the horse, with his eyes nearly popping out of his head.
"Of course," said the cat. "Can't you see that Billy has smashed the looking-glass?"
"Well, that is the best I ever heard," said the horse, laughing, "but I wish I had known that was a looking-glass before Billy broke it. I should very much like to know how I look."
"You might not have recognized yourself; the others didn't," said the dog.
THE BARBER OF BAGDAD
PLACE: Ali's barber shop.
WOODCUTTER: I have a load of wood which I have just brought in on my donkey. Would you like to buy it, good barber?
ALI: Well, let me see. Is it good wood?
WOODCUTTER: The best in the country.
ALI: I'll give you five shekels for all the wood upon the donkey.
WOODCUTTER: Agreed. I'll put the wood here by your door.
(Lays wood at door.)
Now, good sir, give me the silver.
ALI: Not so fast, my good friend. I must have your wooden pack saddle, too. That was the bargain. I said, "All the wood upon your donkey." Truly, the saddle is wood.
WOODCUTTER: Who ever heard of such a bargain? Surely you cannot mean what you say? You would not treat a poor woodcutter so. It is impossible.
ALI: Give me the saddle, or I'll have you put in prison. And take that—and that—and that!
(Ali strikes the woodcutter.)
WOODCUTTER: Ah, me, what shall I do? What shall I do? I know. I'll go to the caliph himself.
PLACE: Caliph's Palace.
TIME: Hour later.
COURTIER: My lord, a good woodcutter is at the door and begs leave to come into your presence.
CALIPH: Bid him enter. There is none too poor to be received by me.
(Courtier goes out and returns with woodcutter, who kneels and kisses the ground. Then he stands with arms folded.)
CALIPH: Tell me, good man, what brought you here? Has any one done you a wrong?
WOODCUTTER: Great wrong, my lord. The rich barber Ali did buy a load of wood from me. He offered me five shekels for all the wood on my donkey. When I had put down the load, I asked for my money, but he refused to pay me until I had given him my pack saddle. He said the bargain was "all the wood on the donkey," and that the saddle is wood. He said he would put me in prison if I did not give up the saddle. Then he took it and drove me away with blows.
CALIPH: A strange story, truly. The barber has law on his side, and yet you have right on yours. The law must be obeyed, but—come here and let me whisper something to you.
(The woodcutter listens smilingly and bowing low, leaves the room.)
PLACE: The barber's shop.
TIME: A few days later.
ALI: Ah! here comes my stupid friend the woodcutter. I suppose he has come to quarrel about the wood. No, he is smiling.
WOODCUTTER: Good day to you, friend Ali. I have come to ask if you will be so kind as to shave me and a companion from the country.
ALI: Oh, yes, I suppose so.
WOODCUTTER: How much will you charge?
ALI: A shekel for the two.
The poor fool cannot pay that sum.
WOODCUTTER. Very good. Shave me first.
(Ali shaves him.)
ALI: Now you are shaved. Where is your companion?
WOODCUTTER: He is standing outside. He will come in at once.
(He goes out and returns leading his donkey.)
This is my companion. Shave him.
ALI (in a rage): Shave him! Shave a donkey, indeed! Is it not enough that I should lower myself by touching you? And then you insult me by asking me to shave your donkey! Away with you!
PLACE: Caliph's Palace.
TIME: Half-hour later.
CALIPH: Well, my friend, did you do as I told you?
WOODCUTTER: Yes, and Ali refused to shave my donkey.
CALIPH (to Courtier): Bid Ali come to me at once and bring his razors with him.
(Courtier leaves and returns with Ali.)
CALIPH: Why did you refuse to shave this man's companion? Was not that your agreement?
ALI (kissing the ground): It is true, O caliph, such was the agreement, but who ever made a companion of a donkey before?
CALIPH: True enough, but who ever thought of saying that a pack saddle is a part of a load of wood? No, no, it is the woodcutter's turn now. Shave his donkey instantly.
(Ali lathers the beast and shaves him in the presence of the whole court, and then slips away amid the laughter of the bystanders.)
CALIPH: Now, my honest woodcutter, here is a purse of gold for you. Always remember that the caliph gladly listens to the complaints of his people, poor and rich, and will right their wrongs if he can.
WOODCUTTER: Long live the Caliph!
COURTIERS: Long live the Caliph!
Blow, wind, blow! Drift the flying snow! Send it twirling, twirling overhead. There's a bedroom in a tree Where snug as snug can be, The squirrel nests in his cozy bed.
Shriek, wind, shriek! Make the branches creak! Battle with the boughs till break of day! In a snow cave warm and tight Through the icy winter night The rabbit sleeps the peaceful hour away.
Scold, wind, scold! So bitter and so bold! Shake the windows with your tap, tap, tap! With half-shut, dreamy eyes The drowsy baby lies Cuddled closely in his mother's lap.
—MARY F. BUTTS.
It was Saturday morning. Elizabeth Brown sat by a window in the big kitchen making a pink dress for little Hope's doll.
On the chair beside her lay the doll, though you might not have thought of calling it one. It did not have curly hair—nor eyes that open and shut. In those days no child had toys like ours. Hope's doll was made of a corncob; the face was painted on a piece of linen stretched over a ball of wool on the end of the cob.
Little Hope was taking her morning nap. When Elizabeth had sewed the last neat stitches, she dressed the doll and laid it on the bed by the little girl. How happy Hope was when she awoke and saw it! She thought it the most beautiful doll in the world.
"What will you call your doll, Hope?" asked Elizabeth.
"I will name her for mother," said Hope. "I will call her Mary Ellen."
Hope played all the afternoon with her doll and was very happy. When the sunset gun sounded, she had to stop playing. With the Puritans, the Sabbath began at sunset, and no child could play after the gun was heard.
The little maid kissed her baby and went into the bedroom to find a warm place for it to stay until the next evening. There lay father's Sunday coat; what warmer nest could she find for Mary Ellen than its big pocket?
After breakfast the next day, every one got ready to go to meeting. Master Brown filled the little tin foot stove with hot coals from the hearth; then he took his gun from its hook. In those days no man went anywhere without his gun—not even to church, for the Indians were likely to come at any time.
Sometimes the firing of a gun was the call to worship. More often a big drum, beaten on the steps of the meeting house, told the people it was time to come together.
At the sound of the drum, Master Brown and his wife, with Elizabeth and Hope, started to church. From every house in the village came men, women, and children. They were always ready when the drum began to beat, for no one was ever late to meeting in those days.
Master Brown led his family to their pew and opened a little door to let them in. The pew was very much like a large box with seats around the sides.
The church was cold, for there was no fire. The children warmed their fingers and toes by the queer little foot stove their father had brought from home.
When every one was seated, the minister climbed the steps to his high pulpit. The sermon was always very long—three hours at least. The children could not understand what it was all about, and it was very hard for them to sit still and listen quietly.
Elizabeth was four years older than Hope, so she felt quite like a little woman. She sat up beside her mother and looked at the minister almost all the time; but sometimes she had to wink hard to keep awake. When she thought she could not let her feet hang down another minute, she would slip down to the footstool to rest.
Elizabeth was often ashamed of Hope, who could not sit still ten minutes. She tried to listen to the sermon, but could not. When she began to stir about a little, her mother shook her head at her. She sat still for a few minutes, but was soon restless again.
Presently she began to be sleepy and laid her head upon her father's arm for a nap. Just then she felt something in his pocket. A happy smile came over Hope's face; she was wide-awake now. Slipping her hand into the wide pocket, she drew out Mary Ellen and smoothed her wrinkled gown.
Master Brown's thoughts were all on the sermon, and even Mistress Brown did not notice Hope for a little time. When she did, what do you suppose she saw? Hope was standing on the seat showing her doll to the little girl in the pew behind her.
Oh, how ashamed her mother was! She pulled her little daughter down quickly and whispered, "Do you want the tithingman to come? Well, sit down and listen." Taking Mary Ellen, she slipped the doll into her muff.
Little Hope did sit down and listen. She did not even turn around when the kind lady behind them dropped a peppermint over the high-backed pew for her. She was very much afraid of the tithingman, who sat on a high seat. He had a long rod with a hard knob on one end and a squirrel's tail on the other.
When he saw a lady nodding during the sermon, he stepped around to her pew and tickled her face with the fur end of the rod. She would waken with a start and be, oh! so ashamed. She would be very glad the pew had such high sides to hide her blushing face.
Perhaps you think the boys who sat on the other side of the church had a good time. But there was the tithingman again. When he saw a boy whispering or playing, he rapped him on the head with the knob end of the rod. The whispering would stop at once, for the rod often brought tears and left a headache.
Besides keeping the boys from playing and the grown people from going to sleep, the tithingman must turn the hourglass. In those days very few people could afford clocks, but every one had an hourglass. It took the fine sand just one hour to pour from the upper part of the glass into the lower part.
When the sand had all run through, the tithingman turned the glass over and the sand began to tell another hour. The glass was always turned three times before the minister closed the service. Then the men picked up their muskets and foot stoves, the women wrapped their long capes closely about them, and all went home.
At sunset the Puritan Sabbath ended. The women brought out their knitting and spinning, or prepared for Monday's washing, and the children were free to play until bedtime.
More than a hundred years ago, our country was at war with England. George Washington was at the head of our army. As you know, he and his men were fighting for our country's freedom.
The English army was larger than our army, and General Washington needed all the men he could get. The regular troops were with him.
In one little town in Vermont all the strong, able-bodied men had gone to the front. News came that the English and the Americans were about to meet in battle. The Americans needed more men and called for volunteers. Old men with white hair and long beards volunteered. Young boys with smooth cheeks and unshaven lips volunteered. There wasn't a boy in the village over thirteen years of age who didn't volunteer.
Even lame Nahum Prince offered himself. He brought out his grandfather's old gun and got in line with the others. He stood as straight and tall as he could—as a soldier should stand.
Soon the captain came along the line to inspect the volunteers. When he saw Nahum, he said, "No, no, Nahum, you cannot go; you know you cannot. Why, you could not walk a mile. Go home, my lad."