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´╗┐Title: In Story-land
Author: Harrison, Elizabeth
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 "In Story-land" ***

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IN STORY-LAND.

by

ELIZABETH HARRISON,

Principal of the Chicago Kindergarten College.

Fifth Edition.



The Sigma Publishing Co.
10 Van Buren St.,
Chicago, Ill.

210 Pine St.,
St. Louis, Mo.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the 1895, by ELIZABETH
HARRISON, In the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

Press of Nixon-Jones Printing Co., 215 Pine St., St. Louis.

Binders: Becktold & Co., St. Louis.



              I LOVINGLY DEDICATE THIS BOOK TO MY FRIEND,
                        Kate Tiffany Richardson,
_who, from childhood, through girlhood, far into womanhood, illumined my
life with a radiant love and sympathy that made every ideal seem
possible, and with whose four little children I have many a time
journeyed into STORY-LAND_.

ELIZABETH HARRISON.

Chicago, Ill.



PREFACE.


_It is not expected that the stories in this book will be told in their
present form to Kindergarten children, as experience has shown that each
Kindergartner must modify her story to suit the needs and capacities of
her children, and must learn to take from any story just so much as may
be helpful to her in creating a fresh story for the occasion. It is
hoped, however, that they may serve the mother in her home reading with
her group of children, and also that my colaborers in primary and second
grade schools may sometimes use them for Friday afternoon readings._

       *       *       *       *       *

NOTE TO SECOND EDITION.

_A friendly critic has suggested that I add "One story a day is enough
for a child." This is certainly the case if the story is to make any
deep or lasting impression._

_E. H._



_CONTENTS._


LITTLE BETA AND THE LAME GIANT

THE LINE OF GOLDEN LIGHT; OR, THE LITTLE BLIND SISTER

PRINCE HARWEDA AND THE MAGIC PRISON

THE LITTLE GRAY GRANDMOTER; OR, THE ENCHANTED MIRROR

LITTLE BLESSED-EYES; OR, THE FAIRY'S BIRTHDAY GIFT

THE FAIR WHITE CITY; OR, A STORY OF THE PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE

THE LOVING CUP WHICH WAS MADE OF IRON

HANS AND THE FOUR BIG GIANTS

STORY OF THE SMALL GREEN CATERPILLER AND THE BEAUTIFUL WHITE BUTTERFLY

THE DISCONTENTED MILL WINDOW

THE STRANGE STORY OF A WONDERFUL SEA-GOD

THE VISION OF DANTE


_STORIES OF HEROES._

HOW LITTLE CEDRIC BECAME A KNIGHT

STORY OF CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS FOR LITTLE CHILDREN

A STORY OF DECORATION DAY FOR THE LITTLE CHILDREN OF TO-DAY



_LITTLE BETA AND THE LAME GIANT._


Near the top of a high, high mountain there lived a great giant. He was
a very wonderful giant indeed. From the door of his rocky cave he could
look into the distance and see for miles and miles over the surrounding
country, even to the point where the land touched the great ocean, yet
so clearly that he could observe the smile or the frown on a child's
face three miles away. More wonderful still, he could look through the
darkest cloud which ever covered the sky and see the sun still shining
beyond and above it. And then his hands! Oh how I wish you could have
seen his hands! They were so large and strong. Such wonderful hands,
too! With them he could lift up a rock as big as this room and set it to
one side. Sometimes his fingers could make the sweetest kind of music
come from a crude violin which he had fashioned for himself.

Then, too, he knew so much, and he knew it well. I don't believe that
ten of the wisest men that our universities ever sent out could have
told you such extraordinary things. He knew all about every plant which
grew on the mountain, and just where the rich mines of gold and silver
were hidden inside the mountain. He could have pointed out to you which
pebbles could be polished into emeralds and topazes and sapphires and
which were worthless. Had you asked him he could have taken you to the
secret spring from which flowed the sparkling stream of healing waters,
sought by all the sick folks in the country round. He was such a
wonderful giant that it would take me the whole day to tell you of all
the things which he could do--but--_he was lame_ and somehow could never
get down the mountain to where the ordinary mortal lived. So for ages he
had been alone upon his mountain top, seeing all the people below him,
loving them with all his heart, and knowing just what would help them,
yet never being able to come near to them.

In one of the valleys of the great mountain lived a little maiden called
Beta. She was so small that most people thought her a young child and so
weak that she could not even carry a bucket of water from the well to
the house. Then too, she was a very plain looking little girl, not at
all pretty. Her mother used to say to her: "My dear daughter, you are
neither rich, nor clever, nor beautiful, therefore you must learn to be
useful to others if you would be loved."

The little maiden often wondered how she was to be of any use to the
people about her. She would say to herself, "I have no money to give to
them; my hands are not skilled enough to do much work for them and my
brain is not quick, therefore I can not give them beautiful thoughts
which will help them." Still she was a loving-hearted little girl, and
love, you know, always finds a way to be helpful.

One day it occurred to her that she could gather some wild flowers and
take them to the old woman who lived all alone at the end of the village
and who was so deaf that nobody ever tried to talk to her.

With this thought in mind she started out in search of the brightest
flowers she could find. She climbed the mountain side and gathered a
_whole armful_ of beautiful yellow golden-rod and purple asters and red
Indian pinks. These she carried joyfully to the little house at the end
of the village. They made the dingy old room take on a look of warmth
and happiness. Gay as they were, however, the face of the old deaf
woman was brighter still as she said, "Bless you, my child, bless you!
Who but little Beta would ever have thought of bringing flowers to me."

The next day Beta thought she would take some flowers to the blind
weaver who made all the carpets that the villagers used. "This time,"
she said to herself, "I must hunt for the flowers which have a sweet
odor, as he cannot see their gay colors." So she gathered some wild
roses and some sweet scented violets and some witch hazel. As she
entered his small shop he lifted his head from his work and said, "Ah
me, what is this I smell? It has been many a day since I have been near
enough to the mountain's own flowers to breathe in their perfume." Beta
placed them in a mug near his loom and as she ran home she was very
happy, yet she hardly knew why.

After this she went daily to the mountain to gather flowers for some
dear soul who could not go out to get them. Sometimes they were taken to
the gentle mother who had so many children that she never found time to
leave her home. Sometimes they went to the village church and made the
Sunday seem more beautiful than other days. Each time she climbed higher
and higher as she had soon learned that the rarer and more beautiful
flowers could only be found far up the mountain. At last one day, when
she had climbed farther than she had ever ventured before, she suddenly
came upon the lame giant sitting on a large stump in front of his cave.
In his hand was his violin, but he was not playing; his face wore a
thoughtful, almost a sad look.

Beta was so frightened that the flowers dropped from her hands and she
nearly stopped breathing. She had never before in all her life, seen a
_real, live giant_. He was so big that she could hardly believe her own
eyes as she looked at him. Her first impulse was to run down the
mountain as quickly as possible, but somehow, the very sight of such a
wonderful being held her spell-bound, so she stood motionless, gazing at
him from behind a huge rock.

Soon he put his violin in position under his chin and taking up his bow
began to play. He played so softly and sweetly that little Beta felt
sure he could not be wicked and cruel as were the giants she had read
about. Little by little she came shyly toward him. As soon as he saw her
he laid down his violin and held out his hand, smiling as he did so.
"Come near to me, child," he said, "I will not hurt you," Beta thus
encouraged, came slowly forward.

"Tell me, little one," said he gently, "from whence came you, and how
did you find your way so far up the mountain side? None but strong
mountain guides have ever before come near my cave." "I was gathering
flowers," answered little Beta, "and I thought I might find some blue
forget-me-nots among these rocks." "So you have learned already, have
you, that forget-me-nots can best be found near the mountain tops." With
that he laughed softly to himself. His laugh was such a kindly laugh
that it took away all fear and made Beta feel quite at home with him.
"What is your name?" said she, "and why do you live up here? Do you not
sometimes get lonesome?" The great giant did not answer her, but began
talking about something else. In a short time he had led the little
maiden into telling him all about herself and the people of the village
and the flower gathering. It was not until he rose to point out to her
where forget-me-nots could be found in abundance, that she noticed he
was lame. She had soon gathered a whole apron full of the beautiful
flowers and bidding him good-bye she climbed down the mountain,
sometimes slipping and sliding, but always holding fast to the hem of
her apron that the flowers might not be lost.

Many times after that she climbed the mountain to the cave of the giant
and sat on a little stone at his feet while he told her stories of
things which had happened in the village long before any of the people
who lived in it were born. She loved best to listen to the tales of gods
and heroes of the olden times. Then when she was tired of stories he
would show her where the flowers grew most profusely. Little by little
he taught her to know the herbs which were good for sick people.
Oftentimes they were very humble looking plants which she would have
passed by unnoticed. She soon learned how to brew these into drinks and
medicines for the feeble and sick folks of the village. Sometimes,
though not often, he would play on his violin for her. He always played
such strange, weird music that it made her think of Siegfried, and of
Lohengrin and the white swan, or of other beautiful beings whom she had
never seen, but of whom she had heard.

Each day when she returned to her home she told the people of the
village about the wonderful giant who lived so high up the mountain
that its top could be seen from his cave door, but they only laughed and
said, "Little Beta has been dreaming." Even after they had learned to
call upon her for herbs with which to poultice bruised limbs and
strengthen weak stomachs or quiet restless fevers, they gave no heed to
what she said about the giant.

Years passed by and the little maiden still continued to climb the
mountain to learn of the lame giant more and more of what was wonderful
and beautiful in the world about her. Much climbing in the open air had
made her strong and well. As time wore on, she unconsciously made a path
up the mountain side, which of course caused the climbing to be much
easier than in the days when she had to scramble over the rocks and push
aside the underbrush to make her way up. The path too, was firm and
smooth now, with no stones suddenly slipping from beneath her feet and
causing painful falls.

At last one day Beta persuaded two or three of her companions to go with
her to the cave. Now that there was a respectable path, the undertaking
did not seem so foolish as in the days when Beta had gone scrambling up
the rocks, nobody knew whither. So they laughingly consented to go, more
to please Beta, whom they had learned to love, than with any
expectation of seeing a real giant at the end of the journey. Therefore
they were greatly astonished when, after much climbing, a sudden turn in
the road brought them face to face with a being five times as large as
an ordinary man, whose strong hands looked as if they might easily crush
any one of them, yet whose kindly face re-assured them.

The great giant received them pleasantly, as they were little Beta's
friends, and soon they were eagerly plying him with all sorts of
questions. "Did he know those strange creatures, the centaurs, whose
bodies were half man and half horse? They had heard that these centaurs
lived somewhere among the mountains, and that they could teach any boy
how to become a great hero. Had he ever ridden on the back of Pegasus,
the flying horse, whom none but giants could ride without tumbling off?
Did he ever drink from the fountain of youth which had the power to keep
mortals from growing old? Was it true that he could change the dirt
beneath their feet into golden money?" All these and many other
questions they asked him and to each he gave an answer.

That night, when they returned to the village, they could talk of
nothing else but the wonderful giant whose home was near the mountain
top. Next day a larger number of the villagers climbed the mountain to
the cave, and each succeeding day more were persuaded to make the
journey, until everybody in the little valley, that is, everybody who
could climb, had visited the lame giant. Then they began to discuss how
they could open a road up the mountain to the cave. Finally they decided
to unite together and build a broad, winding road, one wide enough to
let horses and vehicles pass each other. "Then," said they, "we can take
our dear old grandsires and granddames and even our little children up
to the good giant that he may teach them also."

Soon the whole village was humming with the sound of pickaxe and spade.
Everybody worked and everybody was eager and happy in the work. It took
a long time, several years, in fact, before the road was completed, but
it was done at last and it proved a greater blessing than they had
anticipated, for not only could they now drive up the mountain to the
lame giant's cave, but _he_ was able to come down to them! This was a
thing of which they had never dreamed, and great was the rejoicing on
the occasion of his first visit to them.

Years passed by and the little valley became the most famous spot on the
whole earth, so rich was its soil, so remarkable the products it sent
out. People came from all over the land now to visit the lame giant and
learn of him some of the wonderful secrets which had been hidden for
centuries, and all loved him and revered him.

My story would not be complete if I did not tell you that he too became
less lame, since the journeys up and down the mountain helped to make
him much stronger.

Perhaps some day you may go to this valley yourselves and learn how to
do many wonderful things, which now seem impossible to you.



_THE LINE OF GOLDEN LIGHT; OR, THE LITTLE BLIND SISTER._


Once upon a time there lived a child whose name was Avilla. She was
sweet and loving, and fair to look upon, and had everything in the world
to make her happy,--but she had a little blind sister, and Avilla could
not be perfectly happy as long as her sister's eyes were closed so that
she could not see God's beautiful world, nor enjoy His bright sunshine.
Little Avilla kept wondering if there was not something that she could
do which would open this blind sister's eyes.

At last, one day, she heard of an old, old woman, nobody knew how old,
who had lived for hundreds of years in a dark cave, not many miles away.
This queer, old woman knew a secret enchantment, by means of which the
blind could receive their sight. The child, Avilla, asked her parents'
permission to make a journey to the cave, in order that she might try to
persuade the old woman to tell her this secret. "Then," exclaimed she,
joyfully, "my dear sister need sit no longer in darkness." Her parents
gave a somewhat unwilling consent, as they heard many strange and wicked
stories about the old woman. At last, however, one fine spring morning,
Avilla started on her journey. She had a long distance to walk, but the
happy thoughts in her heart made the time pass quickly, and the soft,
cool breeze seemed to be whispering a song to her all the way.

When she came to the mouth of the cave, it looked so dark and forbidding
that she almost feared to enter it, but the thought of her little blind
sister gave her courage, and she walked in. At first she could see
nothing, for all the sunshine was shut out by the frowning rocks that
guarded the entrance. Soon, however, she discerned the old woman sitting
on a stone chair, spinning a pile of flax into a fine, fine thread. She
seemed bent nearly double with age, and her face wore a look of worry
and care, which made her appear still older.

The child Avilla came close to her side, and thought, she is so aged
that she must be hard of hearing. The old woman did not turn her head,
nor stop her spinning. Avilla waited a moment, and then took fresh
courage, and said, "I have come to ask you if you will tell me how I can
cure my blind sister?" The strange creature turned and stared at her as
if she were very much surprised; she then spoke in a deep, hollow voice,
so hollow that it sounded as if she had not spoken for a very long time.
"Oh," said she with a sneer, "I can tell you well enough, but you'll not
do it. People who can see, trouble themselves very little about those
who are blind!" This last was said with a sigh, and then she scowled at
Avilla until the child's heart began to beat very fast. But the thought
of her little blind sister made her brave again, and she cried out, "Oh
_please_ tell me. I will do anything to help my dear sister!" The old
woman looked long and earnestly at her this time. She then stooped down
and searched in the heap of the fine-spun thread which lay at her side
until she found the end of it. This she held out to the child, saying,
"Take this and carry it all around the world, and when you have done
that, come to me and I will show you how your blind sister may be
cured." Little Avilla thanked her and eagerly seized the tiny thread,
and wrapping it carefully around her hand that she might not lose it,
turned and hastened out of the close, damp cave.

She had not traveled far before she looked back to be sure the thread
had not broken, it was so thin. Imagine her surprise to see that instead
of its being a gray thread of spun flax, it was a thread of golden
light, that glittered and shone in the sunlight, as if it were made of
the most precious stuff on earth. She felt sure now that it must be a
magic thread, and that it somehow would help her to cure her blind
sister. So she hastened on, glad and happy.

Soon, however, she approached a dark, dense forest. No ray of sunlight
seemed ever to have fallen on the trunks of its trees. In the distance
she thought she could hear the growl of bears and the roar of lions. Her
heart almost stopped beating. "Oh, I can never go through that gloomy
forest," said she to herself, and her eyes filled with tears. She turned
to retrace her steps, when the soft breeze which still accompanied her
whispered, "Look at the thread you have been carrying! Look at the
golden thread!" She looked back, and the bright, tiny line of light
seemed to be actually smiling at her, as it stretched across the soft
greensward, far into the distance, and, strange to say, each tiny blade
of grass which it had touched, had blossomed into a flower. So, as the
little girl looked back, she saw a flowery path with a glittering line
of golden light running through it. "How beautiful!" she exclaimed, "I
did not notice the flowers as I came along, but the enchanted thread
will make the next traveler see them."

This thought filled her with such joy that she pushed forward into the
dark woods. Sometimes she knocked her head against a tree which stood in
her way; sometimes she almost feared she was lost, but every now and
then she would look back and the sight of the tiny thread of golden
light always renewed her courage. Once in a while she felt quite sure
that she could see the nose of some wild beast poking out in front of
her, but when she came nearer it proved to be the joint in a tree trunk,
or some strange fungus which had grown on a low branch. Then she would
laugh at her own fear and go on. One of the wonderful things about the
mysterious little thread which she carried in her hand was, that it
seemed to open a path behind it, so that one could easily follow in her
foot-steps without stumbling over fallen trees, or bumping against
living ones. Every now and then a gray squirrel would frisk by her in a
friendly fashion, as if to assure her that she was not alone, even in
the twilight of the dark woods. By and by she came to the part of the
forest where the trees were less dense, and soon she was out in the glad
sunshine again.

But now a new difficulty faced her. As far as she could see stretched a
low, swampy marsh of wet land. The mud and slime did not look very
inviting, but the thought of her little blind sister came to her again,
and she bravely plunged into the mire. The dirty, dripping mud clung to
her dress and made her feet so heavy that she grew weary lifting them
out of it. Sometimes she seemed to be stuck fast, and it was only with a
great effort that she could pull out, first one foot, and then the
other. A lively green frog hopped along beside her, and seemed to say,
in his funny, croaking voice, "Never mind the mud, you'll soon be
through it." When she had at last reached the end of the slippery,
sticky marsh, and stood once more on firm ground, she looked back at the
tiny thread of golden light which trailed along after her. _What_ do you
think had happened? Wherever the mysterious and beautiful thread had
touched the mud, the water had dried up, and the earth had become firm
and hard, so that any other person who might wish to cross the swampy
place could walk on firm ground. This made the child Avilla so happy,
that she began to sing softly to herself.

Soon, however, her singing ceased. As the day advanced, the air grew
hotter and hotter. The trees had long ago disappeared, and now the grass
became parched and dry, until at last she found herself in the midst of
a dreary desert. For miles and miles the scorching sand stretched on
every side. She could not even find a friendly rock in whose shadow she
might rest for a time. The blazing sun hurt her eyes and made her head
ache, and the hot sand burned her feet. Still she toiled on, cheered by
a swarm of yellow butterflies that fluttered just ahead of her. At last
the end of the desert was reached, just as the sun disappeared behind a
crimson cloud. Dusty and weary, the child Avilla was about to throw
herself down on the ground to rest. As she did so, her eyes turned to
look once more at the golden thread which had trailed behind her all day
on the hot sand. Lo, and behold! What did she see? Tall shade trees had
sprung up along the path she had traveled, and each tiny grain of sand
that the wonderful thread had touched, was now changed into a diamond,
or ruby, or emerald, or some other precious stone. On one side the
pathway across the desert shone and glittered, while on the other the
graceful trees cast a cool and refreshing shade.

Little Avilla stood amazed as she looked at the beautiful trees and the
sparkling gems. All feeling of weariness was gone. The air now seemed
mild and refreshing, and she thought that she could hear in the distance
some birds singing their evening songs. One by one the bright stars came
out in the quiet sky above her head, as if to keep guard while she slept
through the night.

The next morning she started forward on her long journey round the
world. She traveled quite pleasantly for a while, thinking of how cool
and shady the desert path would now be for any one who might have to
travel it, and of the precious jewels she had left for some one else to
gather up. She could not stop for them herself, she was too anxious to
press forward and finish her task, in order that her little blind sister
might the sooner see.

After a time she came to some rough rocks tumbled about in great
confusion, as if angry giants had hurled them at each other. Soon the
path grew steeper and steeper, and the rocks sharper and sharper, until
they cut her feet. Before her she could see nothing but more rocks until
they piled themselves into a great mountain, which frowned down upon
her, as much as to say, "How dare you attempt to climb to my summit?"
The brave child hesitated. Just then two strong eagles with outspread
wings rose from their nest of sticks on the side of a steep cliff near
by, and soared majestically and slowly aloft. As they passed far above
her head they uttered a loud cry which seemed to say, "Be brave and
strong and you shall meet us at the mountain-top."

Sometimes the ragged edges of the rocks tore her dress, and sometimes
they caught the tiny golden thread, and tangled it so that she had to
turn back and loosen it from their hold. The road was very steep and she
was compelled to sit down every few minutes and get her breath. Still
she climbed on, keeping the soaring eagles always in sight. As she
neared the top, she turned and looked back at the enchanted thread of
golden light which she had carried through all the long, strange
journey. Another marvelous thing had happened! The rugged path of sharp,
broken rocks, had changed into broad and beautiful white marble steps,
over which trailed the shining thread of light. She knew that she had
made a pathway up this difficult mountain and her heart rejoiced.

She turned again to proceed on her journey, when, only a short distance
in front of her, she saw the dark cave in which lived the strange old
woman who had bidden her carry the line of light around the world. She
hastened forward, and on entering the cave, she saw the old creature,
almost bent double, still spinning the mysterious thread. Avilla ran
forward and cried out, "I have done all you told me to do, now give
sight to my sister?" The old woman sprang to her feet, seized the thread
of golden light and exclaimed, "At last! at last! I am freed!"

Then came so strange and wonderful a change that Avilla could hardly
believe her own eyes. Instead of the ugly, cross-looking old crone,
there stood a beautiful princess, with long golden hair, and tender blue
eyes, her face radiant with joy. Her story was soon told. Hundreds of
years ago she had been changed into the bent old woman, and shut up in
the dark cave on the mountain-side, because she, a daughter of the
King, had been selfish and idle, thinking only of herself, and her
punishment had been that she must remain thus disguised and separated
from all companions and friends until she could find someone who would
be generous and brave enough to take the long, dangerous journey around
the world for the sake of others. Her mother had been a fairy princess
and had taught her many things which we mortals have yet to learn. She
showed the child Avilla how, by dipping the golden thread into a spring
of ordinary water, she could change the water into golden water, which
glittered and sparkled like liquid sunshine. Filling a pitcher with this
they hastened together to where the little blind sister sat in darkness
waiting for some one to come and lead her home. The beautiful princess
told Avilla to dip her hands into the bowl of enchanted water, and then
press them upon the closed eyes of her sister. They opened! And the
little blind girl could see!

After that the fairy princess came and lived with little Avilla and her
sister, and taught them how to do many wonderful things, of which I have
not time to tell you to-day.



_PRINCE HARWEDA AND THE MAGIC PRISON._


Little Harweda was born a prince. His father was King over all the land
and his mother was the most beautiful Queen the world had ever seen and
Prince Harweda was their only child. From the day of his birth
everything that love or money could do for him had been done. The very
wind of heaven was made to fan over an aeolian harp that it might enter
his room, not as a strong fresh breeze, but as a breath of music.
Reflectors were so arranged in the windows that twice as much moonlight
fell on his crib as on that of any ordinary child. The pillow on which
his head rested was made out of the down from humming birds breasts and
the water in which his face and hands were washed was always steeped in
rose leaves before being brought to the nursery. Everything that could
be done was done, and nothing which could add to his ease or comfort was
left undone.

But his parents, although they were King and Queen, were not very wise,
for they never thought of making the young prince think of anybody but
himself and he had never in all his life given up any one of his
comforts that somebody else might have a pleasure. So, of course, he
grew to be selfish and peevish, and by the time he was five years old he
was so disagreeable that nobody loved him. "Dear, dear! what shall we
do?" said the poor Queen mother and the King only sighed and answered
"Ah, what indeed!" They were both very much grieved at heart for they
well knew that little Harweda, although he was a prince, would never
grow up to be a really great King unless he could make his people love
him.

At last they decided to send for his fairy god-mother and see if she
could suggest anything which would cure Prince Harweda of always
thinking about himself. "Well, well, well!" exclaimed the god-mother
when they had laid the case before her--"This is a pretty state of
affairs! and I his god-mother too! Why wasn't I called in sooner?" She
then told them that she would have to think a day and a night and a day
again before she could offer them any assistance. "But," added she, "if
I take the child in charge you must promise not to interfere for a whole
year." The King and Queen gladly promised that they would not speak to
or even see their son for the required time if the fairy god-mother
would only cure him of his selfishness. "We'll see about that," said the
god-mother, "Humph, expecting to be a King some day and not caring for
anybody but himself--a fine King he'll make!" With that off she flew and
the King and Queen saw nothing more of her for a day and a night and
another day. Then back she came in a great hurry. "Give me the Prince,"
said she; "I have his house all ready for him. One month from to-day
I'll bring him back to you. Perhaps he'll be cured and perhaps he won't.
If he is not cured then we shall try two months next time. We'll see,
we'll see." Without any more ado she picked up the astonished young
prince and flew away with him as lightly as if he were nothing but a
feather or a straw. In vain the poor queen wept and begged for a last
kiss. Before she had wiped her eyes, the fairy god-mother and Prince
Harweda were out of sight.

They flew a long distance until they reached a great forest. When they
had come to the middle of it, down flew the fairy, and in a minute more
the young prince was standing on the green grass beside a beautiful
pink marble palace that looked something like a good sized summer
house.

"This is your home," said the god-mother, "in it you will find
everything you need and you can do just as you choose with your time."
Little Harweda was delighted at this for there was nothing in the world
he liked better than to do as he pleased, so he tossed his cap up into
the air and ran into the lovely little house without so much as saying
"Thank you" to his god-mother. "Humph," said she as he disappeared,
"you'll have enough of it before you are through with it, my fine
prince." With that off she flew.

Prince Harweda had no sooner set his foot inside the small rose-colored
palace than the iron door shut with a bang and locked itself. For you
must know by this time that it was an enchanted house, as of course, all
houses are that are built by fairies.

Prince Harweda did not mind being locked in, as he cared very little for
the great beautiful outside world, and the new home which was to be _all
his own_ was very fine, and he was eager and impatient to examine it.
Then too he thought that when he was tired of it, all he would have to
do would be to kick on the door and a servant from somewhere would come
and open it,--he had always had a servant ready to obey his slightest
command.

His fairy god-mother had told him that it was _his_ house, therefore he
was interested in looking at everything in it.

The floor was made of a beautiful red copper that shone in the sunlight
like burnished gold and seemed almost a dark red in the shadow. He had
never seen anything half so fine before. The ceiling was of
mother-of-pearl and showed a constant changing of tints of red and blue
and yellow and green, all blending into the gleaming white, as only
mother-of-pearl can. From the middle of this handsome ceiling hung a
large gilded bird cage containing a beautiful bird, which just at this
moment was singing a glad song of welcome to the Prince. Harweda,
however, cared very little about birds, so he took no notice of the
songster.

Around on every side were costly divans with richly embroidered
coverings and on which were many sizes of soft down pillows. "Ah,"
thought the Prince, "here I can lounge at my ease with no one to call me
to stupid lessons!" Wonderfully carved jars and vases of wrought gold
and silver stood about on the floor and each was filled with a different
kind of perfume. "This is delicious," said Prince Harweda. "Now I can
have all the sweet odors I want without the trouble of going out into
the garden for roses or lilies."

In the center of the room was a fountain of sparkling water which leaped
up and fell back into its marble basin with a kind of rhythmical sound
that made a faint, dreamy music very pleasant to listen to.

On a table near at hand were various baskets of the most tempting pears
and grapes and peaches, and near them were dishes of all kinds of
sweetmeats. "Good," said the greedy young prince, "that is what I like
best of all," and therewith he fell to eating the fruit and sweetmeats
as fast as he could cram them into his mouth. He ate so much he had a
pain in his stomach, but strange to say, the table was just as full as
when he began, for no sooner did he reach his hand out and take a soft
mellow pear or a rich, juicy peach than another pear or peach took its
place in the basket. The same thing occurred when he helped himself to
chocolate drops or marsh-mallows or any of the other confectionery upon
the table. For, of course, if the little palace was enchanted,
everything in it was enchanted, also.

When Prince Harweda had eaten until he could eat no more he threw
himself down upon one of the couches and an invisible hand gently
stroked his hair until he fell asleep. When he awoke he noticed for the
first time the walls which, by the way, were really the strangest part
of his new home. They had in them twelve long, checkered windows which
reached from the ceiling to the floor. The spaces between the windows
were filled in with mirrors exactly the same size as the windows, so
that the whole room was walled in with windows and looking glasses.
Through the three windows that looked to the north could be seen the far
distant mountains Beautiful, as they were called, towering high above
the surrounding country; sometimes their snow-covered tops were pink or
creamy yellow as they caught the rays of the sunrise; sometimes they
were dark purple or blue as they reflected the storm cloud. From the
three windows that faced the south could be seen the great ocean,
tossing and moving, constantly catching a thousand gleams of silver from
the moonlight. Again and again, each little wave would be capped with
white from its romp with the wind. Yet, as the huge mountains seemed to
reach higher than man could climb, so the vast ocean seemed to stretch
out farther than any ship could possibly carry him. The eastern windows
gave each morning a glorious vision of sky as the darkness of the night
slowly melted into the still gray dawn, and that changed into a golden
glow and that in turn became a tender pink. It was really the most
beautiful as well as the most mysterious sight on earth if one watched
it closely. The windows on the west looked out upon a great forest of
tall fir trees and at the time of sunset the glorious colors of the
sunset sky could be seen between the dark green branches.

But little Prince Harweda cared for none of these beautiful views. In
fact, he scarcely glanced out of the windows at all, he was so taken up
with the broad handsome mirrors, for in each of them he could see
himself reflected and he was very fond of looking at himself in a
looking glass. He was much pleased when he noticed that the mirrors were
so arranged that each one not only reflected his whole body, head, arms,
feet and all, but that it also reflected his image as seen in several of
the other mirrors. He could thus see his front and back and each side,
all at the same time. As he was a handsome boy he enjoyed these many
views of himself immensely, and would stand and sit and lie down just
for the fun of seeing the many images of himself do the same thing.

He spent so much time looking at and admiring himself in the wonderful
looking-glasses that he had very little time for the books and games
which had been provided for his amusement. Hours were spent each day
first before one mirror and then another, and he did not notice that the
windows were growing narrower and the mirrors wider until the former had
become so small that they hardly admitted light enough for him to see
himself in the looking-glass. Still, this did not alarm him very much as
he cared nothing whatever for the outside world. It only made him spend
more time before the mirror, as it was now getting quite difficult for
him to see himself at all. The windows at last became mere slits in the
wall and the mirrors grew so large that they not only reflected little
Harweda but all of the room besides in a dim, indistinct kind of a way.

Finally, however, Prince Harweda awoke one morning and found himself in
total darkness. Not a ray of light came from the outside and of course,
not an object in the room could be seen. He rubbed his eyes and sat up
to make sure that he was not dreaming. Then he called loudly for some
one to come and open a window for him, but no one came. He got up and
groped his way to the iron door and tried to open it, but it was, as you
know, locked. He kicked it and beat upon it, but he only bruised his
fists and hurt his toes. He grew quite angry now. How dare any one shut
him, a prince, up in a dark prison like this! He abused his fairy
god-mother, calling her all sorts of horrid names. Then he upbraided his
father and mother, the King and Queen, for letting him go away with such
a god-mother. In fact, he blamed everybody and everything but himself
for his present condition, but it was of no use. The sound of his own
voice was his only answer. The whole of the outside world seemed to have
forgotten him.

As he felt his way back to his couch he knocked over one of the golden
jars which had held the liquid perfume, but the perfume was all gone now
and only an empty jar rolled over the floor. He laid himself down on the
divan but its soft pillows had been removed and a hard iron frame-work
received him. He was dismayed and lay for a long time thinking of what
he had best do with himself. All before him was blank darkness, as black
as the darkest night you ever saw. He reached out his hand to get some
fruit to eat, but only one or two withered apples remained on the
table--was he to starve to death? Suddenly he noticed that the tinkling
music of the fountain had ceased. He hastily groped his way over to it
and he found in place of the dancing, running stream stood a silent pool
of water. A hush had fallen upon everything about him, a dead silence
was in the room. He threw himself down upon the floor and wished that he
were dead also. He lay there for a long, long time.

At last he heard, or thought he heard, a faint sound. He listened
eagerly. It seemed to be some tiny creature not far from him, trying to
move about. For the first time for nearly a month he remembered the bird
in its gilded cage. "Poor little thing," he cried as he sprang up, "You
too are shut within this terrible prison. This thick darkness must be as
hard for you to bear as it is for me." He went towards the cage and as
he approached it the bird gave a sad little chirp.

"That's better than nothing," said the boy, "you must need some water to
drink, poor thing," continued he as he filled its drinking cup. "This
is all I have to give you."

Just then he heard a harsh, grating sound, as of rusty bolts sliding
with difficulty out of their sockets, and then faint rays of light not
wider than a hair began to shine between the heavy plate mirrors. Prince
Harweda was filled with joy. "Perhaps, perhaps," said he softly, "I may
yet see the light again. Ah, how beautiful the outside world would look
to me now!"

The next day he was so hungry that he began to eat one of the old
withered apples, and as he bit it he thought of the bird, his
fellow-prisoner. "You must be hungry, too, poor little thing," said he
as he divided his miserable food and put part of it into the bird's
cage. Again came the harsh, grating sound, and the boy noticed that the
cracks of light were growing larger. Still they were only cracks,
nothing of the outside world could be seen. Still it was a comfort not
to have to grope about in total darkness. Prince Harweda felt quite sure
that the cracks of light were a little wider, and on going up to one and
putting his eye close to it as he would to a pinhole in a paper, he was
rejoiced to find that he could tell the greenness of the grass from the
blue of the sky. "Ah, my pretty bird, my pretty bird!" he cried
joyfully, "I have had a glimpse of the great beautiful outside world and
you shall have it too."

With these words he climbed up into a chair and loosening the cage from
the golden chain by which it hung, he carried it carefully to the
nearest crack of light and placed it close to the narrow opening. Again
was heard the harsh, grating sound and the walls moved a bit and the
windows were now at least an inch wide. At this the poor Prince clasped
his hands with delight. He sat himself down near the bird cage and gazed
out of the narrow opening. Never before had the trees looked so tall and
stately, or the white clouds floating through the sky so lovely. The
next day as he was carefully cleaning the bird's cage so that the little
creature might be somewhat more comfortable, the walls again creaked and
groaned and the mirrors grew narrower by just so many inches as the
windows widened. But Prince Harweda saw only the flood of sunshine that
poured in, and the added beauty of the larger landscape. He cared
nothing whatever now for the stupid mirrors which could only reflect
what was placed before them. Each day he found something new and
beautiful in the view from the narrow windows. Now it was a squirrel
frisking about and running up some tall tree trunk so rapidly that
Prince Harweda could not follow it with his eyes; again it was a mother
bird feeding her young. By this time the windows were a foot wide or
more. One day as two white doves suddenly soared aloft in the blue sky
the poor little canary who had now become the tenderly cared for comrade
of the young Prince, gave a pitiful little trill. "Dear little fellow,"
cried Prince Harweda, "do you also long for your freedom? You shall at
least be as free as I am." So saying, he opened the cage door and the
bird flew out.

The Prince laughed as he watched it flutter about from chair to table
and back to chair again. He was so much occupied with the bird that he
did not notice that the walls had again shaken and the windows were now
their full size, until the added light caused him to look around. He
turned and saw the room looking almost exactly as it did the day he
entered it with so much pride because it was all his own. Now it seemed
close and stuffy and he would gladly have exchanged it for the humblest
home in his father's kingdom where he could meet people and hear them
talk and see them smile at each other, even if they should take no
notice of him. One day soon after this the little bird fluttered up
against the window pane and beat his wings against it in a vain effort
to get out. A new idea seized the young Prince, and taking up one of the
golden jars he went to the window and struck on one of its checkered
panes of glass with all his force. "You shall be free, even if I can
not," said he to the bird. Two or three strong blows shivered the small
pane and the bird swept out into the free open air beyond. "Ah, my
pretty one, how glad I am that you are free at last," exclaimed the
prince as he stood watching the flight of his fellow-prisoner. His face
was bright with the glad, unselfish joy over the bird's liberty. The
small, pink marble palace shook from top to bottom, the iron door flew
open and the fresh wind from the sea rushed in and seemed to catch the
boy in its invisible arms. Prince Harweda could hardly believe his eyes
as he sprang to the door. There stood his fairy god-mother, smiling and
with her hand reached out toward him. "Come, my god-child," said she
gently, "we shall now go back to your father and mother, the King and
Queen, and they will rejoice with us that you have been cured of your
terrible disease of selfishness."

Great indeed was the rejoicing in the palace when Prince Harweda was
returned to them a sweet, loving boy, kind and thoughtful to all about
him. Many a struggle he had with himself and many a conquest over the
old habit of selfishness, but as time passed by he grew to be a great
and wise king, loving and tenderly caring for all his people and loved
by them in return.



_THE LITTLE GRAY GRANDMOTHER; OR, THE ENCHANTED MIRROR._


Nobody knew whence she came or whither she went. All that any one of the
children could have told you about her, was that oftentimes they looked
up from their play and there she stood, in her soft misty gray gown, and
still softer, long, gray cloak and shadowy gray veil which always
reminded them of thin smoke. Sometimes her face could scarcely be seen
behind this mysterious veil, and sometimes it shone quite clear and
distinct. This was always the case when any one of them had done some
unselfish or brave act and thought no one knew it. And yet, if happy
with the thought, he or she chanced to look up, there would be the
Little Gray Grandmother, her face fairly shining with the glad smile of
approval. Then suddenly she would disappear and they would not hear of
her for days and days.

There was a large family of them, and they had sharp eyes too, but none
of them ever saw her coming until, as I said before, there she stood in
the midst of them. They lived near the great sea, and its mist often
covered the coast for miles and miles so that nothing but the dim
outline of objects could be seen. Therefore, their city cousins had
fallen into the way of laughing at them and saying the Little Gray
Grandmother was only a bit of the sea fog left behind after a damp day,
but _they_ knew better.

Although she had never spoken to them, had she not smiled at them, and
sometimes looked sad when she came upon them suddenly and found any one
of them doing a mean or greedy deed, and ah, how stern her eyes were the
day she found Wilhelm telling a lie! Nobody could make _them_ believe
that she was only a dream which came from a bit of sea fog! Then, too,
had she not left that thimble for Mai which was no sooner placed on her
thimble-finger than it began to push the needle so fast that a seam a
yard long would be finished before you could say, "Jack Robinson,"
unless you had practiced saying it very often.

Who else was it that brought those tall leather boots for Gregory which
helped him to run so fast when sent on an errand that even his dog,
Oyster, could not keep up with him? And as for Lelia, everybody knew
that it was just after the Little Gray Grandmother had paid them a visit
Lelia had found herself holding that bottle of Attic salt from far-away
Greece, two grains of which placed on the end of her tongue, caused good
humor and wit to flow with every word she said until she was equal to a
bit of sunshine on a dark day.

All of them were as certain as certain could be that she had presented
Doodle when he was a very little child with those soft, warm mittens
which somehow grew as he grew and so always just fitted his hands. What
wonderful mittens they were, too! All Doodle had to do on the coldest
day was to reach out his hand in his hearty, cheery way, to any one, and
no matter how cold that person might be, even if his teeth were
chattering with the cold, he was sure to feel a warm glow all over his
body. This was how Doodle got into the way of taking care of all the
lame dogs and sick cats that came along; and why all the old people
liked him. They said he made them feel young again. And Tom and Wilhelm
and the rest of them, had not the Little Gray Grandmother left a gift
for each of them?

Ah, but they were a happy family! What if they did have to eat herring
and dry bread all the year round, with potatoes now and then thrown in,
and had to live in a hut, didn't they have a Little Gray Grandmother,
when so many city children, who thought themselves fine because they
lived in big houses, had never even heard of her!

Now, you can understand why all the children were gathered together
eagerly looking at something which lay on the sand before them. The
Little Gray Grandmother had been there and had left something. What was
it? They could not tell. It glittered like the surface of a pool of
water when it is quite still and the sun shines down upon it, and they
could see their faces reflected on it just as they had often seen them
in the well back of the house, only this mirrored their faces much more
clearly than the well did. _What was it?_ For whom had the Little Gray
Grandmother intended it? These were the questions they could not answer.
So they decided to take it in to the dear-mother and have her explain it
to them.

Ah, the dear-mother, she must know, she knew almost everything and what
she didn't know she always tried to find out for them. That was the
finest thing about the dear-mother. Of course she cooked their food for
them, and made their clothes, and nursed any of them when they were ill,
and all such things, but the great thing about her was that she never
seemed too busy to look at what they brought her and was always ready to
answer their questions. Therefore they with one accord decided to take
this new gift into the house and ask the dear-mother about it.

Of course she admired it; she always admired everything they brought
her, if it was only a star-fish or a new kind of sea-weed. She said it
was made of some sort of precious metal, and that it seemed to be a
mirror such as they used in olden times before looking-glasses had been
invented. "Perhaps," she added, "it has been washed up from the sea."
But the children cried, "Oh, no, the Little Gray Grandmother left it."
They were very, very sure of that. But for whom had it been left? Even
the dear-mother could not settle this question.

At last it was decided that it should be hung on the cottage wall that
all might use it; so there it hung for many a year, and ah, such strange
things as the children saw reflected in it! It was not at all like an
ordinary mirror, not in the least like anything you ever saw, and yet,
perchance you may have seen something like it. How do I know?

Well, at any rate the children had never heard of such a wonderful
mirror before. It had a queer way of swinging itself on its hinge--I
forgot to tell you that it had been fastened to the wall by a hinge so
that its face could be turned toward the east or the west window, and
thus let the children see themselves in the morning as well as the
evening light. At first they thought this was a fine idea, but sometimes
it was not exactly comfortable to have the small mirror suddenly swing
round and face them when they didn't care to be faced.

For instance, when Mai had been working hard all day and because she
felt tired, spoke crossly to the little brothers, it was not at all
agreeable to look up and see the face of a bear reflected in the silver
mirror, or when Gregory had been boasting of something fine he was going
to accomplish, to catch a glimpse of a barnyard rooster strutting about
as if he were indeed the master of the farm. Somehow it made Gregory
feel foolish even if the rest of the children did not see the image in
the mirror. Once little Beta came in ahead of the others, and, finding
some apples that the father had brought home, seized the largest one and
began to devour it. A swing of the silver mirror brought its polished
surface before her eyes, and instead of a reflection of her own chubby
face, she saw a pig greedily devouring a pile of apples. She couldn't
understand it, and yet it made her feel ashamed and she quietly laid the
apple back on the table.

But the pictures were not all disagreeable ones. Sometimes the small
silver mirror reflected _beautiful_ pictures. One bright summer day when
Mai had stayed indoors all the morning to help the dear-mother finish a
jacket for Beta, when she was longing with all her heart to be out in
the sunshine, she chanced to glance up at the small mirror, and there
was the vision of a beautiful Saint, with a golden light around her head
such as Mai had seen in a church window once when she was in the city.
The smile on the face was radiant. In a moment the vision had
disappeared and only the shining surface of silver remained.

One day Gregory rowed little Beta across the bay to the large town on
the other side, and did without his dinner that with his little farthing
he might pay for the privilege of letting her climb the light-house
stairs and see how big the world was. That night when they reached
home, tired and happy, Beta looked into the mirror and there she saw the
good St. Christopher wading through a dark stream of water with the
little Christ-child on his shoulder, and somehow the face of St.
Christopher was Gregory's face. As she cried, "Look!" she pointed to the
mirror, but Gregory could see nothing but its shining surface. Still,
Beta ever afterwards called him "St. Christopher," little dreaming that
in years to come he would truly be the means by which many little
children were carried safely across the dark streams.

At another time Doodle had rescued a poor frightened cat from some boys
on the beach who were tormenting her, and even though they jeered at him
and called him "chicken-hearted" he had taken the little creature up in
his arms and brought her in to the dear mother. As he passed the small
silver mirror, a picture of a young knight shone in the depths of its
surface, with a face so strong and pure and brave that Doodle stopped to
admire it and wonder how it came there. Again and again when the
children did a kind, or a truthful, or loving thing, the mirror
reflected for a moment some beautiful image which instantly disappeared
if it were spoken of. Somehow it constantly reminded them of the glad
look in the eyes of the Little Gray Grandmother when she found them
playing peacefully and happily together. And strange to say, the Little
Gray Grandmother never came again after the small silver mirror had been
hung on the wall. Probably she thought they did not need her any longer.

Many years passed by and the children were all grown, when the
dear-mother was called to pass on to her heavenly home. As they gathered
around her death bed she asked them to hand her the small silver mirror
which still hung on the home wall. She took it and broke it into pieces,
giving a piece to each of of the eight children, and each piece
immediately became a full-sized mirror as large as the first one had
been. These she told them to keep always with them, and then with a
gentle smile she passed away. As they separated to go out into the
world, each one took his or her small silver mirror and hung it in his
or her private bed room, that each might look into it and know, for
certain, whether that day had been spent for the cause of the right or
the wrong.



_LITTLE BLESSED-EYES; OR, THE FAIRY'S BIRTHDAY GIFT._


In the olden times when fairies could be seen by mortals, they often
took upon themselves the office of sponsors, god-fathers and
god-mothers, to new-born children. In such cases, the child adopted was
sure, sooner or later, to receive some wonderful gift from his fairy
god-mother.

One bright, Spring morning, a sweet boy baby came into a humble home,
made ready for him by love. As his mother looked fondly upon the wee
form at her side she thought, naturally enough, of his future, and
wondered what kind of a man he would become. "How I wish," said she
softly, "that I could give to you, my darling child, the richest gift on
earth, so that Kings and Emperors might be proud to call you their
companion." "So you can," said a gentle voice beside her. The mother was
startled by the words, for she thought herself alone when she uttered
the wish. She looked to the right, then to the left,--nobody had
entered the room. "Ah, silly woman that I am," sighed she. "I have let
my own thoughts answer me." Again she looked down at her babe.

"I can give him the greatest and most wonderful gift on earth," said the
same gentle voice. This time the mother was quite sure that some one had
spoken, though the voice was unlike any human voice she had ever heard.
It was so soft and musical that it sounded like the tinkling of silver
bells. The poor woman was quite frightened and drew her babe closer to
her side as she peered into the shadowy corners of the room.

"Ha, ha, ha!" laughed the silvery voice, "Are you afraid of me!"
Following the sound this time, the mother's eyes fell upon a tiny
creature no larger than your thumb who sat perched upon a post of the
bed. The body of this strange, little being was as perfect as that of
any child. From its two shoulders extended two wings as thin as gauze,
but gleaming with every tint of the rainbow. Upon its head was a slender
gold crown, and its small face just at this moment was bright with a
merry smile.

The mother knew instantly that it was one of the good fairies who were
reported to be present at the birth of every babe, and who, if seen and
recognized, were sure to bring some good fortune to the child, but if
unnoticed, went away sorrowing, because they were then powerless to help
the infant.

"What will you do for my child?" cried the mother. "Will you give him
comfort and ease and fill his days with pleasure?"

"Ah no," replied the fairy, "I will give him something _far better_ than
pleasant food and a soft bed and fine clothes!"

"Will you make him great and powerful so that men may bow down before
him?" said the mother eagerly.

"No! no!" again replied the fairy shaking her head. "I will give him
something of far more worth than fame and power!"

"You will make him rich, so rich that he will never have to work?"
exclaimed the mother.

"Nay, good woman," said the fairy seriously. "These are but foolish
things for which you ask. My gift is greater than all of these put
together. Pleasure and influence and wealth a man may earn for
himself--and he may be very miserable after he gets them, too," added
she, with a shrug of the shoulders. "The gift that I would bestow upon
your son will make him the happiest of mortals and will give him the
power of making many, many others happy!"

"Tell me," cried the mother, "how will you make him so happy? No human
being is ever sure of happiness."

"Let me kiss him upon his two eyelids as he lies there asleep," replied
the fairy, "and do you the same each returning birthday and all will be
well."

The mother hesitated; a step was heard approaching the door.

"Quick, quick!" exclaimed the fairy. "I must be off before that door
opens, as it is forbidden us ever to be seen by more than one mortal at
a time. Shall I give him the magic kiss or not?"

"Yes!" cried the excited mother, "I trust you will do no harm to my
precious child."

Instantly the fairy fluttered down from the post of the bed, and
impressing a kiss upon each of the closed eyelids of the child, she
said, softly, "He shall be called 'Blessed-Eyes.'"

The door of the room swung back upon its hinges, the father of the child
entered with a cheery "Good morning" to wife and babe, the fairy was
gone.--The mother silently pondered over what had happened and when the
christening day came, she said his name was to be "Blessed-Eyes."

Most of her friends and relatives thought this was a very queer name
indeed to give to a child, and even went so far as to argue with the
father that the little one ought to be named "John" or "James" after one
or the other of his two grandfathers. But as the boy grew into a sweet,
healthy childhood, loving and kind to everyone, they were gradually
reconciled to the name, and little Blessed-Eyes became a general
favorite. He was always sunshiny, always happy. His mother never failed
on each new birthday to rise early, even before the day dawned, and to
go to his bedside, and, bending over him, kiss his two eyelids as the
fairy had bidden. At such times she imagined that she heard a faint
sound as of a far-away chorus of strange, silvery voices, singing:

    "Love well, love well, love well,
    That the heart within may swell,
    Love well, love well, love well!"

Still, she was never quite sure but that it was merely the first mellow
tones of the church bell in a distant village.

Long before her child could talk the mother noticed how closely he
observed everything about him, and how quickly he responded to the
faintest smile upon her face. As he grew older it was a delight to take
him out for a walk. He was constantly discovering some new beauty in the
landscape. He saw the first red glow of the evening sunset. His eyes
were the first to spy out the early spring flower, even before the snow
was off the ground. In the late autumn when the wind was sharp and cold
and the woods were bare, he was sure to bring home some red mountain
berries, or some withered leaf into a corner of which a cunning little
caterpillar had wrapped himself, sewing it over and over as one would
sew a bag. Then he would tell gleefully how the frost had touched the
ponds and changed them into smooth glass. Often on a cold winter morning
he would waken his mother by clapping his hands with joy over the
frost-pictures on the window pane. Sometimes in the evening twilight he
would ask his mother if the stars were pinholes in the floor of heaven
through which the glory shone. No stone nor cloud nor stream nor tree
but gave him pleasure.

"Ah," thought the mother, "this is the fairy's birthday gift. She has
made his eyes to see the beautiful everywhere." "More than that, far
more than that! Kings and princes shall yet call him great!" was
whispered gently in her ear. The mother was amazed. Who could have heard
her unuttered thoughts? She looked up, but she only saw a robin hopping
about in a branch of the tree overhead. Still she seemed to hear again
the soft but distant singing of the words,

    "Love well, love well, love well,
    That the heart within may swell,
    Love well, love well, love well."

"Surely," said she, half aloud, "who could help loving the child. He has
indeed, blessed eyes."

As the boy grew older he seemed somehow to know the people about him as
nobody else knew them. He was always finding out the best that was in
each of them. Somehow he had a way of helping all the other lads out of
their difficulties. For instance, early one morning when he chanced to
be passing the old basket maker's, he heard the shop boy speaking in
loud, angry tones to the baskets, abusing them for being so contrary and
ill-shaped. Blessed-Eyes paused, and looking through the open door he
saw the poor apprentice struggling to fit a round cover on to a square
basket and a square cover on to a round basket.

"Let me help you," said Blessed-Eyes cheerily, "I think you have made a
mistake, that's all. This cover was intended for that basket, and that
cover for this basket." With these words he put the round cover on to
the round basket, and the square cover on to the square basket, and each
fitted snugly into its place.

"How clever you are, Blessed-Eyes," said the apprentice, "I have been
working over these baskets for the last half hour." Without more ado he
put them upon his shoulder, and started on his errand, which was to
deliver them to the gardener at the King's palace.

Years passed by, changing little Blessed-Eyes into a tall young man, and
each succeeding year added to the wonderful power which his eyes
possessed, of seeing the best that was in everything and everybody. He
was the friend of rich and poor. All sought his companionship, for he
was constantly pointing out to them so many beautiful things in the
world about them which they would never have seen but for him. All loved
him dearly, for he was just as constantly finding the best that their
inner world contained, and encouraging them to live according to their
noblest ideals of how true men and women should live. So, you see, the
fairy's Birthday Gift was indeed a great, and wonderful Gift.



_THE FAIR WHITE CITY; OR, A STORY OF THE PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE._


Many of you will remember the story I told you of Little Blessed-Eyes
and the wonderful power his fairy god-mother gave him of seeing
instantly the best that was in everybody. To-day I want to tell you of
some of the remarkable things which happened after Blessed-Eyes had
become chief counsellor to the King, for, of course, the King was glad
to keep near him a man with such power as that.

Long years have passed since our last story and Blessed-Eyes had been
the King's Chief Counsellor for ten years, or more, and the capital had
become the most renowned city on earth. One day Blessed-Eyes was walking
through its streets when he heard a deep sigh as of some one in great
trouble. He turned, and looking around saw a poor laboring man with his
head bent forward upon his hands, as he sat on the doorstep of a house
near by.

"What is the matter?" said Blessed-Eyes gently, stopping in front of the
man.

"Ah," replied the poor man, "I can find nothing to do in this great
city. All the places in the shops and stores are already taken and my
children are starving for want of bread."

"What large, strong arms you have!" said Blessed-Eyes.

"Yes," replied the man, "but of what use are they to me. One can measure
tape or weigh sugar with much smaller arms than mine."

"Why do you not seek the King?" continued Blessed-Eyes, "and offer to go
to yonder mountain range and quarry the beautiful white marble which
lies there. I have heard that it is the most beautiful marble in the
whole world. Those great strong arms of yours could do a grand work in
the King's quarry."

The man's face softened at once. "I will go," he said.

The King gladly accepted the strong man's offer and the next day started
him out with crow-bars and drills to the mountain district, and soon
there came a wagon load of beautiful white marble, and then another and
then another. The King was so pleased with the marble that he sent ten
men to help the strong man in his work, and then twenty and then a
hundred, until the mountain tops rang with the sturdy blows of the
quarrymen. And soon a vast pile of the glistening, white marble had been
collected in the King's stoneyard, and the poor and discouraged man with
the strong arms had become the most famous stonemason in the world.

Not long after this, Blessed-Eyes and the King walked one fine evening
to look at the shining white marble and to plan how best it could be
used to make beautiful the city. As they reached the tall white pile,
they noticed a man standing beside it, evidently measuring it carefully
with his eye.

"It is a fine sight," said Blessed-Eyes, "is it not?"

The man turned and looked sadly at him for a moment, then taking a
tablet from his pocket he wrote on it: "I cannot hear a word that you
say; I am totally deaf, and therefore I am the loneliest man in all the
King's realm."

Blessed-Eyes' heart was stirred with pity for the lonely man. He took
the pencil and wrote on the tablet: "You evidently have a very correct
eye for measurements."

"Yes," replied the man, as soon as he had read these words, "I can tell
the difference of a hair's breath in the height of any two lines, and I
think I could estimate the weight of any one of these great stones
within half an ounce."

At this Blessed-Eyes seized the tablet and wrote rapidly on it these
words: "You have such good eyes for measurements and weights you would
surely be a good builder. This is the King. Why do you not offer to make
for him some beautiful buildings out of this white marble?"

The lonely man's face brightened; he turned to the King. A short
consultation showed the King that he had found a treasure, and the new
architect was set to work at once drawing plans for several buildings
which were to surround a charming lake that was in the King's park.

In a few months the quiet park became the scene of busy activity. Scores
of men were laying foundations; others were hewing the white marble into
shapely blocks; others were polishing portions of it into tall and
shining white pillars, and others still, were carving beautiful capitals
for the same. All were working under the direction of the new architect
whose wonderful designs had so inspired the King that he decided to
build the grandest and handsomest group of buildings which the nations
of the earth had ever seen. When all was done and the buildings stood in
their full majestic beauty with their long colonnades shining in the
sunlight and their graceful towers rising airily in the upper air and
their beautiful gilded domes crowning all, the scene resembled
fairyland. The people could hardly believe their eyes as they wandered
through the place. They came from the farthest ends of the earth to
enjoy its beauty, for the sad and lonely deaf man had now become the
most famous architect in the whole world, and was surrounded by friends
and admirers, who rejoiced in his power to create such bewildering
scenes of beauty. His face lost its sad expression and each time that he
met Blessed-Eyes there came a joyful smile upon it.

Handsome and attractive as were the outsides of these buildings, within
they were cold and bare, and Blessed-Eyes and the King often consulted
as to how the inner walls might be made as beautiful as were the outer
ones. It chanced one day that as Blessed-Eyes was walking alone through
the "Court of Honor," (this was the name now given to that part of the
lake which was surrounded by the white marble buildings), he observed a
group of boys and young men, evidently having great sport with some
object in their midst. When he came near he saw it was an embarrassed
and harassed looking stranger whom they were tormenting.

With a feeling of indignation he pressed forward into their midst.

"What is your difficulty, sir?" he said quietly and respectfully.

The stranger blushed and faltered, then he stammeringly said:--

"I-I-I ca-ca-canno-no-not sp-speak your language wi-wi-withou-ou-out
st--st-stammering."

At this the men roared with laughter. Again Blessed-Eyes turned an angry
look upon them, and quietly slipping his arm through the stranger's he
said: "Will you walk with me? I have something to say to you." And the
two walked off together, leaving the crowd rather abashed and ashamed of
its rudeness. When they had gone some distance in silence, Blessed-Eyes
said: "As soon as I saw you I noticed you had strong, shapely and
artistic hands. Surely you must be able to draw and paint." The
stranger's face lighted up with a radiant smile.

"How very odd," he stammered, "th-th-that you should see I was an
artist, I had hoped to get work here."

Blessed-Eyes took him at once to the King, and soon the three were deep
in plans for decorating and making beautiful the inner walls of the
wonderful white buildings which surrounded the "Court of Honor." It was
not long before the stammering stranger had proved that he was not only
an artist but a master artist. Lesser artists and new pupils flocked to
him from all parts of the land and soon the interior of the handsome
buildings presented scenes as busy as the outside had before shown. In
less than a year the walls of all the buildings had been decorated in
soft, beautiful colors, and on many of them were wonderful pictures of
far-away landscapes; of beautiful sunset clouds; of fair, floating angel
forms, and, best of all, true and lifelike portraits of the noblest men
and women of the nation. Long before this was accomplished the
stammering stranger had become recognized as the greatest artist of the
age.

The next question which arose in the mind of the King and his ever
faithful counsellor, Blessed-Eyes, was as to the best way to use the
now truly magnificent buildings, so that all the people might enjoy
them. While still full of these thoughts, Blessed-Eyes one day noticed a
man wearily pacing up and down the court with bowed head, and hands
clasped behind his body. On coming nearer Blessed-Eyes saw that he was
blind. At the sound of his approaching foot-steps the man stopped and
said:--

"Ah! that is the step of Blessed-Eyes! Much as he has been able to help
his fellow men, there is nothing that he can do for me!"

"Indeed," said Blessed-Eyes, cheerily, "I am not so sure of that. If you
can tell a man by his step you must certainly have very good hearing."

"Ah!" said the man, "I can hear a leaf fall to the ground a block away."

"Indeed!" exclaimed Blessed-Eyes gladly, "You are just the man for whom
I have been looking. Surely a man whose hearing is so acute must be a
good musician."

"Yes, yes!" said the man impatiently, "I am the finest conductor of an
orchestra in the whole world, but that avails me but little in these
days. Nobody cares for good music now!" With these words he shrugged his
shoulders and was about to pass on.

"Come with me to the King," cried Blessed-Eyes, "I think he has need of
you."

After a long talk with the King, and some experiments by which they
tested the man's fine sense of hearing, the King felt quite sure that he
was exactly the man needed as leader for the great orchestra which he
generously supported that the people might learn to love good music, so
he was at once put in charge of the same. The new musician proved to be
such a wonderful leader that no man in the whole orchestra dared play a
false note, and soon their music under this remarkable director, was
famed throughout the land, until thousands upon thousands came to hear
the afternoon concerts which were given each day in the largest of the
beautiful, white marble buildings.

One bright, spring morning Blessed-Eyes started out to enjoy the
sunshine and the perfume of the flowers and the glad song of the birds.
"Ah," thought he, as he walked along, drinking in great draughts of the
fine, fresh air, "no human being can possibly be sad on such a morning
as this." But while he was yet speaking, his eyes fell upon the
tear-stained face of a woman. As it was impossible for Blessed-Eyes to
pass any one who was in trouble, he stopped and said gently, "Dear
Madam, is there anything I can do for you?"

"Alas, alas!" said the poor woman, "What can you, or anyone else, do for
a broken-hearted mother whose four little children have been taken by
death from her arms. Unless I have children to love, life has no
brightness for me."

"Surely," said Blessed-Eyes softly and compassionately, "there are yet
many children who need your love. Will you not come with me to the
palace of the King?"

The woman looked puzzled and perplexed, but so sweet and gentle had been
the tone of his voice that she instinctively followed him. I do not know
just what happened in the consultation with the King, but this I do
know, that only a few days elapsed before the "Court of Honor" rang each
day with the voices of happy children as they followed the no longer
sad-faced woman around to the concert hall to hear the sweet music, or
off to the buildings whose walls were covered with beautiful pictures,
or back again to their own handsome building, set apart for their
particular use by the King.

Here she told them stories and taught them songs and led them in
charming games and plays, and trained their little hands into skillful
work until throughout the kingdom there was no happier band of children
than those who had once been the waifs of the city, wandering through
its streets. So full of motherly love was the woman's work with her new
children that other beautiful and noble women came, in time, and joined
her in it, until at last there was no child in the whole city who had
not learned how to use his hands skillfully, how to love sweet music,
how to enjoy beautiful pictures and how to be kind and thoughtful
towards others.

In time many of these children grew into manhood and womanhood and
became musicians, artists, authors, physicians, clergymen, and
wonderfully skilled workmen of all sorts. Many of the women married and
became loving and wise mothers because of the training they had received
from the pale-faced, childless woman in the King's "Court of Honor."

At last the good King died, and the question arose, "Who shall be our
next King." The counsellors of the nation met together to decide the
matter. They sent to the stonemasons far away in the back country and
the great master-mason cried, "Let Blessed-Eyes be our King! Did he not
teach me how to use my strong arms? Has he not furnished bread for us
and our families?" And the hundreds of stone-cutters and miners and
diggers round about shouted aloud, "Long live King Blessed-Eyes!"

Then they sent to the various villages and towns of the Kingdom and the
architects said "Let Blessed-Eyes be King! Has he not created the great
Court of Honor from which we have all learned to make beautiful whatever
we build!" And the carpenters and joiners and plasterers and painters
all cried out, "Long live King Blessed-Eyes!"

Then they sent to the mills and the factories of the great cities and
the masterworkmen and designers answered and said, "Why not make
Blessed-Eyes our King? It was he who first introduced Art into our land
and showed us how to make as beautiful as pictures our carpets and
curtains and walls. Have not these things made our merchandise sought
for all over the world." Then the spinners and weavers and dyers all
shouted aloud, "Long live King Blessed-Eyes!"

Then they sent to all the colleges and schools in the land and the grave
presidents and superintendents said, "We know of no better man than
Blessed-Eyes. He first taught us that a love of the beautiful should be
part of each child's education." Then the youths and the maidens, the
boys and the girls, and even the little children shouted until they were
hoarse, "Long live King Blessed-Eyes!"

Then the whole nation seemed to cry out, "Blessed-Eyes, Blessed-Eyes,
Long live King Blessed-Eyes!" There is none among us whom he has not
helped. When the news was brought to Blessed-Eyes that all the people
desired him to rule over them, he smiled gently and said, "I had hoped
to rest now, but if I can serve my country I must do it." So he was made
King and the nation became wise and great and powerful under his reign.
For the little children grew up learning to love the beautiful and to
see it everywhere until at last there was a whole nation of
blessed-eyes, and every city in the land became as beautiful as was the
White City by the Lake.



_THE LOVING CUP WHICH WAS MADE OF IRON._


Upon the edge of a great forest a woodcutter had built him a cottage,
and soon he brought a fair young bride to live in it. She was a neat,
trim, little body, who wasted nothing and kept everything in the house
in perfect order, so that in a short time their small yard showed her
care also.

One day some cousins came from town to see the woodcutter, and his wife.
They brought with them their dinner in a large basket, and a jolly time
they had of it, wandering through the woods, lying on the soft green
grass, and gathering the wild flowers. Finally, hunger drove them back
to the woodcutter's house, and as they sat on the porch eating their
luncheon, they thoughtlessly threw the skins of their oranges and the
banana peelings on the grass in front of them. The woodcutter's wife
said nothing, but she felt sure that such litter and dirt on the fresh
green grass would grieve the wood-fairies who were trying to keep the
forest and all of its surroundings as beautiful as possible. Therefore
when the guests had gone, she quietly picked up all the skins and scraps
of paper and burned them.

This so pleased the wood-fairies, that when her first boy baby came,
they sent him a _loving-cup_ of gold. Around it were circles of diamonds
and pearls and deep red rubies. Of course, the young mother was very
happy, for she knew that such a gift meant her son would some day
possess much money. So she set herself to work to make her yard more
beautiful than it had been before, by planting flower-seeds in a border
by the fence. "If my son is to become a rich man," said she to herself,
"he must learn to love what is beautiful, that he may use his money
wisely." She did not stop when she had made her own yard beautiful, but
soon began scattering more flower-seed down by the spring that the
wood-fairies might have flowers to enjoy while they came to drink.
Before long her kind heart led her to plant other flowers by the dusty
roadside and down in the lonely valley, in order that weary travelers,
as they journeyed along, might see the bright blossoms and smell the
sweet perfume.

This pleased the wood-fairies even more than her thoughtful tidiness
had done, so, when her second boy baby came, they sent him a
_loving-cup_ of pure silver. Around the outside of it were carved
pictures of youths and maidens dancing in a circle on the green grass.
This gift made the mother even happier than the first had done, for she
read in the carving on the cup that her boy would love the open air and
would grow up strong and healthy and her heart grew tender to all things
about her.

She had noticed that some of the ugliest and most neglected weeds often
bore delicate flowers, which, however, soon faded for lack of care. "I
will see," said she, "if I cannot make the weeds grow into flowers by
watering them and pruning them and lovingly caring for them. In this way
I can help to make the whole forest wholesome, and thus show the
wood-fairies that I am grateful to them for their gift of health to my
second son."

She began by caring for the weeds which stood nearest her own home, and
was rewarded by seeing them slowly change into shapely plants and their
blossoms become strong and beautiful. Then her care extended to the
weeds along the wayside, and in a short time there was not a hurtful
weed to be found in the neighborhood. All had been changed, by a little
patient care, into strong, thrifty shrubs and plants, each blooming
according to its own nature, but all gladdening the sight by their
bright flowers and healthy green leaves.

This changing of weeds into flowers so surprised and delighted the
wood-fairies who had never heard of such a thing, that when her third
boy-baby came, they consulted among themselves and decided to send him
the _best gift_ they had to bestow. Accordingly they sent to the new
baby a _loving-cup_ made of strong, black iron, and with it, three large
earthen jars. One was filled with the sweetest golden nectar ever tasted
by mortal lips, another contained a brown vinegar so sour that half a
teaspoonful of it would make your face wrinkle, while the third jar held
a blackish-looking gall, of such a bitter flavor that one drop of it
would make one shrink from ever wanting to taste it again. With this
strange present they sent word that if the mother loved her boy, whom by
the way she had named Philip, she would mix a cupful of the sweet
nectar, the sour vinegar and the bitter gall, using half as much vinegar
as she did nectar, and half as much gall as vinegar, and give it to the
boy to drink on his birthday, each year, until he was twenty-one years
old.

The mother hesitated. It seemed so hard to make her darling child taste
of the bitter gall when there was plenty of the sweet nectar to last
until he was grown, but she knew that the wood-fairies were wise. Were
they not trying to make the whole earth beautiful? Surely they would not
require so hard a thing of her unless it was for little Philip's
welfare.

Therefore, each succeeding birthday she mixed the fairies' drink and
poured it into the iron cup and gave it to the child. Sometimes he cried
and sometimes he fretted, but she held the cup firmly to his lips until
the last drop was drained, and then she would kiss him and tell him that
he was her dear, brave boy, and would some day thank her for making him
drink the fairies' potion. He soon found that if he drank the contents
of the loving-cup early in the morning, he tasted nothing but the sweet
nectar, whereas if he put it off until noon, he could not taste anything
but the sour vinegar, and when he delayed the drinking of it until
night, it seemed as if the whole contents of the cup had changed to
gall, and he would be days and days getting over the bitter taste. So
being a sensible boy, he learned to drink it as soon as it was mixed.

Each year he grew more loving and thoughtful of others, more like the
wood-fairies in his effort to make the world around him beautiful.
Little by little he gained the power which the wood-fairies alone can
give--the wonderful power of knowing just what is going on in the hearts
of the people about you, even when you do not speak to them or they to
you.

If he chanced to meet a sad-faced man or woman on the street, his
beautiful eyes seemed to say more tenderly than words could say, "I see
you are in trouble and I feel _so sorry_ for you." If he passed a group
of merry makers, his smile was so bright that they knew it meant "What a
lot of fun you are having! I am so glad!" As he grew older his hands
became almost as wonderful as his eyes, or his smile. If he found a
little child crying over a broken toy he would stop and mend it, and in
a few moments the tears would be gone and the little one would go off
laughing or singing, hugging his mended toy.

Sometimes a young girl would come to him with a beautiful picture which
she had been embroidering on a screen, but which had been spoiled by
some crooked, careless stitches, and he would patiently sit down beside
her and would point out to her just where the wrong stitches had been
put into the picture, and would help her take them out. Then he would
show her how to put in the right kind of stitches and she would go away
happy and contented, ready to work day by day on the lovely screen with
which she was someday going to make her future home beautiful.

Now and then a young musician would find that his silver flute played
only harsh discords instead of sweet melodies and he would grow
discouraged and be ready to throw it away, when Philip would come along
and pick up the flute quietly and examine it and discover that the
jarring sounds came because it was not free from the dust and dirt of
the street. Then he would tell the young player what was the matter and
would stay with him until he had made the flute as clean as a flute
should be, and he was usually rewarded by some fine music from the
grateful musician. Occasionally he would come across a man toiling along
the road with a pack on his back, so heavy that he was bent nearly
double by it. Then Philip would stop him and plan with him how the load
could be divided into two packs so that he might carry one under each
arm, and thus be able to walk straight and erect and hold his head up as
a man should. Nobody ever dreamed of telling him a lie! "He knows just
how we feel" people used to say, and somehow the sight of his strong,
manly face stirred within them a desire to be brave and noble, and true,
and he was beloved by all who knew him.

This indeed was the most precious gift which the wood-fairies could
give.



_HANS AND THE FOUR BIG GIANTS._


Once upon a time there lived a little boy whose name was Hans. His home
was in a village where the tall trees shaded the green grass that grew
around the houses. Hans loved his home very much. He loved to hear the
birds sing and to watch them fly high in the air, and he often threw
crumbs upon the ground for them to eat. He loved the bright red and blue
and yellow flowers which grew in the garden behind the house. He
delighted in the sweet odors which came all unseen from their very
hearts. So he gladly watered them when they looked thirsty. His mother
soon taught him how to place strong straight sticks beside the weak
vines so that they, too, could climb up and get the sunlight. Hans loved
the dear old hens and their downy little chickens that were not afraid
to peck the grain out of his hand. In fact, Hans loved everything and
everybody about him, from the small naked worms which crawled about
among the clods of earth, up to the strange and beautiful stars which
shone so high above his head.

He was a very happy, little fellow, always busy, always finding
something to do for somebody.

By and by, when he grew to be a tall, strong lad, he used to go with his
father to the forest to chop wood and thus help earn money which went to
buy food and clothes for his mother and his three younger brothers, for
Hans' father was poor and money was scarce in his family.

After a time, when Hans had grown so tall that you and I would call him
a young man, his father said to him: "Hans, my boy, it is time now that
you started out to hunt some work for yourself. Your next younger
brother can help me with the wood chopping and the smaller ones can help
the mother in the work about the house. You must go out into the world
and learn how to take care of yourself, and perhaps some day you may
have to take care of your mother and me when we grow too old to work."

So Hans' mother packed his clothes in a little bundle, and, as she
kissed him good-bye, she said: "Hans, my precious son, always be brave
and true, and the good God will take care of you." Hans then bade
farewell to his father and his younger brothers and started on his
journey.

He walked a long way until by and by he came to a great city, where the
houses looked dingy with smoke and the rattle of the carts and wagons
made an incessant roar. After a time he found some work in the shop of a
blacksmith, and although the work was grimy and rather hard to do Hans
used to like to see the sparks fly from the red hot iron every time he
struck a blow with his heavy hammer. He was very proud when at last he
could shape the hard iron into a fine horseshoe almost as well as the
smith himself. Hans did not know it, but this very work was making his
arms grow big and strong and his chest broad and full.

Every day Hans used to see a beautiful princess drive past the
blacksmith's shop. She was the most beautiful princess in the world, and
although her blue eyes and golden hair were admired by everyone, she was
chiefly beloved because of her sweet smile. Hans used often to say to
himself: "How I wish I could serve this lovely young princess." At last
one day he went to the palace gate and asked the gatekeeper if there was
not some work in the palace which he could do.

"What can you do?" asked the gatekeeper.

"I am willing to do any kind of work which the king may need to have
done," answered Hans.

Then the gatekeeper passed him on to the keeper of the king's palace.

"What can you do?" again asked the keeper of the king's palace.

"I am willing to do any kind of work which the king may need to have
done," replied Hans.

So the keeper of the palace told the king that there was a strong, tall
young man without who wanted to serve him. "Bring him to me," said the
king. When Hans came into the presence of the mighty king the monarch
looked at him very hard for a few moments and then said: "What can you
do, young man?" And again Hans replied: "I am willing to do anything
that you may need to have done. I would like to serve the beautiful
princess."

"You would, would you?" cried the king. "Now I will test you. In the
bottom of the North Sea there lies a string of enchanted pearls. If you
will get those pearls and bring them to me you shall serve my daughter,
the princess, and in time I may make you governor over one of my
provinces; who knows?" And the king laughed to himself.

Hans was wild with delight and, turning, hastened out of the palace. The
very next day he started on his journey to the North Sea. He walked and
walked a long way until he was very tired. At length, just ahead of him,
he saw a big giant rushing along in the strangest fashion.

"Good morning," said Hans, as he caught up with the giant. "What a very
large giant you are!"

"Yes," replied the giant, looking down at Hans, "I have need to be both
large and strong. Where are you going, young man?"

"I am going," answered Hans, "to the North Sea to try to get a string of
enchanted pearls which lies at the bottom of the sea."

"Ah!" said the tall giant, "it will take you a long time to get there.
Now if you could walk as fast as I can, it would be an easy matter."

"How fast can you walk?" asked Hans.

"I can walk faster than a greyhound can run," said the giant, "and when
I run, the swift river cannot keep pace with me."

"Can you, indeed?" exclaimed Hans. "What a fine fellow you are! I wish
you would come along with me. After I find the string of pearls I want
to get back to the king's palace as soon as possible, for I am to serve
the beautiful princess."

"If that's the case," said the giant, "I think I will go along with
you."

The two walked along, chatting together, until they saw what Hans
thought must be a huge round stone lying in the road. When, however,
they came up to it, he saw that it was another big giant lying asleep by
the road side. The hot sun was pouring down upon his face. "Stay here,"
said Hans, "until I can cut a branch from some tree to shade that poor
fellow's face. The sun is so hot it will soon blister him."

At these words the tall giant laughed aloud. "Ho, ho!" he cried, "don't
you know who that is? He is a neighbor of mine. He has such strong eyes
that he can see a fly on a leaf of a tree a mile away."

The loud laugh of the tall giant awoke the sleeping giant, and he opened
his great eyes and stared at Hans. "What are you doing, young man?"
growled he.

"Oh, nothing," said Hans. "I was merely sticking these branches into the
ground so that they might keep the sun out of your eyes."

"Bah!" cried the great giant, sitting up, "did you not know that my eyes
were so strong that I could look the noonday sun straight in the face?"

"Indeed! Indeed!" said Hans. "What a wonderful giant you must be. I wish
you would come with me. I may need your strong eyes, for I am on my way
to the North Sea to search for an enchanted necklace of pearls which
lies at the bottom of the sea."

"Oh ho!" said the giant, "if that's the case I think I will go with
you."

So Hans and the two big giants walked on together. They had not gone
more than three or four miles when Hans spied another great giant
sitting under a tall tree. As they came up to him the wind blew his hat
off his head. "I will fetch it for you," cried Hans, as he ran forward
after the hat; but before he could get to the spot where the hat lay,
the big giant reached out his long arm and himself picked up his hat and
put it again on his head. At this all three of the huge giants laughed.

"Didn't you know that he was the giant who could reach 500 yards?" asked
the long-legged giant.

"No," exclaimed Hans, clapping his hands with delight. "You are just the
giant I need. When I get to the North Sea you can reach down to the
bottom of it and pick up the enchanted necklace of pearls. Will you not
come and help me?"

The new giant thought for a minute or two and then said: "Oh, yes; I
will go along if I can be of any use to you."

So Hans and the three big giants started gayly forward on their journey
to the North Sea. They had not gone far before Hans saw in the distance
another giant quietly leaning up against a very large rock. He seemed so
deep in thought that he did not see Hans and his fellow travelers until
they came near to where he stood. Hans noticed that both of this giant's
ears were stopped with cotton. "Have you the earache?" asked Hans.
"Perhaps I can do something to ease your pain."

"Oh, no," said the giant, "I merely stuffed cotton into my ears to shut
off some of the sounds about me. I can hear so well that I can tell what
men are saying a hundred miles away from me."

"What a valuable giant you must be!" exclaimed Hans. "Will you not come
with me? When I get the enchanted necklace of pearls you can tell me
whether it will be safe to take it back to the king's palace."

The giant being very good-natured, said: "You think you will need me, do
you? Well, I'll go along."

So Hans and the four big giants walked until they came to the North Sea.
Then they got into a boat and rowed out to the deep water. The giant who
could see so far soon found the place where the necklace lay on the sand
at the bottom of the sea. Then the giant whose arms were so long reached
down and picked up the necklace and laid it in the boat. Hans and the
giants now rowed back to the shore.

As soon as they had landed, the giant who could hear so well took the
cotton out of his right ear and listened to what was being said at the
king's palace. He heard the people in the palace talking of a grand
festival which was to take place the next night in honor of the birthday
of the beautiful princess. He then told Hans of what he had heard, and
the giant who could run so fast stooped down and let Hans climb up and
seat himself on his great shoulders, and away the two sped, faster than
a bird could fly. They reached the palace in time for Hans to give the
enchanted necklace of pearls to the king, just as he was about to seat
his beautiful daughter upon a throne beside his own.

The king was so pleased to get the necklace that he at once gave Hans
the office of serving the beautiful princess. Hans served her so
faithfully that she learned to love him dearly, and in time they were
married. When the old king died Hans was made king and the beautiful
princess was a queen. Hans, you may be sure, took good care of his old
father and mother and both he and his queen did everything they could to
make all the people in their kingdom industrious and happy.

Hans persuaded his four friends, the giants, to come and live in his
kingdom, and through them it became the richest and most prosperous
country on the face of the earth, so that travelers came from all over
the world to visit it.



_STORY OF THE SMALL GREEN CATERPILLAR AND THE BEAUTIFUL WHITE
BUTTERFLY._

[ADAPTED.]


In a kitchen garden at the rear of an old, brick house in a country
town, stood long rows of stately corn, whose shining green blades
glistened in the sun and rustled if a passing breeze spoke to them. Near
at hand were some thickly-leaved currant bushes which looked as if they
had been so busy bearing bunches of juicy, red currants that they had
found no time to grow tall like their neighbors, the corn.

Just across the garden-path was a fine bed of feathery asparagus,
separated from the rest of the garden by a low wooden border about two
inches high. I do not know as to whether or not it was this exclusive
life they lived that made them so lacking in strength, but they were
swayed by the slightest breath of air, now this way and now that. In the
same garden were many other vegetables, and towering far above them all
were some giant plum trees. At least they seemed like giants to the
potato vine and tomato plants near by, both of whom were of a creeping
nature and had a great admiration for anybody, or anything, that was
higher than themselves. The young potato vines used to look up from the
top of their hills and wonder if they would ever get as near to the sky
as the branches of the plum trees seemed to be. Silly things! They did
not know that their only value lay in their keeping close to the ground
and bearing as many fine, smooth-skinned potatoes as possible; that is,
the younger vines did not know this important fact.

Our story, however, is not about the potato vines, but of something very
wonderful which took place upon the outside leaf of a round, green
cabbage-head which stood along with the other cabbage-heads in one
corner of the garden. I don't believe you would have understood much of
what was going on if you had been there, any more than did the
happy-faced, little, black-eyed woman who owned the garden. She thought
she loved her garden, every tree, and shrub, and herb that grew in it;
still she spent a great deal more time looking at the swift-flowing
river and the stretch of hills beyond than she did at her
cabbage-heads. Her neighbors said she was very far-sighted and called
her clever, but the ants and beetles which lived in the garden knew that
she was dull, because she spent hours each day poring over stupid books,
while the most wonderful things were happening all around her, under her
very nose, as it were, or rather, I should say, perhaps, under her very
feet--things far more interesting than her books could possibly have
been.

Among these wonderful things of which her garden could have told her was
the life-story of a little green caterpillar whose home was on the
outside leaf of a large green cabbage-head. He was not an inch long and
not much bigger around than a good-sized broom straw, yet he was an
honest little fellow in his way, and spent most of his time crawling
about on his cabbage-leaf and nibbling holes in it, which you know, is
about all a caterpillar can be expected to do. The great, beautiful sun,
high up in the sky, sent his bright rays of light down to warm the
little caterpillar just as regularly and with seemingly just as much
love as he sent them to make the thousand wavelets of the swift-flowing
river sparkle and gleam like diamonds, or as he sent them down to rest
in calm, still sunshine on the quiet hill-tops beyond.

The little green caterpillar's life was a very narrow one. He had never
been away from his cabbage-leaf, in fact he did not know that there was
anything else in the world except cabbage leaves. He might have learned
something of the beautiful silvery moon, or the shining stars, or of the
glorious sun itself, if he had ever looked up, but he never did,
therefore the whole world was a big cabbage-leaf to him, and all of his
life consisted in nibbling as much cabbage-leaf as possible.

So you can easily imagine his astonishment when one day a dainty, white
butterfly settled down beside him and began laying small green eggs. The
little caterpillar had never before seen anything half so beautiful as
were the wings of the dainty, white butterfly, and when she had finished
laying her eggs and flew off, he for the first time in his whole life,
lifted his head toward the blue sky that he might watch the quick motion
of her wings. She was soon beyond the tallest leaves of the tomato
plants, above the feathery tips of the fine asparagus, even higher than
the plum trees. He watched her until she became a mere speck in the air
and at last vanished from his sight. He then sighed and turned again to
his cabbage leaf. As he did so his eyes rested on the twenty small green
eggs which were no larger than pin heads.

"Did she leave these for me to care for?" said he to himself. Then came
the perplexing question--how could he, a crawling caterpillar, take care
of baby butterflies. He could not teach them anything except to crawl
and nibble cabbage leaves. If they were like their beautiful mother,
would they not soon fly far beyond his reach? This last thought troubled
him a great deal, still he watched over them tenderly until they should
hatch. He could at least tell them of how beautiful their mother had
been and could show them where to fly that they might find her.

He often pictured to himself how they would look, twenty dainty little
butterflies fluttering about him on his cabbage leaf for a time, and
then flying off to the blue sky, for aught he knew, to visit the stars
with their mother. He loved the great sun very dearly now, because it
sent its rays down to warm the tiny eggs.

One day he awoke from his afternoon nap just in time to see a most
remarkable sight! What do you think was happening? One after another of
the small green eggs were breaking open, and out were crawling--what
_do_ you suppose! Little white butterflies? No, nothing of the
kind--Little green caterpillars were creeping out of each shell. Their
foster-father, as he had learned to call himself, could hardly believe
his own eyes. Yet there they were, wriggling and squirming, very much
like the young angleworms in the ground below.

"Well, well, well!" said he to himself, "who would ever dream that the
children of that beautiful creature would be mere caterpillars?" Strange
as it seemed to him, there was no denying the fact and his duty was to
teach them how to crawl about and how to nibble cabbage leaves. "Poor
things," he used to say as he moved among them, "you will never know the
world of beauty in which your mother lived, you will never be able to
soar aloft in the free air, your lives must be spent in creeping about
on a cabbage leaf and filling yourselves full of it each day. Poor
things! Poor things!"

The young caterpillars soon became so expert that they no longer needed
his care. Feeling very tired and sleepy, he one day decided to make for
himself a bed, or bag and go to sleep, not caring much whether or not
he ever awoke. He was soon softly wrapped from head to foot in the
curious covering he had made, and then came a long, long sleep of three
weeks or more. When at last he awakened, he began to work his head out
of his covering. Soon his whole body was free and he began to breathe
the fresh air and feel the warm sunshine. He was sure that something had
happened to him though he could not tell what. He turned his head this
way and that, and at last caught sight of his own sides. What do you
think he saw? Wings! Beautiful white wings! And his body was white, too!
The long sleep had changed him into a butterfly!

He began to slowly stretch his wings. They were so new he could hardly
believe that they were part of himself. The more he stretched them the
more beautiful they became, and soon they quivered and fluttered as
gracefully as did other butterfly wings. Just at this moment a strong,
fresh breeze swept over the garden, and before he had time to refuse,
the new butterfly was lifted off the cabbage leaf and was dancing
through the air, settling down now on a bright flower, and now on a
nodding blade of grass, then up and off again. He rejoiced gaily in his
freedom for a time, but soon came the longing to try his wings in the
upper sunshine.

Before attempting the unknown journey, however, he flew back to the
round, green cabbage-head on which he had lived so long. There were the
twenty, small, green caterpillars, still creeping slowly about and
filling themselves with cabbage-leaf. This was all they knew how to do,
and this they did faithfully. "Never mind, little caterpillars," said
the new butterfly as he hovered over them, "keep on at your work; the
cabbage leaf gives you food, and the crawling makes you strong. By and
by you, too, shall be butterflies and go forth free and glad into God's
great upper world."

Having said this in so low a tone of voice that you would not have heard
him had you been standing close by, he flew far away, so far that
neither you nor I could have followed him with our eyes. As for the
happy-faced, little, black-eyed woman, she did not even know that he had
been near her, for her eyes were fastened on her book, as usual. But the
small, green, caterpillars must have heard, for they went on crawling
and nibbling cabbage-leaves quite contentedly, and not one of them was
ever heard to complain of having to be a caterpillar, though
occasionally one and then another of them would lift his head, and I
doubt not he was thinking of the time when he, too, should become a
beautiful white butterfly.



_THE DISCONTENTED MILL WINDOW._


A tall flour mill once stood in the midst of a busy noisy town. Its
steep, slanting roof was far above any other roof in the place, and its
many windows looked out over the chimney tops, and into the back yards
and saw all that was going on in them.

Under the very eaves of this slanting roof was a little round window.
Because it was so high above the other windows, from it you could have
seen not only all that was being done in the busy city, but the broad,
green fields outside of the town, and, on a clear day, you could even
have caught a glimpse of the vast ocean which lay shining so
mysteriously beyond the end of land. It was because this glimpse of the
great ocean could be seen through the little round window that the
mill-owner brought many visitors up to the top story to see the
beautiful vision. Oftentimes the guests reached the window, panting, and
out of breath from having to climb so many steps, but they always
exclaimed, "How glad I am that I came! How beautiful it is! How
_beautiful_ it is!"

Every noon some of the tired, dusty workmen would come and look out of
the little round window, sometimes almost forgetting to eat the bread
and meat they held in their hands. Oftentimes the window would hear them
say, "It rests one's tired bones to know that the great ocean is not so
far away after all." There was one pale, sad-faced man who used to come
every day and lean his elbows on the window sill and gaze, and gaze as
if he were never tired of looking out on the view which the little round
window presented.

When the mill whistle sounded its shrill, sharp note, telling the men
that the noonday rest was over and that they must be back at their work,
the pale, sad-faced man would sigh, and as he turned away, would say
softly to himself, "I don't believe I could stand the grind of this mill
life if I didn't get a breath of ocean air from this window each day!"

Once in a while, a good father would bring his children up to the window
and, lifting them in his strong arms, would let them see the green
fields and shining ocean. Then the children would clap their hands and
shout aloud for joy. Occasionally one would beg that he might be
allowed to go away from the noisy, dusty town, through the broad, green
fields to the endless ocean beyond.

At night when all the town was hushed in sleep, and even the green
fields looked cold and dark, and deep shadows seemed to be on every
object, the vision of the great ocean was, if possible, more beautiful
than during the bright day. At such hours the little, round window had
the gleam of the never sleeping waters all to itself, as very few people
have courage to climb much in the night, and none of them knew how
beautiful the mighty ocean looked in the midst of darkness. So they lost
the gleam of the heavenly stars as they were reflected in its wavelets.
Sometimes the broad silver path which the moon spread upon the surface
of the water looked as if it might be the shining stairway to the
heavenly gates themselves, and the little round window felt quite sure
that it saw bright angels ascending and descending this silvery stairway
just as they had done in the dream of Jacob of old. At such times the
little window would tremble all over with delight.

But alas! alas! now comes the sad part of my story. Time passed on, and
so many people came to look through the little, round window that
scarcely a day went by in which the window did not hear exclamations of
pleasure and admiration escape from their lips. Soon the foolish little
window began to think that the people were talking of it, and not of the
vision of the great ocean which could be seen through its round window
pane. Thus it grew proud and vain, and thought _it_ somehow, must be
superior to ordinary glass windows, and therefore it ought not to be
treated like them. So when the wet rain clouds came one day, as usual,
to wash the dust off the faces of all the windows in the town, the
little round window in the top of the tall mill refused to be washed.
"Tut, tut, tut!" said the rain, "what nonsense! A window is good for
nothing unless it is washed about once in so often."

However, the vain, little window would not listen, but held on to the
grimy soot and yellow dust which had accumulated upon its surface. Even
the rattle of the fierce thunder did not frighten it, and when the wind
sighed and sobbed and moaned as if to beg the little window to be
sensible and take the washing which the rain was trying to give it, the
obstinate window merely shook in its frame and answered, "I tell you I
am not like other windows. Every body admires me. Why should I have to
mind that cold, wet rain, just because other windows do. I am not going
to give up my soot and my dust. _I am going to do just as I please._ Am
I not above all the other windows? It is well enough for them to be
slapped in the face by the rain and even sometimes washed and scrubbed
from within, but none of that for _me_."

And thus the vain, foolish little window lost its chance to be made pure
and clean again.

Gradually the dust from the street, and the smoke from the neighboring
chimneys settled thicker and thicker upon it, and of course the view of
the busy, noisy town, of the quiet green fields and of the great,
shining ocean, became dimmer and dimmer until at last they were lost
sight of altogether and nothing could be seen but the round form of the
window, so thick was the grime and dirt upon it.

Now the men ceased coming to the top story at their noon time, and the
owner of the mill brought no more guests to its side, and the little
round window, left to itself, became sad and lonely. Day after day
passed and no one came near it. In fact, people seemed to have forgotten
that it was in existence. One day two boys climbed to the attic in
which it had been built, and the little round window said eagerly to
itself, "Now I shall hear some of the praise that belongs to me." But in
a very few moments one of the boys said "Whew! how close and dark it is
up here! Let's go down!" "All right," replied the other, and down they
scampered without even so much as noticing the dust-covered window.

At first the window was indignant at what it termed their lack of
appreciation. However, as day and night succeeded each other and days
grew into weeks, and weeks stretched into a month, the little round
window had plenty of time to think, and by and by came the thought, "Why
did people ever crowd around me, and climb many stairs to get near me?"
Then it recalled the words which it had heard, and with the recalling
came the realization that the talk had all been about the beautiful view
which it presented, and not about itself.

Then, indeed, it would have hung its head in shame if it could have done
so, but although a window has a face, it has no head, you know, so that
all it could do was to turn itself on its wooden pivots until its round
face was ready to catch any drop of rain that might fall. Nor did it
have long to wait. The beautiful white clouds which had been drifting
dreamily across the blue sky, changed into soft gray, and then their
under parts became a heavy, dark gray, and soon they began massing
themselves together. The wind arose and hurried the smaller clouds
across the sky as a general might marshal his troops for a battle, and
in a little while the whole heavens were covered with gray, not even a
single spot of blue sky remained, nor could one yellow sunbeam be seen
on the whole landscape. The low rumble of thunder could now be heard,
and quick flashes of lightning darted from raincloud to raincloud and
back again as if they were messengers sent to see if all was in
readiness for the storm. Soon down poured the rain.

Not even the thirsty earth itself was more glad to receive the tens of
thousands of water-drops than was the little round window in the top
story of the tall mill. It not only had its outside face freed from the
dust and soot, but with some help from the wind, it managed to turn its
inside face out and thus be cleansed within as well as without.

At last the storm passed away; the sun shone again; the trees rustled
their fresh, shining, green leaves, and all nature rejoiced in the
renewed life which the reviving rain had brought with it. The little
round window fairly glistened as its shining face caught the golden
radiance of the last beams of the setting sun. "Ah, look at the round
mill window!" said the miller's wife, "the rain has washed it bright and
clean. See how it reflects the sunset. To-morrow we will go up and get a
view of the ocean from it--I had almost forgotten it."



_THE STRANGE STORY OF A WONDERFUL SEA-GOD._


I am going to tell you to-day one of the strangest stories that has ever
been told to little children. It is such a wonderful story that even
grown people read it again and again.

Three thousand years ago Greek mothers used to tell it to their children
as they sat together on the seashore. It is about a famous king, named
Menelaus, who after a long and cruel war was over, started in his good
ship for his much loved home in Sparta. Thinking only of himself in his
impatience to get home, he forgot to give worship to the gods, to thank
them for his deliverance and to ask them to guide him safely to his
journey's end. We shall soon see what trouble his thoughtlessness
brought upon him, and not him alone, but all his followers.

In those days there were no great ocean steamers such as we have now,
therefore Menelaus and his men had to cross the dark, mysterious sea in
small boats which they rowed with oars. Sometimes when the wind was
favorable they would hoist a sail and thus be helped along on their
journey. As it was impossible for them to go forward when the strong,
though invisible, wind was not blowing in a favorable direction, you can
easily imagine their dismay when, having stopped one evening in a
sheltered bay on the coast of a small island, they awoke next morning to
find the wind blowing steadily in the opposite direction from the one in
which they wished to sail. They waited all day hoping that the strong
breeze would die down, or change its direction. The next day and the
next passed and still the wind blew steadily away from their beloved
homes. Although it _was_ invisible it had more strength than all of
them, and they could make no headway against it. Had they not watched it
lift huge waves high in the air and dash them against the sharp rocks?
Had they not seen it twist and turn the strong branches of great trees,
and sometimes bend, and even _break_ their mighty trunks? And yet they
knew at other times how gentle it could be. Had they not listened to its
soft, low song as it rustled over the tall grass? How glad they always
were when it rattled and stirred their white sails, filling their
hearts with promises of help on the way? They could not always
understand what it was saying, but they felt sure that it came from the
ever-living gods and always brought some message of love, or command to
them.

So, as day after day it blew a fierce, wild gale over their heads, and
on beyond, hurrying clouds across the sky, dashing the waves against the
shore, whirling the dust into their faces and hurriedly uttering hoarse
whispering sounds as it passed them, they knew that it was warning them
against daring to continue their homeward journey.

Twenty days had come and gone, and still the wind kept up its fierce,
loud tone of command as it rushed from the far away west, shook the
waters of the vast ocean, swept over the small, rocky island and sped on
toward the east. The courage of the poor sailors was almost exhausted.
Their provisions were giving out. They had to catch fish to satisfy each
day's hunger. Menelaus, their chief, was wandering alone upon the
seashore. He was very unhappy, for he feared much that all this trouble
had come upon his comrades because he had not obeyed the law of the gods
before he left Egypt. So he was much distressed in mind as he walked
along the sandy beach.

The sun was sinking to rest, the evening shadows were settling down
between the rocky hills, the darkness of night was approaching, when
suddenly there stood before him a beautiful being, of so dazzling an
appearance that he knew she could not be a woman, she must be an
immortal. Her saffron robes gleamed with light as do the sunset clouds.
Her face was as radiant as are the last rays of the departing sun. It
was the beautiful goddess, Idothea. Her face suddenly became stern as
she looked at King Menelaus and asked him why he tarried idly upon the
small, rocky island. He replied that he did not willingly remain, but
that he must surely have sinned against the gods, as they had sent a
strong, fierce wind to hinder his homeward voyage. Then he earnestly
begged her to tell him what to do. The stern look left her face as she
heard him confess that he had done wrong. She came nearer to him, and
her glittering robes changed from saffron to pink, and blue, and even
gray, and the lights played above, around and about her in the most
wonderful fashion, changing each moment as she spoke.

She told him that she was the daughter of Proteus, the Ancient of the
Deep, who, living for thousands and thousands of years in the bottom of
the great ocean, had gone wherever the restless waves of the sea had
gone, and had learned the secrets of both land and water. He knew the
song of the winds and could interpret every message which they brought
from the gods, therefore he, and he alone, could tell Menelaus what it
was that the strong, fierce wind had been crying out to him and his
companions for the past twenty days.

Now comes the strange part of our story. This sea-god, Proteus, was a
most remarkable being. He had the power to change himself into whatever
form he chose, as you will soon see. The only way to get any secret from
him was to catch him when he was asleep, and then to _hold on_ to him,
no matter what shape he might choose to take, until at last he returned
to his original form of the old man of the sea.

Idothea told Menelaus that this strange father of hers would rise out of
the sea at about noon the next day, and would walk over to a large
cavern not far distant, where his sea-calves took their daily sleep, and
that when he had counted them to see if they were all there, he would
lie down in the midst of them and go to sleep also. This, said she,
would be the time for Menelaus and three of his trusted sailors to
spring upon him and seize him firmly, and she added that they must _hold
on to him, no matter what happened_, until he changed back into his own
form, that of an old man; then they could ask him any questions they
wished and he would be compelled to answer them.

Having given Menelaus these instructions, the beautiful goddess suddenly
plunged into the ocean and the green waves closed over her.

With bowed head and mind filled with anxious thought Menelaus returned
to his men. They gathered round their boats on the seashore and ate
their scanty evening meal. Silently and solemnly the night settled down
upon the landscape and made the trees look like dark, shadowy forms, and
the outlines of the hills grew dim, and the ocean was covered by the
hush of the darkness, and silence reigned over all.

The sailors threw themselves down upon the sand and were soon fast
asleep. Menelaus lay beside them, but I fear much that he did not sleep.
His mind was troubled. What would the next day bring forth? He was to
meet the strange and terrible Ancient of the Deep, and was to struggle
fiercely with him. Would he be able to cope with the monster? Would he
have the courage to hold on to him? What awful and unknown shapes might
not the creature take? These and a hundred other questions kept rising
in his mind and banished all sleep from his eyes. One by one the stars
came out in the deep, black sky above his head. Had not the gods kept
them in their places for unnumbered ages? Could not these same gods
protect and strengthen him when they knew that in his heart he was
striving to learn what was their will? The night slowly wore away, and
when the faint purplish light softened the eastern sky, he arose and
going apart from his sleeping comrades, he knelt down and prayed
earnestly to the ever-living gods. Then returning to his men, he awoke
the three whom he could trust the most, and taking them with him he
sought the spot where the goddess Idothea had promised to meet him. She,
radiant as the dawn, was already there awaiting him.

As they approached she plunged into the sea and was lost to sight. In a
few moments, however, she re-appeared bringing with her the newly flayed
skins of four sea-calves. Then quickly digging four oblong holes in the
wet sand she commanded Menelaus and his three companions to lie down in
them. This they did, and she skillfully spread over each of them, one of
the skins which she had brought from the bottom of the ocean. After they
were so closely covered that even the shrewd Proteus would mistake them
for sea-calves, the radiant goddess seated herself on a rock not far
distant, to await his coming.

The horrible smell which came from the skins of the newly-slain
sea-calves was so sickening that Menelaus and his three comrades could
not stand it, and were about to give up the attempt to capture the
sea-god, when the shining goddess came to the rescue. Bringing from,
they knew not whence, some fragrant ambrosia, the food of the immortals,
she placed it beneath their nostrils and its sweet perfume made them
forget the loathsome coverings with which they were concealed. Its
refreshing odor soon restored their strength and thus they were able to
remain hidden until the noon hour.

Then the sea-calves floundering much rose from the depths of the ocean
and began crawling along the sand. They came in throngs and laid
themselves down in rows upon the sandy shore beside the brave but
anxious heroes. Soon the sunlit waves parted from right to left and
slowly and solemnly Proteus, the Ancient of the Deep, appeared. His hair
and beard and garments were covered with white foam. He walked over to
where his sea-calves lay basking in the sun and counted them. This was a
trying time for Menelaus. His heart beat loud and fast, so great was his
fear that he and his companions might be discovered. But the goddess had
done her work too well for that. Proteus did not notice any difference
between them and the beasts which lay about them. Having finished his
task, he stretched his body upon the sand beside his flock, ready for
his afternoon nap.

Now was the critical moment! Menelaus and his men throwing off the skins
of the dead sea-calves sprang forward with loud shouts, and before the
old sea-god knew it, they had fast hold of his arms and legs.

Proteus having the power to change his body into whatever shape he
pleased, suddenly transformed himself into a roaring lion, so fierce and
strong that it seemed as if he might crush anything that came in his
way. Still Menelaus and his stout-hearted men _held on_. Then, in an
instant the lion became a fiery panther whose glaring eyes struck
terror into their hearts, but still they _held on_. In a moment more a
large snake was twisting and writhing in their hands, hissing and
darting his forked tongue out as if he would gladly poison all of them,
still they _held on_. Shape after shape the monster assumed, but still
they _held on_. Now it was a clear, harmless stream of water flowing
gently through their hands. Again it was a flame of fire darting here
and there threatening to scorch their faces and even to burn out their
eyes; still they _held on_. Then it became a beautiful tree, tall and
stately, with broad spreading branches and shining green leaves, still
they _held on_.

At last, finding that his enchantments were of no avail he changed back
into his real form and turning to Menelaus he said, "What wouldst thou
have?" Menelaus begged him to tell why he and his faithful sailors were
kept from crossing the dark waters of the sea to their distant homes.
Then Proteus, the Ancient of the Deep, who knew all secrets of both gods
and men, told him that he must go back to Egypt where he had sinned, and
do all that he could to atone for that sin before he might hope to reach
his beloved home.

Menelaus now understood what the wind had been trying to tell him. Each
hoarse whisper as the gale rushed by, meant "Return to Egypt! Return to
Egypt!" In fact, all these twenty days it had been blowing in that
direction, as if to assure the mariners that it would fill their sails
and help them to return to Egypt if they would only launch their boats
and turn the prows eastward.

This they did the very next day, and soon were back on Egypt's shore.
Due worship was paid to the gods, and then right merrily the wind
whistled and sang about their ears as it filled their white sails and
helped them to speed across the blue water, and in a few days they had
reached their beloved home-land.

But never to the end of their lives did they forget the terrible
struggle with the Mighty Proteus, Ancient of the Deep, where by _holding
on_ they had won the silent battle. And oftentimes they told the story
to their children and grandchildren, just as I am telling it to you,
to-day.



_THE VISION OF DANTE._


I want to tell a beautiful story to you, dear children. It has been told
over and over again for six hundred years, yet people keep reading it,
and re-reading it, and wise men never tire of studying it. Many great
artists have painted pictures, and sculptors have made statues, and
musicians have composed operas, and clergymen have written sermons from
thoughts inspired by it. A great poet first gave it to the world in the
form of a grand poem which some day you may read, but I will try to tell
it to you to-day as a short story. I am afraid that you would go to
sleep if I should undertake to read the poem to you. You do not yet know
enough about life to understand it.

Once upon a time, very long ago, there was a man whose name was Dante.
He had done wrong and had wandered a long way from his home. He does not
tell us how, or why. He begins by saying that he had gone to sleep in a
great forest. Suddenly he awoke, and tried to find his way out of it,
first by one path, and then another; but all in vain.

Through an opening where the tall trees had not grown quite so thick, he
saw in the distance a great mountain, on the top of which the sun was
shining brightly. "Ah!" thought he to himself, "if I can but reach the
top of that mountain I am sure I can see a long way in every direction.
No woods can grow tall enough to keep me from finding my path then!" So
with new courage he started toward the mountain, but he had not walked
far when a beautiful spotted panther stood with glaring eyes in his
pathway. He trembled, for he knew that going forward meant that he would
be destroyed. He turned hastily aside into another path, but he had gone
only a short distance in this direction before he saw a huge lion coming
toward him. In greater haste than before he turned into still another
path. His heart was beating very fast now, and he hastened along without
taking much notice of what lay before him. Suddenly he came upon a lean
and hungry wolf, which looked as if he could devour half a dozen men.
Dante turned and fled back into the dark woods, "where the sun was
silent." He thought, "What is the use of trying to get out of this
terrible forest? There are wild beasts on every side. If I escape one I
am sure to be devoured by another; I might as well give up trying." He
had now lost all hope.

Just at this moment he saw a man coming towards him. The face of the man
was beaming with smiles as if he had some good news to tell. Dante ran
forward to meet him, crying, "Have mercy on me, whoever you are! See
that beast from which I have fled! My body is trembling yet with
fright."

The strange man, whose name was Virgil, told Dante that he had come to
help him, but that they would have to go by another path to get out of
this savage wilderness. He then explained that they must go down through
a deep, bad-smelling and dark hole in the ground, and must meet with
many disagreeable things and crawl through much dirt and filth; but
after they had gone through this close, dirty tunnel, they would again
see the light, and if they had strength enough to climb, they might in
the end get to a delightful spot on the top of the mountain called the
Terrestrial Paradise, from which lovely place Dante could go home if he
wanted to.

At first Dante was afraid to go with Virgil, although he had often read
the wise and noble books which the latter had written. But when he
heard that Beatrice, whom he had loved as he loved no one else on earth,
had come from Heaven in the form of a bright Angel to urge Virgil to
come to him, his heart was so filled with joy that he at once renewed
his courage, and told Virgil to go forward, promising that he would
trust him as a guide.

They then began their perilous journey. The dark pit through which they
were to pass was the shape of an immense funnel or a cone turned upside
down. It was so large that it reached from the surface down to the very
center of the earth. Indeed, though it was as twilight where they
entered, and was quite wide and airy, yet as they slowly traveled down
its rocky sides the place grew darker and narrower and the air more
stifling, and the smell was worse than anything of which you have ever
dreamed. At times Dante nearly fainted, but Virgil put his arms around
him and held him up until he revived. I will not stop to tell you of all
the horrible experiences they went through. By and by when you grow to
be men and women, you can read the whole poem for yourselves.

At last they reached the bottom of the foul pit; it was the very center
of the earth, and was the darkest spot possible. Then they began to
climb through the narrow opening which they saw. They wanted to get to
the surface on the other side of the world, and again see the light of
the sun.

Dante felt as if he were escaping from a terrible plague-stricken
prison-house. The first things he looked at were four beautiful stars
shining far above his head; then he knew he was where he could get fresh
air and light, for he felt sure that where stars were to be seen air and
light could be found. He soon discovered that he was on a large island,
in the middle of which stood a great mountain. This, Virgil told Dante,
was the mountain which they would have to climb.

It was Easter morning!

As they were looking about them, not knowing exactly which way to turn,
they saw an old man with a long white beard. His face was so radiant
that it reminded Dante of the stars at which he had been gazing. The old
man told them where to go to begin the ascent of the mountain. But he
said that Virgil must first get the grime and dirt off of Dante. You
know we cannot very well get into dirty places without having some of
the cinders and ashes and other filth stick to us. He also kindly told
them where they could find some easily bent rushes which they could use
to gird up Dante's long cloak, so that he might climb the better.

I think it must have been the old man's kindness to the many strangers
who came to the island that caused his face to look so beaming as to
remind Dante of the stars. Poor Dante thought over all his past life,
how he had wandered away from his home, how he had found himself in the
gloomy woods, how he had met the fierce beasts, and last of all he
thought of the blackening dirt he had gotten on himself in coming
through the deep hole. Then he thought of his rescue from all these
evils and the tears rolled down his cheeks. Virgil spread his hands out
upon the grass, still wet with the dew from heaven, and with the
moisture thus gained, he washed Dante's face. The tears Dante was
shedding helped to wash away the dirt.

After this they went to where the rushes were growing and gathered some
for a belt for Dante. Strange as it may sound to you, dear children, as
fast as they gathered one rush, another sprang up in its place. They
bound these enchanted rushes around Dante's waist, and he was now ready
for the upward climb and was quite eager to begin.

They turned and looked once more at the ocean. Dante's eyes were just
beginning to get used to the sunlight. Suddenly he saw a strange white
light coming along the sea towards them. He was astonished. As it came
nearer and nearer the light grew more and more dazzling, and Dante saw
that it was a _glorious and radiant angel_! He fell upon his knees and
dropped his gaze to the ground, for the face of the angel was so bright
that he could not look upon it. The strange and beautiful being came
swiftly forward, bringing with him a small boat full of people, the very
water became resplendent with light as the boat moved swiftly through
it, yet the angel had neither oar nor sail. His shining wings, spread
high above his head, seemed to waft the boat along by some invisible
power. He landed the people, and--quick as a sunbeam was gone.

The newly arrived souls came up to Dante and Virgil and inquired the
way, for they too were going up the steep, rough mountain, around which
wound a difficult path. The end of the path no one could see. They
walked along together for a short distance, and while Virgil was
searching the ground for the right path, Dante lifted his eyes upward
and saw some people looking over a rocky wall that bordered the road on
the next bend above them. To these fellow-travelers he called for help,
as he felt sure they must have found the right path up the mountain's
side. They gladly pointed out the spot where Virgil and Dante could find
the way, and soon they were upon it. But now arose a serious difficulty.
From the growing twilight they knew that night was coming on, and in
this strange, new country nobody dared travel in the dark. There were
too many pitfalls and stumbling blocks to make it safe to travel without
the light of the sun. Virgil knew that the wisest and best thing to do
in hours of darkness was to keep still and wait for more light. A man
whom they had met on the road pointed out a safe, little valley where
they could stay until the sunlight came once more.

Ah, how I wish you could have seen that valley!

It was called the Valley of the Princes. As they approached it a vision
burst upon them of the loveliest spot that could be imagined. If gold
and silver and scarlet and green and blue and all the finest colors in
the world were put together into a flower garden they would not make
anything half so beautiful as was this Valley of the Princes. Not only
were the colors so fine, but the perfumes were the sweetest ever
breathed. They went quietly and slowly into the valley and sat down. The
air about them grew darker and darker as the sun set behind the
mountains.

All at once Dante heard some voices singing a gentle hymn. I think it
must have been a hymn something like our own little hymn, "Wearily at
Daylight's Close," for it made Dante think of the Heavenly Father, and
look up into the sky, whose only brightness was the stars shining far
above his head. As he looked he saw sweep down out of the high heavens
two glad angels of God, robed in pale, shining green. Each was
surrounded with a radiance so bright that it was dazzling; both carried
swords of fire. Lightning never came from the sky more swiftly than did
these two angels. They separated as they approached the earth; one
placed himself upon the mountain on one side of the valley and the other
upon the mountain on the other side. Dante wondered what all this meant,
but the man who had told them where to find the valley was still with
them. He explained that the angels had come to protect all travelers
who were staying in the dark valley until light should come again and
they could see to go forward.

Just then Dante turned and saw a large, ugly snake winding its way
silently through the grass. Quick as a flash of lightning one of the
angels descended from his high post, and, with a touch of his flaming
sword, turned the snake, which fled in dismay. Then Dante knew that the
angels had indeed been sent from heaven, and in his heart he felt very
glad that all through this dark night he might be sure of their
protecting love. So he quietly laid himself down upon the grass, and
went to sleep. While sleeping he had a strange dream; an eagle of fire
seemed to be bearing him up through the air.

He awoke. It was morning; the sun was shining and the birds were
singing. Flowers were blooming all around him--and yet it was not the
same place in which he had gone to sleep. He saw on looking about him
that he was farther up the mountain side. He turned with a question to
Virgil, who soon told him that while he had slept in the Valley of the
Princes another angel, named Lucia, had been sent from Heaven to bear
him in her arms over the rough places where he could not have traveled
unaided, and that he now stood at the real entrance of the path up the
mountain.

"We must pass through that gate which you see in front of you," said
Virgil, "and before you enter it I must tell you that there will be some
very hard climbing for you, and sometimes you will grow weary and
discouraged, but be assured that it will become less painful as you
climb. The hardest part is the first part. It grows easier and easier as
you near the top, until, when you reach the Terrestrial Paradise, there
will be no longer any climbing at all. There you shall see your beloved
Beatrice and she will reveal to you a vision of GOD."

With this they started towards the gate. Now I must tell you about this
gate, children, because it was a very peculiar gate, and some of these
days you may have to go through it yourselves. As they came near, Dante
saw that it had three broad steps leading up to it. The bottom step was
like polished marble, and so shining that you could see your face
reflected in it. Each traveler who approached it saw just how unclean he
was, or how tired, or how cross looking. The next step was a dark
purplish black step. It was cracked lengthwise and crosswise, and had a
sad look about it as if it were sorry for the reflections which it saw
in the bottom step. The third step at the top was red, so red that it
reminded Dante of blood. Above this towered the great gate-way. Upon the
sill of this gate sat another wonderful angel in shining garments which
were brighter than the moon. His feet rested upon the top step.

As Dante and Virgil approached, the angel asked them what they wanted.
They told him that they wished to go through the gate in order that they
might climb the mountain. The angel leaned forward, and with the edge of
the sword which he held in his hand he printed on Dante's forehead seven
letters. Dante knew that the seven letters stood for the seven things
that were wrong inside of his heart. Then the angel took from his side a
silver key and a golden key, and unlocking the gate with each, he let it
swing wide upon its hinges, and our two travelers passed through.

They had no sooner entered than they heard a man singing praises to God.
As they traveled along the path which wound upward, they saw upon the
rocks at their sides wonderfully carved pictures of people who had been
good and kind and always thoughtful of others instead of themselves. As
Dante looked at them they seemed to him to be the most marvelous
pictures he had ever seen. He thought within his heart, "How beautiful!"
"How beautiful!" "How I wish I could be like these people!" Then he
turned and looked down upon the rocks on which he was treading, he saw
there were more carvings upon the stones below; but these were of people
who thought of nobody but themselves--haughty people, selfish people,
and idle ones.

As Dante gazed upon them, he bowed himself lower and lower, for he
thought within his heart, "I fear I am more like these people than I am
like the others." He had been a proud and haughty man in the past, and
now he knew how ugly and selfish that haughtiness was. As he ascended
the road, he must have prayed to God to make him more like the beautiful
and gentle people whose portraits he had seen upon the rocks at his
side. He had been walking, bent very low; all at once he straightened
himself up; he felt as if some great weight had been lifted off his
shoulders. He turned to Virgil, saying, "Master, from what heavy thing
have I been lightened?" Virgil glanced up at his forehead. Dante
stretched forth the fingers of his hand and felt the letters which the
angel had placed upon his forehead. There were but six. There had been
seven. Virgil smiled, and the two passed on.

Their ears caught the sound of voices singing in sweet tones, "Blessed
are the poor in spirit!" "Blessed are the poor in spirit!" Then Dante
knew that the other souls, too, had prayed to God to take pride and
haughtiness and selfishness out of their lives.

They passed along to the higher terrace on the mountain side, and here
they saw no pictures, but heard strange, sweet voices singing through
the air. These voices were singing of the people who had been glad when
others were made happy, who had loved and praised the good in those
about them, who had rejoiced when some one else besides themselves had
been commended. The voices seemed so joyful as they told of these loving
hearts, that Dante shut his eyes and listened. Soon he heard other
voices tell of the people who had liked to talk of themselves and not of
others, who did not care to hear anybody else praised, people whom it
made unhappy to know that anybody else was happy. "Ah!" thought he to
himself, "I fear, I fear that I have been like these last people of whom
the voices tell such sad, unhappy things. How I long with all my heart
to be freed from this hateful thing called _Envy_!"

Then he prayed to God to help him to rejoice over the happiness of
others, to be willing to help others, and to realize that others were
helping him; and as he thought these thoughts and prayed this prayer,
another burden seemed lifted from off him, and he put his hand to his
forehead and found that another of the terrible letters was gone. He had
but five remaining on his forehead now, and already the climbing seemed
easier.

They soon came to another very difficult passage in the road, and so
rough and sharp were the rocks which stood in the pathway that Dante's
heart failed him, and he must have stopped in his onward journey up the
mountain had not another loving angel of God come from some unseen
point, and, lifting him with strong arms, carried him over the hard
place, setting him again upon his feet. I think Dante must have thanked
God for thus sending him help in his moment of discouragement; at any
rate he felt that he had been slothful and not eager enough to reach
the top of the mountain.

On and on he traveled, sometimes with voices in the air singing to
encourage him, sometimes with warnings coming from unknown quarters. The
very trees laden with fruit on the roadside seemed to say, "Take enough
of us, but do not eat too much; a glutton cannot see GOD."

As they mounted higher and higher the landscape grew broader and
broader, and more filled with a strange, new sunshine. The huge boulders
and angry-looking rocks below, which had so frightened Dante as he began
his journey, seemed now scarcely larger than pebbles and little stones.
He smiled to think that he had never cared for them at all. Weariness
was now gone, the last of the mysterious letters had vanished from his
forehead, and the one longing of Dante's heart was to meet again his
beautiful and beloved Beatrice, and be led by her into the presence of
the Great GOD of the Universe, who had so wonderfully and so
mysteriously sent His angels to help him on the way.

At last they reached the spot called the Terrestrial Paradise, and
there, as Virgil had told him, stood his loving Beatrice, who took him
by the hand and led him up into Heaven itself, beyond the clouds, beyond
the stars, beyond planets and worlds, even to the foot of the Throne of
GOD!

Of this I cannot tell you. No words of mine could make you see that
glorious vision as Dante then beheld it. Your own little hearts must be
freed from all wrong thoughts, from all evil motives, from all selfish
desires, must be filled with a love of others, and with generous
willingness to do for others, and then may come to you, too, some day,
this Great Vision that came to Dante.

And you will then learn that God is with you all the time, but only the
pure in heart can see Him.



STORIES OF HEROES.



_HOW LITTLE CEDRIC BECAME A KNIGHT._


A long time ago there lived a little boy whose name was Cedric. At the
foot of a high hill, on the top of which stood a grand old castle, was
the stone hut in which he lived. The little boy had many a time watched
the strong, iron gate rise slowly from the ground, as out of the
courtyard of the castle would ride Sir Rollin DuBois and his faithful
soldiers. There were sometimes two, or three visiting knights and their
followers and they were a gay sight as the sun shone on their glittering
armor of steel and glanced from their bright helmets. They looked so
strong and resolute as they sat, calm and erect, in their saddles. A
glance into their fine faces would have assured you that they were noble
and brave and could be trusted by everybody, from the King to the
poorest peasant in the land. Their very horses seemed proud to carry
them as they galloped along. Little Cedric thought there never was
anything more beautiful than these knights as they came down the hill
on some quest of adventure, or errand of mercy.

One day Cedric had been playing with his pet kitten. After a good romp
with her, he had thrown himself down on the soft green grass to rest,
and the queer little kitten had gone out into the middle of the dusty
road and curled herself up for a nice nap. Suddenly Cedric looked up,
and saw five knights with all their squires and pages galloping down the
road! In a moment more his eye fell upon the kitten lying fast asleep in
the middle of the highway. Fearing that the horsemen would not see her,
he sprang to his feet, ran quickly forward and gathered the soft little
thing up in his arms, just in time to save it from the horses' feet.

As the riders passed, one of the tall knights slackened his horse and
smiling down upon Cedric said, "My little fellow, you are almost brave
enough to be a knight some day." He then galloped on to join his party
and soon the yellow dust which they had raised from the ground, settled
down again.

Cedric stood looking after the horsemen until they seemed a mere speck
in the distance and then disappeared all together. He did not even
notice the kitten in his arms when she put her nose up against his
cheek.

At last he turned to go into the house, and as he went, he said softly
to himself, "To be a knight some day!" "To be a knight some day!" He ate
his simple supper of bread and milk in silence. His mother noticed how
quiet he was, but she said nothing, for she knew that in his own good
time he would tell her all that was in his heart.

That night as he undressed for bed he looked up at the stars and said in
a soft, low tone, "Beautiful stars, do you know what a wonderful thing
Sir Rollin said to me to-day? He told me that perhaps some day I might
be a knight!" He could hardly sleep, he was so happy. The great knight
had spoken to him, had praised his courage, and, best of all, had said
that perhaps, some day, he, Cedric, might be a great knight himself!
"Could such a thing possibly come to pass?" He asked himself this
question over and over again, until at last he fell asleep and dreamed
that he was a large, strong man, and wore a shining armor of steel and
rode a splendid black horse, and carried a great sword and that all the
people of the country round about honored and loved him because he was
one of the bravest knights in the whole land.

Just as he was dreaming that he was about to rescue a beautiful princess
from an ugly giant who had shut her up in a prison, he heard his mother
calling him. He opened his eyes and saw that the sky was all pink and
gold with the clouds of the sunrise, and that he was only little Cedric
in his attic chamber. He dressed himself quickly and climbed down the
wooden ladder to the room below.

He was soon busy and happy, helping his mother feed the doves and water
the cow and fetch hay for the two horses. After his father had eaten his
breakfast, and had gone to his work in the field, the little would-be
knight and his mother washed the dishes and tidied the two small rooms.
Cedric was very fond of thus helping her with the work, and she often
said, "My little boy is both son and daughter to me." By and by she sat
down to her sewing. Then Cedric could keep his secret no longer. Going
up to her, he put his arm around her neck and whispered to her the story
of the knight, how he had stopped and spoken, and what he had said. "Do
_you_ think I could ever grow up to be a knight, mother?" asked he. His
mother smiled, and then looked sober as she brushed his brown hair back
from his forehead and said, "Knights have many, many hard things to do,
my son, and oftentimes their lives are in danger." "Yes, I know,"
answered Cedric eagerly, "but think, mother, how brave they are, and how
good! Do they not protect our country?" "Yes," said his mother, "I know
all that. I could not sleep at night when our enemies are near at hand
if I did not know that Sir Rollin Dubois and his brave soldiers were on
the hill close by. But you are a very little boy, Cedric. Run out to
your play now."

Many times during the next few weeks little Cedric thought of the grand
knights and how one of them had smiled at him and had spoken as if _he_,
Cedric, might some day be a great, strong knight and ride a beautiful
horse, and do brave deeds.

Weeks passed by and the spring had changed into summer. One evening,
just as the setting sun was turning all the white clouds into gold and
crimson, Cedric stood in the low doorway wondering if where the angels
lived could be more beautiful than was the sky over his dear mountain
home. He suddenly heard the tramp of horses' feet, and looking down
across the plain, he saw a gay party of horsemen. Their armor flashed
and shone in the light of the setting sun and their long white plumes
waved in the gentle evening breeze. His face lighted up with a glad
smile, for he knew that it was Sir Rollin Dubois and his soldiers
returning from the terrible war to which the King had sent them. They
soon came near enough for Cedric to see their faces, as the heavy steel
visors of their helmets were lifted so that they might breathe more
freely the soft summer air. It had been a warm day, and Cedric noticed
that even the tallest knight among them looked tired, and as if he would
be glad to get to the castle and lay aside, for a while at least, his
heavy armor.

Just as they were passing the door in which Cedric stood, one of them
stopped his horse and leaning forward said, "My little man, will you
give me a drink of water?" Cedric ran quickly and filled a cup with
fresh, cool water from the spring near by, and brought it to the knight.
"Thank you," said the nobleman, as he handed the cup back to Cedric. "I
am very glad to be able to serve you," said Cedric quietly. The knight
smiled, gathered up the reins of his horse, and said, "You are as
courteous as a knight, my boy."

That evening Cedric told his mother of this second speech, and then he
asked as a wistful look came over his face, "Ah, mother dear, do you
think I can ever become a knight?"

Weeks passed into months and the soft, gray snow clouds had covered the
green hills with the white mantle of winter. Whenever Cedric felt like
being rude, or cross, or selfish, he thought of the bright smile on the
great knight's face that summer evening, when he had asked for the cup
of cold water, and he felt sure the smile would change into a frown if
the knight should see him do a discourteous or a selfish act.

A year or two had passed when one day something happened which Cedric
never forgot. His father came in from his work and said, "Sir Rollin
Dubois wants a young lad to come to the castle to take the place of his
page who has lately been promoted. Do you think, wife, that our Cedric
is strong enough for such an office?" Cedric's heart almost stopped
beating while he listened for his mother's answer. She thought for a few
moments and then said slowly as if weighing each word, "Yes, I think he
would try very hard to do his duty, and I should like to have him learn
more of knighthood. Perhaps some day he too may be a knight, who
knows?" she added, as she turned smilingly to the radiant face of her
boy.

That very afternoon she made a bundle of his few clothes, and his father
took him by the hand and walked with him up the steep hill to the great
castle gate. Cedric had never before been so near the castle, and when
his father lifted the heavy iron knocker and brought it down with two or
three loud knocks, it seemed to Cedric that his heart was knocking
almost as loudly. Not that he was afraid, but he was stirred by the
thought of going into the presence of the great and noble Sir Rollin
whom all people loved and revered.

The huge iron gate slowly lifted. The drawbridge was already thrown
across the ditch of water which surrounded the castle and in a few
moments Cedric and his father had passed under the stone archway and
were standing within the courtyard. A man took them into a large room
whose walls and floors were of stone, and bade them sit down on a wooden
bench which stood near the door, saying at the same time, "I will tell
Sir Rollin that you are here."

They had been waiting some time when a door at the other end of the
room opened and a large, well built man, who looked so tall and straight
that he reminded Cedric of a mountain pine, came forward. He was not
dressed in armor, but Cedric knew at once that it was Sir Rollin Dubois.
The knight talked a few moments with Cedric's father and then turning to
Cedric he said "And you think you would like to become a knight, my boy?
Are you sure that you will not mind hard work and will remember always
to be true and pure, brave and unselfish?" Cedric's smile was so bright
that no answer was needed. The knight turned again to his father and
said, "Do you realize that it will take some ten years or more of
discipline and hard work on the part of your boy, before he can hope to
be promoted to a position of responsibility?" "Yes," said the father
quietly, "but I think he is willing to try it."

After a little talk it was decided that the boy should begin his
training then and there. So his father bade him good-bye and left.
Cedric was taken by an older boy up some stone stairs to a small room
whose ceiling, walls and floor were of stone. In the corner of the room
lay a pile of straw, over which had been thrown a sheep-skin. At one
side of the room was a small table. No other furniture was in the
apartment save a cedar chest which was doubtless intended to serve for
both chair and wardrobe. There was a narrow pointed window in one side
of the room through which the sunlight came. Cedric went up to the
window and looked out, but it was so high that he could see only the
blue sky and a soft white cloud. "Ah," thought Cedric to himself, "I can
at least see the stars at night and the sunlight each morning. Will they
not remind me always of the good God who watches over me?"

That night his supper consisted of some coarse barley bread and a bowl
of broth. Cedric, however, was used to simple food, and did not mind
this part of his discipline. As he lay down upon the pile of straw and
drew the sheep-skin over him, he thought of his nice warm bed at home,
but instantly came this other thought, "I must learn to be hardy and
strong if I am ever to do any great work in the world. So, I will not
mind such little discomforts as these."

Cedric soon found that he had not only to eat coarse food and sleep upon
a hard bed, but that he had to practice standing very straight, running
very swiftly, being able to manage a horse, to jump on and off while
the horse was in full gallop, to throw his spear with unerring accuracy,
and also that he must be prompt and ready to obey a call from Sir
Rollin, that he must not only learn to do errands faithfully and
quickly, but to wait patiently and quietly oftentimes when he could not
understand why he waited.

Year after year passed by and little Cedric had grown large and tall.
When he visited his home he used often to laugh at the little bed which
had once held him so cosily. Not only had he grown strong and tall, but
he had grown even more in thoughtfulness and courtesy toward all about
him.

One day Sir Rollin sent for him. "Cedric," said he, "I wish you to take
a message to the King. It is quite an important one and it must reach
him before to-morrow night. Get ready as quickly as you can. Take my
gray horse, as he is the swiftest one in the stables, and remember that
I have trusted you much by sending you upon this errand."

Cedric's heart beat with joy, as he thought, "At last I have proved
faithful enough to be sent with a message to our great King." He was
ready in less than half an hour, and jumping on the splendid gray
charger he went galloping down the highway. On and on he rode.

At last he entered a thick forest of pine trees. The road grew very dark
and lonesome. "What if I should meet some wild beast," thought Cedric,
but he added, half aloud, "If I am ever to be a knight, I must learn to
be brave and face every danger." It was not long before he was quite
sure that he heard a deep, low growl. His heart beat fast, but he rode
steadily forward and soon the growl was repeated, this time nearer and
more distinct, and Cedric saw in the dim light, a great wild boar coming
towards him. The creature's eyes were shining like fire, and his white
tusks overhung his lower jaw in a fierce and forbidding fashion. Cedric
knew that this must be the beast which had destroyed so many of the
cattle of the neighboring peasants, but who was so strong and savage
that no one had dared to go near him. He spurred his horse forward as he
thought, "If I kill this wild boar I will already begin to be of service
to the people of my country." So he lifted the spear which he carried at
his side, from its leather socket, and raising it high in the air, he
hurled it swiftly at the beast who was ready to spring upon him. In a
moment more the wild boar rolled over upon the ground, dead. Cedric
reached down and drew his spear from its side, and as he rode on again
he thought, "Wolves and wild boars must not stop the way of a messenger
of the King. I must fear nothing if I am to be a knight."

After a time his road lay out of the forest into the sunlight. As he
approached a small village he heard a great noise as of much shouting
and soon he saw a group of boys who were evidently hooting and laughing
at something in their midst. He rode up to where they were and felt
himself growing indignant as he saw an old, deformed man standing in
their midst, at whom they were jeering. In a moment he sprang from his
horse and pressing through the crowd of boys he stood beside the old
man. On his face was a flush of indignant anger. "How dare you," he
exclaimed, "laugh at or insult an old man like this?" The boys drew
back, frightened. Although he was really no taller than they, he seemed
to tower above them. "My," exclaimed one of them in a whisper, "doesn't
he look like a knight as he stands there?" "I shouldn't wonder if he
were one," said another.

Cedric turned to the old man who was trembling in every limb. "Where
are you going?" asked he kindly. "Only to the next village," said the
old man, "but these boys stopped me on my way. I cannot help my
deformity nor my old age. I wish I could." The tears stood in his eyes
as he spoke. "Come," said Cedric gently, "let me help you upon my horse.
I, too, am going to the next village."

When they had reached the next village Cedric helped the old man from
the horse at his own door. Then, mounting, he thought to himself, "I am
very hungry, I think I will stop at the village inn and get a good warm
supper." "No," said he on second thought, "I cannot stop now. I have had
to travel so slowly because of the old man that I must make up for lost
time." With that he tightened the rein of his beautiful horse, and the
two had soon left the village far in the distance. Cedric reached back
to a leather pouch behind him and took from it a dry biscuit which had
to serve for his supper that night.

Late in the evening he reached the house at which he was to rest his
horse and he himself slept for a few hours. By dawn the next day he was
up and off on his journey. As he was riding by a small stream of water
he noticed a poor, little fish that some thoughtless fisherman had
thrown upon the bank as too insignificant to be taken home for
breakfast. The tiny creature was struggling and gasping for breath as it
vainly tried to get back into the water. "Ah, you poor little thing,"
thought Cedric, "I wish I had time to put you back into the stream, but
I haven't," and so he rode on. Then came the thought, "A knight would
take time to help anything that was suffering. If I am ever to be a
knight I must do so too." With this thought, he turned and was soon back
again at the spot where the little fish lay. He got down off of his
horse, and taking the poor creature in his hand as gently as possible,
he stooped down and put it into the stream of water. It swam rapidly
away as if glad, beyond words, to get back into its own element. Its
swiftly moving tail seemed to Cedric, as he watched it for a moment, to
say, "Thank you, Cedric, thank you, thank you!" He then jumped on his
horse again and rode on.

The day grew very warm, but Cedric knew that he must not stop for his
own comfort; his errand was an important one and he must reach the
King's palace before night.

At last the beautiful palace came in sight and in a few moments Cedric
had ridden into the courtyard. He gave his letter to a servant to carry
it to one of the squires who gave it to a courtier who presented it to
the King; for you must remember in those days a King was a very great
person, and only those men who had risen high in rank could approach
him.

Among other things the note contained this message. It told the King
that the bearer was a young lad who had been in training for knighthood
and that Sir Rollin had found him always brave and trustworthy, true and
noble, kind and courteous, and that he, Sir Rollin, thought if the King
wanted him in his army, he would find him worthy of the place.

The King sent for Cedric to come to him personally. Our little boy had
grown into a tall man, you know, and his frank, pure face was good to
look upon. The King told him that he wished to put him in office in his
army; and thus Cedric went to live in the King's household and here he
learned many things which he could not have learned at the castle of Sir
Rollin Dubois.

Several years passed by, and Cedric had been entrusted with many
enterprises, both difficult and dangerous. At last one day the King sent
for him to come into the throne room. There sat the King upon a
beautiful throne of gold; beside him sat the queen. Over their head was
a crimson velvet canopy. Standing about the room were a great number of
courtiers and grand ladies. As Cedric entered the room, the King said,
"Come forward."

Cedric stepped forward and kneeled upon one knee before the throne, as
was the custom in those days. The King raised his beautiful golden
scepter and struck Cedric lightly upon the shoulder with it, saying at
the same time, "Rise, Sir Cedric of Altholstane." And Cedric knew then
that he was, at last, a knight!

In time he had a beautiful castle of his own, and splendid armor, the
most beautiful black horse that you ever saw. The handsome horse used to
prance and toss his head proudly in the air as if he knew what a noble
young knight he was carrying. After a while Cedric had a lovely wife and
two or three sweet little children of his own, and as he rode abroad
over the country, many a time the peasants standing in their cottage
doors, would say to each other, "There goes the brave Sir Cedric of
Altholstane. God bless him! May he live long to help protect our
country." And all the people loved him.



_STORY OF CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS FOR LITTLE CHILDREN._


Once upon a time, far across the great ocean there lived a little boy
named Christopher. The city in which he lived was called Genoa. It was
on the coast of the great sea, and from the time that little Christopher
could first remember he had seen boats come and go across the water. I
doubt not that he had little boats of his own which he tried to sail, or
paddle about on the small pools near his home.

Soon after he was old enough to read books, which in those days were
very scarce and very much valued, he got hold of an account of the
wonderful travels of a man named Marco Polo. Over and over again little
Christopher read the marvelous stories told by this old traveler, of the
strange cities which he had seen and of the dark-colored people whom he
had met; of the queer houses; of the wild and beautiful animals he had
encountered; of the jewels and perfumes and flowers which he had come
across.

All day long the thoughts of little Christopher were busy with this
strange far-away land which Marco Polo described. All night long he
dreamed of the marvelous sights to be seen on those distant shores. Many
a time he went down to the water's edge to watch the queer ships as they
slowly disappeared in the dim distance, where the sea and sky seemed to
meet. He listened eagerly to everything about the sea and the voyages of
adventure, or of trade which were told by the sailors near.

When he was fourteen years old he went to sea with an uncle, who was
commander of one of the vessels that came and went from the port of
Genoa. For a number of years he thus lived on a vessel, learning
everything that he could about the sea. At one time the ship on which he
was sailing had a desperate fight with another ship; both took fire and
were burned to the water's edge. Christopher Columbus, for that was his
full name, only escaped, as did the other sailors, by jumping into the
sea and swimming to the shore. Still this did not cure him of his love
for the ocean life.

We find after a time that he left Italy, his native country, and went to
live in Portugal, a land near the great sea, whose people were far more
venturesome than had been those of Genoa. Here he married a beautiful
maiden, whose father had collected a rich store of maps and charts,
which showed what was then supposed to be the shape of the earth and
told of strange and wonderful voyages which brave sailors had from time
to time dared to make out into the then unknown sea. Most people in
those days thought it was certain death to any one who ventured very far
out on the ocean.

There were all sorts of queer and absurd ideas afloat as to the shape of
the earth. Some people thought it was round like a pancake and that the
waters which surrounded the land gradually changed into mist and vapor
and that he who ventured out into these vapors fell through the mist and
clouds down into--they knew not where. Others believed that there were
huge monsters living in the distant waters ready to swallow any sailor
who was foolish enough to venture near them.

But Christopher Columbus had grown to be a very wise and thoughtful man
and from all he could learn from the maps of his father-in-law and the
books which he read, and from the long talks which he had with some
other learned men, he grew more and more certain that the world was
round like an orange, and that by sailing westward from the coast of
Portugal one could gradually go round the world and find at last the
wonderful land of _Cathay_, the strange country which lay far beyond the
sea, the accounts of which had so thrilled him as a boy.

We, of course, know that he was right in his belief concerning the shape
of the earth, but people in those days laughed him to scorn when he
spoke of making a voyage out on the vast and fearful ocean. In vain he
talked and reasoned and argued, and drew maps to explain matters. The
more he proved to his own satisfaction that this must be the shape of
the world, the more other people shook their heads and called him crazy.

He remembered in his readings of the book of Marco Polo's travels that
the people whom he had met were heathen who knew little about the dear
God who had made the world, and nothing at all about His son, Christ
Jesus, and as Christopher Columbus loved very dearly the Christian
religion, his mind became filled with a longing to carry it across the
great seas to this far-away country. The more he thought about it the
more he wanted to go, until his whole life was filled with the one
thought of how to get hold of some ships to prove that the earth was
round, and that these far-away heathens could be reached.

Through some influential friends he obtained admission to the court of
the King of Portugal. Eagerly he told the rich monarch of the great
enterprise which filled his heart. It was of little or no use, the King
was busy with other affairs, and only listened to the words of Columbus
as one might listen to the wind. Year after year passed by, Columbus'
wife had died, and their one little son, Diego, had grown to be quite a
boy. Finally Columbus decided he would leave Portugal and would go over
to Spain, a rich country near by, and see if the Spanish monarchs would
not give him boats in which to make his longed-for voyage.

The Spanish King was named Ferdinand, and the Spanish Queen was a
beautiful woman named Isabella. When Columbus told them of his belief
that the world was round, and of his desire to help the heathen who
lived in this far-off country, they listened attentively to him, for
both King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella were very earnest people and very
desirous that all the world should become Christians; but their
ministers and officers of state persuaded them that the whole thing was
a foolish dream of an enthusiastic, visionary man; and again Columbus
was disappointed in his hope of getting help.

Still he did not give up in despair. _The thought was too great for
that._ He sent his brother over to England to see if the English King
would not listen to him and give the necessary help, but again he was
doomed to disappointment. Only here and there could he find any one who
believed that it was possible for him to sail round the earth and reach
the land on the other side. Long years passed by. Columbus grew pale and
thin with waiting and hoping, with planning and longing.

Sometimes as he walked along the streets of the Spanish capital people
would point their fingers at him and say: "There goes the crazy old man
who thinks the world is round." Again and again Columbus tried to
persuade the Spanish King and Queen that if they would aid him, his
discoveries would bring great honor and riches to their kingdom, and
that they would also become the benefactors of the world by helping to
spread the knowledge of Christ and His religion. Nobody believed in his
theory. Nobody was interested in his plan. He grew poorer and poorer.

At last he turned his back on the great Spanish court, and in silent
despair he took his little son by the hand and walked a long way to a
small seaport called Palos, where there was a queer old convent in which
strangers were often entertained by the kind monks who lived in it.
Weary and footsore he reached the gate of the convent. Knocking upon it
he asked the porter, who answered the summons, if he would give little
Diego a bit of bread and a drink of water. While the two tired travelers
were resting, as the little boy ate his dry crust of bread, the prior of
the convent, a man of thought and learning, whose name was Juan Perez,
came by and at once saw that these two were no common beggars. He
invited them in and questioned Columbus closely about his past life. He
listened quietly and thoughtfully to Columbus and his plan of crossing
the ocean and converting the heathen to Christianity.

Juan Perez had at one time been a very intimate friend of Queen
Isabella; in fact, the priest to whom she told all her sorrows, and
troubles. He was a quiet man and talked but little. After a long
conference with Columbus, in which he was convinced that Columbus was
right, he borrowed a mule and getting on his back rode for many miles
across the open country to the palace in which the Queen was then
staying. I do not know how he convinced her of the truth of Columbus'
plan, when all the ministers and courtiers and statesmen about her
considered it the absurdly foolish and silly dream of an old man; but,
somehow, he did it.

He then returned on his mule to the old convent at Palos, and told
Columbus to go back once more to the court of Spain and again petition
the Queen to give him money with which to make his voyage of discovery.
The State Treasurer said the Queen had no money to spare, but this
noble-hearted woman, who now, for the first time, realized that it was a
grand and glorious thing Columbus wished to do, said she would give her
crown jewels for money with which to start Columbus on his dangerous
journey across the great ocean.

This meant much in those days, as queens were scarcely considered
dignified or respectable if they did not wear crowns of gold inlaid
with bright jewels on all public occasions, but Queen Isabella cared far
more to send the gospel of Christ over to the heathen than how she might
look, or what other people might say about her. The jewels were pawned
and the money was given to Columbus. With a glad heart he hastened back
to the little town of Palos where he had left his young son with the
kind priest Juan Perez.

But now a new difficulty arose. Enough sailors could not be found who
would venture their lives by going out on this unknown voyage with a
crazy old man such as Columbus was thought to be. At last the convicts
from the prisons were given liberty by the Queen on condition that they
would go with the sailors and Columbus. So, you see, it was not
altogether a very nice crew, still it was the best he could get, and
Columbus' heart was so filled with the great work that he was willing to
undertake the voyage no matter how great or how many the difficulties
might be. The ships were filled with food and other provisions for a
long, long voyage.

Nobody knew how long it would be before the land on the other side could
be reached, and many people thought there was no possible hope of its
ever being found.

Early one summer morning, even before the sun had risen, Columbus bade
farewell to the few friends who had gathered at the little seaport of
Palos to say good-bye to him. The ships spread their sails and started
on the great untried voyage. There were three boats, none of which we
would think, nowadays, was large enough or strong enough to dare venture
out of sight and help of land and run the risk of encountering the
storms of mid-ocean.

The names of the boats were the Santa Maria, which was the one that
Columbus himself commanded, and two smaller boats, one named the Pinta
and the other the Nina.

Strange, indeed, must the sailors have felt, as hour after hour they
drifted out into the great unknown waters, which no man ever ventured
into before. Soon all land faded from their sight, and on, and on, and
on they went, not knowing where or how the voyage would end. Columbus
alone was filled with hope, feeling quite sure that in time he would
reach the never before visited shores of a New World, and would thus be
the means of bringing the Christian religion to these poor, ignorant
people. On and on they sailed, day after day--far beyond the utmost
point which sailors had ever before reached.

Many of the men were filled with a strange dread and begged and pleaded
to return home. Still on and on they went, each day taking them further
and further from all they had ever known or loved before. Day after day
passed, and week after week until two months had elapsed.

The provisions which they had brought with them were getting scarce, and
the men now dreaded starvation. They grew angry with Columbus, and
threatened to take his life if he did not command the ships to be turned
back towards Spain, but his patience did not give out, nor was his faith
one whit the less. He cheered the hearts of the men as best he could.
Often telling them droll, funny stories to distract their thoughts from
the terrible dread which now filled all minds.

He promised a rich reward to the first man who should discover land
ahead. This somewhat renewed their courage, and day and night watches
were set and the western horizon before them was scanned at all hours.
Time and again they thought they saw land ahead, only to find they had
mistaken a cloud upon the horizon for the longed-for shore. Flocks of
birds flying westward began to be seen. This gave some ground for hope.
For surely the birds must be flying toward some land where they could
find food, and trees in which to build their nests. Still fear was great
in the hearts of all, and Columbus knew that he could not keep the men
much longer in suspense, and that if land did not appear soon they would
compel him to turn around and retrace his steps whether he wished to or
not.

Then he thought of all the benighted heathen who had never heard of
God's message of love to man through Christ, and he prayed almost
incessantly that courage might be given him to go on. Hour after hour he
looked across the blue water, day and night, longing for the sight of
land. In fact, he watched so incessantly that his eyesight became
injured and he could scarcely see at all.

At last one night as he sat upon the deck of the ship he was quite sure
that a faint light glimmered for a few moments in the distant darkness
ahead. Where there is a light there must be land, he thought. Still he
was not sure, as his eyesight had become so dim. So he called one of the
more faithful sailors to him and asked him what he saw. The sailor
exclaimed:

"A light, a light!"

Another sailor was called, but by this time the light had disappeared
and the sailor saw nothing, and Columbus' hopes again sank. Still he
felt they must be nearing land. About 2 o'clock that night the commander
of one of the other boats started the cry:

"Land! land ahead!"

You can well imagine how the shout was taken up, and how the sailors,
one and all, rushed to the edge of their ships, leaning far over, no
doubt, and straining their eyes for the almost unhoped-for sight.

Early the next morning some one of the sailors picked up a branch of a
strange tree, lodged in the midst of which was a tiny bird's nest. This
was sure evidence that they were indeed near land, for branches of trees
do not grow in water.

Little by little the land came in sight. First it looked like a dim
ghost of a shore, but gradually it grew distinct and clear. About noon
the next day the keel of Columbus' boat ground upon the sand of the
newly discovered country. No white man had ever before set eyes upon it.
No ship had ever before touched this coast.

At last after a long life of working and studying, of hoping and
planning, of trying and failing, and trying yet again, he had realized
his dream.

The great mystery of the ocean was revealed, and Columbus had achieved a
glory which would last as long as the world lasted. _He had given a new
world to mankind!_ He had reached the far distant country across the
ocean, which scarcely any of his countrymen had even believed to have
any existence. He now _knew_ that the whole round world could in time
have the Christian religion.

He sprang upon the shore, and dropping on his knees he first stooped and
kissed the ground, and then he offered a fervent prayer of thanks to
God.

A learned attorney who had come with him across the water next planted
the flag of Spain upon the unknown land, and claimed the newly
discovered country in the name of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of
Spain.

Wonderful, wonderful indeed were the things which Columbus and the
sailors now saw! Strange naked men and women of a copper, or bronze
color, strange new birds with gorgeous tails that glittered like gems
such as they had never seen before; beautiful and unknown fruits and
flowers met their gaze on every side.

The savages were kind and gentle and brought them food and water. They
had little else to offer as they had no houses, nor streets, nor
carriages, nor cars, nor conveniences of any kind. Do you know, my dear
children, that this strange, wild, savage country which Columbus had
traveled so far and so long to discover was _our country, America_?

But it was not long until after Columbus had gone back to Europe and
told the people there of the wonderful things which he had seen in this
far, far away land that ship-loads of white people, who were educated
and who had been taught to love God and to keep his commandments, came
over and settled in this wild, new country. They plowed the land and
planted seed; they built houses for themselves, their wives and little
ones, and in time they made school-houses for the children, and churches
in which to worship God. Long and hard was the struggle which these
first white men had to make in this strange, new country.

Year after year more and more white men came. These new settlers
prospered, and new towns were built, and roads were made from one town
to another, and stores and manufactories began to be seen.

At last the little handful of people had grown so strong that they
established a government of their own, which welcomed all newcomers,
providing they were law-abiding citizens. The poor and oppressed, the
persecuted and discouraged in other lands came to this new shore, where
they found wealth if they were willing to work for it.

Here they need no longer fear the persecutions from which they had
suffered. Here they gained new hope and became honored and respected
citizens.

Little by little the small country grew into a great nation, the
greatest on earth, because it is the freest, and each citizen in it has
his rights respected. But for the courage and determination and
self-sacrifice of Columbus this great new world might have remained for
hundreds of years unknown to men.

Four hundred years afterwards the children of the children's children of
these early settlers, had a grand celebration in honor of the brave old
man, Christopher Columbus, whom the people of his day called crazy, and
all the nations of the earth were invited to bring their most
beautiful, their richest and rarest products to this celebration, in
order that not we of America alone, but _the whole world might celebrate
the wisdom and the courage of the great Columbus_, "_the finder of
America_."

In the rejoicing and in the celebration the nations did not forget the
good Queen Isabella, who was willing to give up her most precious jewels
in order that she might help Columbus in his voyage of discovery.



_A STORY OF DECORATION DAY FOR THE LITTLE CHILDREN OF TO-DAY._


I want you to listen to a sad, sweet story to-day, and yet one that
ought to make you glad,--glad that such men have lived as those of whom
I am going to tell you. It all happened a good many years ago, in fact
so long ago that your fathers and mothers were little boys and girls in
kilts and pinafores, some of them mere babies in long clothes.

One bright Sunday morning in April the telegraph wires could be heard
repeating the same things all over the land, "Tic, tic; tictic; t-i-c;
tic, tictic;--tic, t-i-c, tic; t-i-c; tic, t-i-c; t-i-c, t-i-c, tic,"
they called out, and the drowsy telegraph operators sat up in their
chairs as if startled by the words the wires were saying.

"Tic, t-i-c, tic; tictic; tic, tictic; tic; t-i-c, tictic;--tic, tic;
t-i-c, tic," continued the wires and the faces of the telegraph
operators grew pale. Any looker-on could have seen that something
dreadful was being told by the wires.

"Tic, t-i-c, tic; tictic; tic, tictic; tic; t-i-c, tictic;--tic, tic;
t-i-c, tic," again repeated the wires. There was no mistaking the
message this time. Alas, alas, it was true! The terrible news was true!
Even the bravest among the operators trembled.

Then came the rapid writing out of the fearful words that the slender
wires had uttered, the hurrying to and fro; and messenger boys were seen
flying to the great newspaper offices, and the homes of the mayors of
the cities, and to the churches where already the people were beginning
to assemble. For the deep-toned Sabbath church bells high up in the
steeples had been ringing out their welcome to all, even the strangers
in their midst--"Bim! Baum! Bim!" they sang, which everybody knew meant,
"Come to church, dear people! Come! Come! Come!" And the people strolled
leisurely along toward the churches,--fathers and mothers and little
ones, and even grandfathers and grandmothers. It was such a bright,
pleasant day that it seemed a joy to go to the house of God and thank
Him for all His love and care. So one family after another filed into
their pews while the organist played such soft, sweet music that
everybody felt soothed and quieted by it.

Little did they dream of the awful words which the telegraph wires were
at that very moment calling out with their "Tic, t-i-c, tic; t-i-c; tic,
t-i-c; t-i-c, t-i-c, tic;--Tic, t-i-c, tic, tictic, tic, tictic; tic;
t-i-c; tictic."

The clergymen came in and took their places in the pulpits. In each
church the organ ceased its wordless song of praise. The congregation
bowed and silently joined with all their hearts in the petitions which
the clergyman was offering to the dear Lord, Father of all mankind,
Ruler of heaven and earth. Some of them softly whispered "Amen" as he
asked protection for their homes and their beloved country. Did they
know anything about the danger which even then hung over them? Perhaps
they did.

In many of the churches the prayer was over, the morning hymn had been
sung, when a stir and bustle at the door might have been noticed, as the
messenger boys, excited and out of breath, handed their yellow envelopes
to the ushers who stood near the door ready to show the late comers to
unoccupied seats. First one and then the other ushers read the message,
and from some one of them escaped in a hushed whisper, the words, "Oh
God! Has it come to this!"

And all looked white and awe-struck. The head usher hurried tremblingly
down the aisle, and without waiting for the clergy man to finish reading
the announcements of the week, laid the telegram upon the pulpit desk.

The clergyman, somewhat surprised at such an interruption, glanced at
the paper, stopped, gasped, picked it up, and re-read the words written
upon it, as though he could not believe his own eyes. Then he advanced a
step forward, holding on to the desk, as if he had been struck a blow by
some unseen hand. The congregation knew that something terrible had
happened, and their hearts seemed to stop beating as they leaned forward
to catch his words.

"My people," said he in a slow, deliberate tone, as if it were an effort
to steady his voice, "I hold in my hand a message from the President of
the United States." Then his eyes dropped to the paper which he still
held, and now his voice rang out clear and loud as he read, "_Our Flag
has been fired upon! Seventy-five thousand troops wanted at once._
Abraham Lincoln."

       *       *       *       *       *

I could not make you understand all that took place the next week or two
any more than the little children who heard what the telegram said,
understood it. Men came home, hurried and excited, to hunt up law
papers, or to straighten out deeds, saying in constrained tones to the
pale-faced women, "I will try to leave all business matters straight
before I go." There was solemn consultations between husbands and wives,
which usually ended in the father's going out, stern-faced and silent,
and the mother, dry-eyed but with quivering lips, seeking her own room,
locking herself in for an hour, then coming out to the wondering
children with a quiet face, but with eyes that showed she had been
weeping. There were gatherings in the town halls and in the churches and
school houses all over the land. The newspapers were read hurriedly and
anxiously.

And when little Robert looked up earnestly into his Grandmamma's face
and asked, "Why does Mamma not eat her breakfast?" Grandmamma replied,
"Your Papa is going away, my dear;" and when little Robert persisted,
by saying, "But Papa goes to New York every year, and Mamma does not sit
and stare out of the window, and forget to eat her breakfast." Then
Mamma would turn solemnly around and say, "Robert, my boy, Papa is going
to the war, and may never come back to us. But you and I must be brave
about it, and help him get ready." And if Robert answered, "Why is he
going to the war? Why does he not stay at home with us? Doesn't he love
us any more?" then Mamma would draw her boy to her and putting her arms
around him, and looking into his eyes, she would say, "Yes, my darling,
he loves us, but he _must_ go. Our country needs him, and you and I must
be proud that he is ready to do his duty." Then Robert would go away to
his play, wondering what it all meant, just as you would have wondered
if you had been there.

Soon the Papas and Uncles, and even some of the Grandfathers, put on
soldiers' uniforms, and drilled in the streets with guns over their
shoulders, and bands of music played military music, and the drums beat,
and crowds of people collected on the street corners, and there were
more speeches, and more flags, and banners, and stir, and excitement.
And nothing else was talked of but the war, the war, the terrible war.

Then came the marching away of the soldiers to the railway stations, and
then the farewells and cheers and waving of handkerchiefs and the
playing of patriotic airs by the bands of music, and much more confusion
and excitement and good-bye kisses and tears than I could tell you of.

       *       *       *       *       *

Then came the long, long days of waiting and praying in the homes to
which fathers and brothers no longer came, and silent watching for
letters, and anxious opening of the newspapers, and oftentimes the
little children felt their Mamma's tears drop on their faces as she
kissed them good-night,--their dear Mamma who so often had sung them to
sleep with her gay, happy songs,--what did it all mean? They could not
tell.

And all this time the fathers, brave men as they were, had been marching
down to the war. Oftentimes they slept on the hard ground with only
their army blankets wrapped around them, and the stars to keep watch
over them, and many a day they had nothing to eat but dry bread and
black coffee, because they had not time to cook more, and sometimes
they had no breakfast at all because they must be up by day-break and
march on, even if the rain poured down, as it sometimes did, wetting
them through and through. What were such hardships when _their country
was in danger_?

Then came the terrible, terrible battles, more awful than anything you
ever dreamed of. Men were shot down by the thousands, and many who did
not lose their lives had a leg shot off, or an arm so crushed that it
had to be cut off. Still they bravely struggled on. It was for their
beloved country they were fighting, and for it they must be willing to
suffer, or to die.

Then a hundred thousand more soldiers were called for, and then another
hundred thousand, and still the bloody war continued. For four long
years it lasted, and the whole world looked on, amazed at such courage
and endurance.

       *       *       *       *       *

Then the men who had not been killed, or who had not died of their
sufferings came marching home again, many, alas, on crutches, and many
who knew that they were disabled for life. But _they had saved their
country_! And that was reward enough for their heroic hearts. Though
many a widow turned her sad face away when the crowd welcomed the
returning soldiers, for she knew that her loved one was not with them,
and many little children learned in time that their dear fathers would
never return to them.

War is such a terrible thing that it makes one's heart ache to think of
it.

Then by and by the people said, "our children must grow up loving and
honoring the heroic men who gave their lives for their country." So in
villages and towns, and cities, monuments were built in honor of the men
who died fighting for their country. And one day each year was set apart
to keep fresh and green the memory of the brave soldiers, and it has
been named "DECORATION DAY," because on this day all the children, all
over the land, are permitted to go to the graves of the dead soldiers
and place flowers upon them.



BOOKS BY THE SAME AUTHOR.


A STUDY OF CHILD NATURE.

THE VISION OF DANTE. ILLUSTRATED BY WALTER CRANE. A STORY FOR CHILDREN.

CHRISTMAS-TIDE.



Works by Denton J. Snider


      I. Commentary on the Literary Bibles, in 9 vols.

      1. Shakespeare's Dramas, 3 vols.

         Tragedies (new edition)

         Comedies (new edition)

         Histories (new edition)

      2. Goethe's Faust.

         First Part (new edition)

         Second Part (new edition)

      3. Homer's Iliad (new edition)

         Homer's Odyssey

      4. Dante's Inferno

         Dante's Purgatory and Paradise

     II. Poems--in 4 vols.

      1. Homer in Chios

      2. Delphic Days

      3. Agamemnon's Daughter

      4. Prorsus Retrorsus

      5. Johnny Appleseed's Rhymes

    III. Miscellaneous.

      1. Walk in Hellas

      2. The Freeburger's--a novel

      3. World's Fair Studies

      4. Commentaries on Froebel's play-songs

      5. Psychology and the Psychosis

      6. The Father of History--Herodotus





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