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´╗┐Title: Seven Little People and their Friends
Author: Scudder, Horace Elisha, 1838-1902
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 "Seven Little People and their Friends" ***

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FRIENDS***


SEVEN LITTLE PEOPLE AND THEIR FRIENDS

by

HORACE E. SCUDDER



Boston and New York
Houghton Mifflin Company

The Riverside Press Cambridge

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1862,
by Horace E. Scudder
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the
Southern District of New York.


[Illustration: Shahtah gets the coat on with difficulty.--_See p.
178._]


The Seven Little People who have lived with me for the last two or three
years, and with whom I have been wont to entertain my friends among the
children, are now about to leave their quiet home and make their
appearance in society. The experience which they severally have enjoyed,
whether under the sea or in Percanian palaces, or on desert islands, or
upon birth-nights, has perhaps hardly fitted them for associating with
the world's people; and yet, I trust, they will find some glad to
receive them, and hear them tell of the friends whom they found in their
various wanderings. It is true that two of these Little People have no
friends at all, but then it was their own choice, for did they not
deliberately cast themselves away, and abjure all society but that of
their mute companion? It will be found also that in one of these Stories
there are no Little People, but it is no more than just that the Friends
should for once be allowed their drama to themselves. All of these Seven
are the children of my brain, and I am somewhat loth to let them go so
far from me; but if they find no hospitable fireside to receive them,
they will at least always be welcome at mine.



CONTENTS

  THE THREE WISHES
    WISH THE FIRST--Under the Sea                                     11
    WISH THE SECOND--On the Mountain                                  37
    WISH THE THIRD AND LAST--In the Cottage                           49

  A CHRISTMAS STOCKING WITH A HOLE IN IT
      I. The Stocking is Hung                                         57
     II. Midnight                                                     71
    III. Kleiner Traum Visits Peter Mit                               79
     IV. Kleiner Traum Visits David Morgridge                         88
      V. Morgridge Klaus                                              92

  THE LITTLE CASTAWAYS                                                99

  A FAERY SURPRISE PARTY                                             133

  THE ROCK ELEPHANT                                                  149

  THE OLD BROWN COAT
      I. The Gift                                                    175
     II. The Sacrifice                                               199

  NEW YEAR'S DAY IN THE GARDEN                                       219


THE THREE WISHES

BESSIE'S STORY



Wish the First.--Under the Sea.

[Illustration]


Little Effie Gilder's porridge did taste good! and so it ought; for
beside that Mother Gilder made it, and Mother Gilder's porridge was
always just right, Effie was eating it on her seat upon the sea-shore in
front of her father's house. The sun was just going down and the tide
was rising, so that the little waves came tumbling up on the beach, as
if they were racing, each one falling headlong on the sand in the
scramble to get there first; and then slipping back again, there would
be left a long streak of white foam just out of reach of Effie. She was
sitting on what she called her chair, but it was a chair without legs or
back or arms--only a great flat stone, where she used to come every
sunshiny afternoon and eat her bowl of porridge.

It was smoking-hot--that porridge! and she was eating away with a great
relish, holding the bowl in her lap and drumming upon it with her
drumstick of a spoon. I wish you could have seen her as she sat there,
with her hat falling off and the sun touching her hair and turning the
rich auburn into a golden colour. But somebody did see her; for just
before the sun went down, Effie spied an old man coming along the beach
to the place where she sat. "That must be Uncle Ralph," thought she,
"coming home from fishing." "No," she said; as he came nearer, "it
isn't, it's Granther Allen." "Why no! it isn't Granther; who can it be?
what a queer old man!"

[Illustration: "Effie spied an old man coming along the beach."]

By this time the old man had come quite near. He was a very old man.
His hair was long and as white as snow; he was so bent over that as he
leaned upon his smooth stout cane, his head almost touched the knob on
the top of it; and it kept wagging sidewise, as if he were saying "No"
all the time. He had on a long grey coat almost the colour of his hair,
and it reached down to his feet on which was a pair of shoes so covered
with dust that they were of the same colour as his coat; and his hat was
the oddest of all! it was very high and peaked, and looked as if it had
been rubbed in the flour barrel before he put it on.

This old man came up toward Effie very slowly, his head shaking all the
time and his feet dragging one after the other as if he could hardly
reach her. Effie began to be frightened, but when he spoke to her it was
with such a sweet musical voice that she thought she had never heard
anything half so beautiful.

"My little child," said he, "I am very tired; I have come a long way
to-day and have had nothing to eat since morning. Will you give me some
of your porridge that looks so nice?"

"Oh yes! sir," said Effie, jumping up and giving him the bowl. "But
there isn't much left. Won t you come into the house and mother will
give you some bread."

"Oh, no! my little girl," said the old man. "I do not need anything more
than this porridge to make me strong again;" and as he spoke, he raised
himself up and stood as straight as his own smooth stick that his hand
hardly rested on; and his head stopped wagging, and he stood there a
tall old man with a beautiful face and such a beautiful voice as he
asked again:

"What is your name, my little girl?"

"Effie Gilder, sir. And this is my birth-day; I'm six years old to-day."

"Six years old to-day! and what shall I give you, little Effie, on this
your birth-day? I love all good little children, and you were good to me
to give me your porridge. Little Effie, I am going to let you wish three
things, but you may only wish one thing at a time. One thing to-day, and
another when your next birth-day comes, and the last when the birth-day
after that comes. Now tell me what you wish most of all."

Effie looked at him in wonder. "What! really? have any thing she wanted
for the asking?"

"Yes," said the old man; "but you must ask it before the sun goes down."

Effie looked at the sun; it had nearly touched the water and looked like
a great red ball, and she thought it would go down, clear, into the
water, as she had so often seen it, without any clouds around it.

"I wish,--" said she, "let me see what I wish! oh, I wish that I might go
down to the bottom of the ocean and see all the beautiful shells and the
fishes, and every thing that's going on down there!" When she said it,
the little waves laughed as they came scampering up to her, as if they
said--"What a droll idea!"

"You shall go," said the old man, "before many more suns have set. And
next year when your birth-day comes round, I will come again for your
second wish. Farewell, my little child."

Effie looked at him, and lo! he was quite bent over again, and his head
was shaking harder than ever, as if he said "No, no, no," all the while;
then she looked at the sun to see it go down, clear, into the water, but
about it were clouds of gold and crimson, and the sun just peeped out
behind them, as behind bars, for a moment, and then went down covered by
the clouds into the black waters; and in a moment or two, as she stood
watching, the beautiful clouds were grey and sombre and spread in a
long, low line along the horizon.

"Effie! Effie! come into the house!" she heard her mother calling; and
there was Mrs. Gilder, standing in the door-way with her gown tucked up
around her, and an apron on, which was the most wonderful apron for
pockets you ever saw! I should not dare to say how many pockets it had,
for fear you would not believe me, but if you had seen how many things
she kept in them, you would think with me, that there never was such a
wonderful apron.

"Come here, Effie," said she, and diving into one of her apron pockets
she pulled out a little parcel. "See what I've brought you from the
village for a birth-day present;" and she unrolled the paper and showed
her a little candy dog; his body was white, striped blue and red, and
his short tail stood straight up, which was more than the little dog
could do, for when he was put on the table, instead of standing on his
four legs like respectable dogs, he fell over on his side. Effie took
the dog, but did not seem half so glad to get it as her mother thought
she would, and even forgot to thank her for it.

"Oh, mother!" said she, "did you see that real old man just now, with
such long white hair, and a white coat that came way down to his heels,
and his head went just so"--shaking her own, "and oh! he told me I might
have any thing I wanted, and I said I wanted to go down to the bottom of
the ocean, and he said I should, and he's coming again on my next
birth-day, and I am to wish for something again. Do you think he really
can take me to the bottom of the sea?"

"Nonsense! child. It's some old crazy man. I wonder you didn't run away
from him. Come into the house, it's time for you to go to bed. And bring
your dog along with you. You mustn't eat it. It's only to play with."

"I hate that nasty little dog!" said Effie, and her pretty face became
twisted into a pucker, "and I don't want to go to bed."

"Tut, tut! Puss," said Father Gilder, who was smoking his pipe by the
fire. "What! naughty on your birth-day? I thought you were going to be
good always after this. I guess she's tired, mother."

Effie's pouting was crying by this time, and Mother Gilder brought a
handkerchief out of another of her pockets, and wiping the child's face,
led her to her little cot and put her to bed with the little dog where
she could see it when she woke up, lying stiff on his side with his tail
straight up in the air.

Father Gilder shook his head. "'T won't do, mother," said he, "we can't
have little Effie a cross child. Bless me! why, my pipe's out! where's
some tobacco?"

"Here," said Mrs. Gilder, plunging her hand into another of her
wonderful apron's pockets and fishing out some tobacco, and then diving
into another for matches, filling and lighting her old man's pipe. They
looked at the little child lying in her crib, and thought now they would
do any thing in the world to make her happy and good. She was fast
asleep now, and her little face had become untied--for you know it was
in a knot when she lay down--and now she was smiling in her sleep.
Perhaps she was dreaming about the old man with the beautiful voice, and
thinking she saw him again.

The next day, Effie was playing on the beach, picking up the shells and
making little holes in the sand, watching to see the water come up and
fill them, when she remembered the old man she had seen the day before,
and she said to herself, "I wish he would come and take me down to the
bottom of the ocean!" when, lo! just as she had wished it, the queerest
little man came walking out of the water to where she stood. He was the
funniest looking little man, I'll be bound, you ever saw. He was not
more than three feet high, and he had a hump-back--so humped that it
looked almost like a wide horn coming out of his back. And he was
dressed entirely in green; just as green as sea-weed, and to tell the
truth, his clothes were made of sea-weed when you came to look at them
closely; all woven of green sea-weed, and on the hump, his coat, which
was made to fit it, was stuffed with soft sea grass so that it looked
like a cushion. His feet were great flat feet, and his hands were
almost as large as his feet; and as for his legs, they were so crooked
and so covered with barnacles, that you never would have known them for
legs anywhere else. He had on a cap made of seal-skin with two ends
bobbing behind.

He came right out of the water and stood before Effie, dripping with
wet, and bowing, and smiling, and scraping and twitching his cap, as
much as to say, "Your most obedient servant, Miss, and what can I do for
you this morning?" and he did say out aloud, "It's all right! Get up
there"--pointing to his hump--"and I will carry you down safely, little
maiden!"

"But I shall get wet!" laughed Effie.

"Oh, no!" said he, "I'll cover you up." So he stooped down, but he
didn't have very far to stoop, he was so short; and she got on top of
the hump and held on by the ends of the seal-skin cap that were dangling
behind. The little man put his hands in his pockets and pulled out
bunches of sea-weed and covered her up with it, and tied her on with
long string of sea-grass, until she was quite safe, and then waded
straight into the water.

The beach sloped quickly and the little man was short, so that in a few
strides the water was up to the hump on which Effie was sitting. Then
the little girl began to be frightened and shut her eyes tight, and when
she heard the water splashing about them, she wanted to cry out, but she
couldn't and held on tight to the bobs of the seal-skin cap. Then she
felt the water rushing over their heads, but still the little sea-green
man went striding over the ground, putting out his flat hands at his
side, as if they were oars, and seeming to push the water away as he
went swiftly forward. At first Effie could hear the water overhead,
tumbling and rolling about and rising up and down; then it became
quieter, and finally it was perfectly still, except when some fish would
dart by them, just grazing the hump and disturbing the water a little.

Now, when every thing was so quiet, she began slowly to raise her
eyelids a little, until she had her eyes wide open and was staring about
her. She seemed to be looking through green glass, and could not see
very distinctly, but every once in a while some dim fish would move
beside her; and as her eyes got more used to the place, all things
became clearer, and soon she saw that on both sides of her and behind,
there was a multitude of fishes of all sizes. They swam beside her, the
older and bigger ones moving very sedately, and keeping the same order;
but the little frisky fishes would tumble around in great glee, and come
darting up to Effie, putting their cold noses up to her face and then go
racing back, giggling and whipping their tails about in a fine frolic;
and the awkward, bungling, good-natured dolphins, would come tumbling in
among the steady fishes and make the greatest commotion, almost
upsetting little Effie two or three times, and then go bouncing off,
shaking their fat sides with laughter. There was an old sword-fish, that
seemed to be a kind of special constable, who kept going round and
round, pricking the dolphins whenever he got a chance and frightening
the little fishes almost out of their senses; as often as he made his
appearance, with that long sword of his sticking out, such a scampering
as there would be! and how the wee fishes would try to hide behind the
dolphins, and how the dolphins would slap them with their fins, and go
rolling in among the steady fishes, as if they were the most quiet,
well-disposed, respectable fishes that ever were. Oh! how they frolicked
and tumbled about the little sea-green man with Effie on his back! Effie
shouted and clapped her hands in great glee, and tried to hop up and
down on the little man's hump, but she was so tied down that she
couldn't, so she kept digging her toes into his back, and twitching the
bobs of the seal-skin cap, till he got going at a terrible pace, so fast
that it was as much as the fishes and dolphins could do to keep up with
him, without playing by the way!

Now, after they had gone what seemed to Effie a great way, every thing
became clearer, and the little man shortened his pace and began
arranging his cap, which Effie had pulled out of shape, and smoothing
down his sea-weed clothes; the fishes all went slowly along in their
regular places, only the little fishes behind would teaze the dolphins,
and the sword-fish looked as stately as the old fellow could, and gave
some serious digs at the dolphins whenever they showed signs of being
unruly; and lastly, two or three flying-fish shot off in advance of the
rest, and the procession moved slowly on.

"What is coming, I wonder!" thought Effie. Then she looked all about her
and over the little man's shoulder to see what was in front; and away
off in the distance she saw the dim outline of something that looked
like a gate-way. And as they came nearer, sure enough it was a gate-way,
and when they came up to it she saw the pillars, made of beautiful white
coral, and the gate itself made of a whale's skin, polished and studded
with shark's teeth as white as ivory. The little man stopped before the
gate, which was shut, and the sword-fish came forward in the most
pompous manner, and knocked with his sword upon the coral posts.

"Who comes here?" asked a voice within. "I demand it in the name of the
Queen of the Ocean Deeps."

"I come," said the little sea-green man, "I, the servant of the Queen of
the Ocean Deeps bearing with me the earth-born child. I crave
admittance in the name of the Queen."

At that the gates swung open and the procession moved in. Once through
the gate-way, where sat the porter--a hermit crab--the road, paved with
lovely shells, wound about, and Effie held her breath to see how
beautiful it was. They moved along the shining floor, and by-and-by they
came to another gate, more beautiful than the first, where they went
through the same form, only the porter within, just before he swung open
the doors, said:

"Enter, servant of the Queen of the Ocean Deeps, bearing the earth-born
child, and ye his attendants, but let no one enter who does not the
bidding of our good-loving Queen." As each one passed in, the porter
said:

  "When thou comest through this gate,
  Leave behind thee sinful hate.
  He that can not--let him wait."

And each one answered, else the porter would not have let him in,

  "There is no thing in all the sea,
  That I or hate or hateth me.
  I only hate the sin I flee."

When it came to the little fishes' turn, the old constable sword-fish
looked sharply at them, but they answered like the rest in a demure way,
with a side wink at the dolphins; those lubberly fellows blundered
through somehow, and looked sheepish enough at saying it so poorly. Last
of all came the sword-fish, who seemed to feel hurt that he should be
asked the same question, and gruffly answered, whereupon the gate was
shut and they all passed along.

Then they came in sight of the palace of the Queen. What a sight that
was! The walls were of pure coral, and all about the doors and windows
were shells of every variety of colour and form. There were arches and
pillars set around with shells, and in the corners grew graceful
sea-weed, that clung to the palace and waved to and fro its long, soft
leaves. Little Effie looked up and saw that the building was not
finished, and that all around her there was a continual hum of movement.
Then they entered the door of the palace and passed through long
galleries, until they came to a great and beautiful door and heard
within voices singing. A porter sat behind this door also, and asked the
same questions, and they all answered as before, in one voice, only they
spoke more softly. Now they stood in the great hall of the palace, and
lo! there was the Queen herself, sitting on her throne, and about her
were her maids of honour. It was they who had been singing, but who
stopped when the procession came in. They were sitting at wheels and
long stone looms, spinning and weaving wondrous robes of purple and
scarlet and green; the Queen herself was weaving a gorgeous garment of
all the most beautiful colours.

The little man stopped in front of the Queen and made three of his
comical little bows, and all the attendant fishes bobbed their heads up
and down; the dolphins gave some awkward, bungling shakes of the whole
body that made the little fishes almost burst into laughing, and the old
fellow with a sword looked exceedingly serious and made the most
dignified bow imaginable. Then the Queen spoke:

"My faithful servant, hast thou obeyed my commands and brought the child
of earth?"

"She is here, my good-loving Queen," said he. "What is thy will with
her?" When little Effie heard this, she began to be frightened and to
think--"Oh, dear! what is she going to do with me?" but the Queen looked
so good that she felt at ease again and listened for what she would say.

"Take the child," said she, "and show her the beauties of my palace, and
let her see the wonderful works that are done here; answer all her
questions and bring her back to me again." Then they all bowed again.
And as they moved away, Effie heard the song that the maidens at the
wheels and looms sang.


The Song of the Sea-Maidens.

I.

  Spin, maidens, spin! let the wheel go round!
  Hours that once are lost can never more be found.
      (_Chorus_) Work, hands! Love, heart!
                 Every one here has his part,----
    Has his work to do,--has his love to give,
    Thus we work, thus we love ever while we live.

  II.

  Weave, maidens, weave! let the shuttle fly!
  Time and we are racing; faster, faster ply!

        (_Chorus_) Work, hands! Love, heart! etc.

  III.

  Sing, maidens, sing! as ye spin and weave,
  Work was never meant our joyous hearts to grieve,

        (_Chorus_) Work, hands! Love, heart! etc.

  IV.

  As the wheel goes round--as the shuttle flies,
  Let your songs and hearts upward, upward rise!

       (_Chorus_) Work, hands! Love, heart!
                 Every one here has his part, etc.


They passed out of the hall, and the little sea green man said, "To the
Top!" So they came to the top of the house, and there they saw hundreds
and thousands of little coral insects, working to make the house more
beautiful, and each, when he had done all that he could, lay down and
died. And the little man told Effie how all this beautiful palace had
been made by these insects and how it never would stop growing, but
always some coral insect would be doing his tiny work, and when he had
done all he could, would die.

"What is that humming?" asked Effie.

"That is the song they sing as they work," said he. "Listen! do you not
hear it?" Effie listened hard and just caught a few words of the chorus.

                "Every one here has his part----
  Has his work to do, has his love to give,----
  Thus we work, thus we love ever while we live."

"Why, that is what the maidens who were spinning sang," said she.

"Yes," said he, "they all sing the same song to different music." Then
she began to hear the words all about her, and she found that the little
sea green man, and the fishes, small and great, and the dolphins and the
old constable sword fish were all singing the same song, each in his own
way. So they went down again and through the whole palace and saw the
shells, some of them indeed making pearls, but all singing the same
song, and the sponges that were growing and the branches of coraline
that one by one loosened themselves and floated upward, singing as they
rose all about her, from corals and shells and grasses and sponges and
fishes, came this one song, each singing it to his own air, yet the
whole melody rising and sinking in a single harmonious strain.

Effie looked on at every thing in wonder, and at last they came back to
the Queen's presence. She, too, was singing with her maidens; but when
the procession came in again, and went through their bows once more, she
said to the little sea-green man--and their voices were all hushed:

"My faithful servant, have you shown the little maiden all the wonders
of the palace?"

"Yea, my good-loving Queen."

"And do they all spend their lives in good-working, singing as they
work?"

"Yea, my good-loving Queen, all;" and the hum of the song rose all about
her.

"Then back again lead the little child, and carry her to her home on
earth, that she too may live and work and sing. For

          Every one _there_ has his part:
  Has his work to do, has his love to give,"--

And all the voices sang with her

  "Thus we work, thus we love ever while we live."

Then the procession moved out again, and Effie clung still to the little
man's seal-skin cap, as she sat on her cushion of sea-weed, upon the
hump on his back; and he marched along, using his flat hands like oars,
while the gruff old constable with his sword, and the dolphins and the
fishes, great and small, moved beside the pair, and they all went
swiftly up from the light to the darker green, the voices growing
fainter to Effie, and their forms more indistinct.

The little sea-green man brought Effie out of the water, and set her
down on the beach, and then, making his profoundest bow, he walked off
to the water again, the ends of his seal-skin cap dangling and bobbing
behind. Effie watched him go under the water, and then walked up into
the house. There was her mother frying some fish which Father Gilder had
just brought home for supper, while he was chopping wood at the side of
the house. It was not a bit like the beautiful palace she had seen, with
the Queen of the Ocean Deeps, and her maidens about her, weaving and
singing songs. Effie wished the little sea-green man had never brought
her up again, but had let her always live in such a beautiful place.

"What's the matter, Effie?" asked her mother, looking up from the
frying-pan, and seeing Effie stand there, staring into the fire.

"Oh, mother!" said she, "I have seen such beautiful things!"

"Whereabouts, child!"

"Oh, way down under the water! Such a funny little man, all dressed in
sea-weed, took me down on his back, and--"

"Nonsense, Effie! don't come to me with such stories. Go and wash your
face and hands, and get yourself ready for supper."

"But really! mother,--"

"Sh! child; do as I tell you, and don't talk to _me_ about your going
down underneath the water; you'd ha' been wet through if you had."

"But he covered me all up with sea-weed."

"Poh! you've been asleep on the rock, and dreaming about it; it's a
wonder you didn't fall off into the water. Come! run and wash yourself.
Supper's most ready."

Effie went off pouting; and Mother Gilder took the frying-pan off the
fire with the fish sizzling and smoking hot. "Come, father!" said she,
"and Effie, hurry up! supper's on the table."

"Where's your little dog, Effie?" said her father. Effie didn't speak.

"Have you eat him up, eh?" Never a word from Effie.

"The child is naughty!" said her mother, "Effie, speak to your father!"
But Effie looked crosser than ever.

"Well, you shall go to bed without your supper," said Mrs. Gilder,
getting up, "if you're going to behave so. The little thing's been
telling some ridiculous story about a man's taking her down under the
water on his back!"

"He _did_ take me down!" cried Effie, "and I wish I'd stayed there!
erhn! erhn! erhn!" and she cried and cried.

"Soh, soh, little one," said Father Gilder, "you wouldn't want to leave
your old father and mother, would you, Effie?"

"N-n-n-no, b-b-but m-m-mother said I didn't go."

"Ah, well! eat your supper, Effie, and then come and tell me all about
it." So Effie ate her supper and then sat in her father's lap, and began
to tell him all that I have told you; but before she had gone a great
way, she was so sleepy that she couldn't tell any thing more, but kept
saying, "And--and--and--a-n-d--a-n-d," till she fell fast asleep, and
Mother Gilder put her to bed, and she did not wake up once more till the
next morning.

"Well, what d'ye think, old man, about this stuff?" asked Mrs. Gilder,
when Effie was snug in bed.

"Well, I don't know," said Mr. Gilder. "Its queer! its queer! I guess
the child's been dreaming. Light my pipe, old woman."

So, when Mrs. Gilder had foraged in the pockets of her wonderful apron
and brought out the tobacco and matches, and had filled the pipe and
lighted it, the fisherman tilted his chair back against the chimney and
smoked his pipe, and thought about it; but could not come to any
conclusion, till at last his pipe went out, and he nodded, and nodded.
Mother Gilder who sat on the other side of the fire-place, knitting a
stocking that she brought out of one of her pockets, began to nod, too,
waking up every once in a while to find she had dropped her stitches,
and so making the needles go fast again for a few moments and then
slower, till she nodded again, and at last she was fast asleep on one
side of the fire-place, and Father Gilder on the other side, and little
Effie in her crib. And we'll steal out on tip-toe, so as not to wake
them, and come back again in just a year wanting one day.



Wish the Second.--On the Mountain.


[Illustration]

Well, we have been gone a year lacking one day, and here we are back
again on the beach, and there is the cottage, and Mrs. Gilder by her
table sewing on a frock for Effie, who is sitting on her seat--the great
flat rock, you know--down by the water. Effie is a year older now, and
this is her seventh birth-day. She has been a pretty good girl; but then
she wished a great many times that she could have stayed at the bottom
of the sea, and whenever she thought of it, she seemed to hear the song
that they sang there. Now she was sitting on her seat, looking out for
the old man, who you remember, had promised to come for her Second
Wish. She had thought about him a good many times and had made up her
mind what she would ask for. It was growing late and she began to be
afraid he would not come. She thought she would walk down the beach and
meet him; so she walked along looking for him all the while, when she
spied a boat coming toward the shore; but she did not look at it much,
she was so anxious to see her old man, and she thought she could make
him out, just coming along in the distance. Pretty soon, the boat came
up to the beach where she was, and a rough-looking sailor jumped out.

"Little girl," said he, "where does Simon Gilder live?"

"In that house, sir," pointing to the red cottage. "He is my father."

"So you're his little girl, are you? Is your father in the house?"

"No, sir, he is in the patch in the woods back there, hoeing potatoes."

"Will you go with me and show me where it is?" Effie looked along the
beach and saw the old man, as she thought, slowly coming toward them;
"Oh, dear!" thought she, "if the old man should come while I am gone!"

"What's the matter, little girl?" said the sailor-man when he saw she
did not answer. "Are you afraid to go with me?"

"No," faltered Effie looking down. "But mother said I wasn't to go away
from the beach."

"Oh, Effie, Effie!" said a voice close to her. She started. Why! that
was the old man's voice; and when she looked up, there was no sailor-man
and no boat, and no one coming down the beach; but the same old man that
she saw last year, in the same grey clothes, with the same beautiful
long white hair, and his head shaking the same way as he bent down over
his old smooth stick--the same old man stood by her.

"Oh, Effie!" said he in his beautiful voice, "you have deceived me. You
weren't willing to do me a kindness; you cared too much about your own
happiness. And this is your birth-day. I have come for your Second Wish.
Remember, you have only one more wish after this. You must tell me this
one before the sun goes down. Look!"

Effie looked as he pointed, and the sun stood just on the water's edge;
and there were clouds above it and around it, but she thought it would
go down clear. She had her wish all ready, though. "I wish," said she,
"that I might go on to the great mountain off there," pointing back from
the sea, "and see the birds and the trees and the flowers."

When she had said it, the clouds gathered before the sun, so that it
could not be seen, and spread over the whole heavens, and she had hardly
time to run to the cottage, before the rain began to pour down in
torrents. Out at sea it was all black, except where the white caps of
foam lighted up the waters; the waves rushed roaring on the beach, and
the wind drove the sharp rain against the house. Effie put her face
against the window-glass and peered out into the darkness, but she could
see nothing of the old man.

"A bad ending to your birth-day, little Effie," said her father, coming
in just then, all dripping wet. "Never mind. A bad beginning makes a
good ending so your birth-day must have begun well, and this day is the
beginning of the year for you, so the year'll end well. So it's good all
round, ha! It's a bad night, wife! I hope nobody's out in the storm; it
came up sudden."

Effie thought of the old man and shivered to think how wet and cold he
would get. But she only thought of it a moment, and then began to wonder
how the wish would come to pass, and whether another little sea-green
man would come for her.

So she went to bed and to sleep. But, lo! before morning came she was
waked by a tapping outside on the window-pane, close by her bed. At
first she was frightened and put her head under the bed-clothes; then
she thought, "Perhaps that is for me to go up on the mountain!" No
sooner did she think of that than she heard the tapping again, and then
a voice that said, "Come Effie! come with me to the mountain!"

Effie jumped out of bed and opened the window. The storm was over and
the stars were shining brightly, while in the East was a patch of grey
light, that showed the sun would rise before a great while. "Hurry!
hurry!" said a voice near her, but she could not see anything. "Where
are you?" said she. "Here," said the voice over her head. She looked up
and there was a very indistinct white figure, that looked as if it might
be a shadow. All she could see was something white like a robe, and two
arms stretching out toward her; one of the hands came close to her; she
caught hold of it, and in a moment was drawn up to the figure and
wrapped in the white robe. Then a wind, blowing from the sea, bore them
along and they flew off toward the mountains.

Now the mountains were a great way from the seashore, and Effie had
never been there. She could see their tops from the house where she
lived, and once in a while, somebody would come who had been there, and
he would tell her about the trees and the brooks and the birds. Now she
was to go there herself! She was held closely in the folds of the robe,
only she could look out as she went and see the ground over which they
were flying but they went so swiftly that she did not dare look down, so
she looked up to the sky. The stars were growing fainter, and the long
grey streak of dawn was growing brighter. They were nearing the
mountain, too, and Effie could hear, once in a while, the tinkling of
the brook as it rippled along below. At last they were close to the top
of the mountain. There was a wide plain upon the top, covered with
trees, while the springs of the brooks bubbled up there and flowed down
the sides, and on the ground were flowers nestled among the leaves and
the blades of grass.

"Look! and listen!" said the voice of the Figure that carried Effie, at
the same time wheeling about, so that they faced the East. Effie looked.
The stars were all gone now, save one in the distance--the morning-star.
Everywhere overhead the sky was blue and clear--not a cloud to be seen;
while away off before them in the East, the sky was tinged with deep,
rich colours. Perfect quiet was everywhere. The wind was still;
motionless the trees stood; on their boughs the birds sat, hardly
rustling their feathers. She could just hear the tinkling of the brook.
The flowers on the ground had their leaves folded, and near by a great
eagle stood perched on a rock. The Figure holding Effie moved not at
all, only as Effie sat breathless looking down to the ground, its hand
pointed to the East and Effie again looked up there.

The sky was a fiery colour now, and far up toward the zenith, the
crimson light shot its feathery rays; just above the horizon came a bit
of gold; then higher it rose, till like a golden ball leaving the earth,
it floated calmly up, up, soaring to heaven. The sun had risen! and the
instant it lifted itself above the line, the voice of the figure said:
"Listen!" and Effie listened. First she heard a low murmuring, and she
saw the tops of the trees swaying back and forth, lifting their branches
and bending them again toward the East; and as they murmured, the brooks
struck in with their sparkling notes, and the trees and the brooks sang
together; then the little birds on the branches opened their mouths, and
their throats swelled, and out burst their pure sweet notes, chiming
with the music of the trees and the brooks. Then the great, deep-mouthed
wind came, first trembling and quavering, then with rich full breath,
and the trees and the brooks, the birds and the wind, all sang the same
glad song. The flowers opened their leaves and lifted their heads, the
bright colours sparkling and shining; from the bushes sprang,
fluttering, the gay butterflies and insects, and the large eagle spread
its wings and sailed majestically in great circles toward the sun. Oh!
it was a wonderful sight, and it was a wonderful song they sang! The
whole mountain seemed to sing as the great golden sun rose higher and
higher.

Only Effie was silent. Then the Figure wrapped her closer, and turning,
flew back toward the seashore. "What was the song they sang?" asked
Effie. "I could not tell the words." "You could not tell the words,"
said the voice of the Figure, "because you did not sing with them. If
you had sung with them, you would have heard the words. I can only tell
you a little of it, but if you sing these words, the rest will some time
come to you. They all sang at the first--

  "Praise to Thee! Praise to Thee!
  Thou art all Purity.
  Thou art the Source of Light--
  Scatter Thou the dark night.
  Shine on us! shine on us!"

Effie said the words over, and the voice said again "If you sing them
with the song of the sea-maidens you will understand them better." Then
Effie fell asleep, just as they came again to the open window and she
knew nothing more till she was waked by her mother calling out--

"Effie, child! wake up! the sun was up long ago! come! come!"

Effie started up. It was broad daylight. Her father was out-doors,
looking after his nets, and her mother was getting the table ready for
breakfast. She dressed herself quickly, saying over in mind the words
just taught her. Then she recollected that she could understand them
better if she sang the song of the sea. So she said that to herself
also.

"Do you go and get some water to put in the kettle, Effie," said her
mother.

"Yes, mother," said she, and as she went she sang to herself--

  "Work, hands! Love, heart!
  Every one here has his part."

"Good-morning, little one," said her father, meeting her in the
door-way; "here's a bright day for your new year!"

"Isn't it!" said Effie, giving him a kiss and then singing--

  "Praise to thee! Praise to thee;
  Thou art all Purity.
  Thou art the Source of Light."

"I believe the child's going to be a good girl, wife," said Father
Gilder, coming into the house.

"Well, I hope she is, for she's been sulky enough before this," said
Mother Gilder.

"True, true," replied he, "but sulky birds don't sing."

The year went slowly by. Effie sang the two songs as she worked, and
helped her mother and was a comfort to her father. Every morning when
she got up, she sang the Song of the Mountain, and through the day she
kept singing, too, the Song of the Sea. Very often she thought of the
old man, and wondered what she should ask for the third and last time he
came. She thought she ought to ask for the best thing she could think
of, but for a long time she could not make up her mind, until a few days
before her birth-day, as she was singing the two songs. Then was she
impatient for the day to come, that she might ask her last and great
wish.



Wish the Third.--In the Cottage.


[Illustration]

The eighth birth-day came at last, but before the sun was to set, Mrs.
Gilder called her. "Here, Effie," said she, "I want you to go down cellar
before it is dark, and sweep it clean. It's dreadfully dirty."

"Must I go now, mother?"

"Yes, right off; it'll be too dark if you don't make haste," and Mrs.
Gilder drew a bunch of keys out of one of her apron pockets and unlocked
the closet door and brought out a broom for Effie. Effie took the broom
and went down cellar. "Well," thought she, "I must do my work at any
rate, and the old man may not come by till I get it done." So she set to
work, sweeping out the cellar. She had just finished and stooped to
pick up a perverse chip. As she lifted herself up, there stood that same
old man again!

"Why! how _did_ you get in, sir?" said she.

"The sun is most down, Effie," said he without answering her question,
"what is your Last Wish?" As he said it his head shook harder than ever
before, and he leaned on his cane so that he was almost bent double.

"Oh, sir! I wish," said Effie, "that I might do some great work that
should make others happy, and that I might be able to sing the whole of
the Song of the Mountain." As she said this the old man raised his head
slowly from his staff, and when she finished, lo! he was changed into a
great beam of light that cast its rays all about the cellar. Effie flew
up stairs with her broom, and ran to the cottage door. The sea was
sparkling with light, and the sun went down clear and beautiful.

"Aye! there's a sunset for you, chicky," said Father Gilder, coming up
from the shore. "There'll be no storm after that! Do you remember your
last birth day, little one, when there was such a sudden storm came
up?" Yes, indeed, Effie remembered it and wondered whether the sky would
always be clear now.

The next day Effie looked for somebody to come and give her some great
thing to do, and teach her the Song of the Mountain, as she had wished
for her last wish. But no one came--no, nor the next day, nor the day
after; and then every thing went wrong. Her mother became sick and
cross, and finally died; and Effie had to wear the wonderful apron with
so many pockets, and work hard every day. How could she do any great
work? All she could do was to take care of the house and do little
things--ever so many of them there were, too, so that when the evening
came she was quite tired out. But her father said she was a comfort to
him, and he loved to have her sit by him and sing to him. She sang the
two songs over and over, as she did every day at her work, and never
tired of singing them, nor did he tire of hearing them.

So she lived on. She had a great many more birthdays, but no old man
came to see her, and nobody came to give her a great work to do, or to
teach her the rest of the song. By and by her father died too, but Effie
lived still in the little red cottage by the sea-shore. And if any were
sick or in trouble, they were sure to come to her. For every body loved
her, and wherever she went she seemed to carry the sunlight with her,
and to make everybody better and happier. Still no one came, though
every birth-day she sat at the door, looking for the old man.

But he did come at last. It was her birth-day. She was an old woman, but
she sat in the door-way as she used to, watching for somebody to come to
her with a great work to do, and the rest of the song. She sat in her
great arm-chair, and her eyes were very dim so that she could not see
very well, and her ears were very dull, so that she could hardly hear at
all. There was the sun that had so often gone down without any one's
appearing. But before it touched the water she heard a voice--that old
sweet voice that she had never forgotten, saying, "Effie!" She looked,
and there she saw the same face that the old man used to have, but that
was all she could see. Then it said again, "Effie!" and she said:

"Oh, sir! have you come at last to give me my wish? I have looked for
you year after year, and now I am an old woman, and have not many more
days to live."

"Your wish has been granted, Effie. You asked for some great work to do
to make others happy. All your life since you have been doing the great
work. There is nothing right or holy done for others that is not great.
The little daily duties that you did so faithfully; the little
kindnesses you showed to others; the little pleasant words you
spoke--these are all great things."

"But the Song of the Mountain?" asked Effie.

"Dear child," said he, "you have sung the song all your life. If you
have thanked God for his goodness to you--if you have loved him for his
love to you--if you have prayed to him to make you good and holy--you
have sung the Song of the Mountain."

"Praise to thee! Praise to thee!" murmured the old woman. Then she
thought she heard the whole mountain singing as it did the morning she
listened to it; and the great song was sung, and she sang also, and the
voice beside her sang.

       *       *       *       *       *

----The people who lived about there say, that when they came in the
morning to see Old Effie, she was sitting in her arm-chair, with her
hands folded, and her lips half parted as if she had sung herself to
sleep; and when they touched her she did not move--for Old Effie was
dead.

[Illustration]



A Christmas Stocking

With a Hole in it

BEN'S STORY



I.

The Stocking is Hung.

[Illustration]

At Christmas-tide in New York, the people who live in the upper part of
the city cannot hear the chimes that ring from Trinity steeple; but in
the dwelling streets which run in and out among the warehouse streets,
and in the courts which stand stock still and refuse to go a step
further,--there the Trinity music is heard and the "merry Christmas" of
the bells is flung out to all however poor. Beside Trinity there are
but few chimes of bells in the city, neither do poor children there sing
Christmas carols in the streets and thus unlatch the doors of even
crabbed hearts.

But the merriest chimes of bells are played and the sweetest carols sung
even in New York. For when at Christmas one walks in the crowded streets
he may hear on all sides the merry Christmas! merry Christmas to you! to
you! rung out on every key and the chiming makes perfect music; the poor
children sing carols too, for are they not each little songs as they
stand in their rags before well-to-do folk--songs without
words--reminding us of the poor child Jesus and the blessings which He
brought? Yes, the bells ring in our hearts and we hear carols then at
least if not at other times; and in some old cobwebbed heart does
Christmas fancy or Christmas memory enter and ring disused bells that
sound but a hoarse blessing, so rusty has their metal become, but a
blessing at least well-meant. Blessed be Christmas that it knocks so at
the door of our hearts.

Now it was on a certain Christmas that some very pleasant chimes were
rung, and that too within hearing of Trinity bells. In the street on
Christmas eve were Bundles of great coats and furs tied together with
tippets, who hurried along like locomotives, puffing and snorting and
leaving behind a line of smoke. But all the people in the streets were
not Bundles, by any means. Some scarcely had any wrappings, let alone
such heavy coverings as great coats and furs. Little boys may be Bundles
if they are properly wrapped up and tied with a tippet or scarf, but not
all little boys are Bundles. On this eve one might see many who were
not. They kept their hands in their pockets or breathed upon their red
fingers, and drew their shoulders together and screwed their faces as if
they were trying to hide behind themselves, while the wind blew through
every crevice of their bodies and rattled the teeth in their mouths.

One of these little boys upon this very Christmas eve hung up his
stocking, and what became of it is now to be told. His name was Peter
Mit. He had been out all day selling cigars, and was on his way home to
supper. But hungry and cold as he was, he could not help stopping to
look through the shop-windows at the beautiful things spread out so
temptingly behind them. Such toys and games and picture books! "Now,"
said he, "I must run;" but just as he started, he came to a window so
much finer than any he had seen that he stopped before this also. There
was a string fastened across the inside of the window with picture and
story papers hung upon it; the glass was not very clear, for the frost
made it almost like crown-glass, but it was clear enough in the corner
to shew one of the pictures, which was a double one; in one part there
was a little boy in his night-gown hanging a stocking upon the door of
his bed-chamber; in the other part the little boy is shown snugly asleep
in his bed, while a most odd little man hung over with toys and picture
books of all kinds stands on tip-toe before the stocking, filling it
with playthings. There was some printing underneath that explained the
picture; as well as Peter could make out, this little boy like a great
many others hung up his stocking before he went to bed on Christmas eve,
and some time during the night, Santa Klaus, a queer old man, very fond
of little folk, came down the chimney and filled the stocking with
presents. This was all new to little Peter, and astonished him
exceedingly; but it was really too cold to stand there looking at even
the most wonderful picture, so he blew into his red fist, and ran off
home, taking long slides on the ice wherever he could.

He left the bright Main Street and turning one or two corners came to
Fountain Court. That is a fine-sounding name, but the houses are very
wretched and low, though quite grand people lived there in olden times;
where the fountain was no one could say, unless the wheezy pump that
stands at the head of the court were meant for it; of this the Pump
itself had no doubt. It was very large and had a long heavy handle that
always stood out stiffly; there was a knob on the top of the pump that
had once been gilded but that was a long time ago, when the Pump was
aristocratic and presumed itself to be a Fountain. It was dingy and
broken now, but the Pump was none the less proud and dignified; it took
pleasure in holding out its handle stiffly and never letting it down
though people stumbled against it every day. "It had been there the
longest," the Pump said, "it had a right to the way; people must learn
to turn out for it."

It was down this Fountain Court--though people now generally called it
Pump Court--that little Peter Mit ran as fast as his legs could carry
him. He stopped at the fourth house on the right-hand side; it was a low
building, only a story and a half high, yet a respectable merchant had
lived there formerly. Before the door stood a battered wooden image of a
savage Indian, holding out a bunch of cigars in his hand, and looking as
if he meant to tomahawk you if you didn't take one. The Indian was quite
stuck over with snow-balls, for he was a fine mark for the boys in the
court, who divided their attention between his head and the knob on top
of the Pump. If it were not so dark, one might spell out on the dingy
sign over the door, the names "MORGRIDGE AND MIT DEALERS IN TOBACCO."
The only window was adorned with half a dozen boxes of cigars, a few
pipes, a bottle of snuff, and a melancholy plaister sailor, who had been
smoking one pipe, with his hands in his pockets, as long as the oldest
inhabitant in the court could remember.

Peter Mit opened the door from the street and entered the shop; one
solitary oil lamp stood upon the counter, behind which sat David
Morgridge, the surviving partner of the firm of Morgridge and Mit
Dealers in Tobacco. Solomon Mit, the uncle of little Peter had been dead
five years, and on dying had bequeathed his orphan-nephew to his
partner, and so as Mr. Morgridge had no children, and Peter had no
father, the two lived together alone in the old house.

Mr. Morgridge was not a talkative man--one would see that at a glance;
his mouth looked as if it shut with a spring. Mr. Mit, when living had
been even more silent, but when he did speak--then one would look for
golden words; for so small a man he was surely very wise. Mr. Morgridge
used to say that it was because his name was Solomon, and that was the
only thing Mr. Morgridge had ever said that came near being witty. All
the court knew it, and the saying almost turned the corner at the head
of the court. They divided the business between them Mr. Morgridge
attending to the snuff department, Mr. Mit to the cigar and pipe branch.
It was the intention of Mr. Mit, expressed soon after the adoption of
little Peter, to bring him up to take charge of the chewing tobacco
branch. In consequence of this division of the business, David Morgridge
took snuff incessantly, but never smoked. Solomon Mit smoked all the
while but never took snuff. They did this to recommend their wares.
Besides, it served to explain the duty of each partner. If a customer
came in for pipes or cigars he invariably went directly to Mr. Mit; if
he came for snuff, he as surely turned to Mr. Morgridge.

When Peter entered the shop, Mr. Morgridge was just wiping his face
after a pinch of snuff; the whole air of the shop was snuffy, and no one
came in without instantly being tempted to sneeze. Peter sneezed as a
matter of course, and Mr. Morgridge, after his usual fashion, replied
with a "God bless you!" He seldom got the compliment in return, however,
as in his case the blessing would have become so common as to be quite
worthless. Mr. Morgridge then inquired into Peter's sales, and with
that his regular conversation ended. His mouth shut so closely, with the
corners turned down to cover any possible opening, that one would know
immediately that no accidental words could escape. But to-night Peter
did not mean to let his guardian keep his usual silence; he was too much
concerned about the picture he had seen in the shop-window. He waited
however till after tea. Then, as they returned to the shop, Mr.
Morgridge taking his customary seat upon his bench, with a pot of snuff
beside him, set about his work of putting up tobacco in divers shapes.
Peter took his customary seat also, much above Mr. Morgridge. It was a
seat which he had inherited from his uncle. Solomon Mit, being a
contemplative man, was desirous of being lifted above ordinary things
when he pursued his meditations, and had accordingly built a sort of
watch-tower out of several boxes, placed one upon another, and topped by
an arm-chair, deprived of its legs. Into this chair Solomon used to
climb, and when there, his head was not far from the ceiling. Here he
would sit in his lofty station, and wrapped in the smoke from his own
pipe, would revolve in his mind various questions, occasionally dropping
from the clouds a remark to his partner, who sat snuffing below on the
bench. Customers, when they entered the shop, had become used to the
sight of the little man's legs as they appeared below the cloud, and a
classical scholar chancing in one day to fill his pipe, had likened him
to Zeus upon the top of Olympus.

Peter valued this watch-tower above all his possessions, and here every
night he sat perched, and counted the fly-specks on the ceiling, or
fished up things from the floor by means of a hook and line which he
kept by him. To-night, however, after he had climbed into the chair, he
broke the usual silence by putting the following question to Mr.
Morgridge:

"Mr. Morgridge, is this Christmas Eve?" to which David Morgridge, after
taking a pinch of snuff cautiously replied:

"It may be;" and then added, as if to explain his uncertainty of
mind--"I don't keep the run o' Christmas."

[Illustration: "Mr. Morgridge, is this Christmas Eve?"]

"Does Santa Klaus really come down a chimney Christmas night and fill
the stocking with presents?" proceeded Peter. And then, getting no
answer, he gave an account of what he had seen in the window, and being
very much interested, he told also what he thought of it all, and the
resolution that he had finally come to, namely, to hang up his own
stocking that very night. Mr. Morgridge having listened to what Peter
had to say, took more snuff and seemed disposed to let that end the
matter, but Peter persisted in getting his opinion.

"Mr. Morgridge," said he, "do you think Santa Klaus will come and fill
my stocking?" Being pressed for an answer, Mr. Morgridge made shift to
say--

"May be, but should say not; used to believe in Santa Klaus when I was a
boy; don't now; 'taint no use."

This was rather discouraging, but Peter upon thinking it over on his
watch-tower, reflected that Mr. Morgridge used to believe in Santa
Klaus, and that the queer fellow only visited boys: besides, he thought
it might be owing to the snuff that he disbelieved in him now; for it
was by that Peter usually explained Mr. Morgridge's eccentricities.

But Peter was tired and drowsy, and clambering down from his perch, set
out for his bed, groping his way up the steep staircase that led to the
half-story above, where he had his cot. He never went up that staircase
in the dark--and a light was a luxury not to be thought of--without
imagining all manner of horrors which he might see at the top. In one
place, there were two small holes in the floor close together; the place
was over the shop, and whenever there was a light burning below, he
could see these two holes blinking and shining like two eyes. It was the
last thing he saw when he got into bed, and he would say to himself in a
bold way, as if to show any ghosts or goblins that might possibly be
about, how undaunted he was, "Two Eyes! come here and swallow me up!"
and then he would draw the bed-clothes over his head for a minute or
two, and peep out to reassure himself that Two Eyes had not taken him at
his word and come to swallow him up. But Two Eyes never came, and this
gave him fresh courage, so that of late he had become quite bold in the
dark.

As he climbed up the staircase this night, his little head was full of
the idea of Santa Klaus. The chimney was convenient, he thought to
himself, for it passed through the loft and there was a large open
fire-place in it never used. But then, suppose he should come down
before the fire in the room below was fairly out! he would get scorched.
But it was too cold to sit long guessing about such matters, so he
undressed himself quickly. Last of all, he drew off his right stocking.
This he held in his hand--"Oh!" said he, "it has got a hole in it; the
things will all come out!" Indeed, it was almost all hole, for beside
the proper hole which every stocking has or it isn't a stocking, there
was a hole in the heel and another very large one in the toes. He looked
at it in despair, and then took up the other one; but that was even
worse. He consoled himself, finally, as well as he could, by the
reflection that Santa Klaus would probably put all the large things in
first, and thus they would stop the holes up and nothing would be lost.

He cast about now for a place to hang it. The little boy in the picture
hung his on the door, but that was out of the question, for there was no
nail there. He remembered finally a hook in the wall not far from the
chimney. It was a dreadful place to go to, so near Two Eyes! but he
mustered courage, especially when he considered how very convenient it
would be for Santa Klaus. His heart went pit-a-pat as he stole over the
floor; the boards under his feet creaked and every bone in his body
seemed to be going off like a firecracker. It seemed to him as if Two
Eyes and all his friends were starting from every corner of the room.

Going back was not so bad as all the ghosts were now behind him. He
shivered into his cold bed, and drew his knees up to his chin. So
excited was he about Santa Klaus, that when he looked presently toward
the other end of the room and saw Two Eyes blinking at him, he forgot
for the instant that he had ever seen them before, and fancied Santa
Klaus must have made his appearance already. He was just ready to
scream, when he recollected what the Eyes were, and boldly saying:--

"Two Eyes! come here and swallow me up!" he rolled himself up in the bed
clothes and was soon fast asleep.



II.

Midnight.


[Illustration]

The clock of Trinity struck twelve. One would have thought from the long
pause after each stroke, that it had great difficulty in making out the
complete number. Really it was so long about it because it wished to
give plenty of time for starting to the various persons and things in
the neighborhood, who are wont to be agog at that hour only. The Man on
St. Paul's, however, was so long getting ready that the twelfth stroke
came before he was fairly off,--so he lost his chance for this time. It
is so with him every night. When the first stroke comes it startles him
and he rubs his eyes and wonders where he is; he continues to rub his
eyes and wonder till the sixth stroke has sounded. Then he collects his
thoughts a little, and by the ninth stroke remembers that if he is quick
enough, he can shut up his book, get down from his high and
uncomfortable perch, and stretch his legs a little in a ramble through
the church-yard or round the Park. Having to be in a hurry, for it must
be done during the three following strokes, he gets confused, and before
he can muster sufficient presence of mind, the clock has struck twelve,
and he must wait another day.

The Grocer on the City Hall was in a difficult predicament. It has long
been his intention to get down with his scales and weigh the City
Corporation. He tries to do it when the clock strikes twelve, as that is
his only chance. He heard the first stroke, and was on the alert. He
indeed succeeded in reaching the ground, but he could not find the
Corporation, though he searched the Hall and the Park. All that he could
discover was a sleepy alderman. He returned to his place in disgust. He
could not see, for his part, why the Corporation did not sit in the
night-time; it would seem to be the proper hour. This he said to the
Eagle perched on a pole near by, and who had just returned from a visit
to his grand-uncle who has been all his life on the point of dropping an
umbrella, point downward, on the greatest rogue in the city. The Eagle
found his grand-uncle had not yet dropped the umbrella, because he was
not sure that he had found the greatest rogue.

But other people and things are not so stupid as the Man on St. Paul's,
nor so unsuccessful as the Grocer. They are brisker and seize the
opportunity to enjoy themselves. The Pump, for instance, that stands at
the head of Fountain Court, generally indulges himself in a soliloquy.
He talks through his nose, to be sure, which sounds disagreeably, but
the nearest listeners do not mind it. For the Man on St. Paul's is too
stupid or it may be asleep. The Grocer is running round with his scales,
looking for the Corporation. Sir Walter Raleigh has taken so much snuff
that his own voice is even more disagreeable, and so he has no right to
complain. The nearest listener of all would be the Indian in front of
Morgridge and Mit, dealers in tobacco, but he has gone to have a talk
with Sir Walter Raleigh; so the Pump has it all its own way. Let us hear
what the Pump said this night:--

"Well, so it's Christmas again, is it? how the years do go by! and how
things change! To think of the difference between this court now and
what it used to be! Why, I can remember very well when fine ladies and
gentlemen gathered here on Christmas eve. The watchman would go along
with them with a lantern in his hand. I was of importance then--I am
now, to be sure, but then people recognized me and considered me. I gave
the name to the court--that was something! But those days went by; and
then there was that time when a noisy fellow got up on my head, where he
kept his place with difficulty, and spouted ever so much eloquence about
rights and liberty and constitution. No good ever came of that! for it
was he who broke off a piece of the gilt knob on my head, and it has
never been mended since. That was the beginning of my troubles, and now
to what a pass have things come. Why, a ragged, drunken man leaned up
against me--ugh! this very night, and I see the poorest kind of people
go down the court. I was used to have nothing but fine pitchers and
pails brought to me to fill, but now I have to look into dirty broken
pitchers and old tubs. They have even begun to call the place Pump
Court, as if I were no better than a common every-day pump! What is
worst, there is an upstart just the other side of the way,--it lets out
water to be sure, but it has nothing to say about it; it has no handle,
and the water comes out by just turning a screw; altogether it is a very
plebeian thing; it can know nothing of the pleasure of feeling a box go
rumbling down your inside, and fetching up water from the depths of the
earth.

"There go the Christmas bells! Many a time I've heard them before and
seen Santa Klaus hurrying along to visit every house in the court. He
never goes near them now, and no wonder, for he can't care to associate
with such low people. When he does come, he looks soberer, and not so
jolly as he used to; nor does he bring so many and such fine things. I
am in fact the only respectable thing in the neighborhood. But bless my
boxes! what a shock that was! somebody must have struck my handle;
served him right; he ought to turn out. I've been here the longest."

It was the sleepy alderman who was hastening by. "Confound that
pump-handle!" said he. "That's the second time to-day I've stumbled
against it. I'll have the pump taken up and carted off to-morrow. It's a
nuisance; nobody wants it here."

It was difficult to make out what the Pump said to this; it was so
choked with rage at the indignity, that only a confused gurgling could
be distinguished in its throat. But that was the end of its soliloquy.

The Pump was partly right. Santa Klaus did not visit the court as often
as he used, nor did he bring such fine presents with him. But it was not
because he disliked the society that he did not come, it was because
they did not hang stockings up. The stocking must be hung or he will
not go--that is the rule. He is wonderfully keen in scent; he will go
straight to a stocking even if it be hidden in the darkest corner. He
cares nothing about time or place either. He can be where he chooses at
any moment. So, just as the twelfth stroke of Trinity sounded, Santa
Klaus was in Fountain Court. The Indian was scurrying down the place
with his cigars in his hand, and taking his stand before Morgridge and
Mit, put on his face its fiercest expression as the sound of the stroke
died away. At the same moment Santa Klaus was in the house, in the loft
where little Peter Mit had hung his stocking. Whether he entered by the
chimney or not, it is impossible to say, but I suspect he did, for the
door was locked and there was no other entrance.

At any rate there he was, and standing on tip-toe by Peter's stocking.
He began to fill it and emptied one of his pockets. "Really," said he,
"this is a very capacious stocking." It was not full yet, and he emptied
into it another pocketful. "This is remarkable!" said he, stopping in
amazement, "it is as roomy as a meal-bag. What an extraordinary foot
that little boy must have!"

Santa Klaus' clothes are all pocket pretty much, and he emptied the
contents of a third into the stocking, which was still not full. Then he
stopped to examine it. "Oh! oh!" said he, "this is very bad! there is a
hole in the stocking!" It would never do to keep pouring things in at
one end while they passed out at the other, and his presents could only
be placed in stockings. So Santa Klaus sorrowfully gathered up the
presents, and leaving the stocking as empty as he found it, was off in a
twinkling.



III.

Kleiner Traum visits Peter Mit.


[Illustration]

The moment Santa Klaus whisked out of the room, Kleiner Traum whisked
in. It is impossible to say how he got into the room either; it is
enough that he was there. Kleiner Traum is a very remarkable personage.
He is like Santa Klaus in this, that he moves very quickly and can make
visits in one night all over the world. But more than that, he has the
power of making people see just what he chooses. Some persons think that
they have seen two Kleiner Traums, a good and a bad, but the fault is
in their eyes. He carries a kaleidoscope with him and shakes it before
people; just how he shakes it, so are the things they see. These things
are very apt to be like what has happened to them at different times,
only much more grotesque.

Kleiner Traum had come to make Peter Mit a visit, and show him his
kaleidoscope. Little Peter was fast asleep--that is the only time when
Kleiner Traum visits people,--and snugly curled up in bed. He was not
thinking or dreaming about anything, when now Kleiner Traum held the
kaleidoscope before him, and gave it a twist. What now did he see?

He saw an exceedingly queer-looking man squeeze out of the fire-place;
he was hung over with toys, and his pockets bulged out with the things
inside; in fact, he was quite the image of the little man he had seen in
the picture in the shop-window, and Peter made up his mind instantly
that it was Santa Klaus. As soon as he got on his legs in the middle of
the room, Two Eyes, whom Peter had so often called upon to swallow him
up, began moving about, apparently trying to mislead Santa Klaus. Peter
was ready to scream out, but for the life of him he couldn't make a
sound. He watched Two Eyes, who seemed to think he would draw Santa
Klaus to the head of the staircase, and then dance about so as to make
him tumble headlong down the steps. But Santa Klaus was too knowing for
Two Eyes. Peter saw him go to the door as if expecting to find the
stocking there, and then not finding it, turn about and walk around the
room till he came to where it hung upon the hook.

Peter was now terribly excited, and Kleiner Traum gave the kaleidoscope
another twist. During the process of twisting, Peter's mind was in a
queer jumble, and he thought he saw Two Eyes peeping out of the
stocking, and Santa Klaus sitting on the Pump at the head of the court;
but as soon as the kaleidoscope was still, it was clear again, and he
could see Santa Klaus standing on tip-toe before the stocking and
emptying into it the contents of his pockets.

The first thing he took out was a tin trumpet; just such a one as Peter
had himself seen in a shop-window the day before. This he put into the
stocking, giving a chuckle and trying it to see if it were good; it
sounded splendidly. Then came a sled. It was astonishing how it ever
came out of Santa Klaus' pocket and still more astonishing how it could
get into the stocking. Yet surely Peter saw it enter, and that very
easily. After the sled came a monkey-jack. Before he put it in Santa
Klaus twitched the monkey, and made it turn summersaults over the stick,
till he was nearly ready to fall down with laughing at it. A mask came
next--a leering mask with a long nose, and eyes, frightful enough to
scare all the people in the court. Then followed a warm muffler for the
head; it was a very comfortable looking thing. No sooner was the muffler
safely in than a pint of peanuts rolled into the stocking, and after the
peanuts came some marbles, and after the marbles, a dozen red apples,
and after the apples a pair of skates, and after the skates a bundle of
candy.

It certainly was astonishing to see how much the stocking would hold.
Peter could hardly believe his eyes, yet there it was, and he saw
everything that went into it. But the candy was the last thing; the
stocking was now full and the candy peeped out at the top. Peter saw
Santa Klaus look approvingly at the stocking, give it a pat and
disappear through the fire-place again, looking just as full of presents
as when he came down.

At this point Kleiner Traum turned the kaleidoscope, and Peter was all
in a jumble again. Apparently the stocking was going up the chimney and
Santa Klaus was riding on the toe, while Two Eyes was coming toward
Peter to swallow him up. Peter was just on the point of giving himself
up for lost, expecting the next moment to be swallowed up by Two Eyes,
when it was clear again, and Two Eyes was in his old place, and the
stocking was hanging on its hook; only Santa Klaus had disappeared up
the chimney. For you see, Kleiner Traum's kaleidoscope was quiet again.

Now what did Peter see? The stocking was swollen to an enormous bulk,
and what was more, Peter could see everything that was going on inside.
He saw that they were quarrelling about the places they should occupy;
for in the heel and in the toe of the stocking, were the two holes which
were now of an alarming size. The Sled commenced the trouble. It felt
itself slowly but surely slipping toward the hole in the toe, with the
weight of all the other things on him. "Don't crowd so!" Peter heard the
Sled say to the Tin Trumpet.

"I'm not pushing," said the Tin Trumpet; "I'd give anything if I weren't
sliding so toward that dreadful hole!" "Monkey-Jack, I'll thank you to
keep that stick of yours out of my mouth." Just then, an apple losing
its footing, dropped through the hole in the heel of the stocking, and
Peter heard it go rolling over the floor; another quickly followed, and
another.

"Oh!" said the Mask, "this is getting dangerous; there is a dreadful
cavity under me; but I'll put a bold face on it. There goes another
apple." Peter heard apple follow apple out of the hole in the heel, till
the whole dozen were on the floor, where they still went rolling off
after each other toward the staircase when they hopped thumpty-thump
down the steps, till the last one had gone. Meanwhile the Sled, the Tin
Trumpet and the Monkey-Jack were having a sad time in the foot of the
stocking. "I cannot hold on much longer," said the Sled, and it had
hardly spoken the words, before it slid out through the toe, and Peter
heard it go sliding over the floor and follow the apples down the
staircase.

Matters were no better, but rather worse in the leg of the stocking. A
weak voice was heard in the corner. It was a Peanut complaining bitterly
of the Marbles. "If ye had not come in here among us," it said, "we
should have done very well, but now ye are pushing us all toward the
hole." The Marbles could not reply, they were too frightened themselves;
they had crowded in among the Peanuts for safety, and now there was
danger of both going. One large Marble alone held them all back; it was
wedged in by the Monkey-Jack, and the Monkey-Jack had its stick in the
Tin Trumpet's mouth. But the Tin Trumpet had only caught by a single
thread of the stocking; that gave way, and down came the Trumpet
followed by the Monkey-Jack. The Trumpet rolled off toward the door like
the rest, and the Monkey-Jack went head-over-heels after it. Of course
the large Marble had no help for it now; he dropped out of the heel,
and the rest of the Marbles came tumbling after with the Peanuts in the
midst of them. The Marbles and Peanuts, unlike the rest, rolled off
toward Two Eyes; the Marbles disappeared through one eye, the Peanuts
through the other.

It seemed of no avail now for the rest to keep their place. "It is no
use to keep up appearances longer," said the Mask, and he dropped out
and walked off on his nose. The Skates who had not spoken before, now
turned to the Muffler and said: "We shall cut a pretty figure going
through the hole like the rest, we may not go after all; there's many a
slip--" but before they had finished the sentence they had followed the
rest, and were striking out for the door.

Nothing now remained but the Muffler and the Candy. The Muffler spoke in
a thick voice, "I am a sort of relation to the stocking and intend to
remain by it, if it is a poor relation. It won't turn me out of doors,
surely." The Candy, replied in a sweet voice, "As for me, I shall stick
to the stocking. My dear Muffler, you quite melt me, you are so warm
and affectionate."

After this point, Peter could see or hear nothing further, and for a
very good reason--Kleiner Traum had vanished with his kaleidoscope.



IV.

Kleiner Traum Visits David Morgridge.


[Illustration]

It is no secret whither Kleiner Traum vanished. The moment he had left
little Peter Mit, he was sitting on David Morgridge's breast,
kaleidoscope in hand.

One shake of the kaleidoscope. Really, Mr. Morgridge sees strange
things. He sees a little boy no bigger than Peter Mit, in a snug little
room, hanging up on the door a red and white plaid stocking. The
strangest thing is that he remembers the place and surroundings
perfectly. He knows the cozy room, the white dimity curtains, the
little cot bed, the sixteen-paned window looking out on the church-spire
and the meadow; it was as if he had skipped sixty years of his life
backward, for the little boy was a diminutive David Morgridge.

But the kaleidoscope makes quick shifts. Here is another turn, and Mr.
Morgridge, as if he were a picture on the wall, is looking at a room
which he knows well enough. It is the tobacco shop. There are two men in
it; one sits on the bench and takes snuff, and does up little paper
pellets; the other is just discoverable under a cloud of tobacco smoke,
perched upon the top of a small observatory. This, too, is Christmas
Eve, for so the little man on the watch-tower announces, as if he kept
the calendar of the seasons, and piped an "All's Well" to his comrade
below.

"David," he says, "David Morgridge! This is Christmas Eve. 'On earth
peace, good will toward men.' That's what the Bible says, and that's
what Trinity chimes say. How many Christmases have we kept together?
eighteen, David; then that's eighteen turkeys for the poor folk, though
bless us we're not much richer." This is a long speech for Solomon Mit,
yet the man snuffing on the bench says nothing, but scowls. Then does
Solomon Mit clamber down from his watch-tower, and with his cheery,
piping voice sing a Christmas hymn, and though David Morgridge never
lends his voice, the little man is no whit disheartened, but ends with
laying his hand on David's shoulder and heartily wishing--"God bless
you, David Morgridge, old friend--God bless us all!" and climbs once
more to the top of his tower.

Quickly turns the kaleidoscope again, and now Mr. Morgridge, like a
shadow in the dark that can see but not be seen, is in the room where he
is now sleeping. But he is not on the bed, he is standing by the side of
it, and the old cheery voice, though weaker now, of Solomon Mit comes
from the pillow. The little man has come down from his tower for the
last time, and has puffed his last pipeful of tobacco smoke. This, too,
is Christmas Eve, and Solomon Mit has not forgotten it. Listen, he is
speaking now.

"David Morgridge, old friend, twenty years we've lived together. You've
been a true friend to me. We haven't said much, but we've trusted each
other. I'm the first to go, and I'm glad to go on Christmas Eve. I'd
like to go when the bells are ringing and Trinity is chiming, 'Peace on
earth, good will toward men;' that's it David. Don't forget the turkeys;
twenty you know; and don't make 'em chickens. You haven't always liked
to give them, but you will now. And you'll be good to little Peter. I
bequeath him to you, David, to hold and to keep in trust; and all that's
mine in the shop; it's all yours. There are the bells--

  "'All glory be to God on high,
  And to the Earth be peace'"--

But Solomon Mit has sung without finishing his last hymn.

What more Mr. Morgridge might have seen, we shall never know, for at
this point Kleiner Traum and his kaleidoscope vanished, and did not come
back that night at any rate.



V.

Morgridge Klaus.


[Illustration]

When does Christmas Day begin? It can never be determined, but most
people think it begins when they wake, though all do not wake at once;
the children generally have the longest Christmas Day. Now, in Fountain
Court, almost before daylight, there was some one astir. He came out of
the door of Morgridge & Mit, dealers in tobacco, and toddled up the
court at an astonishing gait. Where did he go to? he certainly passed
the pump and turned the corner, and in a quarter of an hour more was
trotting down the court with a parcel in his hand. The door of Morgridge
& Mit closes behind him, but not before we have seen his face. Verily,
it is Mr. Morgridge, but so extraordinarily like Santa Klaus is he, that
we are puzzled to know which of the two it is; the form and shoulders
are those of Mr. Morgridge, but the face at least is borrowed from Santa
Klaus; Mr. Morgridge never in his life looked so jolly. Not to confound
this person with the sour-faced man who sat glumpy, upon the bench
taking snuff, the night before, let us call him Morgridge Klaus.

Morgridge Klaus stole slily up stairs to Peter Mit's loft. He went up
stairs because there was so much of the Morgridge about him; if there
had been more of the Klaus he would undoubtedly have come down the
chimney. At the top of the stairs, where it was still quite dark, he
could see Peter curled up in bed. But it was not he that he had come to
see. He began groping about on the floor in search of something. "Ah!
here it is!" he said with a chuckle, bringing to light a stocking most
woefully riddled with holes. Morgridge Klaus stuffed a paper parcel into
the stocking, and laying it carefully on the floor, stumbled down
stairs, chuckling to himself and taking snuff immoderately.

Mr. Morgridge's Christmas Day had in fact commenced, but it was an hour
yet before Peter Mit began his Christmas Day. The little fellow rubbed
his eyes and drew his knees nearer his chin when he awoke. Then he
remembered the day and looked eagerly toward the chimney. There hung his
stocking, as small, as full of holes, and as empty as when he hung it.
"So it was a dream only after all," he said sorrowfully. Still he went
over to it in hopes that the dream might have come true, and that the
candy and muffler had remained by the stocking, but they too were gone.
Peter shiveringly dressed himself. He had now only one stocking and a
shoe to put on. How heavy the stocking was! there was something in it!
Peter grew greatly excited--"Santa Klaus must have taken this stocking
after all!" said he. Yes, there was a bundle, and the paper stuck to
the inside. It was candy without a doubt; but where was the muffler?
Peter turned the stocking inside out, but the muffler had gone after the
rest of the things. The candy alone was faithful.

Peter hastened down stairs. Mr. Morgridge was there getting breakfast
ready. Peter eagerly told him of his good fortune. What a chuckle did
the old fellow give! it was amazing to Peter. He had never before heard
Mr. Morgridge make such a noise. He had never seen his face so broken up
into smiles and grins. He could hardly believe it was Mr. Morgridge. Nor
was it--it was Morgridge Klaus.

While breakfast was in preparation, Peter climbed up into his
watch-tower. Well done! there was a muffler in the chair! precisely like
the one which he had seen enter the stocking the night before. How could
it have found its way to his seat? As he was looking at it in
wonderment, there was another undoubted chuckle from Morgridge Klaus.
Peter was astonished beyond measure. Could Mr. Morgridge be Santa Klaus?
impossible! yet he began to believe it, for was it any harder of belief
than that it was Mr. Morgridge who then spoke in a voice that had in it
the cheeriness of Solomon Mit:--

"Come down, little Peter! To-day is Christmas Day. We must hurry through
breakfast; for we've got twenty-five turkeys to carry to twenty-five
honest poor folk. It will go hard with us, but we'll make shift to buy
'em. God bless you Peter Mit!" and may the Indian in front of the door
tomahawk me if David Morgridge did not then and there, in his old,
wheezy, snuff-choked voice, sing--

  "All glory be to God on high,
    And to the Earth be peace,
  Good will, henceforth, from Heaven to men,
    Begin and never cease!"

[Illustration]



The Little Castaways

JULIA'S STORY.



The Little Castaways.


[Illustration]

It was a June afternoon, long and gentle; the sun did not scorch as it
does in August, and the wind was from the South, just strong enough to
stir the trees a little, and to carry the fragrance of the flowers
through the air. It was such an afternoon as old people like to spend
listlessly watching the bees and the butterflies, and thinking of old
times; nor are they the only people who like June afternoons; their
children and their grandchildren in different fashion, make the most of
these long hours and never think them too long.

Old Benjy Robin was humming a psalm-tune as he sat in his chair upon the
front stoop of his son's house, where he always lived; he had moved away
a little from the open passage which led to the back of the house, to
avoid the draught of wind that passed gently through. It was a very
pleasant wind to younger folk, but Old Benjy was turned of eighty, and
not so warm in his blood as to like such cool currents. His cane stood
between his knees, over which was spread a large red silk handkerchief,
and his hands were folded before him; while his two thumbs slowly turned
round each other, sometimes one way, sometimes the other. Before him he
could see down the garden walk, with its trim rows of shrubbery, and
beyond farther on, the very lovely hills that closed in the lake of
Clearwater, the shore of which was but a little way off. John Robin,
his son, who owned the house and farm, owned also part of the lake, and
there was a path, leading from the other side of the road in front of
the house, down to the shore where the horses were taken to water and
where the farmer kept his boats. It was a beautiful view from the stoop,
especially when as now the white clouds were floating over the tops of
the hills.

It was so quiet and the air was so mild that old Benjy soon began to
feel sleepy; he took the red bandanna from his knees and threw it over
his head to keep the flies away from his face, and then settled himself
to sleep, while his thumbs continued to go slowly round and round as if
they were trying in vain to overtake one another. Old Juniper too, the
great Newfoundland dog that lay at his feet, gave up trying to catch the
flies that plagued him, and stretching himself out as much as he could,
drew in his tongue over his red gums, and also fell sound asleep
breathing very hard.

The only persons in the house this June afternoon were the old man,
Juniper the dog, and Yulee, and Bo, Robin, Benjy's grandchildren. Their
father and mother had gone out for the afternoon and would not be back
until after tea; the boys were at work at the other end of the farm, and
so the children had been left in care of their grandfather and the
servant-maids. But Benjy had gone to sleep, and the servants had taken
the time to pay a visit to the next farmhouse. The children however did
not notice this; they were sitting on the door-step at the back of the
house, at the opposite end of the passage to where their grandfather
was. They enjoyed the wind that was blowing through so pleasantly, and
Yulee was reading aloud from a book to her brother Bo. Yulee was eight
years old; her real name was Julia, but no one but the school mistress
ever called her so. Bo, short for Robert, was two years younger and
wanted to do everything that Yulee did. Wherever Yulee was, there you
would be sure to find Bo. He followed her about as faithfully as a
chicken does her mother, and Yulee treated him very much as a hen does
its only chicken.

The book they were reading was called "_The Castaways_," and Bo was
listening to Yulee with the greatest attention. At last, just as the
great clock in the hall struck three, Yulee finished; she had skipped
some of the parts, especially the hard names and Miss Keenmark's
science, but she had read the book through and Bo had heard most of it.

"Bo!" said she, as she shut the book, "I'd like to be a castaway,
wouldn't you? It would be so fine to live on the top of a rock and have
to go up a rope ladder, and keep goats, and save the lives of Africans,
and sleep in an ox-cart!"

"Oh, but the lions!" said Bo, "and the--and the--what are those big
things that live in the water, and most swallowed the canoe?--you know."

"I know what you mean," said Yulee. "The hippopotamuses. I said the word
all the way going to school yesterday, so as to remember it."

"I shouldn't like them," said Bo.

"Oh, but one of the men would fire right into his mouth, just as Albert
did. I'll find the place;" and turning over the leaves of the book, she
came to the story, and read:--"But they had not been long seated when a
tremendous shock was felt; the light canoe was thrown above the water,
and capsized in a moment; and Albert, who was standing at the stern of
the raft, watching the boat, saw, to his great horror, the huge head of
a hippopotamus raised above the water, preparing to seize the canoe with
its red open mouth. Calling for aid, he seized his gun and fired in the
face of the ferocious beast, which with terrific roars, dived down and
disappeared."

"But who'd you have to shoot the--pippi--what is it?" asked Bo.

"The hippopotamus," said Yulee, who liked to pronounce the word; "why,
of course, there must be some men wrecked with me: there's the captain,
and the doctor, and carpenter, and the passengers--"

"A'n't girls ever wrecked alone?" asked Bo; Yulee thought a minute; she
tried to recollect the different stories she had read about people who
were cast away. "No;" she said finally, "there is always the captain,
and the doctor, and the carpenter, and some of the passengers at least;
and the carpenter finds his chest."

Bo had nothing to say against such a mode of shipwrecking, and Yulee
continued: "But I think I'd rather be cast away on an island like
Robinson Crusoe or The Little Robinson, where there was water all
around, and canoes and pearls, just as it is in 'The Swiss Family.'"
"Bo!" she said suddenly, "I do declare! let's be cast away on the island
in the lake! We can get into the boat, you know, and be wrecked on the
shore, and you can take your bow and arrows, and I'll take my tea-set
and my range, and we'll build a little house, and perhaps there are some
goats on the island! Wouldn't it be grand!"

Bo opened his brown eyes wide at the idea. "Well let's do it!" said he;
it was enough for him that Yulee had proposed it; "I'll go right off and
get my bow and arrows."

"And I'll get my tea-set and the range, and I'll take Miss Phely," said
Yulee. They jumped up from the flat door-step, and ran into the house,
and up stairs to the play-room. There they began collecting what they
thought they should need, and Yulee very soon pounced on Miss Phely who
was in the corner of the room, sitting very stiffly upon a small willow
rocking chair. Miss Phely's face originally was black, but rather
streaked with a doubtful colour now, as it had been washed somewhat
vigorously at different times; her eyes were blue and very wide open,
and her dress, which wanted a pin behind, was of spotted pink calico.
Her arms she held rather stiffly away from her clothes, and her fingers
were stretched as far apart as they well could be. Yulee was in a hurry,
and took her up unceremoniously by the waist, but Miss Phely did not
seem at all disturbed, and did not even wink or shut her fingers
together.

They hurried down stairs and out by the front door, passing on tip-toe
by their grandfather, Old Benjy Robin, who slept soundly in his chair,
with his cane between his knees and the bandanna thrown over his head to
keep away the flies. Even Juniper, the dog, never woke up, though Yulee
was strongly tempted to add him to the party of castaways. They passed
through the garden gate, and crossing the road walked through the
pasture, down the path that led to the shore of Clearwater. There, tied
to a stake, was their father's flat-bottomed boat, with keel-boats near
by. Yulee chose the flat-bottomed boat, and they proceeded to put on
board their various stores.

First, and head foremost, Miss Phely was deposited upon one of the
seats; if her head had been less hard it must have disliked the wooden
pillow that it was knocked down upon. After her came the box of cups and
saucers, tea-pot, sugar-bowl and creamer; then some of Miss Phely's
clothes, in case a change were desirable; a little Shaker basket, never
before used, which Yulee said was for berries; the bow and arrows; a
pail for the goats' milk; a tin pump with a trough attached to it;
little Bo carrying a pop-gun which was too valuable to be suffered out
of his hands; and lastly, Yulee holding in one hand "The Castaways," to
refer to in case of need, and in the other the most precious thing of
all to her--a little complete leaden range with places for every thing,
which had been given her for a present on her last birth-day, and in
which it had ever since been her secret but firm determination to build
a real fire. The range was altogether too valuable to be laid on the
seat like Miss Phely, so Yulee kept it in her hands; and she had not
forgotten either--prudent Yulee! to bring some matches wrapped up in a
piece of newspaper, and which she kept her eyes on constantly, as they
lay in the range, expecting every moment to see them start a-fire;
indeed, they kept her very uneasy. However, everything was now aboard.

"Here, Bo," said she, "you sit down there, side of Miss Phely, and don't
let her tumble overboard, and I'll go and untie the rope." Bo began to
be a little frightened, but he had faith in Yulee, and Yulee had great
faith in herself. When she had untied the end of the rope that was in
the boat--and very hard work she found it--she said:

"Now we're off, Bo! are you all ready?"

"Yes," said Bo.

"No; you must say, 'aye aye, sir!'" said Yulee.

"But you a'n't _sir_," said Bo.

"Yes I am," said Yulee, "I'm the Captain;" and she took her seat in the
middle of the boat, where she said the Captain always sat. "This ship is
the _Little Madras_, Bo," said she. "Where's 'The Castaways'? I'll read
about it." So she read how all the party, after their first shipwreck in
the _Madras_, had embarked again in the ship's long boat, which the
Captain called the _Little Madras_.

"Are there any of those big animals here? you know that long name,"
asked Bo.

"Hippopotamuses?" said Yulee, promptly, delighted at the opportunity of
using the word. "Oh, no! there are no hippopotamuses in Clearwater; the
hippopotamuses only live in Africa."

"You never saw one, did you?" said Bo, who didn't like to use the word.

"No," said Yulee. "I never saw a hippopotamus, but I've seen an elephant
in the menagerie and I guess it's something like it. There's a picture
of one in the Castaways," and she showed it to Bo.

While they were talking, the wind and the current had been gently
drifting the boat away from the shore; they were quite a distance from
the stake now, and really going toward the island, which lay in the lake
not very far off. They had never been there for their father said there
was nothing to see on it; but Yulee was very certain in her own mind
that there was something on the island very wonderful. She had made up a
great many stories about it, which she had told over to herself so often
that she believed them as much as if some one else had told them to her.
She was sure that there were goats there at any rate and possibly a
parrot; and she was ready to believe in a cave, and perhaps even a small
mountain with a rope ladder up to the top like the one in "the
Castaways," though she rather thought she would have seen that if there
had been one, from the shore. The island could not be seen from the
house, nor from the boat-landing; it was round a curve in the lake.

The boat followed the current which led it slowly toward the island, and
Yulee was in ecstacies as they neared the shore. She sat in the bows of
the boat looking eagerly toward the island and trying to make out a good
place for a cave. But the land looked rather unpromising; it was low,
rising but little above the water, and covered with grass, a few low
bushes and one clump of trees. The boat did not seem able to get much
nearer the island, after it was within a few yards of it, and even
appeared to be drifting away. Yulee noticed this and began to be alarmed
lest they should not be cast away after all.

"Why don't we get wrecked?" asked Bo at this juncture, leaning over the
boat side and looking into the water which was hardly a foot deep here.

"There ought to be a great wind," explained Yulee, "and a storm, and the
ship ought to go to pieces, and then we should be thrown on shore, and
in the morning we should go out to the wreck and get the carpenter's
chest and all sorts of things; at least that's the way it usually
happens, but we're in a boat you see, and that makes a difference. I
think, Bo," she added, "you'd better take off your shoes and stockings,
and get out and pull the boat ashore, or we never shall get there."

So Bo rolled up his trousers, and with some difficulty got over the side
of the boat into the water. The boat moved easily, and Bo in great glee
pulled it to the island, to a place where there was a little beach, till
the bottom of the boat grated on the gravel.

"Here we are!" said Yulee. "Now, Bo, we must get the things ashore
before the _Little Madras_ goes to pieces." Bo stood on the beach by the
boat while Yulee handed to him the various stores and provisions, not
forgetting Miss Phely, who was still as wide awake as ever, staring
before her without winking and keeping her fingers stiffly apart in the
same uncomfortable fashion. Bo took her by the arm and tossed her upon
the ground in a very unfeeling manner. Last of all came Yulee, holding
fast her precious range and dividing her attention between the dangerous
matches and the disembarking from the boat.

"Now, is the _Little Madras_ going to pieces?" asked Bo.

"It ought to," said Yulee, "or else it will drift away in the night
time. We'll tie it here, though, because you know we may want to sail
round our island, and I don't see any log of wood here to make a boat
out of as Robinson Crusoe did. Where's the rope, Bo?" she said, as she
looked round in vain for it in order to tie the boat to the shore.

"You untied it," said he.

"So I did," said she, "but I must have untied the wrong end. Well, I
guess the boat will stay here." Secretly Yulee hoped the boat wouldn't
stay; it would be so much more like a real wreck.

"Now, the first thing we must do," said Yulee, "is to explore our island
and see if there are any savages on it. You give me the bow and arrows
and take your gun, and if you see a savage you mustn't fire at him, but
must wait a moment to see if he won't come and kneel down and be your
slave."

Bo was frightened at this; he wasn't prepared for savages. "Do you
really think, Yulee," said he, "that there are savages here?"

"I don't know," said she, "I've never been here before, but it's best to
be prepared. Don't you be afraid, Bobo," she added encouragingly; "you
know we can take to the boat if they chase us, and they'll fire darts,
but the darts will fall into the water all around us, and won't hit us
at all."

"Do you think it's safe, Yulee, to leave the things so on the beach?"
asked Bo, as they started off on their tour of discovery.

"Oh, yes," said she, "nobody will touch them, they never do; besides,
I've got the range with me." To be sure, she had the range in one hand,
but she had left the matches upon the beach as causing too much anxiety.
Thus they set off. Yulee with the range and the bow and arrows, and Bo
with his pop-gun. It did not take long to explore the island; it was
only about an acre in all, and irregular in shape. They came to the
clump of trees but did not dare go in, though Yulee was pretty sure that
the cave must be in there. They left that, however, for a future tour,
and came back without further adventure to their landing place, where
they found their stores safe upon the beach, but the boat to Bo's
consternation had drifted off from the shore, and was now some distance
away, floating down the Lake.

"Oh, Yulee!" said he, "what shall we do I see the boat is gone!"

"That is all right," said she cheerfully. "I wouldn't have been half so
much of a wreck if the boat had stayed. A'n't you glad we have got all
the things out? The next thing we must do is to build a house."

"I'm hungry," said Bo.

"Then we'll have dinner first," said she. "We'll have strawberries
to-day, but to-morrow we'll have fish, or you can shoot a goat."

"But there a'n't any goats," said Bo.

"Yes there are; they're in the cave in the clump of trees yonder." Bo
couldn't dispute that, but he demurred as to going in there to shoot
them. At present, however, they satisfied themselves with eating
strawberries, which were very plentiful upon the island.

When they had eaten their strawberries, and had become quite crimson
about the mouth and finger-tips, they returned to the landing-place,
where Miss Phely had been keeping watch over the stores. She had been
placed in a sitting posture, leaning against a stone, and looking out
upon Clearwater as wide awake as when she had been put into the boat,
and with her arms and fingers extended as if she were delivering an
oration. She paid not the slightest attention to the valuables placed
under her guard. Bo began to look about for stones to throw into the
water while Yulee thought it a good time to attend to Miss Phely's
toilet; so she set busily to work changing her frock; when she had
finished this to her satisfaction and was debating whether it would be
well to wash her face also, she remembered suddenly, what she had
forgotten for the while, that she was a cast away.

"Bo!" she cried, "we ought to be building our house."

"What shall we make it of?" said he. She reflected a moment.

"Sometimes they build them of trees and sometimes of skins; the best way
is to have a cave. I wish we had a cave, Bo. I've half a mind to try
those trees. Will you go in if I will?"

"Ye-es," said Bo, hesitatingly; "but you must go in first."

"Let's make a fire first in the range and have some tea," said Yulee,
who could not quite get up courage enough to go in among the trees.

"Oh, do! that'll be fine!" said Bo, joyfully. It was a very important
business, this making a fire in the range. Yulee had long been looking
forward to it, and now that she was really about to have the fire she
proceeded very cautiously, Bo standing ready to help her and peering
anxiously into the process. The range was precisely like a real range,
only it was very small, and was made of lead instead of iron. It had a
grate in the middle for the fire and a place underneath to hold the
ashes; it had ovens at the sides; it had flues and dampers and a chimney
piece, and even a place in front to heat irons on; moreover, it was
furnished with a full set of pots and pans and kettles. In fact it was
complete, and in Yulee's opinion, only needed a fire in the grate, real
smoke coming out of the chimney, and a kettle of water boiling over it,
to make it the most wonderful and perfect thing that ever had been
conceived.

Now she set about preparing the fire. First she laid in the newspaper in
which she had brought the matches; then Bo was sent off for leaves and
came back with some very green grass and leaves of different sorts.
Yulee put these very carefully above the paper, and on top of them she
laid some twigs that she had broken up into bits, and now the fire was
all ready to be lighted.

"Now, Bo," said she, "we must have the water in the kettle and on the
range before we light the fire." So Bo took the pump to the lake side
and filled it with water, and then hanging the kettle under the nose of
the pump, he jerked the pump handle and made the water come plashing out
into the kettle. He could have filled the kettle much easier by simply
dipping it in the lake, but it would not have been near so good fun.
However, it was full of water, and Yulee carefully set it in its place
upon the range. Everything now was ready for the fire. Bo held his
breath as he leaned on his hands and knees, eagerly watching Yulee while
she proceeded to handle the dangerous matches. She took one in her hand
and was just about rubbing it on a stone, when she stopped.

"Bo!" she said, "I think we had better set the table first for tea."

"Why, no!" said he, "mother always sets the table after she has set the
kettle a boiling."

"But I shall want to watch the fire," said Yulee.--"Yes, I think we had
better set the table first." So the match was laid down to Bo's grief,
and Yulee proceeded to unpack the box containing her tea-set. They chose
for a table a flat rock sunken in the sand, and just the right size. On
this they arranged the cups and saucers, and tea-pot and sugar-bowl and
creamer.

"We ought to have some real sugar," said Bo.

"So we ought," said Yulee. "There ought to be some in the ship's
stores," she added. "They generally find a box of sugar on the beach, a
little damaged by the water. At least I believe they did in Swiss Family
Robinson."

"Did they in 'The Castaways?'" asked Bo.

"No," said Yulee, "but you know they weren't exactly wrecked the second
time--Dr. Cameron went out to the ship when the rest were on shore, and
brought back some things--I think there was sugar; let me see--here it
is," and she read:--

"When the watering-boat touched the coast, Dr. Cameron went up and
courteously requested to be allowed to return in it, as the ladies had
forgotten some little necessaries, and he proposed to bring out their
own boat, the _Little Madras_, to enable them to procure these trifles
as well as the cooking-apparatus which would be useful if they were
detained a few days on shore." Mum, mum, mum. "They succeeded in
lowering their own boat, with its oars, and by Marshall's advice,
brought from their property the carpenter's chest, disguised under the
covering of a travelling trunk, with the powder and shot, ropes and
straps, which had been left in the hold of their boat; but every morsel
of provision, biscuit, wine and flour had been removed, and could not be
found. Dr. Cameron had fortunately locked up his cabin before he left
the vessel, and was able to remove his own private property consisting
of a bag of coffee, a loaf of sugar, and a chest which contained his
valuable medical stores, all of which he now placed in the boat."

Our castaways, however, had to content themselves like some of their
betters with sand for sugar, which they put in the sugar bowl, and then
filled the creamer with water, though Yulee declared that some time
they would find the goats and milk them. The table was now set and Miss
Phely was given a place by it, where she sat, still looking out on the
water in an abstracted way, and keeping her hands away from her clean
frock. She had none of the friskiness commonly belonging to black
children; she was anything but a Topsy.

Nothing now remained to be done but to light the fire and make the tea.
Again Yulee took a match and Bo stooped down, breathlessly watching the
operation. "Ritzch!" went the match and Yulee held it between the bars
of the range to light the fire; it didn't seem to burn very well though
there was considerable smoke; in fact, the match after burning to the
edge of Yulee's fingers went out, and the fire was not yet fairly
kindled. Yulee tried another match with about the same success, only a
little more smoke.

"Burn a lot at a time," suggested Bo. So she took a bunch of six and got
them into a fine blaze. Bo was still peering anxiously while Yulee with
her face very red, and her sun-bonnet fallen back, held the bunch of
matches between the bars; she tried them first between two and then
between another two. All at once something hot fell upon her hand; she
dropped the matches in the pan that was to hold the ashes and clapping
her other hand upon the spot, began hopping up and down with the pain
but determined not to cry.

"Why! what is the matter?" said Bo, in great surprise. Yulee didn't dare
trust herself to speak--she was so afraid she might cry, but uncovered
her hand to show him, and there they both saw--for she had not looked at
it herself yet,--a shining spot as large as a three cent piece, and that
looked like silver.

"Why!" exclaimed Yulee.

"Oh!" said Bo.

Yulee forgot her pain for a moment. How did it get there? what was it?
she touched it and found that it came off easily. It was irregular at
the edges, looking in fact like a spatter of silver.

"What is it?" asked Bo.

"What can it be?" said Yulee. "It looks like silver." She looked toward
the range to see if that could explain it. Then she burst into a loud
cry.

"Oh, Bo! Oh, Bo!" said she, "the range! the range!" Alas, the matches
that had been dropped into the ash-pan, had burnt on and flamed up,
melting the lead bars, the first drop from which had burnt poor Yulee's
hand. The sticks in the grate had fallen through with the heap of
matches, and catching fire, the melting had gone on until now the
beautiful range was a sad sight to behold. The kettle just then gave
way, and tipping up, spilled the water over, which hissed on the molten
lead and caused a great smoke to rise from the burning embers.

Yulee and Bo gazed wofully on the ruin before them. It was too hot at
first to touch, and they stood for some time in front of it, looking at
the odd shapes that the melting lead had taken. If it had not been for
that, they would have been much worse off; but the drops of lead were so
curious and looked so much like animals and pieces of silver, that they
almost forgot for the time their great loss. But they soon remembered it
again and looked sadly at the range.

"Don't you suppose it can be mended?" said Bo.

"I don't know," said Yulee shaking her head, "I don't believe it can.
What will mother say!"

"Yulee!" said Bo, suddenly, "I think we ought to pump on it so as to put
the fire out." So he ran for his pump which had not been emptied in
filling the kettle, and though the trough was somewhat in the way, he
managed to spill out the rest of the water on to the hot range, while
Yulee brought the cream-jug and emptied its contents also on it. By this
time the range was pretty cool and they could handle it; but it was in a
sad state, quite melted out.

Yulee tried to solace herself with making tea for Miss Phely; but it was
miserable comfort to make tea with cold water that had not even made
believe boil as usual on the wonderful range. As for Miss Phely, she was
as unconcerned as ever, and seemed equally indifferent whether the water
were hot or cold, or even whether the tea were made or not, and sat
staring out upon the lake.

       *       *       *       *       *

But June afternoons, long as they are, have an end at last; and this
afternoon was drawing to a close. In the eagerness of making the fire,
the little Castaways had not noticed how late it was growing, but now,
when they were so disappointed and were sitting with Miss Phely
disconsolately by the rock, they saw that the sun had set, and that
evening was closing in.

Yes, the night was coming; they had hardly thought of this before and
were not at all prepared for it. But it was still warm, for the June
afternoon lingers long and far into the evening. Then they fell to
eating strawberries again, for make-believe tea where everything is
water and sand is not very satisfactory. After the strawberrying they
came back to the shore again, and little Bo, now quite disheartened
began to make a noise which sounded a little like crying, it was a
whimper; but Yulee was brave and kept her courage up, and began telling
Bo stories which she had read about people who had been cast away upon
islands; but somehow or other she always seemed to remember best the
parts where they were attacked by savages and wild beasts, and
especially by her favourite hippopotamus. So that Bo only grew more
terrified and as it became darker began to fancy he heard animals
around them, and once actually thought he saw a great hippopotamus with
open jaws coming out of Clearwater toward them. Yulee tried to read "The
Castaways," but it soon became too dark. Yet she wouldn't give in to
fear, but kept her courage stoutly.

"Bo," said she, "it's getting dark and I think it must be time to put
Miss Phely to bed."

"I want to go to bed," said Bo. "I want to go to mother!" and little Bo
cried now without any doubt. Yulee bravely kept back her tears and tried
to comfort Bo, who soon began to take an interest in the unrobing of
Miss Phely, who was put to bed on a very uncomfortable rock--the very
one in fact at which she had sat for her tea; but it made no difference
to her; she went to sleep with her eyes as wide open as ever.

When this was over, Yulee, never at a loss, began to sing for Bo's
amusement and her own comfort. She sang all the songs she knew just as
they came into her head. "There is a happy land," "Three little
kittens." "Pop goes the weasel," "The sunday-school," and some others
which I have forgotten. Would you believe it? Bo fell fast asleep with
his head in her lap. Then Yulee felt less badly; before she had been
troubled about Bo, but now that he was asleep, leaning so upon her, she
felt a courage at having one depending upon her whom she must never
desert, no, not even if a hippopotamus, as she said, were to come toward
them.

But no hippopotamus came; instead of that, she saw a boat with a light
twinkling in it, come rowing down the lake toward the island. The house
and the boat-landing could not be seen from the island, because as I
said, there was a point of land jutting out, and because the lake too
makes a bend. Yulee was singing the song about the little robins as the
boat came round the point. She was singing the line

  "And what will the robins do then, poor things!"

And looked up at that moment, just as her father catching the sound of
her voice--called out:

"There she is! bless her little soul, singing about the robins! Yulee!"

"Here I am, father," said the little Castaway. "Bo, wake up! here's
father." Bo gave a sort of snuffle and went to sleep again. The boat
with a few pulls was now brought up to the island, and John Robin
jumping out, while the boys sat in the boat caught up Yulee and Bo in
his arms.

"I've a good mind to give you a good whipping on the spot, you little
runaways!" said he; but he did no such thing; perhaps he thought he
would leave that to their mother. Bo opened his eyes and blinked in the
light of the lanterns, but went right to sleep again on his father's
shoulder.

"We didn't run away," said Yulee, "we were cast away in the _Little
Madras_."

"Where's the boat, Yulee?" asked one of her brothers.

"Oh that was washed away of course," said she.

"Why _of course_?"

"Why, they always are," said she, "and they make new ones out of logs."

"Why didn't you make one out of a log, then?" he asked laughing. But
Yulee was too busy collecting her treasures to answer his foolish
question. She got them all safely on board at last, Miss Phely being
unceremoniously huddled into the boat without waiting to be dressed.
Now Yulee was reminded of her poor unfortunate range; but she said
nothing about it, only gathering up its ruins and taking especial care
of it.

Yulee was very talkative at first, but her father was grave and silent,
and her brothers teased her, so that she soon stopped talking and began
wondering in her mind how she ever was to get the range mended, and
whether there was a cave in the grove of trees which she was very sorry
now she had not explored; she secretly determined to make a second trip
to the island for that purpose as soon as possible.

But when they came to the shore and walked up to the house, and when
Yulee found her mother half wild with thinking she had been drowned, and
her grandfather, old Benjy Robin, crooning in his arm-chair and saying
he had been the death of them,--she began to think it was not so fine,
and lay down that night penitently in her little bed and promised over
and over never to be cast away again. As for Bo, he would do just as
Yulee said, but he privately resolved never to follow her to sea at any
rate. Even Miss Phely appeared so much the worse for her knocking about
that I think she must have been better satisfied with her corner in the
nursery; but as for repenting of her folly or blaming Yulee, I never
heard of her doing so. She always looked contented and indifferent.

[Illustration]



A Faery Surprise Party.

LILLIE'S STORY.



A Faery Surprise Party.


[Illustration]

My name is Jack Frost, and I have a story to tell. If you don't know who
I am, ask my friend North East Wind, Esq., and he will tell you, and
whistle a tune which he made up about me. I am Painter to her Beauty
Mab, Queen of the Faeries. She gives me plenty of work to do; in the
summer-time I go North, like other artists, to take sketches, but when
the winter comes then I come back and paint my pictures. I paint chiefly
on glass, though sometimes on pottery, the night is the time I like
best to work in, for in the day-time the sun tries to put some colour
into the paintings, which spoils them; white is the only colour I ever
use.

I was going to tell you, however, a story about what I saw the other
night. Queen Mab sent a snow-flake to me with a message. I was to paint
eight large squares of glass in a certain window of a certain house. I
might paint what I chose only it must be done in good season, for the
Queen was to visit the painting when it was finished. So I was at the
glass and at work early--'twas only a little after sundown; my friend,
North East Wind, jolly old fellow! was whistling a tune right merrily as
I handled my brush.

There was a light inside the room, and I could see everything that was
going on there; I could hear everything too, for there was a crack in
one of the panes of glass; these cracks spoil my paintings--I never can
make any mark on the glass close to them--but how ever, here was this
crack, and I could make out through it everything that was going on. A
nurse was putting a little girl named Milly to bed, and they talked
incessantly. Milly was to have a party the next day, which was her sixth
birth-day; it was to be her first party. All things had been made ready
for it; she had had a new dress, white with red spots like wafers all
over it, and she was to wear a red sash and bronze kid slippers. Twelve
little girls had been invited, but only eleven were sure to come; Susan
Peabody was sick, and might not be there.

All this I heard, and I saw Milly tucked up in bed and left to go to
sleep. Then I worked with a will, for I had no time to spare. I begged
my jolly friend, N. E. Wind, to be off with himself, as he interrupted
my work. So he gave one long wheugh! and away he went.

At twelve o'clock my painting was done. It was the best piece I had done
in a long while; one square of glass in particular was superb, though I
say it that ought not say it. It was a picture of the palace of Queen
Mab; towers and spires were there, hung with crystal bells; the castle
was set round with trees, some slim, shooting up above the towers, some
stunted throwing out their branches in every direction. The whole
glittered most brilliantly. There was a network over all, as if a spider
had spun silver threads in front of it. I very often put that on
afterwards to add to the effect, though my friend North East Wind
pooh-poohs at it; but he knows nothing about art.

It was twelve o'clock, as I said, and the moon was shining brightly; as
it rose higher, a moon-beam passed through the window, and through the
very square of glass that I had taken such pains with. It passed like a
carriage-way right by the great door of the Queen's palace, while the
other end rested on the bed where Milly was sleeping. I was standing on
the window sash, just touching up the work a little, when, all of a
sudden, what should I see but her Beauty Queen Mab with eleven
attendants; she came out of the great door of the palace I had
painted--that was the finest effect of all.

She got into her sleigh which is made of a dove-feather, curling up in
front, and which is drawn by twelve lady birds: the lady birds all had
on robes of caterpillar fuz to keep them warm. The retinue of eleven
Faeries were all riding on milk-white steeds of dandelion-down. The
Queen held the reins herself, and cracking the whip which is made of a
musquito leg, away they went over the moon-beam. The Queen saw me just
as they left the palace, and gave me a nod. She is very gracious! It did
not take them long to reach the bed, I can tell you, and they reined up
at the other end of the moon-beam, which rested on Milly's breast.

I wondered what they were going to do here, but it was very soon
evident. It seems the Queen knew of the party Milly was to have, and
meant to get the better of her by giving her a surprise party first. So
she had brought the eleven Faeries with her--just the number of little
girls Milly was to have the next day.

The Queen got out of her sleigh, and tied the ladybirds to the strings
of Milly's night-cap, that they might not run away. Then she walked
along very carefully till she came to Milly's chin. She climbed up it
and rested there for a minute, to get breath, and then went on, until
she was safely perched on Milly's red lip, where she was nearly blown
away, Milly breathed so hard.

Here she beckoned to the eleven and they, leaving their horses below,
all set out to reach Milly's forehead, where she told them to gather. A
hard time they had of it, too! some of them tried to get up by the nose,
but the wind coming out of two great caves was too strong for them;
others more wisely crept round by the corners of the eyes, and scrambled
up the precipice there. But those who fared worst were a few who tried
to get through the hair. They got lost in the forest, and wandered about
for a long time, halloing and trying to find the top. You may wonder why
they didn't fly--I suppose you think Faeries always do--but I know
better. When winter comes they always take off their wings, and put them
carefully away where the moths can not touch them--chiefly in old
nut-shells; then in spring, their mantua-makers and milliners, the
caterpillars and spiders, get them out and put them in repair, or else
make new ones.

However, they all at last safely reached the forehead. That was a fine
large play-ground for them--the forest behind, and the hill and
precipices below. Here they formed a ring and took hold of hands.

  Round the ring run,
    Pass in and out,
  Melt into one,
   Puff! turn about!

cried Queen Mab, and in a twinkling the ring of Faeries was going round
and round, till it looked just like a glittering ring, perfectly still;
then all in a moment they had stopped, and each Faery in turn ran across
the ring, ducked between two Faeries, was back again, then between two
more, and so on, till I got perfectly confused, and couldn't tell one
from another, they seemed so mixed up; they kept getting more and more
in a maze, and nearer and nearer to each other, until it was just one
solid ball of Faeries; spinning round like a top; then suddenly the ball
seemed to burst, and the Faeries to scatter in every direction, but
really there was a perfect ring again, and whirling round in just the
opposite direction. And then the same thing was done over again, till I
should have thought they would all have been ready to drop.

But that came to an end after a while, for they heard the Queen scream,
and they stopped to see what the matter might be. It was nothing, though
the Queen was a good deal frightened at first. Milly, who was probably
dreaming about them, smiled very prettily in her sleep, and as the lip
moved, the Queen perched on it almost lost her balance, and came as near
as possible to falling into the pit that was open before her. If she had
fallen in, she would have struck against Milly's teeth, and that might
have been the death of her. She got over her fright soon, and moved a
little farther back to get out of harm's way. This put an end to the
dance.

After some games of hide and seek when they hid in the eyebrows and the
edge of the forest, they had a Tableau. The subject was "The Faery's
Sacrifice." That is a favourite story with them. I myself have painted
it on glass. A Faery--so the story runs--was once in great danger from a
Musquito; it would certainly have caught her and killed her, though she
was winged and flying very swiftly; but just then a horse of
dandelion-down came gliding by; she jumped on it and they two together
were too swift for the Musquito and she escaped; but they went so fast
through the wind that the poor horse lost almost all his down and
finally dropped upon the ground from sheer inability to go further. The
Faery loved him so for saving her that she pulled out her own wings and
fastened them on the horse;--away he went, and she had to creep home as
well as she could. But she did right though she suffered for it; she was
never sorry, and the story is told by the Faeries to their children.
This was the story that they played in the Tableau. There were two
scenes; in the first the Faery is just mounting the horse to escape the
Musquito--the Musquito of course they had to make believe was there, in
the second the horse lies panting on the ground and she is leaning over
it weeping. There should have been a third, as there usually is, where
she puts the wings on the horse, but they had no material with them for
that scene.

Then came a Charade. The word was a very easy one--I guessed it
myself--it was _Duty_. It was divided into two parts; the first was
_dew_. Dew is a drink of the Faeries in summer-time. Half a dozen
Faeries sat in a circle. The hat of one of them which was made of a bit
of rose-leaf, they twisted and turned till it looked a little like the
cup of a violet, though the colour wasn't exact. This they put in the
middle; but where was the dew? there was none of course, so one of the
Faeries had crept down, got on a dandelion-down horse's back and ridden
over the moon-beam to the window. In the crack of the sash he got a wee
bit of ice that made part of a drop of water when he held it in his
hand. It looked like dew, and he managed to get it safely back without
spilling much. This had been put in the hat or pretended violet cup.
Each of the Faeries, according to custom, took a spoon in hand and
slowly stirred the dew in the cup. The spoons they use are made of
pieces of the stamens of different flowers; here they had make-believe
spoons made out of bits of hair from Milly's eyebrows. They stirred the
dew in the cup, and as they stirred they sang the Dew drinking
chorus:--

  "The shining Dew in the Violet cup
  Flows round and round in a silvery flood:--
  Against the sides we'll dash the dew up,--
  Then drink! and cool our summer-hot blood."

But though they each in turn lifted the cup, they only pretended to
drink, for it was icy cold.

That was for _du_; next came _ty_.

This was done thus. They had a marriage-scene. Two little Faeries stood
up together, and the one that was to marry them took a hair from each of
their heads, and fastening the ends together, made a long string; with
this he tied them together in a true-lover knot; for such is the way the
Faeries do when they are married.

This was for _ty_; then came the whole word.

A Faery is seen busily occupied with weaving; she is making a veil for a
human maiden which shall keep her from seeing sin; the Faery is singing
to herself. Presently up comes a little Brownie--a male Faery that
is--most daintily dressed and in the gayest mood. He wants the little
weaving Faery to come with him; there is to be a most delicious little
gathering in a clover-field on purpose to sip clover-honey--white
clover-honey! Now of all things the little busy Faery loves
clover-honey; it would be so delightful to be there this charming
afternoon. She thinks she will go, but then she remembers the task which
the Queen has given her to do--to go would be to disobey. The Brownie
still begs, but she is firm--no, she will not go.

That was the whole word--_Duty_.

All this was very simple; a good many would have thought it very
childish, but it pleased the Faeries and it pleased the Queen, and that
was enough.

But the party had lasted a long time now--much longer than it has taken
me to tell of it. The moon path was of course altered, but it didn't
make much matter. The Queen ordered them all to take to their horses,
and giving Milly a kiss on her rosy lips, she clambered down and untying
the lady birds from the strings of the night-cap got into her sleigh.
She cracked her musquito-leg whip, away went the lady birds and they
passed through the window--how, I don't know, but I'm sure I saw them
do it. The Queen saw me again as she passed out, and nodded to me. I had
just time to nod back and they were out of sight.

That is all, and if it's not true then my name isn't Jack Frost; and if
you don't believe me, ask North East Wind, who is my friend, and he will
tell you the same thing.

Wheugh!

[Illustration]



The Rock Elephant.



The Rock-Elephant.


[Illustration]

There is a tradition among the Elephants that some one of the race will
one day mount up to the sky and dwell among the stars. Once a young
elephant thought that he must be the one, for a great stone becoming
detached from a cliff fell upon his head. He instantly exclaimed, "I see
stars all around me. I am surely the Elephant foretold!" and for a few
moments actually thought he must have "gone up;" but those standing by
saw him rambling round with uncertain step and laughed at him. When he
got over the effects of the blow on his head, he had to acknowledge that
he was still upon the earth, though he always solemnly declared that for
a few moments he really had been in the sky among the stars. Of course
he had not "gone up," and each still continued to hope that he was the
one destined to immortality. The Lion, they said, was among the stars,
and the Bear and even the senseless Dipper. But none knew that to live
among the stars one must go through a great deal of suffering.

There were two Elephants living a long time since who were remarkably
sagacious. They were married and it was their earnest desire that their
son, if they ever had any, should be the one who should climb the sky
and live among the stars. They often talked over the best way of
securing this good, and ate up an immense number of different kinds of
trees because they had heard that there was a particular kind of tree
which, when eaten, would furnish the necessary knowledge. Whether they
ever ate the right tree or not it is difficult to say, but one night as
they were considering the matter, the father-Elephant noticed a strange
light in the north.

"Look, my dear!" said he, "surely the woods are a-fire in the north!"

"Oh!" said she, "it is only the moon rising."

"Hold your trunk!" said he, sharply. "Are you such a camel as not to
know that the moon never rises in the north?" But on second thoughts, he
added, "I don't think it can be the woods on fire. See! the light is
streaming up the sky. How many colours it has!"

"Perhaps it is the rainbow," timidly suggested the mother-Elephant.

"Rainbow! your Grandelephant!" retorted he, contemptuously. They stood
looking at the increasing light for some time longer with their trunks
elevated, the mother-Elephant wisely refraining from further comment;
when suddenly the father-Elephant, in a state of great excitement, began
whisking his trunk about, and turning, ran his ivory tusks against the
large sides of the mother. It was his way of expressing joy. "Have a
care!" said she, impatiently, clumsily avoiding his thrusts. "Do you
want to make a hole in me?"

"I have it! I have it!" said he, joyfully. "That is the way to the
stars! all we have to do is to reach the foot of these Northern Lights,
and then there must be some ascent by them to the stars." Hereupon the
Elephant began to dance about as well as he could, and tore up several
small trees by the roots in his exultation. The mother-Elephant,
however, had her doubts.

"I don't believe," said she, "that we shall be any more likely to reach
these lights than I was to get to the foot of the rainbow, which you
know I tried once and had the mortification of being laughed at by the
monkeys in consequence. Nevertheless, I will do as you say, my dear; you
know best."

That very night, accordingly, the two set out in search of the Northern
Lights. They travelled for days and weeks. Every once in a while, when
they began to get discouraged, the Aurora would appear and they would
press on with new hope. At last they came to a very cold country. Here
they made enquiries of a polar bear. Now the Polar Bear is generally
courteous. Like all the family he is very affectionate and always gives
one a hearty embrace upon meeting; but he is not sincere. It so happened
that his family also had a story and about these very Northern Lights.
The story was, that if one could find the foot of them one would
discover an immense hole or pit where one could sleep forever. This was
precisely what the polar bears most wanted, and they were forever going
north in search of the hole. This particular Polar Bear that the
Elephants met was at that very time on his way thither. So he thought to
himself, "This will never do. If these immense animals reach the
hole--for I'm sure that is what they are going for, the idea of the
stars is only an absurd blind--they will occupy all the room." This he
said to himself, and then he turned to the Elephants and said in answer
to their question as to the most direct road--"You will have to keep to
the east for some distance; then you will come to ice; cross it and you
will come to land again, after which you can again enquire as I am
unable to direct you further; though if you go a little south, and call
on my cousins, the Black Bears, they will be very happy to give you any
information. Just mention my name to them and it will be sufficient." He
knew very well that the Black Bears knew nothing whatever of the matter.
What they wished was to find the Great Tree up which they could climb
and in which they could burrow. But all that the Polar Bear wanted was
to put the Elephants off the track.

They thanked him for his politeness, and followed his directions. They
came to the ice which they crossed; and once more they trode on land,
but upon a new continent--upon North America, in fact, as it is now
called. "I am not so sure about this matter of going south," said the
father-Elephant. "It seems to me that we shall be going away from the
Northern Lights. I begin to mistrust the Polar Bear."

"But my dear," said the mother-Elephant, "surely the way has been just
as he told us; and I could never doubt one so evidently warm-hearted.
Besides, don't you think it would be best to get where it is a little
warmer? You know we don't propose going ourselves; the journey is taken
solely on account of our son not yet born. We might let him grow a
little in a warmer country and then conduct him to the Northern Lights."

The father-Elephant would not agree with her; he preferred to have his
own way; but finally he said: "I think we will go a little farther
South, on the whole. I am not sure but there is an easier way of getting
to the North, by taking just a little southerly and then an easterly
course." This was a very foolish reason, but it satisfied him. All he
wished was to do as he chose and not because his wife advised it. It
satisfied her too. All she wanted was to get where it was a little
warmer; but she found it hard not to say--"that is just the plan I
proposed." She was wise not to say it however.

They had suffered a great deal by this time. So much travel and so much
severe weather, had brought sorrow and discomfort to them. They were
really thin for Elephants. The father-Elephant had lost much flesh, and
his skin hung about him very loosely. They complained too of the trees;
they were so stunted and such poor eating. They were, in truth, very
miserable. They even began to care but little for the object of their
journey. The object was changed in fact. Before, they were only anxious
to reach the Northern Lights--the staircase to the stars. Now, all they
desired was to reach a warmer place--one like that where they once
lived.

At last the father-Elephant, overcome by all his trouble died; but the
mother-Elephant sustained by the hope of her unborn son, still pressed
toward the South, and rejoiced as the days grew warmer. Finally, she
reached a pleasant place where the hills were all about her, and the sun
shone warmly. Here was born the young Elephant, the son of the two
Elephants who had travelled so far. The mother now felt herself very
weak.

"My son," she began with great difficulty, "there is a tradition"--but
just as she got through the word, she died, and the young Elephant in
vain listened for the rest of the sentence.

"What's a tradition? I wonder," he said to himself. "It must be
something to eat, I am excessively hungry." He looked round and saw a
birch tree standing by. "Ah! that must be the tradition my mother meant,
when she said, 'There is a tradition.' Yes, her trunk is pointing to
it." So he pulled up the birch tree and devoured it, as well as he
could. The young Elephant continued to wander among the mountains but
with no great purpose in life; for he was totally ignorant of the story
that one of his race would one day mount to the sky and dwell among the
stars, so that he was without that great object before him. Neither did
he know how much suffering his father and mother had gone through, that
he might be the fortunate Elephant who should ascend the sky. It was
spring when he was born. The days grew warmer and warmer and he enjoyed
them exceedingly. But after a while the days became shorter and the sun
was not so hot.

"What is the meaning of this?" he one day asked of a Black Bear with
whom he was somewhat intimate.

"It means," said the Bear gruffly, "that bye-and-bye the sun will go a
great way off, the snow will be on the ground; there will be no whortle
berries to eat, and I shall go to sleep."

"Dreadful!" said the Elephant. "Is there no way of avoiding such
discomfort?"

"None that I know of or care for," said the Bear. "Roll yourself up and
go to sleep as I do, and you'll be comfortable enough." But the Elephant
despaired of ever rolling himself up; he was growing larger every day
and such a proceeding was of course becoming more and more difficult.

"Let us call a council of the animals," said he, "and see what is to be
done about it." Now the Elephant was greatly feared in the place. He was
so large and powerful. So no animal dared disobey when the Hare whom the
Elephant had sent brought the message to them. They assembled about a
deep pool. The Elephant opened the meeting by dipping his trunk into the
pool and squirting water over all the animals. He thought it was great
fun, and they did not dare run away, for they feared his anger.

"The Elephant is very good-natured," whispered the Otter, who cared
nothing for the wetting, to the Fox who was shivering under his ducking,
and contriving a way of getting off. "You never see a large fat fellow
but he is so good-natured. What a joke that was of his to squirt water
all over the crowd!"

"V-v-very," chattered the Fox. "It isn't what you call a dry joke,
though, is it?"

"What a cunning fellow you are!" said the Otter. "But, holloa, are you
going off on the sly?" Yes, surely the Fox was starting away.

"Tell the Elephant," said he, "that I'm off after a partridge. We shall
want something to eat after meeting." But he did not come back again.
While they were all shivering with the wet, the Elephant wiping the end
of his trunk upon some moss, opened his mouth and spake.

"I notice," quoth he, "that it is not as warm as it was, and my friend
the Bear at my right hand (here the bear sitting on his hind legs nodded
his head and growled,) tells me that it will grow much colder even. It
would be a great calamity to all of us, and I have called you together
that we may confer as to the best means of avoiding this severe cold
that is to come, which my friend the Bear (another growl) calls by the
name of winter. You are at liberty to make any suggestions you please."

The Wolf spoke first. "Who cares for the winter?" snarled he. "For my
part I think it is great sport. The snow grows very hard, and one glides
over the crust so swiftly. Besides, it is easy then to see the footsteps
of my little friends," and the Wolf leered round upon the smaller
animals. "The winter is grand sport."

"But I could not walk on the crust," said the Elephant, "I am too heavy.
No, it will not do at all just to take the winter as you would any other
season. We must either prevent the winter or protect ourselves from it.
Let us hear the Hare. I am not above listening to him."

The Hare came out trembling and hardly dared open his mouth. His friend
the Squirrel, however, stood near and clapped to reassure him. "Go it,
Long Ears!" said he, encouragingly. Then the Hare bashfully spoke. "My
own course is to make a hole and get into it." Saying this, he hopped
back to his seat alarmed that he should have said so much.

"That is very ridiculous!" said the Elephant. "It would be quite absurd
to expect me to make a hole and get into it." Just then there was a
rustling noise over head, and a dark cloud seemingly passed over them.
"What is that?" asked the Elephant. No one answered at first, when the
Squirrel came forward in a deferential manner and said: "Please your
Bigness, that is a flock of geese flying to the South. They go every
winter to keep warm."

"Do they?" said the Elephant. "Why shouldn't I too go South to keep
warm?" No one objected to this; they all secretly hoped he would go,
except indeed the Wolf, who had been counting on the Elephant falling a
prey to him. At last the Squirrel spoke again.

"Please your Bigness, I can show you the way to the South if you wish
it."

"Pray what do you know about the South?" asked the Wolf, sneeringly,
"How would you go to get there?"

"Follow my tail!" retorted the Squirrel.

"I think I will go to the South," said the Elephant, "and the Squirrel
may go with me to show the way. We will start immediately; there is no
time to be lost. Stay you all about here till I return." And off he
walked, preceded by the Squirrel.

"How thankful I am that he has gone!" said the Hare, "but I wish the
Squirrel had not gone with him." The Wolf was savage at the idea of the
Elephant's going off and depriving him thus of such a fine winter's
provision. He showed his teeth fearfully. And when the night was later,
he stole swiftly and silently along the path over which the Elephant and
Squirrel had gone. "He will go to sleep," said the Wolf, "and then I
will spring upon him." He came up with the Elephant after a while, and
found him as he expected fast asleep, with the Squirrel perched on one
of his tusks. But the Squirrel kept good watch. He saw the gleaming eyes
of the Wolf and knew that he came for no good. Quickly he jumped upon
the Elephant's trunk, and running down to the end of it tickled it with
his tail. This instantly awoke the Elephant. It was no use now for the
Wolf to spring upon him. He could only hope to get the mastery of him if
he caught him asleep and off his guard. So the Wolf slunk back into the
woods again.

In the morning the Elephant and Squirrel again took up their march. For
several days they walked toward the South, until they came one morning
to a river that was flowing quietly along. It was not a wide river; it
was hardly more than a brook, and one could scarcely hear a sound, it
flowed so smoothly. It ran through the forest, its edges skirted with
rows of flowers, and its banks cushioned with every variety of moss.
There was hardly a large stone in it for the water to eddy about. The
Squirrel ran up the Elephant's back, and he in two or three steps waded
across. It was not above his knee in any place. Once over on the other
side, the Squirrel ran down the Elephant's fore-leg to the ground. The
Elephant drank some of the cool water and then amused himself with
squirting it about in every direction. He aimed it chiefly at some rocks
that lay by the side of the river--rocks of all sizes and shapes. This
sport grew tiresome, however, and the Elephant began to look about for
some new fun. The rocks again met his eye.

"What fun it would be," said he to the Squirrel, "if I should pitch
these rocks into the river." Saying this he twisted his trunk round an
immense boulder and flung it into the bed of the stream.

"Oh!" screamed the Squirrel. "Don't do so! you will hurt the river."

"It deserves to be hurt," said the Elephant. "What business has it to
flow along without making any noise. I'll teach it to sing." He threw
rock after rock into the river, piling them high up in some places. The
Squirrel looked on mournfully, and could bear it at last no longer. He
ran to the Elephant and looked up into his face.

"Do you remember the first night we left home," said he, "how I
prevented the Wolf from killing you? For my sake, then, do not destroy
or hurt the river!" At this the Elephant grew very angry.

"Go to the Wolf with your nonsense!" said he, and lifting his heavy
foot, he cruelly stepped upon the little Squirrel and crushed him to
death. The Elephant was now perfectly fiendish. He raised his trunk in
the air and blew a terrible trumpet sound. He hurled rock after rock
into the stream. He walked down its side and kept casting in the rocks
and stones that lay about so plentifully. The river, when the first
stone fell in was shocked by it, and eddied around it in a petulant way.
As stone after stone came splashing in, choking its current, the river
more loudly complained and remonstrated, but to no purpose. Still the
rocks came crushing down, and now the river growing more and more angry,
rushed foaming madly along. Over the rocks and between it rushed and
roared. The moss on the banks and the tall flowers growing out of it,
trembled as the stream rose higher and higher. The Elephant snorted and
blew his terrible trumpet, walking up and down, and throwing rocks and
trees up-torn by the roots, into the rushing flood. At last the rocks
were all thrown in. Not one was left on the banks.

Where now was the beautiful, quiet river? It was turned by the
remorseless Elephant into an angry, hateful flood. It was the Mad River.
Where was the little Squirrel that had saved the Elephant's life and
led him hither, and pleaded for the lovely river that it might be
spared? Dead! crushed by the unthankful, cruel Elephant, and swept down
the stream that dashed so fiercely along!

       *       *       *       *       *

The Elephant, after he had done this deed of violence, left Mad River
and walked into the woods beyond, cooler in spirit since his anger had
spent itself. He began now to reflect upon his conduct. "The river had
done nothing to me," he thought, "that I should treat it so harshly. And
the Squirrel--I killed the Squirrel, who was my best friend. That was an
unkind act." But though the Elephant thus began to blame himself, he
never thought of turning back, and undoing as much as he might of the
mischief he had done. He kept on his journey and tried to dismiss from
his mind such unpleasant thoughts. The Elephant is called good-natured
because he is so fat; that may be, but really he is both cruel and
cowardly.

[Illustration: "He hurled rock after rock into the stream."]

He was somewhat fatigued by his angry labours and did not go much
further, but coming to a grassy place in the depth of the forest, he lay
down and slept. Nightfall came soon after and still he slept. In the
depth of the night, when all was still and dark, the sky in the north
grew brighter as rays of light shot in quivering ecstasy toward the
zenith. It was the Northern Lights--the Aurora Borealis. The parents of
this Elephant had long sought it but had never reached it; they had
hoped that it would be the staircase up which their son, the Elephant,
now asleep, would mount the sky to dwell among the stars. Still he
slept, though the light grew clearer and the rays became more distinctly
marked. It was now twelve o'clock and deep night. What was that
descending the slope of the Auroral Light? Who could tell? Who saw it?
Yet the Elephant in his sleep saw it. Down the slope he knew It
come--down the staircase which was the way to immortality. Now It
hovered near him and thus he heard It speak:--

"Thou hast sinned. The river that flowed so peacefully and carried
beauty and joy wherever it ran, thou hast despoiled and rudely ravaged.
Thou smotest its breast with terrible rocks; thou wouldst not heed its
complaining cry; thou turnedst its peace into mad wrangling. But worse,
thou slewest with thine own foot the little one that loved thee and
saved thy life from the fierce Wolf. For this the river and the Squirrel
shall be avenged. Thou didst choke the river with rocks; thou didst
crush the Squirrel with thy foot. Thou shalt thyself become a stone and
another shall stand on thy head. Arise!"

The Elephant obeyed trembling. He stood upon his feet. For one moment he
saw with his mortal eyes It that had spoken; the next he was blinded by
a flash; he saw no more, but he knew that in that instant he was turned
into a rock where he was standing. His feet were sunk in the ground and
his trunk extended before him was also rooted in the earth. All stone.
Where his eyes were, only two slight chinks in the rock remained.

But at the same moment the Elephant heard,--so faintly that he could
hardly catch the sound--a last word from the voice:--

"Thus, but not forever. A Deliverer shall come and thou shalt mount up
to the sky and dwell among the stars."

That was what the Elephant heard. He heard nothing more but he could
feel. He could feel himself a stone; that is a dreadful thing to feel.
It was a heavy, crushing feeling; a dead weight always bearing him down.
He could not lift it; he could not throw it off. It was forever crushing
him down, down,--though he never really sank. But it was the same thing
to him; he felt that he was sinking.

But he had another evil to bear. A tree with its roots sunk in the
ground all about him, stood directly over his head. That was a bitter
suffering to him; he could feel it there. He knew that it was stretching
its long arms into the air and waving its branches in the wind. He knew
that its roots grappled his body and grew tighter fixed in the earth.
The tree, indeed, died in time, but another took its place and the
torment grew with it. For it kept in his mind the Squirrel he had
killed. He could stolidly bear the crushing weight of the rock bringing
remorse at the recollection of the happy river that he had made an
angry brawling stream,--but the tree--it was a birch, the very kind that
he had first devoured after the death of his mother, the tree, that
moving with every breath of air, stirred in his mind the recollection of
the Squirrel he had killed, who had loved him, saved him from death, and
died beside for love of the river--the tree he thought he could not
bear.

But still through all his remorse and bitter anguish, the Elephant
seemed to hear, though faintly, the last words spoken:

"But not forever. A Deliverer shall come, and thou shalt mount the sky
and dwell among the stars."

This was the only slight ray of comfort, though he did not always
remember it, but still when the morning sun arose and its beams fell
upon the rock, it awakened the remembrance in the Elephant's mind, and
he repeated to himself, "A Deliverer shall come." And sometimes in the
deep and still night, the Aurora flushing in the north would lighten up
a deeper and more cheering hope, for by it he thought would the
Deliverer come.

But though the Deliverer has not yet come, still some small comfort does
the Elephant have. For the gentle mosses have grown over his stony body;
the mosses on the river bank he had terrified and roughly beaten with
the jagged rocks. Now did these spread themselves over him, covering him
with green verdure and gladdening his soul with the love they gave him.
The tree, too, drops yearly its leaves upon his back, and the roots,
though they hug him closer, seem to him to do it more lovingly and not
with the old terrible gripe.

Yes, all these things make him mindful of the Deliverer. He knows not in
what form he will come, but I will tell you. A Squirrel shall finally
gnaw away the roots of the tree and it will fall never to rise again.
The river, turning its course, shall flow over and about him, and its
constant washing shall wear away the rock. The rocky covering gone, in
the night, the deep and still night, the Aurora of the north shall
stream upon the bed of the river, and where the rock once stood shall
rise up the Elephant, and the Squirrel that once led him shall now go
before him and lead him up the quivering rays to the sky, where he
shall become a constellation never before seen by men, but then
discovered and named

The Elephant.

Now he sleeps still in the deep forest. It must all be true, for I have
seen him there, and so have others.

  _Vaterville, Valley of the Mad,
      White Mountains._

[Illustration]


The Old Brown Coat.

ALICE'S STORY.



The Gift.


[Illustration]

The royal family of the Kingdom of Percan had an old brown coat which
they prized very highly; it was so old that no one could say exactly
when it was made, but the story was that the Phoenix made it for the
first King of Percan, so it must have been very old. Only the ruler of
the kingdom was allowed to put it on, which he did once a year, on New
Year's Day. Anybody else who wore it either would die or become king.
Such an old coat would have to be mended occasionally, for though the
King put it on very carefully on New Year's Day--sixteen men helping him
on with it and taking two hours to do it in--and though he only wore it
an hour and then put it away safely in a cedar chest for the rest of the
year,--yet for all this care the coat, being so old and weak, frequently
was torn. Whenever this sad event happened, the sixteen men who were
called "Coat-Tails to His Majesty," (because they were appendages to the
coat,) carried the coat to the oldest woman in the kingdom, who was
obliged to mend it. If she were so old as to be helpless, the Sixteen
Coat-Tails put her to death and then went to the woman next to her in
age, who was of course the oldest then, until at last they found one who
could mend it. Then they all kept guard over her to see that neither she
nor any one else put it on, and when the coat was mended, they carried
it back to the king's palace and put it away in the cedar chest. Once
safely locked up, the Sixteen Coat-Tails sat on the chest by turns all
the rest of the year. They were very trusty men indeed; it was a great
honour to be one of the Coat-Tails.

Now, at the time when this story commences, the King of Percan was
Shahtah the Great. He was called the Great, because he weighed so much
and measured so far round the waist; since he had come to the throne, he
had been growing greater and more powerful, until his fame spread
through all the earth.

It was New Year's Day; and all the people came flocking to the palace to
see the King put on the Old Brown Coat. At noon came a long procession
led by the Sixteen Coat-Tails, headed by Kaddel the chief of the
Sixteen; they carried the coat in a gold box. "See!" cried the people;
"that is the box! the Old Brown Coat is inside! hurrah!" and as the
procession passed, all the people shouted and tossed up their hats. And
Kaddel was so splendidly dressed that he thought some of the crowd must
be shouting for him. Then the palace was crowded as Kaddel at the head
of the Coat-Tails brought the box before the King, who sat on the
throne, and opened it in the presence of the royal family and the
people, who however could not get near enough to see very much. The King
who, as I said, was very fat, came slowly down the steps of the throne
and laid aside his regal apparel, when the Sixteen Coat-Tails lifted the
Old Brown Coat very carefully and began putting it upon the King; and
very hard work it was. "I must reduce my size," said Shahtah; "next year
I will drink a great deal of vinegar. I really am afraid I shall not be
able to get the coat on without tearing it." Indeed the coat was already
beginning to burst in several places, and Shahtah became quite heated
with trying to make himself as small as possible. "If your Majesty would
let out your breath," said Kaddel, "I think we might get it on." So
Shahtah let out his breath as well as he could, at the same time
shrinking in his skin, and the Sixteen Coat-Tails seized the opportunity
to give a final push to the coat, so that it was at last fairly on, two
hours and five minutes after it was taken out of the box. But Shahtah,
the King, could not possibly do without breathing longer; he grew very
red, and by the time the coat was fairly on was so exhausted, and so
relieved at being through with the exertion, that he drew a long breath
and sighed heavily, which expanded his portly frame until the coat burst
in twenty rents. "How vexatious!" thought Kaddel, "and my grandmother
who is blind, is the oldest woman! If now, the King were only as thin as
I am," (for he was very thin,) "there would be no difficulty; or if I
were only the king," he half added to himself.

When the coat was taken off, after the people had looked at it for an
hour, and Shahtah the Great had been put to bed, for he was very much
exhausted,--the Sixteen Coat-Tails immediately set out with the coat to
get it mended. "Who is the oldest woman in the kingdom?" asked one of
them. Kaddel kept the list and had to answer--"It is my grandmother." So
they went to her house. But Kaddel's grandmother was ninety years old
and blind, and besides had lost the use of her hands by paralysis. Of
course she could not mend the coat, so there was nothing to be done but
to put her to death and find the next in age. The law was very strict
and could not be avoided. When they went away with the Old Brown Coat,
Kaddel felt very bitter toward the fat old Shahtah. "If he had only been
lean like me!" he groaned; "or if I were only king," he added to
himself. This he said to himself so often that by the time they had
found an old woman who could mend the coat, Kaddel had made up his mind
to be king. "To be king," said he, "one must needs wear the Old Brown
Coat; to be sure one may die; but the chance is even; and at any rate I
am determined to kill Shahtah for making my grandmother die. The coat
would just fit me."

The first night after the coat was finished and safely locked up in the
cedar chest in the palace of the King of Percan, it was Kaddel's turn to
sit upon the chest to guard it. In the middle of the night when all was
quiet, he opened the chest and very carefully put on the Old Brown Coat;
it was a perfect fit. "Now that I have put it on," said he, "I must
either be king or die." Then he wont silently up to Shahtah's chamber
where the guard let him in without suspicion, for Kaddel was a very
trusty man and chief of the Sixteen Coat-Tails; there he killed the fat
Shahtah and came out again. "Do not disturb the King," he said to the
guard, "he will sleep late." Returning to the chest he took out the coat
again and, doing it up in a bundle, went off with it on horseback long
before morning, for he said to himself, "I will escape with the coat,
then when the family of the King find he has been killed and the Old
Brown Coat taken by me, they will be very angry and try to catch me and
get the coat again, for no one can rule who does not wear the coat. But
the people like me, and after a while I will come back and rule over
them." So he rode night and day for a long while, and though the King's
family sent messengers after him in every direction, they could not find
him.

But Kaddel had forgotten that he who wears the coat may after all not be
king but die. He was in the forest on the banks of a beautiful blue
river. He was hiding in a cave very far away from any living person, but
not far away from the wild beasts. One day he had taken the Old Brown
Coat out of the bundle and laid it upon the limb of a tree, that he
might look at it and fancy himself a king wearing it; but a tiger stole
smoothly behind him and, before he was aware, the beast had killed
Kaddel. The Coat lay still upon the bough and was protected by the
leaves. But a great wind came and broke off the bough, sending it into
the river that flowed below; the coat clung to the limb and floated with
it for many days down the river.

Now the river ran for hundreds of miles through the forest without
passing any house, but then it came to a woodman's hut where dwelt,
entirely alone, the woodman and his little daughter Isal. One evening
after the sun was down, Isal was playing on the river bank when she saw
a limb of a tree floating down the river toward her; as it came near,
the current of the stream brought it by the bank, and Isal, reaching out
into the water, took hold of a twig and drew to her the very bough which
had floated for hundred of miles down the river, with the Old Brown Coat
snugly hid among the twigs and leaves. "Here is a coat!" said Isal. "I
wonder where it could have come from!" She took it off the bough, which
drifted away as she let it go, and held up the coat to look at it. "And
what a strange looking coat it is!" she said. "It must be very old; it
is very carefully mended too. Some poor person must have owned it; but
it doesn't belong to anyone I know. I'll see if it fits me." Now Isal
had never heard anything about the Old Brown Coat of the Kingdom of
Percan, and of course knew nothing about the story that any one who wore
it must rule or die. "It certainly fits me very well," said she, "but I
don't think it is very warm; it is soft though, and I will sleep on it
to night." She carried it into the house and showed it to her father,
who turned it round and round but knew no more about it than she. When
night came she laid the coat upon her hard bed so as to make it a little
softer, for they were very poor, and soon went to sleep upon it.

Do you recollect that I told you at the beginning of this story that the
Phoenix made the Old Brown Coat? Yes, the Phoenix made it, but not
the one that was living then; for the Phoenix, you know, lives for
five hundred years; there is only one Phoenix at a time, and when the
old bird has lived his five hundred years, he builds a bonfire of sweet
spices and lies down on it; when he is burned to ashes, out of the
cinders rises up a new Phoenix with crimson and golden feathers who
also lives five hundred years, and so on. It looks something like an
eagle, though to be sure it is a great deal more magnificent than
the eagle, and is a very wise bird. I do not know how old the
present Phoenix is; persons differ about his age. Now it was a
Phoenix--surely the great-great-great-grandfather of the one who was
living in the reign of Shahtah, King of Percan, that made the Old Brown
Coat; and the descendants of that bird, called generally Phoenix the
Tailor, took a great interest in the coat and in all who wore it. The
Phoenix who was living at the time of this story, was very much
concerned about the stealing of the coat. He was a very old bird; he was
four hundred and ninety-five years old when Shahtah was killed, and of
course knew a great deal.

"Such a thing has not happened in my memory," said he, gravely, "but the
times are growing very degenerate. When I was young there was a great
deal more respect shown to the Old Brown Coat. That coat was made by the
Tailor, my great-great-great grandfather. I can remember when the whole
kingdom would have held their breath if there had happened a rent in the
coat. But the times are sadly degenerate. I am sure I don't know what
the world will come to after I die."

This he said to the Tufters. The Phoenix of course can have no
children, so he generally adopts four birds of some other family and
brings them up to wait on him. The four adopted children of the
Phoenix were Tufters, that is a kind of goose, but differing from the
goose in having a very fine scarlet tuft on the head which sets off the
white body very finely; besides the Tufter is very wise. You sometimes
hear persons say--as silly as a goose, but never as silly as a Tufter.
Still the Tufters are geese after all, and are very fond of cackling.
So, when the Phoenix had done speaking, the Tufters looked at one
another and burst into a fit of cackling. The Phoenix was very much
displeased at this. "How often have I told you," said he, "not to cackle
in that way. It is very disrespectful in you. Besides this is no
cackling matter." So the Tufters tried to look solemn, which made them
look very much like geese. "I don't know exactly what it is best to do
about this," proceeded the Phoenix, stroking his beak with one of his
claws as he always did when he reflected; "but at any rate we must
watch the coat." So the Tufters were sent off to keep watch over the
coat, all except the youngest, who remained behind to take care of the
aged bird. Her name was Rosedrop, because the tuft on her head was
shaped and coloured like a rose.

After a while the Tufters came back very much excited. They forgot to
make their obeisance to the Phoenix, when they came in, which
irritated the venerable bird very much. "Where are your manners?" said
he, sharply, as they were about to speak all at once. The Tufters
recollected themselves, and standing in a row before the Phoenix, each
upon one leg, they stretched out their long necks and bowed all together
till their heads touched the ground, when they rubbed their brilliant
tufts in the dirt. They always do this to show their humility. This
pleased the Phoenix, and he told them they might speak now if they had
anything to tell him, but one at a time. Whereupon, they all forgot
their manners again, and cackled together in a most confusing manner,
telling him that Kaddel had been killed, the coat had been carried down
the river and captured by a woodman's little daughter, named Isal.

"I saw it myself," said the oldest, "and I saw Isal take it from the
bough, on which it floated, and put it on."

"Yes," said the second, "and she has gone to sleep on it. She is very
beautiful."

"But she will have to die or else rule, which is impossible, though; the
law is very strict," said the next.

"Oh!" said the youngest, who had stayed with her father, "and must she
die, because she put the coat on?" And Rosedrop looked very sad. She
would have cried, but Tufters never cry. The Phoenix was evidently
very much perplexed. He shook his head very hard while all the Tufters
stood huddled around him.

"We must put this right," said he at last; but he did not say how; no
doubt he knew, though, he looked so wise.

"Suppose we carry the coat back to the Prince; he will never know that
Isal wore it," suggested the third of the Tufters who had spoken
before.

"Little Tufters should be seen, not heard," said the Phoenix; "I did
not ask your advice." At this the Tufter who had spoken so rashly looked
very foolish, and the rest cackled over it. "You're a goose!" said they,
all except Rosedrop, who came up and stroked her brother's tuft with her
bill. "Isal must be brought here," at last said the Phoenix. "You must
all four go and bring her here with the coat."

Away flew the Tufters--they fly very swiftly--and long before morning,
though it was hundreds of miles away, they had come to the woodman's
hut. The father and Isal were both asleep--Isal upon the Old Brown Coat.
"What a sweet face!" whispered Rosedrop. Then each took a corner of the
coat by the beak and lifting it up with Isal upon it, they flew out of
the house and back again to the Phoenix. Isal was still asleep, but
the morning light would soon wake her.

"Shall I give her a worm?" said the Tufter who had spoken so rashly
before.

"Nonsense!" said the Phoenix sharply. "Little girls don't eat worms!
Be more discreet. But you may go and find some berries." So he went off
for them and Rosedrop with him. Isal was awake when they came back, and
very much astonished at everything about her.

"How came I here?" said she, "with these strange looking birds about me.
That is certainly a very odd looking bird, and very tame;" and she went
up to the Phoenix to stroke it.

"Make your manners! make your manners! Stand on one foot! Put your head
out! so!" screamed all the Tufters at once, as they stretched out their
necks toward her and the Phoenix. But Isal could not tell that they
said anything. "How these geese do cackle," said she, as she stroked the
Phoenix, who did not dislike it, though he thought her rather forward,
and bade Rosedrop bring her some berries. Rosedrop brought them to Isal,
who thought she was the prettiest of all, and not at all like a goose.

"What shall we do with her now we have her here?" asked the rash Tufter;
but he was sorry he asked, for the Phoenix gave him a terrible peck.

"I know my own affairs," said the old bird angrily, but really he knew
very little about this affair and was sadly perplexed and quite at his
wit's end. He said nothing of that though, but looked more than usually
wise, and finally, when all were on tip-toe, or rather tip-claw, to hear
what the wise bird would say, he spoke, and told the oldest to go to the
palace of the King and bring back word of what was going on there.

"Ah!" said the second in age, "the Phoenix is a wonderful bird! what
deep plans he has!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Meanwhile Isal stayed by the Phoenix and the three Tufters, who kept
very good watch over her. She looked about in vain for her father's
house or for the great blue river; she could not understand how she came
to be where she was and in such strange company; for, though the birds
all told her everything about it a great many times over, she could not
understand them, for she had never learned the Phoenician and the
Tufter tongues. After roaming about all day and eating berries, shouting
for her father and sometimes crying, she lay down upon the Old Brown
Coat. The coat she knew; somehow or other she was pretty sure that it
must have had something to do with her strange journey. She had heard
her father tell about the wonderful cushion that Houssain rode upon;
perhaps she had flown here upon the coat; she would lie down upon it and
wish herself home again, and "who knows," said she, "but I shall wake up
on my cot in the morning?"

After Isal had dropped asleep the Tufter who had been sent to the palace
returned quite out of breath; he had such good news to tell; he hurried
through his manners before the punctilious Phoenix, and then proceeded
to relate how he had called on his friend, the Peacock, who lived in the
palace garden. "I had a very good time, indeed," said he; "we had green
peas to eat, and the Peacock showed me all his new feathers. I asked him
about the theft of the coat and what the prince was going to do; but he
did not know much about it; he said that for his part he thought people
made a very ridiculous fuss about a seedy old coat. But just then we
were joined by the Rabbit. The Peacock rather despised him; he whispered
to me--so loud that I am sure the Rabbit must have heard--'Did you ever
see such an absurd tail?' But I am sure the Rabbit is very beautiful and
much more intelligent. The Peacock has such a disagreeable voice, and he
is always trying to sing. I asked the Rabbit if he knew anything about
the coat. He said he did; his friend the Mouse had told him the latest
news that very morning; and the Mouse was very good authority, for he
lived generally in the library and had gone through a great many books;
he was very learned; he had overheard the Prince talking with the
prime-minister, and he gathered that the Prince had sent out a
proclamation, promising to give a very large sum to any one who would
bring back the Old Brown Coat, and if it chanced to be a maiden he would
marry her and make her queen; though of course that was quite absurd,
the Rabbit said; but then the Rabbit jumps at conclusions. The Peacock
tried to turn the conversation once or twice; he thought it was
insufferably dull and finally went off in a dudgeon, and I saw him as I
flew away, looking very grand, strutting along the garden walk. I bade
the Rabbit good-by and left my regards for the Mouse though I am afraid
it was rather improper--the Mouse is so learned. And here I am."

When the Tufter finished they all talked very eagerly about what was
best to be done, while the Phoenix sat apart and deliberated by
himself; of course the four children could know nothing about it.

Finally he called them to him and said--"Children, you may get
yourselves ready to go with me to the Palace." This was, indeed, great
news; the Phoenix had not, visited the palace for a hundred years.
This was indeed a great event!

"May I go too?" asked Rosedrop.

"Yes," said the Phoenix, "you shall all go. You are to carry Isal with
you on the coat. We shall go slowly. I am too old to travel very fast."

For a week they travelled. Every morning when Isal awoke she was
surprised to find herself in a new place; always with the Old Brown Coat
and the strange birds; they only travelled in the night time when Isal
was asleep; in the day time they rested on account of the Phoenix. At
last one morning, an hour before sunrise, they came to the Palace and
alighted in the garden just below the Prince's window. They laid Isal
on the Old Brown Coat upon the grass, and then the Phoenix bade the
Tufters fly away a few miles into the woods and wait his coming.
Rosedrop, however, he bade stay a while, when she tapped with her beak
upon the window of the Prince's chamber, and then flew away to join her
brothers.

The Prince heard the tapping upon the window, and said--"It is the
messenger-bird," and rose to see if it had brought him a billet. He
opened the window but no bird flew in, and he leaned upon the sill and
looked up to the beautiful sky; the morning-star was just disappearing;
he watched it till it was gone, and then cast his eyes on the green
grass below. What should he see there but a lovely girl lying asleep on
the grass, and a very magnificent bird standing beside her. He hastened
down and stooped over the beautiful maiden. "How lovely!" said he; "she
is more beautiful than the daughters of Calla. She is the morning-star
which I just saw disappear in the heavens." He bent his face to hers and
kissed her. With the kiss Isal awoke, and when she saw leaning over her
so grand a looking person, she was more wonderstruck than ever before.
"Surely he kissed me!" she murmured. Here the Phoenix broke in with a
remark.

"O Prince," said he, "I am the Phoenix. For nearly five hundred years
I have lived and guarded the Old Brown Coat. It was stolen, and I have
brought it back to you with the maiden you are to marry. But you have
taken no sort of notice of the coat. My great-great-great grandfather
made that coat. It is more valuable than a hundred lovely girls."

When the Prince heard the Phoenix speak, he turned and saw the grand
bird which he had overlooked. But he could not understand a word he
said, though the Phoenix spoke very loud and as he thought very
distinctly. "This is a very strange bird, indeed!" said the Prince. "Did
the bird fly with you from the heavens, Morning-Star!"

Isal said, half to herself, "It is very strange. I cannot understand it
at all. How did I come here! It is like a dream. And where are the other
birds with tufts on their heads?" She got up as she said this; the
Prince lifting her by the hand. Then the Prince saw the Old Brown Coat.
"Ah! you have brought me my precious coat again!" said he, and he took
it up joyfully. At this the Phoenix grew very much excited.

"He will tear it!" said he. "Where are the Sixteen Coat-Tails? This is
alarming!"

But the Prince, without heeding him, took Isal by the hand and led her
into the Palace, carrying, too, the Old Brown Coat. Then he made Isal
tell him all that she knew about it. The royal household gathered about,
mad with joy that the Old Brown Coat had been found again. The Sixteen
Coat-Tails came in very solemnly and took possession of it. Each of the
Sixteen in turn looked over it carefully, but could not find the least
rent or tear. "How wonderful!" said they, "but we are very glad to get
it again; we are so distinguished now." The bells of the city were rung
and crowds of people came to rejoice over the recovery of the coat.
Meanwhile the Phoenix walked about the garden.

"This is as it should be," said he, "as far as the Old Brown Coat is
concerned, but I don't receive the honour due to me. I am the Phoenix;
the only one of course in the world. I am five hundred years old,
nearly. When I was here a hundred years ago I was made very much of. But
the world is growing very degenerate." The gardener of the palace came
by just then.

"What have we here?" said he. "Can it be that this is the Phoenix? I
have heard my father describe the one that was here a century ago, and
it certainly was very much like this fine bird." He went into the Palace
and desired an audience with the Prince. "Does your majesty know," said
he, "that the Phoenix is here?"

At this all the people set up a shout. "The Phoenix! It is the royal
bird of Percan! Long live the Phoenix!"

The Prince and people passed into the garden and stood looking at the
Phoenix. "Now I am respected;" said he. "This is as it should be." It
was a great day for the Phoenix and a great day for the people. The
Poet recited a long ode in his honour. The musicians played a great deal
of music; the wise men, moreover, all got together and held a discussion
for several hours about his age; but the people did not care much for
this. The Phoenix was given a place above the throne. And not only
that, but upon that very day the Prince of Percan, son of Shahtah the
Great, the former king, was throned king and took for his queen the
beautiful Isal, daughter of a woodman. He wore the Old Brown Coat, and
it fitted him very well; it took the Sixteen Coat-Tails only an hour,
with all their care, to get it upon him. When it was nightfall, the
Phoenix came majestically down from his high perch, and hovering for a
few minutes about the King and Queen, gave them a great deal of good
advice which they could not understand, and then sailed grandly away,
joined the Tufters in the woods, and flew back to his eyrie, far off. In
the Palace lived the Prince and his beautiful Queen, the good Isal.



The Sacrifice.


[Illustration]

The Prince and Isal had now been married nearly five years, so that Isal
was then eighteen years old and even more beautiful than when the prince
found her in the garden. The royal family was at first displeased that
the Prince should marry a peasant maiden, but Isal was so good that one
could not help loving her, and soon every one said that there never had
been such a Queen in Percan. As for the Prince, he loved her more than
the whole of his kingdom; he always called her his Morning-Star. And
Isal loved the Prince and was very happy in the palace where she had
everything she could desire; but often in the five years did she
remember the woodman's hut on the bank of the great blue river where she
had spent her childhood; often she thought of her father living there
alone, reft of his little daughter, the one comfort of his life. Then
would the Prince come with his kind love, and quite drive away such sad
thoughts. As the years went by she thought less of her former life;
indeed it was so different from the present that she persuaded herself
that she had died in her cot the night after finding the Old Brown Coat,
that now she was in the Paradise she had heard her father tell about,
and that the birds--the Phoenix and the Tufters--were the winged
spirits that brought her there.

The Phoenix was now very nearly five hundred years old; in a few weeks
he would have to build his nest and die. The Tufters too were five years
older; but five years makes a great deal more difference with them than
it does with the Phoenix. It makes them much wiser; even the one that
had been rash was quite prudent now. They waited still on the old bird
and brought him all the information they could find about the affairs of
the world.

"I wonder how the Old Brown Coat does," said the Tufter who had once
been rash, as they all stood round the Phoenix one night. "That was a
very grand event we brought about--the marriage of the Prince with Isal.
If it had not been for us, Isal might still have been only a woodman's
daughter and not a Queen at all!" Here the Phoenix spoke, but with a
very muffled voice; his age prevented him from talking very loud or much
at a time; he was apt to repeat himself, too, sometimes, and to ramble
in his remarks. But the Tufters always listened very respectfully to
whatever he had to say: he was so old and so wise; everything he said
would bear reflection.

"You are a goose. My great-great-great grandfather made the Old Brown
Coat. He was called Phoenix the Tailor. The world is growing very
degenerate. I am five hundred years old very nearly. I don't know what
will become of it when I die. The Prince is very well, but he did not
know me when he saw me in the garden. I was respected, though. The
gardener knew me, and the people shouted. My great--"

The Phoenix was going on with some of his reminiscences, or perhaps
beginning again, when just at this point there was a rustling in the
bushes, and in burst the oldest of the Tufters who had been away hunting
for news. All the rest bustled about him as he smoothed his feathers to
make his manners to the Phoenix.

"I have some very important news!" began he, with great dignity. "Isal's
father, the woodman is dying."

"Is he, indeed!" exclaimed the rest in chorus, except the Phoenix, who
stood with one eye shut, painfully distracted between the desire to
administer a rebuke and to hear further.

"That may be," said he, finally, "but you should not have interrupted me
while I was speaking. Besides you have not told us yet the particulars."

"I was flying up the river," proceeded the eldest Tufter, respectfully,
"when I happened to recollect little Isal, and how we brought her away
from her house. I was passing the very spot, so I just flew in for a
moment, and there I saw the woodman, her father, lying upon his bed very
sick. There was no one with him."

"How sad!" said Rosedrop, mournfully.

"The cot from which we took Isal," added the Tufter, "was there still,
just as we left it, in precisely the same spot."

"How remarkable!" said the rash Tufter, who had become prudent.

While all this cackling was going on, the Phoenix maintained a stiff
silence. At last he stroked his beak with a claw. "Hush!" said the
second Tufter, "we shall hear something now." And surely the Phoenix
did speak.

"Children, Isal must know of this. We took her away on the Old Brown
Coat. My great-great-great grandfather made the coat. He was called
Phoenix the Tailor." It was very hard for the Phoenix to avoid
speaking of this whenever the Old Brown Coat was mentioned, and he
continued for some time to wander upon the subject, till they all
thought he was through, and the Tufter, who had once been rash asked:
"And who shall tell Isal?" The Phoenix was not really through, though.
He was just in the midst of the sentence, "The world is growing very
degenerate--" only the last word stuck in his throat--and he was
exceedingly vexed that he should be interrupted by an upstart Tufter.
"You--" are a goose, he tried to say, but the difficulty in his throat
occurred again, and prevented any word beyond the first, and the Tufter
taking it for a command to carry the news--he was too quick
sometimes,--set off for the palace as fast as his wings could carry him.

"How provoking!" said the oldest; "he will spoil it all with his
rashness!" The Phoenix now recovered himself, and having finished his
two broken sentences together, "degenerate--are a goose," for he never
left anything undone, told Rosedrop to fly faster and carry the news
before the other. Rosedrop sped swiftly, and overtaking her brother,
went with him in company and soon persuaded him, for he was a
good-natured fellow, to let her undertake the message. So when they
reached the palace garden, while her brother remained without, Rosedrop
flew in at the open window where she had tapped nearly five years ago,
and hovering over Isal as she lay asleep, told her the sad message, and
flying out rejoined her bother.

"Did she hear you?" asked he.

"Oh, yes," said Rosedrop. "I told her all about it, and she looked very
sad indeed. How sorry I am for her. I am sure I shall feel dreadfully
when the Phoenix dies."

Now Isal really did hear all that Rosedrop told her; for as the Tufter
flew through the open window, a suggestion entered the open window of
her mind as she lay asleep, and this is what it showed her:--A lonely
woodman's hut in the forest upon the bank of a great blue river; in the
hut a solitary man, pale and thin, worn out with sickness and sorrow
stretched upon a bed; not a living thing about the house; the axe lying
rusty from disuse by the trunk of a fallen tree; one little bed deserted
in the other corner of the room, toward which the sick man is turned
with longing look, while his lips move but refuse to speak the name his
heart dwells upon. And just as the Tufter flew out, having told her
message, so did the picture vanish from Isal's mind, and in its place
followed others in quick succession, all of them centering about one
person--a maiden, who is now playing by the same hut, now surrounded
mysteriously by strange birds, now waking to find herself kissed by a
noble-looking man, who marries her and makes her Queen of the land. With
this she awoke, and saw the Prince leaning over her.

"What were you dreaming about, Morning-Star, that made you look so sad
just before I kissed you?" said the Prince. Then Isal told him her
dream.

"My father is sick unto death," she said sorrowfully, when she had
finished, "and longs to see his daughter." But the Prince comforted her,
and told her that he would send messengers who should travel over the
whole country to find her father and bring her word of him. So the
messengers were sent out in search of the woodman. But the Prince did
not know nor Isal, that he lived so far away and so hidden that it
would not be possible to reach him before he died.

Meanwhile the Phoenix and the Tufters kept watch over the whole
matter. The eldest Tufter returned one night from a visit to the palace
where he had seen his friend, the Rabbit. "The Peacock," said he, "would
have nothing to do with me since I took to calling on the Rabbit; but I
am not sorry, for he is very tiresome and is for ever talking about his
tail. The Rabbit is much more sensible, though he has some strange
tastes. Do you know, he is very fond of chewing parsley? Is it not
queer? I asked the Rabbit what the news was. He said he would ask the
Mouse and proposed to me to go and call on him. I was afraid to at
first; the Mouse is so learned; but then the Rabbit is on very good
terms with him and promised to introduce me. So I got the Squirrel to
brush me down--he always carries a whisk brush with him and is very
obliging--and went with the Rabbit to call on the Mouse. The Rabbit did
not seem at all disconcerted. He was chewing parsley all the way; but I
was trying to think what it was proper to say upon entering."

"The Mouse lives in a very small house; he had to come out to the door to
us; it was quite impossible for us to enter. He looked very venerable
indeed, and very learned. His hair was brushed back over his forehead,
and his whiskers were grown very long. I noticed the Rabbit wore his so;
he told me afterwards that it was the fashion among learned men, and
though he did not presume to call himself a learned man, yet he thought
it best to be in the fashion. I hardly knew what to say to the Mouse; I
had been trying all the way to think of some book I might mention, but
the Rabbit opened the way very easily. He told the Mouse where I was
from and mentioned my connection with you, sir," (turning to the
Phoenix; the Phoenix bowed--"Yes, I am well known," he said.) "Ah,
indeed," said the Mouse. "The Phoenix? yes. I came across an account
of the Phoenicians in a book the other day; the book was elegantly
bound; the Phoenicians are a very enterprising race."

"The Phoenicians! indeed!" broke in the angry Phoenix. "There is but
one Phoenix. I am the only Phoenix, I am nearly five hundred years
old. My great-great-great-grandfather made the Old Brown Coat." And he
went on with his reminiscences till he was quite exhausted. After that
the Tufter hardly dared mention the Mouse, and, indeed, began to suspect
that he was not so very learned after all; but he proceeded to state how
he had gathered that the Prince had sent messengers to find the woodman,
Isal's father.

"It is in vain," said the Phoenix, who had recovered himself, and was
really growing very wise, as the days of his life neared their end. "It
is in vain, children, you must go again to the Palace--all of you. I
would go myself, but I am getting too old, and besides, I must begin to
gather my spices and make my dying nest. This you must tell Isal. Her
father longs to see her once before he dies. Yet if she chooses to go to
him she must die after him, for she has worn the Old Brown Coat. If she
remains with the Prince she shall be happy for many years, and be
beloved by her husband and king. If she decide to go, then do you four
bear her away to her father."

Away flew the Tufters to the Palace. Again did Rosedrop fly through the
window, and hovering over the bed, unknown to the Prince give her
message to the sleeping Isal. Again, and at the same time, did a
suggestion fly through the open window of the Queen's mind, showing her
in succession two pictures:--In one she saw a maiden sitting by the
bedside of a dying man in a lonely woodman's hut by the banks of a great
blue river; the woodman's eyes are bent on her and all his pain and
sorrow are gone; gently he closes his life in the sleep of death; and
the maiden alone, with only the dead man upon the bed, sickens also, and
lying upon the other cot, slowly, painfully closes her life with no one
to hold her hand. Then Isal saw another picture--a Queen in the Palace
honored by the people, having everything that she could desire, dearly
loved and cherished by the King her husband, and living thus for many
years, and when dying at last, wept over by all and kissed at the very
moment of death by the good Prince. Then Isal woke up just as before by
the kiss of the Prince, who was leaning over her. "You are sad again, my
Morning-Star," said he. "Be comforted; your father will be found." But
Isal did not tell him her dream this time.

"What is she going to do?" asked the rather forward Tufter of Rosedrop,
as she came forth through the window again.

"She is perplexed," said Rosedrop. "We will come for her answer
to-morrow night." All that day did Isal think over the two pictures she
had seen, until at last the second one quite faded from view; only the
first remained. "I will go," said she to herself, "even if I must die."
The next night when the Tufters came for the answer, they found the
window closed. Rosedrop tapped upon it with her beak. Isal within heard
it. "It is the summons for me to go," said she. She leaned over the
prince; he was asleep; she longed to give him a last kiss. "I will kiss
him very gently," said she, but first she opened the window. There were
the strange birds again; the beautiful one upon the sill; the rest
hovering close by; she went back and lightly kissed the Prince. "Quick!"
she said to herself as he stirred. "He is awaking!" She hastened to the
window; she stood upon the sill; the birds floated in front of her, and
letting herself sink upon their soft downy backs, and throwing her arms
round Rosedrop's neck, off they flew, swifter than the rushing wind.

The Prince awakened by the kiss and the rustling opened his eyes only to
see his Queen rising like a white cloud to the sky.

"Ah! she is gone! my Morning-Star has returned again to the sky!" he
wailed, and stretching his supplicating hands he cried, "Come back to
me! My Love! My Morning-Star!" And Isal heard him as she was swiftly
borne, and her hot tears fell on Rosedrop's neck.

Just when the morning-star disappeared from the sky before the dawn, the
Tufters laid Isal upon her cot in the woodman's hut, and fluttering
around her for a moment, they flew away to the Phoenix, leaving
Rosedrop only to keep watch. In the hut upon his pallet lay stretched
the lonely woodman, who was dying. Day and night did Isal sit by his
side and hold his hand while he gazed in her face, too weak to speak.
Slowly the pain and the sorrow left his face, and instead came a smile
of holy joy which never left him. For seven days and seven nights did
Isal sit beside him. Then he died, and she, just able to reach her old
cot, lay down upon it, weak and suffering. For seven days and seven
nights did she lie there, racked with pain. This was a sad exchange for
her happy life in the Palace; but she never repented; she could not when
she saw the dead face with its heavenly smile still upon it.

"Isal is fast dying," said little Rosedrop sadly, as she flew back from
the hut to the Phoenix and her brothers. "Oh! she suffers dreadfully."

"That must be so," said the Phoenix wisely. "It could not be
otherwise." The Phoenix now was so old that in an hour he would die.
He had gathered his spice and built his nest; already had he taken his
seat upon it, and was awaiting the last moment of the five hundredth
year, while the Tufters stood around sorrowfully, each upon one leg,
manifesting their respect to the old bird by making their manners
constantly; it pleased the Phoenix so much. And the grand bird as he
neared his end grew more and more wise and prophetic.

"Rosedrop!" said he to his favorite Tufter. "Go quickly to Isal's cot.
She will die; but when she dies, watch for her spirit and bear it hither
ere I die." Swiftly sped Rosedrop to the hut by the river. There she
watched by Isal's bedside; saw her go through terrible suffering, but at
last the struggle was over, and Rosedrop saw through her tears, which
she shed for the first and only time, Isal's spirit floating upward. She
clasped it to her bosom and darted to the Phoenix.

"It is the hour!" said the Bird, before Rosedrop had returned. "My life
is closed. I have lived five hundred years." He plucked a golden feather
from his breast, and lighted the nest of spices on which he reclined.
The smoke rose slowly, enveloping him in it, while the Tufters, overcome
with grief, forgot their manners, and stood on both legs peering into
the smoke. At that moment Rosedrop, with the spirit of Isal, darted into
the circle. The Phoenix saw her.

"Lay the spirit in the nest," said he, and Rosedrop heedless of the fire
which burned her beautiful body, laid Isal's spirit in the nest by the
Phoenix.

"It is enough!" said the Phoenix. "I am perishing, but another
Phoenix shall arise and the spirit of Isal shall live in it. Isal is
the Phoenix that is to be. I die but she shall live."

As he said it, there was a smouldering in the nest; a heap of embers
enveloped in smoke lay before the Tufters; in a moment the smoke parted
and out of the embers soared with crimson and golden plumage the new
Phoenix!

       *       *       *       *       *

But the new Phoenix remembered still the life that belonged to him
when he was a maiden. The Phoenix, moreover, is a most wonderful bird.
It can change itself into many shapes. Every New Year's Day did this
Phoenix visit the Palace and present itself at the Festivity of the
Old Brown Coat, and every New Year's night, after the Sixteen Coat Tails
had robed and unrobed the lonely Prince with the greatest care, did the
Phoenix visit the Prince alone, and for one night he returned to the
old shape of the beautiful Isal. And when the Prince died he was changed
into a palm-tree, and the Phoenix dwelt in the branches.

[Illustration]


New Year's Day in the Garden.



Morning.


[Illustration]

It may not generally be known, yet so it is, that New Year's Day in the
Garden varies each year, but is established by one sure sign--the
blooming of the Lilac. When this takes place it is the custom of the
inhabitants of the Garden to celebrate their New Year's Day. In the year
when this happened which I am about to tell, the Lilac was later than
usual, and there was great impatience felt at its slowness. Some of the
younger ones, in fact, had serious doubts whether it would come to
flower at all, and that they agreed would be a calamity, but the older
ones bade them wait, for the time certainly would come. The old
Buttonwood tree that stood in the corner of the Garden, and who was said
to be the oldest inhabitant, grew very tiresome, for he counted up on
his branches the number of years that he had seen the Lilac blow, and
declared twenty times a day, as if he had not said it at all, that he
had never known the bush to be so tardy. But on the night before the
twentieth of May there was a plenteous shower; the next morning the sun
rose splendidly upon the fresh earth, and the Lilac sent its strong
perfume all over the Garden. It was unanimously agreed that New Year's
Day had come at last, and that there should be an unusual celebration of
it.

Now listen and you shall hear how the day was celebrated. It was divided
into two parts; the first part was the morning, and was occupied after
the manner of the inhabitants of the Garden in giving and receiving
calls.

Owing to the slowness of the Lilac, many of the fair ones were not so
elegantly dressed as they had hoped to be and were quite mortified; but
the shower in the night had freshened them and taken away much of their
faded appearance, so that none but the most fastidious of their visitors
could detect any failing. The Garden walks were quite lively with such
of the callers as were obliged to walk, while those that kept their
wings, and so could fly, were moving in the air in every direction. The
Bee, in his shining yellow coat, was rushing about making a great to do
and acting as if no one were of so much importance. He made his first
call upon the Rose, who was dressed in a charming robe of a
blush-colour, and who received a great deal of attention.

"The compliments of the Lilac to you, my dear Miss," said he, bustling
in. "I am a business character; have fifty calls to make and so have
commenced early, as you see. What a disgraceful thing it was for the
Lilac to be so unpunctual. Really I lost all patience with it. Prompt is
my word. 'Improve each shining hour,' you know, my dear Miss, as the
poet somewhere says, so I bid you good-morning," and the corpulent
fellow in his yellow coat buzzed graciously to the Rose and hurried off
to pay his respects to the next on his list.

As he went out, in came the Butterfly and the Moth, who made their calls
together. The Moth was clad in grey, and the Butterfly liked that,
because it set off his own brilliant colours so well.

"_Bon jour, mademoiselle!_" said the Butterfly, who always spoke in a
foreign tongue when there was no need for it, and then he continued in
his own, for he was not very perfect in the foreign tongue after all.
"How charming you look this morning! What shall we do to the Lilac for
denying us so long the sight of your beauty? I say, Moth, we shall have
to attend to that fellow." The Moth, who remained in a corner merely
bowed and smiled; he was not so brilliant as his companion, and besides
was always in a state of anxiety about his coat, which was liable to be
rubbed.

"Oh, Mr. Butterfly," said the Rose, "the Lilac is not to blame, and the
day is all the more charming for being a little later."

"It is not the day that is so charming," said the Butterfly with a
smirk. "But we have a few calls yet to make--seventy-five or a hundred,
say. Come, Moth. _Au revoir, Mademoiselle_," and they fluttered off.
"Did you see her blush, Moth, when I said that about the day not being
so charming?" said the Butterfly. "That's what they like. Halloa! there
goes that simpleton of a Humming-Bird. He thinks he's got the gayest
coat in the Garden. What a conceited fellow!"

He said this loud enough for the Humming-Bird to hear, but that graceful
creature took no notice of it. He also was out, but he made only one
call, and that was to the Honeysuckle, for they were betrothed. Of
course it never would do to say what they whispered to each other.

The Spring Crocus also kept open house, though she was so old that the
others said it was all affectation. But she dressed herself in a yellow
dress, which, however, did not make her look any younger. She had one
caller. It was the Grasshopper, who was clad in his major's uniform. He
came along the Garden walk that led to the Crocus in a very formal
fashion, taking step with great precision, for he went exactly the same
distance at each spring, and halted the same length of time between the
jumps. The last spring--for he had calculated it exactly--landed him by
the Crocus. The Crocus, who had watched him coming, was highly flattered
though rather flustered. It was the first call she had received that
day, and she had even feared she might not receive any.

"Your most obedient, madam," said the Grasshopper, lifting his elbow.

"Yes, a very warm day," said the Crocus, not quite at her ease.

"The Lilac is later than usual," continued the Grasshopper.

"Oh, yes, the Lilac, yes," said the Dowager Crocus, "quite so,--the
Lilac, oh, yes! it is certainly very wrong. You are looking uncommonly
well, Major," and she began to recover her composure and to look less
heated.

"Thank you, madam," said the Grasshopper, raising his elbow again, "and
I must say that I have never seen you looking better, and, if I may be
allowed to say it, younger."

"Oh, la!" exclaimed the Dowager, quite confusedly and getting into a
heat again.

"Do you find your company agreeable this morning?" asked the
Grasshopper, to change the subject. He referred to the calls she was
supposed to have received, but the Crocus thought he referred to
himself, for she was still a little off her balance. She was just
thinking how she could say something witty, when the Grasshopper added--

"You have had a number of calls, I presume?"

"Oh, yes! a great many. I am quite tired out," said she, though she
ought not to have said so, for it was not true, and besides, it might be
construed into a piece of rudeness. But the Grasshopper knew she had had
none though he did not say so. He had nothing more to say, however, and
he bade her good morning, and jumped by measurement down the Garden
walk.

This was the first year that the Pansy had received calls and she was
quite excited. She was very prettily pressed in a purple bodice with
white skirt and yellow slippers. "Some one is coming!" she exclaimed to
her mother, who was not far off. "I can hear a step on the Garden walk."
"Be composed," said her mother, "Is your bodice smooth?" She felt of it
and it was. The Red Ant and the Black Ant had come in company. The Red
Ant is a clerk and the Black Ant is his uncle and an undertaker. They
both entered at once and were graciously received. The Red Ant is so
methodical and so used to system, that he had arranged beforehand with
his uncle precisely what they should say and in what order. So the Black
Ant advanced and said quite soberly:

"This is a very lovely day," and the Red Ant immediately added--

"The Lilac is much later than usual this year."

"Isn't it!" said the Pansy very eagerly. "I declare I thought it never
would come out. Mother told me over and over again not to be so
impatient but I did get so vexed!"

"It makes very little difference with us," said the Red Ant whose turn
it now was; "every thing is arranged in the Hill so perfectly that
nothing can put us out. We each of us carry fifty grains of sand a day."

"Oh, how severe it must be for you!" said the Pansy. "I don't believe I
ever could live so systematically. It is so nice just to enjoy the air
and the sun without thinking much about it. Don't you ever get a
holiday?"

"It is my turn, you know," whispered the Undertaker to his nephew, and
the Red Ant was so systematic that he did not answer the question, for
he had forgotten to allow for it in his calculation. So the Black Ant
next said--

"It makes no difference to me either. In my profession, though we cannot
of course be quite so systematic as my nephew here, yet we make it a
point to be at our post, rain or shine. Nephew, it must be time for us
to be going."

"Yes," said the Red Ant, "it is exactly time. We allow five minutes for
each call and ten minutes between each place. Good-morning!" and they
marched off and said exactly the same thing at the next place.

The Pansy thought it was not quite so interesting as she expected,
though it was pretty good fun, but soon she had a call from the
Dragon-Fly, and that was worth while. So the morning went by, and was
fully occupied with giving and receiving calls. Every one professed to
have had a very good time, though the Earthworm to be sure had not
succeeded in making a single call, he moved so slowly. The Bee was
through long before noon, and boasted of it. "Prompt is my word," said
he, "I made fifty calls, at an average of fifteen calls an hour."

That was the way they celebrated New Year's morning.



Evening.


[Illustration]

In the evening it was different but no less gay. Great preparations were
going on under the Lilac-Bush. Beetles had been at work all day clearing
the grass and putting things in order. At nightfall the Turtles and the
Frogs sounded the chimes, and a merry noise they made of it. The Catbird
rang only one bell. Something evidently was to occur. A little later
the glow-worms began to collect, and the place was illuminated. The
Lilac-Bush was hung with quantities of them, and others darted about in
the air as if they were on the most important business. The Cherry
Blossoms in the tree nearby were very curious to know what it all could
mean. One of them agreed to go and find out. He sailed down gently and
into a cluster of Lilacs.

"This is the grand celebration," said they in answer to his question.
"For one night in the year the Little People are coming out for sport
before midnight. The Queen will be here, and we are to drop leaves upon
her." But the Cherry Blossom was unable to carry the news back, for the
winds were not favourable. It was as the Lilacs had said. This was the
Queen Faery's reception night, being the first night of the year, and it
was under the Lilac that she was to receive her subjects and their
gifts.

At last the procession approached, attended above and at all sides by
myriads of glow-worms. Foremost came a body of Daddy-Long-Legs, who
walked marvellously fast, and cleared the way for the procession. Then
a band of crickets followed all in uniform, and every one kept step to
their music, though that was a difficult matter. Behind the band was the
Queen Faery driving as usual her twelve Lady-Birds, which drew her acorn
carriage; she was attended by a body-guard of Dor-Bugs, all in coats of
mail. Then came troops of Faeries, some mounted, some on foot. They bore
banners spun by the most skillful spiders and silk-worms, each company
having its own device. For there were Faeries from the woods, from the
streams, from the flags in the marshes, from the tops of the firs, from
the sea, from the inside of caves, house-faeries, church-faeries, and
gypsy faeries, that lived wherever they pleased and were always
trespassing.

The fire-flies made it very light and there was no difficulty in finding
the Bush. There they halted, and when the Queen alighted she found a
delicious cushion for her to step upon; it was the messenger Cherry
Blossom which had dropped upon the ground for that purpose. The Queen's
throne was a dandelion flower and a regal throne it was. The Spider spun
a winding staircase to the top, and stretched a canopy over it that
glittered with diamonds of dew. While she was taking her seat the
cricket band played the Throning of the Queen--one of their finest
pieces, and composed for the occasion by the largest cricket in the
band.

It was now the part of all, and permitted as well to the inhabitants of
the Garden, to come up in order and be presented to the Queen, and to
offer any gifts they might wish to bring. Two of the insects commonly
called Walking-Sticks were in attendance, and were the ushers to
announce each as they came up. It was proper that the Faeries should
have the first place.

These came up in companies, according to their place in the procession.
They where duly ushered into the presence of the Queen, and there was a
spokesman for each party, who made a little address and offered a gift.
The Faeries from the woods brought an anemone flower, set in dead forest
leaf, and the spokesman explained that the flower was the anticipation
of summer, and that it was fitting it should have such a back-ground.
The Faeries from the streams were obliged to come sitting in shells
filled with water and drawn by dragon-flies. They made a fine appearance
and brought the scale of a trout; it was more beautiful than mother of
pearl. The Faeries from the flags in the marshes brought a carpet made
of leaves of the white violet; the central figure was a marsh mallow.
The Faeries from the tops of the Firs brought a complete dinner service
made of scales of the cone. The Faeries from the sea came upon the
sea-foam, and the East Wind brought them. It made the place exceedingly
chilly, and the Queen shivered. One could smell the saltness all over
the Garden, and one of the Faeries was so overpowered by it that she
fainted. They left their present, however, which was a necklace of
crystal salt, and were off again. The Queen could not wear the necklace,
however, for it made her head ache. The Faeries from the inside of caves
came riding upon bats, and brought a stalactite made in the form of a
horse of dandelion-down, for there is a favourite story among the
Faeries in which such a horse figures. This was a very pretty piece of
sculpture. The house Faeries brought a beautiful shawl made of the
interwoven golden hair of the youngest child and the silver hair of her
old grandfather. The church Faeries brought a sound from the organ; it
was very solemn, and every one was quiet when it was offered. As for the
gypsy Faeries they said they had nothing to give, and so would sing a
song, which they did to the great delight of all, though the
Walking-Sticks thought it not quite becoming.

The inhabitants of the Garden had been quite impatient for the Faeries
to be through, for their turn was yet to come. It would be quite
impossible to enumerate them all. The Flowers could not come themselves
but they sent their choicest perfumes, and the Miller was so obliging as
to carry for them a great many charming and delicate tints. The Bee gave
a drop of honey, but he was so loud and coarse in his way and carried so
many weapons about him that all were glad when he went. The Humming-Bird
would not come, the Honeysuckle was his Queen, he said. The Red Ant said
it was all fol-de-rol and there was no such thing as a faery in his
opinion, much less a Queen Faery; and he stayed in the Hill and walked
through all the passages to see that every thing was in order. The
Butterfly, poor thing! was dead, and the Black Ant of course was too
busy burying him to attend to such frivolous matters. The Grasshopper,
however, came the whole length of the Garden, and each skip was
precisely as long as the last. It took just one hundred and sixty-seven
skips to reach the Lilac Bush. His uniform looked finely, and the
Walking-Sticks rejoiced that here at last was one come who had style and
observed etiquette. It was rather formal to be sure. The Walking-Sticks
each bowed eleven times, and the Grasshopper raised his elbow so often
and with so much precision, that you would have said it was very nicely
calculated. He made a set speech which the Queen listened to, and then
he passed out again; but he left no present, perhaps he thought he had
honoured her enough by coming to pay his respects.

The Faeries agreed that the reception must be all over now and that the
last of the inhabitants had come and gone; so they were ready for sport.
They did not know--how should they? that the Earth worm was on the way;
but he never reached the place in time; he was so blind that he lost the
road frequently. Room was now made for a dance. The Fire-flies improved
their lights and arranged them more artistically, and the Faeries took
their places. The inhabitants of the Garden could only look on. Just as
they were ready to begin, a bustling and confusion was observed among
the group of house Faeries. What could be the stir? They were evidently
very much excited, and the reason was this: One of their number, their
spokesman at the reception, was leaning against a stalk of clover and
looking up at the sky through the Lilac Bush. We think it hard to count
the stars, they are so many in number, but to a Faery who once lived
among them the stars are familiar as household faces. Thus the little
Faery was aware of a new star that at that instant appeared in the sky.
It was a very little star and rested between two larger ones, but it did
not escape his quick eye and he was now all alive with excitement.

"We must lose no time!" cried he to his companions: "there is a new
star! the child is born! come!" and they all sped to the house. One
only remained for a moment to explain it to the Queen and then followed
the rest.

The event produced great commotion in the Faery circle and all looked to
the Queen to see what was to be done. The Queen instantly called her
bugler, the tame Musquito, and bade him call the scattered Faeries all
about her. So they came every one about the dandelion throne, and the
herald of the Queen--the Fly in his blue coat, made proclamation that a
child had been born and that it was a rare thing, and an excellent
fortune both to Faeries and to the child, that it would be born upon the
first day of the year. "Wherefore," he concluded, "let all the Faeries
here gathered proceed as before and accompany the Queen to the place
where the child lies, and let the gifts that have been brought to the
Queen be carried by trusty servants."

So they set out as before in exactly the same order, except that the
House-Faeries and the Sea-Faeries were not there. The Daddy-long-legs
cleared the way to the door of the house, and the band of Crickets
played their sweetest air--'twas the Birth of the Daisy in fact. Arrived
at the door the Daddy-long-legs took their place in lines upon each side
of the step, and the Cricket band sate upon the scraper, for these might
not enter. But the Faeries preceded by their Queen did enter, and their
gifts went with them. They came into the room where little Janet lay.
The House-Faeries were already there with hushed movements and ordering
everything about the room. Around the bed gathered the hosts of
Faeries--even the Faeries of the stream were there, a little drier than
usual, though the House-Faeries made them keep on the outer circle.

The Queen was in the centre directly over little Janet. She bent nearer
and nearer until she stood upon the forehead. She touched it with her
lips, and that was the seal by which she signified that the newborn
child of New-Year's Day was to be gifted with all that Faeries could
give. The gifts which the Queen had received that night were freely
offered to the little child. They were laid at her feet. None there saw
them for none but the Faeries and the child could know of them. Each
Faery, too, in the fulness of love and joy offered other gifts directly
from their own nature; the Gypsy Faeries were very generous. They
withdrew then and the Queen was left alone. She had her gift yet to
bestow. "All of these," said she, "have richly endowed this child of
New-Years Day." She looked at the gifts and knew that there was one
thing wanting, yet she dreaded to bestow it. "It must be," she murmured,
and kissing once more the brow of the child, dropped a tear upon it.
Then she too left. The gifts were complete but the Queen was sad.

"She is a child of earth," she said, as she turned away; "it must be
so."

The festivities of the day were finished and all was quiet in the
Garden. The moon now rose and soon its light touched the Lilac Bush. At
the touch the sweet perfume of the Lilac rose like a cloud of incense
from the Bush. The air was filled with it, but the Bush was now
deserted. "It was a great gift," it said, "that I should be permitted to
have so much enjoyment. I am indeed happy, though twelve long months
must pass before I bloom again, and these blossoms now upon me have lost
their fragrance and shall fall to the ground. Yes, it is sweet to live,
even though one's flowers die and one's fragrance is lost."

But the fragrance was not lost. It rose higher and higher; the clouds
kept it not back and it ascended even to heaven.

[Illustration]


Horace E. Scudder



       *       *       *       *       *



JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL: A Biography. With portraits and other
illustrations, an Appendix, and a full Bibliography. 2 vols.

MEN AND LETTERS. Essays in Characterization and Criticism.

CHILDHOOD IN LITERATURE AND ART: With some Observations on
Literature for Children.

NOAH WEBSTER. In American Men of Letters. With Portrait.

GEORGE WASHINGTON. An Historical Biography. In Riverside School
Library.

THE DWELLERS IN FIVE SISTERS COURT. A Novel.

STORIES AND ROMANCES.

DREAM CHILDREN. Illustrated.

SEVEN LITTLE PEOPLE AND THEIR FRIENDS. Illustrated.

STORIES FROM MY ATTIC. For Children. Illustrated.

BOSTON TOWN. The Story of Boston told to Children. Illustrated.

THE CHILDREN'S BOOK. A Collection of the Best Literature for
Children. New Holiday Edition. Illustrated.

THE BOOK OF FABLES.

THE BOOK OF FOLK STORIES.

THE BOOK OF FABLES AND FOLK STORIES. School Edition. Illustrated.

THE BOOK OF LEGENDS.

THE BODLEY BOOKS. Including Doings of the Bodley Family in Town and
Country, The Bodleys Telling Stories, The Bodleys on Wheels, The
Bodleys Afoot, Mr. Bodley Abroad, The Bodley Grandchildren and
their Journey in Holland, The English Bodleys, and The Viking
Bodleys. Illustrated. Eight vols.

HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY

BOSTON AND NEW YORK





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