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Title: Tell Me Another Story - The Book of Story Programs
Author: Bailey, Carolyn Sherwin, 1875-1961
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Tell Me Another Story - The Book of Story Programs" ***

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                               TELL ME
                            ANOTHER STORY

                     _THE BOOK OF STORY PROGRAMS_



                                  BY

                        CAROLYN SHERWIN BAILEY



                                 1918
                        MILTON BRADLEY COMPANY
                          SPRINGFIELD, MASS.
        NEW YORK  BOSTON  PHILADELPHIA  ATLANTA  SAN FRANCISCO



                           COPYRIGHT, 1918,
                      BY MILTON BRADLEY COMPANY,
                          SPRINGFIELD, MASS.

       *       *       *       *       *



Preface


The reward of the story-teller who has successfully met the child's
story interest is the plea embodied in the title of this book: "Tell
me another story." The book meets this child longing on a psychologic
basis. It consists of groups of stories arranged so that their telling
will result in definite mental growth for children, as well as
satisfied story hunger.

There has been a tendency in the past to group stories in a haphazard
way; there has been no organized plan of selecting stories to precede
and follow one another for the purpose of definite functioning of mind
processes. The effect of one story of distinctly differentiated theme
from one which has just been told is to break continuity of thought.
On the other hand, stories of similar theme, but contrasting form told
in the story-hour have a mental effect of concentration and will
training. This mental growth through stories is the aim of the book.

The instinctive and universal interests of all children form the
themes of the story programs; and these interests are presented in
their natural order for a year, beginning with home life, taking the
child out into the world, and carrying him through his school,
industrial, seasonable, and holiday activities. Three stories have
been grouped in each program as the number upon which children can
most easily fix their attention.

The plan of grouping the stories in each program is very definite and
psychologic. The first story in a group is an apperceptive one; it
secures the child's spontaneous attention because, through its plot,
it touches his own life in some way. It brings him into close and
intimate touch with the interest theme of the program because it
speaks of things that he knows, and other things that he can do. The
second story in each group makes an appeal to the child's reasoning
powers; having secured his attention through the apperceptive story,
the story-teller now takes the child a-field, mentally, and secures
his voluntary attention. It calls for constructive thought; it
presents the theme of the program in a broader way, with wider
application. It is, usually, the longest story of the program. The
third story is, invariably, the dessert of this story meal. Through
its brevity, humor, tenderness, or sharply contrasting treatment of
the program theme, it supplies the necessary relaxation, the fitting
climax for the program.

An analysis of the Trade Life program will illustrate the psychologic
appeal upon which the book is built. The story, The Holiday, opens the
program with its apperceptive appeal, showing the dependence of the
home upon the industrial life of the community and the possibility of
a child's coöperation in it. The second story in the trade program,
Selma Lagerloöf's Nils and the Bear, gives this wonderful Swedish
writer's presentation of the iron industry as a factor in our growth
from savagery to civilization. The third story, The Giant Energy and
Fairy Skill, by Maud Lindsay, gives the program its climax in fantasy
and contrast.

A similar analysis may be made of each program in the book.

It is not intended that the stories shall never be told to children
separately; on the contrary, each story is one of the best examples to
be found of the child interest which forms its theme. The book has
been prepared, however, to meet in an educational way the need
expressed in its title. It should be of value for the home, school,
library, and settlement.

CAROLYN SHERWIN BAILEY.

NEW YORK, 1918.

       *       *       *       *       *



EDITORIAL NOTE


I am indebted for editorial courtesies in connection with copyrighted
material appearing in Tell Me Another Story to the following
publishers:

Frederick A. Stokes and the Butterick Company for The Country Cat by
Grace McGowan Cooke, and appearing in Sonny Bunny Rabbit and His
Friends. Lucy Wheelock for The Little Acorn. Julia Darrow Cowles for
The Plowman Who Found Content from The Art of Story Telling. The D. C.
Heath Company for The Story of the Laurel by Grace H. Kupfer. Ginn and
Company for The Story of the First Thanksgiving, and
Doll-in-the-Grass. Doubleday, Page and Company for The Animals' New
Year's Eve and Nils and the Bear from the Further Adventures of Nils
by Selma Lagerloöf. The Youth's Companion for Chip's Thanksgiving, The
Rescue of Old Glory, The Tinker's Willow, The Three Brothers, and
Molly's Easter Hen. The Thomas Y. Crowell Company for The Bird, and
The Gray Hare from The Long Exile by Count Lyof N. Tolstoi. The
American Book Company for The Three Little Butterfly Brothers.
Little, Brown and Company for How Peter Rabbit Got His White Patch.
The Pilgrim Press for How the Flowers Came by Jay T. Stocking,
appearing as Queeny Queen and The Flowers, in The City That Never Was
Reached. The Giant's Plaything is used by special permission of the
publishers of the Book of Knowledge. The selections by Nathaniel
Hawthorne and Alice Brown are used by permission of and by special
arrangement with the Houghton Mifflin Company. The Milton Bradley
Company controls the copyrights of The Giant Energy and Fairy Skill,
and The Birthday by Maud Lindsay, and my story, The Log Cabin Boy.

CAROLYN SHERWIN BAILEY.

       *       *       *       *       *



TABLE OF CONTENTS


THE HOME.

The Treasure in the House
The Old House _Adapted from Hans Christian Andersen_
The Little Boy Who Wanted a Castle

THE CHILDREN.

The Playmates
The Star Child   _Adapted from Oscar Wilde_
Ole Luk-Oie   _Adapted from Hans Christian Andersen_

THE FAMILY.

What Father Does Is Always Right
    _Adapted from Hans Christian Andersen_
The Elder Tree Mother
    _Adapted from Hans Christian Andersen_
The Happy Family
    _Adapted from Hans Christian Andersen_

CLOTHING.

The Wonder Shoes
The Emperor's New Clothes
    _Adapted from Hans Christian Andersen_
How Primrose Went to the Party

FOOD.

The Prince Who Wasn't Hungry
The Field
The Magic Saucepan
    _Adapted from Juliana Horatio Ewing_

TOYS.

The Top That Could Sing
The Money Pig  _Adapted from Hans Christian Andersen_
The Giant's Plaything

TRADE LIFE.

The Holiday
Nils and the Bear  _Selma Lagerloöf_
The Giant Energy and the Fairy Skill.  _Maud Lindsay_

THE FARMER.

The Farm House  _Adapted from Charles and Mary Lamb_
The Plowman Who Found Content  _Julia Darrow Cowles_
The Farmer and the Troll  _Adapted from a Folk Tale_

SCHOOL.

A Puritan School-Day
The Last Class
    _Translated from the French of Alphonse Daudet_
Timothy's Shoes  _Adapted from Juliana Horatio Ewing_

FALL.

The Three Apples
The Horn of Plenty  _Adapted from Ovid_
The Goose Who Tried to Keep the Summer

THANKSGIVING.

Chip's Thanksgiving  _Annie Hamilton Donnell_
The First Thanksgiving
    _Albert F. Blaisdell and Francis K. Ball_
The King's Thanksgiving

WINTER.

The Gray Hare  _Count Lyof N. Tolstoi_
The Snow Image  _Adapted from Nathaniel Hawthorne_
The Fire That Would Not Burn

CHRISTMAS.

The Child Who Saw Santa Claus
The Christmas Garden
The Christmas Tree in the Barn

PATRIOTISM.

The Rescue of Old Glory  _Mrs. J. W. Wheeler_
The Log Cabin Boy
Their Flag

SAINT VALENTINE'S DAY.

The Valentine Box
The Prince's Valentine
Why the Dove is on our Valentines
    _Adapted from an Indian Folk Tale_

EASTER.

Molly's Easter Hen  _Annie Willis McCullough_
The Song of the Spring
The Easter Story

BIRDS.

The Bird  _Count Lyof N. Tolstoi_
The Nightingale  _Adapted from Hans Christian Andersen_
How the Wren Became King
    _Adapted from a Manx Folk Tale_

SUMMER.

The Little Red Princess
How the Flowers Came  _Jay T. Stocking_
The Three Little Butterfly Brothers
    _Adapted from a German Folk Tale_

ANIMALS.

Why Peter Rabbit Wears a White Patch  _Thornton Burgess_
The Animals' New Year's Eve  _Selma Lagerloöf_
The Country Cat  _Grace McGowen Cooke_

FAIRIES.

The Three Brothers  _Patten Beard_
The Cry Fairy  _Alice Brown_
Doll-in-the-Grass  _Adapted by Marian F. Lansing_

FABLES.

The Ploughman and His Sons  _La Fontaine_
The Bag of Dust
The Camel and the Pig  _Indian_

MYTHS.

How the Moon Was Kind to Her Mother  _Indian_
The Rabbit Who Was Grateful  _Indian_
Why the Bees Gather Honey  _Indian_

BIRTHDAYS.

The Birthday Present  _Maud Lindsay_
The Birthday of the Infanta  _Adapted from Oscar Wilde_
The Prickly Bush

ARBOR DAY.

The Tinker's Willow  _Edward W. Frentz_
The Story of the Laurel    _Grace Kupfer_
The Little Acorn  _Lucy Wheelock_

       *       *       *       *       *



THE HOME

THE TREASURE IN THE HOUSE


Once upon a time there was a little Princess, and when she was ten
years old they gave her a wonderful birthday party. There were
musicians, and roses in all the rooms, and strawberry ice cream, and
cakes with pink icing. Every one brought gifts.

The King, her father, gave the Princess a white pony with a long tail,
and a blue and silver harness. The Queen, her mother, gave the
Princess a little gold tea set for her dolls. There were other
beautiful gifts; a ring with a sparkling stone set in it, and a dozen
or so new silk dresses, and a nightingale in a gold cage; but every
one waited to see what the gift of the Princess' fairy-godmother would
be.

She was late coming to the party. One never knew just _how_ she would
come, on wings, or on a broomstick. This time she came walking, and
dressed in a short red gown and a white apron. Her kind eyes twinkled
as she gave her gift to the Princess.

Such a strange gift as it was, only a tiny black key!

"This will unlock a little house at the end of the garden which is my
birthday gift to you," the fairy-godmother of the Princess said. "In
the little house you will find a treasure." And then, as suddenly as
she had come, the fairy-godmother was gone, wearing one of her
surprise smiles on her lips.

Every one wondered about the house, and some of the guests went to the
end of the garden to look at it. All they saw, though, was a tiny
thatched cottage, very neat, but not at all fine. So they turned up
their noses and went back to the castle.

"A very poor present indeed!" they said.

The little Princess put the key in the silk bag that hung at her side
and then forgot all about it. Not until late in the afternoon did she
go to the end of the garden.

The little house made her curious, because it was so different from
the castle. The castle had great, coloured windows, but the little
house had tiny ones with crimson geraniums on the ledges and plain
white curtains.

She opened the door and went inside. The castle had many rooms, large
and lonely, but the little house had one room, small and very cozy.
There was a chimney and a fireplace where a bright little fire
sparkled and danced and chuckled to itself. A tea kettle hung over the
hob and it was singing, as the water bubbled, the merriest song that
the little Princess had ever heard. The table was set for tea. It was
a very plain tea, only white bread and butter, and honey, and milk;
but it made the Princess hungry to look at it. In front of the fire
stood a straight-backed chair and a little spinning wheel.

The Princess sat down to her tea. How pleasant the little house was,
she thought, and how unusually hungry she was!

At tea, in the castle, she often was not hungry and asked for food
that was not good for her, roasted peacock, and almond cakes, and plum
pudding. But here, in her own little house, she found that nothing was
quite so good as bread and butter, and her milk tasted as sweet as the
honey.

After tea the Princess sat down in the straightest chair, and although
she had never in her life touched a spinning wheel before, she began
to spin. _Whirr, whirr_, the wheel turned and sang, as fine white
thread grew from the bunch of linen floss. The fire danced, and the
tea kettle sang, and the spinning wheel whirred merrily. It was so
pleasant to have had such a nice tea and to be working in her own
little house that the Princess began to sing too. She sang like a
bird, and she had never known before that she could sing.

"I heard you singing, and I stopped."

The Princess turned and she saw a little boy of her own age standing
in the room. He had a very pleasant face, but he was dressed in ragged
clothes. His shirt was so full of holes that it scarcely covered his
back.

"What are you spinning?" he asked.

The Princess had not known, until that moment, what she was spinning,
but now she understood at once.

"I am spinning to make you a new shirt," she said.

"Oh, thank you!" said the little boy as he smiled down at her. The
Princess looked at him, wondering. She noticed that his eyes looked
very like those of her fairy-godmother.

Then she thought of something else.

"In the little house you will find a treasure," her fairy-godmother
had said.

She looked all about. There was no gold, or anything that she had
thought before was a treasure there. Then she listened to her heart
that was singing, too, now. That was it. Her fairy-godmother had given
her, in her little house, the treasure of a happy heart.



THE OLD HOUSE


Up there in the street was an old, old house.

All the other houses in the street were new, with large window panes
and smooth walls, but the old house had queer faces cut out of the
beams over the windows, and under the eaves was a dragon's head for a
rain-water spout. The front steps were as broad as those to a palace,
and as high, it seemed, as to a church tower.

"How long is that old place to stand and spoil our street?" said the
families who lived in the new houses.

But at the window opposite the old house there sat a little boy with
rosy cheeks and bright eyes. He certainly liked the old house best, in
sunshine or when the moon shone on it. He knew who lived there, an old
man who wore a coat with large brass buttons and a wig which one could
see was really a wig. Every morning there came an ancient servant to
put his rooms in order and to do his errands. Now and then the old man
came to the window and looked out, and the little boy nodded to him,
and the old man nodded back as if he were pleased. The little boy
heard his father and mother say,

"The old man opposite is rich, but he is so very, very lonely."

The Sunday following the little boy took something, and wrapped it up
in a piece of paper. He went downstairs and stood in the doorway, and
when the errand man came past, he said to him,

"I say, sir, will you give this to the old man over the way for me? I
have two toy soldiers. This is one of them and he shall have it, for I
hear that he is lonely."

The errand man looked pleased, nodded, and took the toy soldier over
to the old house. Afterwards there came a message; it was to ask if
the little boy himself would not come over and pay a visit. So he got
permission of his mother, and went over to the old house.

It seemed as if the brass balls on the iron fence shone brighter than
ever because he had come. There were steps in the garden that went
down and then up again, and the porch, even, was overgrown with green
stuff as if it were part of the garden. The walls of the hall were
hung with musty leather, printed with gold flowers, and there were
chairs with high backs that creaked as if they had the gout.

And at last the little boy came into the room where the old man sat.

"I thank you for the toy soldier, my little friend," said the old man,
"and I thank you because you came over to see me."

The pendulum of the great clock went to and fro, and the hands turned,
and everything in the room became still older, but the little boy went
up to the old man and took his hand.

"They said at home," said the little boy, "that you were very lonely."

Then the old man took a book with pictures in it down from a shelf,
and he went into the other room to the pantry. It was really
delightful in the old house!

But the toy soldier, who sat on a cabinet, suddenly spoke.

"I can't bear it any longer," he said. "The days are so dull and the
evenings are still duller. Here it is not at all like your home, where
your father and mother talk so pleasantly, and you and the other
children make such a delightful noise."

"Oh, you mustn't mind that," said the little boy. "This house is full
of old thoughts that come and visit and bring much company with them."

"I see nothing of them, and I don't know them because I am new," said
the toy soldier. "I cannot bear it!"

"But you must!" said the little boy.

Then in came the old man with the most pleased and happy face, and
bringing such delicious sweets, apples, and nuts. So the little boy
thought no more about the toy soldier.

He went home, happy. Weeks and days passed, and he nodded over to the
old house, and the old man nodded back. Then the little boy went over
again.

The old man went to find a treasure box that he had with secret
drawers, and the toy soldier took this opportunity of speaking once
more to the little boy.

"Do you still sing on Sundays?" he asked. "When the curtains are up I
can see you all over there at home distinctly. Tell me about my
brother. Does he still live? Yes, he is happy then. Oh, I cannot bear
it here any longer."

"You are given away as a present," the little boy said. "You will have
to stay. Can't you try and make the best of it?"

The old man came in now with the box. Secret springs released the
drawers and in these were cards, large and gilded, such as one never
sees now. Then he opened the piano. It had landscapes painted on the
inside of the lid. It was very hoarse but the old man could play on it
and he sang a song too.

"I will go to the wars! I will go to the wars!" shouted the toy
soldier as loudly as he could, and he threw himself off the cabinet
right down on the floor.

Where was he? The old man looked, and the little boy looked, but the
soldier was away and he stayed away.

"I shall find him!" said the old man, but he never did. The floor was
too open. The toy soldier had fallen through a crack, and there he
lay.

The little boy went home, and that week passed, and several weeks too.
The windows were frosted; the little boy had to breathe on them to get
a peep over at the old house; and snow covered the carved heads over
the windows. The old house looked very cold, but now there was no one
at home in it. And when the spring came they pulled the house down.

After a while a fine house was built in its place with large windows
and smooth white walls. Before it, where part of the old house had
stood, a garden was laid out and there were grape vines running along
the walks. Birds built their nests in the vines and chattered away to
each other, but not about the old house, for they could not remember
it, so many years had passed. So many years had gone by that the
little boy had grown up to a whole man. And he had just been married
and had brought his wife to live in the house here, where the garden
was. She had brought a wild flower with her that she found very pretty
and he stood by her as she planted it in the garden and pressed the
earth around it with her fingers.

Oh, what was that? She had pricked her finger. There sat something
pointed, sticking straight out of the soft mould.

It was--yes, guess--it was the toy soldier who had tumbled and turned
about among the timber and the rubbish, and had lain for many years in
the ground.

The young wife wiped the dirt off the soldier, first with a green
leaf, and then with her fine handkerchief. It was just as if the toy
soldier had awakened from a dream. Then the young man told his wife
about the old house and the old man and the toy soldier that he had
sent over because the old man had been so lonely.

"Very, very lonely!" said the toy soldier, "but it is delightful not
to be forgotten!"



THE LITTLE BOY WHO WANTED A CASTLE


There was once a boy who thought a great deal about castles. He had a
very beautiful picture book with coloured pictures of castles that
showed how large and different and fine they were, and, presently,
after thinking a long time about it, the boy decided that a castle
was where he would like, most of all, to live.

So very early one morning, when it was a sunny day and pleasant enough
for any sort of an adventure, the boy made up his mind that he would
go out for a little journey and try to find himself a castle.

He told his mother about it, for he always told her everything, and
she smiled down into his face as she buttoned his coat.

"Are you sure that you can find a castle?" she asked.

"Oh, yes indeed, very sure," the boy answered. "And if I can't I'll
ask some one on the road and he'll be able to tell me."

"Well, don't go so far away from home as to be late for supper," said
his mother, kissing him good-bye. And the boy said good-bye to his
mother and started off, but he made up his mind that probably he
wouldn't be home that night because he would be having his supper in
his castle.

The road was wide, and long, and winding, and the boy went down it for
a long way. He saw no great golden castle, only pleasant little white
houses with gardens, and people passing by with loads of vegetables
and fruit and flowers going to the town. At last he came to a sharp
turn in the road, and he saw an old man standing there with his dog.

"Please, sir," asked the boy, "I am taking a journey to find a castle.
Can you tell me how to find one?"

The old man looked surprised. "I've heard about castles around here,"
he said, "but I don't know as you'll find one in a day. You'll know
one, though, by the gold on the roof," he explained.

So the boy went on farther still, and he came to another turn in the
road. A girl with her flock of geese stood there, and the boy spoke to
her. "I am taking a journey to a castle," he said. "Can you tell me
how to find one?"

The girl laughed. "You'll know it by the garden," she said. "All
castles have very pretty gardens."

So the boy went farther still, and where the road curved he met an old
granny walking toward him with her knitting in her hand.

"Please, granny," said the boy. "I am taking a journey to find a
castle. Can you direct me to one?"

The granny looked down through her spectacles at the boy. "Perhaps you
will come to a castle beyond the last turn in the road," she said,
pointing behind her. "They say there are castles hidden hereabouts.
You'll know it by the fine feasts they give every day at sundown, and
the king and queen will be waiting at the door to welcome you."

"How shall I know the king and queen? Do they always wear crowns?"
asked the little boy.

"Not always," said the granny, "but you can tell a true king and queen
because they are so good and wise and kind."

So the boy thanked the granny and went on, but it was growing late in
the day and he was tired. The bend in the road seemed a very long way
off and he had to sit down several times before he reached it. His
feet ached and his back was tired when he came to it, but when he
turned and came out on the other side, he saw something wonderful.

Just a little way ahead lay the castle.

He could be quite sure that it was a castle because the roof shone
with gold in the setting sun and in front lay a pretty garden of
flowers of all kinds; pink roses, and tall white lilies, and purple
violets. In the doorway stood two people waiting; they must be the
king and queen, thought the little boy. As he ran and came nearer, he
could smell the feast--a savoury meat pie, and freshly baked cake, and
sweet fruits.

The boy ran faster and came to the gate and went up the walk. At the
doorway he stopped. Why, it was his own house that he had come back to
by way of the turns in the road. This was his own pretty garden that
he saw, and his own fine supper that he smelled. His own dear father
and mother waited in the door, with their arms outstretched to greet
him.

"You are the king and queen," shouted the boy, "always good and kind!"

"And this is our castle," laughed his mother. "Come in, my little
Prince. The feast is waiting for you."



THE CHILDREN

THE PLAYMATES


There was once a Prince and he was very lonely, because he had no
sisters or brothers in the palace with whom to play. And one day his
father and mother, the King and Queen, decided that they would send to
some neighboring Kingdoms to borrow a little Princess, who should come
and live at the palace, and be the sister and the playmate of the
Prince.

So they sent for one of the Court Messengers, and then they called the
Prince to tell him that he was going to have a little Princess to be
his playmate.

They talked the matter over with the Court Wise-Man that the Messenger
might understand just what sort of little Princess he should bring,
and make no mistake about it.

"She must be sweet tempered," said the King.

"And I should like her to have blue eyes and yellow hair and curls,"
said the Queen.

"And if I may be so bold as to make a suggestion," said the Court
Wise-Man, "she should be rich, for she and the Prince will need a
great many new toys."

They never thought to ask the Prince what his choice of a little
Princess would be. But the Prince did not wait to be asked.

"I want only a little Princess who can make molasses pop-corn balls,"
he said.

The King and the Queen and the Court Wise-Man were aghast at this.
They knew that the Prince was very fond of molasses pop-corn balls,
but the palace Cook always made him some every Saturday morning,
enough to last a whole week. But the Prince went on, and explained.

"The Princess who comes to play with me must be able to do what I want
her to, and I want her to make my pop-corn balls fresh every day.
Don't bring any Princess who can't," he said.

So they all knew that the matter was decided, for the Prince had a
very strong mind of his own. The Court Messenger started out to find a
little Princess who was sweet tempered, and had blue eyes, and yellow
hair that curled, and was rich, and knew how to make molasses pop-corn
balls.

He thought that he would find the right Princess overnight, but it
came to be weeks and weeks and she was still as far away as ever. The
Princesses who were sweet tempered were apt to have brown hair and
hazel eyes, and if there was a sweet tempered one with blue eyes and
yellow hair that curled she belonged in a Kingdom where there was very
little money. And none of the Princesses had even so much as heard of
molasses pop-corn balls. The Court Messenger grew so worried that he
could neither eat nor sleep, but one day as he wandered about in
foreign places he smelled something like molasses boiling. He followed
the odor and he came to a rich appearing palace. In he went, without
waiting to knock, and beside the kitchen fireplace he discovered a
Princess with blue eyes and yellow hair that curled. She was stirring
molasses in a kettle with one hand, and shaking a corn popper with the
other.

"What are you making?" begged the Messenger in great excitement.

"Molasses pop-corn balls," said the little Princess.

"Are you sweet tempered?" asked the Messenger.

"I never cry, or scold," said the little Princess.

"Then come with me and be the Prince's playmate," said the Messenger.
"We must have a Princess who will make him pop-corn balls every day."

The little Princess looked up in surprise. "Can the Prince play to me
on a jews-harp?" she asked.

"I do not think his Highness can," said the Messenger.

"Then I can't go with you," said the little Princess. "I will go only
to a Prince who can play on a jews-harp."

"I won't learn to play on a jews-harp," said the little Prince when
they told him about it.

So he was without a sister and a playmate, and every day he grew more
lonely and more unhappy. But he thought a great deal and at last he
said:

"I should like to have that little Princess very much. Will you ask
her if she will come if she does not have to make molasses pop-corn
balls?"

Now, all this time, the Princess had been thinking too. When the Court
Messenger gave her the Prince's message, she smiled and said she would
come. "The Prince need not play to me on a jews-harp if he does not
want to," she said.

So they packed her clothes in ten trunks, and she rode in a gold
chariot to the palace of the Prince. The doors were opened wide to
greet her, and through them came the sound of the merriest music. The
Princess clasped her hands in happiness.

"_Who_ is playing the jews-harp?" she asked. "I am _so_ fond of one."

Just then the Prince came in. It had been he who was playing. He had
learned how for her pleasure.

"What are you carrying in that basket?" he asked of the little
Princess.

"Some molasses pop-corn balls that I made for you," she said. "And I
will make you some to-morrow, dear Prince."



THE STAR-CHILD


Once upon a time a poor Woodcutter was making his way through a pine
forest. It was winter, and a night of bitter weather. So cold was it
that even the animals and the birds did not know what to make of it.
The little Squirrels who lived inside the tall fir tree kept rubbing
each other's noses to keep warm, and the Rabbits curled themselves up
in their holes and did not even look out of doors.

And as the Woodcutter pressed on toward home, bewailing his lot, there
fell from heaven a very bright and beautiful star. It slipped down the
side of the sky, passing by the other stars, and it seemed to sink
behind a clump of willow trees no more than a stone's throw away.

"Why, there is a crock of gold for whoever finds it," he said, and he
hastened toward it. Stooping down, he placed his hands upon a thing of
gold lying on the white snow. It was a cloak of golden tissue,
curiously wrought with stars, and wrapped in many folds. There was no
gold in it, but only a little child who was asleep.

Very tenderly the Woodcutter took up the child and wrapped the cloak
around it to shield it from the harsh cold, and he made his way down
the hill to the village.

"I have found something in the forest," he said to his wife when he
reached the poor house where they lived.

"What is it?" she cried. "The house is bare and we have need of many
things." So he drew the cloak back and showed her the sleeping child.

"It is a Star-Child," he said, and told her of the strange manner of
finding it.

"But our children lack bread; can we feed another?" she asked.

"God careth for the sparrows even," he answered.

So after a time she turned round and looked at him, and her eyes were
full of tears. And he came in swiftly, and placed the child in her
arms, and she kissed it, and laid it in a little bed where the
youngest of their own children was lying. And on the morrow the
Woodcutter took the curious cloak of gold and placed it in a great
chest, and a chain of amber that was round the child's neck his wife
took and set in the chest also.

So the Star-Child was brought up with the children of the Woodcutter,
and sat at the same board with them, and was their playmate. And every
year he became more beautiful to look at, so that all those who dwelt
in the village were filled with wonder. While they were swarthy and
black-haired, he was white and delicate as ivory, and his curls were
like the rings of the daffodil. His lips, also, were like the petals
of a red flower, and his eyes were like violets, and his body like a
narcissus of a field where the mower comes not.

Yet, the Star-Child's beauty worked him harm, for he grew proud and
cruel and selfish. He despised the other children of the village
because they were of mean parentage, and he made himself master of
them and called them his servants. He had no pity for the poor, or for
those who were blind, or lame; but would cast stones at them.

Now there passed one day through the village a poor beggar-woman. Her
garments were torn and ragged, and her feet were bleeding from the
rough road on which she had travelled, and she was in very evil
plight. And being weary, she sat her down under a chestnut-tree to
rest.

But when the Star-Child saw her, he said to his companions, "See!
There sits a beggar-woman under that fair and green-leaved tree. Come,
let us drive her hence, for she is ugly and ill-favoured."

So he came near and threw stones at her, and mocked her, and, she
looked at him with terror in her eyes, nor did she move her gaze from
him.

"Whose child is this?" she asked. Then the Woodcutter, who was passing
by, told of finding the Star-Child, of the chain of amber around his
neck and the cloak wrought with stars. And, hearing, the beggar-woman
cried with joy.

"He is my little son," she said, "whom I lost through enchantment in
the forest. I have searched for him through all the world."

The Woodcutter called the Star-Child, and said to him,

"Here is thy mother, waiting for thee."

But the Star-Child laughed scornfully.

"I am no son of thine," he said. "I am a Star-Child, and thou art a
beggar, and ugly, and in rags. Get thee hence that I may see thee no
more."

"Oh, my little son," cried the beggar-woman. "Will you not kiss me
before I go? I have suffered much to find thee."

"No," said the Star-Child. "I would rather kiss an adder or a toad
than thee."

So the woman went away into the forest, weeping bitterly, and the
Star-Child was glad and ran back to his playmates. But when they saw
him coming they ran away from him in fear. He went to the well and
looked in. Lo, his face was as the face of a toad and his body was
scaled like an adder. He flung himself down on the grass, and wept.

"I denied my mother," he said. "This has come upon me because of my
sin. I will seek her through all the world, nor rest until I have
found her."

So he ran away into the forest and called out to his mother to come to
him, but there was no answer. All day long he called to her, and when
the sun set he lay down to sleep on a bed of leaves, and the birds and
the animals fled from him, for they remembered his cruelty, and he was
alone save for the toad that watched him, and the slow adder that
crawled past.

And in the morning he rose up and plucked some bitter berries from the
trees and ate them, and took his way through the great wood, weeping
sorely. And of everything that he met he made inquiry if perchance
they had seen his mother.

He said to the Mole, "Thou canst go beneath the earth. Tell me, is my
mother there?"

And the Mole answered, "Thou hast blinded mine eyes. How should I
know?"

He said to the Linnet, "Thou canst fly over the tops of the tall trees
and canst see the whole world. Tell me, canst thou see my mother?"

And the Linnet answered, "Thou hast clipt my wings for thy pleasure.
How should I fly?"

And to the little Squirrel who lived in the fir tree, and was lonely,
he said, "Where is my mother?"

And the Squirrel answered, "Thou hast slain mine. Dost thou seek to
slay thine also?"

And the Star-Child wept and bowed his head and prayed forgiveness of
God's things, and went on through the forest, seeking for the
beggar-woman.

When he passed through the villages the children mocked him and threw
stones at him. He had no place to rest his head, and none had pity on
him. For the space of three years he wandered over the world, and
often seemed to see his mother in the road in front of him, and would
call to her, and run after her until the sharp flints made his feet
bleed. But overtake her he could not, and there was neither love nor
charity for him. It was such a world as he had made for himself in the
days of his pride.

It happened that in his wanderings he was taken and sold as a slave,
and his master, who was a wicked magician, demanded that he go out in
search of a piece of pure white gold.

"See that thou bringest it," said the magician, "or it will go hard
with thee."

So the Star-Child went in search of the piece of white gold but he
could not find it, although he sought for it from morn to noon, and
from noon to sunset. Then he set his face toward home, weeping
bitterly, for he knew that the magician would beat him with an hundred
stripes. But suddenly he heard, from a thicket a cry, and, forgetting
his own sorrow, he ran to the place. He saw a little Hare caught in a
trap.

The Star-Child had pity on it and released it and the Hare said to
him, "What shall I give thee in return for my freedom?"

And the Star-Child said to it, "I am seeking for a piece of white gold
nor can I, anywhere, find it; and if I bring it not to my master he
will beat me."

"Come with me," said the Hare. "I know where it is hidden, and for
what purpose."

So the Star-Child went with the Hare, and in the cleft of a great oak
tree he saw the white gold that he was seeking. He took it and ran
swiftly toward the city.

Now at the gate of the city there was seated one who was a leper. When
he saw the Star-Child he called to him and said, "Give me a piece of
money or I must die of hunger. They have turned me out of the city
and there is no one who has pity on me."

"Alas," cried the Star-Child. "I have but one piece of money, and if I
bring it not to my master he will beat me, for I am his slave."

"Give me the piece of money or I must die," cried the leper and the
Star-Child had pity on him and gave him the piece of gold. Yet his
heart was heavy, for he knew what evil fate awaited him.

But, lo, as he passed through the gates of the city, the guards bowed
to him and the high officers of the city ran forth to meet him and
cried, "Thou art our lord for whom we have been waiting, and the son
of our king."

And the Star-Child wondered.

"I am no king's son, but the child of a beggar-woman and evil to look
at," he said. Then he saw his image in one of the burnished shields of
the guards.

Lo, his face was again beautiful, and all his comeliness had come back
to him again.

But he said to them, "I am not worthy, for I have denied my mother,
nor may I rest until I have found her. Let me go, for I must wander
again through the world." As he spoke he looked toward the road and
there he saw the beggar-woman who was his mother and at her side stood
the leper who had sat beside the gate.

Then a cry of joy broke from the Star-Child's lips and he ran over,
and kneeled down, and kissed the wounds in his mother's feet. And the
beggar-woman put her hand on his head and said to him, "Rise"; and the
leper put his hand upon the Star-Child also, and said to him, "Rise."

And he rose up from their feet and looked at them; and they were a
King and a Queen.

And the Queen said to him, "This is thy father whom thou hast fed."

And the King said, "This is thy mother whose feet thou hast washed
with thy tears."

And they clothed the Star-Child in fair raiment and set a crown upon
his head and a sceptre in his hand and he was the ruler of the city.
He was wise and merciful to all, and to the Woodcutter and his family
he sent many rich gifts. He would not suffer any one to be cruel to
bird or beast, but taught love and loving kindness; and to the poor he
gave bread, and to the naked raiment; and there was peace and plenty
in the land.



OLE LUK-OIE


In the whole world there is nobody who knows so many stories as Ole
Luk-Oie. He really can tell stories.

It is in the evening, when the children are sitting nicely at table,
or upon their stools, that Ole Luk-Oie comes. Softly he creeps up the
stairs, for he walks in socks; opens the door very gently, and squirts
sweet milk in the children's eyes--whisk! just a tiny drop, but quite
enough to prevent them from keeping their eyes open; and so they
cannot see him.

Then he steals just behind them, and blows softly at the back of their
necks, so that their heads become heavy. But of course it does not
hurt them, for Ole Luk-Oie is fond of the children, and only wants
them to be quiet. They are most quiet when they are in bed; and they
have to be quiet indeed when Ole Luk-Oie tells them his stories.

When the children are nearly asleep, Ole Luk-Oie seats himself upon
the bed. He is neatly dressed; his coat is of silk, but it is
impossible to say of what color, for it shines green, red, and blue,
according to which side he turns. Under each arm he carries an
umbrella. One is lined with pictures, and this he spreads over the
good children, so that they dream the most beautiful stories the whole
night through; but on the other umbrella there are no pictures, and
this he holds over the naughty children, so that they sleep heavily,
and when they awake in the morning they have not dreamed at all.

We shall now hear how Ole Luk-Oie came to a little boy named Hjalmar,
and what he told him.

Over the chest of drawers in Hjalmar's room hung a large picture in a
gilt frame. It was a landscape. One could see tall trees, and flowers
in the grass. There was a great lake, and a river that flowed round
the forest, past castles, and out and out into the sea.

Ole Luk-Oie touched the painting with his magic squirt, and the birds
in it began to sing, the branches of the trees moved, and the clouds
floated along. Then Ole Luk-Oie lifted little Hjalmar up to the frame,
and Hjalmar put his feet into the picture, right into the high grass;
and there he stood, with the sun shining upon him. He ran to the water
and seated himself in a little boat that lay there; it was painted red
and white, and the sails gleamed with silver. Six swans, wearing
golden circlets around their necks and twinkling blue stars on their
heads, drew the boat.

Gorgeous fishes, with scales of silver and gold, swam after the boat,
sometimes springing high into the air and falling back with a splash
into the water. They wanted all to follow Hjalmar, and each one had a
story to tell.

It was really a beautiful voyage. At one time the forests were thick
and dark, at another they looked like a glorious garden full of
sunlight and flowers. There were great palaces of glass and marble; on
the balconies stood Princesses, and they were all little girls whom
Hjalmar knew well--he had played with them before. Each one stretched
forth her hand, and held out the prettiest sugar pig that a cake-woman
could sell. Hjalmar took hold of one end of the sugar pig as he passed
by, but the Princess also held fast, so that each of them got a
piece--she the smaller part, and Hjalmar the larger.

Before each palace stood little Princes as sentries. They presented
arms with golden swords, and then it rained raisins and tin soldiers;
they were real Princes. At one moment Hjalmar was sailing through
forests, at another through great halls, or straight through the
middle of a town.

Ole Luk-Oie had taken Hjalmar for a wonderful journey that night.

And another night Ole Luk-Oie said to Hjalmar, "Don't be afraid. I
will show you a little mouse," and he held out his hand with the
pretty little creature. "It has come to invite you to a wedding. Two
little Mice are going to be married to-night. They live under the
floor of your mother's pantry; it is said to be such a nice place to
live in."

"But how can I get through the mouse hole in the floor?" asked
Hjalmar.

"I will see to that," said Ole Luk-Oie. And with his magic squirt he
touched Hjalmar, who at once began to grow smaller and smaller, until
at last he was scarcely as big as a finger.

"Now you can borrow the tin soldier's uniform. I think it will fit
you," said Ole Luk-Oie.

And in a moment Hjalmar was dressed like the smartest of tin soldiers.

"Will you be so kind as to take a seat in your Mamma's thimble?" said
the mouse; "I shall then have the honour of drawing you."

"Oh, dear! are you going to take this trouble yourself, little miss?"
said Hjalmar.

Then they drove to the mouse's wedding. They passed first through a
long passage beneath the floor, which was only just high enough to
drive through in a thimble; and the whole passage was lit up with
phosphorescent wood.

"Doesn't it smell nice here?" said the mouse, who was drawing the
thimble. "The whole passage has been greased with bacon fat; it could
not be more exquisite."

Then they came into the bridal hall. On the right hand stood all the
little lady mice; and they whispered and giggled as if they were
making fun of one another; on the left stood all the gentlemen mice,
stroking their whiskers with their forepaws; and in the center of the
hall you could see the bride and bridegroom, standing in a hollow
cheese.

More and more guests arrived, until the mice were nearly treading one
another to death. The bridal pair had stationed themselves just in the
doorway, so that one could neither come in nor go out. Like the
passage, the floor had been greased with bacon fat, and that was the
whole of the feast; but for dessert they produced a pea on which a
mouse belonging to the family had bitten the name of the bridal
pair--that is to say, the first letter of the name. It was something
extraordinary.

All the mice said it was a beautiful wedding, and that the
entertainment had been very enjoyable.

So Hjalmar drove home again. He had been in very distinguished
society; but he had been obliged to shrink together to make himself
small, and to put on the tin soldier's uniform.

"Am I to hear any more stories now?" asked little Hjalmar, as soon as
Ole Luk-Oie had put him to bed Saturday night.

"We have no time for that this evening," said Ole Luk-Oie; and he
spread his finest umbrella over the child. "Now look at these
Chinamen."

And the whole umbrella looked like a great china bowl, with blue
trees and painted bridges, upon which stood little Chinamen, nodding
their heads.

"We must have the whole world nicely cleaned up for to-morrow
morning," said Ole Luk-Oie, "for it is a holiday--it is Sunday. I must
go to the church steeple to see that the little church goblins are
polishing the bells, so that they may sound sweetly. I must go out
into the fields, and see that the winds are blowing the dust from the
grass and leaves; and--this is the greatest work of all--I must bring
down all the stars to polish them. I have to number each one of them
before I take them in my apron, and the holes in which they are up
there must be numbered as well, so that they may be put back in their
right places, or they would not stick firmly, and then we should have
too many shooting-stars, for they would be dropping down one after the
other!"

"Do you know, Mr. Luk-Oie," said an old portrait, which hung on the
wall in the room where Hjalmar slept, "that I am Hjalmar's
great-grandfather? I am much obliged to you for telling the boy
stories; but you must not confuse ideas. The stars cannot be taken
down and polished. They are spheres, just like our earth, and that is
just the best thing about them."

"I thank you, old grandfather," said Ole Luk-Oie, "I thank you! You
are the head of the family, the ancestral head: but I am older than
you! I am an old heathen; the Romans and Greeks called me the Dream
God. I have been in the noblest houses, and am admitted there still. I
know how to act with great people and with small. Now you can tell
your story!"

Ole Luk-Oie took his umbrella, and went away.

And Hjalmar awoke.



THE FAMILY

WHAT FATHER DOES IS ALWAYS RIGHT


I have no doubt that you have been out in the country, and have seen a
real old farm-house, with a thatched roof, and moss, and plants
growing wild upon it. There is a stork's nest on the ridge, for one
cannot very well do without the stork; the walls are sloping, the
windows low, and the baking-oven projects from the wall like a fat
little body. The elder-tree hangs over the fence, and there is a
little pool of water, with a duck and her ducklings, beneath some old
willow-trees. There is, also, a dog that barks at everybody who passes
by.

Just such an old farm-house stood out in the country, and there lived
an old couple, a peasant and his wife. Little though they had, there
was one thing they could not do without, and that was the horse, that
found a living by grazing on the roadside.

Father rode on it to town, and the neighbours borrowed it; but the old
couple thought it might perhaps be better to sell the horse or
exchange it for something more useful.

"You will know best, father, what this something should be," said the
wife. "To-day is market-day in town; ride down there and sell the
horse or make a good exchange. What you do is always right--so ride to
the market."

So she wrapped his muffler around him, for she could do this better
than he, and tied it in a double knot, so that it looked very smart;
then she brushed his hat with the palm of her hand, and gave him a
hearty kiss. He rode away on the horse that was about to be sold or
exchanged. Yes; father knew what he was about!

A man came along, leading a cow--as pretty a cow as one could wish to
see.

"She must give good milk, I am sure," thought the peasant; "it would
be a very good exchange to get her for the horse. Hello there, you,
with the cow!" he cried, "let us have a little chat. Of course, a
horse costs more than a cow, but I don't mind that; I happen to have
more use for the cow. Shall we make an exchange?"

"All right," said the man with the cow, and so they exchanged.

Now that the bargain was made, the peasant might have returned home,
for he had finished his business; but, as he had made up his mind to
go to market, he thought he might as well do so, if only to see what
was going on. So off he walked with his cow.

He walked quickly, and the cow walked quickly, and so they soon
overtook a man who was leading a sheep. It was a fine sheep, in good
condition, and with plenty of wool.

"Now, that is just the thing I should like to have," thought the
peasant. "There is plenty of grass for it by the roadside, and in the
winter we could take it into the house with us. As a matter of fact,
it would be more suitable for us to keep than a cow. Shall we
exchange?" he asked.

The man with the sheep was quite willing; so the exchange was made.

The peasant went along the road with his sheep, and at the stile he
met a man with a big goose under his arm.

"That is a heavy bird you have there," said the peasant, "with plenty
of feather and fat. It would look capital tied with a piece of string
by the pond. It would be something for the wife to save the potato
peelings for. She has so often said: 'If we only had a goose!' and now
she can get one, and we shall have it. Shall we exchange? I will give
you the sheep for the goose, and thank you into the bargain," said the
peasant. The other man was quite willing; and so they exchanged, and
the peasant got the goose.

He was now close to the town. The crowd on the road became greater,
and there was a crush and a rush of men and cattle. They were walking
on the road and by the roadside, and at the turn-pike-gate they walked
even in the toll-man's potato-field, where a hen was strutting about
with a string tied to her leg, in order that she should not go astray
in the crowd and so get lost. It was a nice fat hen; it winked with
one eye, and looked very artful. "Cluck! cluck!" it said; what it
thought, when saying it, I do not know; but the peasant thought, as he
saw the hen,

"Now, that is the nicest hen I have ever seen. She is finer than our
parson's hen. I should like to have her. A hen can always pick up
something; she can almost keep herself. I think it would be a good
exchange if I got her for the goose. Shall we exchange?" he said.

"Exchange!" said the other; "that wouldn't be so bad." So they
exchanged; the toll-man got the goose, and the peasant got the hen.

He had done a good deal of business on his way to town; it was very
hot, and he was very tired; he would be all the better for a piece of
bread, and now he was at the inn.

He was going in, and the innkeeper was going out, so they met in the
doorway.

The innkeeper carried a big sack of something.

"What have you there?" said the peasant.

"Apples!" answered the man; "a whole sackful for the pigs."

"Oh, that is a rare lot; I should like mother to see them. Last year
we had only one single apple on the old tree by the peat-house; this
apple we kept on the top of the cupboard until it cracked. 'Well, it
is always property,' said mother; but here she could see any quantity
of property; yes, I should like to show them to her."

"Well, what will you give for them?" asked the man.

"What will I give? I'll give my hen in exchange," he said, and so he
gave his hen in exchange, got the apples, and went into the inn.

Many strangers were present in the room, and they soon heard the whole
story--how the horse was exchanged for the cow, and so on, down to the
apples.

"Well, your good wife will give it to you when you get home," said one
of them.

"Not at all," said the peasant; "she will give me a kiss, instead of
scolding me, and she will say: 'What father does is always right.'"

"Shall we wager," said the stranger, "a barrel of gold coins--a
hundred pounds to a hundredweight?"

"It is quite enough to make it a bushelful," said the peasant; "I can
only set the bushel of apples against it; but I will throw myself and
the wife into the bargain, and that, I should say, is good measure!"

"Done!" he said; and so the wager was made.

The innkeeper's carriage came up, and the stranger got in, the peasant
got in, and the apples got in, and away they all went to the peasant's
house.

"Good evening, mother!"

"Good evening, father!"

"I have made the exchange."

"Well, you understand what you are about," said the woman, and she was
so glad to see him, she forgot all about the sack and the stranger.

"I have exchanged the horse for a cow."

"Oh, how nice to get milk!" said the wife; "now we can have butter and
cheese on the table; that was indeed a capital exchange!"

"Yes, but I exchanged the cow for a sheep."

"Well, that is perhaps better," said the wife; "you always think of
everything. We have just enough pasture for a sheep; ewe's milk, and
cheese, and woolen socks, and a woolen jacket--the cow cannot give
these. How you do think of everything, to be sure!"

"But the sheep I exchanged for a goose."

"Are we really going to have roast goose for Christmas this year,
father dear? You are always thinking of something to please me. This
is a capital idea of yours; the goose can be tied to a string, and we
will fatten her for Christmas!"

"But I exchanged the goose for a hen," said the old man.

"A hen! oh, that was a good bargain!" said the woman. "A hen lays
eggs, and hatches them, and so we can get chickens--a whole
poultry-yard--and that's the very thing I have always wished for."

"Yes; but the hen I exchanged for a sack of apples!"

"Now, I must really kiss you!" said the woman.

"Thank you, thank you, my dear man! Now I'll tell you something; when
you were gone, I thought I would make a nice meal for you--pancakes
with onions. The eggs I had, but I had no onions, so I went over to
the school-master's--they have onions, I know, but the wife is mean,
poor thing. I asked her to lend me some. 'Lend!' she said; 'there is
nothing that grows in our garden that I could lend you--not even an
apple.' But now I can lend her ten, or a whole sackful--that is
really nice, father."

"Well, that is capital!" exclaimed the stranger, "always going
downhill, and yet always cheerful; it is worth the money." So he paid
a hundredweight of gold to the peasant.

Now, that is my story. I heard it when I was little, and now you have
heard it too, and know that what father does is always right.



THE ELDER TREE MOTHER


There was once a little boy who had caught cold; he had gone out and
got wet feet. No one could imagine how it had happened, for it was
quite dry weather. His mother undressed him, put him to bed, and had
the tea-urn brought in to make him a good cup of elder tea, for that
warms well.

"Now you are to drink your tea," said the mother, "and then perhaps
you will hear a story."

The little boy drank the elder tea and then looked at the tea-pot. The
lid raised itself and the elder flowers came forth from it, white and
fresh. They shot forth long branches even out of the spout; they
spread about in all directions and became larger and larger. There was
the most glorious elder bush, in fact quite a tree. It stretched to
the bed and thrust the curtains aside; how fragrant it was and how it
bloomed! And in the midst of the tree sat an old, pleasant looking
woman in a strange dress. It was quite green like the leaves of the
elder tree, and bordered with great white elder blossoms. One could
not tell whether this border was of stuff, or of living green and real
flowers.

"Who are you?" the little boy asked.

"They used to call me a Dryad," said the woman, "but I have a better
name than that. I am the Elder Tree Mother."

Then she took the little boy out of bed, and laid him upon her bosom.
The blossoming elder branches wound round them so they sat as it were
in the thickest arbor, and this arbor flew away with them through the
air. It was very beautiful. Elder Mother all at once became a pretty
young girl; at her throat she had a real elder flower, and on her head
a wreath of elder blossoms. Her eyes were large and blue. She and the
boy were of the same age and felt the same joys.

Hand in hand they went out of the arbor, and now they stood in the
beauteous flower garden of home. The father's staff was tied up near
the fresh grass plot, and for the little boy there was life in the
staff. The polished head turned into a noble, neighing horse's head
with a flowing mane, and four slender legs shot forth. They seated
themselves upon it and began to ride miles away. And the little girl
who, as we know, was no one else but Elder Mother, cried out,

"Now we're in the country. Do you see the farm-house with the great
baking oven standing out of the wall? The elder tree spreads its
branches over it, and the cock walks about, scratching for his hens.
Look how he struts!

"Now we are at the forge where the fire burns and the hammers send
bright sparks flying far around. But away, away!"

Everything, and more than the little girl mentioned as she sat on the
stick behind him, flew past them. He will never forget, and throughout
their whole journey the elder tree smelled so fresh, so fragrant. He
noticed the roses and the fresh beech trees, but the elder tree
smelled stronger than all for its flowers hung round the little girl
and he often leaned against them as they flew onward.

"Here it is beautiful in spring!" said the little girl.

And they stood in the green beech wood where the thyme lay in
fragrance beneath their feet and pink anemones looked pretty against
the green.

"Here it is beautiful in summer!" said she.

And they passed by old castles where swans swam about and they looked
down the shady avenues. In the fields the corn waved like a sea. In
the ditches yellow and red flowers were growing, and in the hedges
wild hops. In the evening the moon rose, round and large, and the
haystacks in the meadows smelled sweet.

"Here it is beautiful in autumn!" said the little girl.

And the sky seemed twice as lofty and twice as blue as before and the
forests were decked in the most gorgeous tints of red, yellow, and
green. Whole flocks of wild ducks flew screaming overhead. The sea was
dark blue and covered with ships with white sails; and in the barns
sat old women, girls, and children picking hops into a large tub. The
young people sang songs and the older ones told tales of goblins. It
could hardly be finer anywhere.

"Here it is beautiful in winter!" said the little girl.

All the trees were covered with hoar frost so that they looked like
white trees of coral. The snow creaked beneath one's boots as if every
one had new boots on, and one shooting star after another fell from
the sky. In the houses Christmas trees were lighted, and there were
presents and there was happiness. In the country people's farm-houses
the violin sounded, and there were merry games for apples. Even the
poorest child said, "It is beautiful in winter!"

So the little girl showed the boy everything, and suddenly the boy
grew up and was to go out into the wide world, far away to the hot
countries where the coffee grows. When they were to part the little
girl took an elder blossom from her wreath and gave it to him to keep.
He put it in a book, and the more he looked at the flower the fresher
it became so that he seemed, as it were, to breathe the forest air of
home. Then he plainly saw the little girl looking out with her clear
blue eyes from between the petals of the flower and she whispered,

"Here it is beautiful in spring, summer, autumn, and winter!" and
hundreds of pictures glided through his thoughts.

Many years went by. He seemed to be an old man and sat with his wife
under the blossoming elder tree. The little maiden with the blue eyes
and with the wreath of elder blossoms in her hair sat up in the tree,
and nodded to both of them, and said, "To-day is our golden wedding
day!" Then she took two flowers out of her hair and kissed them, and
they gleamed, first, like silver, then like gold. When she laid them
on the heads of the old people, each changed to a golden crown. There
they both sat like a King and Queen, under a fragrant tree that
looked quite like an elder bush; and he told his old wife the story of
the Elder Tree Mother.

"Some call me Elder Tree Mother," said the little girl in the tree,
"others the Dryad, but my real name is Remembrance. It is I who sit in
the tree that grows on and on, and I can think back and tell stories.
Let me see if you still have your flower?"

The old man opened his book; there lay the elder blossom as fresh as
if it had only just been placed there; and Remembrance nodded, and the
two old people with the golden crowns on their heads sat in the red
evening sunlight, and they closed their eyes, and--the story was
finished.

The little boy lay in his bed and did not know whether he had been
dreaming or had heard a tale told. The tea-pot stood on the table, but
no elder bush was growing out of it.

"How beautiful that was!" said the little boy. "Mother, I have been in
the hot countries."

"Yes, I am sure of that!" replied the mother. "When one drinks two
cups of hot elder tea one very often gets into the hot countries." And
she covered him up well that he might not take cold. "You have slept
well," she said.

"But where is the Elder Tree Mother?" asked the little lad.

"She's in the tea-pot," said his mother, "and there she may stay."



THE HAPPY FAMILY


The biggest leaf in the country is certainly the burdock leaf. Put one
in front of your waist and it's just like an apron, and if you lay it
upon your head it is almost as good as an umbrella, for it is
remarkably large. Burdocks have another use. Snails feed on them.

Now there was an old estate where the burdocks grew and there was no
stopping them. Here and there stood an apple or a plum tree; but for
this nobody would have thought a garden had been there. Everywhere
were burdocks, and among them lived two ancient white snails.

They did not know themselves how old they were, but they could very
well remember that there had been a great many more of them; that they
had descended from a large family. They led a very retired and happy
life and, as they had no children, they had adopted a little common
snail which they brought up as their own child. But the little thing
would not grow, for he was only a common snail, although the mother
declared that he was getting too large for his shell. And when the
father noticed how small their child was, she told him to feel the
little snail's shell, and he felt it, and said that she was right.

One day it rained very hard.

"Listen, how it's drumming on the burdock leaves, rum-dum-dum!
rum-dum-dum!" said the Father Snail.

"That's what I call drops," said the Mother. "It's coming straight
down the stalks. You'll see how wet the garden will be directly. I'm
glad that we have our good houses and the little one has his own.
There has been more done for us than for any other creature; one can
see very plainly that we are the grand folks of the world! We have
houses from our birth and the burdock forest has grown for us. I
should like to know how far it extends and what lies beyond it."

"There's nothing," said the Father Snail, "that can be better than
here at home. I have nothing at all to wish for. You must watch the
little one. Has he not been creeping up the stalk these three days? My
head quite aches when I look at him."

"Well, don't scold him," said the Mother Snail. "He crawls
deliberately. We shall have much joy in him, and we old people have
nothing else to live for. But have you ever thought where we shall
get a wife for him? Don't you think that farther in the wood there may
be some more of our kind?"

"There may be black snails there, I think," said the Father
Snail,--"black snails without houses! But they are too vulgar. And
they're conceited at that. We can give the commission to the Ants,
though; they run to and fro, as if they had business. They're sure to
know of a wife for our young gentleman."

"I certainly know the most beautiful of brides," said one of the Ants,
"but I fear she would not do, for she is the Queen."

"That does not matter," said the two old Snails. "Has she a house?"

"She has a castle!" replied the Ant, "the most beautiful ants' castle,
with seven hundred passages."

"Thank you," said the Mother Snail, "our boy shall not go into an
ant-hill. If you know of nothing better, we will give the commission
to the white gnats. They fly far about in rain and sunshine, and they
know the burdock wood, inside and outside."

"We have a wife for him," said the Gnats. "A hundred man-steps from
here a little snail with a house is sitting on a gooseberry bush. She
is quite alone, and old enough to marry. It's only a hundred man-steps
from here."

"Yes, let her come to him," said the old people. "He has a whole
burdock forest, and she has only a bush."

So they brought the little maiden Snail. Eight days passed before she
arrived, but that was the rare circumstance by which one could see
that she was of the right kind.

And then they had the wedding. Six Glow-Worms lighted as well as they
could. With this exception it went very quietly, for the old Snails
could not bear feasting and noise.

The Father Snail could not make a speech, he was so much moved; but he
gave the young people the whole burdock forest for an inheritance. He
said, what he and the Mother Snail had always said, that it was the
best place in the world. And when the wedding was over, the old people
crept into their houses and never came out again, for they slept.

The young Snail pair now ruled in the forest, and had a large family.
The rain fell down upon the burdock leaves to play the drum for them.
The sun shone to color the burdock forest for them; and they were
happy, very happy. The whole family was uncommonly happy!



CLOTHING

THE WONDER SHOES


They looked like any other pair of boy's shoes, the same stout soles,
strong lacings, shiny tips and uppers. But when the old shoemaker put
them on Gustave, and laced them up, and saw that they exactly fitted,
he said to Gustave:

"Wonder shoes, little man. They will be wonder shoes!"

The old shoemaker had lived a great many years. He had made shoes for
Gustave's father, and when he said anything about heels or toes or
leather it was quite sure to be true. But here was something very
strange. Gustave's blue eyes looked and looked in surprise at his new
shoes. They seemed not in the least different from those that he had
just worn out, or those that he kept for Sunday. He glanced up at his
mother, who was giving the shoemaker a shining silver dollar and a
shining silver half dollar to pay for them. She did not say anything.
She only smiled back into his eyes. Then Gustave spoke to the old
shoemaker.

"Why are they wonder shoes?" he asked.

"Oh you will find out!" chuckled the old shoemaker as he patted
Gustave's head. So Gustave and his mother went out of the old
shoemaker's shop and up the street.

It was a windy, blustering day. The dry leaves were flying, and the
weather cocks turned, creaking, around, and Gustave had to hold his
head low for he was only a little boy and the wind nearly pushed him
down. A bent old gentleman, walking with a cane, passed them. Puff,
whisk, the wind took the old gentleman's hat and sent it racing ahead
of him along the street.

But the wonder shoes were quicker than the wind. They carried Gustave
like a flying breeze after the old gentleman's hat. He caught it, and
picked it up and gave it back to the old gentleman, who was very
grateful indeed, and gave Gustave a bright penny.

"A swift little boy!" exclaimed the old gentleman, but Gustave did not
tell him about the wonder shoes. He had decided to keep that for a
secret.

When Gustave and his mother reached home, his mother decided to make a
loaf of white cake. But, alas; when she went to the pantry, she
discovered that she had no butter.

"Run to the grocery shop, Gustave," she said, "and bring me back a
pat of butter by the time that the fire is burning brightly for baking
the cake."

Gustave started for the grocery store, but he had not gone very far on
the way when he met his friend Max, who had a new velocipede, painted
red. Max called to Gustave:

"You may ride my velocipede as much as you like," he said. "We will
take turns."

Gustave stopped. He had no velocipede of his own. He could imagine
himself riding on Max's velocipede, the wheels spinning around so fast
as he played that he was a fire engine chief, or an automobile racer,
or a chariot driver in a circus. But it was only a second that Gustave
stopped. His new shoes would not let him stay any longer. On they
raced toward the grocery store, carrying Gustave almost as fast as
Max's velocipede could go. He called back to Max:

"I can't stop, now. I must fetch my mother a pat of butter by the time
that the fire is ready for the cake."

That was all Gustave said. He did not tell him about the wonder shoes
for that was a secret.

When he came back that way with the butter, Max was still out at play.

"I will race with you as far as my gate," Gustave said to Max.

"But I shall beat you because I am riding my velocipede and can race
on wheels while you will have to race on foot," said Max.

But Gustave was off like an arrow and although Max worked the pedals
of his new velocipede as fast as he could, he was not able to win the
race. Gustave reached his gate before Max on his velocipede did.

"How did you go so fast?" asked Max.

"I have new shoes," said Gustave, but still he did not tell the secret
of their wonder.

"I should like to have a pair just like them," said Max, who was often
late for school and seldom able to do an errand for his mother
promptly.

"I will ask the old shoemaker if he has any more shoes like mine,
Max," Gustave said. So, after he had given his mother the pat of
butter, which was exactly in time, he went back to the shop of the old
shoemaker.

"My friend, Max, wants a pair of wonder shoes like mine," Gustave
said. "Have you any more?" he asked.

The old shoemaker smiled, and chuckled, and laughed, until his
spectacles nearly dropped off.

"More wonder shoes?" he said. "Why any little boy may have a pair if
he wants them. It all depends upon the boy himself whether or not he
has wonder shoes."



THE EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES


Many years ago there lived an Emperor who was so exceedingly fond of
fine new clothes that he spent all his money on rich garments. He did
not care for his soldiers, nor for the theatre, nor for driving about,
except for the purpose of showing his new clothes.

He had a dress for every hour of the day, and just as they say of a
king, "He is in Council," they always said of him, "The Emperor is in
his Wardrobe."

Well, the great town in which he lived was very busy. Every day a
number of strangers arrived.

One day two rogues came along, saying they were weavers, and that they
knew how to weave the finest stuff one could imagine. Not only, said
they, were the colors and designs exceedingly beautiful, but the
clothes that were made of their material had the wonderful quality of
being invisible to everybody who was either unfit for his position, or
was extraordinarily stupid.

"They must be splendid clothes," thought the Emperor; "by wearing them
I could easily discover what persons in my kingdom are unfit for their
posts. I could distinguish the wise from the stupid. I must have that
stuff woven for me at once!" So he gave the two rogues a large sum of
money, in order that they might begin their work without delay.

The rogues put up two looms, and pretended to be working, but they had
nothing at all in the frames. Again and again they demanded the finest
silks and the most magnificent gold thread, but they put it all in
their own pockets, and worked at their empty looms late into the
night.

"Now, I should like to know how far they have got on with that stuff,"
thought the Emperor; but he felt quite uncomfortable when he
remembered that those who were stupid or unfit for their positions
could not see it. He did not think for a moment that he had anything
to fear for himself; but, nevertheless, he would rather send somebody
else first to see how the stuff was getting on.

Everybody in the town knew what a remarkable quality the stuff
possessed, and each was anxious to see how bad or stupid his neighbors
were.

"I will send my honest old minister to the weavers," thought the
Emperor; "he can judge best how the stuff looks, for he is
intelligent, and no one is better fit for his office than he."

So the clever old minister went out into the hall, where the two
rogues were sitting at work at their empty looms.

"Goodness me!" he thought, and opened his eyes wide; "I cannot see
anything," but he did not say so. Both of the rogues begged him to be
so kind as to step nearer, and asked him if it was not a pretty
design, and were not the colors beautiful, and they pointed to the
empty looms.

But the poor old minister kept on opening his eyes wider and wider: he
could not see anything for there was nothing there.

"Goodness me!" he thought; "am I really stupid? I never thought so,
and nobody must know it. Am I really unfit for my office? No; I must
certainly not tell anybody that I cannot see the stuff."

"Well, what do you think of it?" asked the one who was weaving.

"Oh, it is beautiful! Most magnificent!" replied the old minister, and
looked through his spectacles. "What a pattern! and what colors! Yes,
I must tell the Emperor that I like it very much indeed."

"Ah! we are very glad of that," said both weavers, and then they
described the colors, and explained the strange patterns.

The old minister listened attentively, so as to be able to repeat it
all when he returned to the Emperor, and this he did.

The rogues now asked for more money, and for more silk and gold
thread, which they required for weaving. They put everything into
their pockets, and not a thread went on the frames, but nevertheless
they continued to work at the empty looms.

Soon afterward the Emperor sent another clever statesman to see how
the weaving was getting on, and whether the stuff was nearly ready.
The same thing happened to him as to the minister; he looked and
looked, but as there was nothing on the empty frames, he could not see
anything.

"Now, is not that a beautiful piece of stuff?" said both rogues, and
described the beauty of the pattern, which did not exist at all.

"I am not stupid," thought the statesman, "so it must be that I am
unfit for the high position I hold; that is very strange, but I must
not let anybody notice it." So he praised the piece of stuff which he
could not see, and said how pleased he was with the beautiful colors
and the pretty pattern.

"Oh! it is really magnificent!" he said to the Emperor.

All the people in the town were talking about the beautiful stuff, and
the Emperor himself wished to see it while it was still on the loom.
With a whole suite of chosen courtiers, among whom were the two honest
old statesmen who had been there before, the Emperor went to the two
cunning rogues, who were now weaving as fast as they could, but
without thread or shuttle.

"Well! is it not magnificent?" cried the two clever statesmen; "does
your majesty recognize how beautiful is the pattern, how charming the
colors?" and they pointed to the empty looms, for they thought that
the others could see the stuff.

"What?" thought the Emperor; "I cannot see anything; this is terrible!
Am I stupid; or am I not fit to be Emperor? This would be the most
dreadful thing that could happen to me! Yes, it is very beautiful," he
said at last; "we give our highest approbation!" and he nodded as if
he were quite satisfied, and gazed at the empty looms.

He would not say that he saw nothing, and the whole of his suite
looked and looked; but, like the others, they were unable to see
anything. So they said, just like the Emperor, "Yes, it is very
pretty," and they advised him to have some clothes made from this
magnificent stuff, and to wear them for the first time at the great
procession that was about to take place. "It is magnificent!
beautiful! excellent!" they said one to another, and they were all so
exceedingly pleased with it that the Emperor gave the two rogues a
decoration to be worn in the button-hole, and the title "Imperial
Weavers."

The rogues worked throughout the whole of the night preceding the day
of the procession, and had over sixteen candles alight, so that people
should see how busy they were in preparing the Emperor's new clothes.

They pretended to take the stuff off the looms, cut it in the air with
great scissors, and sewed with needles without thread, and at last
they said:

"See! now the clothes are ready!"

The Emperor, followed by his most distinguished courtiers, came in
person, and the rogues lifted their arms up in the air, just as if
they held something, and said, "See! here are the trousers, here is
the coat, here is the cloak," and so forth. "It is as light as a
cobweb; one might imagine one had nothing on, but that is just the
beauty of it!"

"Yes," said all the courtiers; but they could not see anything,
because there was nothing.

"Will your imperial highness condescend to undress?" said the rogues;
"we will then attire your majesty in the new clothes, here in front of
the mirror."

"Oh! how well they look! how beautifully they fit!" said every one;
"what a pattern! what colors! It is indeed a magnificent dress."

"They are standing outside with the canopy which is to be carried over
your majesty in the procession," announced the Master of Ceremonies.

"Well, I am ready," said the Emperor. "Does it not fit me well!" and
he turned again to the mirror, for he wanted it to appear that he was
admiring his rich costume.

The chamberlains who were to carry the train fumbled with their hands
on the floor just as if they were holding the train up; they raised
their hands in the air, but dared not let any body notice that they
saw nothing; and so the Emperor went in procession beneath the
magnificent canopy, and all the people in the street and at the
windows said: "Oh! how beautiful the Emperor's new clothes are; what a
splendid train, and how well everything fits!"

No one would admit that he could see nothing, for that would have
shown that he was either unfit for his post or very stupid. None of
the Emperor's costumes had ever been so much admired.

"But he has no robe on at all!" said a little child.

"Just hear the voice of the innocent," said his father, and one
whispered to the other what the child had said.

"He has no robe on," cried the whole of the people at last; and the
Emperor shivered, for it seemed to him that they were right.

But he thought to himself, "I must go through with the procession,"
and he walked with even greater dignity than before; and the
chamberlains followed, carrying the train which did not exist at all.



HOW PRIMROSE WENT TO THE PARTY


The Prince who lived in the great white castle at the top of the green
hill was to give a party, and he had invited the children from the
village to come.

For days there had been talk of little else at the cottage doorsteps,
and in the market place. Oh, the children all knew how wonderful a
party at the Prince's castle would be. The doors would be thrown wide
open; in all the rooms there would be rose trees of every kind and
color; birds would sing in golden cages; and each child would be given
a feast and precious gifts.

There was something else, though, that the children knew. One must be
dressed in a fitting way to appear at the castle of the Prince. Each
child knew that he or she must appear in the best that they had to
wear.

Well, that was easily arranged. They nearly all had ribbons, and there
were bits of fine lace laid away in the home chests that could trim
their frocks. Pieces of velvet were to be had and the village tailor
was busy, night and day, making ruffled shirts and fine suits for the
boys, while the mothers stitched and embroidered for the girls.

But when their party clothes were made, another thought came to the
children. They should, themselves, carry gifts to the Prince.

This, also, was arranged. A bit of old carving from this cottage, an
old silver cup from that shelf, a basket of rare fruits from this
fertile orchard. These were good gifts.

So, at last, the children started up the hill to the castle. All were
ready to meet the Prince, they felt sure, except Primrose; she walked
apart from the others for she had no party dress, and no gift to
carry.

She was named Primrose because she made a poor, bare little hut on the
edge of the forest bright, just as a wild flower makes a waste spot
beautiful. In all her life Primrose had never been to a party, and now
she was invited with the others. But her feet were bare, and her
little brown dress was torn, and she had no hat to cover her
wind-blown, yellow hair.

As they went up the hill, the children passed a poor fagot gatherer,
bending under her great bundle.

"Off a pleasuring, with little thought for others," the old woman
mumbled to herself, but Primrose stole up to her side and slipped one
soft little hand in the woman's hard, care-worn one.

"I will carry half your fagots for you to the turn of the road," she
said. And she did, with the old woman's blessing on her sunny head at
the turn.

Farther on, the children passed a young thrush that had fallen out of
its nest and was crying beside the road. The mother bird cried, too.
It was as if she said,

"You have no thought of my trouble."

But Primrose lifted the bird in her two hands and scrambled through
the bushes until she had found its nest and put it safely in. The
branches tore her dress that had been ragged before, but the mother
thrush sang like a flute to have her little one back.

Just outside the castle gates, there was a blind boy seated, asking
alms. When the other children passed him, laughing and chattering of
all that they saw, tears fell down the cheeks of the little blind boy,
for he had not been able to see for a long, long time. The others did
not notice him, but Primrose stopped beside him and put her hands
softly on his eyes. Then she picked a wild rose that grew beside the
road and put it close to his face. He could feel its soft petals, and
smell its perfume, and it made him smile.

Then Primrose hurried through the castle gates and up to the doors.
They were about to be closed. The children had crowded in.

"There is no one else to come," the children shouted.

Then they added, "There is no other child except Primrose and she has
no dress for a party and no gift for you, great Prince."

But the Prince, his kind eyes looking beyond them, and his arms
outstretched, asked,

"What child, then, do I see coming in so wonderful a dress and
carrying a precious gift in her hand?"

The children turned to look. They saw a little girl who wore a crown;
it was the fagot bearer's blessing that had set it upon her head. Her
dress was of wonderful gold lace; each rag had been turned to gold
when she helped the little lost bird. In her hand she carried a clear,
white jewel; her gift for the Prince; it was a tear she had taken from
the little blind boy's face.

"Why, that is Primrose," the children told the Prince.



FOOD

THE PRINCE WHO WASN'T HUNGRY


Once upon a time there was a little Prince who had very little to do,
and so he thought a great deal about eating. All the grown-up people
in the castle were most anxious to have the little Prince grow up to
be a fine, strong King. So they, too, thought a great deal about what
the Prince should eat. The Queen made out long lists of good things
for his meals. The Court Chancellor bought food, himself, in town so
as to be sure that it would be fresh. The Court Cook was busy boiling,
and broiling, and simmering, and tasting for the little Prince almost
all day long. While the Court Ladies in Waiting served the little
Prince's meals in the most dainty ways: sometimes on rosebud china,
and sometimes in gold bowls, and always with silver spoons.

Such delicious foods as they were! No child, but a Prince, had ever
tasted them.

There were wheat cakes made from only golden wheat, and served with
honey from the wild bees' combs. There were eggs that a tiny bantam
hen had laid, made into an omelette with very rare herbs from the
castle kitchen garden. There were tarts filled with wild strawberries
or black cherries, which every one knows are the nicest strawberries
and cherries of all. There were such strange, sweet dishes as violet
jelly, and rose-leaf jam, and clover preserve, very good indeed for
supper, spread on sugar wafers.

At first the little Prince had an excellent appetite for all these
good things. He looked forward so to his meals that he thought very
little about running and playing with the castle pages. Instead, he
spent ever so much time watching the clock, and he made up a new
timetable for himself.

"Half past breakfast, it is now!" the little Prince would say, or, "A
quarter before dinner," or, "Ten minutes of supper." And the Prince
grew so fat that he looked like a little stuffed pig.

But after a while, the Prince lost his appetite. None of the rare
foods that they gave him tasted as delicious as they had before. He
began asking for things to eat that no one could give him; a blue
apple, or a mug of dew, or a pat of butter made of buttercups.

"What shall we do about it?" all the people in the castle said, and
the Queen cried, and the Court Cook wrung his hands. The little
Prince would eat nothing else, and they were afraid that he would
starve.

Then the little Prince asked them for the best food in the world, and
would have no other. He had eaten what every one thought was the best,
so they did not know what to do. One day they missed the little
Prince. He had gone down into the village to try and find, for
himself, the best food in the world.

He asked every one whom he met about it. Every one knew from his
velvet suit and his buckled shoes that he was the Prince, so they all
tried to feed him.

"Now, I have the best food in the world, a nicely roasted chicken,"
said the innkeeper.

"Oh, no, I have eaten roasted chicken and I am tired of it, thank
you," said the Prince.

"I am sure that I have the best food in the world," said the baker, "a
frosted plum cake."

"Oh, no, I have eaten frosted plum cake, and I am tired of it, thank
you," said the Prince.

"Of course I have the best food in the world, chocolate ice cream,"
said the sweets man.

"Oh, no, I have eaten chocolate ice cream and I am tired of it, thank
you," said the Prince.

So he went this way and that way, but he could not find anything that
he wanted to eat.

When it was late in the afternoon he came to the woods and there he
met a little boy of his own age, chopping down small trees. The boy's
cheeks were rosy, and his eyes were bright. His arms, swinging the
shiny hatchet, were tough with strong muscles. He looked as if he had
eaten good food all his life, so the little Prince spoke to him.

"Have you any of the best food in the world?" he asked.

"Oh, yes; right here in my pocket," said the boy.

"May I have some?" begged the little Prince.

"Yes, indeed," said the boy, "if you will help me with my chopping
first. I am not going to eat my supper until I have finished my work."

So the little Prince took the hatchet and chopped, while the boy tied
the wood into bundles and gathered up the chips. The air was crisp and
sweet, and the work made the little Prince's blood flow fast and warm.
He liked it very much indeed, so he kept on chopping until his arms
ached and he had to sit down on a stump to rest.

"Now we will eat," said the boy, and he pulled a piece of strange,
dark food from his pocket. He broke it in two and gave half to the
Prince who ate it in hungry mouthfuls.

It tasted better than anything he had ever eaten before!

"It _is_ the best food in the world. Thank you," said the little
Prince. "I shall see that you are made a page, and I will take back
part of this food to share with my mother, the Queen."

But the Queen and all the other people were very much surprised at
what the little Prince brought them.

It was a piece of brown bread and butter!



THE FIELD


The field was small, and full of stones, and barren. Although it lay
beside a much travelled road and not far from the town, no one had
noticed it except to say how useless it was.

"It would take a great deal of time to cultivate that field," the
farmer said as he drove by in the fall with his team full of ripe
vegetables and fruit for market. He had bought a farm that was
ploughed and planted. There had been no stones for him to dig out and
take away.

"That would be a fine field to play in," said the children as they
passed by on their way to school, "only it is too rough. It would hurt
our feet."

"If only something could be raised in the field," said the people who
had houses close by. "Then we should be sure of having food for the
winter."

But no one paid any further attention to the field.

There was a secret about it, though.

The field was alive. Deep down in its earth, under its thick clods and
heavy stones, the field had a great wish to grow. And to grow, the
field must be clean, so it called to Mother Nature for help. Mother
Nature spoke to her winds about it.

"Four Winds," she said, "will you sweep the field clean, and so help
it to grow?"

The winds heard Mother Nature calling and they got out their four
brooms and swept the field as clean as they could. But that was not
enough. The field must be rich as well as clean before it could grow.
So the field called once more to Mother Nature, and Mother Nature
spoke to her trees.

"Trees of the roadside," she said, "will you give your leaves to cover
the field, and lose their beautiful colors, and become loam? The four
winds have swept the field clean, but it must be rich before it can
grow."

The trees heard Mother Nature calling, and they gave all their leaves
to the field. But that was not enough. The field must be dug, as well
as enriched and cleaned, before it could grow.

So the field called a third time to Mother Nature, and Mother Nature
spoke to her children, the earth worms.

"Earth Worms," she said, "will you creep and dig underneath the field
and turn up the earth in furrows? The four winds have swept the earth
clean, and the trees have given their leaves to make it rich, but it
must be dug before it can grow."

Although the earth worms are very small, they heard Mother Nature
calling. They crept down under the earth and began working together to
dig the field. Wherever they found rich earth they threw it up to take
the place of the fallow. But their work was not enough. The field must
be planted, as well as dug and enriched and cleaned, before it could
grow. So the field called again to Mother Nature, and Mother Nature
spoke to her children in feathers and soft coats.

"Birds and Four-Footed Children in soft coats," she said, "will you
bring seeds and scatter them over the field? The four winds have swept
it clean, and the trees have given their leaves to make it rich. The
earth worms have dug the field, but it must be planted before it can
grow."

Then the birds brought all kinds of seeds in their feathers, and the
squirrels and the chipmunks and the sheep and the cattle passing
through brought seeds in their soft coats and scattered them over the
field. But this was not enough. The field must be nourished as well as
planted, and dug, and enriched, and cleaned before it could grow. So
the field called again to Mother Nature, and Mother Nature spoke to
the sky.

"Sky," she said, "will you send rain and sun to the fields? The four
winds have swept it clean, and the trees have given their leaves to
make it rich. The earth worms have dug the field, and my children in
feathers and soft coats have planted it, but it must be nourished
before it can grow."

So the sky sent down spring rains and golden sunshine to the field,
and the field's great wish began to come true. Where there had been
only rough clods and between the heavy stones the field began to grow.
The seeds of green grass, and of bright flowers, and of many different
kinds of grain sprouted and pushed up through the earth. An apple seed
sent up a shoot that would be an apple tree some day. An acorn sent up
a tiny oak tree that would grow and grow until it was large enough to
be cut for the beams of a house or the sides of a ship. But that was
not enough. The field must be tended as well as nourished, and
planted, and dug, and enriched, and cleaned before its great wish
could really come true. So the field called for the last time to
Mother Nature, and Mother Nature spoke to her humble child, the toad.

"Toad," she said, "will you tend the field? The four winds have swept
it, and the trees have given their leaves to make it rich. The earth
worms have dug the field, and my children in feathers and soft coats
have planted it. The sky has sent rain and sun to nourish it, but it
must be guarded from enemies before it can grow."

So the toad and all his brothers, who had been hiding beneath the
stones of the field that they might not be killed, came out, and
tended the field. They ate the insects and other creatures that would
have destroyed the sprouts, and so the field grew.

It lay in the sunshine, bright with flowers, and green with the
sprouts of growing food and trees.

"A fertile field!" said the farmer. "I shall help it to grow."

"The field is alive!" cried the children. "We can go in it and help
the farmer."

"The field is rich!" said all the people who lived near by. "It is
growing, and will help us to live."

And the field was cleaned, and enriched, and ploughed, and planted,
and nourished, and tended each year by the hands of children and men.
They took away the clods and the stones, for they had found out the
secret hidden underneath. The field was alive, and it had a great wish
to grow.



THE MAGIC SAUCEPAN


A long time ago, in the days of the fairies and other little folk,
there lived a housewife who was very stingy indeed. She thought only
of her own cupboard and meals, and never of the needs of her
neighbors. When she did give alms it was a dry loaf or a scraped bone
for which she had no use, and she looked for great reward because she
gave even these.

She lived in the country, not far from the hills where the little
Hillmen stayed. The Hillmen were fairy folk, kin to the elves and in
appearance somewhat like the brownies. They made their homes in the
trunks of old trees or in the hollows of the hills, gathering nuts,
and grains, and such fruits as the farmers dropped at the time of
harvesting. They were generous, kind little folk and couldn't abide
meanness.

One day a Hillman came down and knocked at the door of the housewife.
When her maid-servant opened it a crack, he took off his little green
cap politely and told her his errand.

"We're giving a christening party on the hill to-night, good mother,"
the Hillman said, "and we need an extra saucepan, for all of ours are
in use. Will you lend us one?"

"Shall I loan one of our saucepans to the Hillman, mistress?" the
maid-servant asked.

"Oh, yes, I suppose it is wiser to be neighborly with them," the
housewife replied.

So the maid-servant went over to the side of the kitchen where the
pots hung on the wall to get a saucepan down. There was a fine supply
to choose from, large and small, polished copper and brass, iron, and
shining tin. But just as the maid-servant put out her hand to take one
of their best saucepans, the housewife whispered to her.

"Not that one!" she said. "Give him the old one that leaks, and hangs
there at the end. The Hillmen are tidy little folk and very nimble
with a job of tinkering. They'll have to mend it before they use it
and so it will come home whole. We can oblige the Fairy Folk and save
sixpence at the same time."

The maid-servant was sorry to do her mistress's bidding, for it was
the oldest and blackest saucepan of all, hung there to wait for the
next time when the tinker stopped at the house. She gave it to the
little Hillman, though, who thanked her and went off with the leaky
saucepan hung over his back.

One morning, not long after that, they found the saucepan, returned,
on the doorstep. It was neatly mended, ready for use.

When it was supper time, the maid-servant filled the pan with milk and
set it over the fire to heat it for the children's supper. She had
scarcely done this, though, when there was a great sizzling and
sputtering, and the milk was burned so badly that not even the pigs
would eat it.

"Look what you have done!" the housewife said, scolding the
maid-servant. "You have ruined a quart of rich milk with your
carelessness, a whole quart of milk with the cream, all gone at once!"

"And that's twopence!" said a shrill, whining voice that seemed to
come from the chimney.

They went to the door and looked up on the roof, and they looked up
the chimney, but they could see no one. At last they decided that it
must have been the wind they had heard; and the housewife, herself,
filled the saucepan with milk once more and set it over the fire. She
only turned around, though, when the milk boiled over. Again, it was
just as burned and spoiled as it had been before.

"Well, this is no fault of mine," the housewife said. "The saucepan
must be dirty; but now there are two quarts of rich milk with the
cream, all wasted."

"And that's fourpence!" said the strange voice, speaking again, and
this time it seemed to come from out of the fire itself.

They looked behind the bellows and back of the chimney, but they could
see no one. They made up their minds at last that it must have been
the creaking of the fire logs that they had heard. The housewife
washed, and scrubbed, and scoured the saucepan, and then she filled it
for a third time with all the milk that she had left. She set it for
the third time over the fire, and both she and the maid-servant
watched it to see that nothing happened to it.

Then, before their very eyes, the milk burned and boiled over for a
third time. It was hopelessly spoiled. The housewife began to cry at
the waste. "I never had anything like this befall me in my life!" she
bemoaned. "I have wasted three quarts of milk for one meal!"

"And that's sixpence," said the voice that seemed now to be right at
her elbow. "You didn't save the price of the tinkering after all."

She turned and there was the Hillman, standing right beside her, his
little green cap in his hand, and laughing with all his might. Before
she could catch him, he was off and out through the kitchen door.

But after that the saucepan was just as good as any other one.



TOYS

THE TOP THAT COULD SING


Once upon a time there was a little painted tin top that lay in a toy
shop window. It was a most beautiful tin top with a painted stripe of
red, and a painted stripe of yellow, and a painted stripe of green.
The tin of which it was made was as bright and shining as silver, and
it had one little pointed toe upon which it could dance most merrily
when its string was unwound.

But more wonderful than the colors of the tin top, or the shine of it,
or its one little tin toe, was its voice. The very moment that it
began to dance it began, too, to sing in a sweet, cheerful humming
kind of way. And it kept on singing as long as it kept on dancing, and
its voice was never less sweet or less cheerful.

One day Gerald came to the toy shop with his mother because it was his
birthday and he was to select a new toy. A boy who is to have a new
toy should smile, but Gerald frowned. He had so many toys at home
that he could not decide which new one to choose.

"Will you have a box of toy soldiers?" asked his mother.

"No, I'm tired of soldiers," Gerald said crossly.

"Will you have a new ball?" asked the toy man.

"I don't want any more balls," Gerald replied quite crossly.

"Oh, see this game!" said his mother.

"Games are stupid," Gerald answered most crossly.

"Then, listen!" said the toy man taking the little tin top from its
place, winding it up, pulling off the string and then setting it down
upon the floor. Away danced the bright little top upon its one little
tin toe and as it danced it sang its sweet, cheerful, humming song.

Gerald listened. Then the ugly frown left his face and in its place
there came a happy smile. He clapped his hands as the little tin top
circled, and whirled, and tripped, and hopped around his feet.

"May I buy the top that sings?" he asked and his mother said that he
might. So they paid a bright ten cent piece for it and the toy man put
the little tin top into Gerald's hands. As they left the toy shop,
Gerald still smiled and he hopped along beside his mother as he
remembered how the little tin top had hopped. And his mother made up
a song about it that they hummed softly together:

    "To and fro, on its little tin toe,
    Singing and dancing the top will go.
    Spinning and singing it seems to say,
    'Children should always be glad and gay.'"

So they went on until they came to a big building that was a hospital,
and at one of the front windows a sick-a-bed child was propped up on
pillows and looking out. Gerald looked in; then he motioned for the
nurse who stood near to open the window, and he wound the little tin
top and started it spinning on the sidewalk. It could spin and sing
indoors or outdoors. Round and round it danced and it seemed to be
saying:

    "To and fro on my little tin toe,
    Singing and spinning, oh, see me go!
    This is the song that I sing to-day,
    'Children should always be glad and gay.'"

The sick-a-bed child watched the little tin top, its whirling colors
looking like a rainbow in the sunlight. She listened to its sweet,
cheerful, humming song. Then her sick-a-bed, tired face changed to a
happy, smiling face, and she clapped her hands and laughed so loudly
that Gerald could hear her, for she had heard what the little tin top
sang.

Then they went on a little farther and they came to a boy who sold
newspapers on the street corner. He had just seen another boy who sold
newspapers coming and he had decided to have a fight with him, for he
did not want him to sell his papers on that corner. An ugly frown
covered his face, but suddenly he saw Gerald with his little top in
his hands.

"Can you spin it?" he asked of Gerald.

"Watch and see!" Gerald answered.

So Gerald wound the little tin top and started it spinning by the
newsboy's pile of papers. It could spin and sing anywhere, even on a
street curbing. Round and round it danced, and it seemed to be saying
again:

    "To and fro on my little tin toe,
    Singing and spinning, oh, see me go!
    This is the song that I sing to-day,
    'Children should always be glad and gay.'"

The newsboy listened to the sweet, cheerful humming song of the little
tin top. Then he, too, laughed and he motioned to the other newsboy to
come and see the top.

"Put your papers down here by mine," he said as Gerald picked up the
top and started on.

They were almost home now, and just as they reached their own street
he heard the voices of his two friends, Peter and Polly, and they were
very loud, cross voices indeed.

"It's my turn to ride in the cart," shouted Peter.

"No, it's my turn to ride in the cart!" shouted Polly.

"Peter and Polly, look; see what I have for my birthday," said Gerald.
Then Gerald wound the little tin top and started it spinning in front
of Peter and Polly. It could sing and spin anywhere, even in front of
a little quarreling brother and sister. Round and round it whirled,
and it seemed to be saying once again:

    "To and fro on my little tin toe,
    Singing and spinning, oh, see me go!
    This is the song that I sing to-day,
    'Children should always be glad and gay.'"

"Oh, the pretty top!" shouted Peter and Polly as they listened to its
sweet, cheerful, humming song. Then Peter said to Polly:

"It's your turn to ride in the cart, Polly."

But Polly said to Peter: "Oh, no, it's your turn to ride in the cart,
Peter."

And that was the wonderful secret of the little tin top; wherever it
took its spinning, singing way it made little children glad and gay.



THE MONEY PIG


In the nursery a number of toys lay strewn about. High up, on the
cupboard, stood the money box, made of clay in the shape of a little
pig. The pig had by nature a slit in his back, and this slit had been
so enlarged with a knife that whole silver dollars could slip through.
Indeed, two dollar pieces had slipped into the box beside a number of
pennies. The money pig was stuffed so full that he could no longer
rattle, and that is the highest point of perfection a money pig can
attain.

There he stood upon the cupboard, high and lofty, looking down upon
everything else in the room. He knew very well that what he had in his
stomach would have bought all the toys.

The others thought of that, too, even if they did not say it, for
there were many other things to speak of. One of the drawers was half
pulled out and there lay a great handsome doll, although she was
somewhat old, and her neck had been mended. She looked out and said,

"Now we'll play at being men and women."

And then there was a general uproar. Even the framed pictures on the
wall turned round to show that they had a wrong side; but that was not
because they objected.

It was late at night. The moon shone through the window frames and
afforded the most economical light. The game was now to begin and all,
even the children's go-cart, which certainly belonged to the coarser
playthings, were invited to take part in the fun.

"Each of us has his own peculiar value," said the go-cart. "We cannot
all be noblemen. There must be some who work."

The money pig was the only one of the toys who received a written
invitation, for he was of high standing and great pride, and they were
afraid he would not accept a verbal invitation. Indeed he did not
answer to say whether he would come, nor did he come. They understood
that if he were to take a part, he must enjoy the sport from his own
home. The others must arrange things accordingly, and so they did.

The little toy theatre was set up in such a way that the money pig
could look directly in. They wanted to begin with a play, and
afterward there was to be a party and a little conversation among
themselves. They began with this latter part immediately. The rocking
horse talked about training and racing, and the go-cart of railways
and steam power, for all this belonged to their professions and it was
quite right that they should speak of it.

The toy clock talked politics--_tick_--_tick_--and knew what was the
time of day, although it was whispered that he did not go correctly.
The little boy's cane stood there, stiff and straight, for he was
conceited about his brass tip and his silver handle. On the sofa lay
two embroidered cushions, pretty and stupid.

And then the play began.

They all sat and looked on. The play was not very good, but the actors
did their part. These were little card-board figures who turned their
painted side to the audience. They were so made that they should only
be looked at from that side, and not from the other. They all played
wonderfully well, coming out beyond the footlights because the wires
were a little too long, but that only helped them to come out the
more.

The worsted doll enjoyed the play so much that she became quite
exhausted from excitement. She laughed so hard that she burst at the
darned place in her neck. And the money pig was so enchanted in his
way that he decided to do something for one of the players in his
will.

It was a great deal of fun. They gave up all thoughts of having tea,
and just played and talked together. That was what they called playing
at being men and women, and there was nothing wrong in it for they
were only playing. Each one thought, however, of what the money pig
might think; and the money pig thought of his own riches and of making
his will. This seemed to him a long way farther on.

When might it come to pass? Certainly far sooner than was expected.

Crack! The money pig fell from the cupboard--fell to the floor and was
broken to pieces. All the money came out. The pennies hopped and
danced about in a comical fashion; the little ones spun around like
tops, and the bigger coins rolled away, particularly one great silver
dollar that wanted to go out into the world. It came out into the
world and so did they all.

And the pieces of the money pig were put into the dustbin. The next
day a new money pig was standing on the cupboard. It had not a penny
in its stomach and so it could not rattle, and in this it was like the
other. And that was a beginning--and with that we will make an end.



THE GIANT'S PLAYTHING


Long ago, giants lived among the lonely mountains. Now there was a
great castle, called Burg Niedeck, that stood on top of the highest
mountain of Alsace, and here the most powerful of the giants lived
with his wife and family. He had one child, named Freda.

Freda was as tall as a church steeple. She was a curious child, and
very fond of prying about and looking at things which she had been
told to leave alone. She was allowed to roam all about the mountains,
and to play in the woods and forest, but she was not allowed to go
down into the valley where the little people lived.

These little peasants tilled the ground, and planted corn and wheat
and barley, and pruned their vines, and dug ditches, things the giants
could not do. And the giants lived by taking what the little people
raised. Now, it was said that the first time a peasant found his way
up into Burg Niedeck it would be the end of the giants. But Burg
Niedeck was very high and difficult to reach and no peasant had ever
thought of trying to get there.

One day Freda was playing outside the castle gates in the sunshine.
The valley looked so cool and green and shady that, seeing no one
about, she went down the mountain-side to find out what was below.

Presently she saw, in a field in which she was standing, a peasant
plowing. He had two horses and the iron of the plow shone and
glistened.

With a cry of delight Freda knelt down.

"What a dear little toy!" she said. "I will take it home to play
with."

Spreading out her handkerchief on the ground, she carefully lifted the
plow and the horses and the poor peasant and set them down in the
middle. Then, taking the corners of the handkerchief in her hand, she
ran up the mountain-side, skipping and jumping for pleasure. It was
like the coming of an earthquake.

Her father met her at the gate.

"Well, little one," he said, "what is pleasing you so?"

"Look!" said Freda, spreading out her handkerchief. "I have found a
most wonderful new toy." And she lifted out the plow and the peasant.

The old giant frowned, and shook his head in anger.

"What have you done, thoughtless one?" he stormed. "That is no toy.
Have you not heard that as soon as a peasant comes to Burg Niedeck
there will be an end of the giants forever? Take it back instantly to
the valley and perhaps the spell will not break."

Sadly Freda took the plow and the horses and the peasant back and set
them in the field. But it was too late. That night all the giants
disappeared, and in the morning Burg Niedeck stood in ruins. And to
this day no giant has ever been seen there.



TRADE LIFE

THE HOLIDAY


The old clock that hung in the tower of the town hall struck _one_.

It was dark, except for a few twinkling stars like bright eyes in the
night sky. All the town was asleep. It was cold, and white snow lay
over every thing. But as the clock struck one, the baker awoke and
went down to his kitchen to light his ovens. It was time for the fire
to glow and burn for his baking when the clock struck one o'clock.

_Two_ struck the clock in the tower of the town hall.

As the clock struck two the baker put on his white apron and rolled up
his sleeves. He bent over his great mixing bowl and began kneading the
dough and shaping the loaves of bread that were to be baked in the
oven.

It was time at two o'clock for the loaves of bread to go into the oven
to bake in the fire that glowed and burned so early in the morning.

_Three_ struck the clock in the tower of the town hall.

The dairyman poured rich milk into his shining bottles and packed
them into the milkman's wagon. It was still dark, although the stars
were not so bright and the sky was just beginning to be streaked with
pink. It was very cold, but the dairyman knew that it was time at
three o'clock to measure the milk that must go to town for the
children to drink as they ate the bread that the baker had mixed and
baked.

_Four_ struck the clock in the old town hall. Now the sky was light
enough for the milkman's team to start out, driving over the hard,
frosty roads. No other people were out, but the milkman knew that he
must start to town at four o'clock and begin delivering his milk that
the dairyman had measured so early in the morning. The children must
have it to drink as they ate the bread that the baker had mixed at
two, and baked in the fire that had been lighted at one o'clock.

_Five_ struck the clock in the town hall. A wintry wind blew out of
the east. It bit the nose and ears of the baker's boy who started out
with a basket of fresh loaves of bread on his arm for delivering at
the kitchen doors. He ran and whistled to try and keep warm. He did
not stop to think of anything, though, except that five o'clock was
time to deliver a loaf of bread at every house where the milkman had
left a bottle of milk.

_Six_ struck the clock in the town hall.

Jack's mother came downstairs and raised the house curtains to let in
the first sunshine, and then she put on her apron to begin the work of
the day. She spread a clean cloth over the table and laid the knives
and forks and spoons, and set the cups and bowls and plates in their
places. She knew that six o'clock was time to make the house ready for
breakfast. The baker's boy had started at five, and the milkman had
brought the milk at four. The dairyman had measured the milk at three
for the children to drink when they ate the bread that the baker had
mixed at two, and baked in the fire he had lighted at one.

_Seven_ struck the clock in the town hall. The tea kettle on the
kitchen stove sang. The sun shone in brightly, and Jack knew that it
was time to get up. But Jack was sleepy. He pulled the blankets up
over his nose and buried his head in his pillow so that he should not
hear the sound of the clock. It was a holiday, and Jack had decided to
do nothing but sleep and play.

_Ting-a-ling_; what was that? Jack jumped out of bed and into his
clothes when he heard the loud ring at the house door. Then he heard
his mother's voice.

"Good morning, Tom; you are out early, are you not? And here are all
my groceries; the butter, and the sugar, and the fruit, and the eggs!
Now I shall be able to make a cake to-day."

Jack knew who it was that had come through the cold, before he was up
in the morning, with a basket of groceries. It was Tom, the grocer's
boy.

Then Jack heard other sounds as he went downstairs and ate his
breakfast. He heard the sound of the baker kneading his bread, and the
drip of the milk as the dairyman measured it. He heard the rattle of
the milkman's cart and the sound of the baker's boy whistling as he
delivered his loaves in the cold. He saw Tom coming down the street
again with his empty basket on his arm. He was going back to the
grocery store for another load.

Jack put on his hat and coat and ran out.

"Wait, Tom!" he called, "I have a holiday and I'll help you deliver
the groceries this morning."



NILS AND THE BEAR


Nils had been exploring the mining districts a whole day.

"I must try and climb up to earth again," he said at last, "otherwise,
I fear my companions won't find me."

The boy was about to go up the mountain when he heard a gruff voice
growl in his ear, "Who are you?"

He thought at first that he was facing a huge rock covered with
brownish moss. Then he noticed that the rock had broad paws to walk
with, a head, two eyes, and a growling mouth.

He could not pull himself together to answer, nor did the big bear
appear to expect it of him, for he knocked him down, rolled him back
and forth with his paws and nosed him. The bear seemed just about
ready to swallow him when the boy had a thought. Quick as a flash he
dug into his pocket and brought forth some matches,--his sole weapon
of defence,--lighted one on his leather breeches, and thrust the
burning match into the bear's open mouth.

Father Bear snorted when he smelled the sulphur, and with that the
flame went out.

"Can you light many of those little blue roses?" asked Father Bear.

"I can light enough to put an end to the whole forest," replied the
boy, for he thought that in this way he might scare Father Bear.

"Perhaps you could also set fire to houses and barns," said Father
Bear.

"Oh, that would be nothing for me," boasted the boy.

"Good!" exclaimed the bear. "You shall render me a service. Now I'm
very glad that I did not eat you!"

Father Bear carefully took Nils between his paws and climbed up from
the pit. As soon as he was up, he speedily made for the woods. Then he
ran along until he came to a hill at the edge of the forest. Here he
lay in front of Nils, holding him securely between his forepaws.

"Now look down at that big noise-shop!" he commanded.

The great iron works, with many tall buildings, stood at the edge of
the waterfall. High chimneys sent forth dark clouds of smoke, blasting
furnaces blazed, and light shone from all the windows. Within, hammers
and rolling mills were going with such force that the air rang with
their clatter and boom. All about the workshops were immense coal
sheds, great slag heaps, warehouses, wood piles, and tool sheds. Just
beyond were long rows of workingmen's houses, as quiet as if they were
asleep. The earth around them was black while the works, themselves,
were sending out light and smoke, fire and sparks. It was the grandest
sight the boy had ever seen.

"Could you set fire to a place like that?" Father Bear asked
doubtfully.

The boy stood wedged between the beast's paws, thinking the only thing
that might save him would be that the bear should have a high opinion
of his power.

"It's all the same to me," he answered with a superior air. "Big or
little, I can burn it down."

"Then I'll tell you something," said Father Bear.

"My forefathers lived in this region from the time that the forests
first sprang up. From them I inherited hunting grounds and pastures,
lairs and retreats. In the beginning I wasn't much troubled by the
human kind. They dug in the mountains and picked up a little ore down
here by the rapids. They had a forge and a furnace, but the hammer
sounded only a few hours each day, and the furnace was not fired more
than two moons at a stretch.

"But these last years, since they have built this noise-shop, there is
racket day and night. I thought I should have to move away, but now I
have discovered a better way."

Father Bear took Nils up again and lumbered down the hill. He walked
fearlessly between the workshops, and climbed to the top of a slag
heap. There he sat up on his haunches and held the boy up high between
his paws.

"Try to look into the shop," he said.

The boy saw a workman take a short, thick bar of iron at white heat
from a furnace opening, and place it under a roller that flattened and
extended it. Immediately another workman seized it and placed it
beneath a heavier roller. Thus it was passed from roller to roller
until, finally, it curled along the floor like a long red thread.
Continuously fresh threads followed it like hissing snakes.

"I call that real man's work!" the boy said to himself.

Father Bear then let him have a peep at the forge, and he became more
and more astonished as he saw how the blacksmiths handled iron and
fire.

"Those men have no fear of heat and flames," he thought.

"They keep this up day after day," Father Bear said as he dropped
wearily on the ground. "One gets tired of that kind of thing. I'm glad
that at last I can put an end to it."

The boy was all of a shiver now.

"If you will set fire to the noise-shop, I'll spare your life," said
Father Bear.

Just beyond them lay a pile of chips and shavings, and beside it was a
wood pile that almost reached the coal shed. The coal shed extended
over to the workshops, and if that once caught fire, the flames would
soon fly over to the iron foundry. The walls would fall from the
heat, and the machinery would be destroyed.

"Will you or won't you?" demanded Father Bear.

"You mustn't be so impatient," the boy said. "Let me think a moment."

"Very well," said Father Bear, tightening his hold on the boy.

They needed iron for everything, Nils knew. There was iron in the
plough that broke up the field, and in the axe that felled the tree
for building houses, in the scythe that mowed the grain, and in the
knife that could be turned to all sorts of uses. There was iron in the
horse's bit, and in the lock on the door, in the nails that held the
furniture together, and in the sheathing that covered the roof. Iron
covered the men-of-war that he had seen in the harbor, the locomotives
steamed through the country on iron rails. The needle that had
stitched the boy's coat was made of iron, the shears that clipped the
sheep, and the kettle that cooked the food. The rifle which drove away
wild beasts was made of iron. Father Bear was perfectly right. He knew
that the coming of iron to the forest had given the human kind their
mastery over the beasts.

"Will you or won't you?" demanded Father Bear.

The boy shrank back. He swept his hand across his forehead. He could
see no way of escape, but this much he knew, he did not wish to do any
harm to the iron which was useful to so many people in the land.

"I won't!" he said.

Father Bear squeezed him a little harder but said nothing.

"You'll not get me to destroy the ironworks," defied the boy. "The
iron is so great a blessing that it will never do to harm it."

"Then of course you don't expect to be allowed to live very long,"
said the bear.

"No, I don't expect it," replied the boy, looking the bear straight in
the eye.

Father Bear gripped him still harder. It hurt so that the boy could
not keep the tears back, but he did not cry out or say a word.

"Very well, then," said Father Bear, raising his paw very slowly,
hoping that the boy would give in at the last moment.

But just then the boy heard something click very close to them, and
saw the muzzle of a rifle two paces away.

"Father Bear! Don't you hear the clicking of a trigger?" cried the
boy. "Run, or you will be shot!"

Father Bear grew terribly hurried. He gave himself time, though, to
pick up the boy and carry him along. As he ran, a couple of shots
sounded; the bullets grazed his ears, but he escaped.

When Father Bear had run some distance into the woods, he paused and
set Nils down on the ground.

"Thank you, little one," he said. "I dare say those bullets would have
caught me if you hadn't been there. Now I want to do you a service in
return. If you should ever meet with another bear, just say to him
this--which I shall whisper to you--and he won't touch you."

Father Bear whispered a word or two into the boy's ear and then
hurried away.



THE GIANT ENERGY AND THE FAIRY SKILL


Long, long ago, when there were giants to be seen, as they might be
seen now if we only looked in the right place, there lived a young
giant who was very strong and very willing, but who found it hard to
get work to do.

The name of the giant was Energy, and he was so great and clumsy that
people were afraid to trust their work to him.

If he were asked to put a bell in the church steeple, he would knock
the steeple down before he finished the work. If he were sent to reach
a broken weather vane, he would tear off part of the roof in his zeal.
So, at last, people would not employ him and he went away to the
mountains to sleep; but he could not rest, even though other giants
were sleeping as still as great rocks under the shade of the trees.

Young Giant Energy could not sleep for he was too anxious to help in
the world's work; and he went down into the valley, and begged so
piteously for something to do that a good woman gave him a basket of
china to carry home for her.

"This is child's play for me," said the giant as he set the basket
down so hard that every bit of the china was broken.

"I wish a child had brought it for me," answered the woman, and the
young giant went away sorrowful. He climbed the mountain and lay down
to rest; but he could not stay there and do nothing, so he went back
to the valley to look for work.

There he met the good woman. She had forgiven him for breaking her
china, and had made up her mind to trust him again; so she gave him a
pitcher of milk to carry home.

"Be quick in bringing it," she said, "lest it sour on the way."

The giant took the pitcher and made haste to run to the house; and he
ran so fast that the milk was spilled and not a drop was left when he
reached the good woman's house.

The good woman was sorry to see this, although she did not scold; and
the giant went back to his mountain with a heavy heart.

Soon, however, he was back again, asking at every house:

"Isn't there something for me to do?" and again he met the good woman,
who was here, there, and everywhere, carrying soup to the sick and
food to the hungry.

When she met the young Giant Energy, her heart was full of love for
him; and she told him to make haste to her house and fill her tubs
with water, for the next day was wash day.

Then the giant made haste with mighty strides towards the good woman's
house, where he found her great tubs; and, lifting them with ease, he
carried them to the cistern and began to pump.

He pumped with such force and with so much delight, that the tubs were
soon filled so full that they ran over, and when the good woman came
home she found her yard as well as her tubs full of water.

The young giant had such a downcast look, that the good woman could
not be angry with him; she only felt sorry for him.

"Go to the Fairy Skill, and learn," said the good woman, as she sat on
the doorstep. "She will teach you, and you will be a help in the world
after all."

"Oh! how can I go?" cried the giant, giving a jump that sent him over
the tree tops, where he could see the little birds in their nests.

"Don't go so fast," said the good woman. "Stand still and listen! Go
through the meadow, and count a hundred daffodils; then turn to your
right, and walk until you find a mullein stalk that is bent. Notice
the way it bends, and walk in that direction till you see a willow
tree. Behind this willow runs a little stream. Cross the water by the
way of the shining pebbles, and when you hear a strange bird singing
you will see the fairy palace and the workmen where the Fairy Skill
teaches her school. Go to her with my love and she will receive you."

The young giant thanked the good woman, stepped over the meadow fence,
and counted the daffodils, "One, two, three," until he had counted a
hundred. Then he turned to the right, and walked through the long
grass to the bent mullein stalk, which pointed to the right, and after
he had found the brook and crossed by way of the shining pebbles, he
heard a strange bird singing, and saw among the trees the fairy
palace.

He never could tell how it looked; but he thought it was made of
sunshine, with the glimmer of green leaves reflected on it, and that
it had the blue sky for a roof.

That was the palace; and at one side of it was the workshop, built of
strong pines and oaks; and the giant heard the hum of wheels, and the
noise of the fairy looms, where the fairies wove carpets of rainbow
threads.

When the giant came to the door, the doorway stretched itself for him
to pass through. He found Fairy Skill standing in the midst of the
workers; and when he had given her the good woman's love, she received
him kindly. Then she set him to work, bidding him sort a heap of
tangled threads that lay in a corner like a great bunch of
bright-colored flowers.

This was hard work for the giant's clumsy fingers, but he was very
patient about it. The threads would break, and he got some of them
into knots; but when Fairy Skill saw his work, she said:

"Very good for to-day;" and touching the threads with her wand, she
changed them into a tangled heap again. The next day the giant tried
again, and after that again, until every thread lay unbroken and
untangled.

Then Fairy Skill said, "Well done," and led him to a loom and showed
him how to weave.

This was harder work than the other had been; but Giant Energy was
patient, although many times before his strip of carpet was woven the
fairy touched it with her wand, and he had to begin over.

At last it was finished, and the giant thought it was the most
beautiful carpet in the world.

Fairy Skill took him next to the potter's wheel, where cups and
saucers were made out of clay; and the giant learned to be steady, to
shape the cup as the wheel whirled round, and to take heed of his
thumb, lest it slip.

The cups and saucers that were broken before he could make beautiful
ones would have been enough to set the Queen's tea table!

Fairy Skill then took him to the goldsmith, and there he was taught to
make chains and bracelets and necklaces; and after he had learned all
these things, the fairy told him that she had three trials for him.
Three pieces of work he must do; and if he did them well, he could go
again into the world, for he would then be ready to be a helper there.

"The first task is to make a carpet," said Fairy Skill, "a carpet fit
for a palace floor."

Giant Energy sprang to his loom, and made his silver shuttle glance
under and over, under and over, weaving a most beautiful pattern.

As he wove, he thought of the way by which he had come; and his carpet
became as green as the meadow grass, and lovely daffodils grew on it.
When it was finished, it was almost as beautiful as a meadow full of
flowers!

Then the fairy said that he must turn a cup fine enough for a king to
use. And the giant made a cup in the shape of a flower; and when it
was finished, he painted birds upon it with wings of gold. When she
saw it, the fairy cried out with delight.

"One more trial before you go," she said. "Make me a chain that a
queen might be glad to wear."

So Giant Energy worked by day and by night and made a chain of golden
links; and in every link was a pearl as white as the shining pebbles
in the brook. A queen might well have been proud to wear this chain.

After he had finished, Fairy Skill kissed him and blessed him, and
sent him away to be a helper in the world, and she made him take with
him the beautiful things which he had made, so that he might give them
to the one he loved best.

The young giant crossed the brook, passed the willow, found the
mullein stalk, and counted the daffodils.

When he had counted a hundred, he stepped over the meadow fence and
came to the good woman's house.

The good woman was at home, so he went in at the door and spread the
carpet on the floor, and the floor looked like the floor of a palace.

He set the cup on the table, and the table looked like the table of a
king; and he hung the chain around the good woman's neck, and she was
more beautiful than a queen.

And this is the way that young Giant Energy learned to be a helper in
the world.



THE FARMER

THE FARM HOUSE


My name is Louisa Manners. I was seven years old on the first day of
May. On the morning of that day, as soon as I awoke, I crept into
mamma's bed, and said,

"Open your eyes, mamma, and look at me, for it is my birthday."

Then mamma told me I should ride in a post-chaise, and see my
grandmamma. She lived at a farm house in the country, and I had never
in all my life been out of London. No; nor had I ever seen a bit of
green grass, except in the Drapers' Garden, which is near our house in
Broad Street. Nor had I ever ridden in a railway carriage before that
happy birthday.

I ran about the house, talking of where I was going, and rejoicing so
that it was my birthday, that when I got into the train I was tired,
and fell asleep.

When I awoke, I saw green fields on both sides of the train, and the
fields were full, quite full, of bright, shining, yellow flowers, and
the sheep and young lambs were feeding among them. The trees and
hedges seemed to fly swiftly by us, and one field, and the sheep, and
the lambs passed away. Then another field came, and that was full of
cows. There was no end of these charming sights until we came to
grandmamma's house, which stood all alone by itself, no house to be
seen at all near it.

Grandmamma was very glad to see me. She first took me to the farmyard,
and I peeped into the barn. There I saw a man thrashing, and as he
beat the corn with his flail he made a great noise. Then I went to the
pond where the ducks were swimming, and I saw the little wooden houses
where the hens slept at night. The hens were feeding all over the
yard, and the prettiest little chickens were feeding there too. Some
little yellow ducklings had a hen for their mother. She was so
frightened if they went near the water. Grandmamma says a hen is not
esteemed a very wise bird.

We went out of the farmyard into the orchard. Oh, what a sweet place
grandmamma's orchard is! There were pear-trees, and apple-trees, and
peach-trees all in blossom. These blossoms were the prettiest flowers
that ever were seen; and among the grass under the trees there grew
buttercups, and cowslips, and daffodils, and blue-bells. I filled my
lap with flowers, I filled my hair with flowers, and I carried as many
flowers as I could in both my hands. But as I was going into the
parlor to show them to mamma, I stumbled, and down I fell with all my
treasures!

Next, there was a most wonderful garden to see, long and narrow, a
straight gravel path down the middle of it, and at the end of the
gravel walk there was a green arbor with a bench around it.

On one side of this garden there were a great many bee hives, and the
bees sung as they worked. They had a beautiful flower-bed to gather
their honey from, quite close to the hives.

After seeing the garden, I saw the cows milked, and that was the last
sight I saw that day, for while I was telling mamma about the cows I
fell fast asleep, and I suppose I was then put to bed.

The next morning my parents were gone. I cried sadly, but was
comforted at hearing they would return in a month and fetch me home.
Grandmamma gave me a little basket to gather my flowers in. I went out
to the orchard, and before I had half filled my basket I forgot all my
troubles.

The time I passed at my grandmamma's farm is always in my mind.
Sometimes I think of the good-natured, pied cow that would let me
stroke her while the dairy-maid was milking her. Then I fancy myself
running after the dairy-maid into the nice, clean dairy, and see the
pans full of milk and cream. Then I remember the wood-house; it had
once been a barn, but being grown old, the wood was kept there. I used
to peep about among the fagots to find the eggs the hens sometimes
left there. A hen, grandmamma said, is a kindly bird, always laying
more eggs than she wants on purpose to give them to her mistress for
puddings and custards.

Nothing could have been more pleasant than the day the orchard was
mowed. The hay smelled so sweet and I might toss it about as much as
ever I pleased. It was green at first, and then turned yellow and dry,
and was carried away in a cart to feed the horses.

When the currants and gooseberries were quite ripe, grandmamma had a
sheep-shearing. All the sheep stood under the trees to be sheared.
They were brought out of the field by old Spot, the shepherd dog. I
stood at the gate and watched him drive them all in. When the shearers
had cropped off all their wool, the sheep looked very clean, and
white, and pretty. But, poor things, they ran shivering about with
cold, so that it was a pity to see them.

Great preparations were being made all day for the sheep-shearing
supper. Grandmamma said a sheep-shearing was not to be compared to a
harvest-home, that was so much better. Then the oven was quite full of
plum pudding, and the kitchen was very hot indeed with roasting beef;
yet I can assure you that there was no want at all of either
roast-beef or plum pudding at the sheep-shearing.

I was allowed to sit up until it was almost dark, to see the company
at supper. They sat at a long oak table, which was finely carved, and
as bright as a looking glass. After the happiest day, bed time will
come. I sat up late, but at last grandmamma sent me to bed. Yet,
though I went, I heard the company singing. The sound of their voices
was very sweet indeed as they sang of the meadows and the sheep.

The common supper that we had every night was just as cheerful. Before
the men came in out of the field, a large fagot was flung upon the
fire. The wood used to crackle, and blaze, and smell delightfully. And
then the crickets, who loved the fire, began to sing. The old shepherd
loved the fire almost as well as the crickets did, and he would take
his place in the chimney corner at supper time. He had a seat near the
fireplace, quite under the chimney, and over his head the bacon hung.

When the shepherd was seated the milk was hung in a skillet over the
fire, and then the men used to come and sit down at the long white
table.

Sometimes, when I was at my grandmamma's farm house, I thought about
London, how the houses stood close to each other, and what a noise the
coaches made, and how many people there were in the streets. Then I
usually went out into the old wood-house and played at being in
London. I set up bits of wood for houses, and in one corner I made a
little garden with grass and daisies, and that was the Draper's
Garden.

I was sorry to have to go away from my grandmamma's farm before the
harvesting but if I am allowed to return for it next year, I will tell
you all about it.



THE PLOWMAN WHO FOUND CONTENT


A plowman paused in his work one day to rest. As he sat on the handle
of his plow he fell thinking. The world had not been going well with
him of late, and he could not help feeling downhearted. Just then he
saw an old woman looking at him over the hedge.

"Good morning!" she said. "If you are wise you will take my advice."

"And what is your advice?" the plowman asked.

"Leave your plow and walk straight for two days. At the end of that
time you will find yourself in the middle of a forest, and in front of
you will be a tree towering high above the others. Cut it down and
your fortune will be made."

With these words the old woman hobbled down the road, leaving the
plowman wondering. He unharnessed his horses, drove them home, and
said good-bye to his wife. Then, taking his axe, he started out.

At the end of two days he came to the tree, and set to work to cut it
down. As it crashed to the ground a nest containing two eggs fell from
its top-most branches. The shells of the eggs were broken, and out of
one came a young eagle, while from the other rolled a small gold ring.

The eagle rapidly became larger, until it was of full size. Then,
flapping its wings, it flew up.

"Thank you for my freedom," it called. "In token of my gratitude take
this ring. It is a wishing ring. If you wish anything as you turn it
around on your finger your wish will come true. But remember this, the
ring contains only one wish, so think well before you use it."

The plowman put the ring on his finger and started home. Night was
settling down as he entered the town. Almost the first person he saw
was a goldsmith standing at the door of his shop. So the plowman went
up to him and asked him what the ring was worth.

"It is of no value," said the goldsmith.

The plowman laughed.

"Ah, Mr. Goldsmith," he said, "you have made a mistake. It is a
wishing ring and will give me anything I care to wish for."

The goldsmith asked to see the ring again.

"Well, my good man," he said. "Never mind about the ring. I dare say
you are far from home, and are in want of some supper and a bed for
the night. Come in and spend the night with me."

So the plowman did this. But when he was sound asleep the goldsmith
took the ring from his finger and put another, just like it, in its
place.

Next morning the plowman set out with the false ring. The goldsmith
closed the shutters of his shop and bolted the door. Then, turning the
ring on his finger, he said, "I wish for a hundred thousand dollars."

Immediately there fell about him a shower of hard, bright silver. The
dollars struck him on the head, the shoulders, the arms. They covered
the floor. The floor gave way with their weight and the goldsmith,
with his riches, fell into the cellar beneath.

Next morning, when the goldsmith did not open his shop as usual, the
neighbors forced their way in and found him buried beneath the pile.

The plowman reached home and told his wife about the ring.

"Our fortune is made," he said, showing it to her. "Of course we must
consider the matter well; then, when we have made up our minds as to
what we need most, we can wish as I turn the ring on my finger."

"Suppose," said his wife, "we were to wish for a better farm? The land
we have now is so small as to be almost useless."

"Yes," said the plowman. "But, if we work hard and spend little for a
year or two, we might be able to buy as much as we want. Then we would
still have our wish."

So it was agreed. For a year the plowman worked hard and his wife
saved. Harvest time came and the crops were splendid. At the end of
the year they were able to buy a nice farm, and still had some money
left.

"There," said the man, "we have the land, and we still have our wish."

"Well," said his wife, "we could do very well with a horse and a cow."

"They are not worth wishing for," said he. "We can get them as we got
the land."

So they went on working steadily and spending wisely for another year.
At the end of that time they bought both the horse and the cow. It
seemed great good fortune to them.

"We have all we wanted, and our wish left, also," they said.

So the years passed away. Every season saw the boundaries of the farm
increase and the granaries grow fuller. All day long the farmer was
about in the fields while his wife looked after the house and the
dairy. Sometimes, as they sat alone of an evening, the plowman's wife
would remind him of the unused ring and would talk of things she would
like to have for the house. But he always said there was plenty of
time.

The man and his wife grew old and gray. Then came a day when they both
died, and the wishing ring had not been used. It was still on the
plowman's finger as he had worn it for forty years. One of his sons
was going to take it off, but the oldest said,

"Do not disturb it. There is some secret connected with it. Perhaps
our mother gave it to him, for I have often seen her look longingly at
it."

So the old plowman was buried with the ring which he had supposed to
be a wishing ring. It was not, but it had brought more good fortune
and happiness than all the wishing in the world could have given.



THE FARMER AND THE TROLL


There was once a man who owned a little farm, as fine and fruitful as
you would care to see. He had always tended it himself, too, driving
his own plow in the spring, and taking his two-wheeled cart to market
in the fall with a load of apples, potatoes, and carrots.

All of a sudden, though, things began to go badly with the farmer. His
milk curdled in the dairy and his horse kicked the traces on market
day, spilling the load and laming herself into the bargain. The eggs
were addled, and weeds choked and overran his garden, faster than he
could pull them out.

"A troll is at the bottom of this," said the farmer's wife, and to
prove it she led him to the dairy. There, on the white floor, were the
prints in mud of tiny, tiny hob-nailed shoes. The same foot prints
could be seen in the barn near the horse's stall, and that night the
farmer saw a bright little light skipping about in the dusky garden.
Of course he knew what that was, the one shining eye of a troll. So
that was the cause of all his trouble. A troll had come to live on his
farm.

Ordinarily a troll who selects a quiet place like a farm for his home
is a peacefully inclined little man. He wants nothing but a bowl of
porridge set out for him on the cellar steps once in a while, and a
chance to creep in the house and curl up in a chimney corner of a cold
evening, winking and blinking at the fire with his one eye. When a
troll gets into mischief about a place, it is a sure sign that
something has been done to displease him. So the farmer set out to try
to find what he had done to vex the little man.

But look as high and as low as he could, he could find nothing, until
one fine day in the spring he was plowing a nice little hill to plant
a patch of potatoes. Suddenly his horse kicked the plow over, and the
farmer heard a grumbling, growling little voice coming up through the
earth.

"There you go again," said the voice, "tearing up my roof just as you
did a year ago in the spring. Don't you know that this is my hill, and
that I live down here under it?" It was the troll that spoke.

Well, the farmer was much put out to know that he had plowed up the
roof of the troll's house and he did not know what to do about it, for
it was his hill, also, and a fine, sunny slope for raising a crop. At
last, though, he thought of a plan and he called down through the hill
to the troll.

"Well, now, little master, I am sorry indeed to have disturbed you so
and I am ready to make any recompense that I can. What do you say to
this? I will plow, sow, and reap the hill each year, doing every bit
of the work myself, mind you, and we will have the crops, turn and
turn about. One year you shall have everything that grows above the
ground and I will take only what grows below the ground; the next year
you shall have what lies below, while my share will be what grows
above. That is a fair bargain, is it not?"

"Very good," said the troll. "I am perfectly well satisfied. And this
year I would like whatever grows above the ground."

The farmer chuckled to himself. That satisfied him, too, for he was
planting potatoes. But when they had sprouted and grown, up through
the hill came the troll with a little scythe over his shoulder and cut
all the potato tops, taking them home with him. A fine harvest he
thought he had gathered.

The next season it was the troll's turn to have what grew below
ground, so the farmer sowed the hill with corn. When the corn was ripe
the troll did not appear at all. He was down under the hill busily
cutting the roots of the corn, well content with this share of the
harvest. So the farmer was crafty in his planting. The next season it
was carrots, and the next, beans. The troll gathered his carrot tops
and his bean roots, and laid them away carefully for the winter.

Which goes to show how easily you can satisfy a troll, but what a poor
farmer he is.



SCHOOL

A PURITAN SCHOOL-DAY


Peregrine fastened his long black cloak, and Patience smoothed her
white apron and tied the strings of her close-fitting bonnet beneath
her dimpled chin. The brother and sister crossed the threshold of the
log house which was their home in old Plymouth, almost three hundred
years ago, and started to walk across the corn fields and through a
patch of woodland, lying between their house and the next cabin.

They were two little Puritan children, going to school.

They laughed and pointed happily to the full ears of corn as they
crossed the fields. There would be a good harvest, they knew, and that
meant plenty of hot corn-meal mush filling the big copper kettle that
hung over their fireplace, and corn would fill the huge brick oven.
But as Peregrine and Patience crept softly between the great pine
trees of the wood, they clasped each other's hands more tightly, and
started to see a red-winged bird dart out of the branches. "Suppose
it had been the bright feather head-dress of an Indian," they
whispered. One was very apt to meet Indians on the way to school in
those old-time days.

The long distance was travelled in safety, though. Promptly at eight
o'clock, the two little Puritans knocked at the door of a second log
house and it was opened by their neighbor, Mistress Endicott. There
was no school-bell, there were no desks and comfortable chairs and
blackboards and picture books. Mistress Endicott had risen from her
spinning wheel, that stood by the fireplace, to let in Peregrine and
Patience, and a dozen other small boys and girls of Plymouth. There
was no real schoolhouse as yet in Plymouth. Mistress Endicott kept
house, and tended her garden, and taught all the children of the
neighborhood as well.

There were long settles beside the fireplace and here the children
seated themselves, Peregrine on one side, and Patience on the other,
to study their lessons. They were given queer little books, called the
New England Primer, in wooden covers, and having funny, tiny pictures
for each letter of the alphabet, and beside each, a jingle. There were
verses to be learned from the Bible, too. Patience held her primer up
close to her nose and studied very diligently, but Peregrine's eyes
wandered out of the window and toward the blue sky. He was thinking
of a kite he planned to make when school was over.

"Class stand, and recite," Mistress Endicott said suddenly, stopping
the whir of her spinning wheel only a moment to call the children, for
industry and learning had to go on at the same time in those old days
in the Colonies.

At once the boys and girls rose and stood in front of their teacher,
the copper toes of their stout shoes placed exactly on a long crack in
the bare floor. Then they read aloud, while Mistress Endicott's wheel
whirred on. It sounded as if a hive of bees were humming in the
schoolroom, but the good dame could listen and spin at the same time.
She knew very well if a child made a mistake.

Across the room there were some long benches made of logs, split in
two, and with other logs to support them. When the class had finished
reading, they took their places at these benches, the boys to do sums,
and the girls to work on their samplers. Each little Puritan girl had
brought her sewing bag to school, and was working her name, the date
of her birthday, and a verse of some kind on a square of canvas, which
made her sampler. Patience was working a very fine sampler indeed. Her
mother had given her some bright crewels that she had brought from
England, and Patience was using them to embroider a basket of flowers
in cross-stitch in one corner of her sampler. Patience bent low over
her sewing, until her long flaxen braids almost touched the floor. At
last, though, she looked up.

Where was Peregrine, she wondered? He was not on the bench with the
other boys. At last Patience saw her brother. Oh, dear, how disgraced
she felt! Peregrine had not learned his lesson well, because he had
looked out of the window. He had not recited well, so Mistress
Endicott had put the dunce's cap on his head and he stood in a corner
where all could see him.

But Peregrine's punishment did not last for long. He was soon forgiven
and busy bringing in logs of wood to pile on the fire. Already the
days had a touch of frost in them, and Peregrine's father had sent the
school-mistress a load of wood. This was to pay her for teaching
Patience and Peregrine. The other children's parents paid her in corn,
and barley, and other good things that they raised on their farms. If
the teacher had been a man, the Puritan mothers would have spun and
woven some warm cloth to make him a coat, or knitted him a woollen
muffler, or a pair of stockings.

Late in the afternoon, after their luncheon of cold hasty pudding and
apples and more study and reading, school was over. Peregrine and
Patience each made a low bow before Mistress Endicott, went out of the
door, and started home. The dusk was already falling, but they ran,
and sang as they hurried along to keep up their courage.

There, at last, was the twinkle of the tallow candle which their
mother had set in the window to lead them home. She was waiting for
them at the door, and the kettle was singing on the hob. The
school-day, almost three hundred years ago, was over.



THE LAST CLASS


That morning, Franz was taking his way very slowly to school. He had a
great dread of being scolded, particularly as the school-master had
said that the lesson for the day would be on participles about which
Franz did not know a word. Suddenly an idea came to him. He would go
through the fields.

It was so warm, so clear. He heard the blackbirds whistling on the
borders of the wood, and in the meadow, behind the saw-mill, the
Prussians were drilling. Then, as he passed on by the residence of the
mayor, Franz saw them putting a notice on the gate. There, for two
years, had been given out all the bad news; lost battles for Alsace,
calls to arms, the orders of the command. The blacksmith and his
apprentice were putting up the notice, and Franz called,

"What has happened, that they are posting a bulletin again?" But the
blacksmith spoke gruffly,

"Why do you loiter, little one? It is not safe. Run along quickly to
school."

So Franz made haste at last, although he was sure that the blacksmith
was not in earnest, and he arrived all breathless, at his class.

School seemed, somehow, very different to Franz that morning. There
was ordinarily a good deal of noise as the children came in from the
street, desks were opened, and lessons were repeated out loud and all
in unison, and the school-master pounded with his ruler on his table.

Now, however, there was silence.

Although Franz was late, the school-master looked at him without the
least anger, and spoke softly as he said, "Go quickly to your place,
my little Franz. We have already begun without you."

Franz seated himself at his desk. Only then, his fear gone, he noticed
that the master had on his best green frock coat, his finely plaited
shirt and the black silk cap that he never wore except on a day when
there were prizes given out in school. All the children were
extraordinarily quiet. But what surprised Franz the most was to see at
the back of the room, seated on the benches which were ordinarily
empty, the people of the village. There was an old soldier with his
tri-colored flag, the old mayor of the town, the postman, and many
others. Everyone seemed sad. And the old soldier had a spelling book,
ragged on the edges, that he held open on his knees, as he followed
the pages through his great spectacles.

As little Franz watched all this, astonished, the school-master rose
from his chair, and in the same grave, soft voice in which he had
spoken to the boy, he said,

"My children, this is the last time that I shall teach your class. The
order has come from Berlin that no language but German shall be taught
in the schools of Alsace and Lorraine. Your new master arrives
to-morrow. To-day, you will have your last lesson in French. I pray
that you will be very attentive."

Franz's last lesson in French! And he could not write it without
mistakes! He remembered all the time that he had wasted, the lessons
he had missed in hunting for birds' nests, or skating on the river. He
thought of his books that would remind him always now, of his
laziness--his grammar, his history, a present from his friend, the
school-master, from whom he must part now with so much pain. In the
midst of these thoughts, Franz heard his name called. It was his turn
to recite.

He would have given a great deal to be able to recite the famous order
of the participles, without a mistake, to give them clearly, and
without a fault. But he confused them at the first word, and remained
standing beside his desk, his heart trembling, not daring to raise his
head. He heard the school-master speaking to him,

"I am not going to rebuke you, little Franz. You are already punished.
Every day you have said to yourself, 'Bah, I have plenty of time;
to-morrow I will study.'"

"Ah, that has been the great fault in our Alsace, that of always
putting off learning until another day. In the meantime, all the world
has been quite right in saying of us, 'How is it that you pretend to
be French, and yet are not able to read and write your own language!'
Of all who are here, my poor little Franz, you are not the only one at
fault. We all must reproach ourselves."

Then the school-master told them of his longing to still teach the
children the French language. He said that it would always be the most
beautiful language of the world. He said that he wanted it treasured
in Alsace and never forgotten, because, when a people fall into
slavery it is almost like holding the key to their prison if they can
speak to each other in the same tongue. Afterward he took a grammar
and went over the lesson with the children. All that he read seemed
suddenly quite easy to Franz; he had never attended so well, and never
before had he understood how patient the school-master was in his
explanations.

When the lesson was finished, writing was begun. For this last day,
the master had prepared fresh copies.

_France, Alsace. France, Alsace_.

The copies were like little flags, floating all over the schoolroom
from the tops of the desks. Nothing broke the great silence but the
scratching of the pens upon the paper. Suddenly some May bugs flew in
through the window, but no one noticed them. On the roof of the school
some pigeons began to coo, and Franz thought to himself, "Will it be
commanded that the birds, too, speak to us in a foreign language?"

From time to time, as Franz lifted his eyes from his paper, he saw the
school-master sitting quietly in his chair, and looking all about him,
as if he wanted to remember always every child and every bit of
furniture in his little schoolroom. Only think, for forty years, he
had been there in his place, with the playground facing him, and his
class always as full! Only the benches and the desks which had once
been polished were worn from usage now; the walnut trees in the yard
had grown very large, and the hop vine that he, himself, had planted
twined now above the window and as far as the roof. It was breaking
the heart of the school-master to leave all these things.

But he had the courage to carry on the class to the very end. After
the writing lesson, he began the lesson in history. Afterward, the
little ones sang their A. B. C.'s all together and at the end of the
room the old soldier took off his spectacles and, holding his spelling
book in his two hands, he read off the letters with them.

Suddenly the clock in the tower of the village church sounded the hour
of noon. Instantly, the trumpet call of the Prussians, returning from
their drilling, burst through the windows. The school-master rose,
quite pale, in his place. Never had he seemed so great to the
children.

"My friends," he said, "my little friends, I--"

But he could say no more; he was not able to speak the words. He
turned to the blackboard and, taking a piece of chalk, he wrote upon
it,

"_Vive la France!_"

Afterward, he remained there, his head resting against the wall, and,
without speaking, he made a sign with his hand.

"It is finished. You are dismissed."



TIMOTHY'S SHOES


The godmother arrived for the christening, dressed in plum-colored
satin and carrying a small brown parcel.

"Fortunatus' purse!" whispered one of the guests, nudging his
neighbor.

"A mere trifle for the boy," said the fairy godmother, laying the
parcel down on the table. "It is a very common gift to come from my
hands, but I trust it will prove useful."

She untied the string of the parcel and gave the baby's mother--what
do you think?

A small pair of strong leather shoes, copper-tipped and heeled!

"They'll never wear out, my dear," she said. "And, after all, my
little gift is not quite so shabby as it looks. These shoes, have
another quality besides that of not wearing out. The little feet that
are in them cannot very easily go wrong."

"Mrs. Godmother's broomstick is at the door," shouted some one. So
the fairy godmother took her departure.

As years went by and her family increased, the mother learned the full
value of the fairy shoes. Her nine boys wore them in turn, but they
never wore them out. So long as these shoes were on their feet, they
were pretty sure to go where they were sent and to come back when they
were wanted. So, at last, the fairy shoes descended to the ninth and
youngest boy, and became Timothy's.

Now the eighth boy had very small feet and had worn the shoes rather
longer than the others, and Timothy got them somewhat later than
usual. Even though she was very conscientious, Timothy's mother found
it hard not to spoil the youngest in the family. Master Timothy was
wilful, and his feet became used to taking their own way before he
stepped into the fairy shoes. He played truant from school, and was
late for dinner so often that at length his mother decided that
something must be done about Timothy. One morning the leather of the
fairy shoes was brightly blacked and the copper tips polished, and
Timothy wore them for the first time.

"Now, Timothy, dear, I know you will be a good boy," his mother said.
"And mind you don't loiter or play truant, for if you do, these shoes
will pinch you horribly, and you'll be sure to be found out."

Timothy looked as if he didn't believe it. He was off like an arrow
from a bow, and he gave not one more thought to what his mother had
said.

The winter had been very cold, the spring had been fitful and stormy,
but May had suddenly burst upon the country with one broad, bright
smile of sunshine and flowers. If Timothy had loitered on the way to
school when the frost nipped his nose, and the ground was muddy, and
the March winds crept up his jacket sleeves, it was hard to hurry now
when every nook had a flower and every bush a bird.

It was wrong to play truant, but still it was very tempting.
_Twir-r-r-r_, up to the sky flew the larks. Down in the marsh below
the king-cups blossomed, as shining as gold.

Once or twice Timothy stopped, but his shoes pinched him and he ran on
all the more willingly because a bright butterfly went before him. But
where the path ran on above the marsh, and he looked down and saw the
king-cups, he dismissed all thoughts of school. The bank was long and
steep, but that did not matter to him. King-cups he must have; no
other flowers would do. He threw his school bag on the grass, and
began to scramble down the bank.

Timothy turned his feet toward the king-cups, but his shoes seemed
resolved to go to school. As he persisted in going toward the marsh,
he had such twitches and twinges as the fairy shoes pinched him that
it seemed as if his feet would be wrenched off. But Timothy was a
resolute little fellow, and he managed to drag himself, shoes and all,
down to the marsh.

Then he could not find a king-cup within reach. Not one grew on the
safe edge, but, like so many Will-o'-the-wisps, they shone out of the
depths of the treacherous bogs. Timothy wandered round the marsh;
_pinch, jerk_, every step hurt more than the one before. At last,
desperate with pain and disappointment, he fairly jumped into a patch
of the flowers that looked fairly near, and was at once ankle deep in
water. But, to Timothy's delight, the wet mud soaked the shoes off his
feet, and he was able to wade about among the rushes, reeds, and
king-cups, happy.

And he was none the worse, although he ought to have been. He moved
about very cautiously, feeling his way with a stick from tussock to
tussock of reedy grass, wondering why his eight brothers had never
thought of taking off the fairy shoes when they grew troublesome.

At last, though, Timothy began to feel tired. He hurt his foot on a
sharp stump. A fat green frog jumped up in his face and so startled
him that he nearly fell backwards in the water. He had gathered more
king-cups than he could hold. So he scrambled out of the marsh,
climbed up the bank, cleaned himself as well as he could, and thought
he would go on to school.

Now, with all his faults, Timothy was not a coward or a liar. With a
quaking heart he made up his mind to tell the teacher that he had
played truant. He was trying to make up his mind just exactly what he
would say first and had got no farther than, "Please, ma'am--" when he
found himself in the schoolroom, and under the teacher's very eye.
Timothy did not see her frown; he did not hear the children's titters.
His eyes were fixed upon the schoolroom floor, where--beside Timothy's
desk--stood the fairy shoes, very muddy, and with a yellow king-cup
sticking up out of each.

"You've been in the marsh, Timothy," said his teacher. "Put on your
shoes."

So Timothy put them on, and when his lessons were over, he let his
shoes take him straight home.



FALL

THE THREE APPLES


The old apple tree stood in the orchard with the other trees, and all
summer long it had stretched out its branches wide to catch the rain
and the sun to make its apples grow round and ripe. Now it was fall,
and on the old apple tree were three great apples as yellow as gold
and larger than any other apples in the whole orchard. The apple tree
stretched and reached as far as it could, until the branch on which
the three gold apples grew hung over the orchard wall. There were the
three great apples, waiting for some one to pick them, and as the wind
blew through the leaves of the apple tree it seemed to sing:

    "Here in the orchard are apples three,
    Who uses one well shall a treasure see."

And one morning Gerald came down the lane that passed by the orchard
wall. He looked longingly at the three gold apples, wishing, wishing
that he might have one. Just then the wind sang its song again in the
leaves of the apple tree and, _plump_, down to the ground, right at
Gerald's feet, fell one of the three gold apples.

He picked it up and turned it round and round in his hands. How sweet
it smelled, and how mellow and juicy it was! Gerald could think of
nothing so good to do with such a beautiful ripe apple as to eat it.
He put it to his mouth and took a great bite of it, then another bite,
and another. Soon there was nothing left of the apple but the core,
which Gerald threw away. He smacked his lips and went on his way, but
the wind in the apple trees sang, sorrowfully, after him:

    "Here in the orchard are apples two,
    But gone is the treasure that fell for you."

And after a while Hilda came down the lane that passed by the orchard
wall. She looked up at the two beautiful gold apples that hung on the
branch of the old apple tree, and she listened to the wind as it sang
in the branches to her:

    "Here in the orchard are apples two,
    A treasure they hold for a child like you."

Then the wind blew harder and, _plump_, an apple fell in the lane
right in front of Hilda.

She picked it up joyfully. She had never seen so large and so golden
an apple. She held it carefully in her clasped hands and thought what
a pity it would be to eat it, because then it would be gone.

"I will keep this gold apple always," Hilda said, and she wrapped it
up in the clean handkerchief that was in her pocket. Then Hilda went
home, and there she laid away in a drawer the gold apple that the old
apple tree had given her, closing the drawer tightly. The apple lay
inside, in the dark, and all wrapped up, for many days, until it
spoiled. And when Hilda next went down the lane and past the orchard,
the wind in the apple tree sang to her:

    "Only one apple where once there were two,
    Gone is the treasure I gave to you."

Last of all, Rudolph went down the lane one fine fall morning when the
sun was shining warm and the wind was out. There, hanging over the
orchard wall, he saw just one great gold apple that seemed to him the
most beautiful apple that he had ever seen. As he stood looking up at
it, the wind in the apple tree sang to him, and it said:

    "Round and gold on the apple tree,
    A wonderful treasure, hanging, see!"

Then the wind blew harder, and down fell the last gold apple of the
three into Rudolph's waiting hands.

He held it a long time and looked at it as Gerald and Hilda had,
thinking how good it would be to eat, and how pretty it would be to
look at if he were to save it. Then he decided not to do either of
these things. He took his jack-knife out of his pocket and cut the
gold apple in half, straight across, and exactly in the middle between
the blossom and the stem.

Oh, the surprise that waited for Rudolph inside the apple! There was a
star, and in each point of the star lay a small black seed. Rudolph
carefully took out all the seeds and climbed over the orchard wall,
holding them in his hand. The earth in the orchard was still soft, for
the frost had not yet come. Rudolph made holes in the earth and in
each hole he dropped an apple seed. Then he covered up the seeds and
climbed back over the wall to eat his apple, and then go on his way.

But as Rudolph walked down the lane, the orchard wind followed him,
singing to him from every tree and bush,

    "A planted seed is a treasure won.
    The work of the apple is now well done."



THE HORN OF PLENTY


Deïanira was one of the most beautiful of princesses who lived in the
long ago times of the Greek gods and goddesses. It seemed as if all
the loveliness of the world in this, its story time, was hers. Her
hair was bright with the yellow of the first spring sunshine, and her
eyes were as blue as the skies of spring. Summer had touched
Deïanira's cheeks with the pink of rose petals, and the colors of the
autumn fruits shone in her jewels, crimson, and purple, and gold. Her
robes were as white and sparkling as the snows of winter, and all the
music of soft winds, and bird songs, and rippling brooks was in this
princess' voice.

Because of her beauty, and her goodness which even surpassed it,
princes came from all over the earth to ask Deïanira's father, Æneus,
if she might go home to their kingdoms and be their queen. But to all
these Æneus replied that to none but the strongest would he give the
princess.

There were many tests of these strangers' skill and strength in games
and wrestling, but one by one they failed. At last there were only two
left, Hercules, who could hold the sky on his great shoulders, and
Acheloüs, the river-god, who could twist and twine through the fields
and make them fertile. Each thought himself the greater of the two,
and it lay between them which should gain the princess, by his
prowess, to be his queen.

Hercules was great of limb, and of powerful strength. Beneath his
shaggy eyebrows, his eyes gleamed like coals of fire. His garment was
of lion skins, and his staff was a young tree. But Acheloüs was able
to slip between the huge fingers of Hercules. He was as slim and
graceful as a willow tree, and dressed in the green of foliage. He
wore a crown of water lilies on his fair hair, and carried a staff
made of twined reeds. When Acheloüs spoke, his voice was like the
rippling of a stream.

"The princess Deïanira shall be mine!" said Acheloüs. "I will make her
the queen of the river lands. The music of the waters shall be always
in her ears, and the plenty that follows wherever I flow shall make
her rich."

"No," shouted Hercules. "I am the strength of the earth. Deïanira is
mine. You shall not have her."

Then the river-god grew very angry. His green robe changed to the
black of the sea in a storm, and his voice was as loud as a mountain
cataract. Acheloüs could be almost as powerful as Hercules when he was
angered.

"How do you dare claim this royal maiden?" he roared, "you, who have
mortal blood in your veins? I am a god, and the king of the waters.
Wherever I take my way through the earth, grains and fruits ripen, and
flowers bud and bloom. The princess is mine by right."

Hercules frowned as he advanced toward the river-god. "Your strength
is only in words," he said scornfully. "My strength is in my arm. If
you would win Deïanira, it must be by hand-to-hand combat." So the
river-god threw off his garments and Hercules his lions' skins, and
the two fought for the hand of the princess.

It was a brave and valorous battle. Neither yielded; both stood firm.
Acheloüs slipped in and out of Hercules' mighty grasp a dozen times,
but at last Hercules' greater strength overpowered him. Hercules held
the river-god fast by his neck, panting for breath. But Acheloüs knew
magic arts which he could practise. He suddenly changed himself into a
long, slippery serpent. He twisted out of Hercules' grasp, and darted
out his forked tongue at him, showing his poisonous fangs.

Hercules was not yet outdone, though. He laughed in scorn at the
serpent. While he was still in his cradle, Hercules had strangled two
serpents, and he had met a Hydra with a hundred heads that he had cut
off. He was not in the least afraid of the river-god in the form of a
serpent, but gripped the creature by the back of its neck, ready to
strangle it.

Acheloüs struggled in vain to escape, and at last tried his magic arts
again. In a second the serpent had changed its form to that of a
bellowing ferocious bull. With its horns lowered, it charged upon
Hercules.

But Hercules was still unvanquished. He seized hold of the bull's
horns, bent its head, grasped its brawny neck, and throwing it down
buried the horns in the ground. Then he broke off one of the horns
with his iron strong hand, and held it up in the air, shouting,

"Victory! The princess is mine!"

Acheloüs returned to his own shape, and, crying with pain, ran from
the castle grounds where the combat had taken place, and did not stop
until he had plunged into a cooling stream.

It had been right that Hercules should triumph, for his was strength
of arm, not that of trickery. Deïanira stood by his side, and the
goddess of plenty came forward to give the conqueror his reward.

She took the great horn which Hercules had torn from Acheloüs' head
and heaped it high with the year's stores. Ripe grain, grapes, apples,
plums, nuts, pomegranates, figs, and all the other fruits of the
autumn filled the horn, and overflowed it. The wood-nymphs and the
water-nymphs came and twined the horn with vines, and crimson leaves,
and the last bright flowers of the year. Then they carried this horn
of plenty, high above their heads, and gave it to Hercules, and his
beautiful queen, Deïanira. It was the richest gift the gods could
make, the year's harvest.

And ever since that long-ago story time of the Greeks the horn of
plenty has stood for the year's blessing of us; it is full to
overflowing with the fruits of the harvest.



THE GOOSE WHO TRIED TO KEEP THE SUMMER


There was once an old Wild Goose who had led the flock of other wild
geese every fall for years and years on their way south. He had a
thick coat of white feathers, he wore orange-colored boots, and his
bill was like a gold trumpet when he opened it to call,

_Honk, honk, honk!_

That was the signal for the others to rise from the meadows and the
marshes. He flew at their head, and the rest followed, one line on one
side and one line on the other. He thought himself most important.

Over the woods and the fields and the waters, every one looked for the
old Wild Goose in the fall.

_Honk, honk, honk!_

That was the Wild Goose telling them that it was time to get ready for
the winter in the woods, and in the fields, and over the waters. He
knew they waited for him, so he had grown to feel very proud of
himself. He lived in a marsh that was sheltered on both sides by trees
and was comfortable, even if there was a frost now and then. A robin
had once stayed in those trees all winter and he sang proudly about
it.

"Why do I trouble to go south?" the old Wild Goose thought to himself.
"The weather here will not grow cold if I stay. _Honk, honk_; I shall
not trouble myself to migrate this fall and then we shall see what
will happen! Very likely I shall keep the summer!"

No one knew what the Goose had decided, and they listened for him.

The dandelion looked up from her home in the field and bobbed her
little head as she waited to hear the call of the Wild Goose. Every
fall she had sent a flock of winged seeds flying along with him as far
as they could go. Then they would drop in other fields and begin
making more dandelions for next year. She knew she must not wait too
long. She listened, but she did not hear his _honk, honk, honk_!

Puff, whirr; off she sent her tiny winged seed without the call of the
old Wild Goose.

The farmer buttoned his coat tightly and looked up among the gray
clouds to see the Goose. Every fall he listened to hear the call of
the Wild Goose as he gathered his harvest. He knew, though, that he
must not wait too long. He took his grain to the mill and filled his
barn with red apples, and orange pumpkins, and yellow corn. He made
warmer beds for the cows and horses, and cut logs to burn in his
fireplace. He was soon ready for winter without the help of the old
Wild Goose.

The brook called and called for the Goose. Every fall she waited for
him to fly over and then she built her winter roof, for she knew then
that no other wild bird would need to drink from her waters. She must
not wait long, though. There were her fish, and the water spider, and
the beaver to shelter all winter. So the brook forgot, at last, about
the old Wild Goose and built a smooth ice roof to keep her children
warm until spring.

_Honk, honk_, cried all the other wild geese. "It is time to migrate!
Come with us!"

_Honk, honk, honk_, cried the old Wild Goose, from the sheltered marsh
where he did not know what was going on. "I am not flying south this
year. I am staying north to keep the summer."

_Honk, honk_, "What a terrible time it will be!" cried all the other
geese. They talked among themselves, saying that no good could come of
turning the seasons about, and of how he would probably be eaten in
the end. Then they selected a wise young goose who had been end man
the year before, and they made him their leader. His boots were quite
as orange and his bill as golden as those of the old Goose, and he
could _honk_ very well indeed. They went south with the new leader.

Soon Winter came. He wore a crown of snowflakes. His cloak was
embroidered with frost, and he carried a huge icicle as his sceptre.
Every one was ready for him. The dandelion bowed her bare head as
Winter passed. The barn doors were closed, and the cattle stood, safe
and warm, in their stalls.

But the Wild Goose felt Winter coming. An icy wind blew through his
feathers. His throat was so stiff with cold that he could not blow his
trumpet. His orange boots froze stiff as the marsh turned to ice.

"It must be the winter coming in spite of me," he thought to himself.
"It seems that I have not kept him away after all. I shall die, for he
will freeze me. What shall I do?"

Then a sunbeam, that was still strong enough to help a little, heard
the faint cries of the old Wild Goose and was sorry for him. She
melted the ice so that the Goose could pull out his feet, first one,
and then the other. She stood for a moment in Winter's path as the
Goose rose and stretched his stiff wings, and then started south.

The chilly air was like a blast on his head. He was obliged to fly
slowly, but he managed to call as he went,

"_Honk, honk_, Here I am. I fly to tell you that Winter is coming."

He looked down at the woods, and the fields, and the waters. How
strange! They had known it. They had not waited for the call of the
old Wild Goose.



THANKSGIVING

CHIP'S THANKSGIVING


They had got "way through," as Terry said, to the nuts. It had been a
beautiful Thanksgiving dinner so far. Grandmother's sweet face beamed
down the length of the great table, over all the little curly
grand-heads, at Grandfather's face. Everybody felt very thankful.

"I wish all the children this side of the North Pole had some turkey,
too, and squash, and cranberry--and things," Silence said quietly.
Silence was always thinking of beautiful things like that.

"And some nuts," Terry said, setting his small white teeth into the
meat of a big fat walnut. "It wouldn't seem like Thanksgiving without
nuts."

"I know somebody who would be thankful with just nuts," smiled
Grandfather. "Indeed, I think that he would rather have them for all
the courses of his Thanksgiving dinner!"

"Just nuts! No turkey, or pudding, or anything?" The curly grand-heads
all bobbed up from their plates and nut pickers in amazement. Just
nuts!

"Yes! Guess who he is." Grandfather's laughing eyes twinkled up the
long table at Grandmother. "I'll give you three guesses apiece,
beginning with Heart's Delight. Guess number one, Heart's Delight."

"Chip." Heart's Delight had guessed it at the very first guess.

"Chip!" laughed all the little grand-boys and girls. "Why, of course!
Chip! He would rather have just nuts for his Thanksgiving dinner."

"I wish he had some of mine," cried Silence.

"And mine!" cried Terry, and all the others wished that he had some of
theirs. What a Thanksgiving dinner little Chip would have had!

"He's got plenty, thank you." It was the shy little voice of Heart's
Delight. A soft pink color had come into her round cheeks. Everybody
looked at her in surprise, for how did Heart's Delight know that Chip
had plenty of nuts? Then Terry remembered something.

"Oh, that's where her nuts went to!" he cried. "Heart's Delight gave
them to Chip! We couldn't think what she had done with them all."

Heart's Delight's cheeks grew pinker--very pink indeed.

"Yes, that's where," said Silence, leaning over to squeeze one of
Heart's Delight's little hands. And sure enough, it was. In the
beautiful nut month of October, when the children went after their
winter's supply of nuts, Heart's Delight had left all her little
rounded heap just where bright-eyed, nut-hungry Squirrel Chip would be
sure to find them and hurry them away to his hole. And Chip had found
them, she was sure, for not one was left when she went back to see the
next day.

"Why, maybe, this very minute--right now--Chip is cracking his
Thanksgiving dinner," Terry laughed.

"Just as we are! Maybe he's come to the nut course--but they are all
nut courses. And maybe he's sitting up at his table with the rest of
his folks, thanksgiving to Heart's Delight," Silence said.

Heart's Delight's little shy face nearly hid itself over her plate.
This was dreadful! It was necessary to change the conversation at
once, and a dear little thought came to her aid.

"But I'm afraid Chip hasn't got any grandfather or grandmother at his
Thanksgiving," she said softly. "I should think it would be hard to
give thanks without any grandfather and grandmother."



THE FIRST THANKSGIVING


All through the first summer and the early part of autumn the Pilgrims
were busy and happy. They had planted and cared for their first fields
of corn. They had found wild strawberries in the meadows, raspberries
on the hillsides, and wild grapes in the woods.

In the forest just back of the village wild turkeys and deer were
easily shot. In the shallow waters of the bay there was plenty of
fish, clams, and lobsters.

The summer had been warm, with a good deal of rain and much sunshine;
and so, when autumn came, there was a fine crop of corn.

"Let us gather the fruits of our first harvest and rejoice together,"
said Governor Bradford.

"Yes," said Elder Brewster, "let us take a day upon which we may thank
God for all our blessings and invite to it our Indian friends who have
been so kind to us."

The Pilgrims said that one day was not enough; so they planned to have
a celebration for a whole week.

The great Indian chief, Massasoit, came with ninety of his bravest
warriors, all gaily dressed in deerskins, feathers, and fox tails,
with their faces smeared with red, white, and yellow paint. As a sign
of rank, Massasoit wore a string of bones and a bag of tobacco around
his neck. In his belt he carried a long knife. His face was painted
red, and his hair was daubed with oil.

There were only eleven buildings in the whole of Plymouth village,
four log storehouses, and seven little log dwelling-houses, so the
Indian guests ate and slept out of doors. This did not matter for it
was one of those warm weeks in the season that we call Indian summer.

To supply meat for the occasion four men had already been sent out to
hunt wild turkeys. They killed enough in one day to last the company
almost a week.

Massasoit helped the feast along by sending some of his best hunters
into the woods. They brought back five deer which they gave to their
pale face friends, that all might have enough to eat.

Under the trees were built long, rude tables on which were piled baked
clams, broiled fish, roasted turkey, and venison. The young Pilgrim
women helped serve the food to the hungry redskins. We shall always
remember two of the fair young girls who waited on the first
Thanksgiving table. One was Mary Chilton, who leaped first from the
boat at Plymouth Rock. The other was Mary Allerton. She lived for
seventy-eight years after this first Thanksgiving; of those who came
over in the _Mayflower_ she was the last to die.

What a merry time everybody had during that week! How the mothers must
have laughed as they told about the first Monday morning on Cape Cod,
when they all went ashore to wash their clothes! It must have been a
big washing, for there had been no chance to do it at sea, so stormy
had been the long voyage of sixty-three days. They little thought that
Monday would always after be kept as washing day. One proud Pilgrim
mother, we may be sure, showed her baby boy, Peregrine White.

And so the fun went on. In the daytime the young men ran races, played
games, and had a shooting match. Every night the Indians sang and
danced for their friends; and to make the party still more lively they
gave every now and then a shrill war whoop that made the woods echo in
the still night air.

The third day came. Massasoit had been well treated, and would have
liked to stay longer, but he said that he could not be away from his
camp for more than three days. So the pipe of peace was silently
passed around. Then, taking their gifts of glass beads and trinkets,
the Indian King and his warriors said farewell to their English
friends and began their long march through the woods to their wigwams
on Mount Hope Bay.

On the last day of this Thanksgiving party, Elder Brewster preached
the first Thanksgiving sermon and all the Pilgrims united in thanking
God for His goodness to them.

The first Thanksgiving was nearly three hundred years ago. Since that
time, Thanksgiving has been kept by the people of our nation as the
great family festival of the year. At this time children and
grandchildren return to the old home, the long table is spread, and
brothers and sisters, who had been separated, again seat themselves
side by side.

Thanksgiving is our season of sweet and blessed memories.



THE KING'S THANKSGIVING


Every child in the village was very much excited on account of the
news that had come down from the castle on the hill.

Because it had been such a rich harvest, the fields yellow with grain
and the orchards crimson with fruit, the King was going to keep a
thanksgiving day. He was going to ask some child from the village to
come up the hill to the castle and eat dinner with the Prince and
Princess. It was rumored, too, that this child would be given good
gifts by the King. But it must be a very special kind of child indeed.
That they all knew.

Then the village children remembered everything that had been told
them by their mothers, and their grandmothers, and their
great-grandmothers about the castle kitchen. Scores of cooks and
scullery boys were kept busy there night and day. The fires always
glowed to roast the rich fowls that turned on the spits. The cake
bowls and the soup pots were never empty. Spices and herbs from far
countries, strawberries when the ground was covered with snow, ices of
all the rainbow colors, and cream so thick that a knife could cut
it--all these were to be found in the King's kitchen.

There were dishes of gold and silver upon which to serve the fine
foods, and a hothouse of rare flowers with which to deck the table,
and linen as fine as a cobweb and as beautiful in pattern as
snowflakes to cover it. Oh, a thanksgiving day in the castle would be
very wonderful indeed, the children thought, and each hoped that he or
she would be chosen to go.

The day before this day of thanksgiving the messenger of the King came
down from the castle and went from door to door of the homes in the
village. He went first to the house of the burgomaster. It was a very
pretentious house with tall pillars in front, and it stood on a wide
street. It seemed likely that the burgomaster's child might be chosen
to go with the messenger to the castle for the thanksgiving. She was
dressed in silk, and her hair was curled, and the burgomaster had
packed a great hamper with sweets as an offering for the King.

"Are you ready to keep the feast as the King would like you to?" asked
the messenger.

"Oh, yes!" said the burgomaster's child. "I have on my best dress, and
here are plenty of sweets to eat. Will you take me?"

But the messenger shook his head, for the child was not ready.

Then the King's messenger went on until he came to the house where the
captain of the guards lived. The captain's little boy was quite sure
that he would be chosen to go with the messenger to the castle for the
thanksgiving. He wore a uniform with silver braid and buttons like
that which the guards wore. A sword hung at his side, and he wore a
soldier's cap. He held the cap in his hand, so that he could put it on
quickly.

"Are you ready to keep the thanksgiving day as the King would like you
to?" asked the messenger.

"Oh, yes!" said the child of the captain of the guards. "I have my
sword here and I can fight any one who crosses our path on the way to
the castle. Will you take me?"

But the messenger went on again and he came to the baker's shop. The
baker's boy stood at the door, dressed in his best white suit, and
holding an empty basket on his arm. He was quite sure that he would be
chosen to go to the palace, for his father's bake shop was an
important place in the village. They measured their flour carefully,
and weighed the loaves so that they might receive the utmost penny for
each. They very seldom had any crumbs left for the poor, but they were
selling a great deal of bread every day.

"Are you ready to keep the thanksgiving day as the King would like you
to?" the messenger asked of the baker's boy.

"Oh, yes!" the boy said. "I have this basket to gather up whatever
remains of the King's feast and bring it home with me. The King would
not want anything wasted. Will you take me?"

But the messenger shook his head a third time, for the child was not
ready.

Then he did not know which way to go, and he began to think that he
would not be able to find any guest for the King's feast. As he
waited, he saw two children, a girl and a boy, coming toward him. They
were poor children, and one was leading the other, for he was lame.
The messenger looked at them. The little girl had eyes like stars and
her hair, blowing in the November wind, was like a cloud made golden
by the sunset. She held her head so high, and smiled so bravely that
no one would have noticed her old dress and the holes in her coat. The
messenger stood in the road in front of her and spoke to her.

"Are you ready to keep the thanksgiving day as the King would like you
to?" he asked.

The little girl looked up in the messenger's face in surprise.

"No, I am not ready," she said, "but this child is. I am bringing him
because he is lame, and because he is hungry. Will you take him?" she
asked.

"Yes," said the messenger, "and you, too. There is room at the King's
table for both."



WINTER

THE GRAY HARE


A gray hare lived during the winter near a village. When night came,
he would prick up one ear and listen, then he would prick up the
other, jerk his whiskers, snuff, and sit up on his hind legs.

Then he would give one leap, two leaps, through the snow, and sit up
again on his hind legs and look all around.

On all sides nothing was to be seen except snow. The snow lay in
billows and glittered like silver. Above the hare was frosty vapor,
and through this vapor glistened the big white stars.

The hare was obliged to make a long circuit across the highway to
reach his favorite granary. On the highway he could hear the creaking
of the sledges, the whinnying of horses, the groaning of the seats in
the sledges.

Once more the hare paused near the road. The peasants were walking
alongside of their sledges, with their coat collars turned up. Their
faces were scarcely visible. Their beards, their eyebrows were white.
Steam came from their mouths and noses.

Their horses were covered with sweat, and the sweat grew white with
hoar frost. The horses strained on their collars, plunged into the
hollows, and came up out of them again. Two old men were walking side
by side, and one was telling the other how a horse had been stolen
from him.

As soon as the teams had passed, the hare crossed the road, and leaped
unconcernedly toward the threshing-floor. A little dog belonging to
the teams caught sight of the hare and began to bark, and darted after
him.

The hare made for the threshing-floor across the snowdrifts. But the
depth of the snow impeded the hare, and even the dog, after a dozen
leaps, sank deep in the snow and gave up the chase.

The hare also stopped, sat on his hind legs, and then proceeded at his
leisure toward the threshing-floor.

On the way across the field he fell in with two other hares. They were
nibbling and playing. The gray hare joined his mates, helped them
clear away the icy snow, ate a few seeds of winter wheat, and then
went on his way.

In the village it was all quiet; the fires were out; the only sound on
the street was a baby crying in a cottage, and the framework of the
houses creaking under the frost.

The hare hastened to the threshing-floor, and there he found some of
his mates. He played with them on the well-swept floor, ate some oats
from the tub on which they had already begun, mounted the snow-covered
roof into the granary, and then went through the hedge toward his
hole.

In the east the dawn was already beginning to redden, the stars
dwindled, and the frosty vapor grew thicker over the face of the
earth. In the neighboring village the women woke up and went out after
water; the peasants began carrying fodder from the granaries; the
children were shouting. Along the highway more and more teams passed
by, and the peasants talked in louder tones.

The hare leaped across the road, went to his old hole, selected a
place a little higher up, dug away the snow, curled into the depths of
his new hole, stretched his ears along his back, and went to sleep
with his eyes wide open.



THE SNOW IMAGE


One afternoon of a cold winter's day, two children asked leave of
their mother to run out and play in the new-fallen snow. The older
child was a little girl, so tender and modest that every one called
her Violet. The boy was called Peony because of his fat, round face
which made everybody think of sunshine and scarlet flowers.

The children lived in the city and had no wider play place than a
little garden before the house, divided from the street by a white
fence. The pear and plum trees, and the rose bushes in front of the
parlor window were covered with white, with here and there an icicle
for the fruit. It was a pleasant place to play. Their mother bundled
them up in woolen jackets and wadded sacks, and a pair of striped
gaiters on each little pair of legs, and worsted mittens on their
hands. Out they ran, with a hop-skip-and-jump, into the heart of a
huge snowdrift. When they had frosted one another all over with
handfuls of snow, Violet had a new idea.

"Let us make an image out of snow," she said. "It shall be our little
sister and shall run about and play with us all winter long!"

"Oh, yes!" cried Peony. "And mother shall see it."

"Yes," Violet answered. "Mother shall see the new little girl. But she
must not make her come into the warm parlor, for our little snow
sister will not love the warmth."

So the children began this great business of making a snow image that
should run about. Violet told Peony what to do, while with her own
careful fingers she shaped all the nicer parts of the snow figure. It
seemed, in fact, not so much to be made by the children as to grow up
under their hands as they were playing and talking about it. Their
mother, who was sitting at the window, watched them. The longer she
looked, the more and more surprised she grew.

"What remarkable children mine are!" she said to herself. "What other
children could have made anything so like a little girl's figure out
of snow at the first trial?"

"Peony, Peony!" cried Violet to her brother, "bring me some of that
fresh snow from the farthest corner where we have not been trampling.
I want to make our little snow sister's dress with it. You know it
must be white, just as it came out of the sky."

"Here it is, Violet!" Peony said as he came floundering through the
drifts. "Here is the snow for her dress. Oh, Violet, how beautiful she
begins to look!"

"Yes," Violet said thoughtfully and quietly, "our snow sister does
look very lovely. I did not know, Peony, that we could make such a
sweet little girl as this. Now bring me those light wreaths of snow
from the lower branches of the pear tree. You can climb up on a
snowdrift and reach them. I must have them to make some curls for our
little snow sister's head."

"Here they are, Violet," answered the little boy. "Take care you do
not break them. Oh, how pretty!"

"We must have some shining little bits of ice to make the brightness
of her eyes. She is not finished yet," Violet went on.

"Here they are," cried Peony. "Mother, mother! Look out and see what a
nice little girl we have made!"

Their mother put down her work for an instant and looked out of the
window. She was dazzled by the sun that had sunk almost to the edge of
the world so she could not see the garden very distinctly. Still,
through all the brightness of the sun and the snow, she saw a strange,
small white figure in the garden. Peony was bringing fresh snow, and
Violet was moulding it as a sculptor adds clay to his model.

"They do everything better than other children," their mother thought.
"No wonder they make better snow images."

She sat down again to her work, and Violet and Peony talked about
what a nice playmate their little snow sister would be for them all
winter. Suddenly Violet called out joyfully:

"Look, Peony! Come quickly! A light has been shining on her cheek from
that rose-colored cloud, and the color does not go away."

"And look, Violet!" Peony answered. "Oh, look at her hair! It is all
like gold."

"Oh, of course," Violet said. "That color, you know, comes from the
golden clouds. She is almost finished now. But her lips must be very
red. Let us kiss them, Peony!"

Just then there came a breeze of the pure west wind blowing through
the garden. It sounded so wintry cold that the mother was about to tap
on the window pane to call the children in, when they both cried out
to her with one voice:

"Mother, mother! We have finished our little snow sister and she is
running about the garden with us!"

"They make me almost as much of a child as they," the mother said. "I
can almost believe now that the snow image has really come to life."
She went to the door and looked all over the garden. There was no
gleam or dazzle now on it and she could see very well. What do you
think she saw there?

Why, if you will believe me, there was a small figure of a girl
dressed all in white, with rosy cheeks and golden curls, playing with
Violet and Peony. She was none of the neighboring children. Not one
had so sweet a face. Her dress fluttered in the breeze; she danced
about in tiny white slippers. She was like a flying snowdrift.

"Who is this child?" the mother asked. "Does she live near us?"

Violet laughed that her mother could not understand so clear a matter.
"This is our little snow sister," she said, "whom we have just been
making."

At that instant a flock of snowbirds came flitting through the air. As
was very natural, they avoided Violet and Peony. But--and this looked
strange--they flew at once to the white-robed child, lighted on her
shoulder, and seemed to claim her as their friend.

The little snow image was as glad to see these birds, old Winter's
grandchildren, as they were to see her, and she welcomed them by
holding out both of her hands. They tried to all alight on her ten
small fingers and thumbs, crowding one another with a great fluttering
of wings. One snowbird nestled close to her heart and another put its
bill to her lips.

Just then the garden gate was thrown open and the children's father
came in. A fur cap was drawn down over his ears and the thickest of
gloves covered his hands. He had been working all day and was glad to
get home. He smiled as he saw the children and their mother. His heart
was tender, but his head was as hard and impenetrable as one of the
iron pots that he sold in his hardware shop. At once, though, he
perceived the little white stranger, playing in the garden, like a
dancing snow wraith with the flock of snowbirds fluttering around her
head.

"What little girl is that," he asked, "out in such bitter weather in a
flimsy white gown and those thin slippers?"

"I don't know," the mother said. "The children say she is nothing but
a snow image that they have been making this afternoon."

As she said this, the mother glanced toward the spot where the
children's snow image had been made. There was no trace of it--no
piled-up heap of snow--nothing save the prints of little footsteps
around a vacant space!

"Nonsense!" said the father in his kind, matter-of-fact way. "This
little stranger must be brought in out of the snow. We will take her
into the parlor, and you shall give her a supper of warm bread and
milk and make her as comfortable as you can."

But Violet and Peony seized their father by the hand.

"No," they cried. "This is our little snow girl, and she needs the
cold west wind to breathe."

Their mother spoke, too. "There is something very strange about this,"
she said. "Could it be a miracle come to the children through their
faith in their play?"

The father laughed. "You are as much a child as Violet and Peony," he
said. Then he reached out his hand to draw the snow child into the
house.

As he approached the snowbirds took to flight. He followed the snow
child into a corner where she could not possibly escape. It was
wonderful how she gleamed and sparkled and seemed to shed a glow all
around her. She glistened like a star, or like an icicle in the
moonlight.

"Come, you odd little thing," cried the honest man, seizing the snow
child by her hand. "I have caught you at last and will make you
comfortable in spite of yourself. We will put a nice new pair of
stockings on your feet and you shall have a warm shawl to wrap
yourself in. Your poor little nose, I am afraid, is frost bitten. But
we will make it all right. Come along in."

So he led the snow child toward the house. She followed him, drooping
and reluctant. All the glow and sparkle were gone from her.

"After all," said the mother, "she does look as if she were made of
snow."

A puff of the west wind blew against the snow child; she sparkled
again like a star.

"That is because she is half frozen, poor little thing!" said the
father. "Here we are where it is warm!"

Sad and drooping looked the little white maiden as she stood on the
hearth rug. The heat of the stove struck her like a pestilence. She
looked wistfully toward the windows and caught a glimpse, through its
red curtains, of the snow-covered roofs, the frosty stars and the
delicious intensity of the cold night.

The mother had gone in search of the shawl and stockings, and Violet
and Peony looked with terror at their little snow sister.

"I am going to find her parents," said the father, but he had scarcely
reached the gate when he heard the children scream. He saw their
mother's white face at the window.

"There is no need of going for the child's parents," she said.

There was no trace of the little white maiden, unless it were a heap
of snow which, while they were gazing at it, melted quite away upon
the hearth rug.

"What a quantity of snow the children brought in on their feet," their
father said at last. "It has made quite a puddle here before the
stove."

The stove, through the isinglass of its door, seemed to grin like a
red-eyed demon at the mischief which it had done, for the story of the
snow image is one of those rare cases where common sense finds itself
at fault.



THE FIRE THAT WOULD NOT BURN


There was great trouble in the white castle that stood at the top of
the hill. The huge fire that had burned in the castle kitchen for
years had suddenly gone out, and no one seemed to be able to light it
again.

It was deep winter outside. The hill was white with snow, and the
fountains in the castle garden looked like tall ladies dressed in
white cloaks. From all the castle turrets there hung long icicles, and
inside the castle, where the walls and the floor were made all of
stone, it was so cold that every one was blowing on his fingers and
saying that something must be done at once about starting the fire in
the kitchen.

It had been the warmest and the most useful fire in the castle, always
bright and glowing and cheerful. It made the big kettle sing, and it
cooked the food, and painted pictures in the fireplace for the little
Prince, who always sat in front of it before he went to bed. Some said
that the fire needed a special kind of fuel to keep it burning, and
others said that it had gone out because it was such a hard, cold
winter. Still others said that the castle folk were quarreling so over
matters of state that they made the castle too cold for any fire to
burn. The King blew the bellows, and the Queen wrapped up the little
Prince in a fur coat, and the Cook piled on more logs, but still the
fire would not burn.

"Go down the hill road," the King at last commanded the Court
Messenger, "and wherever you see a bright fire burning in one of the
houses, go inside and ask for some coals to bring back to the castle.
It may be that we can light our fire in this way."

So the Messenger, with a great iron lantern for holding the coals,
started out in the bitter cold.

"A light for the castle fire!" he called as he went. "Who will give me
some coals with which to light the castle fire?"

As the Messenger went on his way, a great many people heard him and
they all wanted to have a share in lighting the fire at the castle.
Some thought that to do this would bring them riches.

"Here are glowing coals for you," said Gerald, whose father kept the
forest; "and tell the King that we want as many gold pieces as there
are lumps of coal in return, and some extra ones if he will add them."

So the Messenger put Gerald's red coals with the tongs inside his
lantern, and he started back to the castle. He had gone only a few
steps, though, when he saw that the coals had turned cold and gray, so
he had to throw them beside the road and search farther.

A bright light shone from the fire in Gilda's house. Gilda's father
was one of the King's guards and when she heard the Messenger's call,
"A light for the castle fire!" she opened the door and asked him to
come in.

"Fill your lantern with our coals," Gilda said, "and they will surely
light the fire in the castle. Tell the King, though, that in return
for the coals he must make my father Captain of the guards."

The Messenger took the coals and started back to the castle. He had
gone but a little way, though, when he saw that the coals from Gilda's
fire were no longer burning but had turned to gray ashes. So he
emptied them out in the snow and went on down the hill. But his
search was a hard one. So few of the coals that he was given would
burn, and so few people wanted to give them freely.

At last he came to a tiny house on a bleak side of the hill. The wind
blew down through the old chimney, and the frost had crept in through
the cracks in the wall. The door opened at once when he knocked,
though, and inside he found a little girl, stirring porridge over a
small fire.

"A light for the castle fire?" she repeated when the Messenger had
told her what he wanted. "You may have as many coals as you like,
although we have few large ones. I am my father's housewife and I tend
this small fire so that the kitchen may be comfortable for him when he
comes home from work. I am cooking his supper, too," she said. "But do
you sit down and warm yourself, and have a bowl of warm supper before
you start out in the cold again. Then you may have half of our fire if
the King needs it."

The Messenger did as the little girl bade him, and then he lifted one
small, bright coal from the fire, and put it in his lantern.

"It will never burn all the way back to the castle," he said to
himself, but with each step the coal grew brighter. It cast pink
shadows on the snow as if the spring were sending wild roses up
through the ground. It made the dark road in front of the Messenger
as bright as if the sun were shining, and it warmed him like the
summer time. When he came to the castle, the coal still burned and
glowed. As soon as he touched it to the gray logs in the fireplace
they burst into flames, and the castle fire was kindled again.

They wondered why the new fire made the kettle sing so much more
sweetly than it had ever sung before, and warmed the hearts of the
castle folk so that they forgot to quarrel. At last, when they talked
it over with the Messenger, they decided that it was because love had
come from the cottage with the coal, and was kindled and burning now
in the castle fire.



CHRISTMAS

THE CHILD WHO SAW SANTA CLAUS


There was, once upon a time, a child who wanted very much to see Santa
Claus; just as every other child has always wanted to see him.

So the Child listened at the chimney for Santa Claus, and watched for
him when sleighs flew by over the snowy streets, and wanted to touch
his rosy cheeks and his red cloak trimmed with white fur.

"I am old enough now to see Santa Claus," the Child said. That was
quite true, because he was seven years old. "Show him to me, mother,"
he begged.

"Oh, I cannot do that," the Child's mother said. "I can tell you about
Santa Claus but I cannot show you his face."

"May I go out and look for Santa Claus, myself, then?" the Child
asked. "This is the day before Christmas and if I do not see him
to-day, you know I shall have to wait a whole year."

"Yes, you may go out and look for Santa Claus," the Child's mother
said, and she brought him his warm coat and cap and his red mittens;
"but do not go too far away from home, for Santa Claus stays very
close to the homes where there are children on Christmas Eve," she
added.

So the Child started out. He was very sure that he would know Santa
Claus when he saw him. Ever since he was a very little boy he had seen
pictures of Santa Claus. He would be a jolly, fat little old man with
twinkling eyes and a nose like a cherry. He would wear a long red
cloak and, perhaps, he would be in his toy shop making toys, of which
he would give the child a great many. Or he would be driving his
sleigh full of toys through the city, and the Child would know that he
was coming by the tinkling sound of his silver bells.

At the gate the Child met his grandfather. He was a very old man with
white hair and spectacles. But he could play horse as well as the
Child, and all the Child's nicest toys, the stone blocks, and the
train with tracks, and all the rest, his grandfather had given him.
Now, his grandfather's arms were full of fat, mysterious parcels. One
parcel bulged as if it were a toy fire engine, and another parcel
bulged as if it were a baseball mask, and a ball, and gloves.

"Where are you going?" the Child's grandfather asked.

"I am going to see Santa Claus," the Child answered.

The grandfather smiled until his blue eyes shone. "Will you know Santa
Claus when you see him?" he asked.

"Oh, yes," the Child said. "Santa Claus is an old man with white hair,
and twinkling eyes, and a nose like a cherry--" but the Child suddenly
stopped.

"Oho!" his grandfather laughed, and the Child listened in surprise. He
had never heard such a merry laugh before. His grandfather rubbed his
nose that the cold had painted as red as a cherry. Then his
grandfather was gone, and the Child went on, wondering.

The streets were full of people, their arms crowded with big white
parcels tied with red ribbon. Some of them carried great green wreaths
and bunches of holly. There were so many grocery teams, and toy shop
teams, and flower shop teams that the Child was afraid to cross the
street. He went part of the way across. Then he saw the horses coming,
and he did not know which way to go. He might have been hurt, but a
kind hand took hold of his and helped him safely across the street. He
looked up at the man, who wore a long red cloak trimmed with white.

"Who are you?" the Child asked.

"One of the Christmas helpers," the man said. "I stand here at the
street corner and ring a Christmas bell, and people who pass by give
me money for my poor ones. And where are you going?" he asked the
Child.

"I am going to see Santa Claus," the Child answered.

"Will you know Santa Claus when you see him?" the man asked.

"Oh, yes," the Child said. "Santa Claus wears a long red cloak trimmed
with white--" But then the Child stopped.

The man pulled his red cloak about him. It was very cold and he had no
fire. Then he took his place at the street corner again. The Child
watched him and then went on, wondering.

A little farther on, there was an old man, sitting in a shop, and
making toys. Once he had been a soldier, but now he was able to do
nothing but sit at his work bench carving, and gluing, and painting
playthings for children. The Child went in and watched him work. There
were wooly lambs that would bleat, and toy horses with harnesses on
the shelves of the toy shop. There were dolls with blue eyes, and
dolls with brown eyes, and dolls that could talk, and dolls that could
walk, all waiting there for Christmas Eve. The toyman, himself, was
fitting wheels on wooden carts and wheelbarrows, and as he worked he
sang a quaint little tune with these words,

    "A little green tree,
    From a far white hill,
    Made a Christmas tree,
    By my merry skill--"

Then the toyman, who used to be a soldier, turned to the Child who was
just going out of the shop. "Where are you going?" the toyman asked
the Child.

"I am going to see Santa Claus," the Child answered.

"Will you know Santa Claus when you see him?" the toyman asked.

"Oh, yes," the Child said. "Santa Claus will be making toys--" but he
did not say any more, for the toyman got down from his bench and put a
box of quaintly carved little wooden animals in the Child's happy
hands. It was a good gift, for each animal was different, and it had
taken the toyman many evenings to cut them out.

"Merry Christmas to you from Santa Claus!" said the toyman, as the
Child thanked him and went on, wondering.

Now it was Christmas Eve, and so the Child started home. The lights
from the Christmas candles shining from many windows made a bright
path for him, and he felt very happy indeed. He knew how pleasant it
would be at home. The Christmas tree would be set up, waiting for the
gifts that each one was going to give the others. There would be a
fire of new logs in the fireplace, and holly wreaths at the windows,
and he would hang up his stocking. The Child felt as glad as if Santa
Claus were walking home by his side through the snowy street, but he
thought, just before he reached home,

"I wish that I could hear Santa Claus' bells!"

Then the Child stopped, and listened. He heard, coming toward him on
the frosty air, the sound of many silver-toned bells. The Christmas
star had shone out in the sky as soon as the sun set. Now the church
bells were ringing, some near and some far, to welcome the Holy Child
of Christmas Eve. Their chiming was as wonderful as the sound of the
strings of silver bells on Santa Claus' sleigh.

"I shall know Santa Claus by the sound of his bells," the Child
repeated to himself.

Then he came home, and his mother was very glad to have him back.

"Did you see Santa Claus?" she asked.

"Oh, yes!" the Child answered, for he was quite sure about it now. "I
saw him when I met grandfather, and I saw him standing in a red cloak
at the street corner and helping the poor. I saw him in the toyman's
shop, and I heard his bells ringing just now. I saw Santa Claus
everywhere," the Child said.

And so may every child see Santa Claus, wherever love and goodness are
at the blessed Christmas time.



THE CHRISTMAS GARDEN


None of the children in the village would play with Christopher
because he was the child of Beggar Mother of the Göinge Forest.

The Forest was deep, full of brown, leafless oaks and green fir trees,
with the wind singing shrill tunes in their branches. In the darkest
part was a thick mountain wall, and in the wall there was an old door
made of rough boards. The village children, gathering cones in the
Forest, had peeped through this door when Christopher had left it open
a crack.

"Christopher's home is nothing but a cave with stones for the floor!"
the children whispered.

"Beggar Mother stirs a pot that hangs over a fire of logs!" they
said.

"Christopher and his little brothers and sisters wear skins for
clothing. They sleep, like wolves, on beds of pine and moss!" they
said, too, and then they ran away when they saw Christopher coming
out.

He was as roughly dressed as one of the baby bears whom he knew in the
Göinge Forest and for whom he gathered wild honey; or as shy as one of
the little red foxes that had no home save a hollow tree. All his life
he had been hungry, and starved, and scorned. But Christopher was
known by all of the Forest as loving and gentle and unselfish.

Beggar Mother neither baked nor brewed, but when she went her way down
to the village from door to door with all her little ones clinging to
her skirts, the villagers would sometimes give her six brown loaves,
one for each of her children.

Then Christopher would creep out of the cave and break his bread to
give some crumbs to the starlings, the finches, and the baby
squirrels. He knew where the wild strawberries grew, and he gathered
them for his mother. He pulled grass and leaves for the wild hares. He
had once lifted Mother Fox from her trap and sent her back to her
babies. He brought spring water from the rocks for the flowers, and
never frightened the owls or caught the butterflies.

But the Göinge Forest was cold and asleep now, for it was Christmas
time.

Christopher knew that it was now Christmas Eve for he had been to the
village and looked in the doors. Lighted candles were being set in the
windows. Great pieces of bread and meat were being placed on the
tables, and bunches of grain thick with seeds were hung in the gardens
to be a Christmas feast for the birds.

But when the villagers saw Christopher from the cave in the Forest
looking in their doors, they slammed them shut, for they knew him only
as the child of Beggar Mother. They had no room for him on Christmas
Eve.

So Christopher walked alone and he came, through the snow, to the
little church on the edge of the Göinge Forest. Brother Anselmo tended
the church. He had arranged the little _crèche_, which was like the
stable where the Holy Child lay on the first Christmas Eve. There was
the manger, the gilt star suspended over it, and the toy cattle that
Brother Anselmo had carved from wood with his own hands. He had
trimmed the church with greens. Now, Brother Anselmo was ready to ring
the bell, but he had not the strength. He was a very old man and the
bell was heavy. The rope was stiff with ice, and snow blinded him in
the belfry.

Christopher knew Brother Anselmo very well. In the summer he helped
him tend his garden of herbs, and in the winter he brought him fagots.
With his bare feet Christopher climbed up to the belfry. With his
little hands he pulled with all his might at the frozen bell rope.
Then the bell rang out more sweetly than ever before to tell the
village and the Forest that it was Christmas Eve.

But a strange thing happened. As Christopher rang the Christmas bell
once, the trees in the Forest covered themselves with green leaves,
and the ground was no longer bare, but bright with flowers. A flock of
starlings flew to the top of a fir tree and stopped there, singing.
Their feathers glittered with gold and red like jewels, for they were
Paradise starlings.

Christopher rang the bell a second time, and the baby squirrels began
playing among the mosses. There was the smell of newly plowed fields.
The tinkle of sheep and cow bells could be heard, and the pine and
spruce trees covered themselves with red cones, like kings in crimson
mantles.

When Christopher rang the bell a third time, the wild strawberries
began covering the ground, red and ripe. Butterflies as large as
lilies flew through the air, and a bee-hive in a hollow oak dripped
with golden honey. A light like that of noon time in summer streamed
down. The air was soft and warm, and white doves flew through the
Forest singing.

The villagers saw the wonder and they came, running, to the Forest.
The Christmas bell was ringing, but winter was gone. The Forest had
blossomed more beautifully than they had ever known it to in summer.

"What has brought this wonder?" they asked. Then they saw Christopher
coming home. Wherever he walked the ground glowed with more flowers,
and the birds and butterflies lighted on his shoulders, and hands, and
there seemed to be music coming down from the sky.

The whole Göinge Forest was a Christmas garden for Christopher whom
they had turned away from their doors. They understood that, now,
because the next morning the Forest was again white with snow and
asleep for the winter.



THE CHRISTMAS TREE IN THE BARN


Billy and Betty had the beautiful plan about having a Christmas tree
in the barn. They were spending the winter with father and mother on
Uncle William's big farm, and they loved every one of the barn
creatures very much indeed.

There were the hens who gave them such fine fresh eggs, and Shep, the
dog, who kept the lambs safe on the hill in the summer time. There was
Bessie, Uncle William's horse, who took them for picnic rides and to
church. There was Peter, the barn cat, who kept the mice away from the
vegetables and grain that was stored in the barn.

"They are all so kind to us, and they ought to have a Christmas,
Billy," Betty said.

"We will go right out in the woods and cut them a Christmas tree,"
Billy said.

They found a little spruce tree that was so small they could cut it
easily, and they dragged it to the barn on their sled. Uncle William
gave them a green wooden pail that they filled with sand to hold the
animals' Christmas tree, and they stood it in the middle of the barn
floor. It was such fun trimming it!

Betty picked bright red berries in the woods and fastened them with
pins to the ends of the branches, and Billy made some little scarlet
wreaths to hang on them. He strung cranberries on some fine wire and
fastened it in a circle to make these wreaths. Then they cut
snowflakes from white paper and fastened them to the twigs, just as if
they had fallen there from the sky.

But hanging the animals' Christmas presents on their tree was the most
fun of all.

Betty cut some little Christmas stockings from tarlatan, seamed them
with red worsted, and filled them with yellow corn for the hens. She
tied lumps of sugar with red ribbon and hung apples on, too, for
Bessie. Shep had two juicy marrow bones tied with big red bows, but
neither Billy nor Betty could decide what Peter, the barn cat, would
like for a Christmas present. There did not seem to be anything that
Peter really needed, for he had two collars, and three balls, and all
the milk he could drink.

They had not decided what to give Peter on Christmas morning, and it
seemed too bad, for when Billy and Betty went out to the barn each
creature seemed to be enjoying the tree very much. The hens were
clucking, Bessie was neighing, and Shep was walking round and round
the tree, smelling of his bones. And there sat Peter, right under the
tree, and looking up into its green branches.

"Poor Peter!" Betty said, "with no Christmas present."

But just then Peter jumped right up into the Christmas tree in the
barn and came down with a little gray mouse in his mouth! The mouse
had been nibbling the corn in the Christmas stockings, but Peter
thought it was his Christmas gift. So the tree was quite perfect, and
all the barn enjoyed it very much indeed.



PATRIOTISM

THE RESCUE OF OLD GLORY


When mother was making plans for a "safe and sane Fourth," Uncle Henry
said, "Why not take the children to the park and have a kite party?
I'll help them make the kites."

The next morning Harry and Anna were busy out on the piazza with Uncle
Henry. By ten o'clock three handsome white kites were drying in a row.
Anna called them the "Big Bear, the Middle-Sized Bear, and the Baby
Bear."

When the kites were dry, the whole family started for the park--Uncle
Henry with the Big Bear and a box of luncheon, Harry with the
Middle-Sized Bear, and Anna, of course, with the Baby Bear. Mother
carried some sewing and grandmother carried the surprise, something
that Uncle Henry had brought home in a flat box. When they reached the
park, they found a French society holding a picnic. A tent was up, the
band was playing, the older boys were shooting at a target, and the
little boys and girls were flying red and blue balloons.

Uncle Henry said, "Ladies first, always," and he soon had the Baby
Bear in the air, and the string in Anna's hands. He drove the bobbin
into the ground, to make sure that the kite would not get away. Harry
insisted upon putting his kite up alone. Then Uncle Henry put up the
Big Bear, and when it was up some distance, he asked grandmother to
open the box. Then he shook out a red-white-and-blue silk American
flag, and the crowd cheered.

Uncle Henry tied the flag to a loop of string, and fastened it to the
Big Bear's string. Then he let it out, hand over hand. Up, up, went
Old Glory, and snapped in the breeze. The higher it went, the farther
out the kite soared, until it hung over the harbor. They were all so
busy watching it that they had not seen that the picnic people below
were pointing up to the flag; but when the band struck up the
Star-Spangled Banner, and the foreign people began to sing, Uncle
Henry noticed one dark-skinned boy who sang with a strange accent and
great energy, and who kept his big, solemn eyes on the flag that
glowed against the sky. But when the boy, whose name was Caspar, saw
the others looking at him, he ran down the hill and hid behind the
children.

"Any one who can sing the Star-Spangled Banner like that is a good
American," said Uncle Henry, as he drove his bobbin into the ground,
and prepared to open the box of luncheon.

When the foreigners went in to dinner, Caspar did not follow. He took
his sandwiches, frosted cake, and ice-cream, and sat down on the
grass, where he could look at the flag.

There was not a child in the whole park who loved the Stars and
Stripes as little Caspar did, not even the two American children; for
in his own country Caspar had lived in a mission house, where they had
told him all about America, and how the Stars and Stripes protected
the people, even the poorest of little children. They told him that he
must never harm the flag, or allow it to be trampled on. After he came
to America, his teacher had taught him to salute the flag.

He had heard the flag song on the big ship, and he felt that it was
Old Glory that had brought him safe to one of his own country-women in
America, with whom he lived.

Caspar was thinking of all this as he lay on the grass, and saw the
flag fluttering in the light wind. He had watched it for some time,
when he saw it give a quick little shiver, then begin to sink slowly,
and then faster. He looked to the end of the line, and saw that the
great white kite was dipping about in a strange manner; then he looked
up to the hill and saw the kite man leaping down the slope as fast as
he could. The American children were running behind him.

Caspar trembled with excitement. What would happen to the flag? Would
it get trampled upon, or would it go out to sea and get wet and
spoiled? Oh, he must help them get Old Glory! He ran until he was
directly beneath the flag; then he stretched his arms high to catch it
if it fell. But a strong breeze came up, and carried the Big Bear over
the water, and pulled the flag with it. Caspar ran on to the water's
edge.

Caspar did not know what to do next. There were no people on the
shore, and no boats were near. The flag had not been trampled on, but
it might fall in the water any minute. Where were the people? Did they
know that a great calamity was about to happen, to everybody in the
park, to everybody in America, perhaps to the mission ladies who had
been so good to him? How could the people sit about, eating and
drinking, when there was such trouble in the world? He cried out to
Uncle Henry and the children, who were now quite near, strange and
broken words, and he tried to tell them that he could not swim.

"Good boy, swim for it! You'll get it!" shouted Uncle Henry.

Caspar understood the word "swim," but not the rest. He thought the
kite man must be telling him that he could not swim, either. He looked
out to the flag; it was surely going into the water; it flapped and
dipped, then dipped deeper still, right into the water. Caspar did not
wait another minute. Off went his jacket, and with a wild look toward
the shore, he ran into the water. His feet slipped on the sandy
bottom, and the kite jerked up, then down, then up--but it was always
just out of reach.

They watched the boy, who was trying hard to keep the flag in sight.

"Hurry, hurry, Uncle Henry, he can't swim a stroke!" shouted Harry.

Uncle Henry was just in time; Caspar had a firm hold on Old Glory, and
came up tangled in its folds.

After Uncle Henry had shaken the water out of the boy, he sat him on
his shoulder, where everybody could see him. "Now, one, two, three!"
he said, as he waved his free arm. "All cheer for the boy who would
not let the flag be lost even if he couldn't swim! Hoo-ray!"

"Hoo-ray! hoo-ray! hoo-ray!" they said; and then they cheered all over
again, and crowded round Uncle Henry and Caspar until the pair started
home to put on dry clothes.

When little Caspar went home that night, he carried the flag that he
had saved. Grandmother had washed and dried it, and it looked as good
as new.



THE LOG CABIN BOY


How would you like to have begun life in a little log cabin set in the
midst of a western wilderness? Suppose, too, that the cabin had no
window and so many cracks that it let in the winter winds and even the
snow!

That was how little Abe first saw life a long time ago, in February of
1809. It was rough life for a small boy. Even his mother had to know
how to shoot, for the cabin was in the woods where wild beasts and
Indians surrounded it. There was nothing to eat except what Abe's
father raised or hunted. They had nothing to wear except the cloth his
mother spun and wove, or the skins of animals.

By the time little Abe was six years old, though, he had learned more
than a boy of that age to-day. He could fish and hunt. He was not
afraid of Indians. He could catch hold of a sycamore tree on the edge
of the brook outside the cabin, and swing himself way across the
brook.

But little Abe's father was not satisfied with his boy's knowing only
how to live an outdoor life. He could not read himself, but it was his
great longing that little Abe should have this knowledge.

It was when Abe was seven years old and his sister, Sarah, a year
younger, that their father spoke about this.

"I want the children to learn to read," he said. "There is a man in a
shanty down the road who knows how. He can't write, but he could teach
Abe and Sarah their letters."

So the two little folks started off, Abe in a linsey-woolsey suit,
buckskin breeches, and a coonskin cap. It was a long walk, and the
children had only hoe cake to carry for their dinner, but they were
strong and sturdy. They were clever, too. In a few weeks, Abe knew as
much as the school-master. Then he began to wish, oh, so much, that he
had some books to read at home in the cabin.

There was a Bible at home, an old catechism, and a spelling book. Abe
read these over and over again in the dim candle light of the cabin.
One day his father surprised him. He brought him a new book. It was
Pilgrim's Progress, the most wonderful story, little Abe thought, that
he had ever read. It was only a borrowed book; books cost a very great
deal of money in those long-ago days, more than Mr. Lincoln could pay.
He was able to borrow more, though. Little Abe read Æsop's fables,
and he liked them so much that he learned the stories by heart. He
could tell the fable of the Hare and the Tortoise, the Crow and the
Pitcher, and many others.

It made Abe so happy to have these books that he made up his mind to
try to do something, in return, to surprise his father. It was spring
of the year and Abe and his father were plowing, turning up the soft
brown earth, ready for the new seeds. Mr. Lincoln missed his boy. He
looked back, and what do you think he saw? Abe had spelled with a
stick, in the soft brown earth, his own name. His father had not known
that he could write, but there were the letters as plainly outlined as
if they had been in a copy book: ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

He had taught himself to write by practising in the snow, and making
letters on the logs of the cabin walls with pieces of charcoal.

A great deal began to happen now to Abraham, although he was only
eight years old. His father decided to travel a hundred miles from
Kentucky to a new farm in Indiana to see if he might not be a little
more prosperous. There were no railroads. There was not even a stage
route. They packed their bedding on two horses and set out on the
journey overland. It took seven days, sleeping on the ground under
the stars at night. And when they reached the new home, there was not
even a shelter waiting for them. A road had been cut through the
forests, but all the clearing was yet to be done.

Abraham had an axe of his own and he went to work with it. He was a
true pioneer boy, and not one bit afraid of work. He cut poles while
his father laid the foundations of the new cabin. They were only able
to put up a "half-faced" camp at first, with three sides and one side
open. And it was hard work. The great, unhewn logs had to be all
notched and fitted together, and the cracks filled in with clay. They
made a loft, and fitted in a door and a window. Abraham learned how to
make a table and some stools. Then, after the bitter winter was over,
the spring brought them more comfort and happiness. The corn and
vegetables they planted came up, and Abraham had a little time to read
again.

He had a new book, now, that a neighbor had let him take. It was the
story of a boy who had, also, in his little boy days, an axe like
Abraham's; but he had used it to cut down his father's cherry tree.
When he had grown to be a man, though, he was our Great American.
Abraham took this book, the Life of George Washington, to bed with him
and read it when the snow was sifting in through the cabin roof and
over his quilt. He read the book many times.

"What are you going to be when you grow up?" the neighbor asked
Abraham.

"I am going to be the President of the United States," the boy
replied.

Every one thought this a very good joke, for Abraham was growing up
now. He had legs that were too long for his body and it was the same
way with his arms. He was almost six feet tall although he was not yet
fifteen years old. His head, set on top of his long neck, looked
almost out of place. People laughed when they compared him with other
Presidents of the United States.

Abraham kept his thought in his mind, though, and he went on working,
and reading when he had time in the fire light of the long winter
evenings. As he threshed, and chopped, and plowed, he could not help
dreaming a little. All his life he had worked hard for others, and he
really liked this kind of work more than any other. He wanted to go on
helping others, only in a greater, broader way.

We all know what happened to Abraham Lincoln. His dream came true. He
was our noblest President and carried on his broad shoulders the
burdens of the slaves. It was a long road from the little log cabin in
Kentucky to the White House at Washington, but President Lincoln,
himself, tells us how he made the journey.

He was visiting, once, a hospital full of wounded soldiers. There were
several thousand of them, and each one of them loved Mr. Lincoln so
that he wanted to shake hands with him. He took and held the hand of
each. It was enough to cripple an ordinary man, but Mr. Lincoln's
kind, plain face was smiling when some one asked if he were tired.

"Oh, no," he said. "The hardships of my boyhood made me strong."

Very likely, too, it was the struggles of learning to write on bare
boards and in the earth that helped Abraham Lincoln to write his name
in letters of gold on our history pages.



THEIR FLAG


The flag had been in the family for years, and years, and years.
Great-grandfather Wolcott had carried it, and Grandfather Wolcott had
hung it on a pole in front of his farm house. Father Wolcott had taken
it to Boston to be mended when he was a young man, and it hung in
front of Billy and Betty Wolcott's piazza now every day. Father took
the flag in at night, and Billy and Betty folded it very carefully in
the old creases, and mother put it out on the piazza the first thing
in the morning.

The whole family was very proud indeed of the flag.

There was going to be a wonderful parade on Washington's Birthday.
Every one in town was looking forward to seeing it. The Home Guard,
the firemen, the policemen, the Old Veterans, the Red Cross, and the
Boy Scouts would parade. There would be several brass bands, fifes and
drums, and trumpets. Whoever had a flag would hang it as high as
possible, and the beautiful stars and stripes of Old Glory floated
from the town hall, and the school houses, and the churches.

The day before Washington's Birthday something happened at the
Wolcotts' house. The telegraph office telephoned to say that father
couldn't come home until the day after to-morrow. He was detained on
business in Boston. All day it had rained. The flag was not out on the
piazza, so it did not matter about that, but Billy and Betty were so
sorry not to have father to go with them to the parade.

The morning of Washington's Birthday something else happened.
Grandmother sent mother a letter asking if she would come over to
Greendale and help her entertain the company; ever so many of the
relatives were coming to spend the holiday with her, more than she
expected.

So Betty held mother's coat for her, and Billy telephoned for a cab to
take her down to the station.

"Be good children and don't disturb cook; she will be very busy
to-day," mother said as she kissed Billy and Betty good-bye. It was
not until she had gone that they thought of what had happened to them.

"We can't go to the parade," Betty said.

"Our flag isn't out!" Billy said.

"We must put it out ourselves then," Betty said, but that was not very
easy to do.

The Wolcott flag was very large and very tender because it was so old.
It had to be handled with great care, and Billy and Betty were not
very big.

"We must hang it all ourselves because it is the flag of our country,"
Billy said. So they carried it out to the piazza, and unfolded it
there very, very carefully.

"Now how are we going to get it up to the top of the piazza?" Betty
asked.

There were three hooks on the edge of the piazza roof and three loops
on the flag, but father could only just reach, standing on a chair, to
put the loops on the hooks.

"The step ladder!" Billy said. "I'll climb up on that."

"And I'll reach the flag up to you on the broom!" Betty said.

So Billy and Betty, together, brought the step ladder and set it up on
the piazza. Then Billy climbed up, and Betty reached up the flag on
the broom so Billy could hook it into place. It was done at last. The
wind took it, and the Stars and Stripes blew out over the lawn just as
they should on Washington's Birthday.

"If we can't go to the parade, we can guard the flag here at home,"
Betty said. "Let's salute it, first."

So Billy and Betty saluted Old Glory, just as they had been taught to
in school. Then Billy brought down his drum and stood on one side of
the flag, and Betty tied her red muffler over her blue coat for a
belt, and put on her white tam-o'-shanter cap, and stood on the other
side of the flag, playing that she was Liberty.

"Listen; what's that!" said Billy and Betty just then.

Oh, there was a crash of bands and the shouts of people as they
cheered. Down the street came the parade in khaki, and blue, and red.
The line of march had been changed and it was going by Billy's and
Betty's house. They all saw the flag, and the band played the Star
Spangled Banner as they passed.

Suppose the flag hadn't been up! The Home Guard knew all about how old
it was. The Old Veterans knew that great-grandfather had carried it,
and grandfather had hung it on a pole in front of his farm house. They
knew that father had taken it to Boston once to be mended.

The secret was that nobody knew who had put the Wolcotts' flag out for
Washington's Birthday.



SAINT VALENTINE'S DAY

THE VALENTINE BOX


Roger had planned to send a great many valentines to the girls and
boys he knew. There were beautiful valentines in the toy shop window,
red satin hearts in little heart-shaped boxes, painted post card
valentines, and little card-board figures holding baskets of flowers.

Roger had been saving his allowance for four weeks and he was quite
sure that he had enough money to buy a valentine for the little girl
next door, and one for the little girl across the street, and one for
the boy on the next block, and one for the boy who lived upstairs.

So, quite early the day before Saint Valentine's Day, Roger decided to
go out and buy his valentines.

Just as he was about to start, though, he heard a sound from the
playroom. _Peep, peep, peep_. Oh, it was Roger's pet canary who was
calling to him, "Wait a moment, little master! You have forgotten to
feed me."

Roger knew that he must not buy valentines if his pet bird was
hungry. He found that it needed fresh water to drink, and the cage
needed cleaning too. When he had done all this and filled the seed
box, his mother called him.

"I want two yards more of lace like this for the baby's dress, Roger.
Will you please go down to the store and buy it for me?"

"Oh, yes!" Roger said, for he thought that he should be able to go on
down to the toy store and buy his valentines at the same time. But
just as he was going out of the door his mother spoke again. "Come
right home, Roger, just as quickly as you can. I want to finish the
baby's dress so that she can wear it this afternoon when I take her
over to Aunt Lucy's."

Roger got the lace and hurried home with it, but he couldn't get the
valentines then. He had to amuse the baby while his mother sewed on
the lace.

"I can go for the valentines this afternoon," Roger thought. But right
after luncheon mother dressed the baby and started out for Aunt Lucy's
house.

"I may not be back until five o'clock, Roger," his mother said as she
kissed him good-bye. "You won't leave dear grandmother alone a minute,
will you?"

"No, mother," Roger said, but he could have cried, for he knew now
that he could not buy his valentines at all.

Grandmother lost her spectacles several times, and dropped her
knitting ball several more times, and wanted Roger to take her for a
walk, so he was very busy all the afternoon. He was glad to be busy
for he felt very badly indeed about having no valentines to send. All
the children to whom he had planned to send valentines had sent
valentines to him the year before. The children were his loved
playmates and he knew that Saint Valentine's Day was the holiday for
telling one's love.

He did not let his dear grandmother know how sorry he was, though, and
after a while it was five o'clock, and his mother came home.

"Has Roger been a good boy?" she asked his grandmother.

"As good as gold," grandmother said. "He has just warmed my heart all
the afternoon."

"Well, I thought he would," his mother said. "Oh, I almost forgot
something, Roger. I have a surprise for you up in the attic."

She went up to the attic and came back with a box in her hand.

"I meant to give these to you this morning, Roger," she said. "I found
them in an old trunk when I was cleaning the attic last week. They
are just as good as new and much prettier than the ones in the shops
now, I think. They are the valentines that I had when I was a little
girl."

Oh, such beautiful valentines as filled the valentine box! There were
enough so that Roger could take one to every child in the neighborhood
on the morning of Saint Valentine's Day.

His mother had been right about these pretty, old-fashioned
valentines. They were nicer than any in the toy shop. Roger spread
them all out on the library table, and looked at them. Suddenly he
found out something queer about the valentines; they made him feel as
if he had been playing Saint Valentine all day.

Some of the valentines had cunning little paper windows that pulled
out and showed tiny gold birds inside. They made Roger think of his
pet canary that he had fed that morning.

Some of the valentines were bordered and trimmed with gilt, and
silver, and white paper lace. It made Roger think of the lace he had
bought for his mother.

A great many of the valentines were in the shape of hearts, or there
were hearts hung from them, or hearts on them that could be pulled out
and would stand alone. They made Roger think of what his dear
grandmother had said,

"Roger has warmed my heart all the afternoon."

"Hurrah for the valentine box!" Roger said as he began putting
valentines in envelopes. He felt most unusually happy.



THE PRINCE'S VALENTINE


Once upon a time there was a little Prince, and he wanted to give a
valentine to a little Princess who lived in a neighboring kingdom. She
was a very beautiful little Princess indeed, for her smile was as
bright as her golden hair, and her love for her subjects was as deep
as the blue of her eyes.

"What kind of a valentine shall I get for the Princess?" the Prince
asked.

"A heart, your Highness; nothing but a heart will do!" said the Court
Wise Man.

"A beautiful heart, your Highness; nothing but a beautiful heart will
do!" said the Court Ladies.

"A priceless heart, your Highness; nothing but a priceless heart will
do!" said the Court Chancellor.

So the Prince started out to get a heart valentine for the little
Princess that would be both beautiful and beyond price, and he did not
know where to find it.

Before long, though, he came to a jeweller's shop that was full of
pretty, costly things to wear. There were pins, and bracelets, and
necklaces made of silver and gold, and set with rubies, and
sapphires, and emeralds, and diamonds.

"This is the place to find a valentine for the little Princess,"
thought the Prince, and he selected a diamond heart hung on a gold
chain as thin as a thread for the little Princess to wear about her
neck.

The Prince gave the jeweller his bag of gold and started out of the
shop with the diamond heart in his hand. But he stopped at the door,
looking at the heart. It was dull, and no longer shining. What was the
matter with it, he wondered. Then he remembered. It was not the right
valentine for the little Princess because it had been bought with his
bag of gold. So the Prince gave the diamond heart back to the
jeweller, and went on again.

After the Prince had gone quite a distance he came to a pastry shop.
It was full of delicious things to eat, jam tarts, and little
strawberry pies, thickly frosted cakes, and plum buns. In the window
of the pastry shop was a huge cake baked in the shape of a heart. It
was rich with sugar and spices, and the icing on the top was almost as
thick as the cake itself.

"This is the place to find the valentine for the little Princess!"
thought the Prince, and he pointed to the great heart cake in the
window. "How much must I pay for that cake?" he asked of the pastry
cook.

"Oh, you could not buy that cake!" the pastry cook replied. "I made it
as a decoration for the shop for Valentine's Day. But I will give it
to you, your Highness."

So the Prince thanked the pastry cook, and started out of the shop
with the great cake in his arms.

"This must surely be the valentine for the little Princess, because I
could not buy it," he thought.

Then the Prince almost dropped the cake. It had suddenly grown too
heavy for him to carry. What was the matter with the rich, huge cake,
he wondered. Then he remembered. It was not the right valentine for
the little Princess because something rich to eat is not beautiful. So
the Prince gave the cake back to the pastry cook, and went on again.

Now he went a long, long way, and he came to a bird seller beside the
road. He had little gold birds, and bright-colored ones in green
basket cages. They were all singing as if their throats would burst,
but the Prince could hear one soft note above the others, because it
was so clear and sweet. It was the cooing of a little dove who sat in
her cage apart from the others. The Prince thought he had never seen
such a beautiful little dove, as white as snow, and with rose red
feet.

"Why does she sing so much more sweetly than the others?" the Prince
asked, pointing to the little white dove.

The bird seller smiled.

"She sings because of her heart," he said. "The other birds sing in
the sunshine, but look"--he held up the dove's cage, and the Prince
saw that the little white dove had closed, blind eyes. "She sings in
the dark because of her happy heart," the bird seller said.

"May I buy her," the Prince asked, "to give as a valentine to a little
Princess?"

"Oh, I will give her to you," the bird seller said. "Very few people
want to take care of a blind bird."

But the little Princess did. She liked the white dove better than any
of her other valentines. She hung her cage in a pink rose tree in the
sunniest part of the garden, and she often invited the Prince to sit
with her under the tree and listen to the dove's sweet song.



WHY THE DOVE IS ON OUR VALENTINES


A long time ago when there were no white men in our country, but only
Indians who lived in the forest, there was a timid little Indian boy.

All the other Indian lads loved the dark, so full of stars, and
moonlight; but this boy was afraid of the dark and did not venture
out of his father's wigwam after the sun had set. The other Indian
lads hunted bears, and sailed the swift rapids in frail birch-bark
canoes, and had no fear of anything that ran, or stalked, or flew. But
the Indian boy about which this story is told was afraid of all the
wild creatures of the forest. He never ventured far away from the safe
circle of his home campfire. Most of all was the boy afraid of Hoots,
the bear.

This was because Hoots was a part of the forest. He hid himself by
day, for he was afraid of bows and swift flying arrows. But at night,
the bear prowled near the Indian camp, and could be heard from one end
of the forest to the other, his great feet crunching through the dried
bushes and twigs.

In those days the Indians believed that a good spirit, called the
manito, watched over them, and guided them, and kept them from harm.
The story tells that the manito was walking one day through the trees
of the forest when he saw this little Indian boy, hiding behind a pine
tree and giving loud cries of terror.

"What is this that I hear?" asked the manito. "No Indian boy ever
cries. Come forth that I may see who the coward is, and learn of what
he is afraid."

So the boy came out from behind the pine tree and spoke to the
manito,

"I have been sent with my bow and arrows to hunt for food for my
mother to cook," he said, "but I can go no farther in the forest. I am
afraid of Hoots, the great bear, who lives in it."

"You should be afraid of nothing, my son, not even of Hoots, the
bear," warned the manito.

"But I can't help being afraid of Hoots; I think that he may eat me,"
said the boy, and at that he began crying again, "Boo-hoo, boo-hoo."

"There shall be no coward among the Indians," said the manito. "And I
see that you will always be afraid. I shall change your form into that
of a bird. Whenever any one looks at you, he will say, 'There is the
bird that is the most timid of all.'"

As the manito finished speaking, the Indian boy's deerskin cloak fell
to the ground; his bow and arrows dropped too, for he had no longer
any hands with which to hold them. He was suddenly completely covered
with a coat of soft gray feathers. His moccasins fell off, and his
feet turned into the wee feet of a bird. He wanted to call his mother,
but his voice had changed to the plaintive call of a dove, and the
only sound he was able to make was, "Hoo, hoo!"

"You are now the dove," said the manito, "and you will be a dove as
long as you live. Of all birds you will be the shyest. And every one
who sees you and hears your call will know that you were once afraid
of Hoots, the bear."

So, for years and years, the dove flew fearfully here and there,
uttering his timid call, "Hoo, hoo." At last white men came, and were
sorry for him, and built dove-cotes where he and all his family could
be sheltered and live in peace. There seemed to be no work at first
for the doves to do, but at last it was discovered that they could
carry letters tied about their necks and hidden in their feathers.
They flew quickly with them to escape danger.

That is why there are pictures of doves on our valentines. The doves
grew brave enough to carry messages of love from one person to
another, but they are always timid and keep the love that is in the
valentine a secret from all except the person to whom it is sent.



EASTER

MOLLY'S EASTER HEN


When Molly came in from the chicken house, she looked very sad.

"O dear me!" she sighed. "I'm so disappointed!"

"What is it, sunny girl?" asked mother.

"Red Top hasn't laid an egg, and to-morrow is Easter. I shut Red Top
in all by herself, so I should know that it was her very own egg, and
she hasn't laid any."

"But the other hens have. We shall have plenty of Easter eggs to
color," said mother.

"But I was going to take one of Red Top's eggs to Auntie Brooke for
Easter," said Molly, dismally.

"Wouldn't any other egg do?" asked mother.

"It wouldn't be half so nice," replied Molly. "Auntie Brooke gave me
Red Top, and this is the first Easter since I had her. I told Auntie
Brooke I was going to bring her one of Red Top's eggs for Easter."

"You shouldn't count on Easter eggs before they are laid," said her
mother. "I am sure Auntie Brooke will understand if you take her
another egg. You may color it pink, and I will let you have some
gilding, so that you can mark her name on it. It will be a beautiful
Easter egg."

Molly tried to smile. All day she kept going out to where Red Top was,
to see whether the expected egg had been laid. That, and the work of
coloring eggs for the family, kept her busy all the day. The pink eggs
were beautifully colored, but she would not gild Auntie Brooke's name
on one.

"I have a plan," she said. "I believe I'll have an Easter egg for
Auntie Brooke, after all, mother."

On Easter morning Molly ran out into the hen-house before any one else
was awake. After breakfast she slipped away; she carried a covered
basket and walked very fast. First she went through the green lane
that led from their house to the road, and then along the road until
she came to Auntie Brooke's. The lane was all trimmed with beautiful
spring flowers for Easter, and the trees beside the road were full of
birds, all singing Easter songs.

She went through Auntie Brooke's squeaky gate and along the gravel
path to the side door. An old lady with a sweet face sat out on the
doorstep.

"Auntie Brooke," said Molly, a little out of breath, "I've brought you
an Easter egg, only it isn't laid yet. You may keep Red Top until she
lays it, and then you can give her back. You'll have to excuse there
not being any pink on it and your name in gilt letters, but Red Top
didn't lay it in time for that."

"Thank you, dear," said Auntie Brooke, trying not to laugh. "I'm sure
I shall like it just as well as if it were pink with gold letters on
it."



THE SONG OF THE SPRING


The King was very ill indeed and no one in all the court could find
out what was his ailment or how to cure it. He had been the kindest,
merriest king for miles about, always ready to help a poor subject or
to stop and play with the children as he drove his chariot through the
village. Now he never smiled and he seemed too weary to care what
happened in the kingdom; so everything went at sixes and sevens and no
one knew what to do about it.

"The King needs daintier food," said the Court Cook, so he served
broiled peacock on toast, and pomegranates and cream, and wild honey,
and cheese-cakes as light as feathers, and a sponge cake made with the
eggs of a bantam hen. But the King would eat none of them.

"The King needs medicine," said the Court Physician, so he searched
the countryside for growing things and he brewed rose-leaf tea, and he
made a potion of everlasting flowers mixed with rosemary, and he
distilled wild honeysuckle with dew gathered at sunrise, but the King
would drink none of these.

"Perhaps music would divert the King," suggested the Court Wise Man.
"It might make him forget whatever is troubling him." And as music was
the only remedy for the King's most sorrowful illness that had not
been tried, the Court Herald hastened through the streets, calling as
loudly as he could:

"Music for the King! Music for the King! Riches and honor for whoever
can play the prettiest tune and the one that will make his majesty
forget his sorrow."

Immediately the palace was filled with music, some of it very
beautiful and all of it played by very famous people. A sweet singer
came with his lute and sang to the King of all the princesses and
queens that had listened to his tunes. But at the end the King was
still weak and sorrowful. A harpist from a far country came and played
music that sounded like the mighty wind on high mountain tops and the
rushing flow of great mountain streams. But the King only thanked the
harpist and requested that he be paid for his pains and his journey
and go back to his home. Later, there came a trumpeter who gave great
battle calls on his trumpet, but the King covered his ears to shut out
the sound and looked more sad than ever because the sound of the
trumpet gave him a headache.

So it seemed as if not even music would make the King well, and no one
knew what to do.

Gladheart was the little boy who tended sheep in the valley. He was
the youngest of five brothers, and there was little room and less food
for them in their father's house. But Gladheart had been given his
name because he always smiled over a crust of bread, even when he was
a baby. Now that he was a little lad of ten with a great flock of ewes
and lambs to tend and drive through sun and storm, he had smiles and
kind words for all, and he played his fiddle all day long until its
sweet tunes filled the valley.

"I must go and play before the King," Gladheart said one day.

"They will only laugh at your small fiddle," said his brothers, but
the eldest said he would tend the sheep for a day, and Gladheart set
out for the palace.

"The King will have naught to do with a shepherd lad dressed in
goatskin and bearing an old fiddle," the guards at the door said. But
Gladheart touched the strings with the bow and such a blithe tune
came forth that the guards opened the door, and Gladheart went inside
to play before the King.

At first the sight of the King sitting so bent and sorrowful on the
throne with a face as frowning and sad as a storm frightened
Gladheart. But he took courage and stood as straight as he could in
front of the throne, and began to play on the fiddle a tune that he
had learned while he was in the fields with his sheep.

It was a lovable tune, like a dozen birds and a little wandering wind
and the voice of a rippling brook all joined with the sounds of the
little earth singers, the bees, the katydids, and the crickets. As the
King listened, his bent shoulders straightened and his face became
bright with smiles. He reached out his hands to Gladheart. "I heard
that tune once before when I was a boy," he said. "It makes me well to
hear it now. What is it about, lad?"

"It is about the spring, your majesty," said Gladheart. "It is the
song that I learned from the fields when winter was over. If your
majesty will come with me to my sheep pasture, you may hear it there
every day."

No one could understand why the King was suddenly so well or why he
went often to sit with Gladheart and the sheep, but they were all very
happy over it. And they gave Gladheart the riches and the honor that
they had promised whoever could heal their King.



THE EASTER STORY


It was late in the fall when Fuzzy Caterpillar gave up.

"I suppose this is the end of me," he thought in his little round head
as he tried to wriggle across the road and couldn't because his back
was so stiff. "Now I am an old man and I shall never see another
summer. Good-bye." And Fuzzy Caterpillar rolled himself up in a gray
blanket and hung himself on the end of a dried twig. "This is the last
of me," he said once more as the dried little grub he now was rattled
around in the cold.

All his beautiful furry coat was scattered to the winds. The path he
had made in the dust grew narrower as it wound across the road. That
was because Fuzzy Caterpillar had shrivelled as he crawled. Poor Fuzzy
Caterpillar, who had so loved the Out-Doors!

The winter was white, and cold, and long. Then it was over, just as
all winters are over at last, and Spring came. Spring came over the
hills, in a pretty new green frock and with wild flowers in her hair.
Sometimes she looked up at the sky, but oftener she looked down at
the ground. Spring was looking for the little creatures that she loved
so much; the tiny ants, the patient spiders, the cheerful beetles, and
Fuzzy Caterpillar.

"Where is Fuzzy Caterpillar?" Spring wondered. She did not see him,
all dried up and hanging in his gray blanket from the twig.

"Of course Fuzzy Caterpillar is here somewhere," Spring said to
herself. "And wouldn't it be nice to celebrate the day he comes out
with some kind of a surprise?" The more Spring thought about this, the
happier she was, and the nicer she thought it would be. So she spoke
to the grass about it.

"Long Green Grasses," called Spring, "I want to make Out-Doors pretty,
and celebrate the day that Fuzzy Caterpillar comes out. Will you cover
the ground for me?"

So the Long Green Grasses pushed their slender fingers up out of the
earth and they covered the whole ground until it was bright and green
again. But the Grasses looked everywhere, and they could not see Fuzzy
Caterpillar.

Then Spring spoke to the trees.

"Patient Trees," called Spring, "I want to make Out-Doors pretty, and
celebrate the day that Fuzzy Caterpillar comes out. Will you cover
your branches with new green leaves?"

So the Patient Trees burst their hard brown buds, and they hung new
green leaves upon every one of their branches. But the leaves looked
everywhere, and they could not see Fuzzy Caterpillar. All they could
see was a little rolled-up gray blanket hanging from a twig.

But Spring was not one bit discouraged, and she spoke to the Laughing
Brook.

"Laughing Brook," called Spring, "I want to make Out-Doors pretty, and
celebrate the day that Fuzzy Caterpillar comes out. Will you run
between your banks again, and sing a song?"

So the Laughing Brook began dancing and tripping over its stones
again, and singing as it ran between its banks. Sometimes, though, it
stopped in a quiet pool, and it could not see Fuzzy Caterpillar
anywhere along its edge.

But Spring, who is very wise, was not discouraged yet, and so she
spoke to the flowers.

"Sleepy Roots," called Spring, "I want to make Out-Doors pretty, and
celebrate the day that Fuzzy Caterpillar comes out. Will you grow and
send up plants that will bud and bloom?"

So the Sleepy Roots did just as Spring had asked them. They awoke, and
they sent up leaves and buds through the earth, and the buds
blossomed. So there were crocuses in purple petticoats, and daffodils
in bonnets with yellow ruffles. There were tulips, red, yellow, pink,
and white. They filled all the gardens, making them beautiful. And the
fields were golden in the sunshine because the dandelions had bloomed
again. But the flowers could not see Fuzzy Caterpillar anywhere.

Then Spring stood on the top of the hill and she looked all over the
wide Out-Doors. It was very, very pretty again, so she decided that
the day had come when she would celebrate.

"This is Easter Day," said Spring.

"But where is Fuzzy Caterpillar?" whispered the Long Green Grasses.

"Where is Fuzzy Caterpillar?" rustled the New Green Leaves.

"Where is Fuzzy Caterpillar?" tinkled the Brook so sadly that it did
not sound like singing.

"Where is Fuzzy Caterpillar?" the wind sighed as it blew through the
flowers.

Just then a wonderful thing happened. As if it had floated down from
the sky, a beautiful moth flew and lighted on the tip of Spring's
finger. It had all the colors of Easter in its wings, the green of the
grass and the leaves, the blue of the waters, and the gold of the
spring flowers. It was such a beautiful creature that only to look at
it made one feel happy. But every one wondered about the moth.

"It is a stranger from far away," they said.

"Oh, no," said Spring. "Fuzzy Caterpillar has come out."

And this was true, for the gray blanket that hung from the twig was
torn and empty.



BIRDS

THE BIRD


It was Serozha's birthday, and he received many different gifts; peg
tops, and hobby horses, and pictures. But Serozha's uncle gave him a
gift that he prized above all the rest; it was a trap for snaring
birds.

The trap was constructed in such a way that a board was fitted on the
frame and shut down upon the top. If seed was scattered on the board,
and the trap was put out in the yard, the little bird would fly down,
hop upon the board, the board would give way, and the trap would shut
with a clap.

Serozha was delighted, and he ran into the house to show his mother
the trap.

His mother said:

"It is not a good plaything. What do you want to do with birds? Why do
you want to torture them?"

"I am going to put them in a cage," Serozha said. "They will sing, and
I will feed them."

He got some seed, scattered it on the board, and set the trap in the
garden. And he stood by and expected the birds to fly down. But the
birds were afraid of him and would not come near the cage. Serozha ran
in to get something to eat, and left the cage.

After dinner he went to look at it. The cage had shut, and in it a
little bird was beating against the bars.

Serozha took up the bird, and carried it into the house.

"Mother, I have caught a bird!" he cried. "I think it is a
nightingale; and how its heart beats!"

His mother said it was a wild canary. "Be careful! Don't hurt it; you
would better let it go."

"No," he said. "I am going to give it something to eat and drink."

Serozha put the bird in a cage, and for two days gave it seed and
water, and cleaned the cage. But on the third day he forgot all about
it, and did not change the water.

And his mother said, "See here, you have forgotten your bird. You
would better let it go."

Serozha thrust his hand in the cage and began to clean it, but the
little bird was frightened and fluttered. After Serozha had cleaned
the cage, he went to get some water. His mother saw that he had
forgotten to shut the cage door, and she called after him.

"Serozha, shut up your cage, else your bird will fly out and hurt
itself."

She had hardly spoken the words when the bird found the door, was
delighted, spread its wings, and flew around the room toward the
window. Serozha came running in, picked up the bird, and put it back
in the cage. The bird was still alive, but it lay on its breast, with
its wings spread out, and breathed heavily. Serozha looked and looked
at it, and began to cry.

"Mother, what can I do now?" he asked.

"You can do nothing now," she replied.

Serozha stayed by the cage all day. He did nothing but look at the
bird. And all the time the bird lay on its breast and breathed hard
and fast.

When Serozha went to bed, the bird was dead. Serozha could not get to
sleep for a long time; every time that he shut his eyes he seemed to
see the bird still lying and sighing.

In the morning when Serozha went to his cage, he saw the bird lying on
its back, with its legs crossed, and all stiff.

After that Serozha never again snared birds.



THE NIGHTINGALE


The Emperor's palace was the most beautiful in the world.

In the garden were to be seen wonderful flowers, and to the costliest
of these silver bells were tied, which rang, so that nobody should
pass by without noticing the garden. It extended so far that the
gardener himself did not know where the end was. If one went on and
on, one came to a glorious forest. The wood extended straight down to
the sea, and in the trees lived a Nightingale. It sang so splendidly
that even the poor fisherman, who had many other things to do, stopped
still and listened, when he had gone out at night to throw his nets,
to hear the Nightingale.

From all the countries of the world travellers came to admire the
Emperor's palace and his garden, but when they heard the Nightingale
they said, "That is the best of all!"

At last their words came to the Emperor.

"What's that?" he exclaimed. "I don't know the Nightingale at all. Is
there such a bird in my empire, and even in my garden? I've never
heard of that. I command that he shall appear this evening and sing
before me!"

But where was the Nightingale to be found? The court had not heard of
it either. There was a great inquiry after the wonderful Nightingale
which all the world knew except the people at the palace. At last they
met a poor little girl in the kitchen who said,

"Yes, I know the Nightingale well. It can sing gloriously. Every
evening I get leave to carry my mother the scraps from the table. She
lives down by the stream, and when I get back, and am tired, and rest
in the wood, then I hear the Nightingale sing. It is just as if my
mother kissed me."

So the little girl led the way out into the wood. Half the court went,
and the child pointed at last to a little gray bird up in the boughs.

"It can't be possible," they said. "How dull it looks; but it may have
lost its color at seeing such grand people around."

"Little Nightingale," called the kitchen maid, "our gracious Emperor
wishes you to sing before him."

"My song sounds best in the greenwood," replied the Nightingale; still
it came willingly when it knew what the Emperor wished.

The palace was festively adorned for it. The walls and the flooring,
which were of porcelain, gleamed in the rays of thousands of golden
lamps. The most glorious flowers, which could ring clearly, had been
placed in all the passages. In the great hall there had been placed a
golden perch on which the Nightingale sat. The little kitchen girl had
received permission to stand by the door. All the court was in full
dress, and all looked at the little gray bird to which the Emperor
nodded.

Then the Nightingale sang so gloriously that the tears came into the
Emperor's eyes, and the song went straight to his heart.

It was to remain at the palace now, the Emperor decided; to have its
own cage, with liberty to go out twice every day and once at night.
Twelve servants were appointed when the Nightingale went out, each of
whom had a silken string fastened to the bird's leg which he held very
tightly. There was really no pleasure in an excursion of that kind.
The whole city spoke of the wonderful bird. When two people met, one
said "Nightin," and the other said "gale" which was all that was
necessary. Eleven peddlers' children were named after the bird, but
not one of them could sing a note.

One day the Emperor received a large parcel, marked "The Nightingale."

He thought it was a present for the bird but when he opened it, he
found a box. Inside the box was an artificial nightingale, brilliantly
ornamented with diamonds, rubies, and sapphires. As soon as this
artificial bird was wound up, its tail moved up and down, and shone
with silver and gold. It sang very well, too, in its own way. Three
and thirty times over did it sing the same waltz, and yet was not
tired. The Emperor said that the living Nightingale ought to be shown
this wonder.

But where was it?

None had noticed that it had flown away out of the open window, and
back to the greenwood.

"What does it matter? We have the best bird after all," every one
said. And the artificial bird was made to sing again and again until
every one knew its tunes by heart. They liked to look at it, shining
like bracelets and breastpins. The real Nightingale was banished from
the empire. The artificial bird had its place on a silk cushion close
to the Emperor's bed.

All the presents it received, gold and precious stones, were ranged
about it. It had a title, High Imperial After-Dinner-Singer. It was
certainly famous.

So a whole year went by, and then five years. The Emperor was ill and
could not, it was said, live much longer. He lay on his gorgeous bed
with long velvet cushions and heavy gold tassels. High up a window
stood open, and the moon shone in upon the Emperor and the artificial
bird.

The Emperor could scarcely breathe. It was just as if something lay
upon his heart. He opened his eyes and then he saw that it was Death
who sat upon his heart, and had put on his golden crown and held the
Emperor's sword. And all around, from among the folds of the splendid
curtains, strange heads peered forth, some ugly, and some quite lovely
and mild. They were the Emperor's bad and good deeds that stood before
him, now that Death sat upon his heart.

"Music! Music!" cried the Emperor, "so that I need not hear what they
say! You little precious golden bird, sing, sing!"

But the bird stood still. It was worn out inside, and there was no
music left in it. And Death sat and looked at the Emperor, and it was
fearfully quiet.

Then there sounded from the window, suddenly, the most lovely song. It
was the little live Nightingale that sat outside on a spray. It had
heard of the Emperor's sad plight and had come to sing to him of
comfort and hope. And as it sang the blood ran quicker and more
quickly through the Emperor's heart; and even Death listened.

The Nightingale sang on and on; and it sang of the quiet churchyard
where white roses grow, and the elder-blossom smells sweet, and the
grass is green. Then Death felt a great longing to see his garden and
he floated out at the window in a white mist, and with him went the
spectres.

"Thanks! Thanks!" said the Emperor. "How can I reward you? You must
always stay with me."

"Not so," replied the Nightingale. "I cannot build my nest in a
palace, but I will come and sit in the evening on the spray yonder by
the window and sing you something so that you may be glad and
thoughtful at once. I will sing of those who are happy and those who
suffer. I will sing of good and of evil that are hidden from you. The
little singing bird flies far around, to the poor fishermen, to the
peasant's roof, to every one who dwells far from your court. I will
come and sing to you. But one thing you must promise me."

"Everything!" said the Emperor; and he stood there in his imperial
robes, which he had put on himself, and pressed his sword to his
heart.

"One thing, only, I beg of you," said the Nightingale, "tell no one
that you have a little bird who tells you everything. Then it will go
all the better."

And the Nightingale flew away.

The servants came in to look at their dead Emperor, and, yes, there he
stood; and the Emperor said, "Good morning!"



HOW THE WREN BECAME KING


A long while ago when there were not so many people on the earth as
there are now, and the birds and animals had things about their own
way, a Cuckoo gave a tea party.

She invited all the birds there were, from the great Eagle, through
the Larks, Swallows, Finches, and Crows, down to the little brown bird
that sings alone in the hedges and had no name then. She seated them
all around her table, although it was a task to find places for them
all; and she gave each bird whatever it liked best of all to eat.

Every one wondered why the Cuckoo took such trouble as this, and
certain people say to this day, "as silly as a Cuckoo," because of it;
but when all the birds had eaten their fill, the Cuckoo hopped upon
the table and addressed the assembled company.

"It seems to me," said the Cuckoo, "that things have been going very
badly with us for some time, and that all would be remedied if we had
a king to settle our affairs and rule over us. I would suggest that we
choose a king to-day."

Oh, how the birds chirped, and chattered, and peeped at that. The
Cuckoo had imagined that she would have the say as to which bird
should be king, and she had in mind one of her own sons, but, no
indeed! Each bird at the tea party was sure that he had royal blood in
his veins, and they all began to argue and quarrel about it.

About that time a Rooster and a Hen passed by, taking their daily
airing. They had not been invited to the tea party and so they were
greatly excited at hearing the commotion; grandfathers, and fathers,
and cousins, and sons among the birds were all talking and arguing at
once.

"Wat? Wat?" clucked the Hen.

"I will go and see, my dear," said the Rooster, and so he rushed into
the midst of the tea party to see what all the hubbub was about. When
he found out, he had a plan to offer. He was often called upon to
settle disputes among the Hens, so he was always quite willing to help
in any such matters.

"Have a test! Have a test!" said the Rooster. "You will never decide
anything by arguing in this way; but it shall be decided that the bird
who is able to fly the highest shall be your king."

This seemed a fair way of settling the matter. All the birds agreed to
it except the Plover, who went off into the woods and has lived there,
wild, ever since.

Then the birds lighted in a row, and spread their wings, and flew with
all their strength, and as high as they could, up, up into the air.
One by one, though, they dropped back for they did not all have the
same strength of wing. The Lark flew higher, indeed, than most of
them, but finally he, too, was outstripped by the Eagle, who soared
and soared until he was only a speck in the sky.

"The Eagle is our king! The Eagle is king of the birds!" sang all the
others; but, no! Way, way above the Eagle flew another bird, so tiny
that he looked like nothing but a mote, floating in the sunlight. It
was the little brown bird that sings alone in the hedges, and had no
name then. He had hidden himself in the Eagle's feathers and had been
carried up with him until he wanted to fly on by himself.

"I am the king of the birds!" he twittered as he flew down among the
others again.

But the other birds did not wish this. They did not like to think of
so tiny and humble a bird being exalted to be their king. They were
about to fall upon the little brown bird and drive him out of their
midst when the Rooster spoke to them again. Since the plan had been
his, he wanted to make a success of it, so he said,

"The mistake was mine, all mine. This is how we will arrange it. The
bird that is able to fall deepest into the earth shall be your king."

The Rooster had a plan of his own in mind when he said this. As all
the birds began to look about for places to jump into deeper places,
and the Duck tried to see how long he could hold his head under water,
the Rooster called to the Hen. He instructed the Hen to scratch, and
when she had made a deep hole, he hid himself in it.

"I am king of the birds! I am your king!" the Rooster crowed, poking
his head up out of the hole.

But the little brown bird that sings in the hedges, and had no name
then, had again got the best of them all. What had he done but creep
into a mouse hole, and there he was, deeper down in the earth than any
of them.

"I am your king!" he twittered up to them.

Then all the birds were very much put out, for they saw that the
little brown bird was truly the king. They decided, though, that they
would not recognize him, and they appointed the Owl to sit, night and
day, at the opening of the mouse hole and not allow the little brown
bird to come out. Then all the birds went home from the Cuckoo's tea
party, and to bed, for they were quite worn out with all the
excitement.

All went well that night with the Owl. He watched the mouse hole and
did not allow the little brown bird to so much as put his bill out.
When it came to be day, though, the Owl was tired, and he closed,
first, one eye, and then the other eye. There he was, fast asleep, and
out hopped the little brown bird who had a name now, because he was
the little Hedge King.

It was a great disappointment to the other birds to be obliged to
recognize so humble a little brown bird as their king, and they blamed
the Owl for it. That is why he still sleeps in the daytime now, and
looks about only at night. And that is why, also, he is such an enemy
of the mice, continually hunting them in their holes.

But the little brown bird who sings alone in the hedges really made
himself king of the birds. He has two names now, Hedge King, and
Wren.



SUMMER

THE LITTLE RED PRINCESS


Every one knew that she was a princess because she wandered all day
through the castle without doing any work. It was a very busy kingdom
indeed even if it was so tiny. It was only about two inches high above
the meadow, not nearly as tall as the grass blades that grew all
around it. The grass looked like a forest of trees to the little red
princess, and a wild forget-me-not that bent down over the castle made
her sky, for it was almost as blue and nearly as large to her wee
eyes.

There were many roads and streets that went up and down through the
kingdom, none of them much wider than the stalk of a daisy. There were
many little houses along the streets and there was the castle of the
little red princess with more windows than one could count, and more
winding passages than she could walk through.

The castle was full of other busy little people in red who waited on
the princess. They milked her cows, and played with her, and managed
the house-keeping so that she did not have to do a bit of work. She
was the only one, though, in the whole kingdom who did not work.

As the little red princess looked from her highest window she saw her
subjects hurrying to and fro. They were always bringing sand for
building, whole lines of them, and putting up new houses, and making
better roads. Sentinels watched the gates of the city, and hundreds of
workers in red brought in food from the meadow.

If one could have heard so tiny a person as the little red princess
speak, she would have said,

"Why should I work when I have so many subjects to wait upon me? I was
intended to look pretty, and sit in my doorway, and keep the whole
kingdom working for me!"

One day something wonderful happened. The little red princess felt a
strange pricking on her shoulders. When she turned her tiny head about
to see what was the matter, she found out that she had a beautiful
pair of wee, gossamer wings!

If any of the little red workers of the kingdom had been in doubt as
to whether their princess were a real princess or not, they were sure
now. Hadn't she wings? They waited on the princess more carefully than
ever for fear she might hurt herself. And they declared a holiday for
her to try her wings when they would stop work and go with her
outside of the kingdom.

The little red princess was very much excited indeed about her flight.
She had never been outside in all her life, and she went at the head
of a procession, all the workers dancing and running along beside her.

Oh, how wonderful she found it in the meadow! The wind in the grass
was like a forest wind to her. The sun dazzled her. Now she knew that
the blue flower was not at the top of things. Far, far above it was
more blue, and yellow sunlight, that she thought was gold, shone all
for her because she was a princess!

She spread her wings! Up, up she flew! The others who had no wings
watched her and clapped their hands as she rose in the bright air. It
was not such a very long flight, not much higher than a tall parasol
of Queen Anne's lace, but it was like flying into the clouds to the
little red princess.

"I shall fly all the time!" she thought to herself. "I will alight
only long enough to tell my subjects to go back to work for me. I am
going to fly all the rest of the time."

So the little red princess dropped lightly to the ground again.

How they crowded about her! But she pushed them all aside a little
scornfully. They looked surprised and tried to lead her toward the
gate of the kingdom again. Then she pushed harder, and stamped her
tiny feet. She tried to spread her wings, but they would not let her.

The little red workers surrounded their princess. They began cutting
off her wings! It was a rule of the kingdom that a princess might fly
only once. She did not know it, of course.

Some princesses were satisfied with trying their wings just once and
then took them off themselves, but she was not that kind of princess.
She wanted wings all the time!

She struggled, and tried to bite her kind little red subjects who
really knew what was best for her. They did not pay any attention to
her, though. They did not hurt her very much, but they did not stop
until every scrap of her gossamer wings was gone.

"Now look at me! Just see what you have done to your princess!" she
tried to say.

"Yes, just look! See what has happened to you!" the others tried to
reply, hopping merrily around her.

It was true. Something wonderful had happened to the little red
princess. She had changed into a little red queen!

So she did not mind in the least losing her wings. In fact, she was
rather glad. She went home to the castle and went right to work
ordering her servants about, and keeping house, and taking care of her
royal family and all the nurses. She very seldom has time to look out
of her castle window, so you may never see her. Her kingdom lies very
near you, though, for the little red queen is the real, true queen of
the ant hill!



HOW THE FLOWERS CAME


Ever so many years ago the world was as bare and gray as the roads.
The Earth King grew very tired of it, and covered the ground with a
carpet of green. We call it grass. For years and years there was
nothing but green, until the Earth King grew as tired of the green as
he had been of the gray. He decided that he must have more colors. So
one day he took his royal retinue and journeyed to a hillside where he
knew there grew the finest grasses in all the kingdom. At the blast of
the King's bugler the grasses assembled, and the King addressed them
in simple words.

"My faithful grasses," he said. "It is many years since I placed you
here. You have served me well. You have kept true green. It now
pleases me to announce to you that I am about to reward a certain
number of you and make you lords and ladies of the field. To-morrow I
shall come hither at this same hour. You are to assemble before me,
and the fairest of your number and the most pleasing I will honor with
a great and lasting reward. Farewell."

How the grasses whispered and put their heads together then as a
breeze crept up the hillside! They arose next morning before the sun,
that they might wash their ribbons in the gleaming pearls of dew. What
prinking and preening! What rustling of ruffles and sashes! What
burnishing of armor and spears! At length the King's bugle rang out to
call them into grand assembly. Full of excitement, they stood before
the King, each hoping that he might be chosen for one of the great
honors.

The King greeted them as he had on the previous day, but he said,

"In this Court of Judgment I must have willing servants to help me.
First, I must have a keeper of the gate so that no outsider may enter.
Which one of this host will be keeper of the gate?"

Not a man-grass stirred in his tracks, for each feared that if he
became a servant of the King he would lose his chance to be a lord.

"Which one?" asked the King again. "Which one will volunteer to keep
the gate for me?"

At this moment a sturdy grass was seen coming down the hillside. He
was not handsome, but he was strong. His shoulders were broad, and his
chest was deep, and he was armed to the teeth. Spear points stuck from
every one of his pockets, and in each hand he carried a lance as sharp
as lightning.

"Let the others wait for their honors," he thought, as he said,

"I will serve the King."

"So be it," said the King. "Take your station at the gate. And now,"
continued the King, "I must have a herald to announce my awards and my
commands. Who will be my herald?"

Again there was silence among the man-grasses, until at last one was
seen to advance. He was short and round and smiling, as happy a grass
as grew on the hill. He came before the King as fast as his short legs
could carry him.

"So it please the King," he said. "I will be his royal herald."

"So be it," said the King. "Stand here at my feet."

"Two torch-bearers I need," the King went on, "two torch-bearers, tall
and comely, to hold the lights on high. Who will serve the King as
torch-bearers?"

And now there was silence and stiffness among the lady-grasses as each
feared to lose her chance to be given a title, and waited for the
others. At last two slender grass-maidens advanced with glowing faces
but reluctant step. They were not as beautiful as some of their
sisters. Their ribbons were few and some of them were frayed. They
scarcely expected the King to accept them, but they meekly offered
themselves, as they said,

"We, O King, will be your torch-bearers."

The King looked greatly pleased as he replied,

"So be it, indeed. Stand here on either hand. And now," continued the
King, "I must have an incense-bearer to swing my censer over the
meadows. Who will be my incense-bearer?"

For a moment there was silence again among the lady-grasses, but only
for a moment. Then out stepped one of the daintiest of them all. She
tripped quickly and quietly down the hill to the King, saying modestly
as she approached,

"I will be your incense-bearer."

"Let it be so," said the King. "Await my commands. Yet one more
servant," he added. "I need some one to ring the chimes. Who among all
these loyal subjects, man or maid, will ring the chimes?"

Scarcely had the King's words left his lips when one of the noblest
grasses of all, her broad green ribbons rustling as she moved, left
the crowded ranks of the grasses, and eagerly advanced before the
King. "If it please your Majesty, I will ring the chimes," she said.

Then the King looked around, satisfied, upon his eager and expectant
audience, and spoke a few brief words to them. He had come, he said,
fearing that the task was almost too great for even a king--to choose
among so many and so beautiful subjects. But they had helped him by
choosing for themselves, and he had now only to award the honors.

"Keeper of the gate," he commanded, "stand before the King!"

The keeper of the gate came awkwardly forward, pricking all who
brushed against him as he passed.

"Because you have been willing to serve," said the King, "I reward you
with distinguished honor." Then, taking from the hand of a page a
great velvet cap of purplish red, he placed it upon the head of the
gatekeeper, saying as he did so, "I dub you: My Lord, the Thistle.

"Let the King's herald stand forth!"

The little round, happy herald obeyed. The King took a great gold
coronet from the hand of a page and placed it upon the herald's head,
saying,

"Because of your readiness to serve the King, I create you a noble of
the field, and dub you: My Lord, the Dandelion.

"Let the torch-bearers stand forth!"

Then the two shy grass-maidens bowed before the King. On the head of
each the King placed a shining crown, one all gold, and the other of
gold rimmed with white, that they might be told apart; and he said to
them,

"Because of your generous deed, I dub you: Lady Buttercup and Lady
Daisy.

"Now, my incense-bearer!"

The dainty grass-maiden knelt at his feet and bowed her head.

The King beckoned to a page, who brought him a tiny hood of beautiful
blue. This the King placed upon her head, saying,

"I am grateful for your service. I dub you: Lady Violet.

"Let the ringer of the royal chimes appear!"

The beautiful grass with the broad, shining ribbons stood proudly
before him, and bent her head in salute. The King took a silver bell
and gave it to her, saying,

"This shall be the sign of your royal office. I dub you: Lady
Lily-of-the-Field."

Then the King charged his new-made lords and ladies to be faithful to
their service, and never cease, year by year, to return and beautify
the earth. Then the assembly was dissolved, but not until the whole
host of grasses on the hillside had applauded what the King had done.
They were disappointed, but they knew that the bravest and truest had
been made the most beautiful among them, and crowned with the honor
due.



THE THREE LITTLE BUTTERFLY BROTHERS[1]


There were once three little butterfly brothers, one white, one red,
and one yellow. They played in the sunshine, and danced among the
flowers in the garden, and they never grew tired because they were so
happy.

[Footnote 1: From Weick and Grebner's "Eclectic German Third Reader."
Copyright, American Book Company, publishers.]

One day there came a heavy rain and it wet their wings. They flew away
home, but when they got there they found the door locked and the key
gone. So they had to stay outdoors in the rain, and they grew wetter
and wetter.

By and by they flew to the red and yellow striped tulip, and said,
"Friend Tulip, will you open your flower-cup and let us in until the
storm is over."

The tulip answered: "The red and yellow butterflies may enter because
they are like me, but the white one may not come in."

But the red and yellow butterflies said: "If our white brother may
not find shelter in your flower-cup, why, then, we will stay outside
in the rain with him."

It rained harder and harder, and the poor little butterflies grew
wetter and wetter, so they flew to the white lily and said: "Good
Lily, will you open your bud a little so we may creep in out of the
rain?"

The lily answered, "The white butterfly may come in, because he is
like me, but the red and yellow ones must stay outside in the storm."

Then the white butterfly said: "If you won't receive my red and yellow
brothers, why, then, I will stay out in the rain with them. We would
rather be wet than parted."

So the three little butterflies flew away.

But the sun, who was behind a cloud, heard it all. He knew what good
little brothers the butterflies were and how they had kept together in
spite of the wet. So the sun pushed his face through the clouds and
chased away the rain, and shone brightly on the garden.

He dried the wings of the three little butterflies, and warmed their
bodies. They ceased to sorrow, and danced among the flowers until
evening. Then they flew away home, and found the door wide open.



ANIMALS

WHY PETER RABBIT WEARS A WHITE PATCH[2]


The Merry Little Breezes of Old Mother West Wind had been tumbled out
of her big bag very early one morning. Indeed, they were hardly awake
when Old Mother West Wind shook them out on the Green Meadows and
hurried away to her day's work, for she knew it was to be a very busy
day.

[Footnote 2: Copyright, 1913, by Little, Brown and Company.]

The Merry Little Breezes had watched her go. They saw the great
windmill in Farmer Brown's barn-yard begin to whirl as she passed.
They saw the million little leaves of the Green Forest shake, until a
million little drops of dew, like a million little diamonds, fell down
to the earth. And then Old Mother West Wind disappeared on her way to
the Great Ocean, there to blow the white-winged ships along their way
all day long.

The Merry Little Breezes stretched themselves and then began to dance
across the Great Meadows to kiss the buttercups and daisies and to
waken the sleepy little meadow people, who hadn't got their nightcaps
off yet. But no one wanted to play so early in the morning. No, Sir,
no one wanted to play. You see every one had something more important
to do. They loved the Merry Little Breezes, but they just couldn't
stop to play. Finally the Merry Little Breezes gave it up and just
curled up among the grasses for a sun-nap. That is, all but one did.
That one kept hopping up every few minutes to see if any one was in
sight who would be likely to play a little while.

By and by he saw Peter Rabbit coming down the Lone Little Path from
the Green Forest on his way to the dear old briar-patch on the Green
Meadows. Peter looked sleepy. The truth is, Peter had been out all
night, and he was on his way home.

Half-way down the Lone Little Path Peter stopped, and sitting up very
straight, looked over towards the Smiling Pool. He could see Mr.
Redwing flying 'round and 'round, this way and that way over the
bulrushes. He could hear Mr. Redwing's voice, and it sounded as if Mr.
Redwing was very much excited. The more Mr. Peter looked and listened,
the more certain he became that something very important must have
happened over in the bulrushes on the edge of the Smiling Pool.

Now curiosity is Peter Rabbit's besetting sin. Sleepy as he was, he
just couldn't go home without first finding out what had happened in
the bulrushes. So away Peter started for the Smiling Pool,
lipperty-lipperty-lip. Of course the Merry Little Breeze saw him go.
Then the Merry Little Breeze waked all the other Merry Little Breezes,
and away they all danced across the Green Meadows to the Smiling Pool
and stole in among the bulrushes behind Peter Rabbit to see what he
was about. They came up just in time to hear Peter say:

"Hello, Mr. Redwing! You seem very much excited this fine morning.
What is it all about? Has anything happened?"

Mr. Redwing hovered right over Peter Rabbit.

    "Tra-la-la-la-lee, cherokee, cherokee!
    I'm happy, oh, so happy! I am happy as can be!"

sang Mr. Redwing, looking down at Peter, who was sitting very straight
and looking up.

"You seem to be. But what is it all about? What is it that makes you
so happy this morning, Mr. Redwing?" Peter asked.

    "Tra-la-la-la-lee, cherokee, cherokee!
    We've another speckled egg, and this one makes it three!"

carolled Mr. Redwing, and flew over to the nest in the bulrushes where
Mrs. Redwing was fussing about in a very important manner.

"Pooh!" said Peter Rabbit. "Is that all? What a little thing to make
such a fuss about. I think I'll pay my respects to Grandfather Frog
and then I'll go home."

Peter yawned. Then he hopped out where he could see all over the
Smiling Pool. There sat Grandfather Frog on his big green lily-pad,
just as usual.

"Good morning, Grandfather Frog!" said Peter Rabbit.

"Chugarum! Of course it's good morning. Every morning is good,"
replied Grandfather Frog gruffly.

"Oh!" said Peter Rabbit, and then he couldn't think of another thing
to say.

The Merry Little Breezes giggled, and Grandfather Frog looked over at
them and very slowly winked. Then he rolled his big goggly eyes up and
stared into the sky. Peter Rabbit looked up to see what Grandfather
Frog was looking at so intently. There was Redtail the Hawk swinging
'round and 'round in great big circles, as if he were trying to bore
his way right into the clouds. Peter didn't stop to watch.

    "When ol' Mr. Hawk is a-riding in the sky,
    Keep a-moving, keep a-moving, keep a-moving mighty spry!"

chanted Peter, and taking his own advice, off he went,
lipperty-lipperty-lip.

Grandfather Frog watched the white patch of the seat of Peter's pants
bobbing through the rushes until finally Peter was out of sight.

"Did you ever hear how Peter Rabbit happens to always wear a white
patch on the seat of his pants?" asked Grandfather Frog.

"No; do tell us," exclaimed the Merry Little Breezes of Old Mother
West Wind.

Grandfather Frog snapped up a foolish green fly, smacked his lips,
cleared his throat, and began:

"Once upon a time when the world was young, Old Mother Nature found
she had her hands full. Yes, Sir, she certainly did have her hands
full. Her family was so big that she couldn't keep an eye on each one
all the time. Dear me, dear me, such a lot of trouble as Old Mother
Nature did have in those days! And no one made her more trouble than
Peter Rabbit's grandfather a thousand times removed. Mr. Rabbit was
always in mischief. He just naturally couldn't keep out of it. He just
hopped out of one scrape right plumb into another.

"Seemed like Old Mother Nature was busy just straightening out
trouble Mr. Rabbit had made. Even she wasn't always quite sure who had
made it, and no one else suspected Mr. Rabbit at all. He wore a brown
coat, just like the brown leaves, and when he ran he looked just like
a little old bunch of leaves blowing along. So Mr. Rabbit used to
creep up and listen to what others were saying, for he was just as
curious as Peter Rabbit is now, and he used to play all kinds of
tricks and never get caught, because of that little old brown suit of
his.

"One day in the early spring, when gentle Sister South Wind had melted
all the snow, excepting a little patch right under the window of Mr.
Skunk's house, Mr. Rabbit came strolling along that way with nothing
special on his mind. Mr. and Mrs. Skunk were having a little family
talk, and Mr. Skunk was speaking some loud. Mr. Rabbit stopped. Then
Mr. Rabbit grinned and sat right down on that bed of snow under Mr.
Skunk's window, where he could hear every word.

"Mr. Rabbit had been a-sitting there some time, listening to things
that were none of his business, when he happened to look up. There was
Old Mother Nature coming through the woods. She hadn't seen him yet,
and Mr. Rabbit didn't mean that she should. Off he ran as fast as he
could through the brown leaves, chuckling to himself. But Mr. Rabbit
had forgotten to brush off the seat of his pants, and of course they
were all white with snow.

"Old Mother Nature's eyes are sharp, and so of course she saw the
white spot bobbing through the bushes, saw it right away. Mr. Rabbit
had to stop and tell what he had been doing to get the seat of his
pants all white with snow, and he told the truth, for it's of no use
to tell anything else to Old Mother Nature. She looked very stern and
she opened her mouth to tell Mr. Rabbit what she thought of him, and
just then she had an idea. She just marched Mr. Rabbit off and sewed a
white patch on the seat of his pants. And after that, when Mr. Rabbit
tried to run away from the mischief he had got into, every one knew
who it was by the white patch on the seat of his pants.

"And from that day to this all of Mr. Rabbit's family have worn a
white patch, and that is why Peter wears one now, and whenever he
stops running, if it is only for a minute, sits down on it so that it
cannot be seen," concluded Grandfather Frog.

"Thank you! Thank you, Grandfather Frog!" cried the Merry Little
Breezes, and hurried to see who would be the first one to blow a big,
fat, foolish green fly within reach of Grandfather Frog's mouth.



THE ANIMALS' NEW YEAR'S EVE


Centuries ago, in Sweden, a dean was riding through the dense forest
on a New Year's Eve. He was on horseback, dressed in a fur coat and
cap. On the pommel of his saddle hung a satchel in which he carried
his book of prayers. He had been with a sick person who lived in a far
away forest settlement until late in the evening. Now he was on his
way home but he feared that he should not get back to his house until
after midnight.

The dean's horse was strong and sturdy, and quite as wise as a human
being. He could find his way home from any part of the forest. So the
dean rode along now in the gray night, through the bewildering woods,
with the reins dangling and his thoughts far away. It was a long time
before he noticed how far along he was on his homeward way. When he
did glance up, he saw that the forest was as dense as it had been at
the beginning.

He intended to turn the horse at once, but the animal had never
strayed. Perhaps he, himself, was mistaken, the dean thought. But
suddenly a big branch struck him and almost swept him from the horse.

They were riding over a soft marsh through which there was no beaten
track, although the horse trotted along at a brisk pace and showed no
uncertainty. The dean seized the reins and turned the horse about,
guiding him back to the roadway. No sooner was he there than he turned
again and made straight for the woods.

The dean decided to walk and lead the horse until they came to more
familiar roads. He dismounted, wound the reins around his arm, and
started along on foot. It was no easy matter to tramp through the
forest in a heavy fur coat; and the horse refused to follow. He
planted his hoofs firmly on the ground and balked.

At last the dean was angry. He had never beaten his horse, nor would
he now. Instead he threw the reins down and walked away.

"We may as well part company, since you want to go your own way," he
said.

He had not taken more than two steps before the horse came after him,
took a cautious grip on his master's coat sleeve, and stopped him.
Afterward the dean could not understand how it happened but, dark as
it was, the horse looked straight in his eyes. He gave his master a
look that was both pleading and reproachful.

"I have served you day after day and done your bidding," he seemed to
say. "Will you not follow me this one night?"

Without further delay the dean sprang into the saddle.

"Go on!" he said. "I will not desert you when you are in trouble."

He let the horse go as he wished and it was a hazardous journey,
uphill all the way. The forest grew so thick that he could not see two
feet ahead, but it seemed as if they were climbing a high mountain.
The horse took perilous steps.

"Surely you don't intend to go up Black's Ridge, do you?" asked the
dean, who knew that was one of the highest peaks in Hälsingland.

They mounted up and up, and the higher they went the more scattering
were the trees. At last they rode on bare highland where the dean
could look in every direction. Great tracts of land went up and down
in mountains and valleys covered with dark trees. He could make out
where they were.

"Why, of course it's Black's Ridge!" he said. "What an adventure!"

When they were at the top the horse stopped behind a thick pine, as if
to hide. The dean bent forward and pushed aside the branches that he
might see.

The mountain's bald top was there. It was not empty, though. In the
middle of the open space was an immense boulder around which many
wild beasts were gathered. They were having a meeting of some sort.

Near to the big rock he saw bears, so firmly and heavily built that
they seemed like fur-clad figures of stone. They were lying down and
their little eyes blinked impatiently, for they had come from their
winter sleep to attend court and could hardly keep awake. Behind the
bears, in tight rows, were hundreds of wolves. They were not sleepy,
for wolves are more alert in winter than in summer. They sat upon
their haunches, like dogs, whipping the ground with their tails and
panting--their tongues lolling far out of their jaws.

Behind the wolves, the lynx skulked, stiff-legged and clumsy, like
misshapen cats. They hissed and spat when one came near them. The row
back of the lynx was filled with wolverines; they had dog faces and
bear coats. They were not happy on the ground, and they stamped their
pads impatiently, longing to get into the trees. Behind them, covering
the entire space of the forest border, leaped the foxes, the weasels,
and the martens. They were small and perfectly formed, but they looked
even more savage and blood thirsty than the larger beasts.

All this the dean plainly saw for the whole place was light. Upon the
huge rock at the centre was the Wood-nymph, who held in her hand a
pine torch which burned in a big red flame. The Nymph was as tall as
the tallest tree in the forest. She wore a spruce-brush mantle, and
had spruce-cone hair. She stood very still, her face turned toward the
forest. She was watching and listening.

Suddenly the dean heard the sound of a familiar bell. The next moment
he heard footfalls and crackling of branches, as of many animals
breaking through the forest. A big herd of cattle was climbing the
mountain. They came through the forest in the order in which they had
marched to the mountain ranches. First came the bell cow followed by
the bull, then the other cows and the calves. After them came the
goats, and last were the horses and colts. The sheep-dog trotted along
beside the sheep; but neither shepherd nor shepherdess was with them.

The domestic animals came in great terror, straight toward the wild
beasts. The cattle came with faltering step; the goats had no desire
to play or butt. The bodies of the horses were all a-quiver with
fright. The most pathetic of all was the sheep-dog. He kept his tail
between his legs and crawled on the ground.

As the creatures reached the summit and filed past the Wood-nymph, the
dean saw her lower her pine torch over one and another of them.

Every time this happened the wild beasts broke into exultant roars,
particularly when the Wood-nymph indicated a cow or some other large
creature. The animal that saw the torch turned toward it, uttered a
frightful cry, as if it had received a knife thrust in its flesh. Herd
upon herd followed, without a break in the line of procession. It was
the same with all.

Then the dean understood the meaning of what he saw. He had heard that
the animals assembled on Black's Ridge every New Year's Eve that the
Wood-nymph might mark out which of the tame beasts would that year be
eaten by the wild beasts. It was terrible! He thought of the farmers
who had so much love for their creatures.

"They would risk their own lives rather than let their cattle be
doomed by the Wood-nymph," the dean thought.

The last herd to come was the dean's own, from the rectory farm. He
heard the sound of his bell cow a long way off. The horse, too, must
have heard it, for he began to shake in every limb and was bathed in
sweat.

"So it is your turn to pass before the Wood-nymph and receive your
sentence," the dean said to the horse. "Don't be afraid. Now I know
why you brought me here, and I shall not leave you."

The beautiful cattle from the rectory farm came out of the forest and
marched to the Wood-nymph and the wild beasts. Last in line was the
horse. The dean did not leave the saddle, but let the animal take him
to the Wood-nymph.

The dean had nothing for his defence, but he had taken out his book of
prayers and sat pressing it to his heart. At first he seemed
unnoticed, but his cattle filed by and the Wood-nymph did not lower
her pine torch toward any of these. When the faithful horse stepped
forward, though, she made a movement to mark him for death.

Instantly the dean held up his book of prayers, and the torch light
fell on its cover. The Wood-nymph uttered a loud, shrill cry; and the
torch dropped from her hand and fell to the ground.

Immediately the flame was extinguished, and all about was the profound
stillness of a wilderness in winter. Then the dark clouds parted, and
through the opening stepped the full round moon to shed its light upon
the ground. Not one of the many wild beasts was there. The dean and
his horse were alone on Black's Ridge, the horse trembling and
foaming.

By the time the dean reached home he no longer knew if it had been a
vision or reality--this that he had seen; but he took it as a warning
to him to remember the poor creatures who are at the mercy of wild
beasts. He preached so powerfully to the peasants that in his day all
the wild beasts were exterminated in that part of the country.



THE COUNTRY CAT


Cats and mice didn't use to be such bad friends as they are now. They
used to visit back and forth, once upon a time, just like neighbors.

What made them fall out?

Well, it came about this way.

Old Miss Pussy Cat lived in the country but she was very curious to
know about town doings. She told all her friends and relatives how she
longed to see the sights.

In the middle of the night Mr. Gray Moose knocked on her door, and
said that he had a cousin going up to town. If Miss Pussy Cat still
wanted to see the sights this cousin would be proud to give her a
lift.

Then Miss Pussy Cat tied on her bonnet, and put on her shawl, and
packed a basket full of victuals, and started out with Mr. Mouse. Mice
do their travelling by night, and the cat and the mouse travelled all
night, and they got to town the next day.

When they came where all the people were, Mr. Mouse picked up his feet
and ran down a rat hole; but Miss Pussy Cat sat down by the side of
the road to eat a little. She was sitting there, spreading out all her
good country sausage and good country ham and such things, when a town
cat came prowling along past.

This town cat was hungry. He was just as ragged as a beggar man, and
he wanted Miss Pussy Cat's victuals mighty bad.

"My land," he said. "Where did you get that big lunch?"

"Oh, that's just a little snack," said Miss Pussy Cat very politely.
"I brought it with me from home. Won't you join me, sir?"

Now that old, hungry town cat wanted all Miss Pussy Cat's victuals
mighty bad. He didn't want to join her. So he said, "Do you really eat
such a mess as that in the country where you come from?"

"Yes, indeed," said Miss Pussy Cat, who was mighty glad to meet even a
beggar cat from town and learn town ways.

"Don't you eat sausages and ham in town? What do you eat in town,
anyway?" she asked.

The town cat looked all about. He was bound to send Miss Pussy Cat on
an errand that would take her away from those good victuals. Just then
he saw Mr. Mouse peep out of the hole to ask Miss Pussy Cat if she
was having a good time. The town cat reasoned that if he could start
Miss Pussy Cat running after Mr. Swift Foot Mouse he would have time
to steal her dinner.

"We eat mice!" he said in the grandest manner. "You never will learn
town ways until you learn to eat mice."

Miss Pussy Cat was bound she would learn to do as town folks did. Up
she hopped and left the lunch as quick as you could wink--and the old,
hungry town cat grabbed it just as quickly. Miss Pussy Cat chased Mr.
Mouse all the way to the Court House. There she caught him and there
she ate him, all but his squeak and his teeth.

Then, by that, she got the taste; and cats have been eating mice and
rats ever since, to this day.



FAIRIES

THE THREE BROTHERS


Once upon a time there lived three poor little dwarfs in a tumble-down
house by a roadside, and each dwarf owned a china mug.

One little dwarf was stingy. He did his mug up in tissue paper and
cotton batting and kept it locked up in his third bureau drawer. "I
will keep it safe," said he, "where nobody can ever use it. It is my
mug. My mug shall never get broken, and when I need a mug to drink
from, I can use one that belongs to some one else."

The second little dwarf was selfish. He carried his mug in his pocket.
"I am going to keep this mug to drink from myself. It belongs to me.
If others need a mug to drink from, let them look out for themselves,"
he said.

The third little dwarf was generous. "I'm so glad that I own a pretty
mug!" he chuckled to himself. "Every one can use it. It is the very
thing to offer a thirsty traveller who stops at our tumble-down house
to ask for a drink of water. My brothers can use it, too. I am sure
they will both be quite as careful of it as if it belonged to them.
We need only the one mug, for we share alike, because we love one
another."

Now one day there came a traveller over the dusty highroad. He was
thirsty and tired. He saw the well, and he went up to the door of the
tumble-down house and knocked, rat-tat-tat!

The stingy little dwarf was yawning in the parlor, because he never
did any work--he let the others do it. When he heard the rat-tat-tat
he kept very quiet.

The selfish little dwarf was in the dining-room, pretending to
sweep--but he was only sweeping the crumbs under the mat, for he did
not like to clean. He heard the rat-tat-tat! but he pretended that he
was too busy to answer it.

The third little dwarf was in the kitchen, scrubbing the hearth with a
mop. His sleeves were rolled up, and he had overalls on, but he could
not bear to keep a tired traveller waiting at the door. "I must go at
once," he thought. And he went.

"Come right round to the well," he said. "I will get a mug and give
you a drink of our nice cold water. You must be tired, for the highway
is warm, and dusty." He set the best chair for the traveller, and gave
him a fan.

He went to fetch his mug. But what do you think! When he found it at
last, it was soiled--and the stingy dwarf had carelessly broken the
handle off, and the selfish dwarf had dropped it on the floor and
nicked the rim! "Oh! Oh! It's not fit for company use!" cried the
generous little dwarf. "I must have something better!"

He asked Stingy to let him take his mug.

"No. You can't take mine," said Stingy. "Nobody can ever use it. It is
all put away. It's mine, and I won't lend it to anybody."

Then he asked Selfish to let him take his mug.

"No," said Selfish. "I can't let you take my mug. Give him yours. What
do you care if it is nicked, and the handle is off--it is good enough
for a beggar, I should think!"

So there was nothing for the generous little dwarf to do except to
take his own broken mug to the stranger. But he cut some slices of
bread and put them on the prettiest plate that he could find.

"I'm sorry I haven't a better mug to offer you," he said, "but the
others were all put away. They belong to my brothers. Oh, I wish that
they would come out to see you,--they are so nice,--but they said they
were busy at present. Stingy is dusting the parlor, and Selfish is
brushing up the dining-room. Their mugs are nicer than mine, because
they always know just how to take care of their things. Wouldn't you
like some more bread? I am sorry we haven't butter to offer you--but
we never buy it."

The traveller thanked Generous for all he had done. He said, "I am so
grateful to you that I should like to do something for you before I
go. I should like to give you something to remember me by. Let me take
your mug again, little dwarf. Have you a big pail that I can use?"

"Oh, yes," returned the generous little dwarf. "I have one." And he
ran to the kitchen and rinsed out the one that he had been using.

The stranger took the broken mug that had lost its handle and had a
chipped rim, and he began to dip water from the bucket into the pail.

At the first dip, the handle came back on the mug, and the mug became
quite whole and new. At the second dip, the mop-pail turned into gold.
At the third dip, the tumble-down house became new and splendid. At
the fourth dip, the cupboards became filled with pots, kettles, and
good things to eat. At the fifth dip, Stingy and Selfish came running
out of the house, and they were changed. They were not stingy or
selfish any longer, but were like their brother, generous, and good,
and loving. They carried their mugs and gave them to the stranger.
And they kissed the generous little brother dwarf. The one who had
been stingy said he was sorry that he had never helped with the work.
And the one who had been selfish said that he was sorry, too, and that
he never would sweep crumbs under the mat again--for it only made work
for other people to do. And at the seventh dip, the pail was filled
full of gold.

Then the stranger bade them good-bye, and went on his way.

Who was he? A good fairy, no doubt. He may have heard of the generous
little dwarf, and wanted to help him. If that were so, he probably
wanted to help Stingy and Selfish, too, and make them into Good and
Happy. At any rate, they all lived happily ever after, and the mug
that belonged to the generous little dwarf was kept at the wellside
for travellers to use.



THE CRY FAIRY


There was once a fairy who wanted to know all the things that ever
were. This was very unusual, because most fairies know a great deal
more than they have time to do; but somehow this fairy, who was named
Gillibloom, had an idea that mortals know a great deal and that
fairies would be happier if they could find out what some of the
things are.

So he went to the Fairy Queen and asked for leave of absence for
thirty-three and a third years, that he might go and live among
mortals and learn things.

At the end of thirty-three and a third years he came back again, and
he found the fairies dancing just as if they had never left off. They
were all perfectly delighted to see him, and they left off dancing and
crowded round him and cried out all together, which is the way the
fairies sometimes talk: "O Gillibloom, what have you learned?"

Gillibloom looked at them a few minutes very solemnly, as if he wanted
them to pay great attention to what he was going to say. Then he
answered: "I have not really learned anything, but I have almost
learned to cry."

"To cry, Gillibloom?" called the fairies. "What is that?"

"I know," cried a fairy who was a great traveller, and had once gone
on a moonbeam excursion to a large town. "It's what mortals do when
they want something they haven't got, or have something they don't
want."

"Yes," said Gillibloom, "that is it."

"But what good is it?" asked the other fairies.

"I don't really know," said Gillibloom: "but I think it is really very
good indeed, because so many of them do it. Sometimes if you are very
little and want something, and cry and cry, somebody brings it to
you."

"But we don't want anything we can't get without crying," said the
fairies.

"Yes, that is true," said Gillibloom. "But it can't be that so many
people would cry if there wasn't some use in it. Try as I may, I can't
find out what the use is, but I thought I might form a class and we
could all cry together, and then we should see what happened."

Now some of the fairies were too busy painting flowers to join a
class, and more were too busy riding on bees' wings, but there were a
few dozen who said:

"We might as well join. Why not? It will please Gillibloom, and maybe
there is some use in it, after all."

So Gillibloom appointed the next night by the banks of the Standing
Pool, for, he said, it would be quite impossible at first to cry
anywhere except by the side of still water.

The next night they were all there, twenty-seven of them, each with a
moss-cup in his hand.

So the fairies all sat down in a circle, and looked pleasantly about
at one another and said: "We are here to cry."

"Now, in the beginning," said Gillibloom, "I will show you how it is
done. The first three of you there by the acorn must run at me and
knock off my cap."

So the first three ran gaily at him and knocked off his cap, but they
might as well not have done it, for another cap, just as green and
with just as red a feather, blew right down from somewhere else and
settled on his head, and the fairies laughed, and Gillibloom did, too.

"Well," said he, "the next three of you must trip me up, and I'll fall
down on the ground, and then I'll show you how to cry."

So the next three tripped him up, and Gillibloom didn't mind it in the
least, because, whatever you do in the fairy woods, it never hurts.
But he remembered that he was the teacher, and if he didn't begin to
teach he would pretty soon be no teacher at all. So he sat there on
the ground and made up a dreadful face, and wrinkled his forehead and
shut his eyes and pulled down the corners of his mouth. And then he
dipped his own moss-cup carefully into the Standing Pool, and brought
up a drop of water. And he put his fingers in it and splashed some on
his face; and it ran down his cheeks, and he said proudly: "Now I am
almost crying."

"Ho!" said the fairies, "is that all? We can do that without being
taught."

So they wrinkled up their foreheads and shut their eyes and drew down
their mouths and dipped their fingers in the moss-cups, and sprinkled
their faces, and made a bellowing noise, and they said proudly: "Now
we are almost crying, too."

Gillibloom had opened his eyes and wiped his cheeks on a bit of
everlasting petal.

"That was very good," he said, "very good indeed! To-morrow we will go
on with the second lesson."

But the twenty-seventh fairy was thinking just then that he might have
been dancing all this time, and he said: "Gillibloom, I don't see what
good it will do."

"It must be remembered that we have only learned Almost Crying
to-day," said Gillibloom, with dignity. "When we have learned Quite
Crying it will be a different matter."

"I can't help it," said the twenty-seventh fairy. "I'm not coming any
more. Anybody want my cup?"

But nobody did, because all the other pupils had kept their cups very
carefully, and he tossed it into the Standing Pool and danced away
through the forest, singing:

    "School's dismissed! School's dismissed!
    Out of so many I shan't be missed.
    By and by they'll learn to cry.
    But if any one's there, it won't be I.
    I'd rather sing or dance or fly,
    Or swim in a puddle where star-shines lie.
    I'll not cry--not I!"

And the next day it was just the same. The twenty-six fairies, sat by
the side of the Standing Pool, and Gillibloom wrinkled up his forehead
and shut his eyes and drew down his mouth and bellowed and wet his
cheeks with water out of his moss-cup, and they all did the same, and
then they said: "Now we are Almost Crying."

But when the lesson was over, the twenty-sixth fairy said he had some
wheat ripening to attend to in a field ever so far away, and the next
day the twenty-fifth fairy said there was a Crow Caucus on, and he
wanted to see what they meant to do about the scare-crow in the field
they owned, and he couldn't come any more, and the next day the
twenty-fourth fairy said there were ever so many dancing steps he
hadn't practised for a long time, and he couldn't come any more, and
the next day the twenty-third fairy said there was a queer-shaped leaf
on the watercress down by the spring, and he thought he ought to look
round a bit and see if there were any more like it, and he couldn't
come any more.

And so it went on until Gillibloom was the only one left, and he sat
by the Standing Pool and dished up water to splash his face and
wrinkled up his forehead and shut his eyes and drew down his mouth and
bellowed; and whenever the rest of the fairies heard him or saw him,
they clapped their hands over their eyes, and put their fingers in
their ears, and ran away as hard as they could. And so it happened
that the forest about the Standing Pool was perfectly quiet, for no
bird or squirrel or bee or any other thing that lives and breathes in
the forest will stay after the fairies are gone.

And the Sun looked in and said: "There is nobody there but that silly
Gillibloom, and he is Almost Crying all the time. I'll go away
somewhere else."

And the Moon looked down at night and said: "Why, there's nothing in
that forest but a Dreadful Sound. There's no use in my troubling
myself to squeeze down through the branches, for sounds can get along
just as well by themselves."

So she drove off very fast to the fairy green, and rolled such a river
of light into the fairy ring that the fairies gave up dancing, and got
flower-cups and sailed on the river, and some who couldn't stop to get
flower-cups swam in it, and it was the gayest night ever to be
remembered.

Now, when Gillibloom found that the fairies had all gone and left him
to himself, and the four-footed things and the two-footed things, and
the things that have feathers and fur and gauze-wings and shell-wings
had gone too, he had felt differently from what he ever had before. He
had been bellowing for a long time that night, because he was
determined to learn to cry and get it over, and then go back to his
people, but now he said to himself: "I will not cry any more. And
anyway it is not Quite Crying, and if Almost Crying makes everything
run away from me, I don't know what Quite Crying would do."

So he tried to shut his mouth, and stop its bellowing, but it would
not stop. And he tried to smooth his forehead, and it stayed wrinkled,
and he tried to draw up the corners of his mouth, and they would not
stay, and he tried to open his eyes, and they would not open. And
there was a strange feeling in his throat, and his heart beat very
fast, and though he had not dipped up the water of the Standing Pool
for as much as two hours, his cheeks were all wet.

"Oh," said Gillibloom to himself, "what has happened to me! what has
happened to me!"

And he started running as fast as he could through the silent forest
to the Earth-Woman's house, and as he ran he said to himself: "What
has happened to me? What has happened to me? Am I afraid?"

Now for a fairy to be afraid is just as impossible as for it not to be
a fairy, but Gillibloom knew he was somehow changed, and he could only
run and call aloud at the top of his voice, "Am I afraid? Am I
afraid?"

Now the Earth-Woman lives in the very middle of the wood, in a green
house that nobody can see by day, and a dark brown house that nobody
can see by night. And when she heard Gillibloom come screaming through
the forest, she stepped to her door and stood waiting for him, and in
a minute he was there, and laid hold of her skirts and clung to them.

"Well! Well!" said the Earth-Woman, "and who is this?" Then she
stooped down and took up Gillibloom between her thumb and forefinger,
and looked at him. "By acorns and nuts!" said she. "It's the Cry
Fairy."

"No! no!" said Gillibloom. "No! no! I'm the Almost Cry Fairy. I'm
never going to Quite Cry, for I don't know what it would do to me."

The Earth-Woman laid her finger to Gillibloom's cheek and touched it
and put it, all wet, to her lips. She nodded and then shook her head.

"Well," said she, "you were a silly, weren't you? Now what do you want
me to do?"

Gillibloom kept on bellowing.

"I want to be with the others."

"What others?" asked the Earth-Woman severely. "The other cry-babies?"

"The fairies and the furs and the feathers and the wings and the fins
and the tails and the sun and the moon," bellowed Gillibloom, though
now you could hardly have understood a word he said.

But the Earth-Woman could understand. She understood everything.

"Then," she said, "you must open your eyes, smooth out your forehead
and pull up your mouth, and stop that noise."

Gillibloom tried, because, whatever the Earth-Woman says in the
forest, it has to be done. But he could not do it. And worse than
that, he found he didn't really want to.

"Do you like to have your throat feel all pinched up, as if you
couldn't swallow a drop of honey?" the Earth-Woman asked him.

"No!" screamed Gillibloom. And then he roared louder than ever. You
could have heard him across twenty violets.

"Do you like to have your mouth all salt with tears, and your pretty
tunic wet with them?"

"No! No!" said Gillibloom.

But he kept on roaring.

"There, you see!" said the Earth-Woman. "Now I'll tell you something,
Gillibloom, and you keep it in your mind until you forget it. The more
you cry, the harder it is to stop, and the only way to stop crying is
to smile."

"Cry?" said Gillibloom. "Is this Quite Crying? Isn't it Almost
Crying?"

"That's as may be," said the Earth-Woman wisely. "Now you come in here
with me."

So she carried him into her hut, where it is very dark but light
enough to see to do all sorts of wonderful things, and she ironed out
his forehead and put a nice polish on it, and she opened his eyes and
told them to stay open, and she shut his mouth and told it to stay
shut, and when it had really done it, she stretched it very carefully
indeed, until it was perhaps two cat's hairs wider than it had been
for a long time.

"There!" said she, "I can't do any more until it softens a little. Lie
down there, Gillibloom, and think about leaves in spring."

So Gillibloom lay down on a very soft couch that was perhaps
rose-leaves and perhaps thistledown and perhaps cornsilk, and when he
had lain there a day and a night, the Earth-Woman stretched his mouth
a little more, and a little more. And one night she said to him: "Now,
Gillibloom, your cure will take quite a long time yet, but you must do
the rest of it yourself. And this is what you must do. Whenever you
think of crying, you must stretch your mouth just as wide as you can."

"Why, that's what the mortals call smiling," said Gillibloom.

"And you must keep on doing it until you've forgotten to cry. Now. I
wish you were in the fairy ring."

And she had no sooner said it than he was there. All the fairies were
dancing the new dance that is called, "Remember the Robins and Roses
To-day and Think of the Lilies and Larks." Now when they saw
Gillibloom standing there among them, balancing on one foot and trying
to look very bold and gay, they stopped dancing and half turned away,
and looked at him over their shoulders. If Gillibloom was going to
teach, they didn't propose to stay more than a second and a half in
his company.

Gillibloom looked very nice. The Earth-Woman had got the salt stains
out of his tunic, and pressed it neatly for him, and brought him a new
pair of grasshopper tights. They were very much worn at that time. And
he was stretching his mouth as hard as he could, and he put up one
hand and touched his cheek, and it was quite dry. That gave him
courage.

"Come on, fellows," he said. "On with the dance!"

Just then the moon looked down, and she was so pleased to see
Gillibloom back again that she tossed a moon-wreath down over his
shoulders, and it brightened up the old tunic wonderfully and sent a
splendid light up into his face. And the fairies could see he was
smiling, and they began singing together.

"Gillibloom!" they sang, "Gillibloom! Gillibloom's come back!"



DOLL-IN-THE-GRASS


Once upon a time there was a king who had twelve sons. When they were
grown big, he told them they must go out into the world and win
themselves wives, but these wives must be able to spin, and weave, and
sew a shirt in one day. If they could not, he would not have them for
daughters-in-law.

To each son he gave a horse and a new suit of clothes, and they went
out into the world to look for brides. When they had gone a little way
together, they said that they would not have Boots, their youngest
brother, with them, for he was stupid.

So Boots had to stay behind, and he did not know what to do or where
to turn. He became very downcast, and got off his horse, and sat down
in the tall grass to think. But after he had sat there a while, one of
the tufts in the grass began to stir and move, and out of it came a
little white thing. When it came nearer, Boots saw that it was a
charming little lassie, and such a tiny bit of a thing, no larger than
a small doll.

The lassie went up to Boots and asked him if he would like to come
down and call on her, and she said that her name was
Doll-in-the-Grass.

Boots said that he would be greatly pleased to accept her invitation.
When he leaned down a little closer, there sat Doll-in-the-Grass on a
chair. She was the tiniest lassie you can imagine, and very, very
beautiful. She asked Boots where he was going, and what was his
business. So he told her how there were twelve brothers of them, and
how the king had told each one of them to go out into the world and
find himself a wife who could spin, and weave, and sew a shirt all in
one day.

"But if you will only say at once that you will be my wife," Boots
said to Doll-in-the-Grass, "I will not go a step farther."

She was willing, and so she made haste and spun, and wove, and sewed
the shirt, but it was very, very tiny. It was no more than two inches
long. Boots went off home with it, but when he took it out he was
almost ashamed of it, it was so small. But the king was pleased with
it, and said he should have her. So Boots set off, glad and happy, to
fetch the little lassie.

When he came to Doll-in-the-Grass, he wished to take her up before him
on his horse. But she would not have that, for she said she would sit
and drive along in a silver spoon, and that she had two white horses
to draw it. So off they started, Boots on his horse, and
Doll-in-the-Grass in her silver spoon; and the two horses that drew
her were two tiny white mice. But Boots always kept on the other side
of the road, for he was afraid lest he should ride over her, she was
so little.

When they had gone a little way they came to a great piece of water.
Here Boots' horse grew frightened, and shied across the road. The
spoon upset, and Doll-in-the-Grass tumbled into the water. Then Boots
was in great distress, for he did not know how to get her out again;
but, suddenly, up came a merman with her. How wonderful;
Doll-in-the-Grass was now as tall and well grown as other girls! So
Boots took her up before him on his horse, and rode home.

All Boots' brothers had come back with their sweethearts, but not one
had woven so dainty a little shirt as had Doll-in-the-Grass, and none
was half so lovely. When the brothers saw her they were as jealous as
could be of their brother. But the king was so delighted with her that
he gave them the finest wedding feast of all. He allowed them to live
with him in his palace, and gave out word that they should succeed him
on the throne.



FABLES

THE PLOUGHMAN AND HIS SONS


    A wealthy Ploughman, drawing near his end,
    Called in his sons apart from every friend,
    And said, "When of your sire bereft,
    The heritage your father left
    Guard well, nor sell a single field.
    A treasure in it is concealed.
    The place, precisely, I don't know,
    But industry will serve to show.
    The harvest past, Time's forelock take,
    And search with plough, and spade, and rake;
    Turn over every inch of sod,
    Nor leave unsearched a single clod!"
    The father died. The sons in vain
    Turned o'er the soil, and o'er again.
    That year their acres bore
    More grain than e'er before.
    Though hidden money found they none,
    Yet had their father wisely done,
    To show by such a measure
    That toil itself is treasure.

       *       *       *       *       *

    The farmer's patient care and toil
    Are oftener wanting than the soil.



THE BAG OF DUST


There was once a prince who went to his father, the King, to receive
his fortune. And when the King ordered it to be brought in, what do
you think it was--a great, gray bag of dust!

The Prince, now that he was old enough to go out in the world, had
expected a very different fortune from this--a Kingdom all his own in
some other land, a chest of jewels, and a gold crown.

But his father, the King, helped the Prince to put the bag of dust,
which was very heavy indeed, upon his back.

"You are to carry this to the boundary line of the Kingdom without
once dropping it," he said. And the Prince, who always did what his
father, the King, said, set out.

It seemed as if the bag grew heavier at every step. The Prince had not
known that dust could weigh so much. It sifted out of the coarse bag
and covered his fine velvet cloak so that you could not have told him
from the poorest subject in the Kingdom. The folk in the streets
laughed at him, and the dogs barked at his heels.

Before the Prince had gone very far he came to a field where all the
princes from the Kingdoms near by were playing games and riding their
beautiful horses. The Prince stopped a moment, because he wanted to
join them. He could ride a horse without a saddle, and hit the centre
of a target with his bow and arrow. But as he stopped he remembered
the bag of dust upon his back which his father, the King, had said
that he must not set down.

So he started on again, but the bag was heavier now.

He had not gone much farther, when he came to a beautiful park, set in
the midst of a green forest. There were rustic seats, placed beneath
trees whose branches hung low with ripe fruit of all kinds. Some one
must have known that the Prince was coming, for a table was set for
him with sweets and other fruits and all manner of dainty things to
eat. The Prince was very hungry, for it was long past noon and he had
eaten nothing. He was about to sit down at the table when he
remembered the bag of dust upon his back. He knew that he must not set
it down.

So he started on again, but the bag was even heavier now.

He went on, farther and farther, and the way was strange to him now,
for he had come a long way. The bag seemed to grow larger with every
step that he took; it covered his back, and bent his shoulders, and
bowed his head. Although he had come so far, he seemed no nearer the
boundary of the Kingdom than he had been when he started out. Suddenly
he saw, like a white cloud in front of him, a great lovely castle.

There was no one in the pretty rose garden in front save soft-eyed
deer. There was no one looking out of the bright windows, or at the
door which stood wide open. It seemed as if the castle was waiting for
the Prince and, because he was very tired from carrying his load of
dust so far, he went through the garden and up to the door. But, just
as he was going inside, he discovered that the door was not large
enough to let his bag through, too, and he knew that he must not set
it down.

So he started on again, but the bag was heavier than it had ever been
before.

On and on went the Prince, but he felt like an old man and his steps
were slow because he was so tired. He wanted to turn back, and he
wanted to set down his load, but his father, the King, had said that
he must carry it to the boundary of the Kingdom. The day was almost
done, but it seemed as if he would never reach it.

Suddenly, though, he came to the end of the road and looked over the
edge of the Kingdom.

There was a castle, not white, but gold. All about it were more
beautiful gardens than those which he had left behind. In the door
stood his father, the King, come in his chariot by another road to
welcome him.

"Set down your bag," said the King, so the Prince did and he felt
suddenly rested and young again.

"Look inside it," said the King. So the Prince looked inside the bag,
and he found out what had made it so heavy.

Each grain of dust had turned to gold!



THE CAMEL AND THE PIG


A Camel and a Pig chanced to meet in a far country, and as neither had
seen the other before, they began at once to boast.

"The greatest distinction and the most good in the world comes from
being tall," said the Camel. "Look at me, Pig; behold how tall I am!"

The Pig looked at the Camel, so far above him in height, but he had
made up his mind not to be outdone by him.

"You are in the wrong, Camel," argued the Pig. "There is nothing in
the world so important as being short. Look at me, and behold how
short I am!"

The Camel looked down at the Pig but he was not of his opinion. "This
matter must be settled by a test," he said. "If I fail to prove the
truth of what I feel about myself, I will give up my hump."

"That is well spoken," replied the Pig. "And if I cannot show you the
truth of what I have said I will give up my snout."

"It is a bargain!" said the Camel.

"Agreed!" said the Pig.

So the Camel and the Pig started on a journey together to find out
which of the two was the more honorable, and in the course of time
they came to a garden. It was entirely surrounded by a low stone wall
in which there was no opening.

The Camel stood beside the wall and looked at the green plants,
growing in such profusion inside the garden. Then he stretched his
long neck over the wall and ate a hearty breakfast of juicy green
leaves and stalks. Then he turned and jeered at the Pig who stood at
the bottom of the wall and could not catch a glimpse even of the good
things in the garden.

"Which would you rather be, Pig, tall or short?" asked the Camel as
they travelled on again, and the Pig did not answer.

Soon, though, they came to a second garden, enclosed by a very high
wall. At one end there was a wicket gate. The Pig quickly squeezed
himself under the gate and went into the garden. He ate a hearty meal
of the ripe vegetables that he found there, and came out, laughing in
his turn at the Camel who had not been able to reach over the wall.

"Which would you rather be, Camel, short, or tall?" asked the Pig, and
the Camel did not answer.

So the two thought the matter over and they decided that the Camel had
reason to keep his hump and the Pig to keep his snout. For it is good
to be tall when height is needed; and it is also important, at times,
to be short.



LEGENDS

HOW THE MOON WAS KIND TO HER MOTHER


Once upon a time, a long, long while ago, the Sun, the Wind, and the
Moon were three sisters, and their mother was a pale, lovely Star that
shone, far away, in the dark evening sky.

One day their uncle and aunt, who were no more or less than the
Thunder and Lightning, asked the three sisters to have supper with
them, and their mother said that they might go. She would wait for
them, she said, and would not set until all three returned and told
her about their pleasant visit.

So the Sun in her dress of gold, the Wind in a trailing dress that
rustled as she passed, and the Moon in a wonderful gown of silver
started out for the party with the Thunder and Lightning. Oh, it was a
supper to remember! The table was spread with a cloth of rainbow.
There were ices like the snow on the mountain tops, and cakes as soft
and white as clouds, and fruits from every quarter of the earth. The
three sisters ate their fill, especially the Sun and the Wind, who
were very greedy, and left not so much as a crumb on their plates. But
the Moon was kind and remembered her mother. She hid a part of her
supper in her long, white fingers to take home and share with her
mother, the Star.

Then the three sisters said good-bye to the Thunder and Lightning and
went home. When they reached there, they found their mother, the Star,
waiting and shining for them as she had said she would.

"What did you bring me from the supper?" she asked.

The Sun tossed her head with all its yellow hair in disdain as she
answered her mother.

"Why should I bring you anything?" she asked. "I went out for my own
pleasure and not to think of you."

It was the same with the Wind. She wrapped her flowing robes about her
and turned away from her mother.

"I, too, went out for my own entertainment," she said, "and why should
I think of you, mother, when you were not with me?"

But it was very different with the Moon who was not greedy and selfish
as her two sisters, the Sun and the Wind, were. She turned her pale
sweet face toward her mother, the Star, and held out her slender
hands.

"See, mother," cried the Moon, "I have brought you part of everything
that was on my plate. I ate only half of the feast for I wanted to
share it with you."

So the mother brought a gold plate and the food that her unselfish
daughter, the Moon, had brought her heaped the plate high. She ate it,
and then she turned to her three children, for she had something
important to say to them. She spoke first to the Sun.

"You were thoughtless and selfish, my daughter," she said. "You went
out and enjoyed yourself with no thought of one who was left alone at
home. Hereafter you shall be no longer beloved among men. Your rays
shall be so hot and burning that they shall scorch everything they
touch. Men shall cover their heads when you appear, and they shall run
away from you."

And that is why, to this day, the Sun is hot and blazing.

Next the mother spoke to the Wind.

"You, too, my daughter, have been unkind and greedy," she said. "You,
also, enjoyed yourself with no thought of any one else. You shall
blow in the parching heat of your sister, the Sun, and wither and
blast all that you touch. No one shall love you any longer, but all
men will dislike and avoid you."

And that is why, to this day, the Wind, blowing in hot weather, is so
unpleasant.

But, last, the mother spoke to her kind daughter, the Moon.

"You remembered your mother, and were unselfish," she said. "To those
who are thoughtful of their mother, great blessings come. For all time
your light shall be cool, and calm, and beautiful. You shall wane, but
you shall wax again. You shall make the dark night bright, and all men
shall call you blessed."

And that is why, to this day, the Moon is so cool, and bright, and
beautiful.



THE RABBIT WHO WAS GRATEFUL


Everything in the woods was covered deep with snow, the berries, the
juicy young bushes, and the roots. The animals had stowed themselves
away for the winter to sleep; the bear in a deep cave, the chipmunk in
a hollow log, and the wild mouse in a cozy hole beneath the roots of a
tree. The wind sang a high, shrill song in the tops of the pine
trees, and the doors of the wigwams were shut tight.

But the door of Son-of-a-Brave's wigwam suddenly opened a little way
and the Indian boy, himself, looked out. He had his bow and a newly
tipped arrow in his hands.

While the snow and the ice had been piling up outside in the Indian
village, Son-of-a-Brave had been very busy working beside the home
fire making his new arrow head. First, he had gone to the wigwam of
the village arrow maker to ask him for a piece of stone, and the arrow
maker had been good enough to give Son-of-a-Brave a piece of beautiful
white quartz. Then Son-of-a-Brave had set to work on it. He had shaped
it with a big horn knife and chipped it with a hammer. He had polished
it in a dish of sand until it shone like one of the icicles outside.
Then he had fitted it to a strong arrow and wished that he had a
chance to shoot. That was why Son-of-a-Brave stood at the entrance of
the wigwam, looking out across the snow that not even a deer had
tracked because the winter was so severe.

All at once Son-of-a-Brave saw something. An old hare struggled out of
a snow bank and limped down the path that led by the wigwam. In the
summer the hare was gray, the color of the trees among which he
lived, but in the winter he turned white so as not to be seen by
hunters when he went along through the snow. He did not think now,
however, whether any one saw him or not. He was a very old hare
indeed, and the winter was proving too hard for him. He was lame and
hungry and half frozen. He stopped right in front of Son-of-a-Brave
and sat up on his haunches, his ears drooping.

"Don't shoot me," he was trying to say. "I am at your mercy, too
starved to run away from you."

Son-of-a-Brave slipped his newly tipped arrow in his bow and aimed at
the old hare. It would be very easy indeed to shoot him, for the hare
did not move, and the boy thought what a warm pair of moccasin tops
his skin would make. Then Son-of-a-Brave took his arrow out again, for
another thought had come to him. He knew that it would be cowardly to
shoot a hare that was too weak to run away.

The boy stooped down and picked up the old hare, wrapping him up close
to his own warm body in his blanket. Then he went with him through the
snow of the woods until they came to a place where a stream lay, and
there were young willow trees growing along the edge. Here he set down
the hare, and began to dig away the ice and frozen earth with his new
arrow tip until the roots of the trees could be seen, and the soft
bark. How the hare did eat these! As Son-of-a-Brave left him and went
home, he could still see the famished creature nibbling the food for
which he had been so hungry.

The Indian boy never saw the hare again that winter. He knew that he
had dug a large enough hole so that the hare could find shelter and
have enough food. His bow and arrow were hung on the wall, and
Son-of-a-Brave sat by the fire with his mother and father until spring
came.

One day a bird sang out in the forest. Then the streams began to sing,
and the moss that made a carpet all over the ground outside the wigwam
was again green. Son-of-a-Brave felt like running and shouting. He
left off his blanket and went out into the woods to play.

He had scarcely gone a rod from the wigwam when he saw a large gray
hare, following him. This was strange for one usually ran away.
Son-of-a-Brave waited, and the hare came close to him. Then he saw,
because it limped, that it was the old hare that he had befriended in
the winter, but fat and well fed, and dressed in his summer coat.

The hare flopped his ears to Son-of-a-Brave and hopped a little way
ahead, so the boy followed. He went on, without stopping, until he
came to the very spot beside the stream where Son-of-a-Brave had dug
away the snow with his new arrow head to give the hare food.

Oh, what did the boy see there!

Blossoming out of the bare earth were beautiful flowers, as white
outside as a hare's ears in the winter time, and pink inside, like
their lining. They had a sweet perfume, different from anything that
had grown in the woods before. The grateful hare stood beside them and
seemed to be trying to say that these new flowers were his gift to the
boy who had helped him.

The Indian story tellers say that those were the first Mayflowers, and
that they have been blossoming in the woods ever since because the
hare brought them out of thankfulness to Son-of-a-Brave.



WHY THE BEES GATHER HONEY


Once upon a time, when it was the story age, and things were very
different from what they are now, two tribes of pygmies lived very
near each other.

These tribes of little people looked just alike, they both were very,
very tiny, and they both lived out of doors in the fields. But in one
respect they were quite different. One tribe of little folks spent a
great deal of time gathering food of all kinds from the woods and the
wild orchards, and storing it away for the winter. The other tribe of
little people never harvested or saved at all; they spent all their
time playing.

"Come and have a good time with us; winter is a long way off, and you
are wasting these sunny days," the lazy pygmies would call to the
industrious ones. But the busy pygmies always made the same reply to
their little neighbors,

"It is you who are wasting these days. Winter may be far away, but it
will be cold and barren when it does come. Everything will be covered
deep with snow, and what will we eat if we do not harvest now?"

But the lazy little people danced, and sang, and played on all summer.
"Why should we think of the winter?" they said to one another. "Our
neighbors who are gathering food so busily will probably have a large
enough store for two tribes. They will feed us."

And that is just what happened. When the snow flew, and the lazy
pygmies were almost at the point of starving, their kind little
neighbors brought them pots of wild honey on which they feasted and
grew fat.

Then another summer came. Like all industrious folk, the working
pygmies planned to accomplish more that season than they had the year
before.

"If we move, so as to live nearer the wild flowers, we can gather more
honey," they said. And the whole tribe of industrious little people
went to another field where wild roses and lilies, dripping with
nectar, grew.

At first the lazy pygmies did not even miss their kind little
neighbors. They danced, and sang, and played again through all the
long, bright summer days. When it grew cold, and they had to hide
themselves to escape the frost and had no food, they said,

"What does it matter? Our friends will come back to us soon with
supplies for the winter."

It was too long a journey, though, for the little workers to take
through the snow. The days grew more and more cold, and storms swept
the earth. The lazy little people cried out in their hunger to the
manito, the spirit who watched all outdoors, to come and help them.

So the manito came, but first he went to the industrious tribe of
little folk to reward them.

"You shall have wings," the manito said, "to take you from flower to
flower that you may gather honey with ease. You shall be called honey
bees, and, as you fly, you shall hum so that mortals may hear you and
take pattern from your industry. All your life long, you shall live on
honey."

Then the manito visited the lazy pygmies. "You, too, shall have
wings," he said, "but they shall be to carry you away as mortals drive
you from place to place. You shall have buzzing voices to tell mortals
you are near that they may kill you. Your food shall be only that
which is thrown away. You are the despised flies."

And ever since then the bees have gathered honey, and the flies have
been killed in memory of the day when one tribe of little people was
busy and kind, and the other tribe indolent and selfish.



BIRTHDAYS

THE BIRTHDAY PRESENT


One afternoon, as Mother sat out on the long porch paring apples, the
children came running in. There were Cousin Pen, who was visiting at
the farm, and Brother Fred, and little Ben, and they all began to talk
at the same time.

"To-morrow is Grandmother's birthday," they cried. "What can we give
her for a birthday present?"

"I think a silk dress would be nice if we had enough money to buy it,"
said Cousin Pen.

"Let's give her a watermelon, the biggest one we can find," said
Brother Fred.

"Or one of the new kittens; Grandmother likes cats," said little Ben.

"A roll of fresh butter, as yellow as gold and as sweet as clover,"
said Mother, "if you will do the churning yourselves."

"Oh, yes, we will churn," promised the children, and they ran off to
their play, well satisfied, for they could think of nothing nicer
than a roll of fresh butter, as yellow as gold and as sweet as clover,
for Grandmother's birthday present.

By and by the cows came home. Their names were Daisy and Dandelion and
Dolly, and as soon as the children heard the tinkle of their bells in
the lane they made haste to open the big back gate, for it was milking
time.

Father milked, and when he carried his buckets of sweet white milk to
the house, Mother strained the milk into the bright tin pans that
stood in a row on the dairy room shelves. The next afternoon every pan
was covered with thick yellow cream, all ready for the churning.
Mother skimmed the cream into the great stone churn.

"Who will churn first?" she asked.

"I will," said Cousin Pen. "I like to make the dasher go dancing up
and down."

So Cousin Pen put on one of Mother's gingham aprons and began to
churn. "It is easy to churn," she said at first, but after a little
her arms grew tired and the dasher grew heavy. She did not think of
giving up, though, for she was churning to get her Grandmother's
birthday butter, and the dasher seemed to say to her as it splashed up
and down:

    Oh, the cream to butter's turning,
    In the churning, churning, churning.
        It will turn, turn, turn,
        As you churn, churn, churn,
    All the cream to butter turning,
    In the churning, churning, churning.

"Brother Fred's turn," called Mother, and Brother Fred came running up
the kitchen steps to take the dasher from Cousin Pen.

"I think it is fun to churn. I don't believe I will ever get tired,"
he said.

He did get tired, but he would not stop even to rest, for he was
churning to get his Grandmother's birthday butter, and the dasher
seemed to say to him:

    Hear the buttermilk a-bumming,
    For the yellow butter's coming.
        It will come, come, come,
        With a bum, bum, bum,
    All the buttermilk a-bumming,
    When the yellow butter's coming.

"Little Ben's turn," called Mother. Little Ben had to stand on a box
to churn, and his cheeks were as red as roses as he worked away.

"Don't you want us to help you?" asked the other children.

"No, indeed," said little Ben; "I guess I can churn to get my
Grandmother some birthday butter," and he churned with a will, till
the dasher seemed to say to him:

    Bum, bum,
    Butter's come.

Mother looked in the churn and, sure enough, the flakes of golden
butter were floating on the milk.

"Hurrah!" cried little Ben. "Hurrah!" cried Cousin Pen and Brother
Fred, and they hurried into the kitchen to watch Mother as she
gathered the butter, and worked it, and salted it, and patted it into
a very fine roll. When she had done that she printed a star on top of
the roll, and the butter was ready to take to Grandmother.

"You must make Grandmother guess what it is," said Mother as she put
the butter into a nice little basket and covered it with a white
napkin.

"All right," said the children; so when they got to Grandmother's
house they called, "Grandmother, Grandmother, guess what we have
brought you for a birthday present."

"It is yellow as gold," said Brother Fred.

"It's sweet as clover," said Cousin Pen.

"We churned it ourselves," said little Ben; and Grandmother guessed
what it was with her very first guess.

"It is just what I wanted," she said, and she kissed them every one.
She had been thinking about them, too, all the long day, and she had
baked a beautiful cake for their tea.

Mother and Father came to tea, and all together they had the best
birthday party they had ever known.

The children thought the birthday cake was the nicest that they had
ever tasted, but Grandmother said she thought nothing could be nicer
than her birthday butter.



THE BIRTHDAY OF THE INFANTA


It was the birthday of the Infanta. She was just twelve years old, and
the sun shone brightly in the garden of the palace.

On ordinary days, she was only allowed to play with children of her
own rank, but on this, her birthday, the King had given orders that
she was to invite any one whom she liked to amuse her. So she had many
children with whom to play, but she was the most beautiful of them
all. Her robe was of gray satin, embroidered with silver and studded
with pearls. Two tiny slippers with big pink rosettes peeped out
beneath her dress as she walked. Pink and pearl was her great gauze
fan, and in her hair, which, like an aureole of gold, stood out
stiffly around her pale little face, she had a beautiful white rose.

The Infanta watched her companions play hide and seek round the stone
vases and the old moss-grown statues of the garden. Then a procession
of noble boys came out to meet her and led her solemnly to a little
gilt and ivory chair that was placed on a raised dais above an arena.
The children grouped themselves all round, laughing and whispering,
for the Infanta's birthday sports were now to begin.

There was a marvellous bull fight in which some of the boys pranced
about on richly caparisoned hobby horses and vanquished a bull made of
wicker work and stretched hide. Next came the puppet show, and then a
juggler who played on a curious reed pipe for two green and gold
snakes to dance. He made a tiny orange tree grow out of sand, and
blossom and bear fruit; and he took the Infanta's fan and changed it
into a bluebird that flew about and sang. Then a shaggy brown bear and
some little apes were brought in. The bear stood on his head, and the
apes fought with tiny swords and went through a regular soldiers'
drill like the King's own bodyguard.

But the funniest part of the whole morning's entertainment was
undoubtedly the dancing of the little dwarf.

When he stumbled into the arena, waddling on his crooked legs and
wagging his huge misshapen head from side to side, the children went
off into a loud shout of delight; and the Infanta, herself, laughed so
much that one of the Court ladies had to remind her that such
merriment was not befitting a princess.

It was the dwarf's first appearance, too. He had been discovered only
the day before, running wild in the forest, and had been brought to
the palace to surprise the Infanta. His father, a poor charcoal
burner, was pleased to get rid of so ugly and useless a child. Perhaps
the most amusing thing about the little dwarf was his happiness. He
did not know how ugly he was; he did not know that he was a dwarf.

When the children laughed, he laughed as joyously as any of them. At
the close of each dance he made the funniest bows, smiling and nodding
to them just as if he were one of them. As for the Infanta, he could
not keep his eyes off her and seemed to dance for her alone. When, in
jest, she took the beautiful white rose out of her hair and threw it
at him, the dwarf put his hand on his heart and knelt before her, his
little bright eyes sparkling with pleasure.

The Infanta laughed at him until long after he had run out of the
arena, and she commanded that his dance be immediately repeated. But
it was growing warm in the garden. The Infanta was reminded that a
wonderful feast awaited her, including a birthday cake with her
initials worked all over it in painted sugar, and a lovely silver flag
waving in the top. So she rose with great dignity, and gave orders
that the little dwarf should perform before her again, after she had
taken her nap.

Now when the little dwarf heard that he was to dance a second time
before the Infanta, he was so proud that he ran about the garden,
kissing the white rose in his great delight. She had given him her
beautiful rose; she must love him, he thought. Perhaps she would put
him at her right hand in the throne room and let him be her playmate,
for, although the dwarf had never been in a palace before, he knew a
great many wonderful things.

He could make little cages out of rushes for the grasshoppers to sing
in, and he knew where the wood pigeon built her nest. All the wild
dances he knew: the swift dance in a red mantle with the autumn, the
light dance in blue sandals over the corn, the dance with white snow
wreaths in the winter, and the blossom dance through the orchards in
the spring. The Infanta would love his forest friends, too, the
rabbits that scurried about in the fern, the hedgehogs that could curl
themselves up into prickly balls, and the great wise tortoises that
crawled slowly about, nibbling the leaves and shaking their heads.
Yes, she must certainly come to the forest to play with him!

He would give her his own little bed, and would watch outside the
window until dawn to see that the wolves did not creep too near the
hut. Then, in the morning, he would tap at the shutters and wake her,
and they would go out and play together all day long.

But where was the Infanta?

The whole palace seemed asleep. The dwarf wandered around looking for
some place through which he might gain an entrance, and at last he
caught sight of a small door that was lying open. He slipped through,
and found himself in a splendid hall. He followed it to the end,
slipping through velvet curtains from one gilded room to another, each
one more magnificent than the last. Here was another room, the
brightest and most beautiful of all. The walls were patterned with
birds and dotted with silver blossoms. The furniture was of heavy
silver festooned with wreaths. It seemed as if the Infanta must run
across the pale green floor to meet him. At last he discovered that he
was no longer alone in the palace. Standing under the shadow of the
doorway, at the extreme end of the room, he saw a little figure
watching him. His heart trembled, a cry of joy broke from his lips,
and he moved out into the sunlight. As he did so, the figure moved
out also, and the little dwarf saw it plainly.

The Infanta? No, it was a monster; not properly shaped as all other
people were, but with a crooked back and limbs! The little dwarf
frowned and the monster frowned. He struck at it, and it returned blow
for blow. What was it, he asked himself? He took the Infanta's rose
from his coat and kissed it to comfort himself, for he was afraid. The
monster had a rose, too, and kissed it also.

So the truth came to the little dwarf. It was he who was misshapen and
ugly to look at; a mirror had shown him. He could not bear it and he
fell, crying, to the floor.

At that moment the Infanta, herself, came in through the open door,
and when she saw the ugly little dwarf lying on the ground and beating
it with his clenched hands, she went off into shouts of happy
laughter.

"His dancing was funny," said the Infanta, "but his acting is funnier
still. He is almost as good as the puppets," and she clapped her
hands.

But the little dwarf never looked up, and his sobs grew fainter and
fainter, and suddenly he gave a curious gasp and clutched his side.
And then he fell back, and lay quite still.

"That was splendid!" said the Infanta, "and now you must get up and
dance for me!"

But the little dwarf made no answer.

The Infanta stamped her foot, and called to the Court Chamberlain.

"My funny little dwarf is sulking," she cried. "You must wake him up
and tell him to dance for me!"

So the Chamberlain came in from the terrace where he had been walking
and bent over the dwarf, tapping him on his cheek with his embroidered
glove.

But the little dwarf never moved.

The Chamberlain looked grave, and he knelt beside the dwarf, putting
his hand on his heart. And after a few moments he rose up, and making
a low bow to the Infanta, said,

"My beautiful Princess, your funny little dwarf will never dance
again. It is a pity, for he is so ugly that he might have made the
King smile."

"But why will he not dance again?" asked the Infanta, laughing.

"Because his heart is broken," answered the Chamberlain.

And the Infanta frowned, and her rose-leaf lips curled in scorn. "For
the future let those who come to play with me have no hearts," she
cried, and she ran out into the garden.



THE PRICKLY BUSH


It was the only growing thing in the whole, beautiful garden that was
prickly. It stood beside the sunny path, so low that the white rabbit
could jump over it. It longed to spread its branches across the path
to be touched by the gardener and the children, but no one cared to go
very near the little bush that was so covered with thorns.

The day lily had broad, soft leaves without a single thorn. It spread
them away from the prickly bush. The tulips had tall, smooth leaves.
They held them very high, and away from the bush that was so full of
thorns. The white rabbit that lived in the garden and loved to sun
himself beneath the plants was very careful not to go near the prickly
little bush.

"I must tie this bush so that it cannot hurt any one," the gardener
said one day as he passed it. "The thorns on it are growing larger and
larger every day." So he cut a long, straight stick, and painted it
green, and stuck it in the ground beside the prickly little bush. Then
he tied the bush tightly to the stick, which kept it from leaning over
the path.

"Be very careful not to go near that ugly little bush," said the
children to each other. "It will scratch you even worse than the cat
scratches."

All this was very discouraging, and the prickly little bush drooped
and did not feel like growing.

The days of the summer grew warmer, the sun shone, and soft rains fell
upon the garden. A pleasant breeze came singing down the path, and the
sun, and the rain, and the breeze, each one, spoke to the prickly
little bush.

"Climb up a little higher," the great, yellow sun seemed to say. So
the prickly little bush pulled and stretched its prickly branches up
toward the blue sky, and as it grew higher and higher, its thorns
went, too, out of the way of the rabbit and the children.

"Push harder," the pattering raindrops seemed to say to the roots of
the prickly little bush as they soaked down through the ground. So the
roots of the prickly little bush pushed, and pushed until the branches
seemed bursting, and green leaves and tiny buds came and covered over
the thorns so that they could scarcely be seen at all.

"Open your buds as wide as you can," the warm breezes seemed to sing
as they stopped in the branches of the prickly little bush. So the
little bush unfolded its brown buds as wide and as prettily as it
could.

Then it came to be the most beautiful day of all, the mother's
birthday. The children went out to the garden to try to find the
loveliest thing that grew there to be their mother's birthday gift.
And that was not easy because the garden was so full of lovely things.

"I am sure that she will like this tall white lily," said one of the
children.

"But the lily fades so quickly after it is picked," said another
child. "I think that she would like a red tulip."

"But our mother loves pink better than she loves red," said the
youngest child. "Do let us go on a little farther before we decide
what to take her for her birthday. Oh, how pretty--" The youngest
child stopped in front of the prickly little bush, and the others
crowded close to see, too.

They never would have known that it was the prickly bush, at all. It
stood as proudly and as straight as a little tree, and its green
leaves covered it like a beautiful dress. Peeping out from between the
leaves were the most lovely pink flowers, as soft as velvet and with
so many curling petals that one could not count them. They smelled
more sweetly than any other flower in the garden, and the children
could scarcely speak at first, they were so surprised.

"Roses!" said one child.

"Pink roses!" said another child.

"The prickly little bush has turned into a rose bush for our mother's
birthday," said the youngest child.

So they smelled of the beautiful pink roses, and touched them to feel
how soft and like velvet the petals were. Then they decided that the
pink roses that had bloomed on the prickly little bush were the
loveliest flowers in the whole garden, and they picked the largest
pink rose of all to carry into the house for their mother's birthday
gift.

On the way they met the gardener, and they showed him the beautiful
rose, telling him how it had grown upon the prickly little bush. He
smiled, for he knew a great deal about the strange ways of his plants.

"I thought it would bear roses this year," the gardener said. "It
often happens that the bush with the sharpest thorns to carry, once it
blooms, has the prettiest roses."



ARBOR DAY

THE TINKER'S WILLOW


One day, when my Grandfather Gifford was about seven years old, he
looked across the road to his father's blacksmith shop, and seeing
some one sitting on the bench by the door, went over to learn who it
was.

He found a little old man, with thick, bushy eyebrows and bright blue
eyes. His clothes were made all of leather, which creaked and rattled
when he moved. By his side was a partly open pack, in which
grandfather could see curious tools and sheets of shiny tin. By that
he knew that the man was the travelling tinker, who came once or twice
a year to mend leaky pans and pails, and of whom he had heard his
mother speak.

The old man was eating his luncheon--a slice or two of bread, a bit of
cold meat, and a cold potato; and because it seemed so poor a
luncheon, grandfather went back to the house and brought two big
apples from the cellar. The old man thanked him and ate the apples.
Then he got up, brushed the bread crumbs from his leather breeches,
and taking a little tin dipper from his pack, went down to the brook
for a drink of water. When he had had his fill, he came back to the
bench and sat down.

"Now, my boy," he said, "we will make a tree to grow here by the
brook. There ought to be one, for shade."

"Make a tree!" cried grandfather. "How can we make a tree? I thought
only God made trees."

"True," said the old man. "Only God makes trees, but sometimes we can
help Him."

With that, he took from the bench at his side a stick that he had cut
somewhere by the road, and had been using for a cane. It was slender
and straight, and grandfather noticed that the bark was smooth and of
a beautiful light green.

"Of this," said the old man, "we will make a tree in which the birds
of the air shall build their nests, and under which the beasts of the
field shall find shelter, and rest in the heat of the day. But first
there shall be music, to please the spirits of the springtime. Take
this stick down to the brook, and wet it all over."

So my grandfather took the stick and did as the old man told him. When
he came back to the bench, the tinker had a large horn-handled knife
open in his hand. With the blade, which seemed very sharp, he made a
single cut through the bark of the stick, about a foot from one end,
and by holding the knife still, and spinning the stick slowly toward
him in his fingers, he carried the cut all the way round. Then, near
the end, he cut a deep notch, and four or five smaller notches in a
line farther down; and after that he laid the stick across his knee,
and turning it all the while, began to pound it gently with the handle
of the knife.

When he had pounded a long time, he laid down the knife, and taking
the stick in both hands, gave it a little twist. At that, grandfather
heard something pop, and saw the bark slip from the end of the stick
above the knife-cut, all whole except for the notches, a smooth, green
tube.

Of the part of the stick from which he had slipped the bark, the old
man cut away more than half, and across the upper end he made a
smooth, slanting cut. Then he bade grandfather wet the stick again,
and when he had done it, he slipped the bark back to its place, and
put the end of the stick in his mouth and began to blow; and out of
the holes that he had cut, and which he stopped, one after another,
with his fingers, came what grandfather said was the sweetest music he
had ever heard--music like the voice of a bird singing a long way off,
or like that of a tiny bell.

As the old man played, he seemed to forget all about my grandfather;
but by and by he laid down the whistle, and smiled and said, "Come.
Now we will make the tree." And together the old man and the boy
walked down to the brook, and crossed over on some stepping stones, to
a place where the ground was soft and black and wet; and there, while
the boy held the stick straight, the old man pushed it far down into
the mud until it stood firm and true, with the whistle at the upper
end of it. And the old man took off his hat, and bowing to the stick,
seemed to my grandfather to make a speech to it.

"Little brother," he said, "we leave you here, where you will never be
hungry or thirsty. You have made your little music for us to-day, but
when you have grown tall and strong, One Who is greater than I shall
play upon you with the breath of His mighty winds; and when this
little boy is older than I am now,"--and here he put his hand on my
grandfather's head,--"his children's children shall hear your music
and be glad."

In a little while after that, the old man put on his pack and went
away; but my grandfather could not forget him, and almost every day he
looked at the stick by the brook. The whistle at the top began to
wither and dry up, and the loose bark cracked open and fell away,
until it seemed as if the whole stick must be dead; but one day my
grandfather saw that a tiny bud had appeared below where the whistle
had been; and the bud became a little sprout, and the sprout a shoot,
and other shoots followed, until the stick was indeed a little tree.

Through all the years that came after, it grew taller and stronger,
until "The Tinker's Willow" was known as the greatest tree in all the
countryside, and the birds did, indeed, build their nests among its
branches, and the cattle lay in its shade in the hot noontide.

Even when my grandfather was an old, old man, and had grown-up sons
and daughters, and many grandchildren, he loved to sit on the bench by
the shop and listen to the voice of the wind among the leaves of the
great tree; and then, if we asked him, he would tell us again of the
tinker who planted it, and of the music that came from the stick out
of which it grew.



THE STORY OF THE LAUREL


Once upon a time there was a great flood over all the earth. Some
wicked people had angered the gods, and Jupiter sent all the waters of
the earth and sky to cover the earth.

He did not want the waters to dry up until all the people were
drowned, so he shut fast in their caverns all the winds except the
south wind, which was sometimes called the messenger of the rain. And
Jupiter sent this messenger of his to wander over all the earth.

A mighty figure of ruin he was, as he swept along, emptying the clouds
as he passed. His face was covered with a veil like the night, his
hair was loaded with showers, and his wings and his cloak were
dripping wet. The gods of the ocean and the river gods all helped him
in his work; till, in a short time the whole earth was out of sight
under a vast sea and all the wicked were drowned.

Then Jupiter was sorry to see the earth looking so empty and deserted,
so he called home the south wind and set the other winds free. The
north wind and the east wind and the gentle west wind swept over the
earth until it was again dry and green. After that Jupiter sent a new
race of better men and women to live upon it.

But, strange to say, the water had brought forth many queer new
animals; and among them was a huge monster, so ugly that I will not
even try to tell you what it looked like, and so wicked and cruel that
the people for miles around the swampy land where it dwelt lived in
constant terror.

No one dared go near the hideous creature until one day, the archer
Apollo, the sun-god, came with his glittering arrows, and slew it,
after a fierce battle. The people were then very happy. They made a
great hero of Apollo, and he left the country feeling very proud of
himself.

As he was going along, whom should he meet but the little god Cupid,
armed with his bow and arrows. Cupid was the young god of love,
sometimes called the god of the bow, and there are many stories about
how wonderful his arrows were.

Some of Cupid's arrows were sharp-pointed and made of shining gold,
and whoever was pierced by one of these felt love very deeply, at
once. But his other arrows were blunt and made of dull lead and,
strange as it may seem, made the people whom they struck hate each
other.

When Apollo met Cupid thus armed, he began to taunt him.

"What have you to do with the arrow?" he said in a boastful tone.
"That is my weapon. I have just proved it by slaying the terrible
monster. Come, Cupid, give up the bow which rightfully belongs to me."

Now, Cupid was a very quick tempered little god, and he cried in a
passion, "Though your arrow may pierce all other things, my arrow can
wound you." Then he flew off in a very bad humor, and tried to think
of some way in which he could make Apollo feel which of them was a
better marksman.

By and by, he came to a grove in which a beautiful nymph, Daphne, was
wandering. This was just what Cupid wanted. He shot an arrow of lead
into her heart, and the nymph felt a cold shiver run through her. She
looked up to see what had happened, and caught a glimpse of Apollo's
golden garments above the tree-tops.

Cupid saw him at the same instant, and, quick as a flash, he planted a
golden arrow in Apollo's heart. Then he flew away, satisfied.

The golden arrow did its work only too well. No sooner had the sun-god
caught a glimpse of the beautiful nymph, Daphne, than he began to feel
a deep love for her. And, just as quickly, Daphne had been made to
fear Apollo, and turned and fled from him into the woods.

Apollo followed Daphne in hot haste, calling to her not to be afraid
and not to run so fast, for fear she might hurt herself on the thorns
and brambles. At last he cried, "Do not try to run from me. I love
you, and will do you no harm. I am the great sun-god Apollo!"

But Daphne was only the more terrified at these words and fled more
swiftly, while Apollo still pursued her. He had almost reached her
side, when she stretched out her arms to her father, the god of the
river, along whose banks she was fleeing.

"Oh, father," she cried, "help me! Either let the earth open and
swallow me, or so change this form of mine that Apollo will not love
me."

Hardly had Daphne finished her plea, when her limbs grew heavy, and a
thin bark began to cover her flesh. Her hair changed to green leaves,
her arms to slender branches, and her feet, which had borne her along
so swiftly, were now rooted to the ground. Her father had answered her
plea. Daphne, the nymph, was changed into a laurel tree.

When Apollo saw that his beautiful Daphne had become a tree, he threw
his arms about the newly-formed bark and cried, "Since you cannot be
my wife, fair Daphne, at least you shall be my tree, my laurel. Your
leaves shall be used to crown the heads of the victorious brave, and
they shall remain green alike in summer and in winter."

And so it came to pass. The laurel, Apollo's emblem from that day on,
became the sign of honor and triumph.



THE LITTLE ACORN


It was a little acorn that hung on the bough of a tree.

It had a tender green cup and a beautifully carved saucer to hold it.
The mother oak fed it with sweet sap every day, the birds sang
good-night songs above it, and the wind rocked it gently to and fro.
The oak leaves made a soft green shade above it, so the sun might not
shine too warmly on its green cover, and it was as happy as an acorn
could be.

There were many other acorns on the tree, and the mother tree, through
her wind voices, whispered loving words to all her babies.

The summer days were so bright and pleasant that the acorn never
thought of anything but sunshine and an occasional shower to wash the
dust off the leaves. But summer ends, and the autumn days came. The
green cup of the acorn turned to a brown cup, and it was well that it
grew stiffer and harder, for the cold winds began to blow.

The leaves turned from green to golden brown, and some of them were
whisked away by the rough wind. The little acorn began to grow uneasy.

"Isn't it always summer?" it asked.

"Oh, no," whispered the mother oak, "the cold days come and the leaves
must go and the acorns too. I must soon lose my babies."

"Oh, I could never leave this kind bough," said the frightened acorn.
"I should be lost and forgotten if I were to fall."

So it tried to cling all the closer to its bough; but at last it was
alone there. The leaves were blown away, and some of them had made a
blanket for the brown acorns lying on the ground.

One night the tree whispered a message to the lonely acorn. "This tree
is your home only for a time. This is not your true life. Your brown
shell is only the cover for a living plant, which can never be set
free until the hard shell drops away, and that can never happen until
you are buried in the ground and wait for the spring to call you. So,
let go, little acorn, and fall to the ground, and some day you will
wake to a new and glorious life."

The acorn listened and believed, for was not the tree its mother? It
bade her good-bye, and, loosing its hold, dropped to the ground.

Then, indeed, it seemed as if the acorn were lost. That night a high
wind blew and covered it deep under a heap of oak leaves. The next day
a cold wind washed the leaves closer together, and trickling streams
from the hillside swept some earth over them. The acorn was buried.

"But I shall wake again," it said, and so it fell asleep. It was very
cold, but the frost fairies wove a soft, white snow blanket to cover
it, and so it was kept warm.

If you had walked through the woods that winter, you would have said
that the acorn was gone. But spring came and called to all the
sleeping things underground to waken and come forth. The acorn heard
and tried to move, but the brown shell held it fast. Some raindrops
trickled through the ground to moisten the shell, and one day the
pushing life within set it free. The brown shell was of no more use
and was lost in the ground, but the young plant lived. It heard voices
of birds calling it upward. It must grow. "A new and glorious life,"
the mother oak had said.

"I must arise," the acorn thought, and up the living plant came, up
into the world of sunshine and beauty. It looked around. There was the
same green moss in the woods; it could hear the same singing brook.

"Now I know that I shall live and grow," it said.

"Yes," rustled the mother oak, "you are now an oak tree. This is your
real life."

And the little oak tree was glad, and stretched higher and higher
toward the sun.

       *       *       *       *       *



BOOKS BY
CAROLYN SHERWIN BAILEY


DAILY PROGRAM OF GIFT AND OCCUPATION WORK

FOR THE CHILDREN'S HOUR

FIRELIGHT STORIES

STORIES AND RHYMES FOR A CHILD

SONGS OF HAPPINESS

FOR THE STORY TELLER

EVERY CHILD'S FOLK SONGS AND GAMES

STORIES CHILDREN NEED

TELL ME ANOTHER STORY

       *       *       *       *       *





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