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´╗┐Title: Fireside Stories for Girls in Their Teens
Author: Eggleston, Margaret W. (Margaret White), 1878-
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 "Fireside Stories for Girls in Their Teens" ***

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THEIR TEENS***


FIRESIDE STORIES FOR GIRLS IN THEIR TEENS

by

MARGARET W. EGGLESTON

Instructor in Story Telling, School of Religious
Education and Social Service, Boston University

Author of "The Use of the Story in Religious Education," Etc.



New York
George H. Doran Company

Copyright, 1921,
by George H. Doran Company

Printed in the United States of America



TO THE GIRLS OF
KEEWAYDIN CAMP FIRE
OF CLEVELAND
AND
ICACAYA CAMP FIRE
OF BOSTON



FOREWORD


"Given a Camp-fire, a group of friendly girls and a good story-teller who
knows and loves the girls, and the ideals of a whole community may be
lifted in a night."

The teen age girl is a great problem and at the same time a great
opportunity. Her ideals seem low, yet there is no time in her life when
she will more gladly follow a great ideal. She seems fickle, yet she is
putting her friends to a test that is most worth while. She is
misunderstood and she can not understand herself. She is searching for
something, yet she does not know what it is.

Her problems are many, and most of them she must solve alone. If she
follows the crowd and goes in the way of least resistance, there is a big
chance that she will fall by the way. If she does not follow the crowd, it
is because somewhere, some time, she has found a compelling ideal and is
following it. Sometimes that ideal comes to her in the form of a friend.
Sometimes she is fortunate enough to have found that ideal in her mother.
But often and often it comes to her through a little story that lives with
her, and works for her, and helps her to hold to the best, in spite of the
manifold temptations to do otherwise.

Recently I met a young woman whom I had seen only once and that was twelve
years ago. She came to me after a service and said, "Will you tell Van
Dyke's 'Lump of Clay' to-night? Twelve years ago I heard you tell it. I
was so discouraged at the time, for everything seemed going wrong and life
seemed so useless. But I dropped into a church and heard you tell the
story. You have no idea what it has done for me. I am teaching in the
college near by and I should like to have my girls hear the story. Perhaps
they need it as I did."

Many of the workers with girls have seen this need and have wanted to meet
it and yet have been unable to find the story that was needed by the girl.
It is because of this very need in my own work that I am sending out these
stories, most of which I have told over and over to my girls. Many of them
have been written because of special problems that needed to be
met--problems peculiar to adolescence--problems found in every class and
club of girls the country over.

The stories are not to amuse, for we have no time to amuse girls in the
story hour. We have little enough time, at the best, for implanting ideals
and every story hour should leave a vital message. That is the thing the
girls want and why should we give them less.

The stories are not to be read. They need the personal touch, the
sympathetic voice, the freedom of eye that tells the story-teller which
girls are finding the message of the story. Some of them will hurt--but
experience has shown me that these are the very ones that one has to tell
over and over. Can you imagine the Master reading to the groups gathered
about him the stories that you and I love to read in his word? When you go
into the heart life of a girl, let all your personality help you to carry
the message. It was the Master's way of story-telling.

                  "'Twas only a little story,
                  Yet it came like a ray of light;
                  And it gave to the girl who heard it
                  Real courage to do the right."



CONTENTS

                                    PAGE
  I Would Be True                     15
  The Appeal to the Great Spirit      22
  A Parable of Girlhood               29
  The House of Truth                  32
  Marked for a Mast                   39
  Her Need                            44
  The Message of the Mountain         47
  The Winning of an Honor             51
  Daddy Gray's Test                   56
  Wanted--A Real Mother               61
  The Fir Tree and the Willow Wand    69
  The Two Searchers                   73
  Why Elizabeth Was Chosen            77
  Janie's School Days                 81
  Self-Made Men                       89
  On The Road to Womanhood            92
  Her Prayer                          97
  The Best Day                       105
  In the Way                         108
  An Old, Old Story                  114
  His Debt                           119
  How Kagigegabo Became a Brave      123
  The White Flower of Happiness      129
  The Speaking Picture               134
  The Quest                          138
  The Treasure                       141



FIRESIDE STORIES FOR GIRLS IN THEIR TEENS



I WOULD BE TRUE


'Twas a beautiful day in the late fall and the roadside was lined with the
late asters and goldenrod. The sun was shining so brightly and the sky was
as blue as a New Hampshire sky could be, yet the girl, walking along the
winding, climbing road, saw none of them. The little brook by the roadside
whispered and chattered as it ran along, yet she did not hear; a few late
birds still twittered to her from the trees, but she did not notice; a
chipmunk called to her from a dead tree by the roadside, but she paid not
the least attention. She was alone with her thoughts and they were far
from pleasant.

How different it all seemed from what it had seemed six months before!
Then she had stood in the office of a great doctor in Philadelphia and
heard him say to her father, "Unless you leave the city at once and go
where there is pure air and simple food and real quiet, there is no help
for you."

The father had looked at the doctor for a moment in silence and then
answered, "Well, if that is the case, I am sorry, for I cannot leave the
city. My business needs me; Katherine is in college and she must be here.
I shall stay."

But with flashing eyes the girl had stepped to the doctor and said,
"Father is mistaken, doctor. His business can do without him and there is
no need at all why he should stay here for me. There is a dear little old
place in the hills of New Hampshire that belongs to us, where grandfather
used to live. We can go there and have all the things that you have said
he must have. You may leave the matter with me. We shall be out of the
city within two weeks."

Then turning to her father she had put her arms about his neck and said,
"Of course we can go, daddy, for what is college and money and friends
compared with your health? Gladly will I give them up for you. We shall
have a wonderful time there in the hills--just you and mother and I."

So they had come. Then it was early in the spring and the country was
beginning to show green. Into the little old farmhouse under the hill they
moved. Of course there were no electric lights, and no telephones, and no
faucets out of which the water could be drawn. But there were the quaint
old candle holders on the big mantels; there was the fireplace so large
that a log could be drawn into it; there was a well in the yard with water
as cold as ice. And outside the home--oh, there were the most wonderful
things to see. The trailing arbutus trailed everywhere; the lady slippers
grew even in the front dooryard. The old trees in the yard were soon
filled with nesting birds; the apple and pear trees in bloom were a sight
never to be forgotten.

So the days fled by and the little family under the hill were so happy to
see the color coming back to the face of the sick one and the smile once
more on his face. Katherine loved it all--the home--the flowers--the
mountains and even the quiet of the little hamlet.

Then the summer had come and with it the stream of visitors who come
every year to the New Hampshire mountains. Within a short distance of the
home were large hotels, and the guests soon learned of the cool water in
the well in front of the house; of the father who was such a pleasant
companion; of the pretty girl who could sing, and climb, and play so well.
So there had been picnics, and parties, and auto rides, and the summer had
fled.

And when the people had gone, there were the wonderful colors in the
trees, the gorgeous sunsets in the sky, the fun of the harvest time and
still the life in the country was full of wonder and satisfaction.

But now--oh, now the days had begun to grow cold, the trees were bare, the
birds had flown to the south, and her friends had all gone away. Here and
there a family was left in the farmhouses that dotted the little, winding
road but none of them were people for whom she cared. And so as the days
had come and gone, there had crept into the heart of the girl a loneliness
that would not be forced down, a longing that she could not stifle, a
dissatisfaction that grew with the days.

How could she pass the long winter nights that were ahead? How could she
stay away from the friends who were gathering at the college? How could
she live without her piano? How could she keep a smile so that the dear
ones at home would not see how unhappy she was becoming? The house seemed
so big and bare; the trees in the yard seemed to sigh instead of sing; the
way ahead seemed full of blackness. She longed for all that had gone; she
longed for her friends, especially the one who had been her ideal during
her college days; she longed to run back to him for always.

But on this October morning, she had risen early to keep the quiet hour
before the rest were up. Usually she read in the gospels, but this
morning her Bible opened to the Psalms and she read, "I will lift up mine
eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the
Lord who made heaven and earth." She stopped and looked from the window at
Mt. Kearsarge in the distance.

Then she read again, "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence
cometh my help." "Ah!" said the girl, "I need help. God knows I need help.
I wonder if there is any help for me. 'I will lift up mine eyes unto the
hills from whence cometh my help.' Perhaps if I should go out into the
hills for the day, God would help me. I think I will try it."

To the mother she had said, "I think I should like to go for a long walk
to-day if you do not mind. I feel like having a tramp," and then with
lunch box in hand and book under her arm, she had started.

As long as father and mother could see, she had smiled and waved to them,
but when the turn in the road had come, the light faded from her eyes and
her problem was still before her. The night before had been endless, yet
there were longer ones to come. No wonder she saw no sunshine, heard no
bird and saw no brook as she walked along the country road.

On and on she went; mile after mile was put behind her, till the sun was
high in the heaven and she was weary and hungry. Then a sudden turn in the
road brought her to the foot of a little lake--one of those mountain lakes
that make New Hampshire so beautiful. All around it were hills; the water
was very, very blue and its surface was as calm as could be. A
moss-covered stone was very near and the girl sank beside it and, leaning
her head on her hand, she looked at the quiet waters.

"Ah!" she said to herself, "how I wish my life were as calm as the lake.
One would never dream that it ever were rough and troubled. I wish God
could send peace to me as He sends it to the little lake."

Her eyes wandered to the shores and then to the hills about the lake. How
beautiful the tall pines and spruces were! How fragrant the resinous
balsams! How bleak and cold the trees with no leaves!

Then her eyes turned to the top of the hills when suddenly--it seemed as
if by magic--there stood out before her, as if outlined in the sky, the
giant face of a man. What could it be? Had it been carved there? How
strong and noble the face seemed to be! How had it come to be there at the
very top of the hill? Then she remembered a story she had heard when first
she had come to the valley. This must be the "Old Man of the Mountain."
For centuries and centuries he had stood here guarding the little lake.

When the wonder of finding the Great Stone Face had passed by, she studied
it. The forehead was high and the face of noble mien. The mouth showed
much of strength. It was a face one would like to see often. God had put
it there--the God who made the heaven and earth. Then there came to her
mind again the verse of the morning, "I will lift up mine eyes unto the
hills from whence cometh my help." Perhaps the Old Man of the Mountain
could help her. He had stood here for years and years. He must know what
it meant to be weary with the long days and the longer nights. He must
have seen the multitude pass by and still leave him in the mountains.
Perhaps he would understand how lonely and full of unrest she was.

So leaning her head on the moss-covered stone, she said dreamily, "Old Man
of the Mountains, if you were I and were longing to go back to your work
and your friends, if you were afraid of the long winter that is coming, if
you had a duty to do right here when you longed to be there, if you had a
father who needed you and a mother who is brave as can be, and still there
burned within you the longing to get back to the others, what would you
do? Are you never weary with it all? Do you never long to run away from
your task that God has given you to do? Are you never discontented? Oh,
Old Man of the Mountain, if you were I and had my burden to carry, what
would you do?"

A silence was everywhere as she listened for his answer. Not a bird sang,
not a ripple crossed the lake. For a moment she watched the face--then
another, and then she was sure that she saw the face begin to relax. A
sign of a twinkle came across the great stone eyes and the lips smiled as
there came to her heart this answer:

"Oh, little girl from the city with a burden to carry! What would I do if
I had a father who was surely growing strong and a mother who had smiled
through the days of the sickness? What would I do if I longed to go back
to the life of pleasure and happiness when my duty lay here? What would I
do if I had forgotten the books that might be read during the long winter
nights for which there had been no time in the city; the lessons of
patience and loyalty that might be learned in doing the hard thing; the
happiness of really being needed? What would I do if I were you and were
lonely and discouraged and heartsick?

          I would be true, for there are those that trust me;
          I would be pure, for there are those who care;
          I would be strong, for there is much to suffer;
          I would be brave, for there is much to dare.

          I would be friend of all--the foe, the friendless;
          I would be giving, and forget the gift;
          I would be humble, for I know my weakness;
          I would look up, and laugh, and love, and lift.[A]

"Aye, little girl from the city, I would go back into the little home
under the hill with all its comfort, and home-likeness, and wealth of
love, and I would look up to God for help; I would laugh at the hard
things and help them to vanish from sight; I would love the dear ones who
are dearer to you than life itself; and I would lift, not only their
burden, but that of others who need you in this beautiful valley."

Slowly the face was again set into the lines that others saw and the head
of the girl dropped deeper into the moss. For a long time there was no
sign that she had heard. Then she lifted a face, full of light, to that of
the Old Man of the Mountain.

"Thank you, my friend," she said. "I have lifted my eyes unto the hills
and help has come. I will go back to the little white house and, with
God's help, I will look up, and I will laugh, and I will love, and I will
lift."

So she ate her lunch by the calm, little mountain lake and the tiny
breezes whispered in her ears. Then she walked again the winding road that
led down to the home. But the sky was blue and full of beauty; the birds
heard an answering call; the little brook gave her to drink, and the
chipmunk found on his stump a little piece of the cake from the box. Her
face was smiling and her heart full of courage, for she had looked unto
the hills--and God had answered.

-----

  [A] Poem by Harold Arnold Walter.



THE APPEAL TO THE GREAT SPIRIT


Owaissa, the Indian Squaw, sat before the tepee watching little Litahni
play with the colored stones. The child was the idol of the tribe, for was
not her father the great chief Black Hawk who had done so much for his
people? So, lest anything should happen to the little one, Owaissa made it
her chief task to be where the child was and to teach her the things she
wanted her to know.

Three years before, the good missionary who was leaving the encampment had
said to Owaissa, "Soon there will come to your tepee a little child.
Should it be a little girl, teach her to see herself in the things about
her, so that the birds, and the trees, and the flowers, and the winds may
all help her to grow true and fine, even as they help the young braves to
grow brave and strong. The girls of your Indian tribes are not given half
a chance to see the helpers all about them. Teach her to see, as I have
taught you to see, what a woman can do."

And the words of the missionary had burned into the very soul of Owaissa.
Her child should have a chance. So when the little girl had come to her
wigwam, she had named her Litahni--a little light--and she had sought for
ways to help her to see what nature meant that man should see.

"Catch a little raindrop," she said to the little girl as she played near
the wigwam. "Every raindrop helps some plant, even though it is so little.
You are tiny, too, but you can help every day just as the raindrop does."

"See the beautiful sunset," she said to the older girl, as they tramped
home from gathering the wood for the fire. "The colors are creeping all
over the sky. We see the sunset here and we are happy because it is so
beautiful, but away over the mountains in the far away the sunset is just
as beautiful and they are happy there as they see it. You can bring
happiness, too, both here and far away, if your life is beautiful.

"Listen to the wind in the trees," she said to the girl of fourteen who
was eager to do that which father wanted her to leave undone. "You cannot
see the wind, yet it sways the great trees and sometimes fells them. You
can bend the will of the strong men of the tribe but you cannot do it by
talk and by ugly words. Learn to bend by gentleness and quietly. Learn to
steal into their lives as the wind steals through the trees."

When the girl was sixteen, the young men of the tribe were beginning to
love her and to want to take her to their wigwams. Then the mother knew
she must show her how to choose. So she sought for ways to help her as
they hunted the mountains for the wild berries. Often they sat by the
lakeside for their midday meal. Sometimes it was rough and sometimes
calm.

"See, daughter," said Owaissa. "The little lake is very rough to-day.
Sometimes our lives are like the little lake. Not always are they calm.
Storms sweep over the life. But take the lesson from the lake. Be
beautiful through it all. Down beneath the surface, the water is calm and
untroubled even though the white caps are above."

Once they were caught in the mountains in a terrific storm. Litahni crept
close to the mother when the thunder rolled loud and long, but she loved
to see the long streaks of lightning flash across the sky.

Then Owaissa said, "The thunder cannot hurt you, dear. Seldom does that
which comes with a big noise do the harm, for one can run from it and be
safe. Fear that which comes silently and swiftly and which strikes at the
heart. The lightning yonder is far from us but it may strike at the heart
of a giant pine and fell it to the ground. That which should have stood
long and sturdy is then rendered useless and laid low."

With the coming of the winter the good squaw died and there were evil days
ahead for the Black Hawk tribe. They were having quarrels with the white
men, and the chief was very busy. So Litahni was left much alone and the
days were long and lonely. Now she was glad for all that her mother had
taught her, for the birds, and the flowers, and the trees, and the animals
all helped her to pass the days and they spoke to her of the things that
her mother had taught her. She tried hard to help her father, and often
she knew that she had helped him, but she longed to do more.

"No squaw has ever done it, but I believe I can. I shall teach my people
to love the white man's God, for then we should not have wars and
quarrels," said the girl.

So she taught the little children; she told stories to the squaws and she
won the confidence of the young men of the tribe who would soon be in the
council fires. And all the tribe loved Litahni, the beautiful daughter of
Black Hawk and Owaissa.

One day, across the plain, there came a white man. He was tall and dark
and sturdy-looking. He had education and he could talk well. Litahni saw
much of him for a few days and she came to honor the white man as she
listened to him drive the bargains for the furs and the blankets and the
baskets.

Now, as the white man watched the little Indian teacher, he saw how far
above the tribe she was. He loved her pretty face, her sweet way and her
gentle spirit. Then the white man wanted to win the Indian girl. In the
far East, he had left a girl who loved him but he wanted the Indian
girl,--so he began silently to make love to her. Of course he knew that
her father would never consent. He knew that he would be driven from the
encampment if ever they found what he was doing, so hastily and quietly he
worked to win her.

He told her of the wonderful land from which he had come; of the beautiful
houses in which his friends lived; of the lives of ease which they lived;
then he told her of his love for her and begged her to flee with him to
his land and his people. To Litahni, it was all so wonderful that she
listened happily. How she would love to see it all! If she went there, she
could see again the missionary of whom the mother had told her so often.

And when he had finished, she told him of her dreams--how she wanted to
help the tribe to learn to love the great God, and to make the tribe of
Black Hawk the finest tribe in all the land around.

But when she, too, had finished, he loved her all the more for her
beautiful wish, so he held her closely to him and said:

"But, Litahni, to love and to be loved is a far greater happiness than to
lift, or to bend, or to lead the tribe. Leave that to your father. All
these things you can do to me and to my people. Would you waste your life
here on the plains? Think what I can give you. Your mother longed to go
beyond the mountains into the sunrise. Come with me and I will take you
there. To love and to be loved is the best that ever comes into a life.
And I love you, Litahni! Why should you think of your father? He has many
things to think of and has little time for you. I will make you my queen.
To-morrow I must go. So to-night, I shall come for my answer after the
sun has set. Meet me, dear, by the giant tree near the spring and we will
go together. The train leaves not long after the sunset and I will have a
horse at the spring on which we can get to the train. Come with me, dear.
Forget your people and be my Litahni."

There was a noise near by--and the white man was gone. But Litahni sat
deep in thought. While he had been with her, she longed to go with him.
But as she sat now and looked down into the valley at the encampment, she
was not so sure. Her mind was all awhirl. Was this the way to happiness?
What would mother have said? She wanted her to have the best, but what was
the best? It was only a few hours till the sunset and what should she do?
Was there no one to help her?

Suddenly from the roadway below she heard a neigh. It was Fleetfoot, and
he was tired of being tied to a sapling. Now Litahni loved Fleetfoot, her
horse, for they had grown up together, so she hurried to the tree where
she had left him, untied his bridle, jumped on his back and whispered,

"Fly, Fleetfoot! Fly into the sunset. Go fast and go far and let me think
as we fly."

Then the horse sped away toward the north. As they passed the little lake
in the valley it whispered, "Life is not always calm. There must be
tempests. But you can be calm in your inner life and you can be beautiful
through it all."

Up the hill she went, and as the wind blew over her face it seemed to say,
"Why be bent? Why not bend?" At the top, looking far across a distant
plain, her mother's voice seemed to whisper, "Look far ahead, little girl.
Look far ahead. What seems wonderful may prove to be only a shadow."

On they flew. The girl's face was flushed and thoughtful. Soon she must
turn if she would be at the meeting place. Where was Fleetfoot taking her?
Perhaps he knew best what she should do.

Suddenly at a bend in the road Fleetfoot gave a great leap, startling the
girl and almost making her lose her balance. Across the path, a giant tree
had been felled by the lightning and there it lay, prone and helpless.

Then she shuddered. "Fear that which comes quickly and silently and which
strikes at the heart." Only a week before she had not known the white
man--even now her father did not know that she knew him. Ought she to be
afraid? If she met him, it must be silently, in the cover of the dark.

At last Fleetfoot stood, panting and breathless, on the great rock that
topped the cliff. Often had he come here with his mistress, so he waited
for her to dismount. The sky was aflame with color--all red and gold and
yellow. Far to the North there were blues and pinks. What a wonderful
sunset it was! Surely it must be the home of a great, great God.

Litahni sat motionless for a time, drinking in all the glory of the scene.
Then she threw her arms high over her head and, lifting her face into the
sunset, she cried,

"Oh, thou Great Spirit to whom my people have always prayed, though they
knew thee not as the great God; oh thou to whom my mother taught me to
pray, show me the way to happiness. I would my life should be as my mother
wished it to be--a little light. I would do my best in the right place. Is
love for the white man the way to happiness? Is it the way in which I
should go? Answer as by fire. I beg of thee. Answer me as by fire, oh,
thou great God of the Indian."

Motionless the horse and his rider stood as the moments passed by, one,
two, three. The red of the sunset enfolded them and God was very near.

Suddenly far to the south there rose a tiny black cloud. Very tiny it was,
yet it grew and it grew. It blotted out the red and then the yellow and
then the gold, and then the whole sky was dark and the wind blew chill.

Slowly Litahni's arms relaxed and her head fell to the mane of the horse.
When she lifted it, her face looked tired and worn, but over it there was
a look of peace. Patting the mane of the horse, she said:

"Thank you for bringing me here, Fleetfoot. The Great Spirit has answered
and I shall stay here with Father and with you. To love selfishly is to
blot out all the beautiful. He who would be my chief must not want me to
run away from helping and giving. He must help me to serve my people. The
Great Spirit has answered by fire and I am content. I will stay here and
serve my people in the way my mother taught me to do, and I will wait for
the one whom the Great Spirit will send to me some day to be my Chief."

Then slowly Fleetfoot picked his way over the narrow trail in the
darkness, and, because it was late, the white man had come and gone away
alone. But Litahni, bending low over the couch where her father should
sleep, smiled as she stretched the skins in place for the night. Even as
the animals had given their skins that her father might be warm, so she
was ready to give her little light to make him happy and comfortable, even
as Owaissa, her noble mother, had done.

And Litahni was content.



A PARABLE OF GIRLHOOD


Behold a girl went forth to walk on the highway leading to life. And as
she walked there grew up beneath her feet flowers of every kind and
color.

"Ah!" she said, "I will gather a sheaf of flowers to carry with me, for
then, surely, I shall be welcome when I come to the gate at the end of
this way. I will gather what seemeth to me to be the most beautiful of all
the flowers that grow about me. They shall be my gift to the one who
guards the way."

And as she plucked, the one that seemed to be most wonderful was the one
most bright, gleaming yellow as the sun. "It is yellow like gold," she
said. "If I come with the sign of gold, I shall be welcome. I will pluck
it everywhere I can and carry only yellow flowers." And soon her arms were
full, but somehow her fingers seemed hot and unpleasant and her arms were
heavy, so she dropped some by the way and carried only those that seemed
most desirable.

But some were blue--blue as the sky. "Blue for blue blood," she said.
"Those of royal birth are always to be desired. I shall make my sheaf
largely of blue." So she added one here and another there till she was
satisfied that the sheaf would be of all the sheaves the most beautiful.
But the odor was sickening, and again one after another was dropped till
only a few remained.

And some flowers there were in the path that were red. "One needs fewer of
these," she said, "but surely some must be red. I shall put red flowers
for courage where they shall be seen, for courage is of all the virtues
to be desired." But there were thorns on the red flowers and, try as she
would, she could not hide the thorns so that they might not pierce her
flesh. So there could be few of the red in the sheaf.

Some plants there were that bore no blossoms but the leaves were
beautiful, so she added leaves of this and of that, even though she knew
that in some there was deadly poison. "I can hide it among the rest. It is
so beautiful that it must be a part of my sheaf," thought the girl.

But along the way, there had been many flowers that had been passed
unnoticed. White they were. Often they were small but always they were
pure and sweet. Only once had she plucked one and then she had added it
because of its fragrance. "Oh, yes," she said, "I know white is for purity
but white flowers are old-fashioned. Of course I must have a few but many
would spoil my sheaf. It must be bright with color."

So the days flew by and her sheaf was nearly complete. She had thought it
the most beautiful thing she could possibly make. But one day as she
walked, suddenly she saw, standing erect by the road, a beautiful, stately
lily. Its beauty startled her. She stooped to smell of its fragrance. Then
she glanced from it to the flowers in her sheaf.

If she plucked the lily and tried to place it in the sheaf, its beauty
would be spoiled. What should she do? With all her heart she longed to
take the lily with her to the end of the way. Should she throw the rest
away? Would she be welcome with only the one flower? Long she hesitated.

Then she laid the yellow, and the blue, and the red, and the rest aside
and carefully gathered it. So in her hand she carried the lily with the
petals of pure white and the heart of gold.

And lo, she had come to the stile which endeth the way of girlhood.
There, standing guard over the way ahead, was a woman in white, holding by
the hand a tiny, little child. Looking straight into the eyes of the girl,
she said sweetly,

"Welcome, my child, from the beautiful way of girlhood. What hast thou
brought as thy gift to coming generations?"

Then the girl feared to answer. But she held the lily toward the little
child as she said, "I have brought purity and a heart of gold."

"Thou hast done well," said the mother spirit. "Take thou the child as thy
reward. With this as thy gift, thou art worthy to enter the way of
motherhood. Lo, here are some of the flowers that were left by the way.
Well may they go with thee, for they are very beautiful. But the gift that
thou didst choose was far more valuable and beautiful than they. It was
the gift that the Great desire."

Then the girl and the child went together into the new way. But the child
was carrying the gift and she smiled as she went.



THE HOUSE OF TRUTH


It was plain to be seen that Bess Keats was very much disturbed about
something. She sat in the couch hammock on the porch, talking to herself
and occasionally giving a sharp punch to the sofa pillow by her side.

"Mother is so old-fashioned," she said to herself, "and she gets worse
every year. Last year she wouldn't let me wear the kind of dresses I
wanted to and I looked different from the rest of the girls all the year.
Then she wouldn't let me go camping with the party because only one mother
was going to take care of us. Surely one woman can take care of twenty
boys and girls. Of course I was glad I hadn't gone when they had the
accident and partly burned the cottage, but she wouldn't let me go just
because she had old-fashioned notions. Girls these days don't do as they
did when she was young.

"I just can't see a reason in the world why I shouldn't invite Henry Mann
to take me to the leap-year party at the beach. Every girl in the crowd is
asking a fellow to take her. Of course if George were here, mother might
let me go with him; but he isn't and all the girls want Henry to go
because he spends his money in such a dandy way; so I said I would invite
him to take me, never thinking for a minute that mother would object. And
now she says, not only that I can't ask him, but that I can't go. Well, I
will, anyway. So there! I just will go."

Then Bess pushed her head far down in the pillow to think out a way. If
grandmother were only alive she would help her. She had always found a
way to get what Bess wanted. But grandmother was dead and Bess must work
it out alone, so she began to think.

Suddenly she heard a voice saying,

"Why, Bessie dear, whatever is the matter? You look very unhappy. Tell me
all about it."

And there was grandmother with the neat, black silk dress and the dainty
white collar, and even the pretty white apron that she used to wear. Oh!
Oh! how glad Bess was to see her!

Hand in hand, they went away from the house to where the trees in the
orchard were bending with fruit, and, sitting there on a stone, Bess told
her all about her trouble. Whatever would the girls think of her when she
had promised to invite the boy they all wanted? And after she had told it
every bit, she squeezed grandma's hand very hard and said,

"And now, Granny dear, you will help me, won't you? It is perfectly all
right to ask him for all the girls do it. I want him to take me."

"Well, well, dear," said the grandmother, "if we find that it is all
right, I shall be glad to find a way to help you. But we must see. We must
see."

"See what, grandmother?" asked the girl. "There is nothing to see."

"Indeed there is, child," said Granny. "In times of trouble one must
always see the Truth. Then the way is easy. After I see the Truth, I shall
be able to tell what to do. Come and we shall soon find out. You see you
belong to my family and my family is proud of the fact that its girls have
all been ladies. So we must go to the keeper of the book and see what a
lady can do in this case."

On and on they went till they came to a queer little old man standing
before a big, big book. Granny went daintily up to him and said,

"Will you tell me if it is ever right for a young lady to ask a strange
young man to take her to a dance, and pay out his money for her, when he
has not even been to her home or met her mother? My grandchild says all
the girls do it, so I suppose it must be a new thing that has been written
in the book since I was a girl. I want her to be sure to be a lady, so
before I help her to ask the boy to take her, I want you to look for the
rule."

The little old man began slowly to shake his head but he never said a
word. He just looked and looked and looked. His finger went up one page
and down another. Finally he looked straight at Bess and said to Granny,

"Your granddaughter is mistaken. That is not done by ladies. It is not
here. It is not here."

"Oh, you are old-fashioned just like my mother," began Bess. "It may not
be there but it is true just the same that all ladies do it nowadays."

"Hush, child," said Granny. "What is written there is true--but it is only
half the truth even then. Let us go and see the rest. If it is right for
you to ask him, then let us see the truth about the boy. Is he one that
our family would like to have specially chosen for your friend? We must
know about him."

"Oh, Granny, he is all right. He doesn't study much and he doesn't do what
mother believes is right on Sunday. But he has a car, and a motor boat,
and he is all right. Let me ask him," begged Bess.

"Tut, tut, child," said Granny. "Perhaps you do not know. This is the
House of Truth and we can tell."

Then they entered a very large house and Granny walked to a man who stood
near the door.

"May I go to the M room?" she asked, with a smile.

"I will show you the way, lady," said the man, and Bess noted how the man
had spoken the word "lady." Somehow every one knew as soon as they looked
at Granny that she was a lady. 'Twas very strange!

Down a long hall they went and then they stood before a large wall of
mirrors. What a strange place this was! Before them in the mirror were
many, many men and boys, all struggling to get up a very steep hill. Some
had a few strings ahead of them to help them up and many, many strings
behind that were pulling them back to the foot of the hill. Others had
only a few in back and many in front. Some were hopelessly entangled and
seemed not able to move. Who were they and what were they doing?

Curiosity led Bess to study the scene in front of her. On the very top of
the hill there was a bright sign, "Christian Manhood." This, then, was the
thing for which they were struggling. But what were the strings? She
pushed and reached but she just couldn't read the words.

"Did you want to know the truth about a friend?" said a voice. "I will
gladly help you for you are young and need to know. I am old and to know
the truth may only make me more unhappy. Take my place." And she was given
a nearer stand.

Now she could read the words on the strings that held the men back. One
said "Drink" and another "Bad Companions," and another "Bad Temper." Bess
was very much interested, so she began to study the faces of the men who
were pushing to the top.

Why! Away up there with the first was George Meyer, her good friend from
childhood. He had many, many strings to help and only a few to hinder. And
there was Edward Mead. He was such a goody-goody at school that she
didn't care much for him. Why, he wouldn't whisper at all!

Near the middle of the hill was Philip Marks. She knew him well and he had
many things to help and many to hinder but he was surely trying. But
Granny had brought her here to see the truth about Henry Mann. Was he
here? She hadn't seen him.

First she searched among those near the top. He was such a bright boy when
out with the crowd and he had so many good things in his life that surely
he must be near the top. But he wasn't there. Neither was he near the
middle. Surely he must be there somewhere for his name began with M.
Finally she asked the man who had given her his place if he could see a
boy named Henry Mann on the hill.

"I should say I could," was the answer. "There he is near the foot of the
hill, hopelessly entangled in his drawbacks. It isn't hard to find that
young man here."

Sure enough, there he was and Bess's face grew very red as she saw all the
strings behind him. She was glad Granny had gone to sit down so that she
wouldn't see him. Perhaps she could read what some of his drawbacks were,
for he was quite near. There was, "Too much money," "Lazy," "Unkind to his
mother," "Little schooling," "Drinks and smokes and swears," "A friend of
careless girls"....

Oh, dear! Bess didn't want to read any more. What a list he had! There
were one or two good strings but they could not do much against so many
others to pull him back.

Up there very near to the top, George, her old friend, was moving on and
his face was so earnest. How different it looked as she compared him with
Henry at the foot! She had never known before that he was so handsome.
What were the strings that were pulling him forward? She leaned far
forward to see. Just then she heard Granny's voice close at her elbow.

"Were you trying to look at George, Bess? He is a long way toward manhood,
isn't he? Suppose you use my little glass to help you."

"Oh, now I can see," she answered. There is "A good mother," "A keen
mind," "A strong body," "Love of right and truth," "A good girl
friend"....

"But, Granny dear," said Bess, "one of his helps is 'A good girl friend.'
Has George a girl? I thought he didn't care for girls."

"This is the House of Truth, dear," said the old lady. "I think perhaps
that good girl friend means you, for you have been a good friend to him.
You know our family have always been proud of their education and their
habits of life. I am sure it must have been a good thing for George to
grow up all these years with a good chum like you. He must be a gentleman
if he would be fit to play with the daughter of a lady like your mother.
When I was here before, George had several other pull-backs, but I see he
has conquered them. But come, dear, it is time we were going if I am to
help you out of your difficulty.

"Let me see, you wanted to ask Henry Mann to take you to a party at the
beach. Did you find him there? Do you think your mother will change her
mind when we tell her the truth about the new friend whom you wish to
make? If so, I am ready to try, even though I am not at all sure that a
lady does those things. But things change--things change very much and
perhaps you are right. What said the House of Truth? Shall we invite
him?"

"Oh, Granny, never, never!" cried the girl. "I could never ask any one who
was known as the friend of careless girls. He has so many drawbacks--oh,
no, never."

Just then a voice said, "Good evening, Miss Keats. I hope I haven't
disturbed your nap. One of the girls told me you were very anxious to see
me, so I came up."

And there stood Henry Mann.

For a moment the girl could not answer. The face that had looked so
handsome when it was pointed out to her on the street yesterday now looked
careless and insolent. She wanted to run away and not even answer.

But just at that moment the door opened and her mother came out. She was
dressed so prettily and her voice was soft and sweet as she said, "I think
I haven't met you, but you must be one of my daughter's friends. Will you
be seated?"

"A man must be a gentleman if he would be fit to play with the daughter of
a lady like your mother," thought Bess.

Then she straightened her shoulders and, smiling, said, "Mother, this is
Henry Mann, of whom I spoke to you."

Turning to the boy, who still stood at the top of the steps, she said,
"Thank you so much for calling, Mr. Mann. There has been a mistake. Mother
prefers that I should not go to the party at the beach and of course I
want to do as she thinks best. I am sorry to have made you this trouble.
Perhaps one of the other girls will be asked to fill my place so that you
can still be one of the party."

Then Henry Mann tipped his hat and went down the street thinking how
beautiful the mother and daughter were. But Bess and her mother stood
there with their arms about each other, waiting for father to come home to
tea. And Bess was no longer unhappy.



MARKED FOR A MAST


Mary had just come from the little post-office in the town where she was
spending the summer, and in her hand she held a bunch of letters. Mail
time was the event of the day, and all the summer people flocked about the
office as soon as the little boat carrying the mail was heard blowing her
whistle below the bend.

To-day Mary had been very impatient as the old postmaster had slowly
sorted the mail. She had watched him look carefully at one address after
another, and, knowing him as she did, she was sure that many in the town
would know by night how many interesting letters had come to people in the
town. She had been almost the first at the little window for her mail and
then had had to brave the laugh of the rest when Mr. Blake had said,

"Here's your letter and it's a fat one that took four cents. My, but he
must like you."

Mary had been waiting for this very letter because in the last one George
had said, "I have a big surprise in store for you but I can't tell you
yet--maybe in the next letter."

So this long one must be the surprise. Eagerly she tore it open and read
the first two pages that told of things happening in the home town and
good times the young people were having. Then she read,

"And now for my secret. You know we are going to our camp for a whole
month of fun in August. Mother likes you and you are such good company for
us all that she tells me to write in her name and ask you to spend the
first two weeks with us there. Don't say no for we--no, I--must surely
have you to share our good times."

The first two weeks! Those were the weeks she had planned to go to the
conference and train for some special work for the church during the
coming winter. The church had said they would pay her expenses if she
cared to go, and already she had made application. Oh, dear! Now what
should she do? She had said to her pastor, "I want to go to the conference
more than anything I have ever wanted but I can't afford to go." Now she
wanted to go with her friends and she would have to say to him, "I want a
good time more than I want the conference." The conference would come
again the next year, but this invitation might never come again.

To be sure, she had many, many good times. Maybe she would have a good
time at the conference. Which did she want the more? If she went with her
friends, she could not do the winter work at the church as it ought to be
done. But there was the last sentence. "We--no, I--must have you to share
our good times." That meant a lot to her as she read it. Should she go to
the conference or should she go to the camp?

Mechanically she turned the other letters over. There was one from mother,
and one from a school friend, and a business letter--oh, here was a
correspondence card from Mrs. Lane, her teacher in the Church School.

"Dear Mrs. Lane," thought Mary. "How I should love to see her! She was
going to Maine. I wonder if this little snapshot is a picture of some
pines where she is staying."

After looking long at the beautiful, tall pines in the picture, she turned
to the card and read,

  "Dear Mary:

  "As we came up the beautiful Sebago Lake last week, I saw something
  that reminded me of you so strongly that I must tell you of it. Away
  off in the distance, we saw some wonderful pines that towered high
  above the rest. They seemed so tall that we spoke to the pilot of the
  boat about them and he told us this story about them.

  "'Years and years ago, before this land was settled by any but the
  Indians, King George of England sent men to this country to look for
  tall trees that would make good masts for his ships. They went up the
  rivers and lakes looking everywhere for the special trees. Here on
  these hills they found these great trees. So the men marked "K.G." on
  the trees, charted them on a map which they carried, and went on
  their way. But for some reason they were never cut and carried away
  to be used on his ships. There they stand to-day, strong and
  straight, marked for masts.'

  "After the old man had finished his story and had left us, I said to
  my friend, 'Marked for a mast because it is straight and strong. I
  have a girl who also is marked for a mast and some day she will carry
  with her, under her colors, many boys and girls. We are sending her
  to the leaders' conference this summer so that she may begin to make
  ready for her work.' Mary, dear, it is wonderful to have been chosen
  by the King of England and to have been marked for use with his
  initials, but it is more wonderful to have been chosen by a greater
  king and marked with his name. Perhaps you can guess what the mark I
  see on you might be--It is C. L. Write and tell me all about the
  conference, won't you?

                                          "Lovingly your friend,

                                                    "Margaret Lane."

'Twas a very thoughtful girl who went down the street. In one hand a long
letter and in the other a closely written card. The one said, "Come and
have a real jolly, good time." The other said, "Get ready for service."
Which should it be?

As she sat in the hammock thinking of her good friend in Maine, there came
again to her mind the last night Mrs. Lane had been with them. They had
been talking over plans for the summer and Mrs. Lane had quietly said, "I
like to think that a good time is one which you carry with you and which
means more to you as the weeks go by than it did when you were enjoying
it." Which good time would she carry with her longer? Which would make of
her the finer girl? Which did she want most to carry with her? And as she
thought, the way became clearer.

Finally she went to her room and returned in a few minutes with a writing
case and pen.

  "Dear George," she began. "Weren't you good to ask me to go with the
  family to the camp! I can't think of any camp where I would enjoy
  myself more and I surely appreciate the invitation. But I can't
  accept it this time for that is the time set for the conference to
  which I am really going this year. Our church has made it possible
  for me to go, and I know it will do much in getting me ready to be of
  help to those who have helped me so much. I shall have so much more
  to give when I have studied for the two weeks with those who know,
  and have given their lives to the service of others. 'Tis an
  opportunity that I couldn't miss--not even for two weeks with you
  all. Thank you just the same."

Mary read the letter, then as she sealed it, she said with a smile,
"Marked for a mast! Marked for a mast! Surely I mustn't bend or break if I
can be a mast some day and carry a king's colors. C. L.?... C. L.?... Ah,
I have it. 'Tis the word that Mrs. Lane uses so often--a Christian
Leader! 'Tis wonderful to have her think I have been chosen to bear such a
splendid name. I can hardly wait to meet the rest of the girls, who also
wear the mark of the King, who will be there at the conference. I may
be--oh, I hope I am--marked for a mast."



HER NEED


She was just a girl with a foreign name, a foreign face and a bit still of
a foreign dress. But she was a girl, just the same, and her face was full
of longing. Her home was near to a settlement where many girls came for
lessons and for play. But somehow they had never asked her to come, though
often she had sat on the steps at night where they must pass her. She had
seen them come with their arms about each other, talking and laughing and
singing--and when they had passed, she had gone to her lonely hall bedroom
and hidden her face in the pillow.

Oh, no, she didn't cry. She was too brave to cry. She just suffered alone
and longed for help.

It had been a year since she had left the home across the sea and had come
to join her father in the land where "work was plenty and friends were
easily made." But she had found her father living where she could not and
would not live. The friends he had made in America she could not and would
not have for hers. So when she had grown proficient enough in the factory,
she had gone to live in that loneliest of all lonely places--a boarding
house.

The days had passed one by one. Some of the boarders called her fussy;
some said she was cold; some said she was "stuck-up" and none of them had
found that beneath the surface there was a sweet, gentle, lonely heart.

Then came the strike--and she was out of work. In the bank she had a few
dollars but they had soon fled and now--oh, what could she do? The way was
so black ahead. She couldn't go to her father and his friends. What could
she do?

The girls passed her as they went to the settlement house but no one
noticed her sad little face. So she slowly rose and wended her way down
the street. Out of the poorer section she went, then down a long avenue
till she came to a great church. The altar lights were lighted. All was
quiet and restful, so she sat, and looked, and listened for the still,
small voice that she longed to hear.

A long, long time she sat there, counting her beads. Then she slowly rose
and entered the confessional, but when she came out there was still the
look of longing in her face. Toward the altar she went. Perhaps in the
communion she might find help for her troubled soul, and again she counted
her beads.

But, somehow, there was no prayer on the beads that seemed just what she
wanted to say. Again, she went to the altar. But this time she lifted a
face, white with suffering and thin from lack of food, to the face of the
Christ above the altar and from the depths of her heart she prayed,

"O God! My God! I do not ask for money, though I am hungry. I do not ask
for a home, though I am oh! so very lonely. I do not ask for work, though
I have none. For only one thing I ask. Give me a friend. Oh, give me a
friend! For Jesus' sake. Amen."

Again she walked back through the avenue and down the narrow street to her
only home. The doors of the settlement were opened and the girls came out,
happy as birds in the springtime. Quietly she watched them as they came
nearer. Then suddenly one of them stopped.

"Excuse me for speaking to you," she said, "but our guardian heard that
you lived in this house, so she asked us to come and invite you to come to
Camp Fire with us next Tuesday. We are to have a supper together so that
you will soon know us all and then we are to go for a hike together. Shall
we stop for you as we go?"

For a moment she could not answer. In her throat was a lump so big that
she could not swallow. Then she said in a low, sweet voice,

"Indeed I should like to go. Thank you for asking me."

And the girls passed down the street, singing their Camp Fire song.

But up in the little hall bedroom there was a girl with a foreign name,
and a foreign face, and a bit of a foreign dress. She was on her knees,
looking up at the heavens full of stars and over and over she was saying,
"Oh, I thank thee. I thank thee. I have a chance to be a friend."

And her heart was content.



THE MESSAGE OF THE MOUNTAIN


"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."... "Lo, I am with
you alway, even unto the end of the world." These were the two sentences
that were neatly written on two pieces of paper on Marcia Loran's desk and
the girl sat looking at them while the minutes went steadily by. How could
they be? How could a power that made the earth be also in her life? How
could it be?

Marcia had always been a reader of her Bible; she had always loved her
mother's God and she loved Him now, but she was longing for help and no
one seemed near to give it. And the reason for the need of this help was
easy to give. The new girl who had moved into the next room had been
laughing at her belief in God and Marcia knew no way to answer. She had
hoped that her course in Bible at college would help her but somehow she
seemed less able than ever to answer it now.

Who was God? Where was God? How could she know that these two verses could
both be true? It was an honest doubt and she knew she must answer it
before her mind could be at rest. She felt she could never ask the
question in a letter to her mother, for mother must never know that she
was questioning. Oh, if only some one knew how much she needed help!

But it was time for the picnic which the members of her class were to
have, so she slipped the papers again into her Bible and went to the
campus. They were to climb one of the mountains near by and dear old
Professor Hastings was to be their guide. Old in years but young in heart
and lithe still in limb, he stood out among the students as one of the
best of the companions. As they climbed, Marcia kept near to him.

"I am looking," he said, "for a rare little flower which grows on this
mountainside. Perhaps you can help me find it. It is very tiny and it
grows in the crevice of the rock. But I am needing a specimen of it for my
collection."

So together they looked in every crevice but not a bit of the little white
blossom did they see.

Up, and up, and up they went. Some were tired and waited for the rest to
climb and return. Some even went back down the mountainside. But when the
top was reached, what a wonderful view spread out before them! Mountains
and lakes and streams; villages and cities and lonely farms; beauty and
calmness and majesty, all seemed to flood in at once on the minds and
hearts of those who looked.

After they had rested a while, the old man lightly touched the hand of the
girl and said,

"I have heard it said that one of my blossoms has been found on that cliff
not far away. Will you come with me to see?"

So they began to search the cliff; then they found a hidden cave and
explored that; Marcia heard a tiny stream of water trickling in the cave,
and when she had found the water, she found also, close to the water's
edge, a beautiful clump of waxy white blossoms, sweet and fragrant, and
hanging tightly to the rock.

"Oh! oh! Come, sir," called the girl. "I am sure these are what you seek.
Oh, how beautiful they are!" And they stooped to gather them.

But just at that moment a flash of lightning lighted the cave and the
thunder rolled. In a moment the rain was coming in torrents, and the noise
of the thunder as it rolled from cliff to cliff was terrifying. A giant
pine tree which stood just before the entrance of the cave was rent from
top to bottom and went crashing down the mountainside. The noise of the
wind and storm was deafening. Pale and trembling, the girl pushed farther
and farther into the cave till, crouching down, she touched something
cool. It was the little white flowers.

They were not afraid. The rain might fall as hard as it would but it would
not blast their beauty. They were protected by a bit of overhanging rock.
The lightning might flash about the cave but it was calm inside. Who had
made the tiny blossoms to grow here in the rock, protected from storm and
blast? God! She, too, was being cared for while her companions might be in
the fury of the storm. Who was caring for her? Her friend? No, he was
interested in something at the entrance of the cave. God was caring for
her even as he cared for the little blossom.

"Come, Marcia, come and watch the storm," called the professor. "I have
never seen such a beautiful one. Isn't it strange that that electricity
was all there in the clouds as we came up the mountain though we knew it
not? I love to watch a storm for it shows so clearly the power and majesty
of our God. Watch the trees bend with the wind! Listen to the rocks send
back the sound of the thunder! See the little bird on yonder nest
snuggling close to keep the little ones safe! And see, far away, the sun
shining on the little village of the plain. We are in the storm, child,
yet we are safe and sheltered."

With her hand held fast in that of her old friend, the fear gradually died
away, and when the storm was over she, too, was glad she had seen from the
mountaintop the wonder of a mountain storm.

Soon they gathered the little white blossoms, but not all of them found
their way into the collection at the college. A little spray was tenderly
pressed between the leaves of Marcia Loran's Bible and a third little slip
of paper was fastened to the other two. It read: "God is great but God is
love. I will trust him and not be afraid."



THE WINNING OF AN HONOR


Barbara Lewis was very much puzzled. All the girls in her camp fire were
winning the right to embroider their symbol on the dress of their guardian
and she wanted to do the same. But how could she? She had chosen for her
name, "Chante--I _serve_," and she wanted to really win the right to have
the name, but how could she? She was not allowed to go into the kitchen to
help there at home, for the cook would leave if she were disturbed, so she
couldn't do as some of her friends were doing and learn to cook. She
couldn't serve mother, for mother was always away at the club or doing
work about the country for the suffrage cause. There were maids to do the
mending and the sewing, so how could she serve there?

Some of the girls could serve at their church, but her teacher had never
asked her to do one thing, though she was always ready. Her teacher had
not formed a club of her girls, so of course she knew them only on
Sundays. There was no chance to serve the church. If she only knew the
minister, perhaps he would suggest a way, but he was very tall and very
dignified, so she just couldn't ask him. Whatever could she do?

It had been weeks since their guardian had told them that when they had
earned the right to their names, they could embroider the symbol on her
dress, and every day since then she had wished she knew what to do. Mary
had chosen the name "Aka--I _can_," and when she had proved that she could
break herself of using slang by using none for a whole month, she put a
tiny little white flower on the dress, for she was using pure speech.

"Frilohe" was the name Grace had chosen and it meant, "_A friend who loves
to help_." Grace's mother had been in the hospital and Grace had taken
care of the brothers and sisters all the time, so, of course, they all
agreed that she had earned the right.

And now Barbara felt that she just must think of a way. She would go to
the library and ask her friend there if she knew what she could do to
serve.

Now it chanced that from that library there were going out almost every
day girls to tell stories to groups of children about the city. Sometimes
they went to the orphan homes, sometimes to the hospitals, sometimes to
the crowded streets. Into many needy places they were sent, and already
the children were beginning to look for the gypsy-girls who were
story-tellers. As Barbara entered the library, one of the girls was just
leaving, so she stopped for a moment and told about her new work and how
much she loved it.

"Aha," said Barbara, "I believe I could do that. I have read such lots and
lots of stories, I am sure I could do that. I should love to try. But they
haven't asked me. I couldn't volunteer, for mother would think me very
bold. Oh dear, I am sure I could serve in that way."

All the way home she thought the matter over and then a plan came to her.
Just back of the house there was an alley and the little children there
were always looking through the fence at the flowers in her beautiful
garden. She would tell stories to these little children and see what she
could do. So she went into the house to find the stories she would use.
All the afternoon she looked in her old books. Then she was sure she was
ready.

For a long time she hesitated the next morning as she dressed. She must
look her very best if she was to win the children. Finally she chose a
little blue gingham dress that she liked much--perhaps they would like it
too. It was only ten o'clock when she went into the garden to wait. Dear
me! Weren't they coming this morning? One hour passed and then another
half.

Just then Tommy, the boy who threw stones, and chased the cats, and did
all sorts of things that were naughty, pushed his dirty face against the
fence. Oh my, she could never tell stories to him! But Tommy saw her there
in the garden and said:

"Wisht you would give me a posy. Mom's sick and she hain't got none."

Then the gate of the garden was opened and Barbara said:

"Of course I will give you some flowers for your mother. Choose what you
would like and I will cut it with these shears."

"Um! Um!" said Tommy. "Um! I'd like some of them blue flowers. Say, I like
blue flowers, and blue sky, and I like that blue dress. I wish Mary had a
blue dress."

"And who is Mary?" said Barbara.

"Oh, she is one of my sisters," said Tommy. "You see, there is six of us
and Mary is the pretty one. She has blue eyes and curls. Um! Um! I wish
you could see her."

"I'd like to see her," said Barbara. "If you will go and bring her here I
will tell you both a story. Would you like that?"

"Sure," said Tommy. "Sure I would. Kin I bring them all?" and off he ran
with his precious flowers.

In five minutes he was back, followed by Mary and Katie and Jimmie and
Mike and Susan--all dirty, all barefoot, and all in a hurry to see the
flowers and hear the story. About this time Barbara began to feel queer
inside. How could she ever keep them still? Suppose they should begin to
run over her father's flowers! She almost wished she had not asked them to
come. But she remembered for what she was working, and she said to
herself, "Chante, _I serve_; Chante--_I serve_," over and over till her
courage came back.

Then she seated them all on the steps and began. Susie wanted "Red Riding
Hood," and Katie wanted "Goldilocks," so these were first. Then Mary
wanted "Cinderella," but Tommy was not to be forgotten.

"I want a boy's story. Tell me the one you promised me or I'll push the
rest all home," he said.

What could she do? She never remembered having read a boy's story. Oh
dear, maybe she couldn't win Tommy.

Over and over in her mind went the stories she had gotten ready. Then she
remembered one that she had loved years ago. It was about Cedric, the
Knight. This was just the one for Tommy. So she told it to him while his
eyes grew bigger and bigger. When the story was done, Barbara and Tommy
were friends and Tommy had a new hero.

When the dinner bell rang, she was still telling stories to the dirty
little group but she had forgotten why she was doing it, for she was
living the stories with the children.

The days went by and every morning found Barbara out in the garden, if
only for one story, but now the Lowinskys were not the only ones. They had
brought their neighbors and friends till the group sometimes numbered
forty. The steps had grown too small, so they had moved to the wall. Then
that had not been satisfactory, so they had moved out under the trees away
down by the little brook. Here the birds sang, the little brook whispered,
and everything was just right for the little story-teller. Over and over
she had told the stories with a new one now and then, but Cedric, the
Knight, was the favorite one. Tommy always stood near Barbara and saw to
it that all the boys were listening, so he had a fine chance to whisper,
"Now my story. Please tell mine."

And she was telling it again one morning when she realized that some one
stood near who was not a child. It was Miss Rose, her guardian, who
listened for a moment and then drew back where the children could not see
her. When the story hour was over, she was nowhere to be seen. But later
in the evening a package was left at the door for Barbara. It contained
that precious dress for which she had longed.

Pinned to the dress was a card which said, "Inasmuch as ye have done it
unto one of these, my little ones, ye have done it unto me." And below was
written, "I shall be glad to have you put your symbol on my dress before
Friday night so that we may tell the girls at the Ceremonial about your
story-group."

Later when Barbara had finished the embroidery, it showed a tiny figure of
a primitive woman surrounded by little children. And the little lady was
telling them a story. She had found her way to serve.



DADDY GRAY'S TEST


May Langley had spent four happy years at the University, and now
Commencement time had come. It had been easy for her to get her lessons,
so she had had time to herself. She was pretty and was always well
dressed; she could dance well and sing well, so of course she had been a
favorite, especially with the boys.

But the coming of the end of the school life had brought to her a real
problem. She knew some of the boys would want to write to her. Deep in her
heart she knew that some of them already liked her more than a little. She
could not write to all of them. Whom should she choose? Perhaps the one
she chose would eventually be the one she should marry, so it was wise to
choose with care. Over and over she turned the question in her mind.

There was Tom,--gay, careless Tom with a big heart and plenty of money.
His father was an oil man and there was no other child. He had done little
with his studies but he had given her many a good time. His life would
probably be one of ease. Tom was really quite attractive.

Then there was Bob, the football player. Already his name was known
throughout the country. It was great fun to go to games where he was to
play, for she shared the honors with him afterward. He was rough and
ready, and, at times, a bit too boisterous, but withal a good fellow.

Then there was Earl, the student. He had ranked first in his class but his
books were all in all to him. A good position was waiting for him in a
neighboring college and he had told her that he should marry so that he
could have a home of his own to which the students might come.

There were others, too, but these three seemed to stand out first in her
thoughts. How could she decide? She and her mother were alone in the world
and mother was a helpless cripple and so could not come to the
Commencement. For the first time in her life, she began to face the future
seriously.

'Twas the Sunday of Commencement week and she was strolling across the
campus when she saw in the distance dear, old Professor Gray--Daddy Gray,
the girls called him.

"He is the very person to help me," she said to herself, and hurried to
catch him before he left the campus.

"Daddy Gray," she began, "I have a queer question to ask you. I am
choosing some boy friends whom I wish to have as friends after I leave.
Tell me some principles on which to base my choice."

A rare smile crossed the face of the old man as he patted her golden
hair.

"Good for you! I am glad you are thinking. Long, long ago when my own
girlies were choosing their friends I asked them to remember two things as
they chose--not only that the one they chose might be their husband, but
that he also might be my son, and the father of their children. One thinks
much more about the principles of the man who is to be father of their
children than about the man whom they love and want to marry. You know
what a high ideal your mother holds. Test your friends by that also. Never
mind yourself--think of others."

Then he left her to think.

And she did think! If Tom ignored her mother as he did his own, she could
never bring him into their home. Tom drank sometimes--oh, that would never
do. Bob was strong and healthy--but Bob had no use for God and the church.
Her children must have a Christian home. Earl was a wonderful student, but
he had undermined his health. He stooped in his shoulders and there were
signs of a breakdown. Oh dear, what a hard test Daddy Gray had given her!

So the days wore away and she found herself watching as she had never
watched before for marks of strength--mental, moral and physical. Over and
over the words rang in her ears: "Never mind yourself--think of others."

'Twas the afternoon of Commencement Day and her room had many beautiful
flowers. Tom's bunch was of great American Beauty roses and the card had
made her suddenly blush as she read it. But there had come in the mail a
great bunch of beautiful forget-me-nots, all fresh with the dew in the
grass. Who had sent them? She loved them the best of all the flowers in
the room. There was no card to be found, so she tucked a few in her dress
beneath the cap and gown and ran away to the chapel.

There on the steps stood a young man and his mother, and they were waiting
for her.

"May, I want you to meet my mother, for I have told her so much about you.
To get her to come, I had to drive all the way home to-day. But it is
worth it, even if I did have to get up before the sun did. She is the very
best mother in all the world," said the boy, and he squeezed the arm of
the timid little lady.

"Maybe! Maybe! I am so glad to meet you," said the mother, "for I owe you
much. You have helped Gene such a lot. I am sure he would never have been
able to keep from smoking had it not been for you. He had promised me to
try. Then when you told him you did not like it, why, we worked together,
you see. And it has been so kind of you to go for the hikes when he has
asked you, for you see he couldn't have afforded to go to places that cost
money, dear."

May Langley opened her eyes wide. She had had no idea that she had been
helping. To be sure, she had gone on many hikes with him after the geology
class had thrown them together. And she had enjoyed it, too, for he was
such good company. Always courteous, always hunting for ways to make the
trip more worth while and always good natured, no matter what the weather,
he had been a companion worth while.

So she stood and talked with the mother and son for a moment. How sweet
the mother was and how proud he was of her! It was a joy to watch them.

Suddenly he spied the bit of forget-me-not.

"Ah," he said, "I had nearly forgotten to speak of them. I passed a brook
lined with them just before time for the mail train to pass the station,
so I just hopped out of the car, emptied my lunch from the box and sent
them to you. But I never dreamed you would get them in time to wear them.
Maybe the little flowers will tell you that I am hoping you are going to
remember our happy days here after we leave the campus. I want much to
feel that you have a little interest in me. I have told mother much about
you, for mother and I have no secrets. May I write to you sometimes?"

Just then the bell rang for the line to form and she hurried away, while
he took his mother into the chapel. All afternoon they were busy and there
was little time to think. But when May came to dress for the ball in the
evening, she stood long before the flowers on the table. Then a sprig of
the forget-me-not went into her hair and a bunch was fastened to her belt.
And when he asked her for her answer as they stood on the veranda of the
fraternity house, she said simply, "I have enjoyed the time spent with
you; I am quite sure that I should like to know you better. You may write
to me if you care to do so."

But under her breath she was saying:

"Daddy Gray is right. The greatest test of a man is not what he might be
to you, but what he is and will be to others. I'm quite sure Gene Powell
can stand his test and mine also."



WANTED--A REAL MOTHER


Mary King sat before the dressing-table in her bedroom holding in her hand
a string of beads--pearls they were, but they showed signs of much wear,
and as Mary looked at them her eyes blazed with anger.

To-morrow was her graduation day from the High School. All day she had
been at the class picnic and she had had such a glorious time. They had
danced and played; they had rowed on the lake and sung their school songs
in the moonlight. She had been as happy as a girl could be, and to have it
spoiled in this way was cruel.

Why should her mother give her a string of old beads for a graduation
present? Other girls had wrist watches and pretty dresses and checks and
all sorts of beautiful things. When they asked her what her mother's gift
had been, how could she say, "A string of old beads"? Mother would expect
her to wear them at her graduation and how could she?

She had found them on her table when she had come into her room and with
them was a note saying:

  "Dear Mary:

  "I waited for you to come home so that I could give you my gift, but
  it is so late and I am too tired to wait longer, so I will leave them
  for you. I could not buy you a real gift, so I have given you the
  dearest thing I have. Every bead has a story which some day I will
  tell you--perhaps on the day that you graduate from college, but not
  now. I hope you will love them as I do. I shall see them to-morrow
  on your pretty new dress. Good night, girlie. I hope you had a good
  time.

                                                           "MOTHER."

Why was mother so queer? All her life long it had been hard for Mary to
have her mother so different. Her mother worked for Mr. Morse and so she
could never bring her friends to their rooms lest she should annoy the
Morses. Other girls' mothers had pretty faces and her mother's face was
all red and cross-looking. Other girls' mothers had pretty hair, but her
mother had straight hair and little of it. She had tried to get her to
wear false hair, but instead of doing it her mother had gone to her room
and cried because Mary had suggested it. Other girls' mothers let them
wear pretty clothes, but hers were always plain, though they were always
very neat. Most of the girls had fancy graduation dresses, but hers was
only a little dimity that her mother had made--and now these dreadful
beads were more than she could stand and she threw them on the bed in
anger. She wished she had a real mother of whom she could be proud.

As she started to take down her long, wavy hair, she saw a letter in Mr.
Morse's handwriting on her desk. Perhaps this was a check for her
graduation present, so she hastily tore it open. But no check dropped out.
Instead, there was a long letter, and she sat down to read.

  "My dear Mary," it began. "A few days ago, I chanced to be on the
  beach when you were there with your friend, and I heard you say to
  her, 'I wish my mother were as beautiful as yours. Mother can't even
  go down the street with me for she drags her foot so that everybody
  turns and looks at us and it makes me feel so conspicuous. You must
  be very proud of your mother.' So I have decided that for your
  graduation gift, I shall give you a story instead of the check that
  I intended to give you. The check can wait."

"A story," said Mary to herself. "That is worse than the old beads. What a
house of queer people this is! Anyway, I am curious to see what sort of a
story he could write." So she read on.

  "Seventeen years ago there came to a town in the eastern part of
  Pennsylvania a young man and his bride. Just a slip of a girl she
  was, but her face was full of sunshine and every one soon loved her.
  She had beautiful wavy hair and bright, blue eyes and a cheery smile.
  After they had been there for a while, their story came to be known,
  for his father was the great mill owner in a near-by town. When the
  young man had married the High School girl instead of the wealthy one
  whom the father had chosen for him, there had been a lot of trouble
  and the young man had been told to leave home with his bride and
  expect no more help from the father.

  "Now the young man had never worked, so it was very hard for him, but
  she also worked and, little by little, they bought the things needed
  in the tiny home on the hill, and they were very happy. Then, one
  day, a scaffold fell and they brought the young husband to the little
  wife all bruised and bleeding, and that very night a tiny girl came
  to the home to live. The neighbors helped all they could, but in a
  few days the father of the baby was gone, and the little girl-wife
  was left alone to care for the baby.

  "When the mill owner heard of the death of the son and the birth of
  the little girl, he sent to the mother and said: 'We will take the
  little girl and bring it up as our own if you will give it to us and
  have no more to do with it.' But the brave little woman sent back
  answer, 'As long as I have a mind with which to think and two hands
  with which to work, I can and will support my little girl. I thank
  you for your offer, but I love my baby too much to accept it.'

  "But it was a hard pull. She worked in an office; she worked on a
  farm. Then a position was offered her as a teacher in a Home for
  Little Children. Here she could have her own room and keep the baby
  with her when she was not teaching. And while she was teaching, it
  would be cared for with the rest. Gladly the mother took the position
  and for more than a year she was very, very happy.

  "One night when the baby was nearly three years old, she sat reading
  in the parlor of the home when some one called, 'Fire! Fire! Fire in
  the left wing!' Oh! that was where her baby was, on the very top
  floor. Like a bird she flew across the hall where the smoke already
  was pouring out. Up the first flight, choking, she went. Up the
  second. Then she had to fall to the floor to creep along. She could
  see the fire. It was on the fourth floor where her Mary was. Could
  she ever reach it? Would the fire block her way?

  "Ten minutes after the call of fire had been given, the workers saw
  some one staggering through the lower hall. In her arms she carried a
  bundle wrapped tightly in a bed-quilt. And dangling from her hands
  was a long string of beads. Her face was burned. There was no hair on
  her head. She was writhing in agony, but she reached the door, handed
  the burden to a worker, saying quietly, 'I am badly burned, but I
  have saved my two treasures. Keep them safely for me.' Then she fell
  in a heap on the floor.

  "For months and months and months she tossed on a bed of pain. No one
  thought she could possibly live. But she did, for she was living for
  her baby. When at last she came from the hospital, her beautiful
  face was scarred and red; only in spots had the hair grown; her hands
  were stiff and painful, and one leg dragged as she walked. But she
  was alive, and that was all she asked.

  "While she had been ill, I had gone to see the mill owner to ask for
  help for the brave little woman who had shown us all what a heroine
  she was. But his answer had been, 'She took my son from me and I will
  have nothing to do with her. If she will give the child to me, I will
  bring it up in luxury, but I will not have her here.'

  "So when she was ready to go back to work, I told her that another
  offer had come from the grandfather of the child to adopt it and I
  said to her, 'Don't you feel that you had better give them the
  baby?'

  "For answer, she patted the curly head and said, 'If I can fight
  death for my baby, I can conquer in the fight to live. I shall keep
  her. You may tell him that the child will not live in luxury but that
  she shall know no want, and she shall have both the education and
  culture which befits her father's child.'

  "But the mother's heart was sore when she looked in the glass and saw
  what a pitiful change had come to the pretty face. 'I am so glad it
  came while Mary was little,' she said. 'Had it come later, she would
  have minded my ugly face. Now she knows no better and she will grow
  used to it.'

  "So she was glad when I offered to have her come to live with us in
  the distant city where none had known of her or of the awful fight
  she was planning to make. We had taken a large house and there were
  many things the mother could do with her stiff hands which gradually,
  because of the long hours she spent on them, were beginning to limber
  a bit. I gave her rooms for herself and the child and there she
  lived, keeping away from all so that none might see her shrunken,
  changed body. She lived only for the child, hoarding carefully the
  little money that she could save lest there be not enough to send her
  to college when the High School should be over.

  "Often have I heard her praying for strength to fight through the
  battle; often have I heard her pray that the little girl should grow
  to be an honor to the family who would not help her; often have I
  begged her to let me tell the child the story of the days that had
  gone, but her answer was always the same, 'No. Let her live the
  happy, care-free life. Some day I will tell her, but not now. It
  would kill me to have her pity me. She must love me for myself and
  not for what I did. My only happiness is to live and work for her.'

  "So the heroine has spent the fifteen years and to my way of thinking
  she is a mother of whom you may be proud.

  "She must never know I have told you. But not for the world would I
  have you add to her burden by thinking she was not all that you
  wanted your mother to be.

                                                   "Sincerely,

                                                      "A. E. Morse."

When Mary had finished the letter, she sat as one stunned. Her mind seemed
on fire. Mechanically she picked up the pearls that she had thrown on the
bed. Her mother had carried them with her through that awful fire. They
were one of her two treasures and now she had almost said she would not
wear them. Oh, what a selfish girl she had been! She had thought only of
herself.

Once she had asked her mother why the scar was upon her face and she had
answered, "Just an accident, child, when I was a young woman." Then she
had talked of something else. The lame foot, the misshapen hands, the red
face, the queer little knot of hair--all were the price paid for her own
life. Every minute since she was born, she had been a burden to her
mother.

Now she understood why the little bank account which she had accidentally
found was being so carefully saved. She had not known that she was to go
to college.

Now she remembered that it had been years since mother had had a new
dress, but she had thought it was because she was queer. There had been
many days when mother had seemed cross--was it because she was suffering?
Oh, how sorry she was! What could she do to make her happy now that she
knew?

Slowly she undressed for bed. She must be in the dark to think. When she
knelt in prayer, she asked God to forgive her--but she remembered that she
could not ask mother to do so. She remembered the words of her mother to
Mr. Morse,

"It would kill me to have her sorry for me. She must love me for myself
and not for what I did."

So she tossed and tumbled as the time slipped by. Suddenly she heard a
foot dragging across the hall, and a big lump came into her throat. How
often she had rebelled at that foot! Then her mother came quietly into the
room.

"Mother," said Mary, "why are you here? Aren't you asleep yet?"

"No, dear," said the mother, and the girl thought she had never heard a
more beautiful voice. "I heard you tossing in the bed and I thought
perhaps you were ill. So I came to see. What is the trouble, dear?"

"Oh, to-morrow is my graduation day and I think I am sorry to leave
school," said the girl. "I love these dear little beads which I have under
the pillow, mother. Have you had them long? I never saw them before."

"Many, many years, girlie. Your father gave them to me and how hard he
worked to earn them! I love every little bead on the string. But I shall
love to see you wear them for his sake. I saved them for you once in the
long ago because I wanted you to have something that he had earned for us.
And now you must go to sleep, for you must look bright and pretty
to-morrow. Oh! I shall be so proud of you when you start for the school."

Then a white arm drew the mother down close to the bed and a sweet girlish
voice said,

"Be all ready when the carriage comes for me to-morrow, mother dear, for
you are going with me, even though it is early. No other girl has a mother
who has worked so hard as you have to keep her in school. You are the best
mother in the whole world and I am so proud of you."

"Well, if you are as proud of me as I am of you, we are the happiest
little family in the whole world," said the mother, kissing her on both
cheeks. And two people were happy because real love was there.



THE FIR TREE AND THE WILLOW WAND[B]


All this happened years ago when the red men lived along the lake shores
and hunted in the woods. The Indians still tell the tale and shake their
heads sadly, whether because of the sadness of the story or because they
sigh for the old days, I do not know.

Willow Wand was the daughter of old Chief Seafog. She was not like the
other girls of the tribe. She was straight and lithe like a willow, and
she looked more like a beautiful boy than she did like an Indian maiden.
This is not strange when you think that she wore the leather leggins and
the short jacket of the Indian boy and carried a bow and quiver of arrows
thrown over her shoulder. And in spite of the fact that she shot a
straighter arrow than most of the lads about her, they all loved her, for
she would run with them and hunt with them, and at night, by the fire, she
would tell them strange and beautiful stories. In her face they saw a
light that they did not see in the faces of the other girls and squaws of
the village, for Willow Wand had a secret which made her full of
mysteries.

As Willow Wand grew taller, the time came when she thought of wedding.
Young Fir Tree, the most daring of the young braves, loved her, and Willow
Wand knew that she loved him. And when Fir Tree went to old Chief Seafog,
Willow Wand went with him, which made it not difficult for them to receive
the old man's blessing.

So on one brilliant day in Indian summer, Fir Tree and Willow Wand were
married. The fallen leaves danced at their wedding feast and the blue
mists of autumn were the bridal veil. Every one was as happy as an Indian
could be. And in the starlight, Fir Tree took Willow Wand to his tepee. He
brought a great buffalo robe from the tent and spread it on the hillside,
and they sat down close together and looked up at the stars.

"I love you, my brave Fir Tree," said Willow Wand.

Fir Tree put his arm about her. "And I love you, my little Willow Wand,"
he said. "You are the most beautiful woman in the world. I would not have
you like the rest. They are good; they grind the corn; they do the work,
but their faces are like stones. Yours is full of secrets and lovely
memories. What makes you so different, my love?"

"My secret, Fir Tree. My father says that a woman's secret is her
beauty."

"But a woman must tell her secret to her love," and Fir Tree looked off
into the distance.

"Willow Wand must not tell her secret even to her love," she said very,
very softly.

"You cannot trust me nor love me then, Willow Wand," said Fir Tree,
growing stiff and cold.

"I love you, Fir Tree. I will tell you my secret."

Fir Tree continued to look off in the darkness, but he bent his head a
little so that he might not miss anything she said.

"One night, long ago, I sat out in the evening like this with my father.
'Father, I want to shoot your bow, your smallest bow,' I said. 'You
haven't the strength to draw it, even my smallest bow, little Willow
Wand,' he said. 'Oh, but I have. I have tried it,' and I ran into the tent
and brought the little bow with the red bear painted on it. 'See, I shall
shoot that star, the red one there.' I pulled the string and the arrow
was off. We waited to hear it fall. 'It takes a long time to reach the
stars,' I said. Just then there was a splash in the jar by the tepee door.
'There it is,' said my father, 'your star has fallen into the rain jar.'

"I looked, and, sure enough, there was the little red star, lying on the
bottom of the crock, and shining so brightly that we could see it through
the water. 'My star!' I said. 'We shall always keep it here, my father. I
brought it down with my arrow.'

"The next day my father took me hunting, and he gave orders that that jar
was never to be moved from beside his door until I should leave him, and
then it was to go with me. And always he has kept fresh water from the
spring in the jar. See, he has brought it up here beside your tepee that
it would be waiting for me. Yes, my Fir Tree, see, here is my own star
still shining brightly--more brightly to-night because of my great
happiness with you."

"Dear little Willow Wand, what a beautiful child you are," said Fir Tree,
and he brushed back her black hair and looked into her eyes. "Don't you
know that the star in the crock is only a reflection of a real star above
your dear head in the sky? No one can really shoot a star, Willow Wand."

"But of course it is a real star, Fir Tree; we heard it splash as it fell
into the jar, my father and I. And I see it now; it has always been here
since that night. You are mistaken, Fir Tree."

Fir Tree rose and lifted up the jar, and, tipping the water out, said,
"See, I shall show you that Fir Tree is never mistaken. I shall empty the
crock. See, there is no star left in the jar, nor has any red star tumbled
out with the water onto the grass. Ah, your secret was very beautiful,
little Willow Wand, but now you know the truth. The truth, too, is
beautiful."

There was a little moan of anguish, and Willow Wand disappeared into the
darkness.

The next morning a tall squaw came out of Fir Tree's tepee. She picked up
the empty rain jar and with tired footsteps walked down to the spring for
water. She was dressed in the conventional clothing of her tribe, and her
face was dull and expressionless like the stones on the path over which
she walked. Down the long trail to the spring she walked. It was very,
very early, so the moon still shone and the little stars twinkled in the
sky. Often she looked at them, longing for her little red star.

Slowly she stooped, filled the jar, and lifted it to place it on her head
when suddenly she stopped, looked--then gave a cry of surprise and
delight, for there, shining clear as crystal in the water of the pail, was
the little red star.

Willow Wand set the jar carefully on the ground and then knelt long beside
it. How she loved the little red star! How happy she was to have it once
more beside her! And as she looked, the tired look left her face and a
smile of joy and peace took its place.

Picking up the jar, she looked once more into the clear cold water. Then
she said,

"Come, little star. Come with me to the wigwam of brave, strong Fir Tree.
Together we will make it the happiest wigwam in the encampment. You shall
still help me to be my best, for I shall still have a star."

-----

  [B]  Reprinted from the _Camp Fire Girls' Magazine_ by
      permission. Revised by permission of the author.



THE TWO SEARCHERS


Peter was tired of doing the same thing over and over and he wanted a
change. Ever since he could remember he had fished and sold the fish he
had caught. He had made nets and mended them. First he had done it for his
father, and now he owned the boats and nets and fishing implements. But he
stood on that bright summer day close by the beautiful Lake of Gennesaret
in Galilee, wishing over and over that he could do something that was more
worth while.

There was a reason why Peter was more discouraged than ever on this
morning. He had fished all through the night before in the hope of getting
a good catch so that he might skip a day's work and go to hear the great
teacher about whom men were talking and whom Andrew, his brother, had
seen. But though he had worked hard, not a fish had he caught. So now he
was mending the holes in the net with a very discontented look on his
face. What was the use of it all, anyway? He twisted the rope this way and
that, showing by the pulls that he made that his mind was full of
trouble.

Suddenly he heard Andrew talking to him. "Peter," he said. "Peter, see the
crowd coming over the hilltop. Perhaps the teacher is coming. I do hope
so, for I would hear more of the words he was telling us yesterday. Come,
let's go and meet him."

"No," said Peter, "I must finish this net. What will he care for us? We
are only poor fishermen."

But Andrew had not waited to hear his answer--he had already begun to
ascend the hill. How eager he was to hear another story from the great
story-teller!

Peter mended one hole after another, keeping his eye on the crowd that was
coming closer and closer to the lakeside. Then he heard a kindly voice
say, "Would you mind letting me take your boat, for the multitude press
upon me and I have many things to say to them. If I can get away from the
shore, they can all hear and understand."

Silently Peter brought the fishing boat to shore. The Master wanted to use
something that he had. After all, a fishing boat was useful sometimes,
even if he were tired of it. Of course he would be glad to help him. So
Jesus, the teacher, sat in the end of the boat and Peter rowed him out in
front of the crowd. Then Peter sat and listened and looked.

What a wonderful face the teacher had! Peter had never seen the like. It
was browned by the sun but in the eyes there was a kindly light that made
Peter love to look at him. When he smiled, somehow Peter felt the smile go
all through him. How gentle his voice was! What made it so? How eagerly
the people were listening, yet he was only telling them a little story
about the love of his father, God.

"I wish I had a face like that and a voice like that and could teach like
that," thought Peter. "But I am only a poor fisherman. Oh dear, I wish I
could be worth something."

But Jesus had finished teaching and had bidden the people go to their
homes. Peter turned to row to the shore, but Jesus was not ready for that.
He had been teaching the multitude and now he wanted a chance to talk with
Peter and Andrew. So he said to Peter,

"Launch out into the deep and let us fish for a while."

Peter thought of the long night of useless toil, but Jesus had asked him
to go. This was a chance to stay longer with the teacher, so he said to
him frankly,

"Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing. Nevertheless, at
your word, I will let down the net."

So together the brothers let down the net and Peter began to row.

This was a good chance for Jesus to study Peter. How strong and
weatherbeaten he looked! His was a good honest face, and Jesus saw there
determination and courage and trustworthiness. Jesus was searching for men
who could be trusted to carry in their minds and lives the most precious
thing he had--his message to the world--so as he rowed out into the
fishing grounds of Lake Gennesaret that day, he was searching Peter's
face. It would take courage, for some of his followers would even have to
die for him. It would take determination, for there would be many things
against them. Yes, Jesus liked Peter as he watched him and talked to him.
Peter was one of the men for whom he was searching.

Suddenly the net was full of fishes--so full that Peter and Andrew could
not manage it. Quickly they called to their partners, James and John, to
come and help them. And when Peter saw the multitude of fishes that were
in the net, he was overpowered with the greatness of the man who had
helped them. Quickly he fell on his knees before the Christ and said,
"Depart from me, O Lord, for I am a sinful man."

Then Jesus turned to Peter and with a whole world of meaning said,

"Peter, it is a great multitude of fishes that you have caught, but you
can do greater things than that. You can do far greater things than catch
fish from the water. If you will come with me, I will teach you how to
catch men and you shall be my worker. I need you, Peter. Will you come?"

Would he come? Peter, who had been longing to make his life worth while;
Peter, who had been longing to know what it was that made Jesus so
wonderful as he went among men. Would he go and let Jesus teach him? Would
he be a follower of the Master and go out in the big world to help win
men?

A great happiness filled the mind of Peter and when he lifted his face to
the Christ, the answer to the question of the Teacher was written on it.

So Jesus found a helper and Peter found a task that was worth while.

"And when he had brought his boat to land, he gladly forsook all and
followed Christ." So well did he follow that we read in the Book of Acts
that after Peter had talked to the multitude on the day of Pentecost,
there were added to the church, at one time, three thousand persons who
believed the word that he had spoken to them.



WHY ELIZABETH WAS CHOSEN


The Triangle Club of Center High School were all busily engaged in
choosing the girls whom they should invite to go to the house party which
Mrs. Warren was giving them. Mrs. Warren had a cottage on a lake, fifteen
miles from the city, and she had written to the club saying that she
wanted them all to spend a week with George, her son, there in the camp.
And better still, she was ready to invite any ten girls whom they might
choose. Mrs. Warren was the wife of the minister, so all the boys knew
that the mothers of the girls would be glad to have them spend a week with
her at the dear little camp in the pines, about which they had heard so
much.

One by one they had chosen the girls, each boy having a choice, and now
all that was left to be done was for Carl Green, their president, to
choose. But Carl was in an examination, so they must wait for him.

"I think he will choose Charlotte Morey," said one. "She is so pretty and
Carl has taken her to several dances this winter."

"Not a bit of it," said another. "He will ask Helen Keats, for she makes
such good marks in school that he is glad to be seen out with her. She is
fine company and I hope he asks her."

"I think he will ask his sister, Jane. Carl is always thinking of her and
if she is at home, he will ask her first, I am sure," said a third.

While they were talking, they saw the boy coming across the lawn in front
of the school. Every boy smiled and eagerly leaned forward to greet him,
for Carl Green was easily their hero. He could lead in sports of all
kinds, he was cheery and patient, he was a good student in school--he was
an all-round boy and what he did was right in the eyes of the boys.

"Come on, Carl," they called. "Here is a letter from Mrs. Warren telling
us we can invite the girls up for the house party. Isn't she a dear to
think of it? We have chosen part of the girls and here is our list, but
you still have a choice. Of course we know whom you will choose, but we
thought we had better let you write the name. Come on! Hurry up."

Carl took the list and looked carefully through it. Then he said,

"That will be a fine party, fellows. I like that list. Let me see. That is
the last week in June, so Jane will be away. I'm sorry, for I should have
liked to have given her the fun. Well, as long as she can't go, I should
like to ask Elizabeth Wyman to go with us."

A chorus of boys' voices sounded as soon as the name was spoken.

"Elizabeth Wyman! Why do you want her? She doesn't go with our set. She
refused to go to the dance at the beach with us, though the whole club was
going. Said she didn't like the movie we were going to see. She wouldn't
vote for the Sunday picnic that we wanted. Oh, Carl, you don't want her.
She would spoil our fun. Choose another."

Carl let the boys talk all they chose and then he said,

"Fellows, if you insist, I will choose another, but I should prefer to
take Elizabeth. I'll be frank with you, I'm going to go with her if she
will let me and this would be a fine opportunity to get to know her."

"If she will let you--that is a joke. As if any girl would not let you,"
said John.

"No," said Carl, "I mean what I say. I am going to be her friend if she
will let me. And I'll tell you why--though I am not sure that she would
want me to do it. Still she told me the story in a very frank way, so I
don't think she would mind. At least I hope not. But I want you to know
her in the way I do, for if she is my friend you will be often with her.
After I tell you, you will understand why I say, 'If she will let me.'"

  "It was the night of the snowstorm and I was coming up the street
  when I caught up with her. It was very cold and she was snuggling
  into a beautiful little neckpiece of ermine. I am fond of furs and so
  I said to her,

  "'I like the little ermine that you have about your neck. It is so
  simple, yet so beautiful. It is very different from the large ones
  that most people wear these days.'

  "'Oh,' she said, 'I like it too. Uncle sent it to me this winter and
  I love it because of the story he told me about the little animal
  whose fur it is.'

  "'Tell me the story,' I said.

  "But she smiled and patted the fur as she said, 'I don't think I
  could, for it is very personal. It was a message from Uncle to me, so
  it means much to me. To you, it might not mean anything.'

  "'But I should like to hear it,' I said. 'Please tell it to me.'

  "'Well,' said Elizabeth, 'Uncle seems very queer to mother because he
  wants a message to go with every gift, but I like it. When this came,
  his letter said:

  "'"Girlie: I wonder if you wouldn't like to wear this bit of ermine.
  When the ermine is pursued by a larger animal and it comes to a
  puddle of mud, it will die before it will soil its coat. Wouldn't it
  be wonderful if you and all the girls who are your friends would be
  as careful of your characters and never, no never, do that which
  would soil them?"'

  "We walked part of a block before we spoke after she had told me of
  the gift, and then she said, 'I am sure that the girls at school
  sometimes think me very particular because I will not do some of the
  things that they do. Perhaps they are all right for them but I feel
  that they would soil my coat, so I do not do them. I am trying to
  keep it white and this little bit of ermine helps a lot. Of course, I
  like to wear it, but it would be very uncomfortable if I did not try.
  I hope you don't think me foolish, now that you know the story of the
  fur.'"

There was silence as Carl finished speaking. Then Carl Green threw back
the long locks from his forehead as he said,

"I know a good thing when I see it, fellows, and the girl who would die
rather than soil her character is a mighty good friend for a boy to have.
She is worth asking to our house party. I'm thinking she is worth winning
for a friend. Good-by, I am going to ask her before any of you change the
name on your list."

So Elizabeth Wyman went to the house party at Mrs. Warren's, and to this
day she wonders why the boys seemed so different from what they had seemed
before. But because she knew no difference, she was sure that it must have
been because she was invited by Carl Green, the leader of the Triangle
Club of Center High School. But you and I know better.



JANIE'S SCHOOL DAYS


Janie was sixteen years old, but she looked as though she might be only
thirteen as she sat on the front seat of the little schoolhouse far up on
the mountainside of Kentucky. Her black hair was plastered tightly to her
head. Her calico dress was much too long and the sleeves were much too
short. Mother had made it long so that she might wear it for several
years, while the sleeves were short so that she might have no excuse for
not getting her hands in the dish water. Her bare feet were very dirty but
her face shone from its recent scrubbing.

This was a great day for Janie, for the missionary had once again come to
the schoolhouse. It had been three years since she was there before, and
all that time Janie had waited for her. So she had hurried with her work
in order that she might sit on the very front seat and hear every word.
Last time she had told much about the school many miles away and Janie had
said over and over to herself, "I shall go there; I shall go there." But
of course it was foolish to say so, for there wasn't any chance that she
ever could go. Why, there were seven brothers and sisters younger than
she, and she had to work all day long to help to get them enough to eat.
She could never go.

But she listened eagerly as the missionary told of all that was being done
in the little schoolhouses all about the mountains and of the need of
teachers to do the work.

"We like best to take a boy or girl from some hamlet and let them work
with us for several years and then send them back to their own homes to
serve there. I am wondering if there isn't a girl here who would like to
be the teacher here and help to make Round Creek what it ought to be. If
there is such a one, send them to us and we will do our best. If you will
pay $10 a term, we will do the rest."

Janie's little body was leaning far forward and her eyes were big with
excitement. She knew a girl that would like to go. But $10 a term! Why,
one dollar seemed big in their home. So she crept out into the darkness of
the night without saying a word to any one about her great, big longing.
But up in the loft of the log house she lay long after the rest went to
sleep trying to think of a way. Auntie was coming to stay with them in the
fall. If she could just get the ten dollars by that time, maybe she could
be spared for a term. That would help a little, anyway.

In the morning she loosened one of the boards of the woodshed. Beneath it
she placed a little tin can, and in the can she put the five pennies that
she owned. It was berry time and she thought she knew of a way to earn
some money that should be all her own. Near the mill, there were beautiful
pieces of bark. In the woods there were many rare ferns. She would make
some little baskets like she had made many times for the home, fill them
with ferns and try to sell them when she went into the town with the
berries. It meant getting up at four instead of five, but she could do
that. It meant getting the ferns when the rest of the children were
playing at lunch time--but that wasn't hard. And after her first day in
town she had fifty cents to put into the cup. Oh, how rich she felt!

An extra quart of berries here and there, some flowers sold from her
little garden patch on the hill, two little kittens sold instead of being
drowned--and so the money in the cup grew very, very slowly and no one
dreamed it was there. But her dream grew with the contents of the cup. She
could see herself all dressed in a neat dress going up the hill to the
school and the little children following her and calling her teacher.

But in August, George fell from the hay-mow and for days he lay there
white and still. Mother had done all she could and there was no money to
send for the doctor. Then it was that a little black-haired girl went out
in the shed and for the first time counted the money in the cup--one, two,
three, four, five, six, almost seven dollars. Long she looked at it. Then
she went into town to do the errand for her mother and five of the
precious dollars were counted into the hands of the doctor with the
repeated statement,

"Tell mother that you happened to be going by and just stopped, so all she
needs to pay you is a dollar, for she has that."

So mother never knew, nor did the sick boy know, of the sacrifice the girl
had made. Auntie came and went, and because it was winter the money in the
cup hardly increased one bit. Sometimes she was almost discouraged, but
then she would say to herself,

"Why, it took years and years for Abraham Lincoln to get to the White
House. It doesn't matter if it takes twenty years. I am going to get to
that schoolhouse. I will be a teacher."

She could crochet and she could embroider, so these helped a bit. She
planted more things in her own garden and the money from these was her
own. So again as the summer drew to a close, she knew there must be
several dollars in the cup--but she daren't count it, for if it should be
ten and still she couldn't go--oh, that would be worse than all!

It was five days before school was to open that there came a letter from
grandmother saying that she was coming to stay for the winter, and while
mother was happy over this, Janie asked if she might not be spared to go
to school. At first there was a firm "No" for an answer. But she begged so
hard to be allowed to go for only one term that she saw signs of relenting
in her mother's face. Then she ran to get the cup--and in it was nearly
nine dollars.

Where should she get the rest? Mother had none--yet she must have it.
There was only one way. She could sell Biddy, her pet hen whom she loved
so much. She would ask her brother to take her in the morning, for she
could never do it herself. So with tears in her eyes, she patted her pet
and put it into a box ready for the morning. Oh! ten dollars was such a
lot of money for a little girl to get!

It was thirty miles to the school, so she had only one day to get ready.
But she had few clothes and so it was an easy matter. She put them neatly
in a bundle and with a queer feeling underneath the little red dress, now
too short instead of too long, she started bright and early to walk the
thirty miles to school. Many times she turned to look back at the little
log cabin till it was hidden from her sight by a turn in the road. Then
somehow she felt very much alone in the world.

On and on she walked till at last, twenty miles from home, she came to the
home of an old neighbor and rested for the night. It was two in the
afternoon of the next day when she saw in the distance the large brick
building which she knew must be the school. She longed to run to it but
her feet were very sore and her body was very tired. So she trudged on
till she came to the office.

"Please, Miss, I have come to school. I can only stay one term but I came
anyway and here is the money. The missionary lady said you would do the
rest," and she handed her the precious money.

"And to whom did you write about entering?" said the lady kindly.

"To nobody. You see I didn't know I could come till Tuesday," said Janie.

"Well, I am so sorry," said the lady, "but you see we have all the girls
we can possibly take. So we can't have you this term. Perhaps you could
come next term if you leave your name now."

The whole world seemed to fall from under Janie's feet. She was here,
thirty miles from home. She had all the money--she had sold dear old
Biddy--yet she could not stay. Not a word did she answer. She just stood
and stared into space.

"I am very tired for I have walked thirty miles to get here. May I stay
just for to-night?" she asked, rolling the ten dollars carefully in her
big handkerchief.

"School doesn't open till to-morrow but we will tuck you in somewhere for
to-night. I am so sorry for you, but we just haven't a bit of room after
to-morrow. Sit down on the porch and rest yourself," said the lady.

She brought her a glass of milk and then left her alone with her thoughts.
How could she go home? Perhaps there would never come a time when she
could be spared again. Was there no way in which she could stay?

Ten minutes later, a little girl in a short red calico dress went down the
steps and along the street, looking for a doctor's sign. When she found
it, she rang the bell and asked for the doctor.

"Please, sir," she said, "I thought you might know some one who wanted a
girl to work for them. I want to go to school this term and I have earned
the money to come. And now that I am here, there is no place for me and I
must walk the thirty miles back. But I am willing to work. I will work for
nothing if only I can go to the school in the afternoon. Sir, I just must
be a teacher and I just must stay now and get started."

The doctor whistled a little tune before he answered. "And tell me how you
earned the money to come." Then he whistled another tune as she talked.
"Stay here to-night," he said. "I will find out at the school just how
much they will let you come in the afternoons. I am sure you can find work
enough, so don't worry."

And sure enough, he found a place for her and so she started with the rest
on the very first morning. She was radiantly happy till she heard a boy
say,

"Look at the red dress that is coming in! Better loan her a red
handkerchief to piece it down with."

Then she knew that she was different from the rest. Her shoes were coarse
and rough. Her hair looked, oh, so different. Her hands were red and big.
She was here where she had longed to come but oh, how unhappy she was! She
was almost ready to cry. Instead she shook her head proudly and said to
herself, "I will be a teacher. What do I care if they laugh?"

The lessons were very hard, for her preparation was not good; every minute
that she could spare she must spend on getting ready for the next day, so
she had little time to be lonely. But she still minded the fact that her
clothes were so very different. Many a good cry she had in the quiet of
her little room as she looked at the red dress laid out for the coming
day.

The term sped by and she was making good. Oh, if she could only stay! But
she had no money except the little that the good doctor had given her now
and then for doing errands for him. She could take her books home and
perhaps she could do it all by herself.

So she waited till almost the last day before she told the woman for whom
she worked that she was leaving.

"Why, girlie," she answered, "you have much more than ten dollars coming
from me. I have never paid you because the doctor told me you would ask
for it if you needed it. I will give it to you and then you can go and pay
your ten dollars. I wouldn't have you go home for anything."

Clasping her precious money in her hand, she flew up the stairs. Here was
a letter from her brother also. What a happy day! Eagerly she opened it
and read,

"Mother is counting on your coming home for we need your help badly. The
cow has died and we are without milk till we can get another. Mother
thinks she must spare you at home and let you work out to earn money."

Oh! Oh! She was needed! She must take the money she had earned to help to
buy a cow and again she must forget school. So she went again to her
mistress, told her story and began to prepare for the long walk. She went
to the school, borrowed the books, and promised them she would surely come
again. Then she went again to the old doctor who had been so kind to her.

He listened thoughtfully as she told him of her new plans which still had
not changed her vision of being a teacher.

"I will come back, even though it be after four or five years. I will
come," she said, and she rose to go.

Then the doctor turned to his desk and took from it the picture of a
girl.

"That was my little girl," he said. "She, too, wanted to be a teacher and
she was in this very school when sickness and death came. When you came to
me that first morning and said, 'I just must be a teacher,' I could hear
her say to me, 'Help her.' So I did what you asked me to do--got you a
place to work for nothing though I knew you were to be paid. I have
watched you work, I have watched you suffer because of the red dress; I
have watched you try to do your duty at the sacrifice of yourself. And now
that you have done all that you can, I am ready to do the rest. Send the
money that you have earned to your mother to help to buy the cow. Come to
live here and be my office girl. The money that you earn can go to your
mother for I will do for you what I would have done for her and I will do
it for her sake and because you have shown me that you are worth while.
You _shall_ be a teacher."

So Janie lived in the home of her new friend. There was help on her
lessons, the old red dress went back to the little home in the hills to be
worn by some one whom it would fit and in her new, pretty things she could
see more plainly--Janie, the teacher.



SELF-MADE MEN


The banqueting hall of Hotel Northland was crowded to its limit. There
were noted men and women from all walks of life. There were many from
humble homes. There were those whose beautiful dresses showed that money
meant little to them; there were others to whom the price of the banquet
ticket had meant sacrifice. It was a merry company that awaited the coming
of the guests of the evening.

Cheer after cheer arose when the tall, fine-looking young man took his
seat near the center of the guest's table. He was the newly elected mayor
of the city--the youngest mayor they had ever had. He had risen from the
ranks and many of the humbler folk knew him well as a boy. Oh, how proud
they were of him!

Then again the cheers sounded as an old white-haired lady entered and was
placed at the left of the mayor. She it was who had given them their
college, their library, their playground. For years and years she had been
living away from the town, but still she loved them all and gave of her
wealth to make them happy. Her friends were many in the great banqueting
hall.

The supper was served and the tables cleared and then the mayor rose to
speak. He told of his boyhood, of his struggles at school and college, of
his eagerness to enter the political field, of his happiness at his recent
election.

"I believe that every man is master of his own fate. I believe in being a
self-made man and I mean during these next years when I am to serve you to
make it possible for every boy to push his way to a career. One can make
himself what he will if only he has grit and courage. I am here to serve
you all," he said.

Not once during the address had the eyes of the little, white-haired lady
been taken from the speaker. She seemed studying him rather than his
address. So intent was she that she hardly heard the toastmaster
introducing her as the friend whom all delighted to honor. Dreamily she
arose and said,

"Years and years ago, in this very town there lived a teacher who had ten
bright, happy girls in a club. For four years they had played and worked
together and they loved each other dearly. Then the husband of the teacher
was taken ill and it became necessary for the teacher to go to another
continent to live.

"How hard it was for the girls to have her go! But it was harder still for
her, for she had wanted to help them through to womanhood. She had tried
to help them to see the best but often she had felt that her efforts were
all too small. The day came nearer for her to leave and she had asked the
girls to spend the last evening with her in her home.

"And they came, each bringing in their hands a little letter, sealed
tightly. They were steamer letters for their teacher and they had been
written because they had heard her say that she wished she could take with
her some idea as to what the girls wanted to be when they had grown, so
that she might be thinking of their plans, even though she could not be
there to help with them. One by one they laid them on the table till there
were ten little letters--heart-to-heart letters to their dear friend.

"Five days later, away out in mid-ocean, the teacher opened the letters
and read them over and over to herself. How much they told of the girls!

"Jennie wanted to be a great singer; she wanted to go to New York and
study and then go into Grand Opera.

"Katherine wanted to be a Kindergarten teacher. Ah! she had found that
because of helping in the church.

"Mary wanted to be a lawyer--a criminal lawyer. Perhaps that desire had
grown in their debating club.

"Louise wanted to be a nurse. What a dear faithful girl she had been in
helping with the bandages after the great fire in the city!

"So one by one she read their letters and her heart was filled with
gratitude that to her it had been given to mold in a little way their
lives."

Then turning to the mayor of the city, the little white-haired lady said,

"Sir, the contents of one of those letters will be of interest to you more
than to the rest. I was the teacher of those girls, so I can give you the
exact wording of the last letter that I read,

"'Dear friend: You have asked us to give you our dearest wish. I have many
wishes for the future but the wish that I want most of all is to be a fine
woman and some day to be a real mother, the kind you have so often told us
about.'

"The girl who wrote that letter, sir, became your mother. Fourteen years
before you were born, your character was being formed, your ideals were
being molded, your future was being safeguarded. I congratulate you, sir,
on being elected to the office of mayor; but I congratulate you more for
being the child of my little girl of the long ago who at sixteen could
write, 'I want most of all to be a fine, noble woman and some day to be a
real mother.' To her you owe much. Inspire the girls of the town if you
plan for great men. A self-made man needs a real mother to build the
foundations of his character. There is no other way."

Then the speaker sat down and there was silence in the banqueting hall.



ON THE ROAD TO WOMANHOOD


In their hands the girls carried a scroll; on their backs they carried a
bundle, and they were five in number--five girls with rosy cheeks and
healthy bodies. But now their cheeks were browned by the sun and their
shoulders drooped as they walked by the way.

For they had walked and walked and walked as the morning had turned into
noon, and now the afternoon shadows were already falling on the way. Then
as the search seemed almost useless, they saw her--the one for whom they
had come; the one into whose hands they wished to place their scrolls.
Eagerly they watched her as she came slowly toward them dressed in shining
white--the Angel Who Rights Things.

When she smiled, they found courage to speak.

"We have come to search for you but we thought we should never find you,"
said the oldest of the girls. "We can never grow strong and beautiful if
we carry these heavy burdens on our backs. They are much too large for us
and we do not like them. We have come to ask you to take them away and
make us free. Lo! we have written it all here in our scrolls."

But the Fairy Who Rights Things drew back as the five handed to her the
scrolls which they carried.

"Take away the burdens!" said she. "Oh, no, I could never do that. He that
carrieth no burden gaineth no strength. All must carry if they would
grow."

"But we do not like them. If we must have a burden, might we not exchange
them? Surely all our friends do not have burdens to carry. We have
watched them and we know they have none," said another girl.

"You are quite mistaken," said the fairy. "All have burdens to carry. But
I can let you choose if you will exchange your own. Let me see what you
have brought."

"Well," said the first. "Here is mine. I have to go to school. Now father
has plenty of money and I shall never have to work. Why should I study and
do all the hard work of the school? I hate it all and I want to be free
from it. I want to live at home and read, and play, and do as I like."

"And here is mine," said the second, lifting it from her back. "I have to
go to church every Sunday when I want to sleep. There is nothing there for
me and I am so tired of it. But father and mother insist that I go, at
least in the morning. I want to be free from the church."

"Oh," said the third. "I don't mind school and I don't mind going to
church but I do mind having to help at home. It is iron and sweep and wash
dishes; then wash dishes and sweep and iron. Always something to do when I
am in the house. I hate housework and I want to be free from doing it.
Mother says all girls should help at home. But it is a big burden."

"My burden is quite different from the others," said the fourth. "I cannot
dress as I choose. I must wear heavy clothes and low heels. I must dress
my hair as if I were old and tidy. All the girls do differently and I want
to be like them. Really my burden makes me very unhappy. Please let me
change it."

Then the fairy turned to the last girl, who had been resting her burden
against a stone wall.

"What have you here, dear?" she said kindly. "Your burden seems weighing
you down. Let me help you open it."

"Oh dear," said the girl, and the big tears welled up in her eyes. "This
is my home life. Nobody seems to understand me. They scold and fret and
fuss all the time. Mother is cross and the children are always bothering
me. I want to go away from home and work for my living and then board as
the other girls do. I should love to have a little room in a
boarding-house where the girls could come to see me. My burden grows
heavier and heavier and I am also very unhappy."

"Well, well, well," said the Fairy Who Rights Things. "It looks as if I
had a big task. All of you seem to be unhappy, but then we are usually
unhappy because we look at ourselves instead of others. Let's try what
these magic spectacles can do. They will show you the burdens some of your
friends carry and also show you how they carry them."

Then she fitted a pair to the eyes of each girl and they looked at the
passers-by.

There was Kate, who was always smiling and happy. Her burden was almost as
large as she. There was a sick mother away back on the little farm in the
country. Kate was trying to support her and still have enough to keep her
own expenses paid. Her days were full of work. In her room, she was sewing
to make extra money. She was very lonely, for she loved the little mother
and longed to be with her, but she must earn money. Oh! what a pile of
worries she had on every side! How could she ever carry them? But beneath
the pile as it rested on her back they saw a little lever that was lifting
all the time--and the lever was _Love_.

And here was May. They had money and automobiles and everything to make
her happy. She had never seemed to have any burden but now she was
carrying a very large one. She wanted to go to college, she wanted to make
her life worth while, but her parents wanted her to stay at home and play
the hours away. They would not let her go and as the months went by she
longed more and more to study and serve. Did she have a lever to help
carry hers? Indeed she did. It was right under the burden and it was
called _Vision_.

Then there was Tom, the baseball star. He too carried a burden. They had
never known that he had a father. But he carried the burden of a father
who drank and drank. Oh, what a shame to take him through the streets in
such a helpless condition! Did Tom have a lever? All looked eagerly to see
and they saw _Ideals_--he would have a spotless character and retrieve the
family name.

And there was Helen. Her people used profane language and she loved the
pure. They loved the world and she loved the ideals of the church. They
made fun of her faith and tried to change it. How heavily she was loaded,
yet they had never dreamed of it when they had seen her teaching her
little class in the Church School. But _Belief in God_ was helping her to
carry her load.

So they passed along the way before the five girls. All were carrying
something but not all were carrying their load alike. Some smiled, and
some sang as they staggered beneath a heavy load; others groaned and
fretted with the weight of a much lighter one. Some were not only carrying
their own load but helping to carry others.

"And now," said the Angel Who Rights Things, "do you see a load that you
would prefer? If so, then I will ask the bearer to exchange with you. Will
you choose by the size of the burden or the ease with which it is
carried?"

But though they searched long and diligently, they found no load easier
than their own.

At last one turned to the Angel and said, "We find no one to choose. And
since we must carry a burden, will you tell us how best we may carry
these?"

Then the face of the Angel lighted with pleasure till it glowed like the
sun. "When one asks _how_ to carry and not _why_ he must carry, already
the load is lighter," she replied. "If you will, your school can give to
you a vision that will make your load seem very easy; your church can give
to you a love that will make you eager to go there and learn to serve;
your home cares can give you ideals for your own little home some day;
your mother can show you how to grow into beautiful womanhood if you will
but give her a chance; your troubles at home can give to you a sympathy
that will not only lift your own burden but help with those of others. All
these levers that you have seen helping to lift loads have been right at
your hand to help you if you would only have given them an opportunity.

"How shall you bear your burdens? With a smile on your face, and love in
your heart, and any _lifter_ that you can find."

Then the Angel Who Rights Things went on her way to find others who
groaned beneath their burdens because they had never learned how to carry
them.



HER PRAYER


Every time the King automobile went past the little home of Julia Lowe
when Julia was there, she ran eagerly to look into the face of the lady
who sat inside. She had such beautiful clothes; she sat so tall and
stately; she had such a wonderful smile. She was Julia Lowe's ideal
woman.

Julia had gone with two other girls to ask Mrs. King to help them with
their Liberty Loans and she had not only taken bonds but had given them
flowers from the great garden back of the house, and had invited them to
come again. Every time she saw her go by, Julia wished she, too, might
have such a sweet face and such a heap of good things as Mrs. King had.

Now Julia worked in an office downtown, so, of course she thought she had
to act and to do as the other girls in the office did. When they wore
their hair very straight, hers was straight also; but when they wore
puffs, she had to get up much earlier in the morning to force her pretty
hair into great puffs over her ears. Mother wanted her to wear serge
dresses in the office, but the other girls wore georgette waists, so of
course she had to wear them also. Some of the girls in the neighborhood
liked to go to the library to read, so they had formed a club for that
purpose and had asked Julia to join. But the girls in the office liked to
go to dances and picture shows, and so she must go to them also--else how
could she talk things over with them at the noon hour, and tell them of
the boys she had been with, and the places where she had gone? Oh, yes,
she just must do as the girls in the office did. But in spite of it all,
she wasn't very happy and sometimes she wished she could run away from it
all and just go back to school again as her mother had wanted her to do.

When she looked at Mrs. King, somehow her beautiful face seemed to make
her want more than ever to do better. What was there about her that made
Julia love her at a distance and yet be afraid of her when she came near
her? Julia didn't know. But she did know that deep in her heart she wanted
to be like her and didn't know how. If only she had money and beautiful
things, perhaps it would be different.

One day when the leaves were very beautiful in their fall colors, a dainty
little note was left by the postman for Julia and it read,

  "Dear Julia:

  "I hardly know you but I am going to ask a great favor of you. Mr.
  King has been called out of town and he is not willing to have me
  stay in the house all alone, for it is very big and lonely since Mary
  died. I wish very much that you would let me call for you at the
  office this afternoon. Then we will go out in the country to see the
  beautiful colors and have our supper at the Country Club. Then, when
  we come home in the moonlight, I should like to have you spend the
  night with me here. I shall hope that you can come.

                                                     "Sincerely,

                                                 "Margaret L. King."

Julia was so happy as she read it that she could hardly contain
herself--to go for a ride in the wonderful car; to eat at the Country
Club; to sleep at the home of Mrs. King--why, she had never even dared to
dream of such a thing. It was too good to be true.

Of course she must look her very best, so she asked for an extra half hour
at noon. She would wear her new thin waist with the very low neck, for the
girls had told her that she looked "too sweet for anything" in that. Her
silk skirt was shabby but it would never do to wear her serge, even if it
were new, when she rode with Mrs. King. As she put on the high-heeled
slippers, she noticed that they were much run over, but they would have to
do. It took her a long, long time to fix her hair just as she wanted to
have it, for one dip must just touch the next at the right angle.

Finally all was ready but the extra touches to her face. There was the
rouge for which she had spent so much money. The boss at the office had
told them that they would lose their job if they came with it on their
faces again but she must risk it this once. A little penciling of the
eyebrows, a little powder here and there, and Julia felt very sure as she
looked at herself in the glass that she would "do."

Her shoes needed brushing but she hadn't time for them, for, even now, she
had only time to run as fast as she could to get the car which would bring
her to the office in time. There was a button off her coat which she had
forgotten, but the coat needn't be worn; her fingernails needed attention,
but she never cared much about them. As long as her face, and her hair,
and her clothes were all in style, she was all right to go anywhere.

Promptly at five, the King car came to the door of the factory and Julia
stepped in, followed by the envious glances of her friends in the office.
What a ride it was through the open country! Miles and miles of beauty
such as Julia had never seen. Mrs. King found so many interesting things
for her to see that all the restraint wore away, and she found herself
talking to her friend and telling her all about her own life and
pleasures.

Then Mrs. King told her a little about what she did with her time and, to
her surprise, Julia found that Mrs. King was a very busy woman. Over and
over as they talked, Julia noticed how soft and sweet Mrs. King's voice
was and how carefully she used the best of English. And again, Julia found
herself wishing she were like Mrs. King. Somehow she did not care to use
the slang words that seemed so necessary when she talked with the girls.

When their coats were removed at the Country Club, Julia found that Mrs.
King was very simply dressed in a dark blue serge dress with little white
collar and cuffs. Many other girls and women in the group were dressed in
the same way. Then Julia became suddenly conscious of the run-over heels
and the torn skirt, for she and Mrs. King were in the center of the room,
and she was being introduced as "My friend Julia." How she did wish she
had taken mother's advice and worn the new, pretty serge!

In one of the corners of the dining-room there was a little table for two
that overlooked the lake, and towards this Mrs. King made her way. Here
they could see every one and yet be quite alone. Then Mrs. King told her a
little of the people in the room. Here was the wife of a noted judge; that
was the High School teacher of whom she must have heard the girls speak if
they had ever been to that school.

"And who are these two girls in front of us?" asked Julia. "Isn't the
dark-haired one a beauty? Evidently the young man with her thinks so,
too."

Then Mrs. King's face grew quiet as she said,

"Those are two girls of whom we are very fond here, but I am so sorry to
see Jessie doing as she is. No, Julia, she is not pretty. She has painted
her face and all her natural beauty is hidden. Usually she is very
attractive. Her friend's face is sweet and clean. Evidently she does not
care to attract attention to herself by the use of paint and rouge. She
believes in being true to her best self even though she is not in the
height of style. When you have lived longer, you will know, dear, the
truth of what I say."

Poor Julia. Her face burned like fire. Mrs. King had said "My friend
Julia," yet she, too, had paint on her face--not red like the girl in
front, to be sure, but it was there. Why had no one told her before? All
the girls did it and she thought it was the thing to do. Then there came
to her an impulse to ask Mrs. King about it, so she said frankly,

"Mrs. King, I have some paint on my face, too, but I put it on because I
was coming out with you. I thought you would like to have me look my very
best."

"Indeed I do, girlie," said Mrs. King, putting her hand on the hand of the
girl opposite her. "Indeed I do want you to look your best. I have liked
you ever since I came to Hillcrest to live and it has hurt me to see you
trying to do as all the other girls did. I have wished so often that you
would be a leader in doing the finer things and help others to see what
real beauty is and how to get it. Real beauty is not put on from the
outside; it grows from within."

Julia looked at Mrs. King's sweet, loving face very hard for a minute and
then said,

"I have liked you, too, and I have watched you go back and forth, wishing
I could be like you. Will you show me how? Mother has tried but I thought
she did not know. No one else has ever tried to tell me about your kind of
beauty."

So they made the compact. Then they sat and watched for well-dressed
women; for women in whose faces there was strength of character and
purpose; for girls whose very manner showed they were ladies; for men who
honored the girls in whose company they were. Such fun as it was! Julia
never knew the time to go so fast. It was so plain now that clothes did
not necessarily make the lady. She was almost sorry when it came time to
go home.

In the house, a great fire was burning and it looked so cozy.

"I have looked into your windows many times as I have passed and wished I
could sit before the fire and dream and dream," said the girl. "May I sit
down here for a while?"

"We will both sit here," said Mrs. King, "then I will tell you about my
little girl who used to sit here with me."

How Julia's heart ached for her friend as she told her of her love for her
own dear girl, of the plans they had made, of the sudden sickness and
death, and of the loneliness of the big house since she had gone! She had
thought Mrs. King had everything to make her happy, yet the thing she
wanted most she could not have.

"Her hair was much like yours and sometimes, as you have passed, I have
wished I could comb yours as I did hers. Would you mind if I did?" said
the mother.

"I should love to have you," said Julia.

"Well, then, when the fire has died out, we will go up to her room. In the
drawer there I have a little white dress that perhaps you would like. I
will comb your hair just as I did hers and see if the dress will fit you,"
said Mrs. King. "If you look sweet and girlish in it, I will give it to
you."

While Mrs. King slipped away to get the things needed for the
hairdressing, Julia went to the great white bathroom, and when she came
out her face was sweet and clean and every trace of the paint and powder
was gone. Her pretty brown hair was down her back in ringlets and her
face wore a look which the girls at the office had never seen there.

Then Mrs. King brushed, and brushed, and brushed till the hair was soft
and shiny. Low in her neck she coiled it, making it look girlish and neat,
fastening it with a tiny velvet circlet. Then Julia held her breath as
Mrs. King took from a drawer a little white dress. It was a simple silk
mull but it was prettily made. Below it was a dainty petticoat and at the
bottom of the drawer were white oxfords and fine, lisle stockings.

"These were ready for her graduation, dear, but she never wore them once
after they were made," said the mother softly, as she fingered the dress
lovingly.

There were tears in the eyes of the mother and tears in the eyes of the
girl as the dress was put on. And when Julia looked into the mirror she
seemed to see a strange girl. How little she looked like the girls in the
office! But she liked her hair--and she liked the looks of her face--and
she loved the simple, white dress.

Last of all Mrs. King slipped about her neck a little string of pearls.
"These are my gift to you, Julia," she said. "Wear them when you think you
are dressed as you and I have planned to-night and be as beautiful as the
pearls. Remember, dear, we may put beautiful things on the outside but
they can never make us beautiful. It comes from the inside because of what
we are. It stands the test of study. It is always real. A girl who does
not live up to the best she knows can well be called a coward. Good night,
dear, I am glad there is a girlie who loves me."

Then with a good-night kiss she was gone--gone, as Julia knew, to be more
than ever lonely for her own little girl.

For a long time Julia stood looking at the dress, and the slippers, and
the stockings. Mrs. King had plenty of money, yet these were to have been
her daughter's graduation clothes. And she had not finished school because
she could not have clothes like the rest of the girls who were to have
expensive ones. Mrs. King was honored all through the city, yet she was
dressed in a simple serge dress at the Country Club. It was all very
strange! Some one had things very much mixed up concerning what a girl
should wear. How long it seemed since she had left the office in the
afternoon!

The room was so dainty that it took Julia a long time to get ready for
bed. How she would love to have a room like this! Maybe it would be easy
to be good. She looked at the dress again, as she laid it carefully over
the chair. It was all hers. The girls would laugh at her but she loved it.
Then she lifted the little string of pearls--not cheap, big ones such as
she had worn on Sunday, but dainty, beautiful ones, and they whispered
again to her,

"Be as beautiful as the beads, girlie. True beauty is never put on from
the outside. It comes from inside because of what you are."

Long she stood in the moonlight near the window looking at them. Then she
dropped on her knees and said,

"Dear God, she has shown me the best. Help me not to be a coward as I go
out and try to do it. Help me to be as beautiful as the pearls. I thank
Thee for to-day. I want to show others what real beauty is and how to get
it. Please help me."

And the Father heard the prayer of the girl kneeling there in her white
night-gown, for it came from a sincere heart--and He answered.



THE BEST DAY

By Mrs. Annie G. Freeman


One sunny summer afternoon Margaret sat reading beneath the shade of an
old apple tree. Before her stretched a charming view but on her face was a
troubled, dissatisfied look.

"Oh, dear," she sighed. "Even this book is stupid. It is the dullest, most
stupid day that I ever saw."

"Stupid day?" said a tiny voice. There on the rock before her sat the
daintiest little golden-haired fairy that she had ever seen. The fairy's
feet were resting on a woodbine vine that was creeping up the wall, and
her wings were as delicate as those of a butterfly.

"What makes such a bright day as this stupid?"

"Oh, I suppose it is myself," said the discontented girl.

"I believe it is," said the fairy. "Now I will take you with me to the
Palace of Time and you shall choose a day that suits you better. Come."

Over green meadows, through pleasant pastures, beside babbling brooks that
sparkled and played in the sunshine, the fairy led. At last they came to
the Palace of Time. The fairy led the way up the long hall to the throne
on which Time sat, and told her errand.

"Take the little friend to the Hall of Days," he said, "and give her the
day that pleases her best."

How delighted the maiden was! Wouldn't you be if a fairy should take you
out of a stupid day and promise you the day that pleased you most? She
just skipped along, her feet scarcely touching the ground in her joy. In
a great room filled with all kinds of bright lights, they stopped.

"This is the Hall of Days," said the fairy. "Take whichever day pleases
you most."

Like great balls of glass the days were of many colors and of many kinds.
Some were dark and some were light; some were dim and others clear.

One was like a crystal and the odor of roses seemed to come from it. Its
colors were soft and Margaret gazed deep into it. Vague dreams seemed to
come from it and memories happy and delightful. But she couldn't live on
dreams and memories. That wouldn't do. She might like that sort of a day
once in a while but her young life demanded something to do on the best
day. This was a day that had gone.

One other day pleased her much. It shone like the sun on the new fallen
snow. It was so white and so pure that she lifted it carefully lest she
should soil and spot it.

"It is too bright. It hurts my eyes," said she, putting it back.

"Yes, little girl," said the fairy. "That is to-morrow. It must be shaded
by many things before one can bear it."

Then, just between the two, Margaret spied the most beautiful ball of all.
It wavered and shimmered; now it was red, now green, now yellow and now
pink. Oh, there were so many colors that she could not name them all. Wave
upon wave of color swept through it and all seemed shot with the golden
lights.

"That is the one that I want," she cried happily. "That is the most
beautiful day of all."

"Take it, then," said the fairy. "It is yours."

All the way home, the maiden clasped it tightly.

"With this day," she said, "I can be joyful. With this day I can make so
many people happy, and it is so bright that I can see the best way in
which to go. It is as light as a feather. I can hardly wait to show my
friends the beautiful day that I have chosen, for I love it dearly."

"Yes, indeed," said the fairy, as she flew off in a different direction.
"It is a wonderful day. Infinite wisdom and love helped you to choose
aright. That is To-day."

"What a beautiful day!" said the maiden as she sat in the shade of the old
apple tree. "I believe I have been dreaming. But this is too beautiful a
day to idle it away. I will go and do something for some one to make
others see its beauty also."



IN THE WAY


Gladys Mercer sat looking at a snapshot which had come to her from one of
her girl friends. It showed a strong, athletic woman with a blanket rolled
over her back hiking along the road and with her six girls in middies and
bloomers. And as Gladys looked at the picture, she smiled at the memories
which it brought.

There was the long hike, the tired muscles, the view from the mountaintop,
the wonderful sunset, the stillness of the night and the fear of the dark.
Then there was the voice of the woman in the picture,

"Girls, you are safer here than in any house you could find. Just remember
that God is over all and sleep as sound as can be."

Then there was the sunrise, the pancake breakfast on the hill, and the
hike home. Best of all there had been two long days with Mrs. Fuller, the
friend of girls. What a good visit they had had with her! What a fine
story she had told them at the sunset! What a helpful prayer she had made
as they closed their good-night song when the sun went down!

And then from the thought of the trip, Gladys went to the thought of all
that Mrs. Fuller had meant to her. She was sunny; she was happy in her
work through the day, and happy to give her time to them at night; she was
always ready to advise and help; she seemed to know just what to do when
they did not know; somehow she could always get them to do the thing they
had thought they would not do. She was to Gladys, the motherless girl, a
friend, a companion, a leader and a heroine.

What was there about her that made her able to lead? Was it her smile? Was
it her ability to do things? What made a leader anyway?

Gladys leaned far back against the old tree under which she had been
sitting and said to herself, "I wish--I wish----"

"And what do you wish," said a little voice, and there close to her was a
dear little lady dressed in red and in her hand she carried a lamp.

"Who are you?" said Gladys.

"I am the Fairy of Helpful Service," said the little lady. "I heard you
talking about one of my helpers, so I was interested to know what you
wished when you thought of all she had done for you girls. Now tell me.
What do you wish?"

"If you are a fairy, perhaps you can give me my wish. I wish to be like
Mrs. Fuller. I want to help girls. I want to get the kind of letters she
gets from girls who are far away. I want to see 'my girls' some day giving
service all over the world as she does. I want to be like her. Please,
fairy, give me my wish."

"I can't make you like her but I can put you in the way of service and
then, if you choose, you can become like her and get the things you are
asking for. Those things are not given--they are earned, and the cost of
them is heavy. I don't really think you mean what you say, for you haven't
even wanted to go to school to learn to help. Perhaps the best way would
be to let you see _her_ in the way and then you can choose for yourself
whether you want your gift. Come and we will watch her climb the way."

So the Fairy of Helpful Service and the girl who wanted to be a leader
went together into the House of the Past.

"There," said the fairy, "there is Mrs. Fuller as a little girl. We will
watch her grow and you may see where she earned some of the qualities
which you admire in her."

There she was, a mischievous little girl of ten, as happy as the day was
long.

"Here she is laying the foundation for health," said the fairy, "with long
hours of sleep and good food and plenty of play. One begins away back in
girlhood to be a leader. Some who would have been good helpers for me
cannot serve because they did not begin early enough to get ready."

Then as the little girl played there came into the way a black, black
cloud. Gladys shuddered as it came nearer and nearer to the little girl
and finally enveloped her. It was death--the death of her father, but
after the cloud had passed and the sunshine had come again, the fairy
said,

"See, her shoulders are broader. She has learned what loneliness means."

On she went and then she was going to High School. Others had clothes that
she did not have. She must hurry to finish because there was no father in
the home. So, eagerly she pushed through the High School.

Just here Gladys saw a hand reached out to help and heard a voice saying
to the girl, "Of course it will be hard but you can go to college if you
really want to go. It will do you good to sacrifice for it." 'Twas the
Master of the school who was helping her to keep in the way.

"Can you see her grow?" said the fairy. "She has added concentration, an
appreciation of the girl who has little and who must be with girls who
have much, and now she has been given a vision."

Then Gladys watched her toil through college, earning her way, often
overtired and worried as to where the means to go on were to come from.
But she pushed ahead.

"Oh," said Gladys, "how hard she works! I could never do that. I am sorry
for her."

"You needn't be," said the fairy. "You need never be sorry for those that
sacrifice for an ideal. Be sorry for those who have none and so who live
at ease." And they watched her struggle through temptation and toil to the
graduation day.

As the college days passed, there came strength of purpose, but there came
also the desire to serve. Gladys watched her lead the little group of
dirty street boys in the slums.

"How can she do it?" said Gladys. "They are so dirty and so rough."

But the fairy said, "When one wants to serve, she looks at the heart and
the life--not at the clothes and the actions. The boys are helping her to
keep in the way."

And after college there were happy days. Days of love and comradeship,
days of work for the fairy; days when opportunity was everywhere. And in
these days of happiness there came lessons of sharing, of winning, of
filling the life with sunshine. The path was so bright that it dazzled.

Suddenly, Gladys looked ahead in the path. "Look," she said to the fairy.
"Look, oh, how black it is! Oh, I am sorry."

Then the storm descended and all was black in the way--oh, so black and to
move took all of one's strength. Against it she struggled, but it seemed
as though she must surely be driven from the path. Death and loneliness
and worries seemed overpowering.

But the storm passed and, when once again there was peace, a great
strength had come in its place, for there was sympathy for others who
suffered, there was an appreciation of the value of friendship, and there
was a knowledge that God helps.

Little by little the road widened, though often it was lonely and hard.
There were many steep places but each added something. And then Gladys saw
the picture change.

There was Mrs. Fuller with her girls and she was leading them by the hand.
But it was by no means easy. Some held back; some chose to play by the
way; some looked longingly at the things by the wayside that would harm.
But her one hand reached up and her other hand helped them ahead as she
tried to keep them in the way.

As the picture faded, Gladys turned to the fairy. "I thought it had been
all sunshine but now I see how hard it has been to learn to understand and
to help. I love her better than I did before, now that I have seen her in
the way. Thank you, fairy."

"But wait," said the fairy. "You asked me for a gift. Do you still want
it? Do you still want to follow her?"

"To follow means study, and sacrifice, and temptations conquered, and
sympathy, and all sorts of hard things, doesn't it? I never thought about
it. But I love Mrs. Fuller and I still want to lead girls--I still want
the letters and I still want to be like her. Please, Fairy of Good Works,
put me in the way and I will go back to school and begin to get ready."

Then the little lady smiled as she waved her wand over the head of the
girl. "Your life may be much more sunny than hers, dear. Not all must have
the same things to overcome. But whatever you meet in the way, you must
struggle against it and come out stronger because you have struggled. Can
you see away off there in the distance the hands of girls--oh, so many of
them--eagerly reached out for help? They are 'your girls.' And here is the
way. Above there is one who helps and I am here though you may not see
me. Push forward or the girls will have no helper. Good-by and good luck
to you."

But as Gladys reached out to detain her, her hat fell to the ground and
she found herself sitting against the tree. In her hand was the picture of
Mrs. Fuller and her girls. Long she looked at the picture. Then she said
to herself,

"I never knew the way was so long or so hard to be like you but if just
one girl can love me some day as I love you, then I shall be glad I have
walked in the way. I am ready to try and I hope I can win."



AN OLD, OLD STORY


It was a dark and rainy day when about the inn-fire, close to the great
caravan way that led through Canaan, in the land of Palestine, a group of
camel-drivers and travelers were gathered. They looked very different from
what they do to-day, for nearly four thousand years have passed since
then. But they were all huddled together listening to stories and songs.

In the group there were men from Egypt; there were men from Babylon, the
great city far to the East; there were men from the land of Canaan; and
then there were some wandering nomads who had lately come from the East
and so were called by the Canaanites "Hebrews," which means, "People from
the Other Side." Most of these men were shepherds, but they loved to meet
with the camel-drivers and learn of the customs and habits of the people
of other lands. 'Twas a strange group of men sitting about the little
fire.

In those days, as now, men loved to tell stories that had come down to
them from their fathers and grandfathers, and often they found that a
story from Egypt was but little different from one that had been told in
Babylonia. So they loved to listen to the story-tellers.

But on this day it had rained and rained till the streams were full and
the way was very hard to go. Thus there were very many men in the inn.
'Twas the turn of the Babylonian, so he began,

"I will tell you one of the very oldest of our stories--about a great
rain-storm.

  "Years and years and years ago the Gods in heaven began to fear that
  the men of the earth were going to live forever and so they made a
  plan by which to destroy them. There should be a great rain for days
  and days and days, and all these men and women and children should be
  drowned. Then the Gods would be free from their worries.

  "But one of the Gods named Ea had a friend who lived on the earth,
  and so he sent word to him to go with all his family into a big, big
  ship and take with him two of every kind of animals. Utnapishtim, the
  friend, did as he was told.

  "Then the rain came and for six days and nights there was no let-up
  at all. Deeper and deeper it grew till the Gods in heaven grew afraid
  and cowered in the highest corner of heaven. By this time every
  living thing, except the ones in the big ship, was destroyed.

  "But after six days, the rain ceased. Then the man sent out a dove,
  but it returned, for it could find no place to rest. Later he sent
  out a raven and it did not come back, so he knew the waters were
  going down. Then he made a great sacrifice to the Gods and they came,
  they saw the great destruction and they gloated over it, pleased that
  their plan had worked so well."

There was applause when he had finished from many of the group, but the
Hebrews did not applaud. They had been taught that there was one true God,
not many Gods. They had been taught that God was kind to all and not one
that gloated over destruction of men. They were not pleased with the story
of the great flood.

Then there came nights out under the stars and they heard the stories of
how the earth was made; of how man came to be; of the meaning of many of
the things that they saw all about them. But in every story there were
found Gods who were cruel, who were unkind, who quarreled and fought.
There were many, many Gods, but none was like unto their God.

As the old Hebrews listened to all these old, old stories from the
countries about them which were told so often, they shook their heads
sadly and said,

"We have come into this country to live and bring up our children. But if
they hear these stories, they will believe some of them and forget the
true God. They must have stories of their own that show how great and
mighty is the God of Israel. But what shall we do about these stories? If
we say the stories are false, they will laugh at us and say, 'Why, our
people have known these stories since long, long before there was a Hebrew
on the earth. What our fathers have told us as true is surely true.' And
if we say to our children, 'You must not listen to these stories,' they
will be all the more eager to listen. What shall we do?"

Finally it was decided that the stories of the Egyptians and the
Babylonians must be remade so as to be fit for their children to hear and
they must teach the beliefs of their own religion in stories of their
own.

So, many weeks later as the men were gathered out under the stars on a
beautiful night, one of the best of the Hebrew story-tellers said
quietly,

"I have listened to stories about the making of the world from many of you
but I think my story is better than any you have told. Would you like to
hear the story of how the God of Israel made the world?"

"'Tis a Hebrew who is talking," said one. "I didn't know you people had
any stories. Give it to us. Then we can compare it with our own great
stories."

And the Hebrew story-teller began:

  "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And these
  are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were
  created in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens,

  "And every plant of the field before it was in the earth and every
  herb of the field before it grew; for the Lord God had not caused it
  to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.

  "But there went up a mist from the earth and watered the whole face
  of the ground.

  "And the Lord God formed man out of the dust of the ground, and
  breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a
  living soul.

  "And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is
  pleasant to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the
  midst of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

  "And the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to
  dress it and to keep it.

  "And out of the ground the Lord God made every beast of the field and
  every fowl of the air and brought them unto Adam to see what he would
  call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was
  the name thereof."

There was silence when the story was finished. This God of whom the Hebrew
was telling was wise and mighty enough to make the world, yet he was
thoughtful and kind. He allowed man to be a helper. There was only one
God. They liked the story so well that they began to tell it also and soon
the beautiful story was known all through the land of Canaan. Little by
little it drove out the other stories and became the most loved one.

And when the old Hebrews saw the power of the story that told of the _one_
great God rather than the many false Gods, they just took many of the old
stories and made them good and wholesome for their own little children to
hear.

So great were the stories that the old Hebrews told that you will find
many of them living still. You can read them in your own Bible in the book
of Genesis.

Ever since that day years and years ago, men have been asking that same
old question, "Who made the world?" The greatest men of science and
history have tried to answer it, but none of them have found a more
beautiful answer to the question than this one which the old sheik told in
the days of the long ago and which you will find in the second chapter of
Genesis in your Bible.



HIS DEBT


It was a hot, sultry day in that little town near the Western coast of
Africa when Afa Bibo came. He had had a long, long journey from his home
among the Ntum people far to the south of Efulen. So he, as well as the
men who had brought him, was glad when they saw the rude little hospital
looming up at the end of the path.

Years and years before, when Afa Bibo was just a little baby, his mother
and father, because they were superstitious and ignorant, had deliberately
infected the little one with yaws, one of the most loathsome of African
diseases. Little by little the disease had spread through his system till
now, a boy in his teens, he was gradually losing his sight. So they had
brought him to the white doctor who had done so much for boys and girls in
the neighborhood, to see if he could also help Afa Bibo.

It took only a glance at the one eye to know that the sight was gone
forever. But there was a chance that the other might be saved. To be sure,
the inflammation was there and much damage had been done, but still there
was a chance. So they put him under the care of the nurse and began the
fight that was to tell whether he was to be one of the many African blind
ones who suffer so much and help so little, or whether he was to be like
other boys.

It was a long, hard time for the little fellow. The eyes must be washed
with a solution that was very painful; he must spend long hours not only
lying in bed but with all light shut from his eye. He grew very weary with
it all. But after the months had gone, Afa Bibo went out of that hospital
with an eye as clean and white in the ball as yours or mine.

Of course, he was anxious to go back to his people and tell them what
wonderful things had been done for him, but the Doctor said,

"Afa, you can do much with your one good eye, but if you will stay right
here and go to school with the boys for a time, you can do much, much
more. You can be as good as one man, two men, and perhaps as much as
three. If you will stay, you can be a big man in your own tribe. It may be
you could be a teacher and tell the boys there how to read and write or it
might be--yes, it might be--you could be a doctor and make other boys to
see, just as we have done to you."

So Afa Bibo stayed in the mission school and learned to study, and to
work, and to think. For a time he felt badly to think he had only one eye
when all his companions had two, but little by little he seemed to have
forgotten it.

Then came the day when the Christian people of that little African church
were to pledge a definite number of days of service in carrying the
message of the Christ to others. Some were to go out and teach; some were
to carry Testaments and tracts written in Bulu to others; some were to
help about the mission station so that there might be a better place in
which to teach the ones who came. Some were to raise extra crops so they
might have something to give to those who went far out to teach. Every one
could give something, even though it was very different from what another
gave.

As it neared the time for the service, the black people might be seen
coming from all directions. Some had walked five miles, some ten, and some
even twenty. All had something to eat so that they might stay to hear all
the good news that could be given in a day. They filled the little bare
building which the boys of the school had builded for a church; they
filled the window spaces; then they filled the yard about the church. Oh!
there were very many of them and all were eager for the service to begin.

Holding the roof of the little church were large poles which had been
painted white and on these the pledges were to be made. So as the service
began, many looked at the poles and thought what a wonderful thing it was
to be allowed to give of themselves to the God who had become their own.

Soon the pledging began. First to go was the old chief who had given up
his twenty wives that he might become a Christian. He was old. What would
he give? First he made a slanting line and then he crossed it. Ah! that
was ten days of service.

Then others were ready, and some gave ten days, some one or two weeks, and
some could even give a month. The lines covered one pole and then another
as the people passed down the aisle and out of the building.

Last of all came the boys of the school. How could they give? They were
only boys. But they could take of their play time till they had gained a
day or more to give. One marked after another and last of all it was the
turn of Afa Bibo.

Very near to him stood the kind doctor who had made him free from the pain
and able to see the way as he came to the white pole. So he smiled one of
his rare smiles as he passed him. Then he made a slanting line and crossed
it; another and crossed it. That was twenty days. No boy had given as much
as that. But he was making another--twenty-five days. And he crossed the
third. Then with his shoulders square and resolve in his face he went out
with the rest.

As the missionaries sat before their home on the following day, they saw
Afa Bibo coming across the yard to them. Calling the doctor aside, he
said,

"Doctor, I am not satisfied with what I pledged yesterday. I want to give
more."

"But, Afa," said the doctor, "already you have pledged thirty days. That
is a great deal for a boy to give. A pledge to God from you must be as
binding as His promise is to us. Work out the thirty days and then come
back and give Him more if you like."

"But I am not happy about it," said the boy, "I want to give more."

"I think you had better leave it just as it is, for I am sure you do not
know how long thirty days will be when you begin to give it all. Run along
and do your lessons. I think you have given much to God," said the
Doctor.

Then Afa slowly came very near to the doctor. Looking up into his face, he
pulled down the lower lid of the good eye showing it to be white and free
from all soreness and pain.

"Doctor," he said, "do you see that good eye? Well, God saved me that eye
and I have more to be thankful for than any one else in all that big
churchful yesterday. I owe him more than thirty days. Please, sir, I want
to pay back a little of what I owe him. Let me make it thirty-five."

So together the doctor, who had given his life for God, and the little
black boy, who was just beginning to give, went to the church and put
another black mark on the tall white pole. And Afa Bibo went out to work
his thirty-five days for God.

Were you to go among the Ntum people to-day, you would find there a man
who is beloved by all because he has loved to give of himself to his
people. He has a kindly face and a loving heart. It is Afa Bibo, the boy
who is still eager to pay for his one good eye.



HOW KAGIGEGABO BECAME A BRAVE


Kagigegabo sat in front of the wigwam watching the fire slowly die out.
Her heart was full of bitterness. For days she had watched the Braves get
ready for the long chase. They had painted their faces; they had given
their war cries; they had fasted and prayed.

And now they had gone and the camp seemed very still. Oh! how she had
wanted to go! Why was she born a girl when she did want to be a Brave!
Girls could never do brave things--they had to stay at home, and tend the
fires, and hoe the garden. Everything a girl had to do, she hated.
Everything a boy had to do, she liked. Her name was Kagigegabo, which
meant "One who stands forever." That would be a great name for a Brave,
but she could never do anything that was worth while. She was only a
girl.

Slowly she rose to bring the corn and grind it. There was little needed,
for the Braves of the wigwam had all gone--even Guka, her brother, had
gone. Before this she had watched the others go and then had had him to
cheer her. Oh, dear! Why was she a girl?

Hearing a step behind her, she rose to find Wicostu, the oldest squaw of
the tribe, waiting to speak with her.

"I have heard your thought," she said. "You think that to be a girl is to
be less than a Brave. It is not so. It is not so. To be a squaw one must
be very brave. We cannot go to hunt and to kill, but it takes no less of
courage to stay here and guard the tepees. It takes courage to bear
pain--it takes courage to be tired and not complain. You can be brave,
Kagigegabo, even though you must grow into a Mahala and sit by the fire.
The courage is not in the war paint and feathers--the courage is all in
the heart."

Kagigegabo sat very still after Wicostu had left her. Over and over she
said to herself those last words of the old squaw--"The courage is all in
the heart." Perhaps after all she could be a Brave, such as Guka was
trying to be.

Down toward the spring she ran to get the water for the meal when,
suddenly, a hand reached out of the bushes, and she was drawn into them.
When she tried to scream, a heavy band was placed over her mouth, and then
her hands were tied, her eyes were bandaged and she felt herself being
thrown on a pony. Oh! how fast they went!--like the wind it seemed.

Who had taken her? Where was she going? What did they want? Frightened as
she was, she still was trying to think.

Then, like a flash, there came to her something that she had heard the old
chief say when she had been trying to get closer to the council fire the
last night.

"We shall go by the hill trail, for Eagle's Claw will surely have spies
about the camp. We cannot get through the valley alive."

Perhaps she had been taken by the spies and was on her way to the enemy
camp of Eagle's Claw. Oh! What did they want? If only she were a Brave,
perhaps she would know what to do. Then there came to her the words of
Wicostu:

"You can be brave. The courage is all in the heart." But to be brave when
one did not know what was going to happen--oh! that was hard.

When the bandage was taken from her eyes, she was in the center of a
circle of old Braves. Very fierce they looked as she glanced about the
circle. Her knees shook till it seemed she must fall. Then she made a low
bow to the chief and pointed to her feet--a sign that she was ready to be
his slave.

"Do you see that knife?" he screamed at her. "You shall die unless you
tell us by what path and to what place your Braves went to-day. Speak!"

What should she do? If she told, the men would die. If she kept silence,
she must die. Her hands trembled. Then she remembered again the words of
Wicostu, "Courage is all in the heart," and smiling at the chief she
said:

"Kagigegabo will lead you. She knows not the name, but the way."

For a long time they counseled. Should they go? At last five of the Braves
were ready. They mounted her on a pony. Then they came to her with a great
bow and some poisoned arrows and said:

"If you try to escape, these are for you. If you lead us wrong, these are
for you. If you lead us right, you shall have this young Brave," and they
led forth one of the strong, young Braves of the tribe. "Go."

Out of the encampment went the six horses. Where should she go? She must
lead in the way of the hill. But how could she? Once she climbed a tree to
get a look out and so gained a little time. Once she led them where the
rock dropped sheer and bare, and again she gained time. But nearer and
nearer to the meeting place she came.

Suddenly low at her feet she saw a tiny, white flower. It was the one used
by her mother to make the sweet drink that would make one sleep, and
sleep, and sleep. But if too much was taken, it meant death. A daring plan
came to her mind. Dare she do it? Dare she eat of it? Mother brewed
it--she must eat it as it was. They were still several hours from where
she knew her father was to be found. If her plan succeeded, she could
save him.

Reaching down, she dug her feet into the sides of the little pony.
Immediately his heels went high in the air and she lay flat on the
ground.

Quickly she gathered much of the little white flower and pushed it into
her dress. Then when the men came, she was lying with broken ankle on the
ground. The pain was intense, but the happiness that they must stop was
sweet to the girl. Over and over and over she said to herself, "Courage is
all in the heart. I can be a Brave."

She took some of the little white flower and began to eat of it.

"What is it?" said the men. "What do you eat?"

"I eat the sweet flower of this little plant. If you eat of this, you
shall not thirst," said the girl.

Now they had ridden far and hard and the day was very warm, so when the
men heard this, they bent and gathered bits of the plant. It was sweet and
pleasing to the taste, so they ate more and more of it. And the Indian
girl watched them and smiled when none could see.

It was decided to get the evening meal while the oldest chief bound the
ankle of the girl. So they hurriedly cooked it. But before it was ready,
the leader leaned against the old tree and he was asleep. Then another and
another slept. Stronger than opium had been the flower that they had
eaten.

                   *       *       *       *       *

Kagigegabo watched them while her own eyes began to droop. She must not go
to sleep. Oh! what could she do? She must ride when they were asleep. What
could she do? She turned and twisted the broken ankle. That helped a bit,
for the pain was intense. She pulled great locks of her hair and tied them
about her fingers so that the blood would have to force its way about. And
after what seemed to her to be hours, she was still awake and the five
men were all sleeping.

Slowly, very slowly, she pulled herself away from the fire out into the
bush where her pony was tied. Her feet seemed determined not to move and
she wanted so much to lie down and sleep. But she kept on till she had led
the pony away from the group. Then she mounted and started on her ride.

But it was no use. She could not stay awake. Now what was she to do? They
were on the direct road to the valley. For a moment she hesitated. Then
quickly she tore her dress in strips. Taking a sharp stone, she cut her
arm and with the blood she made two pictures on a piece of wood--the one
showed five Indians asleep--the other showed an Indian girl by the road.
Taking the strips from her dress, she fastened the bit of wood to the
saddle.

She took from her arm the circle of brass which would tell her father from
whom the message had come, and fastened it to the saddle. Then a cut of
the whip across the legs sent the pony flying down the path.

After he had gone, the girl sat in a dazed way near the path. She was so
tired. If only they would hurry, then she could tell them which way to
go--but sleep came before the pony had gone even one mile.

Five days later, Kagigegabo opened her eyes slowly and looked about. She
was lying on the skins in the wigwam of her mother. Her ankle was tightly
bound and she felt very stiff and sore. Across her wrist there was an ugly
cut. No one was about so she lay there trying to remember what had
happened. How long had she been there and where was her mother?

A step sounded outside and an old war chief--her father--looked anxiously
into the tent. When he saw her eyes open, he came slowly in and gazed
long at the Indian girl on the bed and then went as slowly out again.

When he came back, there were with him five other chiefs. Around the bed
they stood in a silent circle and Kagigegabo wondered what they were going
to do with her. Had she done wrong? Was she to be punished?

But the old chief spoke:

"Kagigegabo, you have saved the tribe from ruin, and because of your help,
we have captured the enemy, for whom we were searching. They have told us
of your bravery and of your wisdom. You were more full of courage than any
squaw we have ever known. You shall no longer be called Kagigegabo, but
you shall be called Aotonaka, the daring one."

Then upon the arm of the girl who had wished she could be a Brave they
bound a red band--the red band of courage.



THE WHITE FLOWER OF HAPPINESS

By Persis Richardson


The King sat in the library of the palace reading an old, old book--a book
written when the King's great-great-grandfather sat on the throne. The
King had never seen the book before and it was very interesting to him.
For the book told of a strange little plant that had grown in the kingdom
in those days of the old, old king.

No matter how hard the people had to work, if the little plant was growing
in their homes, they were happy. Indeed, the book said that the flower of
the plant was so beautiful that no garden was complete without it; so in
the days of the long ago, it grew in the gardens of the rich and the poor,
while happiness and prosperity reigned in the land.

Eagerly the king read the description of the little flower that grew on
this wonderful plant. It was white as the driven snow. It had heart-shaped
petals surrounding a wonderful heart of gold, and it was known as the
White Flower of Happiness.

Now the King loved flowers dearly and there were many in his garden; but
he was sure he had never seen this little flower. So, because he wanted to
have one for his very own and especially because he wanted happiness and
prosperity for his people, he determined to find it.

"Surely somewhere in the kingdom there must be a plant left if it grew so
common in the days of my great-great-grandfather," said the King.

Then calling the heralds to him he said:

"Ride forth and search. Go East, and West, and North, and South, and say
to my people, 'Search for the White Flower of Happiness, and when you have
found it, bring it to me that I may raise more seeds so that all may have
a chance to own it. 'Tis a little flower, white as the driven snow, with
petals that are heart-shaped around a heart of gold.'"

Eagerly the people, both rich and poor, went to work, for they knew of the
wondrous beauty of the flower and wished it for their own.

Now there were two people who were very sure they would be first to find
the flower. One was a rich woman who loved beautiful things. Her home was
the largest of any on the finest street in the royal city. She had many
and large gardens, cared for by the best gardeners to be found. Yet in the
summer-time, when they were glowing with hundreds of flowers, few there
were who could enjoy them. A high hedge surrounded them all and only her
friends were permitted to go through the iron entrance gate.

This wealthy woman said to herself: "I will find the flower and it will be
easy to keep it secret from all others if I have it here behind the hedge.
Then I shall be sure of happiness in the future."

So all of her gardeners were set to work to search for the White Flower of
Happiness. Wherever they found a plant of rare beauty, they bought it
hoping that it might be the plant she sought. Seeds of all kinds also were
planted. And in the blossoming time there were flowers in the gardens by
the thousands--but behind that great wall there was no flower that was
white as the driven snow, with heart-shaped petals surrounding a heart of
gold.

There was also a man in the kingdom who thought he could surely find the
flower. He was a business man.

"If I could find it," he said, "I would grow more plants and sell them to
the people at a great profit. Then I should quickly grow rich and there
would be no need for me to work."

So he set his office force all to work to write letters to the gardeners
and seed-growers of the world. They described the little flower and
offered large sums for one single plant. But he, too, failed in his
search. It was not to be found.

Down in the heart of the poorer section of the royal city there lived a
little old lady whom every one called Aunt Betsy. She was very poor; she
had only one room that she could call home, and her only companion was a
scrawny cat that every one else had driven away. But it loved her and she
loved it, and was glad to have it share her home.

She was very lame and had to hobble away to her work every morning, yet
she was the cheeriest little body alive and every one loved her.

Aunt Betsy, like all of her neighbors, was seeking the White Flower of
Happiness.

"This old street with its tumble-down houses, and uneven sidewalks, and
tin cans surely needs a heap of something to cheer it," she would say.
"Now, if I could find just one plant, I would make this old alley the
finest place ever. Then the little children here could have some chance. I
wish I might find it."

But no flowers grew where she lived or where she worked, so she couldn't
hope to find the plant. The only thing she could do was to save every
penny she could so that, if the King found the plant, she might possibly
buy a seed.

Into an old tin cup she put the pennies, one by one, but it was very slow
work, for Aunt Betsy was very poor.

One winter night as Aunt Betsy returned from work, she found a queer
looking bundle on her door-step and, on unrolling it, she found Bobby, one
of the neighbor's children. Now Bobby had no mother and only a poor
drunken father, who often beat him. And Aunt Betsy saw, as she unrolled
him, that his face was all tear-stained, so she knew what had been
happening. Bobby had crept away from the blows to come to his best friend
when in trouble--Aunt Betsy.

Carefully she picked the little fellow up, carried him into her bare
little room, gave him a hot drink, and then tucked him all comfortably on
the couch which served as her bed. Tired from his day of play and work,
the little fellow was soon lost in sleep.

Not so Aunt Betsy. Sitting by the fire, all she could see were the great
holes in the shoes she was drying. Bobby needed some shoes very badly, but
she had no money with which to buy some.

"There is the money in the cup," said a voice within.

"But I couldn't give that, for I want so much to buy a seed to bring
happiness to this alley," thought Aunt Betsy.

"But a pair of shoes would bring happiness to Bobbie now," said the
voice.

She looked again at the little swollen feet under the cover on the couch.
Then slowly, yet with a smile of infinite tenderness, she softly stole to
the cupboard, took the money from the little tin cup, drew on her old
shawl, and went out into the night.

'Twas a very happy Bobbie who went back to his home in the morning, and
behind Aunt Betsy's stove were the little worn shoes. A little later a
little old woman went down the narrow stairs to her work and she sang as
she went.

That night Aunt Betsy, hurrying past a florist's shop, bumped into a
barrel of waste that stood on the walk. Stopping abruptly, she saw a
wilted-looking plant in an old broken pot on the top of the pile.

"Why, you poor little plant," said Aunt Betsy. "I'll just take you home
and love you; perhaps you will grow for me in my little upper room."

So she carried it home, transplanted it into the old tin cup from which
she had taken the money, and then set it where the sunshine would find it
the very first thing in the morning.

In two days the plant showed signs of life. In a week it stood tall and
firm. In two weeks there was a bud which Aunt Betsy watched with great
care. Would it be pink or red or yellow? She didn't care if only it were a
blossom.

'Twas night when she came home from her work, but as soon as she opened
the door she knew that the little flower had opened, for the room was full
of the fragrance that it was sending forth. She hurried to the window and
she saw--oh, could she believe her eyes! She saw a little flower, white as
the driven snow. Its petals were heart-shaped and surrounded a heart of
wonderful gold. It was the White Flower of Happiness.

During the night, the little plant stayed with her in the attic room, but
in the morning she carried it to the palace and gave it to the King. Thus,
through a simple loving old woman, the White Flower of Happiness was given
to a whole kingdom.

But the strange thing about the plant was this: Whenever its owner kept
the flower only for self and did not share it with others, it withered and
died; but, when lovingly shared, it grew and blossomed and made happy, not
only its owner, but all to whom it went. It was in very truth to all--The
White Flower of Happiness.



THE SPEAKING PICTURE


There had been a great discussion in the High School all the week, and as
Friday drew nearer the excitement grew more and more intense. For Barton
High School had many girls from the Hill section of the town where the
mill owners lived, and also many girls from the River section where the
mill workers lived.

There was to be an election for the president of the Senior Class and when
the names of the candidates for the presidency had been posted on the
bulletin board by the nominating committee, a mill girl headed the list.

Such a thing had never been heard of in the school. Always the president
of the class had been the one who could entertain the class, who could
stand out prominently during class week, whose father would help to pay
the bills of the Commencement time.

But at the beginning of the year, the class had decided to learn to do
things according to parliamentary law and to be democratic, and this was
the result. Never for a moment had the girls and boys of the Hill section
dreamed that a committee would dare to choose a River-section president.

To be sure, the girl whom they had chosen had led the class both in marks
and in the debating club. Yes, she could make a splendid Commencement Day
speaker, but she was a River-section girl, and they just wouldn't have
it.

So they argued and pleaded and tried to persuade their friends to make her
fail the election. Why, there would be no fun at all during Commencement
week if she led the class. She had nothing at all to spend for fun.

Chief among the objectors had been Mary Waite. Her father owned the
largest mill and she had thought surely the place was to be hers. She had
even planned how she would entertain the class on the lawn of her home.
She was ready to do almost anything to upset the plans of the nominating
committee.

So the group of girls were still scolding when they reached the door of
the museum about four o'clock on Thursday afternoon. Mary had an errand in
the picture gallery and the rest were to wait for her in the corridor
below.

As she entered the gallery, she pulled from her book the assignment which
had been given to her:

"Study the pictures in Gallery Nine and bring the name and the artist of
the picture that speaks most plainly to you."

What an assignment! How could any picture speak to her when she was
feeling in such an unpleasant mood. She passed down one side and then
along the end of the gallery. She liked the children in this and the
flowers in that. But surely none would speak to her.

Down another side she went, stopping more often to look at the things that
interested her.

Suddenly she saw a picture of the Christ. It was at the end of the
gallery, and a wonderful light was thrown on it from a globe just above
the picture. The Christ was standing in a room and in his face was such a
tender, thoughtful look.

Mary sat down in the seat nearest to her. She did not want to move nearer
lest she lose the rare expression of the face of the Christ. It had only
been a few weeks since she had been standing before the altar of the
church, making herself a gift to the Christ. So as she sat and watched
the picture, she thought to herself:

"What a wonderful man he was! I should have loved to have had him look in
my face as he is looking into theirs. I wish I might have really seen
him."

After a time she moved nearer. Then she could see the faces of the other
persons in the picture. From where she had been sitting, only the face of
the Christ had seemed to stand out, though one knew the others were there.
They were sitting about the table in a home.

What a rude table it was! How roughly they were dressed! Why, they were
only poor people, yet the Christ was standing in their midst, giving them
to eat.

She studied his face. How beautiful it was! How much she loved him! How
eager she was to give him her very best! What could she do to show her
love? And as she looked she heard a voice saying to her: "The poor ye have
always with you, but me ye have not always."

Then somehow the faces of the men in the picture seemed like those of the
men who worked in her father's mill and in the face of the woman she saw a
likeness to Elizabeth Meeker. But the face of the Christ was still full of
love and tenderness.

The head of the girl drooped as she sat long before the picture. What had
she against Elizabeth Meeker? Nothing except the fact that she was poor.
She was a girl that Jesus would have loved, for she was always dependable.
Yet Mary was trying to take away the greatest pleasure that might ever
come to that poor girl.

She had no pretty home, she had little time for play; she hadn't even a
mother. Yet Mary knew she had been very, very unkind to her.

And now the face of the Christ seemed searching her very soul: "The poor
ye have always with you, but me ye have not always. Inasmuch as ye have
done it unto one of the least of these, ye have done it unto me."

There was a sound of a bell and Mary knew she must leave the room. One
last look she gave to the Christ of the picture. Then she smiled and
nodded her head.

When she came to join the girls below, she said quietly:

"Girls, let's give the school a surprise to-morrow. Let's go and vote for
Elizabeth Meeker, since so many of the class want her for president, and
then prove to the rest that we can still have a good time during
Commencement week. Father will let us use the grounds when we like and we
can all have a part in the planning of the fun. I should just like to see
if she really can make a class president as well as we girls from the
Hill."

And though the girls couldn't understand why she had changed, yet they
were glad to follow her lead.

That night Mary Waite sat before her desk in her pretty room on the Hill
and looked again at the assignment which had been given to her--

"Study the pictures in Gallery Nine and bring to me the name of the
picture and the artist who painted the one that speaks most plainly to
you."

And in no uncertain letters she wrote:

                    Christ in the Home of the Lowly.
                             By L'Hermitte

                                                             Mary Waite.



THE QUEST


Once there came to the land of the Every-day a messenger from the King. In
his hand he carried glasses to help him in the search which he was making.
Under his arm he was carrying a scroll. On his face there was a look of
deep concern.

How could he ever find the most beautiful thing in all the world? There
were so many beautiful things that he had no idea even where to begin. Yet
this was his commission: "Of all the beautiful things, choose for me the
most beautiful."

So the messenger called for heralds and sent them forth to ask of the
people of the Every-day their help in choosing for the King.

"Bring to me your most beautiful thing," he said. "Then I will choose from
these things what I deem most beautiful."

And one brought a wonderful gem. It was clear as crystal; it sparkled in
the light and seemed to beg to be chosen. The rays of the noonday sun
shone through the stone and all the people cried with one voice:

"How beautiful! How wonderful! We have never seen the like!"

"Surely," thought the messenger, "I shall never find anything so rare as
this. I will take it to the King."

But a voice cried: "Wait, oh, messenger, wait! That which is dead can
never be the most beautiful thing. Surely I have here that which far
exceeds the stone which you have seen. I beg you look at this."

Then he opened the cover of the great box that he carried.

In a bed of shimmering white there lay a beautiful rose. Its leaves were
still wet with the dew of the garden. Its petals were as perfect as
perfect could be. Then as the sun shone into the box, the exquisite rose
caught also the rays of the sun and slowly the beautiful petals began to
unfold.

There was silence in the group of people about the box. What a wonderful
thing the man had brought to the messenger! It had beauty, but it had also
life.

Yet even as they looked there came another. By his side walked a great
dog. His hair was like silk; his eyes were tender as a child's; his face
was as knowing as a person's. Quietly his owner brought him forward,
saying: "This is to me far more beautiful than the rose. This has beauty
and life, but it has also usefulness. It has saved the lives of many."

And he patted the head of the faithful animal.

Then a mother pressed through the crowd and said: "Surely no animal is so
beautiful as a child. See! here is my little one. She has beauty and life
and usefulness--and she has also the magic beauty of innocence. See her
hands, and her little feet, and her golden curls. I am sure there is no
more beautiful thing in all the world than my baby."

Then the messenger sighed. What could he do? He just could not find the
thing that the King had asked him to find. All were so beautiful. Thinking
to be by himself, he walked away. Into a path alone by himself he went.

Then he heard voices, and, brushing aside the branches, he saw a young
maiden who played with a little child. Her touch was very tender as she
played the childish game. And when they had finished, the messenger held
his breath, for the child had thrown a tiny arm about her neck and the
yellow curls of the baby were close to the brown ones of the maiden. And
the maiden's face was wreathed in a wondrous smile.

"That is beauty," said the messenger. "That is rare beauty. But why is she
so beautiful? I must see."

Quickly he unfastened the glasses from their case and turned them to the
picture before him. Then, because they were magic glasses used only by the
King, he could see why she was beautiful.

In her mind he found clean thoughts; in her life he found kind deeds; in
her soul he found a high ideal; in her heart he found a mother-love for
little children.

Then the messenger took from his arm the scroll which he carried and with
his stylus he wrote these words:

"In all the world I find no more beautiful thing than a maiden who is
reaching toward life's highest goal--a noble womanhood--with love to show
her the way."



THE TREASURE


Four girls they were--four laughing girls from the High School. For three
happy years they had studied together and played together. But now
Ambition had whispered to them. To each the message had been the same:

"Hidden in the way that is ahead you will find a treasure. It is of all
treasures most valuable. It will bring to you comfort and happiness all
the days of your life. Seek and ye shall find."

And at once they began to wish to find the treasure. Not to each other
even did they tell the secret that Ambition had whispered, for then
another might find the treasure. Each in her own way began to seek, and
for a time their paths still led in the same direction.

But one bright, beautiful day they came to a place where the ways parted.
Many roads led from the one road and on every road there were many people.
Now what should be done? In which way was the treasure to be found? If one
chose the wrong way, one might never find it.

There was little time to stand and think, for the crowds pressed on
behind, always urging them forward. Into one they must go at once.

"Surely this is the road," said the first, looking down a beautiful, long
roadway. "One would certainly find something worth while in such a
beautiful place as this. Here are lights and music; here are songs and
merriment; here are people who seem as happy as the day. I shall enter
here, and after I have danced and played with the brightly dressed girls
whom I see, I shall hunt diligently for the treasure."

So she entered the way of Pleasure and, because there was time for naught
else but play, her days passed and she found it not.

"That road does not appeal to me," said the second. "The red of the
lights, the noise of the music, the laughter of the people seem annoying
to me. I do not care to go with you longer. I like this yellow way. There
must be a great sun to light the way, for it is so beautiful. Here, too,
every one is searching, so I am sure they must have knowledge that the
treasure is here. I will enter and find it."

Then she, too, entered the way of her choice and it was the way of Gold.
All about her were traces of treasure, but there were many who pushed her
aside. She grew weary with her search; she liked little the people who
were her companions in the way, and she found there no treasure that
brought comfort and happiness all her days.

"I like little those long, uninteresting roadways where it all is glitter
and noise," said the third. "I like little the great crowds of people. I
shall take this hilly road where few are working. They seem eager to reach
the top. Now all treasure is hidden in the hillsides. I shall climb here
and search."

So she entered the way of Fame. It was very steep; at first it seemed that
she could find no place to put even one foot. She must cling to very
uncertain bits along the way to help her to move up, yet little by little
she climbed. It took years and years, and one by one her companions
dropped by the way. Those who also neared the top had little of
companionship for her. They envied her her footholds; they tried to get
ahead of her in the way. Then she knew that she could never find the Great
Treasure, for she was lonely, and a lonely heart is never satisfied and
happy.

"Which shall I choose?" said the fourth girl, looking all about her. "I
think I shall try this"--but just then a voice said: "I am tired and ill.
Will you help me a bit in my way?"

'Twas an old, old man. His clothes showed signs of travel and his face was
very sad. Taking his hand, she led him for a time till he came to a
resting place.

Then she was about to go back and choose her road, but a child's voice
said: "Won't you help me up this hill? I fall back when I try to climb."
And she went still farther into the way.

And then, when the child had been given over to his mother, a boy needed
help in carrying a load, and as she talked with him she forgot the other
road and began to see the beautiful things ahead in the road over which
she was traveling.

There were flowers to pick and give to the sad; there were cooling springs
where one could find cups of water for the weary; there were resting
places under the trees to which one could lead the aged. And she had
forgotten that she came to seek for a treasure for herself in her
happiness in helping others.

So the days passed, filled to the brim with loving, helping deeds. The
music which she heard was the song of the birds; the beautiful colors to
cheer came in the flowers and in the sunset; the hills in the way were
easily climbed, for there was much of friendship as she toiled upward.

One day in her path she saw a bent old lady in whose one hand was a book
and in whose other hand was a basket. She seemed heavily loaded and the
girl hastened to help her.

"Let me carry your basket," she said cheerily. "Put the book on the top
and I can take them both."

Then a smile came over the face of the woman as she said: "The basket
seems to be heavy, for in it is a great treasure. But he that hath this
treasure finds no difficulty in carrying it. It is yours, child--all
yours. Let me read to you from the book."

Very slowly she opened the great book and read: "Inasmuch as ye have done
it unto one of the least of these, ye have done it unto me."

Then the gray cloak fell aside and her raiment was shining as the sun. Her
beautiful face grew more beautiful as she handed the basket to the girl,
saying:

"'Tis the command of our King--to him that hath shall be given and he
shall have abundance! Take your treasure--the love of the people along the
way, but take also the gift of the King--comfort and happiness all the
days of your life. For you entered the way of Love to seek for your
treasure and where Love is, there God is also."





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