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´╗┐Title: The Cave Twins
Author: Perkins, Lucy Fitch, 1865-1937
Language: English
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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 "The Cave Twins" ***

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The Cave Twins, by Lucy Fitch Perkins.

________________________________________________________________________
In this 1916 Twins book, the sixth of the series by Lucy Fitch Perkins
we meet with Firetop and Firefly, and their family. The setting is in an
age where none of the nice things of the civilised world exist at all.
There are no books, no wheels, no firearms to hunt with, and everything
has to be done by sheer cunning, or found out by sheer accident.  The
twins' parents set off on a short voyage of exploration, to see what
lies over the horizon, and the twins sneak off to follow them secretly.
Of course they soon have to make a "rescue me" signal when they find
they can't cope, but they are allowed to remain with their parents,
especially as they are quite good at shooting arrows with their bows,
and finding small items of food in other ways.

One day there is a huge earthquake and tsunami, and they find they are
all marooned on an island, which is what we now know as the Isle of
Wight.  The twins' father gets an idea from something the twins do, and
creates the first canoe, with which he goes and fetches old Granny and
other members of the family.  A short book, but quite a nice one.
________________________________________________________________________
THE CAVE TWINS, BY LUCY FITCH PERKINS.

INTRODUCTION.

PREHISTORIC MAN.

_This is a story about things that happened ages and ages ago, before
any of us were born, or our great-great-grandfathers either, for that
matter.  It was so very long ago that there were no houses, or farms, or
roads from one place to another, and there was not a single city, or a
town, or even a village in the whole earth_.

_There was just the great, round world, all fresh and new, and covered
with growing things; and there were wild beasts of all kinds in the
forests, and fishes of all kinds in the seas, and all sorts of birds and
flying creatures in the air_.

_Besides all these wonderful things in the new, new world, there was
Man_.

_He was quite new too.  He didn't know much of anything about the world.
All that he really knew was that there was a world, and that he was in
it, and that there were fierce wild animals in it too, which would kill
him and eat him if he didn't kill them first.  And he knew very well
that he was not as swift as the deer, or as big as the elephant, or as
strong as the lion, or as fierce as the tiger, and it seemed to him as
if he hadn't much chance to stay alive at all in a world so full of
terrible creatures who wanted to eat him up_.

_But this Prehistoric Man was very brave, and he could do two things
which none of the other creatures could do--he could laugh and he could
think_.

_One day, he sat down on a rock, and took his head between his hands and
thought and thought, and by and by he lifted up his head and said to his
wife,--for of course he had a wife,--"I have it, my dear.  If we are not
as strong as the wild beasts, we must be a great deal more clever_."

_So he got right up off the rock and set about being clever.  And so did
his wife.  They were so clever that they hid themselves in trees and
rocks where the wild beasts could not find them.  And they found out the
secret of fire_.

_The other creatures could not find out the secret of fire to save their
lives, and they were dreadfully afraid of it.  Then the Man and his wife
made weapons out of stones, and bones, and they made dishes out of mud,
and though these things weren't a bit like our weapons or our dishes,
they got along very well with them for many years_.

_In the earliest times of all, the Woman hunted and trapped the wild
creatures, and fished, all by herself, but by and by she began to let
the Man do the hunting and bring home the game, while she stayed in the
cave house and kept the hearth-fire bright and took care of the
children.  She cooked the food that he brought home, and she made
needles out of bones and sewed skins together for clothes for her
husband and the children and herself.  After a long time she began to
plant seeds of the wild things that she found were good to eat, and to
raise food out of the ground_.

_All these things they did, and many more that had never been done
before,--and because they were so much more clever than all the beasts
of the forest, the Prehistoric Man and his prehistoric wife lived a long
time in a little peace and more happiness than you might at first think
possible_.

_They taught their children all the clever things they had thought out,
and these children, when they grew up, taught them to their children,
and this went on for hundreds and thousands of years.  Each generation
learned new things and taught them to the next, until now we have houses
and churches and villages and cities dotted over the whole earth, and
there are roads going from everywhere to everywhere else.  There are
railroads and steam-cars and telegraph and telephone lines, and
printing-presses, so that to-day everybody knows more about the very
ends of the earth than Prehistoric Man could possibly know about what
was happening fifty miles away from him_.

_And all these things we have to-day because the Prehistoric Man and the
Prehistoric Woman did their part bravely and well when the earth was
young_.

_This is a story about that far-off time.  If you don't believe it's
true, every word of it, just get out your atlas and find the places on
the map.  They are every one of them there_.

CHAPTER ONE.

GRANNIE AND THE TWINS.


One bright morning of early spring, long ages ago, the sun peered
through the trees on the edge of a vast forest, and sent a shaft of
yellow sunlight right into the mouth of a great, dark cave.  In front of
the cave a bright fire was burning, and on a rock beside it sat an old
woman.  In her lap was a piece of birch-bark, and on the bark was a heap
of acorns.  She was roasting them in the ashes and eating them.  At her
right hand, within easy reach, there was a pile of broken sticks and
tree-branches, and every now and then the old woman put on fresh wood
and stirred the coals to keep the fire bright.


A little path ran from the front of the cave where the old woman sat
down the sloping hillside to a blue river, and the morning sun shining
across it made a bridge of dazzling light from shore to shore.

Beyond the river there were green fields and forests, and beyond the
forests high hills over which the sun climbed every morning.  What lay
beyond those far blue hills neither the old woman nor any of the clan of
the Black Bear had the slightest idea.

Everything seemed quiet and peaceful on that spring morning so long ago.
The trees were beginning to turn green and little plants were already
pushing their way through the carpet of dead leaves.  A robin lit upon
the branches of a tree above the cave and sang his morning song.

There was no other sound except the sizzling of a wet stick on the fire,
and the snapping noise made by the old woman when she took a roasted
acorn from the fire and cracked it with her teeth.

The old woman was not pretty to look at.  Her face was as brown as
leather and covered with wrinkles, and her hair hung about it in ragged
grey locks.  It was no wonder that her hair was rough and ragged, for it
had never been combed her whole life long, and she was quite old--oh, as
old as forty, maybe!  But she really couldn't help her hair being like
that any more than she could help being forty, because there was not a
single comb yet made in the whole world!

It was a mystery how she cracked the nuts so well, because she had only
a few teeth left in her mouth.  For clothing she had nothing but the
skin of a deer fastened over her left shoulder by a thorn, and tied
around her waist with a leather thong.

Although she seemed to be thinking of nothing but her nuts, the little
bright eyes of the old woman kept close watch in every direction, and
her ears were quick to hear every unusual sound.  If a twig snapped, or
there was a rustling noise in the underbrush, she was ready in an
instant to fling fresh dry sticks on the fire and make it glow red
against the black opening of the cave.

She knew that no wild animal, however fierce and hungry, would dare come
near the leaping flames.  Yet watchful as she was, she did not see two
children who were creeping stealthily toward her, over the great rocks
which sheltered the mouth of the cave.

They were a boy and a girl, and from their size they must have been
about eight years old.  They both had bright twinkling eyes and flaming
red hair, and were dressed alike in skins of red foxes of almost the
same colour.  You could tell at a glance that they were twins, but it
would have puzzled any one to tell whether they were both boys or both
girls, or one of each kind.  They came down over the rocks so quietly
that not even the quick ears of the old woman heard the faintest sound.

When they had almost reached the ground, they stopped, and at the same
instant opened their mouths and howled exactly like two young wolves!

The noise was so sudden and so near that the old woman never thought of
her fire at all.  She simply screamed and fell right over backwards into
the cave.  Then she rolled over and scuttled on all fours out of sight
in the darkness as fast as she could go.

The acorns from her lap flew in every direction and rolled down the
hillside.  The boy and girl jumped to the ground, shrieking with
laughter.  In a moment the old woman was back again in the door of the
cave.  She had a stout stick in her hand and she looked very angry.  She
shook the stick at the Twins and scolded them so fast that the sound of
it was like the chattering of an angry squirrel in a tree-top.

Now, of course, I cannot tell you just the words she used, but,
translated into English, this is what she said:--

"You horrid little catamounts, if I catch you, I'll teach you better
manners!  I'll give you such a taste of this stick that you'll not need
more till the river runs dry."

The Twins sprang up, still shrieking with laughter, and danced about the
fire just out of reach of the woman's stick.

"But you can't catch us," they screamed.

Their red locks of hair flew about in the wind as they danced, until it
looked almost as if red flames were bursting from their heads.  The old
woman glared at them helplessly.

"Dance away," she cried, "dance away, you red-headed rascals!  I shan't
need to put sticks on the fire while you are here.  Your red hair would
scare away the sabre-toothed tiger himself!  No wonder you are not
afraid to run alone in the forest!  With such heads on you, you are as
safe as if you were in the heart of the cave."


Just then she saw her acorns all spilled on the ground, and her rage
broke out afresh.

"Pick them up, you little rats!  They are the last of my winter's store,
and it will be four moons yet before they will be ripe again."

Down went the children on their hands and knees, and began to gather up
the scattered nuts.  Young as they were, they knew the value of food.
They also knew the taste of Grannie's stick.  In those days food could
be found only at the risk of life itself and was not to be thrown away
while hunger lasted.

Besides, the hunting had not been good for some time.  The reindeer had
gone farther north, and the great herds of bison had not yet come back
from the warmer regions, where they ranged in winter.  There were wild
beasts of many other kinds in the forest, but the hunters of the clan
had not brought home meat for several days.  This was one reason why the
children had ventured so far into the forest.  Most of the time they and
the other children of the clan stayed near the cave under the watchful
eye of the old woman, while their fathers and mothers went hunting.

"Now, don't be cross, old Grannie-sit-by-the-fire!" cried the girl.  At
least, I think it was the girl, but the Twins looked so exactly alike I
can't be quite sure.  "We'll pick up your nuts for you.  And if you'll
put your stick down, we'll give you something we brought for you."

The old woman's face softened.  You might almost have thought there was
the beginning of a smile in the corners of her mouth, but she only said,
"I know your tricks, worthless ones!  You have brought me nothing but a
fright and a tumble in the ashes."

The girl poured the acorns she had gathered into the piece of birch-bark
which served the old woman as a plate, and danced over to the mouth of
the cave.  She saucily took the stick out of Grannie's hand and flung it
on the fire, and then led her back to the stone seat.

"Go along and get it, Firetop," she called.  I know it was the girl who
said this, because it was the boy who was called Firetop, on account of
his red hair.  The girl's hair was just as red, but they called her
Firefly.

Firetop sprang up the rocks down which he had climbed so carefully only
a few moments before, and came down again slowly, carrying something in
each hand.  He stood before the old woman with his hands behind him.

"Guess, Grannie, guess!" cried Firefly.

By this time, the smile had got out of the corners of Grannie's mouth
and had spread all over her face.

"Roots," she said.

"Wrong," shouted the children.  "Guess again."

"Spruce gum."

"Wrong again," laughed the Twins.

Grannie thought a while this time.  Then she said, "Snails."

"No, no, no," the Twins said both together; and then Firetop slowly
brought his hands round in front of him and showed the old woman four
large bird's eggs.

You should have seen Grannie's face then!  It was all wreathed in
smiles, and when she smiled she wasn't so bad to look at after all.
Almost nobody is for that matter.

She took the eggs from Firetop's hands and covered them carefully in the
ashes.

"We'll roast them," she said.  "I've had nothing to eat but acorns for
three days past.  Now, tell me where you have been, and how you found
the eggs."

"We were hungry," explained Firetop, "and all the big people had gone
off hunting, and we thought we'd go too.  We thought we knew where we
could find some roots.  So we hid ourselves and waited until Robin and
Blackbird and Squaretoes had gone down to the river to hunt frogs, and
then we ran back into the woods."  Robin and Blackbird and Squaretoes
were the other children of the clan.

Firefly could never stay quiet for very long and now she broke into the
story.

"Yes, and we found some roots, too," she said.  "We were just eating
them when from a hazel bush right in front of us we heard a loud snort!
We didn't wait to dig any more roots, I tell you!  There was a chestnut
tree nearby, and we grabbed a limb and swung ourselves up just in time.
It wasn't only one, it was _three_ wild boars that rushed out of the
bushes, and the biggest boar had tusks as long as this."  Firefly held
up a stick about eight inches long, as she spoke.

"It's lucky we were up in the tree, for they were all hungry too, and
they looked as if they thought Firetop and I would taste very good," she
laughed.  "Then Firetop teased them.  He hung down from the limb and
tickled their noses with a long stick.  My, but they were mad!"

"Yes," said Firetop, "they looked just as mad as you did, when we scared
you, Grannie."

"I wonder one look at you didn't scare them to death," said Grannie,
"because animals are so afraid of fire!  I am used to the flames on your
heads, but if I were to come upon you for the first time I think I'd
climb a tree myself!  Or else I should think the woods were on fire and
run away."

Grannie poked Firefly in the ribs and laughed at her own joke.

"Maybe our red hair helped some," said Firefly, "for pretty soon they
all three turned and ran grunting off through the woods."


"And then," said Firetop, "we thought we'd come back by the tree path.
We went out on the limb of the chestnut as far as we could go, and swung
into the big oak tree that stood next.  There are a lot of oak trees
together there and we were going along from one to the other, when there
was a loud whirring noise and a big bird flew out of the top branches
right over our heads!  We looked up and saw the nest.  It was made of
sticks.  I got the eggs and handed them down to Firefly, and then we
came home."

"You didn't come all the way by the tree path and carry the eggs, did
you?" cried Grannie admiringly.

"Oh, no," said Firefly.  "The eggs were too big to carry in our mouths.
So Firetop dropped to the ground and I handed the eggs down to him.
Then we ran back home as fast as we could."

"You will be as great hunters as your father and mother one of these
days if you keep on," said Grannie.  "And no one in the whole clan can
do better than they can.  My, my, I can remember when your father was a
boy, how he used to hunt eggs!  That's how he got the name of Hawk-Eye.
He could find eggs, and other things too, where nobody else could find
anything at all.  How he could swing along through the trees!  No wild
creatures could ever get the start of him.  And then your mother!  She
could run faster than the wind could blow.  She wasn't easily scared, I
can tell you.  She had always her legs to depend upon!  I've seen her
run from a mad buck so fast that she made just a streak of light through
the forest.  And when the buck got too near, she swung herself into a
tree and then hung by her legs safe above his head and teased the buck
crazy because he could not reach her.  Ah!  She was a wild one in those
days, and well she earned her name of Limberleg!"

"I'm sure the eggs must be done by this time," said Firetop.

Grannie reached down and poked the ashes away from the eggs.  They were
very hot, but her hands were so tough and horny that she could even
handle live coals.  She gave one egg to Firefly.  Firefly took it in her
hand, but her hands were not quite so tough as Grannie's and it burned
her like everything!  She dropped it on the ground, squealing with pain.
It was cooked so hard that it did not spill, though the shell was
broken.  Grannie laughed.

"Aha," she said, "I'm even with you now for giving me such a scare."

"Ho," boasted Firetop, "that's nothing.  Watch me!  I guess if you can
handle them I can."  He reached down and picked up an egg and held it in
his hand.  It was just as hot as a coal of fire, but he pretended it
didn't hurt him.  He cracked and ate it in two bites, and though I'm
sure it must have burned a red path all the way to his stomach, he never
said a word.  But when Firefly wasn't looking he did suck the air into
his mouth to cool his tongue!

"Grannie can have the other egg, can't she, Firetop, because we scared
her so," said Firefly, when they had each eaten one.

"You may scare me every day that you bring me bird's eggs," said
Grannie.

Grannie took the last egg from the ashes and was just cracking it when
suddenly there was a shout which made them all jump.  Those were pretty
jumpy times, I can tell you, for a new sound might mean almost any kind
of danger.  There were so many wild beasts in the forest that no one
could feel safe a single minute unless he was deep in a cave.  Even then
the cave had to have an entrance so narrow that no man-hunting animal
could get into it, or else a fire must be kept burning before it to
frighten them away.

The moment they heard the sound, Grannie dropped her egg and sprang to
her feet.  Firetop and Firefly popped into the cave and were out of
sight in an instant.  Grannie threw fresh sticks on the fire, and as it
blazed up, she looked fearfully about in every direction.  Now she heard
another sound besides the shouts and screams of children's voices.  From
far away down the river came a long low roar and the tramp, tramp of
many feet.  A group of children came tearing up the path toward the
cave, shouting at the top of their lungs, "The bison are coming, the
bison are coming!"

Grannie took up the cry.  "The bison are coming, the bison are coming!"
she shouted into the cave, and out tumbled Firetop and Firefly in the
twinkling of an eye.

"Where, where?" they screamed.

"There, there, in the river bottom," panted Squaretoes, the biggest of
the boys.  "We were hunting for frogs and all of a sudden there was a
roar,--at first so faint we could hardly hear it,--then far down the
river we saw them coming!  Run, run to the big rock, and you can see
them too."

Grannie threw a great heap of dry wood upon the fire and ran with the
children to the big rock, which lay part way down the path toward the
river.  From the top of this rock the whole valley was spread out before
them like a map.

Squaretoes pointed toward the south, and there in the green marshy land
bordering the river were hundreds and hundreds of great dark hairy
beasts.  They were running, and as they ran, they made a low roaring
sound that was frightful to hear.

"We shall have fresh meat to-night," said Grannie to the children.  "The
herd has been frightened.  I could not see the leaders.  Some of our
hunters have surely found them."

They stood on the rock until the great herd had thundered by and was out
of sight around a bend in the bluff.  Then Grannie said, "Come, let us
go back to the fire and gather plenty of fuel, so we can cook the meat
when it comes, and have a great feast."

The Cave Twins--by Lucy Fitch Perkins

CHAPTER TWO.

THE BISON FEAST.

For hours Grannie and the children worked together to get a huge pile of
fuel ready for a feast which they hoped to have at night.  It was
something like getting ready for Thanksgiving.

"It is likely that old Sabre-tooth will be having a feast too," said
Grannie.  "He is as glad as any of us to see the bison come back.  Maybe
now he won't catch any bad children who stray too far into the wood."

You see, the fierce sabre-toothed tiger was the beast they feared most
of all, but they always had to be on the watch for wolves and hyenas,
and for the dreadful cave bear as well.  There were wild horses, too,
and elephants, and mammoths, and lions.  Grannie had to keep telling the
children about these dangers, just as our mothers tell us to-day to keep
out of the way of trolley-cars and steam-engines and automobiles.  Only
trolley-cars and steam-engines don't run after us and stick their heads
right into our front doors and try to eat us up, as the wild creatures
did in those days.

It seems to us now that no one could possibly have had any happiness in
a world so full of dangers, but you see Grannie and all the rest of the
clan did not know that life could be any different.  Just because there
were so many dangers, they grew brave to meet them, and a brave man
among dangers is far happier than a coward in a safe place.  So perhaps
they had just as good a time living as we do, after all.

By the time the children had gathered a heap of wood large enough to
cook the biggest kind of a feast, it was afternoon.  There was nothing
in the cave to eat, and they grew hungrier and hungrier, but there were
no signs of any hunters.  Shadows began to gather in the woods.  Now and
then there was a cry of some night bird, or of a distant wolf.  These
were lonely sounds.  Firefly began to be discouraged.

"Suppose they shouldn't bring home any meat after all," she said.

"Then we'll just have to go hungry," said Grannie.

Firetop laid his hand on his stomach and groaned.

"_Men_ never complain of such things," said Grannie.

Firetop took his hand off his stomach at once and made believe he had
just coughed a little.  You see the cave people taught their children to
bear hunger and pain without making any fuss about it.

"I tell you what we could do," said Grannie.  "If we had some water, we
could have a place to boil the meat all ready when the hunters come
back.  Who'll go for water?"

"I'll go," said Firetop.

"So will I," said Blackbird.

"And I," said Squaretoes.

They were all boys.  Robin and Firefly were the only little girls in the
clan.

"Get the gourds and the pig-skin and run along, then," said Grannie.
"Keep a sharp lookout, for you know the wild beasts will soon be out for
their night hunting."

Firetop ran for the skin of the wild boar which was in the cave.  It was
their water-cask.  The other boys got gourds with holes cut in them to
make dippers, and then they were ready to start.

Grannie took three sticks of pine and laid the ends in the fire.  When
they were burning well, she gave one of them to each of the boys for a
torch.

"It isn't dark yet, but you will be safer with these, anyway," she said.

As soon as the three boys had gone skipping and whooping down the path
to the river, Grannie and the girls set about getting a kettle ready.
They hollowed out a hole in the ground, not far from the fire.  When it
was deep enough they lined it with a heavy piece of hide.  They put
stones around the edge of it to keep it in place.  Then they gathered
piles of small stones and threw them in the fire to get hot.  By the
time all this was done the boys were back with the pig-skin full of
water.  Grannie poured it into the hollow dish in the ground.

It was almost dark, and it seemed to the children that they could not
wait another minute, when they heard a welcome sound.  It was the noise
of voices, talking and laughing together.


They sprang to their feet and gave a whoop of joy.  It was answered by a
shout from the path.

"They are coming slowly and they are laughing.  They have meat," cried
Grannie.  She threw more wood on the fire.  Up flew the flames, lighting
the forest with a red glare.  Sparks floated away over the very
tree-tops.  By its light they saw Hawk-Eye and Limberleg and all the
other men and women of the clan toiling up the path.  The bigger boys
were with them, too, and they were all loaded down with great chunks of
bison meat!

The weary hunters dropped the bison-skins in one place to be stretched
and cured the next day.  The meat they threw down on the ground at the
mouth of the cave, and Grannie and the other women began at once to cook
it.

Some of it they put in the fire to roast and some of it they put in the
leather kettle in the ground.  Then they poked the hot stones out of the
fire into the water.  They kept taking the stones out of the water with
sticks as they grew cool and putting them back into the fire to get hot
again.  In this way they soon got the water to boil.

The smell of the roasting and boiling meat was too much for Firetop.  It
made him so hungry that he couldn't wait.  He just snatched a piece of
meat from the ground and ate it raw!  But he was ready to eat again when
the meat was cooked and the real feast began.

Then the great fire blazed and crackled outside the entrance and filled
the cave with a warm red glow.  The whole clan gathered in the front of
the cave near the fire.

Hawk-Eye was the leader of the clan, because he was the strongest man
and the best hunter.  He was a large man with little sharp eyes and red
hair which covered his breast and legs as well as his head.  Around his
neck was a string of bear's teeth.

There were four other men.  They were called Eagle-Nose, Grey Wolf, Big
Ear, and Long Arm.  There were three other women besides Limberleg and
Grannie.  They were the wives of the men.  There were four big boys, who
were already hunting with the men, and there were Blackbird, Robin, and
Squaretoes, besides Firetop and Firefly.  These were all there were in
the clan of the Bear.

When the feast began, the people all sat down in a circle, all but
Grannie.  Grannie stood up and handed out great chunks of meat to the
others and kept the fire bright.  But she had a bone in her hand all the
time, and whenever she had a chance, she gnawed it.  There were no
knives or forks or plates, of course.  They all took their meat in their
hands and just gnawed and gobbled as fast as they could!  Nobody had any
manners, and not a single mother said, "Have you washed your hands?" or
"Don't take such large mouthfuls or you will choke yourself," or
anything like that.  There were some things about those days that must
have been very pleasant, after all.

For a long time they ate and said nothing.  You see, food had been
scarce for so many days that they had to make up for lost time.  But by
and by, when they were all stuffed full, Firetop rolled over on to the
skin of a bear which was lying on the cave floor, and said to his
father: "Tell us about the hunting.  Who killed the meat, and how was it
you all came back together?  Did you hunt in a pack, like the wolves?"

"Not just like the wolves," said Hawk-Eye, laughing.  "There were five
of us after the bison.  The women went off to set snares for rabbits,
and the boys to hunt eggs along the bluffs up the river.  I felt in my
bones that we should see the bison to-day.  So the men and I took our
way toward the lowlands.  We knew they would come from that direction.
We followed the bluffs for a long way, but found nothing.  We were
beginning to think we should come home empty-handed, when far away I
heard bellowing.  Then I saw a little black speck moving along the green
valley.  Two black specks moved beside it.  They were the leader and his
two sentinels, and behind them came the herd."

"We saw the herd, too," cried Firetop.  "I saw them first," said
Squaretoes.  "I saw them just as quick as you," shouted Blackbird.

"Shut up," said his mother, and Blackbird did.  Fathers and mothers in
those days used just such language as that, and if the children didn't
mind at once, they were likely to get something worse than just
language.  It wasn't a polite age at all.

"We crept down the bluffs as quietly as snakes," went on Hawk-Eye, when
everybody was still again.  "I was in front.  When the leader of the
herd got to our hiding-place, I sprang from the bushes and threw my
spear with all my strength.  He gave a mighty roar.  He stood on his
hind legs and thundered.  Then Big Ear sprang forward and threw his
spear.  The leader fell.  The herd broke and ran.  The sentinels could
not control them.  Then we ran toward them.  We killed two young cows
with our axes.  The rest of the herd rushed past.  The leader and the
two cows were left behind.  The leader was old and tough.  We pulled out
our spears and left him to the jackals and hyenas.  The two cows were
small.  We skinned them and cut them into pieces and started for the
cave.  At the foot of the path we met the other people.  They were weary
and had caught nothing.  When they saw us they laughed for joy."

"We heard them," cried Firefly.  "Grannie said you would bring meat.
She said so when we heard the laughing.  She said so when the herd
passed by.  She saw that they had been frightened.  That is why we had
the kettle ready."

"Grannie is a wise old woman," said Hawk-Eye.  "Now, get to bed, every
one of you."

The children scuttled away and threw themselves down on heaps of skins
which lay about the cave, and were soon sound asleep.  At least the
others were asleep, but for some reason Firetop and Firefly stayed
awake.  Maybe they had eaten too much.  At any rate they lay in their
corner, on their own heap of skins and watched Hawk-Eye and Limberleg
and Grannie and the others as they sat about in the cheerful glow of the
fire.  Nobody had said anything for a long time, and the Twins were
beginning to feel quite sleepy, when Hawk-Eye spoke.  What he said made
them sit up and listen with all their ears.  Of course neither Hawk-Eye
nor Limberleg thought for a moment that the Twins were awake or
listening.  Grown people are often very stupid about such things!
Anyway, they were awake, and they did listen, and this is what they
heard.

Hawk-Eye said, "I am going across the river to-morrow."

"Why are you going?" asked Big Ear.

"I want to see what lies beyond the blue hills that the sun climbs
over," Hawk-Eye answered.

"But no one of our clan has ever gone across the river.  Our
hunting-grounds have always been on this side," said Long Arm.

"It's time some one did go, then," said Hawk-Eye.  "Game will be
plentiful now everywhere, but after the reindeer go, there is a long
time that we have little food.  We need to find new hunting-grounds.  I
am going to seek them."


"Then I am going, too."  It was Limberleg who spoke.  "I can hunt.  I
can trap as well as anybody.  And I can throw a spear as straight.  I am
not afraid.  Grannie will look after the children while we are gone."

When he heard that, Firetop poked Firefly in the ribs.

"I am going with them," he whispered.

"They'll never let you," Firefly whispered back.

"I'm going anyway," Firetop answered.  "Don't you tell."

"If you go, I'm going," said Firefly.  "I can go as well as you can."

"Sh-sh-sh--" said Firetop, for Grannie was speaking.

"The river is wide and dangerous," she said.  "The current is swift, and
who knows what monsters may be in it?  I myself saw a rhinoceros
wallowing in the mud only a few days ago.  Some say they have seen a
serpent as large as the trunk of a tree."

"We can go up the river until we find a shallower place to cross," said
Hawk-Eye.  "I have killed a tiger and a rhinoceros and a cave bear in my
time.  We can take care of ourselves."

When Limberleg heard him say "We" she knew that she was going, and she
was glad.  She was as brave as Hawk-Eye and almost as good a hunter.

When they saw that Hawk-Eye had really made up his mind to go, nobody
else said anything.  They knew it would be a waste of words; and in
those days there were fewer words to waste than we have now.

"We must start early," Hawk-Eye said to Limberleg.  "We will take one
extra skin apiece and our axes and spears."

Limberleg rose at once and went over to the corner of the cave where the
Twins were.  The Twins shut their eyes tight and pretended to be sound
asleep.  Firetop even snored a little.  Limberleg spread the skins of
two bears upon the cave floor and threw herself on one of them.
Hawk-Eye went to the cave-mouth, took a look at the stars, yawned,
warmed himself at the fire, and then he too went to bed.  The rest of
the men and women found their own places in other shadowy corners of the
cave, and soon the whole clan of the Bear was sound asleep.

The Cave Twins--by Lucy Fitch Perkins

CHAPTER THREE.

THE RUNAWAYS.

Next morning Firetop awoke before the dawn.  He sat up at once and
looked about him.  Not another soul was stirring, and from the different
corners of the cave came the sound of snores.  The fire was burning
brightly, for Grannie had been up four times in the night to put on
fresh fuel.  Now she too was fast asleep.  Firetop crawled quietly out
of the warm wolf-skins of his bed.  He took one of the wolf-skins and
tied it over his shoulder with a leather thong.  The rest he bunched up
to look as if he were still in bed and asleep.

Hawk-Eye had made a small spear for each of the Twins.  They were not
playthings.  They were real spears, for children of that day had to
learn to use such weapons while they were still very young.

Firetop took his spear in his hand and poked Firefly gently in the ribs
with it.  She woke instantly and would have poked back if Firetop hadn't
shaken his head at her and laid his finger on his lips.  She nodded,
crawled out of her bed, and bunched it up like Firetop's.  Then she tied
a wolf-skin over her shoulder and took her own spear, and together the
two children crept silently past the sleepers and out of the cave.  They
snatched chunks of meat from the remains of the feast as they passed.

It was not yet daylight, though the sky was pink above the hills across
the river and all the birds were singing as the Twins came out of the
cave and ran down the river path.  Neither one of them spoke until they
were far enough from the cave so that no one could hear them.  Then
Firetop whispered: "We'll climb a tree.  We can watch from the tree and
see when they start.  Then we'll slide down and follow them.  They won't
know we are with them until it's too far to send us back."


"They won't like it," said Firefly.  "What do you think they will do to
us?"

"They'll wallop us," said Firetop, "but I don't care.  It won't hurt
when it is over, and I've just got to go.  We shall see all kinds of
things that we've never seen before."

"Well," sighed Firefly, "I do hate that part of it, but I guess it's
worth it.  Come on.  Let's climb this tree."

The children could climb like monkeys, but they had their weapons and
the meat and that made it a little difficult.  They leaned their spears
against the trunk of the tree, took the meat in their teeth, and up they
went as easily as you could go upstairs.  Then they hid themselves in a
fork of the tree and ate their breakfast.

The thick branches made a screen around them so they could see without
being seen.  They watched the cave.  It was not long before they saw
Grannie come out and take a look at the weather.  Then she put more fuel
on the fire and sat down on a rock to gnaw a bone for her breakfast.

Soon Hawk-Eye and Limberleg appeared.  They each had their weapons, and
a reindeer-skin strapped by leather thongs across their shoulders.
Limberleg had a gourd tied to her belt.  They were each gnawing bones,
too.  They stopped to speak to Grannie.  The Twins leaned forward and
listened with all their ears.  They heard Hawk-Eye say, "The children
are still asleep.  You can tell them when they wake up."


Then they came along the path, eating as they came.  They passed almost
under the tree where the Twins were hiding.  This seemed to the Twins so
funny that they stuffed their mouths full of meat and then clapped their
hands over them to keep from laughing aloud.  As it was, a little
snicker ran out between Firefly's fingers.  Hawk-Eye heard it.

"What's that?" he said sharply.  He and Limberleg stopped a moment and
listened.

"Nothing but a squirrel," said Limberleg.  "There he is on that log over
there."

The Twins nearly smothered themselves then, to keep the laughs in.

Hawk-Eye and Limberleg passed on down the path to the very edge of the
forest.  There they turned and walked along the bluffs, where they could
swing themselves into a tree at a moment's notice.  This was safer than
walking in the green meadows beside the river where there were no trees
to climb.

Firetop and Firefly waited until they were out of sight around the turn.
Then they crawled down from the tree, took their spears in their hands,
and ran after them.  They stayed back far enough so they could hide
behind trees if Hawk-Eye or Limberleg should turn round, yet near enough
to keep them in sight.

For miles and miles they walked and ran.  It was hard with their short
legs to keep the pace set by their father and mother, but they knew very
well they had to do it.  There was no turning back then.

On and on walked Hawk-Eye and Limberleg.  The sun climbed higher and
higher.  The children were thirsty, but they did not dare to run down to
the river for a drink.  They were hungry, but they had nothing to eat.
They snatched little green leaves from the bushes as they passed, but
this was hardly enough to fill their empty stomachs.

"We'll just have to call them," said Firefly at last.  "I'm so hungry
I've simply got to have something to eat, and if we stop to hunt for
roots, we'll never catch up with them again."

"They'll be as mad as mad bulls when they see us," said Firetop.

"Yes, of course.  We'll get a good beating," answered Firefly.  "We
expected that.  But it won't hurt after it is over; you told me so
yourself."

"Jimminy!" said Firetop,--or if it wasn't "Jimminy" it was something
that meant the same thing,--"I just hate to think of it.  Can't you go
on a little longer?"

"What's the difference?" moaned Firefly.  "It's got to come some time.
We might as well have it over.  I'm not going another step."  And she
sat plump down on a fallen tree.

Firetop put his hands to his mouth and gave a long sharp cry.  It was
the distress signal of the Bear Clan.  Hawk-Eye and Limberleg stopped
instantly.  They looked up the river; they looked down the river.  Then
they caught a glimpse of two red heads and two very scared faces, far
back on the bluff.  They came tearing back through the underbrush to the
two small figures on the log.

They could hardly believe their eyes.

"Where did you come from, you naughty little weasels?" cried Limberleg
angrily.

"From the cave," said Firefly.  "We followed you because we want to see
what lies beyond the blue hills across the river, too.  And if you are
going to spank us, please do it right away, because we are awfully
hungry."

"Oh, no," cried Firetop.  "You needn't do it now if you'd rather not!
Couldn't you put it off until we get home again?  We're willing to wait,
and you'd have more time then."

Limberleg and Hawk-Eye didn't discuss the matter.  They sat right down
on the log and began.  Limberleg took Firefly and Hawk-Eye took Firetop,
and they spanked and spanked.

"Now, can we have something to eat?" sniffled Firetop when it was over.
Limberleg looked at Hawk-Eye.  "We can't send them back alone," she
said.  Firetop saw that they were going to give in.

"The hyenas would surely get us," he said plaintively.  "We're pretty
small to go back alone," sobbed Firefly.  "And besides, we want to see
what lies beyond the blue hills across the river."

It may be that Hawk-Eye was a little pleased at their courage in
following them.  Anyway, he said: "Well, you can climb like squirrels.
We shall not be gone many days.  Come along."  Firetop sprang up and
whooped for joy.  Firefly turned a somersault.  Hawk-Eye and Limberleg
laughed.  They couldn't help it.  You see, even in those early times
parents were fond of their children, although they didn't know any
better punishment for them than spankings.  There are some parents like
that yet.

"Now, what shall we have to eat?" said Firefly, when everybody was happy
again.

"We'll have to find something," said Hawk-Eye to Limberleg.  "You take
the children down into the meadow.  I see carrots growing down there.
I'll hunt in the woods.  Listen for my call, and when you hear it, come
to that big oak tree as fast as you can."

Limberleg and the Twins started at once down the bluff toward the river.
The bushes grew thick along the slope, and as they scrambled through
them they made a crashing noise.  Firetop was ahead, then came Firefly,
and last of all Limberleg.

Suddenly there was a loud whirring sound, and out of the bushes in front
of them flew a great wood grouse!

Instantly Firetop braced himself and flung his spear, and before
Limberleg or Firefly could catch up with him, he was far beyond them
down the slope, struggling with the wounded bird.  When they reached
him, he had killed it.  Limberleg was delighted.  She patted Firetop and
called him a great hunter, and said she was glad he had come with them
after all.

Maybe you think Firetop wasn't a proud boy then!  He waggled his red
head and swaggered up the slope toward the big oak tree with the huge
bird on his shoulder.  Limberleg and Firefly stayed behind to hunt in
the bushes for the grouse's nest.  Firefly found it, and there were
seven eggs in it!  Then Limberleg patted Firefly.  "Your father and I
will not need to get any food for you," she said.  "Maybe you will hunt
for us."  They went up the slope after Firetop, carrying the eggs.

When they reached the big oak tree on the bluff, Limberleg took the
feathers off the grouse and cut it into chunks with her flint knife.
They had no fire, so they ate it raw.  They ate five of the eggs and
left two for Hawk-Eye.  They saved the legs of the grouse for him, too.
They waited and waited, but still Hawk-Eye did not come.  They began to
get a little frightened, he was gone so long.  At last there was a call,
"Hoo, hoo, hoooooo," like the hooting of an owl, and he appeared
crashing through the bushes.  He had a rabbit hanging from his shoulder.
Then Firefly played a trick on him.

"We aren't hungry," she said.  Hawk-Eye was astonished.

"I thought you were starved by the way you acted," he said.

"We aren't any of us hungry now," said Firetop.

"Did you fill yourselves with carrots?" asked Hawk-Eye.

"Oh, no.  We had fresh meat," said Firetop, with his nose in the air.

"Fresh meat?" cried Hawk-Eye.

"What did you kill?" he said to Limberleg.

"Nothing," said Limberleg.

"But I did," shouted Firetop.

He told all about killing the grouse.  You should have seen Hawk-Eye
then!  He was just as pleased as our fathers are when we get A in
arithmetic!

"I guess you can take care of yourselves," he said, when he had heard
the story.  "You don't need me."  Then he laughed and made his face look
scared.  "Will you let me go with you to the land where the sun rises?"
he said.  "I am very small, but I can climb trees!  I am afraid to go
alone.  I need you to kill bison and mammoths for me to eat!"


Firetop, Firefly, and Limberleg laughed at this until they nearly
choked.  Then Firetop wagged his head at his father.

"You shouldn't have followed me," he said.  "I shall have to spank you.
But you are too small to send alone to the cave, so I'll have to let you
come with me."

The Cave Twins--by Lucy Fitch Perkins

CHAPTER FOUR.

THE JOURNEY.

One.

All the rest of the day they followed the river, looking for a place
where it was shallow enough for them to cross without serious danger of
drowning.  They did not know how to swim.  For their supper they had
only the rabbit.  They ate it sitting on the bluff, with their backs to
each other so they could watch in every direction for signs of danger.
When the shadow of the bluff grew long across the meadows, Limberleg
said:--

"Darkness will soon be upon us.  Where are we going to sleep?"

"We won't sleep in a cave anyway," said Hawk-Eye, "even if we could find
one.  We might find the cave bear at home in it.  In that case, we
should probably spend the night in his stomach, and I am sure that would
be too crowded to be comfortable."

"We can't spend the night on the ground surely," said Limberleg.  "Or we
might wake up in the stomach of old Sabre-tooth instead."  This was just
their way of joking, because I never heard of any one waking up after
being swallowed, except Jonah and Little Red Riding Hood's grandmother.
And of course, this story happened long before either Jonah or Red
Riding Hood or her grandmother did.

Hawk-Eye took out his flint knife.  I almost said he took it out of his
pocket, because it seems queer to think of a man without pockets.  Of
course, he didn't really have any, though.  The flint knife was fastened
to his belt by a thong.

"Go and find all the grape-vines you can," he said.  Limberleg and the
Twins flew back into the forest to search for vines.  There were plenty
of them, and they pulled up a great heap of long, tough stems, and
brought them back to Hawk-Eye.  Hawk-Eye had another bunch which he had
cut.  On the bluff overlooking the valley there was a great oak tree
with giant branches spreading in every direction.

"We'll sleep here," said Hawk-Eye.  "Nothing can harm us unless a
wildcat or some such climbing creature should visit us, and I think I
could make him wish he hadn't come.  I shall have my spear beside me and
shall sleep on the lower limbs."

"Shall we roost like the birds?" asked Firefly anxiously.

Limberleg laughed, and took a leap into the air, and caught one of the
branches.  She swung herself into the tree and ran along the branch to
the great thick trunk.

"Hand up the vines," she called down, "and I will show you how we will
roost."  Hawk-Eye tossed them up to her.  She climbed higher in the tree
and found a place where two limbs came together like those shown in the
picture: She wove the vines back and forth over the two branches until
she had made a rough net-work like a very coarse hammock.

"Now, up you come," she called to Firefly, "and I will put you to bed."

Firefly climbed the tree.  This was the way she went upstairs to bed.

Limberleg took off the wolf-skin which was still tied over her
shoulders, and spread it over the vine hammock.  Then Firefly crawled
into her bed.  Her mother took the leather thong which had been around
the wolf-skin and tied her securely to one of the limbs with it.  That
was her way of tucking her in so that she would not fall out of bed.
She didn't hear her say her prayers, because in those days they didn't
know there was anything to pray to, unless it was to giants, or the
spirits of water or of fire, or of thunder and lightning.  They prayed
to them sometimes when they were frightened.  I don't believe she kissed
her good night, either.  There was not much kissing in those days.

When Firefly was safely stowed away, Limberleg climbed farther up the
tree to find a place for Firetop.  But he had already found one for
himself and was beginning to make his bed.  When he was swung from his
branches like a big cocoon, Hawk-Eye and Limberleg made themselves as
comfortable as they could on the lower limbs of the tree.  The western
sky was all aflame with yellow and red, as they settled themselves for
the night, and the birds sang them to sleep.


------------------------------------------------------------------------

Two.

When Firetop opened his eyes the next morning, he couldn't think where
he was.  He tried to flop over, as he could so easily do when sleeping
on his wolf-skins in the cave.  But he found himself securely tied.  He
lifted his head and looked out.  The sun was just rising over the blue
hills across the river.  He looked down through the tree-branches to see
his father and mother.

They were not there!  For a moment he thought perhaps he had dreamed it
all.  "I often go to all sorts of strange places when I am asleep," he
said to himself.  "Pretty soon I'll wake up in the cave."  He waited to
wake up, but he didn't wake up.  He kept right on being out of doors and
up a tree, and his parents kept on being gone.  Then he remembered all
about everything.

He called to Firefly, "Are you there?"

She answered in a sleepy voice, "Yes."

"Are you sure?"  Firetop called back; "because Father and Mother
aren't."

"Aren't what?" said Firefly, getting wider awake.

"Aren't there," Firetop answered.

Firefly lifted her head and tried to roll over.  If she had not been
tied she would have rolled out of bed.  She looked down, too.  The
branches were certainly empty.

What would you do if you were to wake up in the morning and find
yourself tied in bed and your father and mother gone and no breakfast
ready?  Well, they did just the same thing!  They simply yelled.  They
had good strong lungs and they made a great deal of noise.  When they
stopped, they heard a distant shout that sounded like their own.  "Ow,
ow, ow."  It came back to them from two different directions.

"That's not Father's voice," said Firetop.

"Nor Mother's," said Firefly.

"It's somebody's.  It must be theirs.  Let's call again," said Firetop.

They nearly split their throats that time.  "Ow, ow, ow," they screamed,
and "Ow, ow, ow," came back from the forest and the river.

"It must be the spirits of the water and the trees, mocking us," said
Firetop.  "It sounded just like us."

You see, they did not know what an echo was.

"I'm scared," said Firefly.

"I am too, a little," Firetop admitted.

"Let's not call any more.  If we keep still, maybe the spirits won't
find us," whispered Firefly.


They snuggled down in the wolf-skins and kept very still.  By and by
they heard a crashing sound in the underbrush not far away.  They were
stiff with fright.  They didn't dare even to breathe.  Then came a loud
cry, "Hoo, hoo, hooooooo," and the crashing noise came nearer.  It came
right under their tree.  Then somebody's voice called, "Are you awake,
little red foxes, up in the tree?"

Two red heads instantly popped over the edge of the tree beds, and two
voices cried out something that meant, "Oh, we're so glad that you've
come back."

Limberleg climbed the tree and untied the children.  It took them about
two seconds to get to the ground, and they didn't fall down either.
There under the tree they found Hawk-Eye.  He was preparing breakfast.
He and Limberleg had gone down to the river-bank very early and had
found a whole colony of turtles.  They had brought home four turtle-eggs
apiece.  If I were an arithmetic, I should ask how many eggs there were!
It would have been of no use to ask the Twins.  Neither they nor their
father and mother could have told you.  They hadn't any of them learned
to count that far.  Nobody could in those days.

They made short work of the eggs, even if they couldn't add or multiply
or divide.  When they had finished eating them, they strapped their
skins on their shoulders once more and started up the river.  All the
morning they tramped steadily along, looking for a good place to ford
it.  The sun was already in the west, when suddenly Limberleg stopped at
a turn in the bluff.

"See, see," she cried.  "Two rivers."  They all stopped and looked.  The
river forked at that point, or rather two smaller streams came together
making one big one.

There was a high V-shaped point of land between the two streams.

"Now we can cross," cried Limberleg, joyfully.  She led the way, running
and leaping down the bluffs to the river's edge.  The banks at this
point were sandy and the river full of stones.  The current was swift,
but the water was clear and not very deep.  Limberleg ran out on the
stones.

"Come," she called to the Twins.  "Follow close after me."  She leaped
lightly over the stones to the middle of the stream, where the river was
deepest.  The children followed part way; then Firetop stood still on
one of the stones and looked at the swirling water.  Firefly was on the
next stone behind him.  The stone in front looked a long way off to
Firetop.

"I can't jump so far," he squealed.

"I can't either," wailed Firefly.  "My legs aren't long enough."

"Jump," cried Limberleg, impatiently.

"We can't," shouted the Twins, beginning to cry.

You see, they were afraid of water, and it really wasn't much wonder,
for they had never even had a real bath in their whole lives.  I've
known children to feel just the same way about water in these days.
They can't bear it, even on a wash-cloth.

Hawk-Eye was on the stone behind them.  "Jump," he shouted, "or I'll
give you something to cry for."  And that was the very first time that
any parent ever said that about giving them something to cry for, and
they've been saying it ever since, to my personal knowledge.

You see that, with Limberleg in front calling "Jump" and Hawk-Eye behind
saying such alarming things, the Twins were in a tight place.  There was
nothing to do but jump.  So Firetop took a flying leap, and Firefly
followed him.  Unluckily she came just a little too soon.  She jumped on
to Firetop.  His feet flew out from under him, he lost his footing on
the stone, and they both rolled into the cold water.

The crying they had done before wasn't anything to what they did then, I
can tell you.  That is, as soon as their heads were out of the water
again.

They might have been carried away by the current, if Hawk-Eye hadn't
instantly thrown his spear across to the farther shore and jumped in
after them.  He seized one of them with each hand and waded with them to
land.  Then he picked up his spear again from the ground where it had
fallen.

If you will believe me, the Twins held tight to their own little spears
all the time, even when they were under the water!  It was all they had
to hold to, to be sure, and besides, they loved those spears more than
we love dolls and roller skates and marbles and baseball, all put
together.

Limberleg laughed at the dripping little figures.

"You look like a pair of water-rats," she cried.  The Twins could not
see anything funny in that.  Little streams of water trickled down their
backs, and they didn't like it.  The rock that was on the point of land
between the two rivers was not far away from the place where they
landed.

"Let's go to the top," said Limberleg to the Twins.  "That will warm you
up."

It was quite a steep climb, and I wish you could see what they saw from
that summit.  They could look a long way up each of the two rivers and a
long way down the big one.  There were deep, silent woods along the
shores.  They looked back on the land between the two streams.  They
were all beginning to be hungry again by this time, and they hoped that
they might see their supper wandering about somewhere over the rocks.

"We'll see who has the sharpest eyes," said Limberleg.

"I see something white right now, way down there in the bushes," said
Firefly.  "It's bouncing around."

"I see it, too," said Hawk-Eye.  "It's the tail of a deer.  There's a
herd down there!"  Hawk-Eye started down the rocks in a hurry.  "I'll
not be gone long," he called back to Limberleg.  "Get a fire started
before I come back."

Limberleg and the Twins watched Hawk-Eye until he disappeared in the
underbrush.  Then she and the children began to gather wood for the
fire.  Firetop found a piece of hard wood that was round.  Limberleg
pointed the end of it with her flint knife.  Then they hunted for a
piece of soft wood.  In the soft wood Limberleg made a little hollow
place that would fit the end of the stick.

"Now, Firefly, you stay with me," said she.  "I want you to gather
little tendrils of dry moss and watch beside me while I twirl the stick.
The moment I tell you to, you must drop little pieces of dry moss into
the hollow place in the wood.  Firetop, you gather a great heap of
sticks here on top of the rock."  Limberleg knelt on the edge of the
rock and began to twirl the stick between her hands.  As she twirled she
mumbled a prayer to the fire god.

Firefly held the soft wood firmly in place while Limberleg worked.  She
twirled and twirled until a tiny thread of smoke began to curl from the
hollow.  "Drop in the moss," cried Limberleg.  The smoke grew thicker.
Limberleg worked faster and faster.  Soon a tiny flame burst forth.
Firefly fed the flame with the dried moss until it was big enough to
burn little twigs and dead leaves.  Soon a brisk fire was burning.
Firetop had brought a great pile of wood to the rock, and had also found
some long willow branches to use in broiling meat.

"The fire is ready, but where is the food?" said Firefly.  It was not
long in coming.  Hawk-Eye soon appeared climbing up the rock with a
young doe on his shoulder.  He and Limberleg skinned it and cut up the
meat, and they had all the broiled venison they could possibly eat for
supper.

"We shall have to spend the night here," said Hawk-Eye, when they
couldn't eat any more.  "We couldn't find a better place anyway.  There
is water around the rock except on the land side.  We'll keep the fire
bright, and we shall be just as safe as if we were in the cave."

Hawk-Eye spread the fire in a long line across the land side of the
rock.  He built a sort of wall of sticks and branches to feed it, and
all night long it blazed and smouldered.  They spread their skins on the
rock and slept peacefully in its warm glow.

The next morning dawned bright and clear, and the whole family got up
with the birds.  They had more venison for breakfast, and when that was
out of the way, Hawk-Eye said: "We'd better get across the other river
early.  There's no telling how far we may have to go to-day, or what we
may find on the way."

"I hate to leave this place," cried Firefly, "it's so beautiful, and I
am sure there is lots of game here."

"I hate to leave the doe-skin behind," said Limberleg, "but of course I
can't dry and stretch and cure it while we are travelling."

"We can carry enough meat to last us all day," said Hawk-Eye, "and that
will save lots of time.  We won't have to stop to hunt for our dinner."

He tied a great piece of meat over the shoulders of Firetop and Firefly
and Limberleg, and took the biggest piece on his own back, and off they
started.


------------------------------------------------------------------------

Three.

It would take too long to tell you all about what a time they had
getting across the river.  It was deeper than the first one they
crossed, and if it hadn't been for a lucky accident, they might never
have got across at all.  When they came to the water's edge, Firetop saw
some turtles sunning themselves on a log a little way down the stream.
The log had floated down the river and had caught against a dead branch
that stuck out of the water.  They were not so afraid of the water now
they had really been in it.

Firetop thought it would be great fun to catch a turtle.  He pointed
them out to Firefly.  "Come on," was all he said, but she knew what it
meant, and at once the two children waded quietly out toward the log.
Wading in was altogether different from having to tumble in, anyway.
The turtles saw them coming, and just as the Twins reached the log, they
slid off into the water.  One of them found one of Firetop's big toes in
the mud, and bit it.

Firetop screamed and tried to get away.  Firefly didn't know what was
the matter, but she screamed too on general principles, and they both
grabbed at the log and tried to climb on to it.  The log rolled over and
got loose from the branch that held it and started down-stream, with
both children clinging to it and yelling.  They couldn't get up on it
because it kept turning over, but they held on because it was the only
thing there was to hold on to, and Firetop kept kicking with all his
might to get away from the turtle.  Firefly did some kicking, too,
because she was trying to find the bottom with her feet and there wasn't
any bottom there.  The current was not very swift at this point, and
though they didn't know it, the children were really swimming with their
legs, and they made the log go toward the other shore.

While all of this was happening, where do you suppose Hawk-Eye and
Limberleg were?  They were chasing after them as fast as they could go,
but the children had quite a start and got farther away every minute.
The water was almost over Limberleg's head, and you know how hard it is
to walk in deep water.  Besides, they had the meat.  The meat that the
Twins were carrying got loose in their struggles and fell off in the
water.  Perhaps the turtle saw it and decided that it was better eating
than Firetop's toe, or maybe he got homesick.  I can't tell about that,
but anyway he let go.  The Twins kept on reaching for the bottom and
kicking with all their might and screaming, too, and before long the log
ran its nose into the farther bank and they seized the branches of a
willow tree that hung over the water and pulled themselves up on the
shore.

In a moment Hawk-Eye and Limberleg came tearing up the river-bank to
them.  They had come straight across the river, while the children had
been carried some distance by the current.  You can just think how glad
they all were when they found that they were across and not a single one
of them had been drowned.


When Firetop told about the turtle, Hawk-Eye laughed and laughed.
Limberleg laughed a little, too.  Firetop felt pretty sorry for himself,
but he wasn't really hurt, and in half an hour he had forgotten to limp.

The Cave Twins--by Lucy Fitch Perkins

CHAPTER FIVE.

THE TREE CLAN.

They walked a little way along the bank, looking for a good place to
cross the flat, green meadow that lay between the river and the forest.
Soon they came to a sort of path which led back into the woods.
Hawk-Eye looked at it very carefully.  He even got down and examined the
wet ground at the water's edge.  In the mud there were foot-prints.

"Isn't it a drinking-place for the wild creatures?" asked Limberleg.

Hawk-Eye grunted.  "Like ourselves," he answered briefly.  "There are
people living in these woods.  That's the print of a man's foot."

Limberleg looked just as she would have looked if he had said, "There's
a pack of hyenas living in those woods."  There was reason for it in
those days.  The different groups of people in the forests had nothing
to do with one another, and when they met, they were much more likely to
fight than to be friendly.

"Can't we go up the river-bank and not go into the woods at all?" asked
Limberleg.  For answer Hawk-Eye pointed down the river.  Far away in the
green meadow they saw two mammoths feeding.  Even at that distance they
looked like giant rocks looming out of the grass.  Their long ivory
tusks gleamed in the sun.

"We can't go that way," said Limberleg, "and it's no use to go back."

"We'll go up the path to the edge of the wood, then follow the river,"
said Hawk-Eye.  "Maybe no one will see us.  It's the best we can do.  Be
quiet and be quick."

He set off at a swift trot, his spear in his hand.  The two children
followed with their mother.

"I see shadows moving in the trees," said Firefly.  Both twins wished
very much that they were at home with Grannie just at that moment.

"They are following us, higher up on the bluff," Limberleg answered in a
low voice.

Hawk-Eye had seen all that they had seen, and more, but he said nothing.

He trotted on.  Just then a chunk of mud and dirt came flying through
the air and struck Hawk-Eye on the head.  Stones, sticks, and all sorts
of missiles followed.

"Keep on running," said Hawk-Eye.

They were terribly frightened, but they did as they were told.  If they
had looked up, they would have seen a terrifying sight.  On the edge of
the bluff there was a strange group of people.  At least we must call
them "people," though they looked more like monkeys than like human
beings.  They were grinning horribly and dancing about and chattering to
each other.  Their bodies were covered with dark hair.  Their arms were
long and strong, their legs short.  They had little eyes set near
together, and almost no forehead at all.  Every one of them had
something in his hand to throw at the travellers.

Hawk-Eye kept straight on.  "Run," he cried.  "We can't fight; they are
too many."

On, on they ran, panting and breathless.  A little way ahead there were
some large rocks on the edge of the wood.  There they might find a
momentary shelter.  They had almost reached the rocks, when suddenly a
woman of the wild tribe let herself down out of a tree on the edge of
the bluff and made a bold dash down the slope.  Before they could stop
her, she had seized Firefly and dragged her away.  She got as far as the
first oak tree on the slope and had actually snatched a limb, intending
to swing herself and Firefly into it, when Limberleg, screaming with
fury, reached the spot.  Limberleg seized Firefly by one arm.  The wild
woman had hold of the other.

They pulled in opposite directions and screamed, and if it had not been
for Hawk-Eye, there's no telling what might have become of poor Firefly.
She might have been pulled in two, or she might have been carried off
and adopted into the wild clan.  But Hawk-Eye was there in almost no
time, and though the people on the bluff rained down sticks and stones
upon them, Hawk-Eye drove his spear into the woman's arm.  With a shriek
of pain she let go of Firefly and dashed away into the forest.

"Run for your lives," cried Hawk-Eye, and they started again at top
speed for the rocks.  They reached them none too soon, for the people on
the bluff, infuriated by the injury to the woman, came dashing down the
slope after them.  Once in the shelter of the rocks, Hawk-Eye turned and
faced his pursuers.  When they had almost reached his hiding-place he
gave a fierce yell and threw his spear.  It was a very well made spear
with a bone barb on the end, and it struck the leader of the wild tribe
in the thigh.  With a shriek of pain he fell to the ground.  Then he
seized the spear and pulled it out of his flesh.

The wild tribe had no weapons but sticks and stones.  They were
tree-dwellers.  They did not even know the secret of fire.  They lived
upon roots and berries and nuts, and such small game as they could catch
with their hands or in snares.  Their homes were rude shelters in the
trees.  When they saw what had happened to their leader, they were
terribly frightened.  They turned and ran for the trees, leaving the
wounded man on the ground.

Hawk-Eye ran out from behind the rock, picked up his spear, and sent it
flying after the enemy.  It struck another man.  Howling with pain and
fear, he too dropped in his tracks.  His companions ran faster than
ever, and when they reached the trees, instantly swung themselves up by
the branches and disappeared.  Only now and then one could be seen
swinging from tree to tree, back into the deep forest, like great
monkeys.  Hawk-Eye again ran after his spear.  This time he pulled it
out of the wounded man's flesh himself, and left him rolling on the
ground, too much hurt to attack him or defend himself.  Then Hawk-Eye
ran back to the little group hidden behind the rock.

Everything was now as quiet as if no one lived in the forest at all.
There was not a single tree-dweller in sight except the first wounded
man, and he was already crawling as fast as he could up the bluff.

In spite of everything, Hawk-Eye and Limberleg had held on to their
meat, and now they felt the need of food.  They cut Limberleg's load
into four great chunks, and each took one.  They ate as they walked.
They ran along past the place where the mammoths were feeding and then
turned their backs on the river and plunged into the deep forest toward
the east.  The ground began to rise a little, and Hawk-Eye said, "If we
keep on climbing in the direction of the rising sun, we are bound to
reach the blue hills at last."


All that day they journeyed, and that night they spent in a tree.  The
next morning found them still climbing.  At last, about noon of the
second day, they reached the crest of the range and climbed out upon the
high, bald summit of the highest hill.

No one of their clan had ever been so far from the cave, and no one of
them had ever seen what Hawk-Eye and Limberleg and the Twins now saw.
There was the world spread out before them!  They looked back far away
in the blue distance toward the west, and there they saw a little silver
thread.  That silver thread was their river.  They looked toward the
south, and far, far away they saw more water than they had ever dreamed
there was in the whole earth.  They didn't know what it was.  They were
not even sure that it was water.  They had never heard of the sea.  They
stood silent and breathless with wonder and gazed at it.  At last
Hawk-Eye said in an awestruck tone, "It's the end of the world."

"Let's go to the very edge and look over it," said Limberleg.  "Maybe we
can find out where the sun hides during the darkness."

You see what a brave woman she was.

"Then are these the blue hills?" asked Firetop.  "They don't look blue a
bit."


"The blueness is all around us, though," cried Firefly, pointing down
into the valley.  "And beyond the end of the world, it's all blue too,
with sparkles on it!  And the sky is blue.  The only place that isn't
blue is right around us."

"We will surely go through the blue country to get to the end of the
world then," said Firetop.

All this time Hawk-Eye had been standing on the highest point, studying
the view and choosing landmarks.  He knew how to find his way through
forests as well as we know the way to the post-office.  When he had the
route all planned out, he called the children and Limberleg to his side.
He pointed to the south.  "Do you see far away that little neck of land
which leads out to the very end of the world?" he said.  "We will keep
the sun on this side of us the first half of the day and on the other
side the other half of the day and we shall surely reach it.  Then we
shall see what lies beyond."

Hawk-Eye led the way over the crest of the hill and down into the forest
below, the Twins and Limberleg close behind him.  All day they pressed
on, over hills, through dense woods, and across little streams, keeping
always to the south.  At last they found the narrow neck of land which
they had seen from the hill-top.  They camped that night in a tree, near
the water's edge, and, at night-fall of the second day after, they
climbed the last weary mile and stood upon the great rocks at the end of
the world.

A stream of fresh water poured through a deep gorge beside them.

Toward the east and toward the west, farther than their eyes could see,
stretched the dark blue waters.  Toward the north they could look clear
across the island to the distant shore of the mainland.  We know now
that they stood on the southern coast of the Isle of Wight, and that the
faint blue line across the water would some day be called France.  But
the Twins and their father and mother thought that they stood on the
very edge of the earth and looked out into mysterious regions which lay
beyond.

As they stood gazing, the western sky flamed with red and gold and the
sun sank out of sight behind a distant point of land.  High up in the
east the pale round disk of the moon hung in the deep blue of the sky.
It was more wonderful than they had dreamed.

"To-morrow, if we wake early, we shall see where the sun comes from,"
said Limberleg.

They sat on the rocks and watched the stars come out and saw the moon
sail away to the west, and then, when they were too weary to stay awake
longer, they spread their skins on the rocks and slept under the open
sky, with the boom of the surf for a lullaby.

The Cave Twins--by Lucy Fitch Perkins

CHAPTER SIX.

THE EARTHQUAKE.

One.

They slept so soundly that they did not hear low rolling sounds of
thunder or see the moon go out of sight behind a black cloud.  Even
lightning did not rouse them, but when at last the rain came splashing
down over their bare skins they woke up.  There was no shelter for them,
so they huddled together in a wet heap and waited for the rain to be
over and for the morning to come.  It was no gentle spring shower.

The water poured down like a deluge.  They were very wretched, and
Firefly began to cry.

"Now, see here," Limberleg said to her, "there's water enough already!
You needn't add your tears, or we shall all be drowned!  The rain will
be over some time.  It won't hurt you."

When the lightning flashed, they could see the trees waving and bending
in the wind and great breakers rolling up over the sandy beach.

But the rain wasn't the worst that was to happen.  After a while there
came a strange shivering feeling in the rocks beneath them.  It grew
stronger and stronger till the whole earth shook and trembled.

Hawk-Eye and Limberleg had felt earthquakes before, but never one like
this.  It seemed as if the world were shaking itself to pieces.  They
huddled closer together and clasped their arms around the Twins.

"Oh," shrieked Limberleg, "the water gods are angry because we tried to
find out the secret of the sun!"  She and Hawk-Eye prayed to them at the
top of their lungs.  "Spare us, oh, spare us," they cried.

As they prayed, there came a long, fearful cracking noise, and the sound
of falling rocks.  It was as if the thunder had fallen to the earth and
were rumbling round over it.  A gigantic wave came roaring against the
rocks as if it would dash them to pieces.

The Twins burrowed their heads in their mother's lap, and shook almost
as if they were having little earthquakes of their own.

The great wave marked the crest of the storm.  After that the winds grew
gradually less violent, the rain ceased, and the waves crept farther and
farther away down the beach.

The earth ceased its trembling.  The clouds rolled away like great
curtains, and the thunder went grumbling off toward the west.

When the grey dawn came stealing over the wet earth and the birds began
to sing, Limberleg raised her head.

"Look," she said, "and listen!  The birds are singing!  I thought the
world had come to an end, but it is still here, and so are we."

Then they all opened their eyes, which they had kept shut for terror.  A
wonderful sight met them!  Over the water toward the east the sky was
blushing like a rose.  Little pink clouds were hurrying away to lose
themselves in the blue sky.  Then the great fiery red disk of the sun
rose slowly out of the water!

They watched it in awed silence as it climbed higher and higher into the
blue.  Then, trembling again with fear, the little group of watchers
prostrated themselves before it in a blind impulse of worship.

When the sun was out of the water and up again in its regular place in
the sky, all nature seemed so gay and joyous that the Twins and their
father and mother forgot the fears of the night, and began to think
about breakfast.  They found it in the hollow of a rock far down the
gorge.

The giant wave which had so frightened them, had left a fish flapping
about in a little pool of water.  When she saw it, Limberleg shouted:
"The water gods aren't angry, after all!  See, they have sent us a fine
fish for our breakfast!"

Hawk-Eye quickly climbed down the steep rocks to the pool, caught the
fish with his hands, killed it, and brought it back to Limberleg and the
Twins.

While they were eating it, Limberleg seemed to be thinking hard.  She
wasn't used to thinking, and she screwed up her face almost as if it
hurt her.  At last she said: "Listen to me!  We now know what no one
else in the world knows.  We have found out what lies beyond the blue
hills.  We have gone to the end of the world and have looked over the
edge, and have discovered the secret of the sun!  We alone know that it
hides beneath the waters during the darkness.  There is no more for us
to learn.  Perhaps it would not be safe to know more, even if there were
more to know!  Let us go home."

"There is more to be learned about the hunting," said Hawk-Eye.

"We can find that out on our way back," said Limberleg.

"If there are going to be any more earthquakes, I'd rather be in the
cave anyway," said Firefly.  "Besides, I don't like the rain pouring
over me.  It's as bad as falling in the river."

Firetop said: "I'd like to get back to tell Squaretoes what I've seen.
He's all the time telling about the wonderful things he can do.  He's
never seen the tree-people nor had an earthquake in his whole life.  I
guess I can make his eyes stick out."

Hawk-Eye said nothing, but he picked up the wet skins, shook them, bound
them with thongs, and tied them to the shoulders of the others.  Then
each took his own weapons and they were ready to start.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Two.

From the point where they had spent the night, a chain of hills ran back
inland.  They followed these hills to the north for some miles and then,
still keeping to the hill-tops, turned toward the west.  In the late
afternoon, under Hawk-Eye's skillful leadership, they came again to the
place where they had crossed the isthmus that connected them with the
mainland.

Hawk-Eye was some distance ahead of the others when he came out upon the
high bluff that overlooked the channel and the isthmus.  Suddenly he
stopped with a cry of astonishment and stood still, his eyes staring.

Limberleg and the Twins rushed to his side.

"What is the matter?" they cried.  For answer Hawk-Eye only pointed.
Before them there was nothing but open water!  A whole section of the
neck of land which they had crossed only the day before had been
swallowed up by the sea!

Where it had been, a mile of blue water now sparkled in the sun!  They
were completely shut off from the main land.  When she realised what had
happened, Limberleg sat heavily down on a log.

"The world isn't the same after all," she cried.  "It's broken!  Part of
it has sunk beneath the waters!"


"Won't it ever get mended?" asked Firefly anxiously.

"Shan't we ever get back to the cave, then?" cried Firetop.

"No," sobbed Limberleg.  "We'll have to stay here till we die."

Firefly whimpered a little and crept close to her mother on the log, but
Firetop noticed that his father wasn't crying, so he swallowed several
large lumps in his throat and sat up straight.  For some time they
stayed on the bluff and looked down the steep banks of broken earth and
rocks into the deep water below.

Great logs were floating about and huge trees, uprooted from the banks,
were lying with their tops in the water.

At last Limberleg said in a discouraged voice, "Well, what shall we do?"

"The first thing to do," said Hawk-Eye, "is to go down to the beach and
see what we can find to eat."

Beyond the steep cliffs on which they stood there was a bay with a wide
beach.  Beyond the bay great rocks extended in a chain out into the
water.  If you have been to England, you may have passed those very
rocks.  They are called "The Needles."

Hawk-Eye and Limberleg and the Twins climbed down to the beach.  They
were so hungry that they were almost ready to eat sand and pebbles, like
chickens, if they could find nothing else.

But there was plenty of seaweed on the beach and they found little
mussels clinging to it.  They ate both the seaweed and the mussels, as
they walked along.

"See all the little holes in the sand," cried Firetop, when they were
quite far out on the beach.  "Water spurts out of them every time I
step."

"Let's dig down and see what does it," said Firefly.  "Maybe it's
something good to eat."

They took a large shell and scraped away the sand.  They had never seen
clams before, and Firefly got her finger pinched.  Hawk-Eye opened a
shell and ate one.  He smacked his lips, and then he said, "Dig as many
as you can, while I make a fire.  Our supper is right here."

The Twins worked like beavers, while Hawk-Eye and Limberleg made a
drift-wood fire far back on the beach in a sheltered place near the
cliffs.

Then Limberleg made a bed of seaweed in the coals and put in the clams
as fast as the children brought them up from the sand.  They must have
steamed at least half a bushel!  They ate every one, and I am quite sure
this was the very first clam-bake that any one ever had in this world.

As they rested beside the fire after supper, warmed and fed, they began
to feel more cheerful.  Hawk-Eye said: "Anyway, we shall never be hungry
while we stay here.  Perhaps we shall like it just as well as we liked
our forest cave."


Then Limberleg had a happy thought.  "Do you know," she said, "I believe
the water gods were lonesome and are glad that we came!  They don't want
us to go away again, and so they made the piece of land fall into the
water to keep us here!  You remember about that fish!  I'm not afraid.
I think they mean to take care of us."

And that was such a comforting thought that they went to sleep and slept
soundly all night beside their drift-wood fire.

The Cave Twins--by Lucy Fitch Perkins

CHAPTER SEVEN.

THE ISLAND.

One.

If I were to tell you all the things that the Twins and their father and
mother did on that island, it would make a book as big as the
dictionary; so I can only tell you a very little about the wonderful
days that followed.  In the first place, they soon found out that it was
a wonderful island.  Small as it was, it had the most astonishing things
in it.

There were great cliffs and jagged rocks along its coast in some places,
and there were beautiful broad sandy beaches right next to them.  The
waves had washed holes clear through some of these great rocks and left
them standing there like huge ruins.

The beaches were covered with star-fish and beautiful shells and seaweed
and crabs and jelly-fish and stones of all colours.  The Twins found
something new every time they played there.

Inland there were hills and valleys with sparkling streams of clear
water running through them.  There were sunny open meadows where bison
grazed.  In the woods there were deer and small game of all kinds, but
though Hawk-Eye went everywhere in the days that followed the
earthquake, he never saw a sign of a cave bear or of tigers or lions, or
any of the more savage beasts which made life in their old home so full
of terror.

Neither did he find a trace of any other human beings.

The season was early on the warm southern side of the island.  The wild
fruit trees were already in blossom, making the air sweet with
fragrance, and giving promise of fruit later on.

There were all sorts of wild flowers and all kinds of trees in the
woods, and everything was so beautiful and seemed so safe that it was
easy to believe, as Limberleg said, that the water gods did mean to take
care of them.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Two.

One day when Hawk-Eye and Limberleg had gone deer-hunting, Firetop and
Firefly climbed a high cliff on the east coast to hunt for pigeons'
eggs.  From the top of the hill, they could see for miles and miles in
every direction.  The cliffs were on a long point of land, and behind
the point was a deep bay, where all sorts of things could be picked up,
when the tide was low.  In a cleft of the rock Firetop found a nest with
four eggs in it.  He and Firefly were sitting on top of the hill eating
them, when Firefly saw a queer black spot part way down the cliff,
toward the east.

"What's that?" she said, pointing.

"Let's go and find out," said Firetop.

They climbed cautiously down to a lower level and worked their way
through the bushes and vines which covered the sloping side of the
bluff.

"It must be somewhere near here," said Firetop, "but I can't see it.
It's hidden behind the bushes, whatever it is."

"Maybe it was a bear and he has moved," said Firefly, looking fearfully
over her shoulder.

Of course they could not be quite sure there were no such creatures on
the island.

"Pooh," said Firetop, "I'm not afraid.  Come along."

They hunted up and down and sideways for some distance along the bluff,
and were almost ready to give up, when a branch that Firetop was holding
broke and he fell backward down the slope.  He rolled over two or three
times, and when he stopped rolling and sat up he was looking directly
into the mouth of a great dark cave.  A lot of stones and dirt came
tumbling down with him, and, with that and some noise that Firetop made
himself, there was quite a disturbance.

The cave was full of owls, and when the stones and dirt and a boy
dropped in on them suddenly, they were very much surprised.  No fewer
than six of them flew out of the cave, and as they were blinded by the
light, they bumped right into Firetop.

Those still in the cave flew about and beat their wings against the
rocks.  This made a terrible sound in the hollow cave, and besides that,
they hooted.  Firetop had never met an owl at such short range before,
and his red hair stood straight up on his head, he was so scared.  He
beat the owls off with his arms and yelled at the top of his lungs.

Firefly heard him and came plunging through the bushes after him.  In
another minute she too had fallen through the same place and landed
beside Firetop.  By the time they had picked themselves up, the owls had
flown to a shelf on the rock, and there they roosted in a row, staring
solemnly at the Twins.

They neither moved nor spoke.  Somehow the Twins expected them to speak
and say something very reproving.  They looked just that way.  The Twins
didn't wait to find out what it would be, however.  They went crashing
through the bushes and back to the top of the rock as fast as they could
go.

That afternoon, when Hawk-Eye and Limberleg came home, bringing a young
deer on their shoulders, the children told them about the cave and
pointed it out from the top of the rock.  Hawk-Eye at once threw down
the deer and made a fire.  Then he took a flaming torch in one hand and
his spear in the other and started down the bluff.

"How did you get to the cave?" he asked Firetop.

"We went part way down the bluff and fell in," said Firetop.

Hawk-Eye laughed.  "I'll see if I can't find a better way," he said.


He crept cautiously down the steep slope, and when he reached the cave,
he held his torch above his head so as to light the inside of it, and
with his other hand he held his spear, ready to kill any wild animal
that might be living in it.  It was just the sort of cave where one
might expect to find wolves at least.

The owls came hooting out again just as they had when Firetop visited
them, but nothing else stirred, and Hawk-Eye went boldly in.  The cave
was quite large, and as it was in a chalk cliff, it was white and clean
except where the owls had made their nests.

Hawk-Eye didn't like the looks of owls.  He didn't like their staring
ways.  So he tore up their nests and threw them down the bluff.

Then he came out of the cave and began to climb about on the slope, as
if he were searching for something.  It was not long before he gave a
shout of joy and beckoned to Limberleg and the Twins, who were watching
him eagerly.

They came bounding down the hillside at once.  Hawk-Eye met them at the
cave-entrance.  "Here's our home," he said, pointing to the cave.
"Nothing could be better.  I have found a spring of fresh water near by!
It is safer than any place we have ever found.  Go in and see!"

Limberleg went in and looked all about.  She was just as pleased with it
as Hawk-Eye was.  She didn't even say, "Let's see if we can't find
another cave that suits us better."

She just threw her deer-skin down on the floor of the cave and laid her
spear on one of the shelving rocks and began to live there right away.
They always had their weapons with them, all of them.  So there was
nothing more to do but start a fire at the cave-mouth and begin to get
supper.  It was just as easy as moving into a furnished flat.

Hawk-Eye went back to the top of the hill and brought down the deer.  He
also brought some live fire-brands from the fire he had kindled.  With
these he started a new fire at the cave-mouth.

While Limberleg cut up the meat and the Twins broiled great pieces of it
over the coals, Hawk-Eye took his stone axe and cut a rough path through
the underbrush from the cave-entrance to the spring, and another to the
hill-top.  The paths were so hidden by tall weeds and bushes that they
could run through them without being seen.

When at last they sat down beside the fire at the cave-entrance to eat
their first dinner of roast venison in their new home, they felt as rich
as--well it's really quite impossible to tell you just how rich they did
feel.

The Cave Twins--by Lucy Fitch Perkins

CHAPTER EIGHT.

THE RAFT.

When Limberleg woke the next morning, the bright sunshine was pouring
into the cave, lighting up the very farthest corner of it.  The vines
which overhung the entrance were waving in the breeze, and their shadows
were dancing gayly on the chalk floor.

Limberleg sat up and looked out.  From the door she could see miles and
miles of open water.  To the north were the shores of England.  Below
was a beautiful sandy beach, and a little way from the shore there were
rocks sticking out of the water.  Gulls were wheeling and screaming
about the rocks.

Limberleg took the gourd and went down the little green path to the
spring for water.  When she came back, the others were still sleeping.
So she crept out through the path to the hill-top and gathered sticks to
replenish the fire.

She was already broiling the venison when the others woke.

At breakfast, she said to Hawk-Eye, "I believe I will stay in the cave
to-day, it is such a lot of work to start a new fire every day, and I
can keep this one burning.  Besides, the Twins must have new skins
pretty soon.  Those fox-furs they are now wearing are getting shabby.  I
will cure the deer-skin we brought home last night for them."

"We must get more skins," said Hawk-Eye.  "We shall need them when cold
weather comes.  I will get the meat, and you can cook, and cure the
skins, and tend the fire."

Then Hawk-Eye went off hunting, to be gone all day.  The Twins ran down
to the beach and went in wading.  They were not so afraid of the water
as they had been, but they stayed near shore because they could see
great fish tumbling about in the waves, and they didn't know whether
they ate children or not.  Probably the fish didn't know, either.  They
had never had any to try.  Anyway, the Twins thought they would not find
out what their tastes were in the matter, and so they stayed near the
shore,--or at least they meant to.

Ever since the great storm there had been logs and broken tree-branches
floating about in the water, and on this morning, the Twins found two of
them bobbing about near the beach-line.  They were not very large, and
the Twins thought it would be fun to play with them.  They waded out and
pulled them in toward shore.

"Let's ride on these the way we rode that log in the river," said
Firetop.

Firefly was always ready to do whatever Firetop did, so she got astride
one, and Firetop mounted the other, and they went bouncing along through
the water, half floating and half walking on the sandy bottom.

It was great fun, but the long branches stuck in the sand and scratched
their legs, so they drew the logs nearer shore and tried to pull off the
branches.  But some of them were too tough.

"We can twist them together," said Firetop.  "That will keep them out of
the way and maybe the logs won't roll so much."

They twisted the branches of the two logs roughly together, so they
could not stick down into the water and then mounted their sea horses
again and rode away.  They were delighted to find that now the logs
behaved much better, and they grew so bold that they ventured out into
deeper water.  They had made a wonderful plaything.

All the morning they rode the logs, and when the tide began to come in,
they had the best time of all.  It picked up the little raft and floated
the children, screaming with joy, far up the beach on a long, low,
rolling wave.

Limberleg had been so busy making a frame of sticks to stretch the
deer-skin on that she had paid no attention to the Twins.  But when she
heard their screams, she came to the door of the cave and looked out on
the beach.  When she saw what they were doing, she came running down the
bluff.  She ran so fast she was all out of breath, but she gasped out:
"You naughty, careless children!  You must not do that any more--ever!
You will certainly be eaten up by a big fish--or get drowned--or maybe
both--if you do!"  The Twins thought that their mother was very foolish,
and, being cave twins, and not knowing any better, they said: "Aw,
mother, we have been doing it all the morning, and never got drowned or
eaten up once!  Try it yourself and just see how easy it is."

But Limberleg was very unreasonable.  She only said, "If you do it
again, you know what will happen," and started back up the bluff.  When
she was out of sight, Firetop said: "Let's do it once more.  She won't
see us!"  This shows just how wicked and disobedient cave children could
be!

They pushed their raft out into the water and got on board.  They were
at the very farthest point from shore, when suddenly Limberleg came
right out of the bushes and looked at them!  When they saw her, the
Twins were very much embarrassed.  They thought perhaps they had better
stay off shore a while.

They reached their feet down and dug their toes in the sand, but the
tide was still coming in, and in spite of all they could do, it lifted
them up and carried them right to where Limberleg stood.  She looked at
them very sternly.  She had a switch in her hand.  She said: "I told you
what would happen!  I shall have to punish you, but it hurts me worse
than it hurts you."  I suppose that was the first time any parent ever
said that.  Then she began to use the switch on their bare legs.

Perhaps you never have been switched on your wet bare legs, so I'll
explain that it hurts.  Firetop and Firefly didn't understand how it
could hurt her more than it did them.  However, they didn't say so.
They just ran for the cave as fast as they could go.  But I have already
told you that Limberleg could run faster than anybody and she kept right
up with them all the way.

When they were in the cave again, any one passing by would certainly
have thought from the sounds that a pack of wildcats lived there.  At
last Limberleg said to them, "Now, you see, I will be minded," and then
she made them sit still in the corner of the cave until she had finished
the wooden frame and stretched the deer-skin over it.

I suppose that if she had been a reasonable and kind mother she would
have let them go on and get drowned or eaten up by a shark.  But she
wasn't, and so they weren't, or else you can very well see that this
story would have had to end right here.

When Hawk-Eye came home that afternoon with two live rabbits which he
had snared, the Twins were so delighted with them that they forgot all
about their troubles of the morning.

"Can't we keep the rabbits alive?" they begged.

"How can you keep them?" said Hawk-Eye.  "They'll run away."

"We can tie them by their legs," said Firetop.


"We can cut sticks and drive them down in the ground, and keep the
rabbits inside the sticks," cried Firefly.

"What will you cut them with?" asked Hawk-Eye.

"With your stone axe," Firefly answered as quick as a wink.

Hawk-Eye looked very solemn.  "Will you be sure to bring it back to the
cave, if I let you take my axe?" he said.

"Of course," cried the Twins.  They took the axe at once and rushed out
to begin the fence of sticks, while Hawk-Eye tied the rabbits by their
hind legs to a little tree near the cave.

When they finished the fence the next day, I regret to say the stone axe
was nowhere to be found, and it was three days before it turned up under
a bush where they had cut sticks.

While the children were busy fencing in the rabbits, Limberleg told
Hawk-Eye about the raft.

"You can see it down thereon the beach," she said.  "I really think it
was very clever of them to make such a thing, but of course I didn't
tell them so."

"_Of_ course not," said Hawk-Eye.

Now, wasn't that just like parents?

Pretty soon, while Limberleg was cooking supper, Hawk-Eye slipped down
to the beach by himself and took a look at the raft.  Then he dragged it
down to the water and tried it himself.  He tried it several times.  He
didn't say anything about it when he got back to the cave, but the Twins
saw how very clean his skin looked.  And they nodded knowingly at each
other.  They had their suspicions.

The Cave Twins--by Lucy Fitch Perkins

CHAPTER NINE.

THE SURPRISE.

What with fish and clams and crabs and periwinkles and roots and game
and berries and wild plums and all sorts of other good things to eat, as
the summer came on, the Twins and their father and mother began to grow
fat.

Limberleg didn't go hunting as she used to.  There was no need of it
now, for Hawk-Eye could bring home more game than they needed.  So she
stayed by the cave and kept the hearth fire bright and cooked the food
and cured the skins and looked after the children.

The Twins kept the rabbits and fed them every day with fresh leaves and
roots, and by and by there were six baby rabbits in the cage too.

"We might make the cage larger and have more rabbits," said Hawk-Eye,
"and then in winter, we should always have plenty of fresh meat right at
hand."

"What a good idea!" said Limberleg.  "The children can feed them."

"Yes," said Hawk-Eye, "if they don't forget it."

"I'll see that they don't forget it," said Limberleg.

The Twins heard her say it.

"I think probably she will," said Firetop.  He had great confidence in
his mother.

"Will what?" said Firefly.

"Will see that we don't forget it," said Firetop, and they guessed
right.  She did.

By July they had a large enclosure fenced off and ever so many rabbits
in it.  For cave people they were now very rich.  They had a fine cave
home, plenty of skins, and plenty of food.

Limberleg had made herself a good needle out of bone and had sewed nice
soft deer-skins into clothes for them, all ready for cold weather.  She
had even made beautiful necklaces of shells for Firefly and herself.

One summer evening, as they sat looking at the moon, Limberleg said:
"You see I was right about the water gods.  There haven't been any more
earthquakes, and we have everything we want to eat, and plenty of warm
skins and a fine cave to live in.  There is just one thing more I want.
I don't care much for society, but I should like more people to talk
to."

"I wish Grannie and the rest were here," said Firetop.  "I should like
to show Squaretoes our rabbits."

"And I should like to show Robin my necklace," said Firefly.

"It's no use wishing," said Firetop.  "There's all that water."

Hawk-Eye, as usual, said nothing, but all the time he was thinking hard
about the floating log that the Twins had crossed the river on, and the
raft they had made of the two floating trees.

It was not long after this that Limberleg began to notice that though he
was gone all day every day, Hawk-Eye often came home without game.  One
day she heard the sound of his stone axe, as if he were cutting down a
tree, but she thought nothing more about it.

After that she heard the sound of the axe every day for many days.  It
seemed to come from the bay behind the point of land.  At last she said
to him: "What in the world are you doing with your axe?  I hear such a
pounding everyday."  Hawk-Eye did not tell her what he was making.  He
only said, "Maybe some day, when I get it done, you will see."

The Twins heard the axe too, and they made up their minds they were
going to find out what was going on.  The next day, as they were playing
in their cave back of their bluff at low tide, Firefly saw a little
column of smoke rising out of the woods near the place where a small
stream flowed into the bay.  She also heard the axe.  The sound seemed
to come from somewhere near the smoke.  She pointed the smoke out to
Firetop, and the two children ran swiftly around the beach and up the
little stream for a short distance.

There they found Hawk-Eye.  He was working away at the log of a
good-sized tree which he had cut down.  He had made the log almost flat
on one side by chipping off pieces with his axe, and he had shaped the
ends a little.  Now he was hollowing out the inside.  He was doing this
partly with his axe and partly by burning it.

Hawk-Eye was working so busily he did not know that any one was near him
until Firetop called out, "What are you making, Father?"

Hawk-Eye stopped chopping.  "It's a secret," he said.  "If I tell you,
you'll tell."

"No, we won't.  Anyway, there's no one to tell but Mother," said
Firefly.

"She's just the one I want to keep it from," said Hawk-Eye.  "It's a
surprise."

"Oh, well, if it is a surprise, of course we won't tell," said Firetop.

"Do you know what it is, or is it a surprise to you too?" asked Firefly.

"Maybe it is," said Hawk-Eye.  "I'm not sure yet.  When I get the inside
of this log all cut out, I'm going to see if it will float without
rolling over.  Maybe I can get in it and make it go where I want it to.
If I can, then all sorts of things may happen, but you must _not_ tell
Mother."

"Why?" asked Firefly.  "Wouldn't she let you play with it?"

"Maybe not," said Hawk-Eye.

"You'd better be careful," said Firefly, shaking her head, "or you know
what will happen!"

Hawk-Eye laughed and went on chopping.  Every day after that the Twins
followed their father to the little cove and watched him work.  Every
evening they nearly burst trying not to tell.  One day when they went
down to the cove, they found their father taking out the last chips from
the inside of the log.

"When the tide comes in, it backs up into the stream," said Hawk-Eye,
"and the next time it does it, I'm going to push the log into the water
and then out into the bay.  If it floats right side up, I am going for a
ride."

"How will you push it?" asked Firetop.  "Are you going to let your legs
hang over and hitch yourself along that way?"

"I shan't need any turtles to bite me to make me go anyway," said
Hawk-Eye.  "I'm going to push it with a pole."

The pole was already in the log.  The tide began to flow in.  As soon as
the water was deep enough Hawk-Eye pushed the log into the water.  It
floated, of course.  Hawk-Eye waded along beside it into deeper water.
Then he undertook to get aboard, but he put his weight too much on one
side.  It rolled over, and he rolled with it, and went splash on his
stomach right into the water!  Firetop and Firefly danced on the beach
with glee.

Hawk-Eye got up all dripping wet and tried again.  This time he stepped
into the middle of the boat.  He got safely in, but it was still very
tippy, so he put sand in the bottom of it and made it heavier.  Then he
tried again.

It was a proud moment when at last he took his pole and pushed off.

"I'm going to keep close to shore and go around the point if I can," he
said.

The children tore up the bank and over the hill to get back to the cave
in time to see him coming.  Limberleg was weaving a berry basket out of
strips of bark, when the children came racing into the cave.  They were
so excited they couldn't keep still.

"What in the world is the matter with you?" cried Limberleg, at last.
"You've been running to the edge of the bluff and back again ever since
you came in.  What are you looking at?"

"At that! at that!" shrieked Firetop, pointing down to the water.

There, coming close to the shore around the bend, was Hawk-Eye in the
very first boat that was ever made--in that part of the world at least.

Limberleg was so astonished that she couldn't speak.  She dashed down
the side of the bluff without stopping for the path, and the Twins came
tumbling after her.  Of course, Limberleg got there first.  She always
did.  And when the Twins reached the water's edge, she was already in
the boat with Hawk-Eye.  She was certainly a brave woman!

The Cave Twins--by Lucy Fitch Perkins

CHAPTER TEN.

THE VOYAGE.

After Limberleg had had a ride, the Twins took a turn, while their
mother watched them from the shore.

"It's almost more fun than our logs," said Firetop, when he took his
first ride.

They played with the boat and tried all sorts of experiments with it,
and were so happy and excited that it grew dark and the moon came out
before one of them so much as thought of anything to eat.

For days and days after that, Hawk-Eye worked on his boat.  He found out
all its tricks.  He even found out that he could go in deep water if he
paddled.  He found it out first by using his hands for oars.  Then he
chopped out a clumsy flat paddle.

All this took him some time, but by midsummer he had become quite expert
with his clumsy craft.  He could keep it right side up and make it go
where he wanted it to at any rate.

Sometimes he ventured out into the deep water around the gulls' rocks.
One day he even rowed all round them.  He could look down into the water
and see shoals of fish swimming about, but he could not catch them.

When he went back to the cave that day, he said to Limberleg: "I have an
idea.  Why can't you weave a kind of net out of leather thongs?  I can
fasten it in the water out by the rocks and catch fish in it.  The water
gods may like us very much, as you say, but they haven't been throwing
any fish up on land for us since the earthquake, so I'm going to try to
catch some."

"To be sure," said Limberleg.  "We snare rabbits, why shouldn't we snare
fish?"

They had made hooks out of bone and had caught river fish sometimes when
they lived back in the forest, but they had not brought any hooks with
them on their journey.  They had always been more used to hunting game
than to fishing, anyway.  Now with a sea full of fish right at hand,
waiting to be caught, they began to think more about it.

"If we could catch fish, we should have more food right at hand than we
could possibly eat, without ever hunting at all, if we didn't want to,"
said Hawk-Eye.

After that Limberleg spent days and days tying leather thongs together
in a coarse net, while Hawk-Eye made bone fish-hooks for himself and
Limberleg and the Twins, and fastened them to long fine strings of
leather.

By August, Hawk-Eye had taught the Twins how to fish the streams for
trout, and he himself had learned how to fasten his net between two of
the gull rocks and catch the fish that swam in deep water.

There was nothing Hawk-Eye liked so much as going out in his boat.  He
went up and down the coast for miles, and it was not long before he knew
every little creek and inlet and bay on the eastern end of the island.

At last, one day in August, he said to Limberleg: "I am going to load
the boat with food to last a few days and see if I can't get over to the
mainland.  It is only a short distance across to the nearest point.
I've been farther than that in my boat already."

"But I am afraid you'll be drowned," cried Limberleg, "and then what
shall we do?"

"You can take care of yourselves," said Hawk-Eye.  "The children can
already fish in the streams, and there are the rabbits and the clams.
You will not want for anything while I am away."

"But we shall be lonesome," cried Limberleg; "and suppose you should
never come back!"

"But I shall come back," said Hawk-Eye.  "You'll see."

Limberleg knew it was useless to say any more, and the very next day she
and the Twins helped him load his boat with deer-meat and wild plums and
acorns, and then Hawk-Eye put in his spear and his stone axe and hooks
and line, and got in himself.

The three of them stood on the beach and watched him push off from their
island and start across the channel toward the main land.  They watched
him until the boat was a mere black speck in the distance.  Then they
trudged slowly back to their lonely cave.

There followed many anxious days and nights.  Limberleg went back to
hunting again.  She took the Twins with her, and began to teach them to
hunt like men.

"If anything should happen to me, you could take care of yourselves if
you knew how to hunt and trap as well as fish," she said.

Beside getting food for their daily needs, they began to store it for
the winter.  They gathered nuts by the bushel and piled them in heaps in
the corner of the cave.  Whenever they were not sleeping or doing
anything else, they were always gathering wood for the fire.


In this way four long weeks went by.  At last came a day when the wind
was sharp, and it seemed as if summer were nearly over.

Limberleg and the Twins had gone down to the cave behind their bluff to
get clams for supper.  They had one of Limberleg's baskets with them,
and had nearly filled it with clams.  They were out some distance from
the beach-line, for the tide was low.

Suddenly the water began to rise.  The returning tide came in such a
flood that they had to run as fast as their legs could carry them to get
safely ashore.  They had reached the bank and were just beginning to
climb slowly up the bluff, when they heard a shout behind them.
Limberleg was so startled that her knees gave way under her and she sat
right down in the basket of clams!

They looked across the cove, and there, coming in with the tide, was
their own boat, with brave Hawk-Eye in it waving his hand to them.  They
could see three other heads beside Hawk-Eye's, but neither Limberleg nor
the Twins could tell whose heads they were.  They left the basket of
clams on the side of the bluff and tore down to the water's edge.

As the boat came near the shore, they saw Grannie, looking scared to
death, sitting in the bottom of the boat, and holding on to each side
with all her might.  Behind her were Blackbird and Squaretoes!

The moment the boat came near shore, the two boys tumbled out of the
back end of it, nearly upsetting Grannie, and splashed through the
shallow water to the shore.  They butted Firetop in the stomach and
knocked him flat, and spun Firefly around in the sand to show how glad
they were to see them.

When at last the prow of the boat grated on the sand, and Grannie and
Hawk-Eye got out, the four children ran round them in circles like
puppies, screaming with joy.  Even Limberleg danced.  Grannie clapped
her hands over her ears.

When the noise had calmed down a little, she seized Firetop and Firefly
and shook them soundly.

"You little red-headed wretches," she cried.  "Here you are alive and
well, and fat as rabbits, and all this time I've worried the heart
nearly out of me wondering what had become of you!"

It had been such a long time since the spring morning when the Twins had
stolen away out of the cave that at first they did not know what Grannie
was talking about.  They had never thought how she must have felt when
she found that they were gone.

Hawk-Eye laughed.  "I've brought Grannie back with me on purpose to give
you what you deserve," he said.  "She told me she was going to take a
stick to you as soon as she saw you, for playing such a trick on her."

"Just you wait until I get a stick," cried Grannie.  She looked fierce
as she said it, but the Twins knew very well she was just as glad to see
them as they were to see her.  They seized her hands, one on each side,
and began to pull her up the hill.  Blackbird and Squaretoes pushed from
behind.

"Go along with you," screamed Grannie, holding back with all her might.
"I can't run so fast; I am all out of breath."

"We'll run you, then," screamed the children, and they pulled and pushed
until they got her panting and breathless to the top of the hill.
Hawk-Eye had drawn his precious boat high up on the beach out of reach
of the tide, and he and Limberleg followed more slowly with the basket
of clams.

At the top of the hill, the Twins, with Blackbird and Squaretoes, ducked
into the hidden path that led to the cave, just like mice diving down a
mouse-hole.

Grannie was left standing alone on the hill-top.  She couldn't see what
had become of the children.  She could hear their voices, and down the
bluff she could see a thin column of smoke rising.  She knew the cave
must be there, but she didn't know how to get to it.

When Hawk-Eye and Limberleg came up, they took her with them through the
little green alley that led to the cave.  When they reached it the
children had flung a great pile of dry sticks on the fire, and the
flames were leaping high in the air to welcome them.

"See," cried Limberleg, "even the fire dances with joy at your coming."

She took Grannie into the cave and showed her the piles of warm skins,
and the heaps of nuts: then she showed Grannie how to cook clams.

The Twins had taken Blackbird and Squaretoes the very first thing to see
the rabbits.  Then they came back for Grannie and made her go and see
them too, and when every one had seen everything there was to see, it
was dark, and Limberleg had a real feast ready for them to eat.

She had killed a deer the day before, and so they had broiled venison,
seasoned with sea salt.  They had clams steamed with seaweed, and they
had nuts and wild plums.

When they had all stuffed themselves full, Limberleg said to Hawk-Eye:
"Now tell us all about your journey.  When you went away, we watched you
from the hill-top until you were a mere speck on the water.  We knew
nothing more of you until we heard your shout to-day.  There were many
weary days between."

"They were not weary to me," said Hawk-Eye.  "I reached the other shore
in safety, and then turned my boat toward the sunset.  I kept in the
shallow water near the shore, and followed the coast around the end of
the point of land which we crossed when we came here.

"I knew our river must empty into the big water not far away, and so I
paddled up the first stream I found.  I slept in the boat at night.  The
first night I was awakened by the howling of wolves.  But I had only to
push my boat out into the stream.  They would not follow me there.

"For two days I paddled up-stream.  The second day I began to see things
that I knew, and on the morning of the third I reached the river path
just as Grannie was coming down for water."

"Yes, yes," cried Grannie.  "I thought I was dreaming!  The boat
frightened me.  I thought Hawk-Eye was dead and that I saw his spirit.
I started to run to the cave."

"Did you think we were all dead?" asked Limberleg.

"Yes," said Grannie.  "I thought some cave bear or tiger had got you.
You were always so bold and venturesome.  And as for these worthless
ones," she added, patting Firetop on the head, "I didn't know whether
they had gone with you, or had stolen away into the woods and been eaten
by old Sabre-tooth."

"Well, you see," cried Limberleg, laughing, "it pays to be bold and
brave."  When she said "bold and brave," she looked right at Hawk-Eye.
She thought he was the boldest and bravest man in the world.

"There aren't any sabre-toothed tigers on this island, and there's
plenty to eat every day.  Didn't the others want to come too when you
told them about it?" she said to Hawk-Eye.

"They all wanted to come," Hawk-Eye answered, "but the boat would not
hold so many.  So I stayed to show them how to make boats for
themselves.  Long Arm and Big Ear and Grey Wolf are all at work on them
now, and they will come in the spring or summer if they get them done."

"How will they know the way?" asked Firetop.

"I told them just how to follow the river and the coast, and where to
cross," said Hawk-Eye.  "They can't help finding the island, and if they
find the island, they can't help finding us.  I told them we were on the
side where the sun rises out of the water."

It had grown very dark as they talked.  There was only firelight in the
cave, but just then Limberleg saw a bright streak on the edge of the
water toward the east.

"Look, Grannie, look," she cried, pointing to it.  "We have discovered
the secret of the sun and the moon!  They both sleep in the water!"

The children and Grannie and Hawk-Eye and Limberleg all watched together
until the white streak grew brighter and stretched in a silver path
across the water to the beach below.  They saw the pale disk of the moon
slowly rise into the deep blue of the night sky, and the stars wink down
at them.

"I suppose no one else in the whole world knows the secret," said
Limberleg solemnly.  "You see this is the end of the world.  You can't
go any farther."


"Except in my boat," said Hawk-Eye.

"The spirits of the water have been good to us," said Limberleg.  "We
will not tempt them too far.  If there are more secrets, we will not try
to find them out."

"Some day," said Hawk-Eye, "someday I mean to go,"--but Limberleg would
not let him finish.

"No," she said, putting her hand over his mouth, "no, you are not going
any where at all, ever again!  You are going to stay right here with us
and be happy."

POSTSCRIPT.

  _L'envoi_.

  _Long, long ago, when the Earth was young
  And Time was not yet old,
  Ere all the stars in the sky were hung,
  Or the silver moon grown cold_;

  _When the clouds that sail between the worlds
  Were fanned with fluttering wings,
  And over all the land there curled
  The fronds of growing things_;

  _When fishes swarmed in all the seas,
  And on the wooded shore
  There roamed among the forest trees
  A million beasts or more_;

  _Then in the early morn of Time,
  Called from the formless clod,
  Came Man, to start the weary climb
  From wild beast up to God_,--

  _Oh, bravely did he dare and do,
  And bravely fight and die,
  Or you to-day could not be you
  And I could not be I_.





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