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Title: Boys and Girls Bookshelf (Vol 2 of 17) - Folk-Lore, Fables, And Fairy Tales
Author: Various
Language: English
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 BOYS AND GIRLS BOOKSHELF

     _A Practical Plan of Character Building_

          COMPLETE IN SEVENTEEN VOLUMES

 I     Fun and Thought for Little Folk
 II    Folk-Lore, Fables, and Fairy Tales
 III   Famous Tales and Nature Stories
 IV    Things to Make and Things to Do
 V     True Stories from Every Land
 VI    Famous Songs and Picture Stories
 VII   Nature and Outdoor Life, Part I
 VIII  Nature and Outdoor Life, Part II
 IX    Earth, Sea, and Sky
 X     Games and Handicraft
 XI    Wonders of Invention
 XII   Marvels of Industry
 XIII  Every Land and its Story
 XIV   Famous Men and Women
 XV    Bookland--Story and Verse, Part I
 XVI   Bookland--Story and Verse, Part II
 XVII  Graded and Classified Index


             THE UNIVERSITY SOCIETY
                  INCORPORATED
                   _New York_



 [Illustration: THE SUNSET FAIRIES
 FROM A DRAWING BY FLORENCE MARY ANDERSON]



                 BOYS AND GIRLS
                    BOOKSHELF

     _A Practical Plan of Character Building_

              Little Folks' Section

  [Illustration: INSTRUCTIVE PLAY ... VOCATIONAL GUIDANCE
                 The Four Fold Life
                 MENTAL  PHYSICAL  SOCIAL  MORAL]

        Prepared Under the Supervision of
  THE EDITORIAL BOARD _of the_ UNIVERSITY SOCIETY

                   Volume II
       FOLK-LORE, FABLES, AND FAIRY TALES

             THE UNIVERSITY SOCIETY
                  INCORPORATED
                   _New York_



              Copyright, 1920, By
          THE UNIVERSITY SOCIETY INC.

           Copyright, 1912, 1915, By
          THE UNIVERSITY SOCIETY INC.


        _Manufactured in the U. S. A._



INTRODUCTION


This volume is devoted to a choice collection of the standard and
new fairy-tales, wonder stories, and fables. They speak so truly and
convincingly for themselves that we wish to use this introductory page
only to emphasize their value to young children. There are still those
who find no room in their own reading, and would give none in the
reading of the young, except for facts. They confuse facts and truth,
and forget that there is a world of truth that is larger than the mere
facts of life, being compact of imagination and vision and ideals. Dr.
Hamilton Wright Mabie convinced us of this in his cogent words.

"America," he said, "has at present greater facility in producing
'smart' men than in producing able men; the alert, quick-witted
money-maker abounds, but the men who live with ideas, who care for the
principles of things, and who make life rich in resource and interest,
are comparatively few. America needs poetry more than it needs
industrial training, though the two ought never to be separated. The
time to awaken the imagination, which is the creative faculty, is early
childhood, and the most accessible material for this education is the
literature which the race created in its childhood."

The value of the fairy-tale and the wonder-tale is that they tell about
the magic of living. Like the old woman in Mother Goose, they "brush
the cobwebs out of the sky." They enrich, not cheapen, life. Plenty of
things do cheapen life for children. Most movies do. Sunday comic
supplements do. Ragtime songs do. Mere gossip does. But fairy stories
enhance life.

They are called "folk-tales," that is, tales of the common folk. They
were largely the dreams of the poor. They consist of fancies that have
illumined the hard facts of life. They find animals, trees, flowers,
and the stars friendly. They speak of victory. In them the child is
master even of dragons. He can live like a prince, in disguise, or,
if he be uncomely, he may hope to win Beauty after he is free of his
masquerade.

Wonder-stories help make good children as well as happy children.
In these stories witches, wolves, and evil persons are defeated or
exposed. Fairy godmothers are ministers of justice. The side that the
child wishes to triumph always does triumph, and so goodness always is
made to seem worth-while.

Almost every fairy-tale contains a test of character or shrewdness or
courage. Sharp distinctions are made, that require a child of parts to
discern.

And the heroes of these nursery tales are much more convincing than
precepts or golden texts, for they impress upon the child not merely
what he ought to do, but what nobly has been done. And the small
hero-worshiper will follow where his admirations lead.

Fables do much the same, and by imagining that the animals have arrived
at human speech and wisdom, they help the child to think shrewdly and
in a friendly way, as if in comradeship with his pets and with our
brothers and sisters, the beasts of the field and forest.


       *       *       *       *       *



 CONTENTS
                                                  PAGE

 INTRODUCTION                                      vii


 #THE OLD FAIRY TALES#

  THE ROAD TO FAIRY LAND                             2
    By Cecil Cavendish
  THE BEAUTIFUL PRINCESS GOLDENLOCKS                 3
  PRINCE HYACINTH AND THE DEAR LITTLE PRINCESS       7
    By Madame Leprince De Beaumont
  CINDERELLA                                        10
    By Charles Perrault
  THE SLEEPING BEAUTY                               13
    Adapted from the Brothers Grimm
  BEAUTY AND THE BEAST                              15
  PRINCE DARLING                                    20
  RUMPELSTILTSKIN                                   26
    Adapted from the Grimm Brothers
  RAPUNZELL, OR THE FAIR MAID WITH GOLDEN HAIR      28
    By the Brothers Grimm
  SNOW-WHITE AND ROSE-RED                           30
    By the Brothers Grimm
  HANSEL AND GRETHEL                                34
    By the Brothers Grimm


 #STORIES BY FAVORITE AMERICAN WRITERS#

  THE FLAG-BEARER                                   39
    By Carolyn Sherwin Bailey
  JOHNNY CHUCK FINDS THE BEST THING IN THE WORLD    40
    By Thornton W. Burgess
  LITTLE WEE PUMPKIN'S THANKSGIVING                 41
    By Madge A. Bingham
  THE COMING OF THE KING                            42
    By Laura E. Richards
  THE LITTLE PIG                                    44
    By Maud Lindsay
  THE TRAVELS OF THE LITTLE TOY SOLDIER             44
    By Carolyn Sherwin Bailey
  WHAT HAPPENED TO DUMPS                            45
    By Carolyn Sherwin Bailey
  THE WRECK OF THE HESPERUS                         47
    By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  BALLAD OF THE LITTLE PAGE                         48
    By Abbie Farwell Brown
  THE SNOW-IMAGE                                    51
    By Nathaniel Hawthorne
  THE CASTLE OF GEMS                                55
    By Sophie May
  THE HEN THAT HATCHED DUCKS                        58
    By Harriet Beecher Stowe
  THE BALLAD OF PIPING WILL                         63
    By Anna Hempstead Branch
  LITTLE ANNIE'S DREAM, OR THE FAIRY FLOWER         68
    By Louisa M. Alcott
  COMPANIONS                                        71
    By Helen Hunt Jackson
  PRINCE LITTLE BOY                                 73
    By S. Weir Mitchell, M.D.
  THE BEE-MAN OF ORN                                77
    By Frank R. Stockton
  THE POT OF GOLD                                   82
    By Mary E. Wilkins Freeman


 #VERSES ABOUT FAIRIES#

  THE FAIRY THORN                                   87
    By Samuel Ferguson
  FAIRY DAYS                                        88
    By William Makepeace Thackeray
  THE FAIRY QUEEN                                   89
  THE SEA PRINCESS                                  89
  LONG AGO                                          89
  THISTLE-TASSEL                                    90
    By Florence Harrison
  SONG OF THE FAIRY                                 90
    By William Shakespeare
  THE FAIRIES                                       92
    By William Allingham
  OH, WHERE DO FAIRIES HIDE THEIR HEADS?            92
    By Thomas Haynes Bayly


 #MODERN FAIRY TALES#

  THE ELF OF THE WOODLANDS                          93
    Retold from Richard Hengist Horne by
    William Byron Forbush
  PRINCESS FINOLA AND THE DWARF                     95
    By Edmund Leamy
  THE STRAW OX                                      100
  THE LITTLE PRINCESS OF THE FEARLESS HEART         103
    By B. J. Daskam
  MOPSA THE FAIRY                                   110
    Retold from Jean Ingelow
  THE LINE OF GOLDEN LIGHT, OR THE LITTLE BLIND
      SISTER                                        114
    By Elizabeth Harrison
  A FAIRY STORY ABOUT A PHILOSOPHER'S STONE WHICH
      WAS LOST                                      118
    By M. Bowley
  THE BAD TEMPER OF THE PRINCESS                    124
    By Marian Burton
  THE FLYING SHIP                                   130
  ROBIN OF THE LOVING HEART                         133
    By Emma Endicott Marean
  IN SPRING                                         137
  A FAMOUS CASE                                     138
    By Theodore C. Williams


 #OLD-FASHIONED STORIES#

  THE TWELVE HUNTSMEN                               139
  THE TWELVE DANCING PRINCESSES                     140
  EDWY AND THE ECHO                                 143
  THE LITTLE OLD WOMAN WHO LIVED IN A
      VINEGAR-BOTTLE                                146
  THE SNOW QUEEN                                    148
  THE MASTER-MAID                                   158
  CAP O' RUSHES                                     163
  FULFILLED                                         165
  KING GRISLY-BEARD                                 166
    Retold from the Brothers Grimm


 #FABLES#

  THE FOX AND THE GOAT                              172
  THE TWO FROGS                                     172
  THE DOG IN THE MANGER                             172
  THE STAG AT THE POOL                              172
  THE WAR-HORSE AND THE ASS                         172
  THE FROGS WHO WANTED A KING                       172
  THE OX AND THE FROG                               173
  THE HERON WHO WAS HARD TO PLEASE                  174
  THE SHEPHERD BOY AND THE WOLF                     175
  THE ASS, THE COCK, AND THE LION                   175
  THE LION, THE BEAR, AND THE FOX                   175
  THE HORSE AND THE STAG                            175
  THE LION AND THE BOAR                             175
  THE HUNTSMAN AND THE FISHERMAN                    175
  THE ASS IN THE LION'S SKIN                        176
  THE HARE AND THE TORTOISE                         177
  THE FOX AND THE WOOD-CUTTER                       178
  THE LION AND OTHER BEASTS ON A HUNT               178
  THE EAGLE AND THE ARROW                           178
  THE MOUSE AND THE FROG                            178
  THE WOLF AND THE GOAT                             178
  THE BAD DOG                                       178
  THE KID AND THE WOLF                              178
  THE FOX AND THE GRAPES                            179
  THE FOX AND THE RAVEN                             180
  THE BULL AND THE GOAT                             181
  THE RAVEN AND THE SWAN                            181
  THE THIEF AND THE DOG                             181
  THE HORSE AND THE LOADED ASS                      181
  THE ASS WITH THE SALT                             181
  THE COCK AND THE JEWEL                            181
  THE FOX WHO HAD LOST HIS TAIL                     181
  THE EAGLE AND THE JACKDAW                         182
  THE HEN AND THE GOLDEN EGGS                       183
  THE DOG AND THE ASS                               184
  THE NORTH WIND AND THE SUN                        184
  THE FOX AND THE LION                              184
  THE CROW AND THE PITCHER                          184
  THE ASS AND HIS SHADOW                            184
  THE WOLF AND THE CRANE                            184
  THE FOX AND THE CRANE                             185
  THE CAT AND THE MONKEY                            186
  THE DANCING MONKEYS                               187
  THE HARES AND THE FROGS                           187
  THE LION AND THE GNAT                             187
  THE FROGS AND THE BULLS                           187
  THE LARK AND HER YOUNG ONES                       187
  BELLING THE CAT                                   187
  A MILLER, HIS SON, AND THEIR ASS                  188
  THE TORTOISE AND THE EAGLE                        190
  THE PEACOCK AND JUNO                              190
  THE LION, THE FOX, AND THE ASS                    190
  THE FATHER AND HIS SONS                           190
  THE DOVE AND THE ANT                              191
  THE FOX AND THE CAT                               192
  THE ANTS AND THE GRASSHOPPER                      193


 #FABLES FROM INDIA#
  Adapted by Ramaswami Raju

  THE GLOW-WORM AND THE DAW                         194
  THE FOX AND THE VILLAGERS                         194
  THE FROG AND THE SNAKE                            194
  THE ASSEMBLY OF ANIMALS                           194
  THE COCK AND HIS THREE HENS                       194
  THE BLACK DOG AND THE WHITE DOG                   195
  THE ELEPHANT AND THE APE                          195
  THE CROW AND THE DAWN                             195
  THE LION AND THE GOAT                             195
  THE SUNLING                                       196
  THE MUSHROOM AND THE GOOSE                        196
  THE FABLES OF PILPAY THE HINDU                    196
  THE FOX AND THE HEN                               196
  THE THREE FISHES                                  196
  THE FALCON AND THE HEN                            197
  THE KING WHO GREW KIND                            197


 #MODERN FABLES#

  THE HORSES' COUNCIL                               197
    Adapted from John Gay
  THE OAK AND THE REED                              198
    Adapted from the French of La Fontaine
  THE ADVANTAGE OF KNOWLEDGE                        198
    Adapted from the French of La Fontaine
  THE TORRENT AND THE RIVER                         198
    Adapted from the French of La Fontaine
  THE TOMTIT AND THE BEAR                           199
    By the Brothers Grimm
  WHY JIMMY SKUNK WEARS STRIPES                     200
    By Thornton W. Burgess
  HOW CATS CAME TO PURR                             202
    By John Bennett


 #STORIES FROM SCANDINAVIA#

  THE GREEDY CAT                                    207
  GUDBRAND ON THE HILLSIDE                          210
  PORK AND HONEY                                    212
  HOW REYNARD OUTWITTED BRUIN                       212
  THE COCK AND THE CRESTED HEN                      213
  THE OLD WOMAN AND THE TRAMP                       213
  THE OLD WOMAN AND THE FISH                        216
  THE LAD AND THE FOX                               217
  ADVENTURES OF ASHPOT                              217
  NORWEGIAN BIRD-LEGENDS                            219
  THE UGLY DUCKLING                                 222
    By Hans Christian Andersen
  THE WILD SWANS                                    227
    By Hans Christian Andersen
  TAPER TOM                                         235
  THE BOY WHO WENT TO THE NORTH WIND                236
  THE WONDERFUL IRON POT                            238
  THE SHEEP AND PIG WHO SET UP HOUSEKEEPING         239
  DOLL-IN-THE-GRASS                                 241
  BOOTS AND HIS BROTHERS                            242
  VIGGO AND BEATE                                   244
    Translated by Mrs. Gudrun Thorne-Thompson


 #STORIES FROM IRELAND#

  THE FOUR WHITE SWANS                              251
  THE MISHAPS OF HANDY ANDY                         258
  THE GREEDY SHEPHERD                               263
  THE COBBLERS AND THE CUCKOO                       264
  THE MERRY COBBLER AND HIS COAT                    268
  THE STORY OF CHILD CHARITY                        270
    By Frances Browne
  THE SELFISH GIANT                                 272
    By Oscar Wilde


 #STORIES FROM GREAT BRITAIN#

  THE BATTLE OF THE BIRDS, OR THE GRATEFUL
      RAVEN AND THE PRINCE                          275
  JACK AND THE BEANSTALK                            277
    Retold by Mary Lena Wilson
  TOM THUMB                                         280
    Retold by Laura Clarke
  WHITTINGTON AND HIS CAT                           283
  WILD ROBIN                                        287
    Retold by Sophie May
  THE STORY OF MERLIN                               291


 #JAPANESE AND OTHER ORIENTAL TALES#

  THE CUB'S TRIUMPH                                 293
  CHIN-CHIN KOBAKAMA                                294
  THE WONDERFUL MALLET                              296
  THE SELFISH SPARROW AND THE HOUSELESS CROWS       298
  THE STORY OF ZIRAC                                298
  MY LORD BAG OF RICE                               302
  THE LITTLE HARE OF OKI                            305
    Retold by B. M. Burrell
  THE LITTLE BROTHER OF LOO-LEE LOO                 309
    By Margaret Johnson
  THE CURIOUS CASE OF AH-TOP                        314
  THE JACKAL AND THE CAMEL                          316
  HASHNU THE STONECUTTER                            316
  THE TIGER, THE BRAHMAN, AND THE JACKAL            318
  THE STORY OF THE WILLOW PATTERN PLATE             319
    Retold by M. Alston Buckley


 #BR'ER RABBIT AND HIS NEIGHBORS#

  BROTHER FOX'S TAR BABY                            321
    Translated by Joel Chandler Harris
  THE RABBIT AND THE PEAS                           322
    By Mrs. M. R. Allen
  BR'ER RABBIT'S FISHING                            325
  BR'ER POSSUM LOVES PEACE                          326
  BR'ER FOX TACKLES OLD BR'ER TARRYPIN              327
  HOW COUSIN WILDCAT SERVED BR'ER FOX               329
  PLANTATION STORIES                                332
    By Grace MacGowan Cooke


 #AMERICAN INDIAN STORIES#

  ROBIN REDBREAST                                   337
  THE THREE WISHES                                  338
  THE JOKER                                         340
  LITTLE MOCCASIN'S RIDE ON THE THUNDER-HORSE       342
    By Colonel Guido Ilges
  WAUKEWA'S EAGLE                                   348
    By James Buckham
  A HURON CINDERELLA                                352
    By Howard Angus Kennedy
  THE FIRE BRINGER                                  356
    By Mary Austin
  SCAR FACE                                         358
  WHY THE BABY SAYS "GOO"                           359
    Retold by Ehrma G. Filer


       *       *       *       *       *



 [Illustration: THE OLD FAIRY TALES]



 THE ROAD TO FAIRY LAND


                  The day is dull and dreary,
                  And chilly winds and eerie
    Are sweeping through the tall oak trees that fringe the orchard lane.
                  They send the dead leaves flying,
                  And with a mournful crying
    They dash the western window-panes with slanting lines of rain.
                  My little 'Trude and Teddy,
                  Come quickly and make ready,
    Take down from off the highest shelf the book you think so grand.
                  We'll travel off together,
                  To lands of golden weather,
    For well we know the winding road that leads to Fairy Land.

                  A long, long road, no byway,
                  The fairy kings' broad highway,
    Sometimes we'll see a castled hill stand up against the blue,
                  And every brook that passes,
                  A-whispering through the grasses,
    Is just a magic fountain filled with youth and health for you;
                  And we'll meet fair princesses
                  With shining golden tresses,
    Some pacing by on palfreys white, some humbly tending sheep;
                  And merchants homeward faring,
                  With goods beyond comparing,
    And in the hills are robber bands, who dwell in caverns deep.

                  Sometimes the road ascending,
                  Around a mountain bending,
    Will lead us to the forests dark, and there among the pines
                  Live woodmen, to whose dwelling
                  Come wicked witches, telling
    Of wondrous gifts of golden wealth. There, too, are lonely mines.
                  But busy gnomes have found them,
                  And all night work around them,
    And sometimes leave a bag of gold at some poor cottage door.
                  There waterfalls are splashing,
                  And down the rocks are dashing,
    But we can hear the sprites' clear call above the torrent's roar.

                  Where quiet rivers glisten
                  We'll sometimes stop and listen
    To tales a gray old hermit tells, or wandering minstrel's song.
                  We'll loiter by the ferries,
                  And pluck the wayside berries,
    And watch the gallant knights spur by in haste to right a wrong.
                  Oh, little 'Trude and Teddy,
                  For wonders, then, make ready,
    You'll see a shining gateway, and, within, a palace grand,
                  Of elfin realm the center;
                  But pause before you enter
    To pity all good folk who've missed the road to Fairy Land.

                                                     _Cecil Cavendish_



 THE BEAUTIFUL PRINCESS GOLDENLOCKS


There was once a lovely Princess who had such beautiful golden hair
that everyone called her Goldenlocks. She possessed everything that she
wanted: she was lovely to look at, she had beautiful clothes, and great
wealth, and besides all these, she was the Princess in a large kingdom.

In the country next to that of Goldenlocks there ruled a rich and
handsome young King. When he heard about the charming Princess he
decided that he wanted her for his Queen. The question was, of course,
how to make her feel that she wanted him for her husband!

This young King did not go about his wooing after the manner of people
that you and I know. He called one of the chief men of his court, and
said: "You have heard of the lovely Princess Goldenlocks. I have
determined that she shall be my bride. I want you to go and see her;
tell her about me, and beg her to become my Queen."

Then the King ordered a great number of horses brought for the
ambassador, and he directed his men to send more than a hundred
servants also. You see, in that way he hoped to be able to impress
the Princess with his wealth and importance.

The King was conceited, and did not think for a moment that any
Princess, no matter how beautiful, would refuse to become his wife. So
he ordered his servants to make great preparations for her coming, and
to refurnish the palace. He told his ambassador to be sure to bring the
Princess back with him.

The King waited with great impatience for the return of the ambassador,
who had quite a long journey to make before he could get to the court
of the Princess Goldenlocks. Then one day he appeared in the King's
court.

"Where is my lovely bride?" the King asked eagerly, expecting the
ambassador to say that she was in the next room, and would come in
at once.

"Your Majesty," replied the ambassador, very sadly, "I could not bring
the Princess to you. She sent you her thanks for your offer, but she
could not accept the gifts which you sent her, and she will not marry
you."

"What!" the King exclaimed indignantly, as he fingered the pearls and
diamonds which he had sent Goldenlocks, and which she had sent back. "I
and my jewels are not good enough for the Princess Goldenlocks!" And
the King cried and cried, just as if he had not been grown up.

All the people in the court were greatly disturbed because the
ambassador had failed in his mission. They felt themselves injured
to think that Goldenlocks would not marry their King. There was one
courtier, named Charming, who felt especially bad, for he was very fond
of the King. He even said one day that he was certain that if the King
had only let him go to Goldenlocks, she would have consented to a royal
marriage.

Now, there were in that court some very jealous men, who thought that
Charming was altogether too great a favorite with the King. When they
heard him say that he could have won Goldenlocks for his master, they
got together and agreed to tell the King that Charming was making silly
boasts.

"Your majesty," one of them said, "Charming told us that if you had let
him go to Goldenlocks she would never have refused to marry you. He
thinks that he is so attractive that the Princess would have fallen in
love with him immediately, and would have consented to go anywhere he
wished with him."

"Villain!" the King exclaimed. "And I thought he was my friend."

Of course, you and I know that if the King himself had been any sort of
a friend he would never have doubted the good faith of Charming just
because someone else spoke evil of him. But what did the King do but
order Charming put into a dungeon and given no food or water, so that
the poor fellow should die of hunger!

Poor Charming was bewildered when the King's guards came to carry him
off to prison. He could not imagine why the King had turned against him
in this unfair way. It made him miserable enough to be in a cold, damp
cell, with no food to eat, and no water to drink except that from a
little stream which flowed through the cell. He had no bed--just a
dirty pile of straw. But all these discomforts were as nothing to the
worry he had as to why the King, whom he had always liked, had treated
him so unjustly. He used to talk to himself about it. One day he said,
as he had thought dozens of times before:

"What have I done that my kindest friend, to whom I have always been
faithful, should have turned against me and left me to die in this
prison cell?"

As luck would have it, the King himself was passing by the dungeon
where Charming was confined when he spoke these words, and the King
heard them. Perhaps the King's better self had been telling him that he
ought at least to have given Charming a chance to tell his side of the
story before condemning him to die. I do not know. At any rate when he
heard this voice coming out of the dungeon he insisted on going in at
once to see Charming.

"Your Gracious Majesty," said Charming, "I could not believe that it
was really your wish that I be confined in this cell. All my life I
have had no wish but to serve you faithfully."

"Charming!" the King exclaimed, "can this be true! They told me that
you have made fun of me because the Princess Goldenlocks had refused
to marry me."

"I, Your Majesty, mocked you?" Charming was astonished. "That is not
true. It is true, however, that I said that if you would send me to
Goldenlocks I believed I could persuade her to become your wife,
because I know so many good things about you which I would tell her. I
could paint such a lovely picture of you that she could not possibly
help falling in love with your Majesty."

Then the King knew that he had been deceived by his courtiers, and he
felt that he had been very silly to believe them. He took Charming with
him to the palace right away, and, after having the best supper which
the cooks could prepare served for Charming, the King asked him to go
and see whether it was not yet possible to persuade Goldenlocks to
marry him.

Charming did not set off with any such retinue of servants as had
the other ambassador. The King gave him letters to the Princess, and
Charming picked out one present for her--a lovely scarf embroidered
with pearls.

The next morning Charming started out. He had armed himself with a
notebook and pencil. As he rode along he thought much about what he
might say to the Princess that would make her want to marry his King.

One day as he rode along he saw a deer stretching out its neck to reach
the leaves of the tree above it. "What a graceful creature!" thought
Charming. "I will tell Goldenlocks that the King is as graceful as a
deer." Then on the road ahead he saw a great shadow, cast by an eagle
in its flight. "How swift and strong that eagle is," he mused. "I will
tell the Princess that the King is like the eagle in strength and
swiftness and majesty."

Charming got off his horse and sat down by a brook to jot down his
thoughts in his notebook. As he opened his book to write he saw,
struggling in the grass by his side, a golden carp. The fish had jumped
too high when it tried to catch a fly, and had landed on the ground.
The poor creature was helpless to get back into the water, and was
gasping for breath; fish, you know, cannot live long out of water.
Charming felt so sorry for the carp that he could not write until he
had put it carefully back into the brook.

"Thank you, Charming," said a voice from the water. Charming had never
heard a fish speak before, and you can imagine that he was mightily
surprised. "Some day I will repay this kindness."

For several days after this adventure Charming journeyed on. Then, one
morning, he heard a great crying in the air, above him. A huge vulture
was pursuing a raven. The vulture was drawing closer and closer to its
prey--was almost upon it. Charming could not stand idly by and watch
the helpless little raven fight against its enormous enemy. He drew his
bow, and shot an arrow straight into the vulture's heart. The raven
flew down, and as it passed Charming it said gratefully: "I have you to
thank that I am not now in that great vulture's beak. I will remember
your great kindness."

Not long afterward, Charming came upon a great net which men had
stretched in the woods in order to catch birds. A poor owl was caught
in it. "Men are cruel creatures," thought Charming. "I don't think it
is very kind or praiseworthy to set a trap for these creatures who do
no one any harm." And Charming proceeded to cut the net and set the owl
free.

The owl flapped its wings noisily as it flew out of the net. "Thank
you, Charming," it said. "You know I can't see well in the daylight,
and I did not notice this trap. I shall never forget that I have you
to thank for my being alive."

Charming found Goldenlocks surrounded by a splendor greater than any
he had ever seen before. Pearls and diamonds were so plentiful that he
began to think they must grow on trees in this kingdom! It worried him
a little, for he thought he would have to be very clever to persuade
Goldenlocks to leave so much luxury.

With fear and trembling Charming presented himself at the door of
Princess Goldenlocks' palace on the morning after his arrival. He had
dressed himself with the greatest care in a handsome suit of crimson
velvet. On his head was a hat of the same brocaded material, trimmed
with waving ostrich plumes, which were fastened to his hat with a clasp
set with flashing diamonds. A messenger was sent at once to the
Princess to announce his arrival.

"Your Majesty," the messenger said. "There is the most handsome
gentleman sent from a King awaiting you below. He is dressed like a
Prince, and he is the most charming person I have ever seen. In fact,
his very name is Charming."

"His name sounds as if I would like him," said the Princess, musingly.
"I will see him presently. Honora, bring me my best blue satin
gown--the one embroidered with pearls."

Then the Princess had a fresh wreath of pink roses made to wind in her
lovely golden hair; Honora pushed tiny blue satin slippers on the feet
of her mistress, and handed her an exquisite silver lace fan. Then
Goldenlocks was all ready. She assumed her most princess-like manner,
and entered the great throne room. You may be sure, however, that she
stopped on the way, in the hall of mirrors, to see that she really
deserved all the compliments which her handmaids gave her.

When Goldenlocks was seated on the throne of gold and ivory, and her
handmaids were posed gracefully about her, playing idly on guitars,
Charming was brought in. He was as though struck dumb by the beauty
which greeted his eyes. He forgot for the moment all that he had
intended to say--all the long harangue prepared so carefully on the
way. Then he took a deep breath, and began, just as he had intended,
with:

"Most lovely Princess Goldenlocks, I have come to ask your hand in
marriage for the most noble King in the world."

I think his speech must have been very interesting, for Goldenlocks did
not take her eyes from Charming's face during the hour in which
Charming described the glories of his King.

"What, O most gracious Princess, may I take to the King as an answer
to his plea?" Charming finally inquired.

"Tell him," said Goldenlocks kindly, "I believe that no King who was
not worthy and charming himself could have an ambassador like you."

"But," she added after a pause, "tell him also that Goldenlocks may not
marry. I have taken a solemn vow that I will not marry until a ring
which I lost in the brook a month ago is found. I valued that ring more
than my whole kingdom, but it cannot be found."

Charming went away disheartened, because he did not have the slightest
idea how to go about finding the Princess's ring. Luckily for him, he
had brought with him a cunning little dog named Frisk. Frisk was a
light-hearted creature. He always was hopeful. So he said to Charming:

"Why, master, let us not give up hope without even trying. Let's go
down to the brook to-morrow morning and see if we can't find the
Princess's bothersome ring."

So, bright and early the next day, Charming and Frisk walked slowly
along the edge of the brook which flowed near the palace, hunting for
the ring. They walked for about half an hour, when a voice spoke to
them out of nowhere:

"Well, Charming, I have kept my promise. You once saved my life, you
know. Now I have brought you the Princess Goldenlocks' ring."

Charming looked up and down and all around in great amazement. Then, at
his very feet, he saw the golden carp which he had rescued a few days
before; and, best of all, in the carp's mouth was the Princess's gold
ring.

With joy in his heart Charming rushed to the palace, with Frisk dancing
along at his heels. Goldenlocks was disappointed to hear that he had
come back so soon. "He must have given up already," she told her
handmaids, as she made ready to receive Charming.

When Charming entered the Princess's throne room he did not say a word;
he simply handed her the ring.

"My ring!" the Princess called out in amazement. "You have found it!"
And she seemed delighted that Charming had succeeded.

"Now," said Charming, with something of assurance, "you will make ready
to return to my King with me, will you not?"

"Oh, no!" the Princess cried, as if she had never thought of such a
thing. "I can never marry until an awful enemy of mine is killed. There
is a fierce giant who lives near here. He once asked me to marry him,
and I, of course, refused. It made him very angry. He swore vengeance
upon me, and I am afraid to leave my kingdom while he is alive. I think
the creature--his name is Galifron--can really have no human heart at
all, for he can kill two or three or four persons a day without feeling
anything but joy in his crimes."

Charming shuddered at this appalling picture of his enemy-to-be.

"If it be in my power so to do, Princess Goldenlocks, I will slay your
enemy." With these words Charming turned on his heels and left the
palace.

Frisk realized that Charming was worried about the difficult new task
which Goldenlocks had given him. "Never you worry, Master," he said
cheerfully. "If you will but attack the monster I will bark and bite at
his heels until he won't know what he is doing. He will be so confused
that I know you will be able to conquer him."

Charming rode up to the giant's castle boldly enough. He knew the
monster was coming toward him, because he could hear the crash of
trees which broke under the huge feet. Then he heard a voice roaring
like thunder:

    "Poof, woof, clear the way!
     Bing, bang, 'tis to-day!
     Zip, zook, I must slay!
     Whizz, fizz, the King's pet, Charming!
     Pish, tush, isn't it alarming!"

Charming trembled, and he could feel the cold perspiration stand out on
his brow. But he took a deep breath, and shouted as loud as he could
(which was not nearly as loud as the giant could):

    "Galifron, take warning,
     For your day is ending.
     Prepare to find that Charming
     Is really quite alarming!"

Galifron was so high above Charming that he had to hunt quite hard
before he could discover who was saying these words. When he saw the
little fellow standing ready to fight him he laughed, and yet he was
angry. He lifted his great club and would have knocked the life out
of Charming in a trice, but suddenly he could not see. He roared with
pain, for a raven had plucked out his eyes. Galifron beat wildly in
the air, trying to protect himself from the bird; meanwhile Charming
seized his opportunity, and it was only a moment until Galifron lay at
Charming's feet. Only Galifron was so big that Charming had to stand on
top of him in order to make sure that he was really dead.

To the Princess, Charming rode back as fast as his horse could carry
him. In front of him, on his saddle, he carried the giant's head. The
Princess was taking her afternoon nap, when she was awakened by loud
shouts of "Hail, Charming! Hail, conqueror of hideous Galifron!"

Goldenlocks could scarcely believe her ears. She rushed to the front of
the palace, and sure enough, there she was greeted by Charming, bearing
her enemy's head.

It seemed as if such a feat of daring should have been enough to
satisfy even Goldenlocks.

"Now, fair Princess, will you not return with me to my King?"

"Charming, I cannot," said the Princess; and to Charming her words
sounded like the stroke of doom. "Before I marry I must have some
water from the spring of eternal youth. This spring is at the bottom
of Gloomy Cavern--a great cave not far from here, which is guarded by
two fierce dragons. If I have a flask from that spring I shall always
remain young and beautiful. I should never dare to marry without its
protection."

"Beautiful Goldenlocks, you could never be anything but young and
beautiful; but I will none the less try to fulfill your mission."

Even though Charming had just conquered a giant he did not feel very
comfortable at the idea of having to find his way past two dragons
into a dark and gloomy cavern. He approached the cavern with much
determination, but with many misgivings. When Frisk saw the black smoke
belching out of the rocks at the entrance of the cavern the dog shook
all over with fear; and I have been told that when Charming saw Frisk
run off and try to hide, he himself would have been very glad if he
could have run away, too. But being a man, he, of course, had to be
brave; so he set his teeth and approached the cave.

Then he saw the first dragon--a huge, slimy creature, all yellow and
green, with great red claws, and a tail which seemed to Charming to be
nearly a mile long.

Charming turned back and called to Frisk. "Dear Frisk," he said sadly,
"I know I shall never see the light of day again if I enter this
cavern. Wait here for me until nightfall; then, if I have not come
back, go and tell the Princess that I have lost my life trying to win
for her eternal youth and beauty. Then tell the King that I did my best
for him, but failed."

Charming turned again to attack the dragon.

"Wait a minute, Charming!"

Charming looked around to see who spoke these words. "It's I, Charming,
the owl you rescued from the net the fowlers set for us poor birds. Let
me take Goldenlocks' flask, and I will fetch the water for you. I know
every turn of that dark cavern, and the dragons will not notice whether
I pass them or not." And the owl took the flask out of Charming's hand,
fluttered into the cavern, and disappeared.

"Here you are, Charming. You see I did not forget your kindness to me."
With these words the owl handed to Charming the flask full of water
from the magic spring. Charming was so happy that he could hardly find
words to thank the owl. He rode straight to Goldenlocks with the
wonderful liquid.

"Beautiful Goldenlocks, here is the water you asked me to get for
you. My mind cannot conceive of anything, however, which would add
to your beauty. I do know, however, something which would add to your
happiness. I have found your ring, slain your enemy, brought you the
secret of youth and health; now will you not come with me to my King,
who loves you so much that he will make you the happiest woman on
earth?"

"Yes," said Goldenlocks, softly. Her answer really surprised Charming
very much, because he had come to think that she would never cease to
find new tasks for him to perform. She gave orders at once for the
necessary preparations for the journey, and in a few days she and
Charming and little Frisk set out for home, with a great retinue of
servants, of course.

The King greeted them with the greatest enthusiasm. He proclaimed a
holiday throughout his kingdom, and every one feasted and danced.

But, strange to say, the Princess Goldenlocks found herself daily
thinking more and more, not of the King, but of Charming.

One day Charming found himself once more in prison, bound hand and
foot. The King thought this would be a good way to rid himself of his
rival.

Goldenlocks used to beg the King to set Charming free, but that only
made things worse. Little Frisk was Charming's only comfort; he used
to take him all the court news.

"Maybe," said the King to himself one day, "the reason Goldenlocks
prefers Charming to me is that I am not beautiful enough to suit her. I
believe I will try some of that water of eternal beauty and health that
she is always talking about."

Without a word to anyone the King stole into the Queen's room and
hunted about until he found the flask of water. He bathed his face in
the water and stood in front of a mirror to watch the change. A few
hours later the Queen found him sound asleep. She could not awaken him,
and they sent for the court physician; he could not rouse the King.
"The King," the physician told the Queen, "is dead."

Now this is what had happened. One day when the Princess's maid Honora
was cleaning her room she knocked over the flask which contained the
precious water, and broke it in a thousand pieces. Honora was terribly
frightened. She would not have let the Princess know what had occurred
for anything. She remembered seeing a flask in the King's room just
like the one she had broken, and she put it in the very spot from which
she had knocked the other.

Unluckily for the King, the maid took a flask which contained a deadly
water which was used to "do away" with criminals.

"Woof, woof!" said Frisk in the Queen's ear. "Please have pity on my
poor master, good Queen! Remember all he did for you, and how he is
suffering for your sake now!"

Goldenlocks at once left the room where the King's body lay in state
and went to the tower where Charming was confined. She opened his cell
and set him free. She put a golden crown on his head, and removed the
chains from his wrists and ankles.

"King Charming!" said the Queen, "now you and I shall be married,
and--live happily ever after!"



PRINCE HYACINTH AND THE DEAR LITTLE PRINCESS

BY MADAME LEPRINCE DE BEAUMONT


Once upon a time there lived a King who was deeply in love with a
Princess, but she could not marry anyone, because she was under an
enchantment. So the King set out to seek a fairy, and asked what he
could do to win the Princess's love. The Fairy said to him:

"You know that the Princess has a great cat which she is very fond of.
Whoever is clever enough to tread on that cat's tail is the man she is
destined to marry."

The King said to himself that this would not be very difficult; and he
left the Fairy, determined to grind the cat's tail to powder rather
than not tread on it at all.

You may imagine that it was not long before he went to see the
Princess; and puss, as usual, marched in before him, arching its back.
The King took a long step, and quite thought he had the tail under his
foot, but the cat turned round so sharply that he trod only on air. And
so it went on for eight days, till the King began to think that this
fatal tail must be full of quick-silver--it was never still for a
moment.

At last, however, he was lucky enough to come upon puss fast asleep and
with its tail conveniently spread out. So the King, without losing a
moment, set his foot upon it heavily.

With one terrific yell the cat sprang up and instantly changed into a
tall man, who, fixing his angry eyes upon the King, said:

"You shall marry the Princess because you have been able to break the
enchantment, but I will have my revenge. You shall have a son, who
will never be happy until he finds out that his nose is too long, and
if you ever tell anyone what I have just said to you, you shall vanish
away instantly, and no one shall ever see you or hear of you again."

Though the King was horribly afraid of the enchanter, he could not help
laughing at this threat.

"If my son has such a long nose as that," he said to himself, "he must
always see it or feel it; at least, if he is not blind or without
hands."

But, as the enchanter had vanished, he did not waste any more time in
thinking, but went to seek the Princess, who very soon consented to
marry him. But after all, they had not been married very long when the
King died, and the Queen had nothing left to care for but her little
son, who was called Hyacinth. The little Prince had large blue eyes,
the prettiest eyes in the world, and a sweet little mouth, but, alas!
his nose was so enormous that it covered half his face. The Queen was
inconsolable when she saw this great nose, but her ladies assured her
that it was not really as large as it looked; that it was a Roman nose,
and you had only to open any history book to see that every hero has a
large nose. The Queen, who was devoted to her baby, was pleased with
what they told her, and when she looked at Hyacinth again, his nose
certainly did not seem to her _quite_ so large.

The Prince was brought up with great care; and, as soon as he could
speak, they told him all sorts of dreadful stories about people who had
short noses. No one was allowed to come near him whose nose did not
more or less resemble his own, and the courtiers, to get into favor
with the Queen, took to pulling their babies' noses several times every
day to make them grow long. But, do what they would, they were nothing
by comparison with the Prince's.

When he grew older he learned history; and whenever any great prince or
beautiful princess was spoken of, his teachers took care to tell him
that they had long noses.

His room was hung with pictures, all of people with very large noses;
and the Prince grew up so convinced that a long nose was a great beauty
that he would not on any account have had his own a single inch
shorter!

When his twentieth birthday was past, the Queen thought it was time
that he should be married, so she commanded that the portraits of
several princesses should be brought for him to see, and among the
others was a picture of the Dear Little Princess!

Now, she was the daughter of a great King, and would some day possess
several kingdoms herself; but Prince Hyacinth had not a thought to
spare for anything of that sort, he was so much struck with her beauty.
The Princess, whom he thought quite charming, had, however, a little
saucy nose, which, in her face, was the prettiest thing possible, but
it was a cause of great embarrassment to the courtiers, who had got
into such a habit of laughing at little noses that they sometimes found
themselves laughing at hers before they had time to think; but this did
not do at all before the Prince, who quite failed to see the joke, and
actually banished two of his courtiers who had dared to mention
disrespectfully the Dear Little Princess's tiny nose!

The others, taking warning from this, learned to think twice before
they spoke, and one even went so far as to tell the Prince that, though
it was quite true that no man could be worth anything unless he had a
long nose, still, a woman's beauty was a different thing, and he knew a
learned man who understood Greek and had read in some old manuscripts
that the beautiful Cleopatra herself had a "tip-tilted" nose!

The Prince made him a splendid present as a reward for this good news,
and at once sent ambassadors to ask the Dear Little Princess in
marriage. The King, her father, gave his consent; and Prince Hyacinth,
who, in his anxiety to see the Princess, had gone three leagues to meet
her, was just advancing to kiss her hand when, to the horror of all who
stood by, the enchanter appeared as suddenly as a flash of lightning,
and, snatching up the Dear Little Princess, whirled her away out of
their sight!

The Prince was left quite inconsolable, and declared that nothing
should induce him to go back to his kingdom until he had found her
again, and refusing to allow any of his courtiers to follow him, he
mounted his horse and rode sadly away, letting the animal choose its
own path.

So it happened that he came presently to a great plain, across which he
rode all day long without seeing a single house, and horse and rider
were terribly hungry, when, as the night fell, the Prince caught sight
of a light.

He rode up to it, and saw a little old woman, who appeared to be at
least a hundred years old.

She put on her spectacles to look at Prince Hyacinth, but it was quite
a long time before she could fix them securely, because her nose was so
very short.

The Prince and the Fairy (for that was who she was) had no sooner
looked at one another than they went into fits of laughter, and cried
at the same moment, "Oh, what a funny nose!"

"Not so funny as your own," said Prince Hyacinth to the Fairy; "but,
madam, I beg you to leave the consideration of our noses--such as they
are--and to be good enough to give me something to eat, for I am
starving, and so is my poor horse."

"With all my heart!" said the Fairy. "Though your nose is so
ridiculous, you are, nevertheless, the son of my best friend. I loved
your father as if he had been my brother. Now _he_ had a very handsome
nose!"

"And pray, what does mine lack?" said the Prince.

"Oh! it doesn't _lack anything_," replied the Fairy. "On the contrary
quite, there is only too much of it. But never mind, one may be a very
worthy man though his nose is too long. I was telling you that I was
your father's friend; he often came to see me in the old times, and you
must know that I was very pretty in those days; at least, he used to
say so. I should like to tell you of a conversation we had the last
time I ever saw him."

"Indeed," said the Prince, "when I have supped it will give me the
greatest pleasure to hear it; but consider, madam, I beg of you, that I
have had nothing to eat to-day."

"The poor boy is right," said the Fairy; "I was forgetting. Come in,
then, and I will give you some supper, and while you are eating I can
tell you my story in a very few words--for I don't like endless tales
myself. Too long a tongue is worse than too long a nose, and I remember
when I was young that I was so much admired for not being a great
chatterer. They used to tell the Queen, my mother, that it was so. For
though you see what I am now, I was the daughter of a great king. My
father--"

"Your father, I dare say, got something to eat when he was hungry!"
interrupted the Prince.

"Oh! certainly," answered the Fairy, "and you also shall have supper
directly. I only just wanted to tell you--"

"But I really cannot listen to anything until I have had something
to eat," cried the Prince, who was getting quite angry; but then,
remembering that he had better be polite as he much needed the Fairy's
help, he added:

"I know that in the pleasure of listening to you I should quite forget
my own hunger; but my horse, who cannot hear you, must really be fed!"

The Fairy was very much flattered by this compliment, and said, calling
to her servants:

"You shall not wait another minute, you are so polite, and in spite of
the enormous size of your nose you are really very agreeable."

"Plague take the old lady! How she does go on about my nose!" said the
Prince to himself. "One would almost think that mine had taken all the
extra length that hers lacks! If I were not so hungry I would soon have
done with this chatterpie who thinks she talks very little! How stupid
people are not to see their own faults! That comes of being a princess;
she has been spoilt by flatterers, who have made her believe that she
is quite a moderate talker!"

Meanwhile the servants were putting the supper on the table, and the
Prince was much amused to hear the Fairy, who asked them a thousand
questions simply for the pleasure of hearing herself speak; especially
he noticed one maid who, no matter what was being said, always
contrived to praise her mistress's wisdom.

"Well!" he thought, as he ate his supper. "I'm very glad I came here.
This just shows me how sensible I have been in never listening to
flatterers. People of that sort praise us to our faces without shame,
and hide our faults or change them into virtues. For my part I never
will be taken in by them. I know my own defects, I hope."

Poor Prince Hyacinth! He really believed what he said, and hadn't an
idea that the people who had praised his nose were laughing at him,
just as the Fairy's maid was laughing at her; for the Prince had seen
her laugh slyly when she could do so without the Fairy's noticing her.

However, he said nothing, and presently, when his hunger began to be
appeased, the Fairy said:

"My dear Prince, might I beg you to move a little more that way, for
your nose casts such a shadow that I really cannot see what I have on
my plate. Ah! thanks. Now let us speak of your father. When I went to
his Court he was only a little boy, but that is forty years ago, and
I have been in this desolate place ever since. Tell me what goes on
nowadays; are the ladies as fond of amusement as ever? In my time one
saw them at parties, theaters, balls, and promenades every day. Dear
me! _What_ a long nose you have! I cannot get used to it!"

"Really, madam," said the Prince, "I wish you would leave off
mentioning my nose. It cannot matter to you what it is like. I am quite
satisfied with it, and have no wish to have it shorter. One must take
what is given one."

"Now you are angry with me, my poor Hyacinth," said the Fairy, "and I
assure you that I didn't mean to vex you; on the contrary, I wished to
do you a service. However, though I really cannot help your nose being
a shock to me, I will try not to say anything about it. I will even try
to think that you have an ordinary nose. To tell the truth, it would
make three reasonable ones."

The Prince, who was no longer hungry, grew so impatient at the Fairy's
continual remarks about his nose that at last he threw himself upon his
horse and rode hastily away. But wherever he came in his journey he
thought the people were mad, for they all talked of his nose, and yet
he could not bring himself to admit that it was too long, he had been
so used all his life to hear it called handsome.

The old Fairy, who wished to make him happy, at last hit upon a plan.
She shut the Dear Little Princess up in a palace of crystal, and put
this palace down where the Prince could not fail to find it. His joy at
seeing the Princess again was extreme, and he set to work with all his
might to try to break her prison, but in spite of all his efforts he
failed utterly. In despair he thought at least that he would try to get
near enough to speak to the Dear Little Princess, who, on her part,
stretched out her hand that he might kiss it; but turn which way he
might, he never could raise it to his lips, for his long nose always
prevented it. For the first time he realized how long it really was,
and exclaimed:

"Well, it must be admitted that my nose _is_ too long!"

In an instant the crystal prison flew into a thousand splinters, and
the old Fairy, taking the Dear Little Princess by the hand, said to the
Prince:

"Now, say if you are not very much obliged to me. Much good it was for
me to talk to you about your nose! You would never have found out how
extraordinary it was if it hadn't hindered you from doing what you
wanted to. You see how self-love keeps us from knowing our own defects
of mind and body. Our reason tries in vain to show them to us; we
refuse to see them till we find them in our way."

Prince Hyacinth, whose nose was now just like anyone else's, did not
fail to profit by the lesson he had received. He married the Dear
Little Princess, and they lived happily ever after.



CINDERELLA

BY CHARLES PERRAULT


Once there was a gentleman who married, for his second wife, the
proudest and most haughty woman that was ever seen. She had, by a
former husband, two daughters of her own humor, who were, indeed,
exactly like her in all things. He had likewise, by his first wife, a
young daughter, but of unparalleled goodness and sweetness of temper,
which she took from her mother, who was the best creature in the world.

No sooner were the ceremonies of the wedding over but the step-mother
began to show herself in her true colors. She could not bear the good
qualities of this pretty girl, and the less because they made her own
daughters appear the more odious. She employed her in the meanest work
of the house: the young girl scoured the dishes, tables, etc., and
scrubbed madam's chamber, and those of misses, her daughters; she lay
up in a sorry garret, upon a wretched straw bed, while her sisters lay
in fine rooms, with floors all inlaid, upon beds of the very newest
fashion, and where they had looking glasses so large that they might
see themselves at their full length from head to foot.

The poor girl bore all patiently, and dared not tell her father, who
would have rattled her off; for his wife governed him entirely. When
she had done her work, she used to go into the chimney-corner, and
sit down among cinders and ashes, which made her commonly be called
_Cinderwench_; but the youngest, who was not so rude and uncivil as the
eldest, called her Cinderella. However, Cinderella, notwithstanding her
mean apparel, was a hundred times handsomer than her sisters, though
they were always dressed very richly.

It happened that the King's son gave a ball, and invited all persons
of fashion to it. Our young misses were also invited, for they cut a
very grand figure among the quality. They were mightily delighted at
this invitation, and wonderfully busy in choosing out such gowns,
petticoats, and head-clothes as might become them. This was a new
trouble to Cinderella; for it was she who ironed her sister's linen,
and plaited their ruffles; they talked all day long of nothing but how
they should be dressed.

"For my part," said the eldest, "I will wear my red velvet suit with
French trimming."

"And I," said the youngest, "shall have my usual petticoat; but then,
to make amends for that, I will put on my gold-flowered manteau, and my
diamond stomacher, which is far from being the most ordinary one in the
world."

They sent for the best tire-woman they could get to dress their hair
and to adjust their double pinners.

Cinderella was likewise called up to them to be consulted in all these
matters, for she had excellent notions, and advised them always for the
best, nay, and offered her services to dress their heads, which they
were very willing she should do. As she was doing this, they said to
her:

"Cinderella, would you not be glad to go to the ball?"

"Alas!" said she, "you only jeer at me; it is not for such as I am to
go thither."

"Thou art in the right of it," replied they; "it would make the people
laugh to see a Cinderwench at a ball."

Anyone but Cinderella would have dressed their heads awry, but she was
very good, and did them perfectly well. They were almost two days
without eating, so much they were transported with joy. They broke
above a dozen of laces in trying to be laced up close, that they
might have a fine slender shape, and they were continually at their
looking-glasses. At last the happy day came; they went to Court, and
Cinderella followed them with her eyes as long as she could, and when
she had lost sight of them, she fell a-crying.

Her godmother, who saw her all in tears, asked her what was the matter.

"I wish I could--I wish I could--" she was not able to speak the rest,
being interrupted by her tears and sobbing.

This godmother of hers, who was a fairy, said to her, "Thou wishest
thou couldst go to the ball; is it not so?"

"Y--es," cried Cinderella, with a great sigh.

"Well," said her godmother, "be but a good girl, and I will contrive
that thou shalt go." Then she took her into her chamber, and said to
her, "Run into the garden, and bring me a pumpkin."

Cinderella went immediately to gather the finest she could get, and
brought it to her godmother, not being able to imagine how this pumpkin
could make her go to the ball. Her godmother scooped out all the inside
of it, having left nothing but the rind; which done, she struck it with
her wand, and the pumpkin was instantly turned into a fine coach,
gilded all over with gold.

She then went to look into the mouse-trap, where she found six mice,
all alive, and ordered Cinderella to lift up a little the trap-door,
when, giving each mouse, as it went out, a little tap with her wand,
the mouse was that moment turned into a fine horse, which altogether
made a very fine set of six horses of a beautiful mouse-colored
dapple-gray. Being at a loss for a coachman,

"I will go and see," says Cinderella, "if there should be a rat in the
rat-trap--we may make a coachman of him."

"Thou art in the right," replied her godmother; "go and look."

Cinderella brought the trap to her and in it there were three huge
rats. The fairy made choice of one of the three which had the largest
beard, and, having touched him with her wand, he was turned into a fat,
jolly coachman, who had the smartest whiskers eyes ever beheld. After
that, she said to her:

"Go again into the garden, and you will find six lizards behind the
watering-pot, bring them to me."

She had no sooner done so than her godmother turned them into six
footmen, who skipped up immediately behind the coach, with their
liveries all bedaubed with gold and silver, and clung as close behind
each other as if they had done nothing else their whole lives. The
Fairy then said to Cinderella:

"Well, you see here an equipage fit to go to the ball with; are you not
pleased with it?"

"Oh! yes," cried she; "but must I go thither as I am, in these nasty
rags?"

Her godmother only just touched her with her wand, and, at the same
instant, her clothes were turned into cloth of gold and silver, all
beset with jewels. This done, she gave her a pair of glass slippers,
the prettiest in the whole world. Being thus decked out, she got up
into her coach; but her godmother, above all things, commanded her not
to stay till after midnight, telling her, at the same time, that if
she stayed one moment longer, the coach would be a pumpkin again, her
horses mice, her coachman a rat, her footmen lizards, and her clothes
become just as they were before.

She promised her godmother she would not fail of leaving the ball
before midnight; and then away she drove, scarce able to contain
herself for joy. The King's son, who was told that a great princess,
whom nobody knew, was come, ran out to receive her; he gave her his
hand as she alighted out of the coach, and led her into the hall, among
all the company. There was immediately a profound silence, they left
off dancing and the violins ceased to play, so attentive was everyone
to contemplate the singular beauties of the unknown new-comer. Nothing
was then heard but a confused noise of:

"Ah! how handsome she is! Ah! how handsome she is!"

The King himself, old as he was, could not help watching her, and
telling the Queen softly that it was a long time since he had seen so
beautiful and lovely a creature.

All the ladies were busied in considering her clothes and head-dress,
that they might have some made next day after the same pattern,
provided they could meet with such fine materials and as able hands
to make them.

The King's son conducted her to the most honorable seat, and afterward
took her out to dance with him; she danced so very gracefully that they
all more and more admired her. A fine collation was served up, whereof
the young Prince ate not a morsel, so intently was he busied in gazing
on her.

She went and sat down by her sisters, showing them a thousand
civilities, giving them part of the oranges and citrons which the
Prince had presented her with, which very much surprised them, for
they did not know her. While Cinderella was thus amusing her sisters,
she heard the clock strike eleven and three-quarters, whereupon she
immediately made a courtesy to the company and hastened away as fast
as she could.

Arrived at home, she ran to seek out her godmother, and, after having
thanked her, she said she could not but heartily wish she might go next
day to the ball, because the King's son had desired her.

As she was eagerly telling her godmother whatever had passed at the
ball, her two sisters knocked at the door, which Cinderella ran and
opened.

"How long you have stayed!" cried she, gaping, rubbing her eyes and
stretching herself as if she had been just waked out of her sleep; she
had not, however, any manner of inclination to sleep since they went
from home.

"If thou hadst been at the ball," says one of her sisters, "thou
wouldst not have been tired with it. There came thither the finest
princess, the most beautiful ever seen with mortal eyes; she showed us
a thousand civilities, and gave us oranges and citrons."

Cinderella seemed very indifferent in the matter. She did ask them the
name of that princess; but they told her they did not know it, and that
the King's son was very uneasy on her account and would give all the
world to know who she was. At this Cinderella, smiling, replied:

"She must, then, be very beautiful indeed; how happy you have been!
Could not I see her? Ah! dear Miss Charlotte, do lend me your yellow
suit of clothes which you wear every day."

"Ay, to be sure!" cried Miss Charlotte; "lend my clothes to such a
dirty Cinderwench as thou art! I should be a fool."

Cinderella, indeed, expected well such an answer, and was very glad of
the refusal; for she would have been sadly put to it if her sister had
lent her what she asked for jestingly.

The next day the two sisters were at the ball, and so was Cinderella,
but dressed more magnificently than before. The King's son was always
by her, and never ceased his compliments and kind speeches to her. All
this was so far from being tiresome that she quite forgot what her
godmother had recommended to her; so that she, at last, counted the
clock striking twelve when she took it to be no more than eleven. She
then rose up and fled, as nimble as a deer. The Prince followed, but
could not overtake her. She left behind one of her glass slippers,
which the Prince took up most carefully. She got home, but quite out of
breath, and in her nasty old clothes, having nothing left her of all
her finery but one of the little slippers, fellow to that she dropped.

The guards at the palace gate were asked if they had not seen a
princess go out. To this they replied that they had seen nobody go out
but a young girl, very meanly dressed, and who had more the air of a
poor country wench than a gentlewoman.

When the two sisters returned from the ball Cinderella asked them
whether they had had a good time, and if the fine lady had been there.

 [Illustration]

They told her: "Yes, but she hurried away immediately when it struck
twelve, and with so much haste that she dropped one of her little glass
slippers, the prettiest in the world, which the King's son picked up;
he did nothing but look at her all the time at the ball, and most
certainly he is very much in love with the beautiful person who owned
the glass slipper."

What they said was very true; for a few days after the King's son
caused it to be proclaimed, by sound of trumpet, that he would marry
her whose foot this slipper would just fit. They whom he employed began
to try it upon the princesses, then the duchesses and all the Court,
but in vain; it was brought to the two sisters, who did all they
possibly could to thrust their foot into the slipper, but they could
not effect it. Cinderella, who saw all this, and knew her slipper, said
to them, laughing:

"Let me see if it will not fit me."

Her sisters burst out a-laughing, and began to banter her. The
gentleman who was sent to try the slipper looked earnestly at
Cinderella, and, finding her very handsome, said:

"It is but just that she should try, and I have orders to let everyone
make trial."

He obliged Cinderella to sit down, and, putting the slipper to her
foot, he found it went on very easily, and fitted her as if it had been
made of wax. The astonishment her two sisters were in was excessively
great, but still abundantly greater when Cinderella pulled out of her
pocket the other slipper, and put it on her foot. Thereupon, in came
her godmother, who, having touched with her wand Cinderella's clothes,
made them richer and more magnificent than any of those she had before.

And now her two sisters found her to be that fine, beautiful lady whom
they had seen at the ball. They threw themselves at her feet to beg
pardon for all the ill-treatment they had made her undergo. Cinderella
took them up, and, as she embraced them, cried:

"I forgive you with all my heart, and I want you to love me always."

She was conducted to the young Prince, dressed as she was; he thought
her more charming than ever, and, a few days after, married her.
Cinderella, who was no less good than beautiful, gave her two sisters
lodgings in the palace, and that very same day matched them with two
great lords of the Court.



THE SLEEPING BEAUTY

ADAPTED FROM THE BROTHERS GRIMM


The King and Queen of a faraway country once had a little daughter, who
was more beautiful than any child that had ever before been seen. Her
father and mother were so delighted that they proclaimed a public
holiday on her christening, and invited to act as godmothers the seven
good fairies who lived in the kingdom. Unfortunately, they forgot to
ask one ugly old fairy, who had remained shut up in her tower so many
years that people really had forgotten about her.

When the night of the christening arrived the castle was beautiful to
behold. Lights shone even to the highest tower; beautiful music sounded
from behind masses of fragrant flowers; splendidly dressed knights and
ladies were there to honor the little Princess; and the seven good
fairies smilingly gave her their gifts.

So excited and happy were all that no one noticed an old creature who
had slipped in and stood in the shadow looking on. This was the fairy
who had not been invited; and, in anger at the slight, she was waiting
her chance to make trouble.

"For my gift," said the first fairy, "I grant that the Princess shall
be the most beautiful person in the world."

"I give her the mind of an angel," said the second.

"She shall be grace itself," said the third.

"She shall dance like a goddess," said the fourth.

"Her voice shall equal the nightingale's," said the fifth.

"The art of playing on all musical instruments shall be hers," said
the sixth.

Now the wicked old enchantress thought that all seven good fairies had
spoken, so she stepped forth, her face distorted with hatred and envy,
and said: "So I am not thought good enough to be a guest here: you
despise me because I am old and ugly. I shall make a gift, and it shall
be a curse. When your fine young lady becomes sixteen she shall fall
asleep, and nothing you can do will be able to waken her."

Then with a horrid laugh the hag disappeared.

Horror seized the guests, and the party, which had been so gay, became
solemn indeed.

Then the seventh good fairy sprang up and said in silvery tones: "My
gift is yet to be laid before the Princess. I am young, and I can not
undo the evil that has befallen. But be not unhappy, for I grant that
on the day when the curse falls, every living thing in the castle shall
also fall asleep. Moreover, I grant that whenever there is a Prince who
is brave enough to be worthy of this lovely Princess, he shall find a
way to break the spell."

As the little girl grew older the words of the good fairies came true.
Not only was she beautiful and gifted, but she was so kind and
thoughtful that everyone loved her dearly.

At first they were very careful to tell her nothing of the wicked
fairy's curse, and then there were so many other things to think about
that people forgot all about the old fairy and her gift.

The sixteenth birthday arrived, and there was a very special
celebration to please the Princess. The castle was decorated more
beautifully, if possible, than on the night of the christening, and
everyone was dancing or laughing and as happy as could be. Suddenly the
old fairy stepped out from a shadow, as she had done years before, and
looking at the beautiful girl said, "Sleep." Immediately not one sound
or stir was in that gorgeous castle.

Now, you must forget for a bit all about the Sleeping Beauty, and hear
about a noble Prince who was born many years later in a kingdom not far
from this one. Not only was this Prince handsome and brave, but he was
so kind and good that people called him "Prince Winsome."

All his life he had heard terrible stories about an enchanted castle,
whose towers could be seen on a clear day far off above a dense forest.
It was said that the trees grew so close together in this forest that
when a knight attempted to force his way through, he always became
entangled in the branches and perished. Many young men were said to
have met this fate; so little by little people stopped trying to reach
the castle.

But the little Prince was courageous. "When I am sixteen, I shall start
out for the magic forest and rescue the beautiful maiden, whom, I am
sure, I shall find in the castle," he said.

 [Illustration: JAKOB AND WILHELM GRIMM]

True to his word, on his sixteenth birthday our Prince set off
eagerly on his adventure. His courtiers urged him not to go, and his
subjects pleaded with him, for they did not wish to lose their Prince.
They were afraid he would die in the forest they so dreaded. They did
not realize how difficulties and dangers give way before a brave,
true-hearted youth.

 [Illustration: THE SLEEPING BEAUTY
 FROM A DRAWING BY EDITH W. YAFFEE]

When Prince Winsome reached the edge of the dense forest it looked as
if no man could ever enter. Great trees grew close together with their
branches intertwined. So thick were they that the place looked as dark
as night. When Winsome came near, a marvelous thing happened. The
branches slowly untwined and the trees seemed to bend apart and make a
narrow pathway for his entrance. They closed immediately after him, so
that his followers were closed out and he went on alone. After a long
time he found himself in the courtyard of a great castle. There was not
a sound or a stir; the watchman stood sleeping at the gate, and the
guards were standing as if playing a game of dice, but all were sound
asleep.

Prince Winsome entered the castle hall and found it full of noble
ladies and knights, servants, waiting maids, flower girls, all
motionless and yet the flush of life on their cheeks. The dancers
seemed about to whirl away in the waltz; the musicians bent over
their violins; and a servant was in the act of passing cakes to the
guests--yet they all held the same fixed position, and had since that
day years before when sleep overcame them.

Advancing from room to room the same sight everywhere met our hero's
eyes, but his heart began to beat faster and faster, and he knew that
the object of his search was near. At last he entered the throne room
and there on an ivory throne, her head resting against a satin pillow,
was his longed-for Princess. She was so much more beautiful than he had
even imagined that he paused in rapture; then, crossing to her, he
knelt by her side and kissed her tenderly on the brow.

Then what do you think happened? The Princess smiled, drew a long
breath, opened her eyes slowly, and said: "Oh, my Prince! I knew you
would come." At the same moment the musicians went on just where they
had stopped playing so many years before; the dancers finished their
waltz; the servant offered the cakes; and no one but the Prince seemed
to think the proceeding strange at all.

The Sleeping Beauty and Prince Winsome were married at once, and lived
long and happily.



BEAUTY AND THE BEAST


There was once a merchant who was extremely rich. He had six
children--three boys and three girls; and as he was a very sensible
man, he spared nothing on their education, but gave them all kinds of
masters. His daughters were beautiful, but the youngest had such a
peculiar charm about her that even from her birth she had been called
Beauty; and this name caused her sisters to feel jealous and envious of
her. The reason she was so much more admired than they were, was that
she was much more amiable. Her sweet face beamed with good temper and
cheerfulness. No frown ever spoiled her fair brow, or bowed the corners
of her mouth. She possessed the charm of good temper, which is in
itself beauty.

The merchant's elder daughters were idle, ill-tempered, and proud;
therefore people soon forgot that they were beautiful, and only
remembered them as very disagreeable.

The pride of these young ladies was so great that they did not care to
visit the daughters of men in their father's own rank of life, but
wished to be the friends of great ladies and princesses.

They were always busy trying to get great acquaintances, and met with
many mortifications in the effort; however, it pleased them to go out
and endeavor to be people of fashion. Every day they drove in the
parks, and went in the evening to balls, operas, and plays.

Meantime, Beauty spent almost all her days in studying. Her recreation
was to do good. She was to be found in every poor cottage where there
was trouble or sickness, and the poor loved her as much as the rich
admired her. As it was known that their father was very rich, many
merchants asked the girls in marriage; but all these offers were
refused, because the two eldest thought they ought at least to be
wives of a rich nobleman or a prince.

As for Beauty, she thanked those who asked her to share their fortunes,
but told them that she was too young; that she wished to be her
father's companion, and cheer his old age by her loving care.

One unhappy day the merchant returned home in the evening, and told
them that he was ruined; that his ships had gone down at sea, and that
the firms with which he had been dealing were bankrupt.

Beauty wept for grief, because her father was unhappy and unfortunate,
and asked him what was to be done.

"Alas! my child," he replied, "we must give up our house, and go into
the country. There I can get a cottage to shelter us; and we must live
by the work of our own hands."

"Ah!" said Beauty eagerly, "I can spin and knit, and sew very well. I
dare say I shall be able to help you, my dear father."

But the elder daughters did not speak. They had made up their minds to
marry one or the other of their rejected lovers, and did not intend to
share their father's fallen fortunes.

They found themselves, however, greatly mistaken. The merchants who had
wished to marry them when rich cared nothing for them when poor, and
never came to see them again. But those who had loved Beauty crowded to
the house, and begged and besought her to marry them and share their
fortunes. Beauty was grateful, but she told them that she could not
leave her father in his sorrow; she must go with him to console him and
work for him. The poor girl was very sorry to lose her fortune, because
she could not do so much good without it; but she knew that her place
was ordered for her, and that she might be quite as happy poor as rich.

Very soon the merchant's family had to leave their noble mansion, to
sell off all their costly furniture, and to go into the country, where
the father and his sons got work; the former as a bailiff, the latter
as farm laborers. And now Beauty had to think and work for all.

She rose at four o'clock every morning. She cleaned the house; prepared
the breakfast; spread it neatly, and decked the board with the sweetest
flowers. Then she cooked the dinner, and when evening came and brought
the laborers home, Beauty had always a cheerful welcome for them, a
clean home, and a savory supper. During the hours of the afternoon she
used to read and keep up her knowledge of languages; and all the time
she worked she sang like a bird. Her taste made their poor home look
nice, even elegant.

She was happy in doing her duty. Her early rising revealed to her a
thousand beauties in nature of which she had never before dreamed.

Beauty acknowledged to herself that sunrise was finer than any picture
she had ever seen; that no perfumes equalled those of the flowers; that
no opera gave her so much enjoyment as the song of the lark and the
serenade of the nightingale.

Her sleep was as happy and peaceful as that of a child; her awakening,
cheerful, contented, and blest by heaven.

Meantime her sisters grew peevish, cross, and miserable. They would not
work, and as they had nothing else to amuse them, the days dragged
along, and seemed as if they would never end. They did nothing but
regret the past and bewail the present. As they had no one to admire
them, they did not care how they looked, and were as dirty and
neglected in appearance as Beauty was neat and fresh and charming.

Perhaps they had some consciousness of the contrast between her and
themselves, for they disliked the poor girl more than ever, and were
always mocking her, and jesting about her wonderful fitness for being
a servant.

"It is quite plain," they would say, "that you are just where you ought
to be: We are ladies; but you are a low-minded girl, who have found
your right place in the world."

Beauty only answered her sisters' unkind words with soft and tender
ones, so there was no quarrelling, and by-and-by they became ashamed
to speak to her harshly.

At the expiration of a year the merchant received intelligence of the
arrival of one of his richest ships, which had escaped the storm. He
prepared to set off to a distant port to claim his property; but before
he went he asked each daughter what gift he should bring back for her.
The eldest wished for pearls; the second for diamonds; but the third
said, "Dear father, bring me a white rose."

Now it is no easy task to find a white rose in that country, yet, as
Beauty was his kindest daughter, and was very fond of flowers, her
father said he would try what he could do. So he kissed all three,
and bade them good-by. And when the time came for him to go home, he
had bought pearls and jewels for the two eldest, but he had sought
everywhere in vain for the white rose; and when he went into any garden
and asked for such a thing, the people laughed at him, and asked him
who had ever heard of a white rose. This grieved him very much, for his
third daughter was his dearest child; and as he was journeying home,
thinking what he should bring her, he lost his way in a wood. The night
was closing in, and as the merchant was aware that there were many
bears in that country, he became very anxious to find a shelter for
the night.

By-and-by he perceived afar off a light, which appeared to come from a
human dwelling, and he urged on his tired horse till he gained the
spot. Instead of the woodman's hut on a hill which he had expected to
see, he found himself in front of a magnificent castle, built of white
marble. Approaching the door, he blew a golden horn which hung from a
chain by the side of it, and as the blast echoed through the wood, the
door slowly unclosed, and revealed to him a wide and noble hall,
illuminated by myriads of golden lamps.

He looked to see who had admitted him, but perceiving no one, he said:

"Sir porter, a weary traveler craves shelter for the night."
To his amazement, two hands, without any body, moved from behind the
door, and taking hold of his arm drew him gently into the hall.

He perceived that he was in a fairy palace, and putting his own hands
in a friendly pressure on one of the ghostly hands, said:

"You are very kind, but I cannot leave my horse out in the cold."

The hand beckoned, and another pair of shadowy hands crossed the hall,
and went outside and led away the horse to the stable.

Then the merchant's first friends led him gently onwards till he stood
in a large and splendid dining-room, where a costly banquet was spread,
evidently intended for him, for the hands placed a chair for him and
handed him the dishes, and poured out a refreshing drink for him, and
waited on him while he supped.

When his repast was over, they touched him, and beckoned to him; and
following them, he found himself in a bedroom furnished with great
elegance; the curtains were made of butterflies' wings sewn together.

The hands undressed the stranger, prepared him a bath of rose-water,
lifted him into bed and put out the light.

Then the merchant fell asleep. He did not awake till late the
next morning. The sun was streaming in through the beautiful
window-curtains, and the birds were uttering their shrill cries in
the woods. In that country a singing bird is as rare as a white rose.

As he sprang out of bed some bells rang a silvery chime, and he
perceived that he had shaken them by his own movements, for they were
attached to the golden bed-rail, and tinkled as he shook it.

At the sound the bedroom door opened, and the hands entered bearing a
costly suit of clothes, all embroidered with gold and jewels. Again
they prepared a bath of rose-water, and attended on and dressed the
merchant. And when his toilette was completed, they led him out of his
room and downstairs to a pretty little room, where breakfast awaited
him.

When he had quite finished eating he thought that it was time to resume
his journey; therefore, laying a costly diamond ring on the table, he
said:

"Kind fairy, whoever you may be to whom I owe this hospitality, accept
my thanks and this small token of my gratitude."

The hands took the gift up, and the merchant therefore considered that
it was accepted. Then he left the castle and proceeded to the stables
to find and saddle his horse.

The path led through a most enchanting garden full of the fairest
flowers, and as the merchant proceeded, he paused occasionally to
glance at the wonderful plants and choice flowers around him. Suddenly
his eyes rested on a white rose-tree, which was quite weighed down by
its wealth of blossoms.

He remembered his promise to his youngest daughter.

"Ah!" he thought, "at last I have found a _white_ rose. The fairy who
has been so generous to me already will not grudge me a single flower
from amongst so many."

And bending down, he gathered a white rose.

At that moment he was startled by a loud and terrific roar, and a
fierce lion sprang on him and exclaimed in tones of thunder:

"Whoever dares to steal my roses shall be eaten up alive."

Then the merchant said: "I knew not that the garden belonged to you; I
plucked only a rose as a present for my daughter; can nothing save my
life?"

"No!" said the Lion, "nothing, unless you undertake to come back in a
month, and bring me whatever meets you first on your return home. If
you agree to this, I will give you your life; and the rose, too, for
your daughter."

But the man was unwilling to do so, and said, "It may be my youngest
daughter, who loves me most, and always runs to meet me when I go
home." But then he thought again, "It may, perhaps, be only a cat or a
dog." And at last he yielded with a heavy heart, and took the rose, and
said he would give the Lion whatever should meet him first on his
return.

As he came near home, it was his youngest and dearest daughter that met
him; she came running out and kissed him, and welcomed him home; and
when she saw that he had brought her the rose, she was still more glad.

But her father began to be very sorrowful, and to weep, saying, "Alas!
my dearest child! I have bought this flower at a high price, for I have
said I would give you to a wild lion, and when he has you, he will,
perhaps, tear you in pieces and eat you."

And he told her all that had happened, and said she should not go, let
what would come of it.

But she comforted him, and said, "Dear father, the word you have given
must be kept; I will go with you to the Lion and coax him; perhaps he
will let us both return safe home again."

The time now arrived for the merchant to return to the Lion's palace,
and he made preparations for his dreadful journey. Beauty had so fully
made up her mind to accompany him, that nothing could turn her from
her purpose. Her father, seeing this, determined to take her, and they
accordingly set out on their journey. The horses galloped swiftly
across the forest, and speedily reached the palace. As they entered
they were greeted with the most enchanting music; but no living
creature was to be seen. On entering the salon, the furniture of which
was of the most costly kind, they found a rich repast prepared for
them, consisting of every delicacy. Beauty's heart failed her, for she
feared something strange would soon happen. They, however, sat down,
and partook freely of the various delicacies. As soon as they had
finished, the table was cleared by the hands. Shortly afterward there
was a knock at the door.

"Enter," replied the merchant; and immediately the door flew open, and
the same monster that had seized the merchant entered the room.

The sight of his form terrified both the merchant and his daughter; as
for Beauty, she almost fainted with fright.

But the Lion, having a handsome mantle thrown over him, advanced toward
them, and seating himself opposite Beauty, said: "Well, merchant, I
admire your fidelity in keeping your promise; is this the daughter for
whom you gathered the rose?"

"Yes," replied the merchant; "so great is my daughter's love to me that
she met me first on my return home, and she is now come here in
fulfillment of my promise."

"She shall have no reason to repent it," said the Lion, "for everything
in this palace shall be at her command. As for yourself, you must
depart on the morrow, and leave Beauty with me. I will take care that
no harm shall happen to her. You will find an apartment prepared for
her." Having said this, he arose, wished them good-night, and departed.

Poor Beauty heard all that passed, and she trembled from head to
foot with fear. As the night was far advanced the merchant led Beauty
to the apartment prepared for her, and she retired to rest. This room
was furnished in the richest manner. The chairs and sofas were
magnificently adorned with jewels. The hangings were of the finest silk
and gold, and on all sides were mirrors reaching from the floor to the
ceiling; it contained, in fact, everything that was rich and splendid.

Beauty and her father slept soundly, notwithstanding their sorrow at
the thought of so soon parting. In the morning they met in the salon,
where a handsome breakfast was ready prepared, of which they partook.
When they had concluded, the merchant prepared for his departure; but
Beauty threw herself on his neck and wept. He also wept at the thought
of leaving her in this forlorn state, but he could not delay his return
forever, so at length he rushed into the courtyard, mounted his horse,
and soon disappeared.

Poor Beauty, now left to herself, resolved to be as happy as she could.
She amused herself by walking in the gardens and gathering the white
roses, and when tired of that she read and played on the harp which she
found in her room. On her dressing-table she found these lines, which
greatly comforted her:

    "Welcome, Beauty! dry your tears,
     Banish all your sighs and fears;
     You are queen and mistress here,
     Whate'er you ask for shall appear."

After amusing herself thus for some time she returned to the salon,
where she found dinner ready prepared. The most delightful music was
played during the whole of dinner. When Beauty had finished, the table
was cleared, and the most delicious fruits were produced. At the same
hour as on the preceding day the Lion rapped at the door, and asked
permission to enter. Beauty was terrified, and with a trembling voice
she said: "Come in." He then entered, and advancing toward Beauty, who
dared not look up, he said: "Will you permit me to sit with you?" "That
is as you please," replied she. "Not so," said the Lion, "for you are
mistress here; and if my company is disagreeable I will at once
retire."

Beauty, struck with the courtesy of the Lion, and with the friendly
tone of his voice, began to feel more courageous; and she desired him
to be seated. He then entered into the most agreeable conversation,
which so charmed Beauty that she ventured to look up; but when she saw
his terrible face she could scarcely avoid screaming aloud. The Lion,
seeing this, got up, and making a respectful bow, wished her
good-night. Soon after, Beauty herself retired to rest.

On the following day she amused herself as before, and began to
feel more reconciled to her condition; for she had everything at her
command which could promote her happiness. As evening approached she
anticipated the visit of the Lion; for, notwithstanding his terrible
looks, his conversation and manners were very pleasing. He continued to
visit her every day, till at length she began to think he was not so
terrible as she once thought him. One day when they were seated
together the Lion took hold of her hand, and said in a gentle voice:
"Beauty, will you marry me?" She hastily withdrew her hand, but made no
reply; at which the Lion sighed deeply and withdrew. On his next visit
he appeared sorrowful and dejected, but said nothing. Some weeks after
he repeated the question, when Beauty replied: "No, Lion, I cannot
marry you, but I will do all in my power to make you happy." "This you
cannot do," replied he, "for unless you marry me I shall die." "Oh, say
not so," said Beauty, "for it is impossible that I can ever marry you."
The Lion then departed, more unhappy than ever.

Amidst all this, Beauty did not forget her father. One day she felt
a strong desire to know how he was, and what he was doing; at that
instant she cast her eyes on a mirror and saw her father lying on a
sick-bed, in the greatest pain, whilst her sisters were trying on some
fine dresses in another room. At this sad sight poor Beauty wept
bitterly.

When the Lion came as usual he perceived her sorrow, and inquired the
cause. She told him what she had seen, and how much she wished to go
and nurse her father. He asked her if she would promise to return at
a certain time if she went. Beauty gave him her promise, and he
immediately presented her with a rose, like that which her father
had plucked, saying: "Take this rose, and you may be transported to
whatever place you choose; but, remember, I rely on your promise to
return." He then withdrew.

Beauty felt very grateful for his kindness. She wished herself in her
father's cottage, and immediately she was at the door.

 [Illustration: Courtesy of Metropolitan Museum of Art
 "LISTENING TO FAIRY TALES"
 FROM A PAINTING BY J. J. SHANNON]

Full of joy, she entered the house, ran to her father's room, and fell
on her knees by his bedside and kissed him. His illness had been much
increased by fretting for poor Beauty, who he thought had long since
died, either from fear or by the cruel monster. He was overcome with
joy on finding her still alive. He now soon began to recover under the
affectionate nursing of Beauty. The two sisters were very much annoyed
at Beauty's return, for they had hoped that the Lion would have
destroyed her. They were greatly annoyed to see her so superbly
dressed, and felt extremely vexed to think that Beauty should have
clothes as splendid as a queen's, whilst they could not get anything
half so fine.

Beauty related all that had passed in the Beast's palace, and told them
of her promise to return on such a day. The two sisters were so very
jealous that they determined to ruin her prospects if possible. The
eldest said to the other: "Why should this minx be better off than we
are? Let us try to keep her here beyond the time; the monster will then
be so enraged with her for breaking her promise, that he will destroy
her at once when she returns." "That is well thought of," replied the
sister. "We will keep her."

In order to succeed, they treated Beauty with the greatest affection,
and the day before her intended departure they stole the rose which she
had told them was the means of conveying her in an instant wherever she
might wish. Beauty was so much affected by their kindness that she was
easily persuaded to remain a few days. In the meantime the envious
sisters thought of enriching themselves by means of the rose, and they
accordingly wished themselves in some grand place. Instead of being
carried away as they expected, the rose withered, and they heard a most
terrible noise, which so alarmed them that they threw down the flower
and hid themselves.

Beauty was greatly troubled at the loss of her rose, and sought
everywhere for it, but in vain. She happened, however, to enter her
sisters' room, and, to her great joy, saw it lying withered on the
floor; but as soon as she picked it up, it at once recovered all its
freshness and beauty. She then remembered her broken promise, and,
after taking leave of her father, she wished herself in the Beast's
palace, and in an instant she was transported thither. Everything was
just as she had left it; but the sweet sounds of music which used to
greet her were now hushed, and there was an air of apparent gloom
hanging over everything. She herself felt very melancholy, but she
knew not why.

At the usual time she expected a visit from the Lion, but no Lion
appeared. Beauty, wondering what all this could mean, now reproached
herself for her ingratitude in not having returned as she promised. She
feared the poor Beast had died of grief, and she thought that she could
have married him rather than suffer him to die. She resolved to seek
him in the morning in every part of the palace. After a miserable and
sleepless night, she arose early and ran through every apartment, but
no Lion could be seen. With a sorrowful heart she went into the garden,
saying, "Oh that I had married the poor Lion who has been so kind to
me; for, terrible though he is, I might have saved his life. I wish I
could once more see him."

At that moment she arrived at a plot of grass where the poor Lion lay
as if dead. Beauty ran toward him, and knelt by his side, and seized
his paw.

He opened his eyes and said: "Beauty, you forgot your promise, in
consequence of which I must die."

"No, dear Lion," exclaimed Beauty, weeping, "no, you shall not die.
What can I do to save you?"

"Will you marry me?" asked he.

"Yes," replied Beauty, "to save your life."

No sooner had these words passed her lips than the lion-form
disappeared, and she saw at her feet a handsome Prince, who thanked her
for having broken his enchantment. He told her that a wicked magician
had condemned him to wear the form of a lion until a beautiful lady
should consent to marry him; a kind fairy had, however, given him the
magic rose to help him.

At the same instant that the Prince was changed the whole palace became
full of courtiers, all of whom had been rendered invisible when the
Prince was enchanted.

The Prince now led Beauty into the palace, where she found her father.
The Prince related all to him, and asked him to allow Beauty to become
his wife, to which he cheerfully assented, and the nuptials were
solemnized with great rejoicing.

The good fairy appeared to congratulate the Prince on his deliverance
and on his marriage with Beauty. As for the two sisters, she punished
them severely for their jealous and unkind behavior. But the Prince and
his wife Beauty lived happily together in the royal palace for many,
many years.



PRINCE DARLING


Once upon a time there was a young Prince who was so well liked by
everyone in the kingdom where he lived that they named him Prince
Darling.

This boy's father, the King, was a very good man, and his subjects
loved and respected him for his justness and kindness. The King loved
his son greatly, and he loved his subjects, too. He was very anxious to
have his son grow up to be a splendid man, and a just ruler for his
people. The King was no longer young, and he knew that it would not be
many years before his son would be left without a father's advice. He
knew, too, that the boy would succeed to the throne, and would have to
see that everyone in the kingdom was treated justly and kindly.

One day a strange thing happened. The King was out hunting, when
suddenly a little white rabbit leaped into his arms. The rabbit seemed
to think that in the King's arms it would find protection from the dogs
that were chasing it, and had nearly run it down. And the rabbit was
right; for the King stroked the trembling creature gently, and said:

"The dogs shan't get you now, poor bunny!" Then the King took the
rabbit home, and saw that the best care was given it.

That night, after everyone else had gone to bed, the King sat alone
thinking about Prince Darling. Suddenly a beautiful lady seemed to come
into the room. She was dressed in pure white, and wore a wreath of
white roses on her golden hair.

"You don't recognize me, do you?" she asked in a lovely, clear
voice. "I am the rabbit you rescued from the dogs in the forest this
afternoon. The rabbit was really the Fairy Truth. I took the shape of a
rabbit to see whether you were really as good as everyone said. Now I
know you are, and I shall always be your friend. Isn't there something
you want, above everything else in the world, which I can give you to
repay you for your goodness to me?"

The King was amazed by the lovely Fairy and her wonderful offer. He
thought at once that if only he could win the friendship of the Fairy
Truth for Prince Darling, all would be well. So he said:

"Good Fairy, above all things I should like to know that you would be
my son's friend. Will you?"

"Gladly. I will make him the richest or the handsomest or the most
powerful Prince in the world. Which shall it be?" the Fairy inquired.

"I would not ask any of those things, good Fairy, but I would have him
good, the best instead of the richest of princes. If he is good and his
conscience does not trouble him, I am sure he will be happy. Riches and
power and good looks, without goodness, cannot make him happy."

"That is all true," said the Fairy, "and I will do all I can to make
Prince Darling good. He will have to do most of it himself, though. I
can only advise him, praise him when he is good, and scold him when he
is bad. But I will do all I can."

Not long after this strange happening the King died, and Prince Darling
became King in his father's place. The Fairy Truth remembered her
promise, and came to the palace with a present for Prince Darling.

"This little gold ring," she said, as she slipped it on his finger, "is
my gift to you. I promised your father that I would be your friend.
This ring will help you to keep my friendship. When it pricks you, you
will know you have done something mean or unkind. It will warn you to
stop doing such things. If you stop, I will be your friend; if you keep
on doing wicked things, I will become your enemy."

Before Prince Darling could say a word the Fairy vanished.

The Prince was curious to know whether the ring really would do as the
Fairy said. But he never felt a single prick from the ring. Then one
day he was badly pricked. He came home from hunting in a horrid temper,
and kicked his unoffending little dog, that was trying to be friendly,
until it howled with pain.

"Really, Prince Darling, that is too bad of you." The Fairy's voice
sounded quietly in his ear. "You lost your temper because things did
not go just to suit you. Even if you are a prince, the world cannot
always run just to suit your whims. What's worse, you hurt a poor
creature who loves you. I don't think that's being the sort of a prince
your father would be proud of, do you?"

The Prince was greatly embarrassed, and thrust his hands deep into his
pockets to make himself seem full-grown up--so he would not cry! He
promised to be good forever after.

But he wasn't, and the ring pricked him often. After a time he paid
hardly any attention to the ring at all. Finally he made up his mind
that a prince ought to be able to decide for himself what was right or
wrong. Besides, the ring pricked so hard and so often that it made his
finger bleed. So he threw it away entirely.

Just after this he met Celia, the loveliest girl he had ever seen. It
seemed to him he could never be happy until he had made her his wife;
and he lost no time in asking her to marry him.

"Sire, I cannot," said the girl.

The Prince was indignant, for he thought any girl should be proud to
have him offer to marry her and make her Queen.

"Sire," Celia went on, "you are handsome and rich and powerful, I know;
but the man I marry must be good."

This speech made the Prince so angry that he ordered his men to take
Celia off to the palace as a prisoner.

 [Illustration: "THIS LITTLE GOLD RING IS MY GIFT TO YOU"]

Now, the Prince had a foster-brother who was a very wicked man. When
the Prince told him about Celia, he said:

"What! a peasant girl refuse to marry the Prince! How ridiculous! The
whole kingdom would laugh if they knew about it."

This speech hurt the Prince's pride, and he decided to make Celia
consent to marry him at any cost. He rushed off to find her. His men
had given him the key to the cell where they had imprisoned her. But
the cell was quite empty.

The Prince was terribly angry, and swore that he would put to death the
person who had helped Celia to escape. It happened that this threat
gave some of the Prince's wicked friends the very chance they wanted to
get rid of the Prince's tutor, an old nobleman whom they all hated
because he was good.

Soon these wicked men had everyone in the court whispering: "Yes, it
was Suliman who helped Celia escape." Some men even were found who
swore that Suliman himself had told them about it. When the Prince
heard it he was still more angry. To think that his old tutor could
treat him so! He ordered his men to arrest the supposed offender, put
him in chains, as if he were a murderer, and bring him to court.

No sooner was the order given than there was a tremendous roar of
thunder. The ground was still shaking when the Fairy Truth appeared.

"Until now, Prince Darling," the fairy said sternly, "I have been very
gentle with you. You have been very wicked, but I have done no more
than warn you that you were doing wrong and becoming the very sort of
man your father, the good King, wanted you NOT to be. Now I must take
stronger measures, for you have paid no attention to my warnings.

"Really you are more like the wild animals than a man and a prince. You
roar with anger like a lion. You are greedy for fine food and clothes
and a good time, as a wolf is greedy for its prey. You are untrue to
your friends, like a treacherous snake. You even turn upon the kind
tutor who was your father's firmest friend, and who would like to help
you, too, if you would let him. You are as disagreeable as an angry
bull, that keeps everyone out of its neighborhood, because everyone
knows it is not safe to go near."

The Fairy's voice now roared forth in terrible tones, which made Prince
Darling shake from head to heel:

"Therefore, I condemn you to have a hideous body like your ugly
character--part lion, part wolf, part snake, and part bull."

The Prince put his hand to his head, because he felt as if he should
weep at this awful sentence. He found his face covered with a lion's
shaggy beard; a bull's horns had grown out of his skull. He looked at
his feet: they were those of a wolf. His body was the long slimy body
of a snake.

The palace had disappeared, and he stood beside a clear lake in a deep
forest. He shuddered with horror when he saw his reflection in the
lake. His horror turned to rage when he heard the Fairy Truth say:

"Your punishment has just begun. Your pride will be hurt still more
when you fall into the hands of your own subjects. And that is what is
going to happen to you."

Just as the Fairy said the Prince fell into the hands of his subjects,
and in a most humiliating way, for he was caught in a trap which had
been set to catch bears. Thus he was captured alive and led into the
chief city of the kingdom.

There was no mourning in the town because of the Prince's death, by a
thunderbolt, as they supposed. Instead, there was great rejoicing, for
Suliman had been made King by the people, who were sick and tired of
the way Prince Darling had misruled them.

"Long live King Suliman!" they shouted. "His rule will bring us peace
and prosperity."

In the middle of the public park sat King Suliman. Just as the Prince,
in his ugly disguise came up, Suliman was saying:

"Prince Darling is not dead, as you suppose. I have accepted the crown
only until he comes back, for the Fairy Truth says he may still return,
a good and just man like his father. For myself, I want nothing more
than to see Prince Darling come back a worthy ruler for this mighty
kingdom."

This speech made the Prince feel very much ashamed of himself, for it
showed plainly that the Fairy was right, and that he himself had
misjudged Suliman.

Meantime the Prince was put in the menagerie, and people pointed him
out as a most strange beast, the only one of his sort ever found
anywhere. The Prince was beginning to feel like his old, gentle self.
He was even good to his keeper, although the keeper was anything but
good to him.

One day a tiger broke through his cage and attacked the keeper. At
first the Prince was pleased to see the keeper in danger of his life,
and mused: "When he's dead and out of the way I can easily escape."

But the Prince's punishment had not been in vain, for suddenly he began
to think, "Well, the poor old keeper; after all I'm sorry for him!"

Then as if by magic the bars of the Prince's cage seemed to melt away,
and he rushed out to rescue the keeper who had treated him so badly.
The man was more terrified than ever when he saw the huge monster
loose. But imagine his amazement when the beast fell upon the tiger,
instead of crushing his (the keeper's) life out, as he had feared.

Naturally the keeper was filled with gratitude. The strange beast's
kindness made him feel ashamed when he remembered how badly he had
treated the animal.

The keeper now tried to stroke the beast's head, by way of gratitude,
when to his amazement he found himself stroking, not a wild animal, but
a gentle little dog.

The keeper picked up the dog in his arms and took him to the King, to
whom he told the strange story of his rescue. The Queen liked the dog,
and decided to keep him for a pet. Unluckily for Prince Darling,
however, she took him to the court doctor, who decided that too much
food would be very bad for the dog, and ordered that he be fed nothing
but bread, and very little at that! So Prince Darling prized the small
amount of bread he got very highly indeed.

Once Prince Darling trotted off with his little loaf of bread--all he
would get to eat that day--to a brook some distance away. Strange to
tell, the brook was gone, and in its place was a huge house. Prince
Darling thought the persons who lived there must be fabulously rich,
because the house was made of precious stones and gold, and the people
were dressed in the most elegant and expensive clothes. He heard music,
and saw people feasting and dancing.

Yet the people who came out of the house presented the most forlorn
appearance--ragged, and sick, and half starved. Prince Darling saw a
poor young girl, and his heart was filled with pity. She was eating
grass and leaves, she was so hungry. Prince Darling was hungry himself,
but he thought:

"I can't be as hungry as that poor girl, and to-morrow I'll have
another loaf." So he gave the bread to her, and she ate it eagerly.

Suddenly there was a great outcry, and the Prince, running in the
direction whence the noise came, saw Celia being dragged against her
will into this mysterious house. The poor little dog could do nothing
to help her. Then he thought sadly: "I am very angry now with these
terrible people who treat Celia so badly; but not long ago I was myself
threatening to have her killed!"

And the little dog, feeling quite forlorn, put its tail between its
legs, as dogs often do, and went off to watch the house where Celia was
imprisoned.

An upper window was opened, and a girl threw out some food. The dog
thought this was because the girl had a kind heart. But when it started
to eat, the one to whom it had given the bread but a short time before
cried out: "Stop! If you touch that you will die! That food came from
the house of pleasure, and is deadly poison."

So once again the Prince found that his good action had been rewarded.
And the Fairy Truth, to show her approval, transformed the little dog
into a lovely white dove.

The dove flew straight into the house of pleasure, searching for Celia.
No sign of her could it find there, as she had escaped. Therefore it
decided to fly and fly all around the world until it did get her.

One day it came to a desert island, where no living person could be
seen, nor any green tree to light upon. It searched about, and after a
time found a cavern, and in it was Celia, sharing a simple meal with an
old hermit.

Prince Darling flew right up to Celia, lighted on her shoulder, and
tried in all the ways a dove knows to show its affection for her. Celia
in return stroked it gently, although she, of course, had no idea who
it was. Indeed, Celia seemed delighted to have found a new friend, and
said softly:

"I am glad you have come to me, and I will care for you and love you
always."

Celia did not expect the dove to understand what she said. The hermit
understood, however, and asked her whether she really meant it.

"Ah! Celia," Prince Darling exclaimed, "with my whole heart I hope you
do mean it!" And the astonished Celia turned and saw Prince Darling
himself standing before her.

"Celia will not stop loving you now, Prince Darling," said Fairy Truth,
who had been disguised as the hermit all this time. "She has loved you
from the beginning, and now that you have started on the road to
goodness I know she will gladly join her fate with yours."

Then Celia and Prince Darling threw themselves at the Fairy's feet, and
thanked her a thousand times over for bringing them together again
after all their trials.

"Come, my children," said the Fairy, "if you had not helped me I could
not have brought this to pass. And now, let's go back to Prince
Darling's kingdom, for I know King Suliman is waiting eagerly for a
chance to give back the throne."

The Fairy had scarcely stopped speaking when they found themselves in
the royal palace. King Suliman was overjoyed to see the Prince return,
and gladly yielded the throne to him again.

When the Prince was crowned King for the second time he also put on
again the little gold ring which he had thrown away so long before. He
and Celia gave their whole hearts to the effort to govern the kingdom
justly and kindly. You will know that they succeeded very well, when I
tell you that the magic ring never again pricked Prince Darling's
finger.

 [Illustration: "PRINCE DARLING FLEW RIGHT UP TO CELIA"]



 [Illustration: "ONCE UPON A TIME THERE LIVED"]

RUMPELSTILTSKIN

ADAPTED FROM THE GRIMM BROTHERS


Once upon a time, in a kingdom far away from here, there lived a miller
who was very proud, and a King who was exceedingly fond of money.

The miller had a lovely daughter, and he could not say enough about her
beauty and cleverness. He used to tell all the men who brought their
wheat to his mill, to be ground into flour, of the wonderful things
this daughter could do "to perfection."

One day, in a fit of boasting, the miller told the servant who had
brought flour from the King's household, that he had a daughter who
could actually turn straw into pure gold by spinning it.

The messenger was astonished, and could hardly wait to get back to the
palace and see the King. He knew how mad the King was about money, and
wanted to be the first to tell him of the miller's extraordinary
daughter, who could make him vastly rich so easily.

The King was tremendously excited by the story, just as his servant had
hoped. He sent at once for the miller.

"My man," the King said, "I hear you have a daughter who can spin straw
into gold. That's a fine story, but you can hardly expect me to believe
it without seeing it. Have your daughter come here this evening."

So the miller went home and told his daughter that the King wanted to
see her. He dared not tell her why. Naturally, the girl was pleased and
flattered. She put on her best dress and braided her hair very
carefully. Then she went to the palace.

"So you're the miller's daughter," said the King. "Now we'll see
whether you can really spin straw into gold."

The girl thought the King must be crazy. She felt even surer of it when
he took her into a great room full of straw with a spinning wheel in
one corner.

A spinning wheel, you know, is an old-fashioned machine for making flax
and cotton into yarn and thread.

"If you don't spin all this straw into gold before the night is over,
you will die," the King said, and closed the door.

The poor little miller's daughter sat down in front of the spinning
wheel and cried and cried. She didn't know how to spin straw into gold
any more than you or I do, and she didn't want to die a bit.

"Well, well, what's all this crying for?" said a tiny voice at her ear.

So many queer things had happened that night that it did not seem at
all strange to have a man appear out of nowhere. He was not exactly a
man, though. He was just a tiny little Dwarf. And the miller's daughter
told him all her troubles.

"Why, that's nothing," the little man said; "I can spin that straw into
gold myself. But I won't do it for nothing. What will you give me for
doing it?"

The girl had a necklace she was very proud of. She hated to part with
it, but she gave it to the little man. He sat promptly down at the
spinning wheel, and in a jiffy the golden straws were flying through
his hands, and turning into threads of pure gold. Long before daybreak
the room was full of gold instead of straw.

Early in the morning the King came. He could hardly wait to learn
whether the girl had done her difficult task. When he saw the room
heaped with gold he fairly danced with joy, although that was not very
dignified for a King. Having one room full of gold only made him want
another. So he took the miller's daughter to a larger room, where there
was even more straw. Once more he told her that if she wanted to live
she must turn the straw to gold.

The little Dwarf helped her out again. This time she had to pay him
with her ring.

In the morning, when the King saw all the gold, he was still not
satisfied. He was getting rich so easily that he hated to stop. So he
had the miller's daughter led to the largest room in the palace, and
had it filled with straw for her to spin into gold.

This time, however, he told the girl that if she succeeded for the
third time in her task she should become his wife. "She's only the poor
miller's daughter," he said to himself, "but look how rich she is."

The girl was not surprised to see the Dwarf come in. He was quite
disagreeable, though, when she said she had nothing to give him this
time for spinning the gold.

"What!" he said, "have you no reward for me? Then you must promise me
your first child after you become Queen."

There seemed nothing to do but to promise the little fellow what he
asked. "Lots of things may happen before the promise is fulfilled," she
thought.

So the straw was spun into gold, and the King was greatly pleased.
Soon after this the miller's daughter became Queen.

 [Illustration: "THIS TIME SHE HAD TO PAY HIM WITH HER RING"]

A year passed, and the whole kingdom was celebrating the birth of a son
to the King and Queen. The Queen was so happy about her child that she
quite forgot the promise she had made to the manikin who had saved her
life. But _he_ had not forgotten.

"Give me that child," said he one day, appearing, as was his habit, out
of nowhere. The Queen was frightened, yet refused to give up her child.
She offered him anything else he would name, but the child he could
never have.

"The child," he answered, "is the only thing I want." Yet he was sorry
for the Queen.

"Well," he said finally, "I'll let you have the child for three days.
If you can tell me my name before this time is up, you can keep your
little one."

The Queen sent messengers to search the country and bring her all the
unusual names they could discover.

After one day the manikin came back to find out whether his name had
been discovered.

"Is your name Kasper, or Melchior, or Belshayzar?" the Queen asked in
a worried manner.

"Oh, no!" the little fellow said to each name she suggested.

The second day the Queen tried him with some names she had made up
herself. "Perhaps they call you Sheepshanks, or Cruickshanks, or
Spindleshanks?" she suggested eagerly. But each time the manikin shook
his head haughtily and answered, "No!"

The poor Queen was nearly crazy with worry on the third day, and the
messengers could find no more queer names. One of them, however, told
this story:

"I was drawing to the top of a high hill, and the road where I was
riding went through a thick wood. Not a new name had I learned all day.
But suddenly I came upon a hut, and before it was a big fire. A little
man was hopping madly about the fire, and singing at the top of his
voice:

    "'Now a feast I must prepare,
      Of the finest royal fare.
      Soon the Queen must give her son
      To me, for I'm the lucky one.
      That Rumpelstiltskin is my name,
      She will never guess--the silly dame.'"

The Queen was so delighted she did not even mind being called silly.
Soon the manikin came in.

"Well," he said defiantly, "I guess you don't know my name yet, do you?
Remember, this is your last chance."

"Oh, dear," said the Queen, pretending to be very anxious. "Is it
John?"

"No!" thundered the manikin. "Give me the child."

"Is it," the Queen asked softly, "by any chance Rumpelstiltskin?"

"Some witch has told you that! Some witch had told you that!" cried the
little man; and he dashed his left foot in a rage so deep into the
floor that he was forced to lay hold of it with both hands to pull it
out. Then he made the best of his way off, while everybody laughed at
him for having had all his trouble for nothing.

 [Illustration: "SOME WITCH HAS TOLD YOU THAT!"]



RAPUNZEL, OR THE FAIR MAID WITH GOLDEN HAIR

BY THE BROTHERS GRIMM


There were once a man and a woman who wished very much to have a little
child. Now, these people had a small window in their cottage which
looked out into a beautiful garden full of the most lovely flowers and
vegetables. There was a high wall round it, but even had there not been
no one would have ventured to enter the garden, because it belonged to
a sorceress, whose power was so great that every one feared her.

One day the woman stood at the window looking into the garden, and she
saw a bed which was planted full of most beautiful lettuces. As she
looked at them she began to wish she had some to eat, but she could not
ask for them.

Day after day her wish for these lettuces grew stronger, and the
knowledge that she could not get them so worried her that at last
she became so pale and thin that her husband was quite alarmed.

"What is the matter with you, dear wife?" he asked one day.

"Ah!" she said, "if I do not have some of that nice lettuce which grows
in the garden behind our house, I feel that I shall die."

The husband, who loved his wife dearly, said to himself: "Rather than
my wife should die, I will get some of this lettuce for her, cost what
it may."

So in the evening twilight he climbed over the wall into the garden of
the Witch, hastily gathered a handful of the lettuces, and brought
them to his wife. She made a salad, and ate it with great eagerness.

 [Illustration: THE FAIR MAIDEN WITH GOLDEN HAIR
 FROM A DRAWING BY EDITH W. YAFFEE]

It pleased her so much and tasted so good that, after two or three days
had passed, she gave her husband no rest till he promised to get her
some more. So again in the evening twilight he climbed the wall, but as
he slid down into the garden on the other side he was terribly alarmed
at seeing the Witch standing near him.

"How came you here?" she said with a fierce look. "You have climbed
over the wall into my garden like a thief and stolen my lettuces; you
shall pay dearly for this!"

"Ah!" replied the poor man, "let me entreat for mercy; I have only
taken it in a case of extreme need. My wife has seen your lettuces from
her window, and she wished for them so much that she said she should
die if she could not have some of them to eat."

Then the Witch's anger cooled a little, and she replied: "If what you
tell me is true, then I will give you full permission to take as many
lettuces as you like, on one condition: you must give up to me the
child which your wife may bring into the world. I will be very kind to
it, and be as careful of it as a mother could be."

The husband in his alarm promised everything the Witch asked, and took
away with him as many lettuces as his wife wanted.

Not many weeks after this the wife became the mother of a beautiful
little girl, and in a short time the Witch appeared and claimed her
according to the husband's promise. Thus they were obliged to give up
their child, which she took away with her directly, and gave her the
name of Letitia, but she was always called Lettice, after the name of
the vegetable which grew in the garden.

Lettice was the most beautiful child under the sun, and as soon as
she reached the age of twelve years the Witch locked her up in a tower
that stood in a forest, and this tower had no steps, nor any entrance,
excepting a little window. When the Witch, wished to visit Lettice, she
would place herself under this window and sing:

    "Lettice, Lettice, let down your hair,
     That I may climb without a stair."

Lettice had the most long and beautiful hair like spun-gold; and when
she heard the voice of the Witch she would unbind her golden locks and
let them fall loose over the window sill, from which they hung down to
such a length that the Witch could draw herself up by them into the
tower.

Two years passed in this manner, when it happened one day that the
King's son rode through the forest. While passing near the tower he
heard such a lovely song that he could not help stopping to listen. It
was Lettice, who tried to lighten her solitude by the sound of her own
sweet voice.

The King's son was very eager to obtain a glimpse of the singer, but he
sought in vain for a door to the tower; there was not one to be found.

So he rode home, but the song had made such an impression on his heart
that he went daily into the forest to listen. Once, while he stood
behind a tree, he saw the Witch approach the tower, and heard her say:

    "Lettice, Lettice, let down your hair,
     That I may climb without a stair."

Presently he saw a quantity of long golden hair hanging down low over
the window sill, and the Witch climbing up by it.

"Oh!" said the young Prince, "if that is the ladder on which persons
can mount and enter, I will take the first opportunity of trying my
luck that way."

So on the following day, as it began to grow dark, he placed himself
under the window, and cried:

    "Lettice, Lettice, let down your hair,
     That I may climb without a stair."

Immediately the hair fell over the window, and the young Prince quickly
climbed up and entered the room where the young maiden lived.

Lettice was dreadfully frightened at seeing a strange man come into the
room through the window; but the King's son looked at her with such
friendly eyes, and began to converse with her so kindly, that she soon
lost all fear.

He told her that he had heard her singing, and that her song had
excited such a deep emotion in his heart that he could not rest till he
had seen her. On hearing this Lettice ceased to fear him, and they
talked together for some time, till at length the Prince asked her if
she would take him for a husband. For a time she hesitated, although
she saw that he was young and handsome, and he had told her he was a
prince.

At last she said to herself: "He will certainly love me better than old
Mother Grethel does." So she placed her hand in his, and said: "I would
willingly go with you and be your wife, but I do not know in the least
how to get away from this place. Unless," she added, after a pause,
"you will bring me every day some strong silk cord; then I will weave
a ladder of it, and when it is finished I will descend upon it, and you
shall take me away on your horse."

The Prince readily agreed to this, and promised to come and see her
every evening till the ladder was finished, for the old Witch always
came in the daytime.

The Witch had never seen the Prince; she knew nothing of his visits
till one day Lettice said innocently: "I shall not have such a heavy
weight as you to draw up much longer, Mother Grethel, for the King's
son is coming very soon to fetch me away."

"You wicked child!" cried the Witch; "what do I hear you say? I thought
I had hidden you from all the world, and now you have betrayed me!" In
her wrath she caught hold of Lettice's beautiful hair, and struck her
several times with her left hand. Then she seized a pair of scissors
and cut Lettice's hair, while the beautiful locks, glistening like
gold, fell to the ground. And she was so hard-hearted after this that
she dragged poor Lettice out into the forest, to a wild and desert
place, and left her there in sorrow and great distress.

On the same day on which the poor maiden had been exiled the Witch tied
the locks of hair which she had cut off poor Lettice's golden head into
a kind of tail, and hung it over the window sill.

In the evening the Prince came and cried:

    "Lettice, Lettice, let down your hair,
     That I may climb without a stair."

Then the Witch let the hair down, and the King's son climbed up; but at
the open window he found not his dear Lettice, but a wicked witch who
looked at him with cruel and malicious eyes.

"Ah!" she cried with a sneer, "you are come to fetch your loving bride,
I suppose; but the beautiful bird has flown from the nest, and will
never sing any more. The cat has fetched it away, and she intends also
to scratch your eyes out. To thee is Lettice lost; thou wilt never
behold her again!"

The Prince felt almost out of his mind with grief as he heard this, and
in his despair he sprang out of the tower window and fell among the
thorns and brambles beneath. He certainly escaped with his life, but
the thorns stuck into his eyes and blinded them. After this he wandered
about the wood for days, eating only wild roots and berries, and did
nothing but lament and weep for the loss of his beloved bride.

So wandered he for a whole year in misery, till at last he came upon
the desert place where Lettice had been banished and lived in her
sorrow.

As he drew near he heard a voice which he seemed to recognize, and
advancing toward the sound came within sight of Lettice, who recognized
him at once, with tears. Two of her tears fell on his eyes, and so
healed and cleared them of the injury done by the thorns that he could
soon see as well as ever. Then he traveled with her to his kingdom, and
she became his wife, and the remainder of their days were spent in
happiness and content.



SNOW-WHITE AND ROSE-RED

BY THE BROTHERS GRIMM


There was once a poor Widow, who lived alone in her hut with her two
children, who were called Snow-White and Rose-Red, because they were
like the flowers which bloomed on two rose-bushes which grew before the
cottage. But they were two as pious, good, industrious, and amiable
children as any that were in the world, only Snow-White was more quiet
and gentle than Rose-Red. For Rose-Red would run and jump about the
meadows, seeking flowers, and catching butterflies, while Snow-White
sat at home helping her Mother to keep house, or reading to her, if
there were nothing else to do.

The two children loved one another dearly, and always walked
hand-in-hand when they went out together; and ever when they talked of
it they agreed that they would never separate from each other, and that
whatever one had the other should share. Often they ran deep into the
forest and gathered wild berries; but no beast ever harmed them. For
the hare would eat cauliflowers out of their hands, the fawn would
graze at their side, the goats would frisk about them in play, and the
birds remained perched on the boughs singing as if nobody were near.

No accidents ever befell them; and if they stayed late in the forest,
and night came upon them, they used to lie down on the moss and sleep
till morning; and because their Mother knew they would do so, she felt
no concern about them. One time when they had thus passed the night in
the forest, and the dawn of morning awoke them, they saw a beautiful
Child dressed in shining white sitting near their couch. She got up
and looked at them kindly, but without saying anything went into the
forest; and when the children looked round they saw that where they
had slept was close to the edge of a pit, into which they would have
certainly fallen had they walked a couple of steps further in the dark.

Their Mother told them the figure they had seen was, doubtless, the
good angel who watches over children.

Snow-White and Rose-Red kept their Mother's cottage so clean that it
was a pleasure to enter it. Every morning in the summertime Rose-Red
would first put the house in order, and then gather a nosegay for her
Mother, in which she always placed a bud from each rose-tree. Every
winter's morning Snow-White would light the fire and put the kettle on
to boil, and, although the kettle was made of copper, it yet shone like
gold, because it was scoured so well. In the evenings, when the flakes
of snow were falling, the Mother would say, "Go, Snow-White, and bolt
the door;" and then they used to sit down on the hearth, and the Mother
would put on her spectacles and read out of a great book while her
children sat spinning. By their side, too, lay a little lamb, and on a
perch behind them a little white dove reposed with her head tucked
under her wing.

One evening when they were thus sitting comfortably together, there
came a knock at the door, as if somebody wished to come in. "Make
haste, Rose-Red," cried her Mother; "make haste and open the door;
perhaps there is some traveler outside who needs shelter."

So Rose-Red went and drew the bolt and opened the door, expecting to
see some poor man outside; but instead, a great fat bear poked his
black head in. Rose-Red shrieked out and ran back, the little lamb
bleated, the dove fluttered on her perch, and Snow-White hid herself
behind her Mother's bed. The Bear, however, began to speak, and said,
"Be not afraid, I will do you no harm; but I am half frozen, and wish
to come in and warm myself."

"Poor Bear!" cried the Mother; "come in and lie down before the fire;
but take care you do not burn your skin;" and then she continued, "Come
here, Rose-Red and Snow-White, the Bear will not harm you, he means
honorably." So they both came back, and by degrees the lamb too and the
dove overcame their fears and welcomed the rough visitor.

"You children!" said the Bear, before he entered, "come and knock the
snow off my coat." And they fetched their brooms and swept him clean.
Then he stretched himself before the fire and grumbled out his
satisfaction, and in a little while the children became familiar enough
to play tricks with the unwieldy animal. They pulled his long shaggy
skin, set their feet upon his back and rolled him to and fro, and even
ventured to beat him with a hazel-stick, laughing when he grumbled. The
Bear bore all their tricks good-temperedly, and if they hit too hard he
cried out,--

    "Leave me my life, you children,
     Snow-White and Rose-Red,
     Or you'll never wed."

When bedtime came and the others were gone, the Mother said to the
Bear, "You may sleep here on the hearth if you like, and then you will
be safely protected from the cold and bad weather."

As soon as day broke the two children let the Bear out again, and he
trotted away over the snow, and ever afterward he came every evening at
a certain hour. He would lie down on the hearth and allow the children
to play with him as much as they liked, till by degrees they became so
accustomed to him that the door was left unbolted till their black
friend arrived.

But as soon as spring returned, and everything out of doors was green
again, the Bear one morning told Snow-White that he must leave her, and
could not return during the whole summer. "Where are you going, then,
dear Bear?" asked Snow-White. "I am obliged to go into the forest and
guard my treasures from the evil Dwarfs; for in winter, when the ground
is hard, they are obliged to keep in their holes and cannot work
through; but now, since the sun has thawed the earth and warmed it, the
Dwarfs pierce through and steal all they can find; and what has once
passed into their hands, and gets concealed by them in their caves, is
not easily brought to light."

Snow-White, however, was very sad at the departure of the Bear, and
opened the door so hesitatingly, that when he pressed through it he
left behind on the latch a piece of his hairy coat; and through the
hole which was made in his coat Snow-White fancied she saw the
glittering of gold, but she was not quite certain of it. The Bear,
however, ran hastily away, and was soon hidden behind the trees.

Some time afterward the Mother sent the children into the woods to
gather sticks, and while doing so they came to a tree which was lying
across the path, on the trunk of which something kept bobbing up and
down from the grass, and they could not imagine what it was. When
they came nearer they saw a Dwarf, with an old wrinkled face and a
snow-white beard a yard long. The end of this beard was fixed in a
split of the tree, and the little man kept jumping about like a dog
tied by a chain, for he did not know how to free himself. He glared at
the Maidens with his red, fiery eyes, and exclaimed, "Why do you stand
there? Are you going to pass without offering me any assistance?"

"What have you done, little man?" asked Rose-Red.

"You stupid, gazing goose!" exclaimed he, "I wanted to have split the
tree in order to get a little wood for my kitchen, for the little food
which we use is soon burnt up with great faggots, not like what you
rough greedy people devour! I had driven the wedge in properly, and
everything was going on well, when the smooth wood flew upward, and the
tree closed so suddenly together, that I could not draw my beautiful
beard out; and here it sticks, and I cannot get away. There, don't
laugh, you milk-faced things! Are you dumbfounded?"

The children took all the pains they could to pull the Dwarf's beard
out, but without success. "I will run and fetch some help," cried
Rose-Red at length.

"Crack-brained sheep's-head that you are!" snarled the Dwarf; "what are
you going to call other people for? You are two too many now for me;
can you think of nothing else?"

"Don't be impatient," replied Snow-White: "I have thought of
something;" and pulling her scissors out of her pocket, she cut off the
end of the beard. As soon as the Dwarf found himself at liberty he
snatched up his sack, which laid between the roots of the tree filled
with gold, and, throwing it over his shoulder, marched off, grumbling,
and groaning, and crying "Stupid people! to cut off a piece of my
beautiful beard. Plague take you!" And away he went without once
looking at the children.

Some time afterward Snow-White and Rose-Red went a-fishing and as they
neared the pond they saw something like a great locust hopping about
on the bank, as if going to jump into the water. They ran up and
recognized the Dwarf; "What are you after?" asked Rose-Red; "you will
fall into the water."

"I am not quite such a simpleton as that," replied the Dwarf; "but do
you not see this fish will pull me in?"

The little man had been sitting there angling, and, unfortunately, the
wind had entangled his beard with the fishing-line; and so when a great
fish bit at the bait, the strength of the weak little fellow was not
able to draw it out, and the fish had the best of the struggle. The
Dwarf held on by the reeds and rushes which grew near, but to no
purpose, for the fish pulled him where it liked, and he must soon have
been drawn into the pond. Luckily just then the two Maidens arrived,
and tried to release the beard of the Dwarf from the fishing-line, but
both were too closely entangled for it to be done. So the Maiden pulled
out her scissors again and cut off another piece of the beard.

When the Dwarf saw this done he was in a great rage, and exclaimed,
"You donkey! that is the way to disfigure my face. Was it not enough to
cut it once, but you must now take away the best part of my fine beard?
I dare not show myself again now to my own people. I wish you had run
the soles off your boots before you had come here!" So saying he took
up a bag of pearls, which lay among the rushes, and, without speaking
another word, slipped off and disappeared behind a stone.

Not many days after this adventure, it chanced that the Mother sent the
two Maidens to the next town to buy thread, needles and pins, laces,
and ribbons. Their road passed over a common, on which, here and there,
great pieces of rock were lying about. Just over their heads they saw a
great bird flying round and round, and every now and then dropping
lower and lower, till at last it flew down behind a rock. Immediately
afterward they heard a piercing shriek, and, running up, they saw with
affright that the eagle had caught their old acquaintance, the Dwarf,
and was trying to carry him off. The compassionate children thereupon
laid hold of the little man, and held him fast till the bird gave up
the struggle and flew off.

As soon, then, as the Dwarf had recovered from his fright, he exclaimed
in his squeaking voice:

"Could you not hold me more gently? You have seized my fine brown coat
in such a manner that it is all torn and full of holes, meddling and
interfering rubbish that you are!" With these words he shouldered a bag
filled with precious stones, and slipped away to his cave among the
rocks.

The Maidens were now accustomed to his ingratitude, and so they walked
on to the town and transacted their business there. Coming home they
returned over the same common, and unawares walked up to a certain
clean spot, on which the Dwarf had shaken out his bag of precious
stones, thinking nobody was near. The sun was shining and the bright
stones glittered in its beams, and displayed such a variety of colors
that the two Maidens stopped to admire them.

 [Illustration: THE TWO MAIDENS ARRIVED AND TRIED TO RELEASE THE BEARD
 OF THE DWARF]

"What are you standing there gaping for?" asked the Dwarf, while his
face grew as red as copper with rage: he was continuing to abuse the
poor Maidens, when a loud roaring noise was heard, and presently a
great black Bear came rolling out of the forest. The Dwarf jumped up
terrified, but he could not gain his retreat before the Bear overtook
him. Thereupon he cried out, "Spare me, my dear Lord Bear! I will give
you all my treasures. See these beautiful precious stones which lie
here; only give me my life; for what have you to fear from a little
fellow like me? You could not touch me with your big teeth. There are
two wicked girls, take them; they would make nice morsels; as fat as
young quails; eat them, for heaven's sake!"

The Bear, however, without troubling himself to speak, gave the
bad-hearted Dwarf a single blow with his paw, and he never stirred
after.

The Maidens were then going to run away, but the Bear called after
them, "Snow-White and Rose-Red, fear not! Wait a bit, and I will
accompany you." They recognized his voice and stopped; and when the
Bear came, his rough coat suddenly fell off, and he stood up a tall
man, dressed entirely in gold. "I am a King's son," he said, "and was
condemned by the wicked Dwarf, who stole all my treasures, to wander
about in this forest in the form of a bear till his death released me."

Then they went home, and Snow-White was married to the Prince, and
Rose-Red to his brother, with whom they shared the immense treasure
which the Dwarf had collected. The old Mother also lived for many years
happily with her two children; and the rose-trees which had stood
before the cottage were planted now before the palace, and produced
every year beautiful red and white roses.



HANSEL AND GRETHEL

BY THE BROTHERS GRIMM


Once upon a time there dwelt near a large wood a poor wood-cutter, with
his wife and two children by his former marriage, a little boy called
Hansel, and a girl named Grethel. He had little enough to break or
bite; and once, when there was a great famine in the land, he could not
procure even his daily bread; and as he lay thinking in his bed one
evening, rolling about for trouble, he sighed, and said to his wife,
"What will become of us? How can we feed our children, when we have no
more than we can eat ourselves?"

"Know, then, my husband," answered she, "we will lead them away, quite
early in the morning, into the thickest part of the wood, and there
make them a fire, and give them each a little piece of bread; then we
will go to our work, and leave them alone, so they will not find the
way home again, and we shall be freed from them." "No, wife," replied
he, "that I can never do;, how can you bring your heart to leave my
children all alone in the wood; for the wild beasts will soon come and
tear them to pieces?"

"Oh, you simpleton!" said she, "then we must all four die of hunger;
you had better plane the coffins for us." But she left him no peace
till he consented, saying, "Ah, but I shall regret the poor children."

The two children, however, had not gone to sleep for very hunger, and
so they overheard what the stepmother said to their father. Grethel
wept bitterly, and said to Hansel, "What will become of us?" "Be quiet,
Grethel," said he; "do not cry--I will soon help you." And as soon as
their parents had fallen asleep, he got up, put on his coat, and,
unbarring the back door, slipped out. The moon shone brightly, and the
white pebbles which lay before the door seemed like silver pieces, they
glittered so brightly. Hansel stooped down, and put as many into his
pocket as it would hold; and then going back he said to Grethel, "Be
comforted, dear sister, and sleep in peace; God will not forsake us."
And so saying, he went to bed again.

The next morning, before the sun arose, the wife went and awoke the two
children. "Get up, you lazy things; we are going into the forest to
chop wood." Then she gave them each a piece of bread, saying, "There is
something for your dinner; do not eat it before the time, for you will
get nothing else." Grethel took the bread in her apron, for Hansel's
pocket was full of pebbles; and so they all set out upon their way.
When they had gone a little distance, Hansel stood still, and peeped
back at the house; and this he repeated several times, till his father
said, "Hansel, what are you peeping at, and why do you lag behind? Take
care, and remember your legs."

"Ah, father," said Hansel, "I am looking at my white cat sitting upon
the roof of the house, and trying to say good-by." "You simpleton!"
said the wife, "that is not a cat; it is only the sun shining on the
white chimney." But in reality Hansel was not looking at a cat; but
every time he stopped, he dropped a pebble out of his pocket upon the
path.

 [Illustration: GRETHEL AND THE WITCH
 FROM A DRAWING BY MALCOLM PATTERSON]

When they came to the middle of the wood, the father told the children
to collect wood, and he would make them a fire, so that they should not
be cold. So Hansel and Grethel gathered together quite a little
mountain of twigs. Then they set fire to them; and as the flame burnt
up high, the wife said, "Now, you children, lie down near the fire, and
rest yourselves, whilst we go into the forest and chop wood; when we
are ready, I will come and call you."

Hansel and Grethel sat down by the fire, and when it was noon, each ate
the piece of bread; and because they could hear the blows of an axe
they thought their father was near; but it was not an axe, but a branch
which he had bound to a withered tree, so as to be blown to and fro by
the wind. They waited so long, that at last their eyes closed from
weariness, and they fell fast asleep. When they awoke, it was quite
dark, and Grethel began to cry, "How shall we get out of the wood?" But
Hansel tried to comfort her by saying, "Wait a little while till the
moon rises, and then we will quickly find the way." The moon soon shone
forth, and Hansel, taking his sister's hand, followed the pebbles,
which glittered like new-coined silver pieces, and showed them the
path. All night long they walked on, and as day broke they came to
their father's house. They knocked at the door, and when the wife
opened it, and saw Hansel and Grethel, she exclaimed, "You wicked
children! why did you sleep so long in the wood? We thought you were
never coming home again." But their father was very glad, for it had
grieved his heart to leave them all alone.

Not long afterward there was again great scarcity in every corner of
the land; and one night the children overheard their mother saying to
their father, "Everything is again consumed; we have only half a loaf
left, and then the song is ended: the children must be sent away. We
will take them deeper into the wood, so that they may not find the way
out again: it is the only means of escape for us."

But her husband felt heavy at heart, and thought, "It were better to
share the last crust with the children." His wife, however, would
listen to nothing that he said, and scolded and reproached him without
end.

He who says A must say B too; and he who consents the first time must
also the second.

The children, however, had heard the conversation as they lay awake,
and as soon as the old people went to sleep Hansel got up, intending to
pick up some pebbles as before; but the wife had locked the door, so
that he could not get out. Nevertheless he comforted Grethel, saying,
"Do not cry; sleep in quiet; the good God will not forsake us."

Early in the morning the stepmother came and pulled them out of bed,
and gave them each a slice of bread, which was still smaller than the
former piece. On the way, Hansel broke his in his pocket, and, stooping
every now and then, dropped a crumb upon the path. "Hansel, why do you
stop and look about?" said the father, "keep in the path." "I am
looking at my little dove," answered Hansel, "nodding a good-by to me."
"Simpleton!" said the wife, "that is no dove, but only the sun shining
on the chimney." But Hansel still kept dropping crumbs as he went
along.

The mother led the children deep into the wood, where they had never
been before, and there making an immense fire, she said to them, "Sit
down here and rest, and when you feel tired you can sleep for a little
while. We are going into the forest to hew wood, and in the evening,
when we are ready, we will come and fetch you."

When noon came Grethel shared her bread with Hansel, who had strewn his
on the path. Then they went to sleep; but the evening arrived and no
one came to visit the poor children, and in the dark night they awoke,
and Hansel comforted his sister by saying, "Only wait, Grethel, till
the moon comes out, then we shall see the crumbs of bread which I have
dropped, and they will show us the way home." The moon shone and they
got up, but they could not see any crumbs, for the thousands of birds
which had been flying about in the woods and fields had picked them all
up. Hansel kept saying to Grethel, "We will soon find the way;" but
they did not, and they walked the whole night long and the next day,
but still they did not come out of the wood; and they got so hungry,
for they had nothing to eat but the berries which they found upon the
bushes. Soon they got so tired that they could not drag themselves
along, so they lay down under a tree and went to sleep.

It was now the third morning since they had left their father's house,
and they still walked on; but they only got deeper and deeper into the
wood, and Hansel saw that if help did not come very soon they would die
of hunger. As soon as it was noon they saw a beautiful snow-white bird
sitting upon a bough, which sang so sweetly that they stood still and
listened to it. It soon left off, and spreading its wings flew off; and
they followed it until it arrived at a cottage, upon the roof of which
it perched; and when they went close up to it they saw that the cottage
was made of bread and cakes, and the window-panes were of clear sugar.

"We will go in here," said Hansel, "and have a glorious feast. I will
eat a piece of the roof, and you can eat the window. Will they not be
sweet?" So Hansel reached up and broke a piece off the roof, in order
to see how it tasted; while Grethel stepped up to the window and began
to bite it. Then a sweet voice called out in the room, "Tip-tap,
tip-tap, who raps at my door?" and the children answered, "The wind,
the wind, the child of heaven;" and they went on eating without
interruption. Hansel thought the roof tasted very nice, and so he tore
off a great piece; while Grethel broke a large round pane out of the
window, and sat down quite contentedly. Just then the door opened, and
a very old woman, walking upon crutches, came out. Hansel and Grethel
were so frightened that they let fall what they had in their hands; but
the old woman, nodding her head, said "Ah, you dear children, what has
brought you here? Come in and stop with me, and no harm shall befall
you;" and so saying she led them into her cottage. A good meal of milk
and pancakes, with sugar, apples, and nuts was spread on the table, and
in the back room were two nice little beds, covered with white, where
Hansel and Grethel laid themselves down, and thought themselves in
heaven. The old woman behaved very kindly to them, but in reality she
was a wicked witch who waylaid children and built the breadhouse in
order to entice them in; but as soon as they were in her power she
killed them, cooked and ate them, and made a great festival of the day.
Witches have red eyes, and cannot see very far; but they have a fine
sense of smelling, like wild beasts, so that they know when children
approach them. When Hansel and Grethel came near the witch's house she
laughed wickedly, saying, "Here come two who shall not escape me." And
early in the morning, before they awoke, she went up to them, and saw
how lovingly they lay sleeping, with their chubby red cheeks; and she
mumbled to herself, "That will be a good bite." Then she took up
Hansel with her rough hand, and shut him up in a little cage with a
lattice-door; and although he screamed loudly it was of no use. Grethel
came next, and, shaking her till she awoke, she said, "Get up, you lazy
thing, and fetch some water to cook something good for your brother,
who must remain in that stall and get fat; when he is fat enough I
shall eat him." Grethel began to cry, but it was all useless, for the
old witch made her do as she wished. So a nice meal was cooked for
Hansel, but Grethel got nothing else but a crab's claw.

Every morning the old witch came to the cage and said, "Hansel, stretch
out your finger that I may feel whether you are getting fat." But
Hansel used to stretch out a bone, and the old woman, having very bad
sight, thought it was his finger, and wondered very much that he did
not get more fat. When four weeks had passed, and Hansel still kept
quite lean, she lost all her patience, and would not wait any longer.
"Grethel," she called out in a passion, "get some water quickly; be
Hansel fat or lean, this morning I will kill and cook him." Oh, how the
poor little sister grieved, as she was forced to fetch the water, and
fast the tears ran down her cheeks! "Dear good God, help us now!" she
exclaimed. "Had we only been eaten by the wild beasts in the wood, then
we should have died together." But the old witch called out, "Leave off
that noise; it will not help you a bit."

So early in the morning Grethel was forced to go out and fill the
kettle, and make a fire. "First, we will bake, however," said the old
woman; "I have already heated the oven and kneaded the dough;" and so
saying, she pushed poor Grethel up to the oven, out of which the flames
were burning fiercely. "Creep in," said the witch, "and see if it is
hot enough, and then we will put in the bread;" but she intended when
Grethel got in to shut up the oven and let her bake, so that she might
eat her as well as Hansel. Grethel perceived what her thoughts were,
and said, "I do not know how to do it; how shall I get in?" "You stupid
goose," said she, "the opening is big enough. See, I could even get in
myself!" and she got up, and put her head into the oven. Then Grethel
gave her a push, so that she fell right in, and then shutting the iron
door she bolted it. Oh! how horribly she howled; but Grethel ran away,
and left the ungodly witch to burn to ashes.

 [Illustration: "SHE LED THEM INTO HER COTTAGE"]

Now she ran to Hansel, and, opening his door, called out, "Hansel, we
are saved; the old witch is dead." So he sprang out, like a bird out of
his cage when the door is opened; and they were so glad that they fell
upon each other's neck, and kissed each other over and over again. And
now, as there was nothing to fear, they went into the witch's house,
where in every corner were caskets full of pearls and precious stones.
"These are better than pebbles," said Hansel, putting as many into his
pocket as it would hold; while Grethel thought, "I will take some home
too," and filled her apron full. "We must be off now," said Hansel,
"and get out of this enchanted forest;" but when they had walked for
two hours they came to a large piece of water. "We cannot get over,"
said Hansel; "I can see no bridge at all." "And there is no boat
either," said Grethel, "but there swims a white duck, I will ask her
to help us over;" and she sang:

    "Little Duck, good little duck,
      Grethel and Hansel, here we stand;
    There is neither stile nor bridge,
      Take us on your back to land."

So the Duck came to them, and Hansel sat himself on, and bade his
sister sit behind him. "No," answered Grethel, "that will be too much
for the Duck, she shall take us over one at a time." This the good
little bird did, and when both were happily arrived on the other side,
and had gone a little way, they came to a well-known wood, which they
knew the better every step they went, and at last they perceived their
father's house. Then they began to run, and, bursting into the house,
they fell on their father's neck. He had not had one happy hour since
he had left the children in the forest: and his wife was dead. Grethel
shook her apron, and the pearls and precious stones rolled out upon the
floor, and Hansel threw down one handful after the other out of his
pocket. Then all their sorrows were ended, and they lived in happiness.

My tale is done. There runs a mouse; whoever catches her may make a
great, great cap out of her fur.

 [Illustration: Reproduced by special permission of the Artist
 TWINS
 FROM A PAINTING BY JOSEPH T. PEARSON, JR.]



 [Illustration: STORIES BY FAVORITE AMERICAN WRITERS]



THE FLAG-BEARER

BY CAROLYN SHERWIN BAILEY


The primary class had a very beautiful American flag, and some child
was going to carry it from the schoolroom across the park and into the
Town Hall on the holiday. All the primary children would march after
the flag, and they were going to sing "America" and "The Star Spangled
Banner." It would be a wonderful day and each child wanted to carry the
flag.

No one was sure who would be chosen as flag-bearer, but their teacher
had said the week before: "It will be the child who loves his country
the most who will carry the Stars and Stripes. Try and do something for
your country during the week."

So the children had been very busy ever since doing all sorts of things
that would show how they loved their country.

Marjory had been knitting for soldiers. Her grandmother had given her
a pair of pretty yellow needles and a ball of soft gray yarn and had
started a scarf. But the stitches would drop, and there was still
enough snow for sliding on the hill back of Marjory's house. Her
knitting was not much further along on Saturday than on Monday.

"I will show how much I love my country," Hubert said, and he asked his
mother to take the gilt buttons from his great-grandfather's soldier
coat that hung in the attic and sew them on his reefer. Then he showed
the bright buttons to all the other children, and they thought that
Hubert looked very fine indeed.

"I shall wear them when I carry the flag next week," Hubert told them.

But the children thought that perhaps Roger would be chosen as
flag-bearer because he bought such a large flag with the money in his
bank, and put it up on the flagpole in his front yard. Roger's father
helped him raise the flag on a rope so that he could pull it down at
night, but once the Stars and Stripes were flying Roger forgot all
about them. His flag stayed out in the wind and sleet, and its bright
colors faded and the stripes were torn.

After all, the children decided, it would be Edward who would carry the
flag. Edward had a dog named Trusty, and he decided to train him to be
a Red Cross dog. He put a white band with a red cross on it around
Trusty and harnessed him to a little express wagon to carry bundles.
Trusty had never worn a harness in his life, or been fastened to
anything. He tried to get away from the wagon, but Edward strapped the
harness more tightly. The straps hurt Trusty, and it hurt his feelings
to be made to drag the cart; but Edward drove him to and from the
drug-store and the grocery and the butcher's, carrying the parcels that
Edward had always brought alone before.

The other children, too, all tried to do unusual things to win
themselves the place of flag-bearer. They played their drums in the
street and made soldier caps and wooden swords and drilled. The little
girls dressed up and played army nurse with their dolls. The boys
bought toy soldiers and horns at the toy shop. There was a great deal
of noise everywhere.

Then it was the holiday, and everyone was greatly excited over what
was going to happen. Whoever had a red ribbon, or a blue necktie, or a
red-white-and-blue badge felt very proud indeed to wear it. Every child
sat as still as a mouse as the teacher spoke to them.

"Marjory showed me five rows that she had knitted for a soldier when I
went to her house a few days ago," she said. "I wonder how many rows
she has finished now?"

"Only five," Marjory said softly.

Hubert touched the buttons on his reefer and sat up very straight in
his place.

"I am wearing my great-grandfather's soldier buttons," he said.

"That ought to make you feel as brave as he was, when he earned the
right to wear them in battle," the teacher said; and Hubert suddenly
thought that gilt buttons had not made him into a soldier at all.

The other children began to think, too, as they looked up at the Stars
and Stripes at the end of the room. Edward remembered how the harness
had hurt Trusty, and the boy with the drum remembered how he had
awakened the baby from her nap. Roger thought of his torn flag, flapping
in the wind on the top of the flagpole. No one said anything until the
teacher looked at the end of the class and smiled, and said:

"Well, Peter!"

Peter smiled back, and tried to cover up the holes in his jacket
sleeves, and tucked his old shoes under the seat. Peter's father had
gone to be a soldier, and there were his mother, and the two babies,
and his grandfather who was blind, at home.

"What have you been doing all the week, Peter?" the teacher asked.

"Tending the babies so that mother could go to the factory and sew the
soldiers' uniforms," Peter said. "And leading grandfather out for a
walk when it was a sunny day."

"Peter's got a little flag hanging out of the window," one of the
children said, "and he's so careful of it. He takes it in every night
and puts it out again in the morning."

"He saluted the flag and took off his hat to it when the parade went by
the other day," said another child. Everyone loved merry, ragged Peter,
who could play so gayly when he had time for a game.

Just then they heard the band outside. It was playing, "The Red, White
and Blue," the music to which the children were to march with the flag.

"Who shall be our flag-bearer?" the teacher asked.

The children knew now. They were quite sure.

"Peter!" they said.

So Peter carried the Stars and Stripes across the park and into the
Town Hall, with all the primary children marching like soldiers behind.
The wind blew it around him like a cloak to cover up the holes in his
jacket sleeves and his old shoes. Wherever he looked he could see the
colors; the sky was as blue as the field in the flag, a few snow stars
lay on the ground and the first robin redbreast sang on a branch over
his head. And the children following Peter knew what the colors told
them to do for their country--to be brave, and good, and true at home.



JOHNNY CHUCK FINDS THE BEST THING IN THE WORLD[A]

BY THORNTON W. BURGESS


Old Mother West Wind had stopped to talk with the Slender Fir Tree.

"I've just come across the Green Meadows," said Old Mother West Wind,
"and there I saw the Best Thing in the World."

Striped Chipmunk was sitting under the Slender Fir Tree, and he
couldn't help hearing what Old Mother West Wind said. "The Best Thing
in the World--now what can that be?" thought Striped Chipmunk. "Why, it
must be heaps and heaps of nuts and acorns! I'll go and find it."

So Striped Chipmunk started down the Lone Little Path through the wood
as fast as he could run. Pretty soon he met Peter Rabbit.

"Where are you going in such a hurry, Striped Chipmunk?" asked Peter
Rabbit.

"Down in the Green Meadows to find the Best Thing in the World,"
replied Striped Chipmunk, and ran faster.

"The Best Thing in the World," said Peter Rabbit, "why, that must be a
great pile of carrots and cabbage! I think I'll go and find it."

So Peter Rabbit started down the Lone Little Path through the wood as
fast as he could go after Striped Chipmunk.

As they passed the great hollow tree Bobby Coon put his head out.
"Where are you going in such a hurry?" asked Bobby Coon.

"Down in the Green Meadows to find the Best Thing in the World!"
shouted Striped Chipmunk and Peter Rabbit, and both began to run
faster.

"The Best Thing in the World," said Bobby Coon to himself; "why, that
must be a whole field of sweet milky corn. I think I'll go and find
it."

So Bobby Coon climbed down out of the great hollow tree and started
down the Lone Little Path through the wood as fast as he could go after
Striped Chipmunk and Peter Rabbit, for there is nothing that Bobby
Coon likes to eat so well as sweet milky corn.

At the edge of the wood they met Jimmy Skunk.

"Where are you going in such a hurry?" asked Jimmy Skunk.

"Down in the Green Meadows to find the Best Thing in the World!"
shouted Striped Chipmunk, and Peter Rabbit, and Bobby Coon. Then they
all tried to run faster.

"The Best Thing in the World," said Jimmy Skunk. "Why, that must be
packs and packs of beetles!" And for once in his life Jimmy Skunk began
to hurry down the Lone Little Path after Striped Chipmunk, and Peter
Rabbit, and Bobby Coon.

They were all running so fast that they didn't see Reddy Fox until he
jumped out of the long grass and asked:

"Where are you going in such a hurry?"

"To find the Best Thing in the World!" shouted Striped Chipmunk, and
Peter Rabbit, and Bobby Coon, and Jimmy Skunk, and each did his best to
run faster.

"The Best Thing in the World," said Reddy Fox to himself, "why, that
must be a whole pen full of tender young chickens, and I must have
them."

So away went Reddy Fox as fast as he could run down the Lone Little
Path after Striped Chipmunk, Peter Rabbit, Bobby Coon, and Jimmy Skunk.

By-and-by they all came to the house of Johnny Chuck.

"Where are you going in such a hurry?" asked Johnny Chuck.

"To find the Best Thing in the World," shouted Striped Chipmunk, and
Peter Rabbit, and Bobby Coon, and Jimmy Skunk, and Reddy Fox.

"The Best Thing in the World," said Johnny Chuck. "Why, I don't know of
anything better than my own little home, and the warm sunshine, and the
beautiful blue sky."

So Johnny Chuck stayed at home and played all day among the flowers
with the Merry Little Breezes of Old Mother West Wind, and was as happy
as could be.

But all day long Striped Chipmunk, and Peter Rabbit, and Reddy Fox, and
Bobby Coon, and Jimmy Skunk, ran this way and ran that way over the
Green Meadows trying to find the Best Thing in the World. The sun was
very, very warm, and they ran so far and ran so fast that they were
very, very hot and tired, and still they hadn't found the Best Thing in
the World.

When the long day was over they started up the Lone Little Path past
Johnny Chuck's house to their own homes. They didn't hurry now, for
they were so very, very tired! And they were cross--oh, so cross!

Striped Chipmunk hadn't found so much as the leaf of a cabbage. Bobby
Coon hadn't found the tiniest bit of sweet milky corn. Jimmy Skunk
hadn't seen a single beetle. Reddy Fox hadn't heard so much as the peep
of a chicken. And all were hungry as hungry could be.

Half way up the Lone Little Path they met Old Mother West Wind going to
her home behind the hill. "Did you find the Best Thing in the World?"
asked Old Mother West Wind.

"No!" shouted Striped Chipmunk, and Peter Rabbit, and Bobby Coon, and
Jimmy Skunk, and Reddy Fox, all together.

"Johnny Chuck has it," said Old Mother West Wind. "It is being happy
with the things you have, and not wanting things which some one else
has. And it is called Con-tent-ment."

 [A] From "Old Mother West Wind," by Thornton W. Burgess; used
 by permission of the author and the publishers, Little, Brown &
 Company.



LITTLE WEE PUMPKIN'S THANKSGIVING[B]

BY MADGE A. BINGHAM


It was the night before Thanksgiving in Peter Pumpkin-eater's garden.
Great Big Pumpkin, Middle-Sized Pumpkin, and Little Wee Pumpkin were
speaking together.

"All here?" asked Great Big Pumpkin.

"I'm here," answered Middle-Sized Pumpkin.

"I'm here," answered Little Wee Pumpkin. "But I heard Peter say that he
would pull us to-morrow and send us away."

"That will be fine!" said Great Big Pumpkin. "I hope we shall make good
pies for some one's dinner. I wish we could go to the palace."

"So do I," said Middle-Sized Pumpkin. "Maybe we could see the King."

"I should like to see Cinderella," said Little Wee Pumpkin. "But I am
not large enough to go to the palace. Still, I wish I could make some
one glad on Thanksgiving Day."

Little Wee Pumpkin was the first to wake in the morning. Peter had
opened the garden gate, and Cinderella was walking into the garden.

Little Wee Pumpkin opened her eyes and listened.

Cinderella was beautiful, and Little Wee Pumpkin knew that she was
good and kind. She was carrying a basket full of yellow flowers.

"They are for you, Peter," she said, laughing. "I have brought them
from the palace garden. They are for your Thanksgiving.

"Now you must help me find the right pumpkin for a jack-o'-lantern. It
is to make a little girl glad. She has been ill a long time, and must
have a jack-o'-lantern for Thanksgiving."

"Yes, my lady," said Peter; and they went from vine to vine.

First, they stopped at Great Big Pumpkin, but that was too large. Then
they stopped at Middle-Sized Pumpkin, but that was too flat. Then they
stopped at Little Wee Pumpkin, and that was just right.

"This is the pumpkin for the jack-o'-lantern, Peter," she said,
pointing to Little Wee Pumpkin. "This will make the little girl glad."

"Yes, my lady," said Peter, as he pulled Little Wee Pumpkin from the
vine.

"The two large pumpkins shall go to the palace, to the King," said
Cinderella. "They will make fine pies for his Thanksgiving dinner."

"Yes, my lady," said Peter, as he pulled the two pumpkins from the
vines.

So Great Big, Middle-Sized, and Little Wee all had their wishes.

 [B] From "Mother Goose Village," by Madge A. Bingham,
 published by Rand, McNally & Company, and used by special arrangement.



THE COMING OF THE KING[C]

BY LAURA E. RICHARDS


Some children were at play in their playground one day when a herald
rode through the town, blowing a trumpet, and crying aloud: "The King!
The King passes by this road to-day!"

"Did you hear that?" they said. "The King is coming. He may look over
the wall and see our playground: who knows? We must put it in order."

The playground was sadly dirty, and in the corners were scraps of paper
and broken toys--for these were careless children! But now, one brought
a hoe, and another a rake, and a third ran to fetch the wheelbarrow
from behind the garden gate. They labored hard, till at length all was
clean and tidy.

"Now it is clean!" they said; "but we must make it pretty, too, for
kings are used to fine things; maybe he would not notice mere
cleanness, for he may have it all the time."

Then one brought sweet rushes and strewed them on the ground; and
others made garlands of oak leaves and pine tassels and hung them on
the walls; and the littlest one pulled marigold buds and threw them all
about the playground.

When all was done the playground was so beautiful that the children
stood and looked at it, and clapped their hands with pleasure.

"Let us keep it always like this!" said the littlest one; and the
others cried: "Yes! yes!"

They waited all day for the coming of the King, but he did not come;
only, toward sunset, a man with travel-worn clothes, and a kind, tired
face passed along the road, and stopped to look over the wall.

"What a pleasant place!" said the man. "May I come in and rest, dear
children?"

The children brought him in gladly, and set him on the seat that they
had made out of an old cask. They had covered it with an old red cloak,
to make it look like a throne; and it made a very good one.

"It is our playground!" they said. "We made it pretty for the King, but
he did not come, and now we mean to keep it so for ourselves."

"That is good!" said the man.

"Because we think pretty and clean is nicer than ugly and dirty!" said
another.

"That is better!" said the man.

"And for tired people to rest in!" said the littlest one.

"That is best of all!" said the man.

He sat and rested, and looked at the children with such kind eyes that
they came about him, and told him all they knew; about the five puppies
in the barn, and the thrush's nest with four blue eggs, and the shore
where the gold shells grew: and the man nodded, and understood all
about it.

By-and-by he asked for a cup of water, and they brought it to him in
the best cup, with the gold sprigs on it, then he thanked the children,
and rose and went on his way; but before he went he laid his hand on
their heads for a moment, and the touch went warm to their hearts.

The children stood by the wall and watched the man as he went slowly
along. The sun was setting, and the light fell in long slanting rays
across the road.

"He looks so tired!" said one of the children.

"But he was so kind!" said another.

"See!" said the littlest one. "How the sun shines on his hair! it looks
like a crown of gold."

 [C] From "The Golden Windows," by Laura E. Richards; published
 by Little, Brown & Company, Boston. Used by permission of the
 publishers.

 [Illustration: The Coming of the King]



THE LITTLE PIG[D]

BY MAUD LINDSAY


Once upon a time a little black-and-white pig with a curly tail went
out to take a morning walk. He intended to go to the Mud Puddle, but
before he got there he came to a garden gate that was stretched wide
open.

"Umph, umph," said the little pig, when he saw it; "isn't this fine? I
have wanted to get into this garden ever since I can remember." And in
he went as fast as his four short legs could carry him.

The garden was full of flowers. There were pansies, and daisies, and
violets, and honeysuckles, and all the bright flowers that you can
name. Everything was in the proper place. There were tulips on either
side of the garden walk, and hollyhocks stood in a straight row against
the fence. The pansies had a garden bed all to themselves, and the
young vines were just beginning to climb up on the frame that the
gardener had made for their special benefit.

"Umph, umph, nice place," said the little pig; and he put his nose down
in the pansy bed and began to root up the pansies, for he thought that
was the way to behave in a garden.

While he was enjoying himself there the brown hen came down the road
with her family. She had thirteen children, and she was looking for a
nice rich spot where they might scratch for their breakfast. When she
saw the open gate she was delighted.

"Cluck, cluck, come on," she said to her chicks.

"Peep, peep, peep," said the little chickens, "is it a worm?"

"It is a beautiful garden, and there is nothing that I like better than
to scratch in a garden," answered the hen, as she bustled through the
gate. The chickens followed her, and soon they were all busy scratching
among the violets.

They had not been there very long when the red cow walked by the
garden. She was on her way to the Pond, but when she saw the open
garden gate she decided at once to go in.

"Moo, moo," she said, "this is delightful. Tender flowers are such a
treat." And she swished her tail over her back as she nipped the
daisies from their stems.

"Cluck," said the hen, "Peep," said the chicks, "Umph," said the little
pig, for they were pleased to have company. While they were talking a
rabbit with very bright eyes peeped in at the gate.

"Oh, is it a party?" he said when he saw the red cow, and the pig with
a curly tail, and the hen and chickens.

"Come in," said the pig, "and help yourself. There is plenty of room."
So the rabbit hopped into the garden and nibbled the green leaves and
the young vines.

"How many of us are here?" asked the red cow, but before any of them
could count, the gardener came home.

When _he_ looked into the garden he began to cry: "Oh, my pretty
pansies! my dear daisies! my sweet violets! my tender young vines!"

"What is he talking about?" said the chickens.

"I suppose he wants us to go out," answered the hen; and she ruffled
her feathers and quarreled as the gardener came hurrying toward them.

Then the cow ran one way and the pig ran another. The little chickens
got lost in the bushes, and the rabbit hid in the vines. The hen
cackled, and the pig squealed, and the gardener scolded. By the time
he had driven them all out of the garden the sun was high in the sky.

"Umph, umph," cried the little pig, as he scampered down the road, "we
will all come back to-morrow."

But when they went back the next day the garden gate was fastened
close, and not even the smallest chicken could get inside.

 [D] From "More Winter Stories," by Maud Lindsay; used by
 permission of the publishers, Milton Bradley Company, Springfield,
 Mass.



THE TRAVELS OF THE LITTLE TOY SOLDIER

BY CAROLYN SHERWIN BAILEY


He was the largest and the best dressed and the bravest looking of all
the toy soldiers in the toy shop. Some of the toy soldiers were made of
paper, and these tore easily if they even tried to drill. Some of the
toy soldiers were made of tin, and these bent if they had an encounter.

But this toy soldier, who stood head and shoulders above the others,
was made of wood. He had once been part of a great pine tree that stood
in the forest, and his heart was as brave and true as the heart of the
tree.

His trousers were painted green, with yellow stripes; and his jacket
was painted red, with gold buttons. He wore a painted blue cap upon the
side of his head, with a band that went under his chin, and he carried
a wooden gun in one arm. He could stand alone, for his wooden legs were
glued to a block of wood, and his eyes were black and shining, and his
mouth was painted in a smile.

When the Toy Soldier went from the toy shop to live in Gregory's house
the little boy thought that he had never seen such a fine soldier in
his life. He made him captain of all the soldier ninepins and guard of
the toy train, and he took him to bed with him at night. Then, one day,
James, who lived next door and was Gregory's neighbor, came over to
play with Gregory.

"What a nice Toy Soldier!" James said.

"Yes, he's mine," Gregory said.

"May I play with him?" James asked.

"No, I said he was my Toy Soldier," Gregory answered.

"Then I'll take him," James said.

"I won't let you," Gregory said.

Then the two little boys began pulling the Toy Soldier to see which
could get him away from the other, and the Toy Soldier did not like it
at all. He was fond of a good battle, but not of a quarrel. He decided
that he would not stay in a house where there was a quarrelsome boy,
and so he tumbled out of a window that was close by and fell, down,
down, to the street below.

The Toy Soldier had not lain long on the sidewalk when Harold passed by
and picked him up.

"I wanted a toy soldier and here is the finest one I ever saw," Harold
said; and he slipped the soldier inside his coat and started on, for he
was going to school. The Toy Soldier lay close to Harold's watch that
was tick, tick, ticking the time away, but Harold loitered, and at last
he stopped to play a game of marbles with another little boy whom he
met. "I don't care if I am late for school," he said.

"Oho!" thought the Toy Soldier, and as the two little boys played he
dropped out from under Harold's coat and into the gutter. When Harold
reached school, late, the Toy Soldier was gone.

Joe found the Toy Soldier in the gutter and ran home with him to his
mother.

"I have a Toy Soldier!" he said.

"How brave he looks," said Joe's mother.

All the rest of the day the Toy Soldier went about with Joe and
listened to what he said and watched what he did.

"I can't go to the grocer's; I'm afraid of his dog."

"I can't put in that nail. I am afraid that the hammer will slip and
hit my finger." This was what the Toy Soldier heard.

Then it was Joe's bedtime, and the Toy Soldier went upstairs with him
to bed, but Joe cried all the way.

"I'm afraid of the dark!" he said.

When Joe was asleep the Toy Soldier slipped out of his hand and fell
into a scrap basket. He knew very well that he couldn't stay with a
child who was a coward.

No one saw the Toy Soldier when the basket was emptied in the morning.
He went with the scraps into a huge bag, and then into a wagon, and
then into a factory where men sorted the cloth to make it into paper.
One of these men found the Toy Soldier and took him home to his little
boy, who was lame and had to stay alone all day.

"Has it been a good day, John?" his father asked.

"Oh, yes!" laughed John as he hugged the Toy Soldier.

"You have my supper ready just in time," his father said, watching the
soup bubbling in a shining pot on the stove.

"And I cleaned a little and set the table," John said.

"Has your back hurt you very much to-day?" asked his father.

"A little, but I don't mind that," John said. "See how fine the Toy
Soldier looks standing on the table!"

"Oho!" thought the Toy Soldier, "now I have found a place where I can
stay. Here is another soldier, cheerful and willing to work, and
brave!"



WHAT HAPPENED TO DUMPS

BY CAROLYN SHERWIN BAILEY


Once upon a time there was a queer little elf named Dumps, who lived
all by himself in a dark little house down in a valley. Ever since he
could remember, things had gone wrong with him.

He shivered in the cold and kicked the coal bucket when the fire
wouldn't burn. He howled when he stumbled over his own dinner pots that
he had left in the middle of the floor; and he stood in his front door
and scowled when other happy elves went by without speaking to him.

He and his family had lived like that for years. When any elf wanted to
describe something very sad he would say it was "Down in the Dumps."
And so Dumps went on without a single happy day.

But suddenly the elves decided to give a party. Oh, it was going to be
a very jolly party indeed, and Dumps heard about it. Almost every elf
who passed was whistling, or singing something cheerful. And some of
them carried their best green suits to the Wood Fairy's house to be
pressed. And when Dumps heard about the party, he cried so loud because
he knew he wouldn't be invited that the Wood Fairy heard him. The noise
disturbed her, and she went down to Dumps' house to see what was the
matter with him _now_.

"Tell me all about it, from the beginning, my dear," she said to poor
little Dumps.

"I can't see the sunshine!" Dumps howled.

"Of course, you can't," said the Wood Fairy. "Your windows are dirty.
Get some nice spring water in your little pail and wash them."

Dumps had never thought of doing that. When he washed the windows the
sunbeams streamed in like a golden ladder.

"Is there something else the matter?" the Wood Fairy asked.

"My fire won't burn, even though I kick the coal bucket every day,"
Dumps sobbed.

"Well, try blowing the fire," the Wood Fairy suggested.

Dumps had never thought of doing that. His bellows were stiff, but he
blew them very hard, and--crackle--there was a nice bright fire, and
his kettle began to sing!

"Is that all?" asked the Wood Fairy.

"Oh, no!" Dumps sighed, "The other elves are giving a party, and I'm
not invited."

"It is for all the elves, and you don't have to be invited," the Wood
Fairy said. "Stand up straight and let me brush your suit. Now run
along, my dear."

So Dumps started up the hill to the party, laughing all the way, for he
just couldn't help it. You see, he had so many years of being one of
the Dumps to make up for! He laughed until all his wrinkles were gone,
and he was puffed out with happiness. He started bees buzzing, and
grasshoppers fiddling, and crickets chirping.

"Who can this new, fat, cheerful elf be?" asked all the other elves,
as Dumps arrived at the party, turning a double-somersault into their
midst. "We are all here except Dumps, and of course this isn't he?"

Then Dumps showed them how he could turn back-somersaults, and make a
see-saw out of a rush leaf. He taught them how to play baseball with
white clover heads, and how to make a swing of braided grasses. He
surprised himself with all the good times he was able to think up.

"Of course, this isn't Dumps," the other elves decided. "His name must
be Delight." And Dumps never told them their mistake, for it wasn't
really a mistake at all. Now, was it?

 [Illustration]



THE WRECK OF THE HESPERUS

BY HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW


    It was the schooner Hesperus,
      That sailed the wintry sea;
    And the skipper had taken his little daughter,
      To bear him company.

    Blue were her eyes as the fairy-flax,
      Her cheeks like the dawn of day,
    And her bosom white as the hawthorn buds,
      That ope in the month of May.

    The skipper he stood beside the helm,
      His pipe was in his mouth;
    And he watched how the veering flaw did blow
      The smoke now west, now south.

    Then up and spake an old Sailor,
      Had sailed to the Spanish Main:
    "I pray thee, put into yonder port,
      For I fear a hurricane.

    "Last night, the moon had a golden ring,
      And to-night no moon we see!"
    The skipper, he blew a whiff from his pipe,
      And a scornful laugh laughed he.

    Colder and louder blew the wind,
      A gale from the northeast,
    The snow fell hissing in the brine,
      And the billows frothed like yeast.

    Down came the storm, and smote amain,
      The vessel in its strength;
    She shuddered and paused, like a frighted steed,
      Then leaped her cable's length.

    "Come hither! come hither! my little daughter,
      And do not tremble so;
    For I can weather the roughest gale,
      That ever wind did blow."

    He wrapped her warm in his seaman's coat
      Against the stinging blast;
    He cut a rope from a broken spar,
      And bound her to the mast.

    "O father! I hear the church-bells ring,
      Oh say, what may it be?"
    "'Tis a fog-bell on a rock-bound coast!"--
      And he steered for the open sea.

    "O father! I hear the sound of guns.
      Oh say, what may it be?"
    "Some ship in distress, that cannot live
      In such an angry sea!"

    "O father! I see a gleaming light.
      Oh say, what may it be?"
    But the father answered never a word,
      A frozen corpse was he.

    Lashed to the helm, all stiff and stark,
      With his face turned to the skies,
    The lantern gleamed through the gleaming snow
      On his fixed and glassy eyes.

    Then the maiden clasped her hands and prayed
      That saved she might be;
    And she thought of Christ, who stilled the wave,
      On the Lake of Galilee.

    And fast through the midnight dark and drear,
      Through the whistling sleet and snow,
    Like a sheeted ghost, the vessel swept
      Toward the reef of Norman's Woe.

    And ever the fitful gusts between
      A sound came from the land;
    It was the sound of the trampling surf,
      On the rocks and the hard sea-sand.

    The breakers were right beneath her bows,
      She drifted a dreary wreck,
    And a whooping billow swept the crew
      Like icicles from her deck.

    She struck where the white and fleecy waves
      Looked soft as carded wool,
    But the cruel rocks, they gored her side
      Like the horns of an angry bull.

    Her rattling shrouds, all sheathed in ice,
      With the masts went by the board;
    Like a vessel of glass, she stove and sank,
      Ho! ho! the breakers roared!

    At daybreak, on the bleak sea-beach,
      A fisherman stood aghast,
    To see the form of a maiden fair,
      Lashed close to a drifting mast.

    The salt sea was frozen on her breast,
      The salt tears in her eyes;
    And he saw her hair, like the brown seaweed,
      On the billows fall and rise.

    Such was the wreck of the Hesperus,
      In the midnight and the snow!
    Christ save us all from a death like this,
      On the reef of Norman's Woe.



 [Illustration: Ballad of the Little Page]

BY ABBIE FARWELL BROWN


    It was a little, little page,
      Was brought from far away,
    To bear the great queen's velvet train
      Upon her bridal day.

    His yellow curls were long and bright,
      His page's suit was blue,
    With golden clasps at neck and knee,
      And ruffles fair and new.

    And faith, he was the smallest page
      The court had ever known:
    His head scarce reached the topmost step
      That led up to the throne.

    And oh, 't was but a little lad
      Had never been before
    So many leagues from kin and friends,
      And from his father's door!

    And oh!--'t was but a little child
      Who never yet, I wis,
    Had stolen lonely to his bed
      Without his mother's kiss.

    He had not seen the noble queen,
      Of whom his heart had fear;
    He knew no friend at court to give
      A welcome and good cheer.

    It was the busy night before
      The great queen's wedding-day,
    And all was bustle, haste, and noise,
      And every one was gay;

    And each one had his task to do,
      And none had time to spare
    To tend a weeping little page
      Whose mother was not there.

    Far in a big and gloomy room
      Within the castle keep,
    The little page lay all alone,
      And wept, and could not sleep.

    The little page lay all alone,
      And hid his head and cried,
    Until it seemed his aching heart
      Would burst his little side.

    The chamber door was set ajar,
      And one was passing by
    Who heard the little page's sobs
      And then his piteous cry.

    Then some one lifted up the latch
      And pushed the heavy door,
    And then a lady entered in
      And crossed the chamber floor--

    A lady tall and sweet and fair,
      In bridal white who stepped;
    She stood beside the page's bed,
      And asked him why he wept.

 [Illustration: "--AND NONE HAD TIME TO SPARE TO TEND A LITTLE WEEPING
 PAGE"]

 [Illustration: "HE TREMBLED AND LOOKED DOWN"]

    And then he sobbed about a "kiss,"
      His "mother," and his "home,"
    And wished the queen had called no page,
     And wished he had not come;

    For she was "such a proud, great queen"
      He was afraid, he said;
    And he was "lost and lonely" there
      In that huge, gloomy bed.

    And then the lady bent her down
      And kissed him on the lips,
    And smoothed his yellow, silken curls
      With tender finger-tips.

    The tears stood in her gentle eyes;
      "Poor little lad!" she said,
    And cuddled him up in her arms
      And knelt down by the bed.

    And so she held him, close and warm,
      And sang him off to sleep,
    While at her nod her waiting-maids
      A silent watch did keep.

    And when the morning smiled again
      The little page awoke.
    They clad him in a suit of white,
      With velvet cap and cloak,

    And crystal buckles on his shoes,
      And led him to the queen,
    All lovely in her bridal gear,
     The fairest ever seen.

    And he was such a tiny page,
      He trembled and looked down,
    For he was sore afraid to see
      The great queen sternly frown.

    But lo! he heard a soft voice say,
      "O little page, look here!
    Am I, who sing to sleep so well,
      A queen for child to fear?"

    He raised his eyes, and lo! the bride
      Looked on the page and smiled,
    And then he knew the queen had played
      At nurse-maid for a child.

    And well he graced the wedding-feast
      And bore her velvet train,
    And at his dear queen's side thenceforth
      Was never sad again.

 [Illustration]



THE SNOW-IMAGE

BY NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE


One afternoon of a cold winter's day, when the sun shone forth with
chilly brightness, after a long storm, two children asked leave of
their mother to run out and play in the new-fallen snow.

The elder child was a little girl, whom, because she was of a tender
and modest disposition, and was thought to be very beautiful, her
parents and other people who were familiar with her used to call
Violet.

But her brother was known by the title of Peony, on account of the
ruddiness of his broad and round little phiz, which made everybody
think of sunshine and great scarlet flowers.

"Yes, Violet--yes, my little Peony," said their kind mother; "you may
go and play in the snow."

Forth sallied the two children, with a hop-skip-and-jump that carried
them at once into the very heart of a huge snowdrift, whence Violet
emerged like a snow bunting, while little Peony floundered out with his
round face in full bloom.

Then what a merry time had they! To look at them frolicking in the
wintry garden, you would have thought that the dark and pitiless storm
had been sent for no other purpose but to provide a new plaything for
Violet and Peony; and that they themselves had been created, as the
snowbirds were, to take delight only in the tempest and in the white
mantle which it spread over the earth.

At last, when they had frosted one another all over with handfuls of
snow, Violet, after laughing heartily at little Peony's figure, was
struck with a new idea.

"You look exactly like a snow-image, Peony," said she, "if your cheeks
were not so red. And that puts me in mind! Let us make an image out of
snow--an image of a little girl--and it shall be our sister, and shall
run about and play with us all winter long. Won't it be nice?"

"Oh, yes!" cried Peony, as plainly as he could speak, for he was but a
little boy. "That will be nice! And mamma shall see it!"

"Yes," answered Violet; "mamma shall see the new little girl. But she
must not make her come into the warm parlor, for, you know, our little
snow-sister will not love the warmth."

And forthwith the children began this great business of making a
snow-image that should run about; while their mother, who was sitting
at the window and overheard some of their talk, could not help smiling
at the gravity with which they set about it. They really seemed to
imagine that there would be no difficulty whatever in creating a live
little girl out of the snow.

Indeed, it was an exceedingly pleasant sight--those bright little souls
at their tasks. Moreover, it was really wonderful to observe how
knowingly and skillfully they managed the matter. Violet assumed the
chief direction and told Peony what to do, while, with her own delicate
fingers, she shaped out all the nicer parts of the snow-figure.

It seemed, in fact, not so much to be made by the children, as to grow
up under their hands, while they were playing and prattling about it.
Their mother was quite surprised at this; and the longer she looked,
the more and more surprised she grew.

Now, for a few moments there was a busy and earnest but indistinct hum
of the two children's voices, as Violet and Peony wrought together with
one happy consent. Violet still seemed to be the guiding spirit; while
Peony acted rather as a laborer and brought her the snow from far and
near. And yet the little urchin evidently had a proper understanding of
the matter.

"Peony, Peony!" cried Violet; for her brother was at the other side of
the garden. "Bring me those light wreaths of snow that have rested on
the lower branches of the pear tree. You can clamber on the snowdrift,
Peony, and reach them easily. I must have them to make some ringlets
for our snow-sister's head!"

"Here they are, Violet!" answered the little boy. "Take care you do not
break them. Well done! Well done! How pretty!"

"Does she not look sweet?" said Violet, with a very satisfied tone;
"and now we must have some little shining bits of ice to make the
brightness of her eyes. She is not finished yet. Mamma will see how
very beautiful she is; but papa will say, 'Tush! nonsense! come in out
of the cold!'"

"Let us call mamma to look out," said Peony; and then he shouted,
"Mamma! mamma!! mamma!!! Look out and see what a nice 'ittle girl we
are making!"

"What a nice playmate she will be for us all winter long!" said Violet.
"I hope papa will not be afraid of her giving us a cold! Shan't you
love her dearly, Peony?"

"Oh, yes!" cried Peony. "And I will hug her and she shall sit down
close by me and drink some of my warm milk."

"Oh, no, Peony!" answered Violet, with grave wisdom. "That will not do
at all. Warm milk will not be wholesome for our little snow-sister.
Little snow-people, like her, eat nothing but icicles. No, no, Peony;
we must not give her anything warm to drink!"

There was a minute or two of silence; for Peony, whose short legs were
never weary, had gone again to the other side of the garden. All of a
sudden, Violet cried out, loudly and joyfully:

"Look here, Peony! Come quickly! A light has been shining on her cheek
out of that rose-colored cloud! And the color does not go away! Is not
that beautiful?"

"Yes, it is beau-ti-ful," answered Peony, pronouncing the three
syllables with deliberate accuracy. "O Violet, only look at her hair!
It is all like gold!"

"Oh, certainly," said Violet, as if it were very much a matter of
course. "That color, you know, comes from the golden clouds that we
see up there in the sky. She is almost finished now. But her lips must
be made very red--redder than her cheeks. Perhaps, Peony, it will make
them red if we both kiss them!"

Accordingly, the mother heard two smart little smacks, as if both her
children were kissing the snow-image on its frozen mouth. But as this
did not seem to make the lips quite red enough, Violet next proposed
that the snow-child should be invited to kiss Peony's scarlet cheek.

"Come, 'ittle snow-sister, kiss me!" cried Peony.

"There! she has kissed you," added Violet, "and now her lips are very
red. And she blushed a little, too!"

"Oh, what a cold kiss!" cried Peony.

Just then there came a breeze of the pure west wind sweeping through
the garden, and rattling the parlor windows. It sounded so wintry cold
that the mother was about to tap on the window-pane with her thimbled
finger to summon the two children in when they both cried out to her
with one voice:

"Mamma! mamma! We have finished our little snow-sister, and she is
running about the garden with us!"

"What imaginative little beings my children are!" thought the mother,
putting the last few stitches into Peony's frock. "And it is strange,
too, that they make me almost as much a child as they themselves are! I
can hardly help believing now that the snow-image has really come to
life!"

"Dear mamma!" cried Violet, "pray look out and see what a sweet
playmate we have!"

The mother, being thus entreated, could no longer delay to look forth
from the window. The sun was now gone out of the sky, leaving, however,
a rich inheritance of his brightness among those purple and golden
clouds which make the sunsets of winter so magnificent.

But there was not the slightest gleam or dazzle, either on the window
or on the snow; so that the good lady could look all over the garden
and see everything and everybody in it. And what do you think she saw
there? Violet and Peony, of course, her own two darling children.

Ah, but whom or what did she see besides? Why, if you will believe
me, there was a small figure of a girl, dressed all in white, with
rose-tinged cheeks and ringlets of golden hue, playing about the garden
with the two children!

A stranger though she was, the child seemed to be on as familiar terms
with Violet and Peony, and they with her, as if all the three had been
playmates during the whole of their little lives.

The mother thought to herself that it must certainly be the daughter of
one of the neighbors, and that, seeing Violet and Peony in the garden,
the child had run across the street to play with them.

So this kind lady went to the door, intending to invite the little
runaway into her comfortable parlor; for, now that the sunshine was
withdrawn, the atmosphere out of doors was already growing very cold.

But, after opening the house door, she stood an instant on the
threshold, hesitating whether she ought to ask the child to come in, or
whether she should even speak to her. Indeed, she almost doubted whether
it were a real child after all, or only a light wreath of the new-fallen
snow, blown hither and thither about the garden by the intensely cold
west wind.

There was certainly something very singular in the aspect of the little
stranger. Among all the children of the neighborhood the lady could
remember no such face, with its pure white and delicate rose-color, and
the golden ringlets tossing about the forehead and cheeks.

And as for her dress, which was entirely of white, and fluttering in the
breeze, it was such as no reasonable woman would put upon a little girl
when sending her out to play in the depth of winter. It made this kind
and careful mother shiver only to look at those small feet, with nothing
in the world on them except a very thin pair of white slippers.

Nevertheless, airily as she was clad, the child seemed to feel not the
slightest inconvenience from the cold, but danced so lightly over the
snow that the tips of her toes left hardly a print in its surface; while
Violet could but just keep pace with her, and Peony's short legs
compelled him to lag behind.

All this while, the mother stood on the threshold, wondering how a
little girl could look so much like a flying snowdrift, or how a
snowdrift could look so very like a little girl.

"Violet, my darling, what is this child's name?" asked she. "Does she
live near us?"

"Why, dearest mamma," answered Violet, laughing to think that her mother
did not comprehend so very plain an affair, "this is our little
snow-sister whom we have just been making!"

"Yes, dear mamma," cried Peony, running to his mother and looking up
simply into her face. "This is our snow-image! Is it not a nice 'ittle
child?"

"Violet," said her mother, greatly perplexed, "tell me the truth without
any jest. Who is this little girl?"

"My darling mamma," answered Violet, looking seriously into her mother's
face, surprised that she should need any further explanation, "I have
told you truly who she is. It is our little snow-image which Peony and I
have been making. Peony will tell you so, as well as I."

"Yes, mamma," asseverated Peony, with much gravity in his crimson little
phiz; "this is 'ittle snow-child. Is not she a nice one? But, mamma, her
hand is, oh, so very cold!"

While mamma still hesitated what to think and what to do, the street
gate was thrown open and the father of Violet and Peony appeared,
wrapped in a pilot-cloth sack, with a fur cap drawn down over his ears,
and the thickest of gloves upon his hands.

Mr. Lindsey was a middle-aged man, with a weary and yet a happy look in
his wind-flushed and frost-pinched face, as if he had been busy all the
day long and was glad to get back to his quiet home. His eyes brightened
at the sight of his wife and children, although he could not help
uttering a word or two of surprise at finding the whole family in the
open air on so bleak a day, and after sunset, too.

He soon perceived the little white stranger, sporting to and fro in the
garden like a dancing snow-wreath, and the flock of snowbirds fluttering
about her head.

"Pray, what little girl may that be?" inquired this very sensible man.
"Surely her mother must be crazy to let her go out in such bitter
weather as it has been to-day, with only that flimsy white gown and
those thin slippers!"

"My dear husband," said his wife, "I know no more about the little thing
than you do. Some neighbor's child, I suppose. Our Violet and Peony,"
she added, laughing at herself for repeating so absurd a story, "insist
that she is nothing but a snow-image which they have been busy about in
the garden almost all the afternoon."

As she said this, the mother glanced her eyes toward the spot where the
children's snow-image had been made. What was her surprise on perceiving
that there was not the slightest trace of so much labor!--no image at
all!--no piled-up heap of snow!--nothing whatever save the prints of
little footsteps around a vacant space!

"This is very strange!" said she.

"What is strange, dear mother?" asked Violet. "Dear father, do not you
see how it is? This is our snow-image, which Peony and I have made
because we wanted another playmate. Did not we, Peony?"

"Yes, papa," said crimson Peony. "This be our 'ittle snow-sister. Is she
not beau-ti-ful? But she gave me such a cold kiss!"

"Poh, nonsense, children!" cried their good, honest father, who had a
plain matter-of-fact way of looking at matters. "Do not tell me of
making live figures out of snow. Come, wife; this little stranger must
not stay out in the bleak air a moment longer. We will bring her into
the parlor; and you shall give her a supper of warm bread and milk, and
make her as comfortable as you can."

So saying, this honest and very kind-hearted man was going toward the
little white damsel, with the best intentions in the world. But Violet
and Peony, each seizing their father by the hand, earnestly besought him
not to make her come in.

"Nonsense, children, nonsense, nonsense!" cried the father, half-vexed,
half-laughing. "Run into the house, this moment! It is too late to play
any longer now. I must take care of this little girl, or she will catch
her death-a-cold!"

And so, with a most benevolent smile, this very well-meaning gentleman
took the snow-child by the hand and led her toward the house.

She followed them, droopingly and reluctant, for all the glow and
sparkle were gone out of her figure; and whereas just before she had
resembled a bright, frosty, star-gemmed evening, with a crimson gleam on
the cold horizon, she now looked as dull and languid as a thaw.

As kind Mr. Lindsey led her up the steps of the door, Violet and Peony
looked into his face, their eyes full of tears, which froze before they
could run down their cheeks, and entreated him not to bring their
snow-image into the house.

"Not bring her in!" exclaimed the kind-hearted man. "Why, you are crazy,
my little Violet--quite crazy, my small Peony! She is so cold already
that her hand has almost frozen mine, in spite of my thick gloves. Would
you have her freeze to death?"

His wife, as he came up the steps, had been taking another long, earnest
gaze at the little white stranger. She hardly knew whether it was a
dream or no; but she could not help fancying that she saw the delicate
print of Violet's fingers on the child's neck. It looked just as if,
while Violet was shaping out the image, she had given it a gentle pat
with her hand, and had neglected to smooth the impression quite away.

"After all, husband," said the mother, "after all, she does look
strangely like a snow-image! I do believe she is made of snow!"

A puff of the west wind blew against the snow-child, and again she
sparkled like a star.

"Snow!" repeated good Mr. Lindsey, drawing the reluctant guest over his
hospitable threshold. "No wonder she looks like snow. She is half
frozen, poor little thing! But a good fire will put everything to
rights."

The common-sensible man placed the snow-child on the hearthrug, right in
front of the hissing and fuming stove.

"Now she will be comfortable!" cried Mr. Lindsey, rubbing his hands and
looking about him, with the pleasantest smile you ever saw. "Make
yourself at home, my child."

Sad, sad and drooping, looked the little white maiden as she stood on
the hearthrug, with the hot blast of the stove striking through her like
a pestilence. Once she threw a glance toward the window, and caught a
glimpse, through its red curtains, of the snow-covered roofs and the
stars glimmering frostily and all the delicious intensity of the cold
night. The bleak wind rattled the window panes as if it were summoning
her to come forth. But there stood the snow-child, drooping, before the
hot stove!

But the common-sensible man saw nothing amiss.

"Come, wife," said he, "let her have a pair of thick stockings and a
woolen shawl or blanket directly; and tell Dora to give her some warm
supper as soon as the milk boils. You, Violet and Peony, amuse your
little friend. She is out of spirits, you see, at finding herself in a
strange place. For my part, I will go around among the neighbors and
find out where she belongs."

The mother, meanwhile, had gone in search of the shawl and stockings.
Without heeding the remonstrances of his two children, who still kept
murmuring that their little snow-sister did not love the warmth, good
Mr. Lindsey took his departure, shutting the parlor door carefully
behind him.

Turning up the collar of his sack over his ears, he emerged from the
house, and had barely reached the street-gate when he was recalled by
the screams of Violet and Peony and the rapping of a thimbled finger
against the parlor window.

"Husband! husband!" cried his wife, showing her horror-stricken face
through the window panes. "There is no need of going for the child's
parents!"

"We told you so, father!" screamed Violet and Peony, as he re-entered
the parlor. "You would bring her in; and now our poor--dear--beau-ti-ful
little snow-sister is thawed!"

And their own sweet little faces were already dissolved in tears; so
that their father, seeing what strange things occasionally happen in
this everyday world, felt not a little anxious lest his children might
be going to thaw, too. In the utmost perplexity, he demanded an
explanation of his wife.

She could only reply that, being summoned to the parlor by the cries of
Violet and Peony, she found no trace of the little white maiden, unless
it were the remains of a heap of snow which, while she was gazing at it,
melted quite away upon the hearthrug.

"And there you see all that is left of it!" added she, pointing to a
pool of water in front of the stove.

"Yes, father," said Violet, looking reproachfully at him through her
tears, "there is all that is left of our dear little snow-sister!"

"Father!" cried Peony, stamping his foot, and--I shudder to say--shaking
his little fist at the common-sensible man. "We told you how it would
be. What for did you bring her in?"

And the stove, through the isinglass of its door, seemed to glare at
good Mr. Lindsey, like a red-eyed demon triumphing in the mischief which
it had done!



THE CASTLE OF GEMS

BY SOPHIE MAY


Once upon a time, though I cannot tell when, and in what country I do
not now remember, there lived a maiden as fair as a lily, as gentle as a
dewdrop, and as modest as a violet. A pure, sweet name she had: It was
Blanche.

She stood one evening, with her friend Victor, by the shore of a lake.
Never had the youth or maiden seen the moonlight so enchanting; but they
did not know--

    "It was midsummer day,
      When all the fairy people
    From elf-land came away."

Presently, while they gazed at the lake, which shone like liquid emerald
and sapphire and topaz, a boat, laden with strangely beautiful beings,
glided toward them across the waters. The fair voyagers were clad in
robes of misty blue, with white mantles about their waists, and on
their heads wreaths of valley-lilies.

They were all as fair as need be; but fairest of all was the
helms-woman, the Queen of the Fairies. Her face was soft and clear like
moonlight; and she wore a crown of nine large diamonds, which refracted
the evening rays, and formed nine lunar rainbows.

The fairies were singing a roundelay; and, as the melody floated over
the water, Victor and Blanche listened with throbbing hearts. Fairy
music has almost passed away from the earth; but those who hear it are
strangely moved, and have dreams of beautiful things which have been,
and may be again.

"It makes me think of the days of long ago when there was no sin,"
whispered Blanche.

"It makes me long to be a hero," answered Victor with a sparkling eye.

All the while the pearly boat was drifting toward the youth and maiden;
and, when it had touched the shore the Queen stepped out upon the land
as lightly as if she had been made entirely of dewdrops.

"I am Fontana," said she: "and is this Blanche?"

She laid her soft hand upon the maiden's shoulder; and Blanche thought
she would like to die then and there, so full was she of joy.

"I have heard of thy good heart, my maiden: now what would please thee
most?" inquired the Queen.

Blanche bowed her head, and dared not speak.

Queen Fontana smiled. When she smiled it was as if a soft cloud had slid
away from the moon, revealing a beautiful light.

"Say pearls and diamonds," said Victor in her ear.

"I don't know," whispered Blanche; "they are not the best things."

"No," said the Queen kindly; "pearls and diamonds are _not_ the best
things."

Then Blanche knew that her whisper had been overheard, and she hid her
face in her hands for shame. But the Queen only smiled down on her, and
without speaking dropped into the ground a little seed. Right at the
feet of Blanche it fell; and in a moment two green leaves shot upward,
and between them a spotless lily, which hung its head with modest grace.

Victor gazed at the perfect flower in wonder, and before he knew it said
aloud: "Ah, how like Blanche!"

The Queen herself broke it from the stem, and gave it to the maiden,
saying:

"Take it! It is my choicest gift. Till it fades (which will never be),
love will be thine; and in time to come it will have power to open the
strongest locks, and swing back the heaviest doors.

    "'Gates of brass cannot withstand
    One touch of this magic wand.'"

Blanche looked up to thank the Queen; but no words came--only tears.

"I see a wish in thine eyes," said Fontana.

"It is for Victor," faltered Blanche, at last; "he wishes to be rich and
great."

The Queen looked grave.

"Shall I make him one of the great men of the earth, little Blanche?
Then he may one day go to the ends of the world, and forget thee."

Blanche only smiled, and Victor's cheek flushed.

"I shall be a great man," said he--"perhaps a prince; but where I go
Blanche shall go: she will be my wife."

"That is well," said the Queen. "Never forget Blanche, for her love will
be your dearest blessing."

Then, removing from her girdle a pair of spectacles, she placed them in
the youth's hand. He drew back in surprise. "Does she take me for an old
man?" thought he. He had expected a casket of gems at least; perhaps a
crown.

"Wait," said Fontana; "they are the eyes of Wisdom. When you have
learned their use, you will not despise my gift. Keep a pure heart, and
always remember Blanche. And now farewell!"

So saying, she moved on to the boat, floating over the ground as softly
as a creeping mist.

When Blanche awoke next morning, her first thought was, "Happy are the
maidens who have sweet dreams!" for she believed she had only been
wandering in a midsummer's night's dream; so, when she saw her lily in
the broken pitcher where she had placed it, great was her delight. But a
change had come over it during the night. It was no longer a common
lily; its petals were now large pearls, and the green leaves were green
emeralds. This strange thing had happened to the flower, that it might
never fade.

After this, people looked at Blanche and said: "How is it? She grows
fairer every day!" And every one loved her; for the human heart has no
choice but to love what is good and gentle.

As for Victor, he at first put on his spectacles with a scornful smile;
but, when he had worn them a moment, he found them very wonderful
things. When he looked through them, he could see people's thoughts
written out on their faces; he could easily decipher the fine writing
which you see traced on green leaves; and found there were long stories
written on pebbles in little black and gray dots.

When he wore the spectacles, he looked so wise that Blanche hardly dared
speak to him. She saw that one day he was to become great.

At last Victor said he must leave his home, and sail across the seas.
Tears filled the eyes of Blanche; but the youth whispered:

"I am going away to find a home for you and me. So adieu, dearest
Blanche!"

Now Victor thought the ship in which he sailed moved very slowly; for
he longed to reach the land which he could see through his magic
spectacles. It was a beautiful kingdom, rich with mines of gold and
silver.

When the ship touched shore, the streets were lined with people who
walked to and fro with sad faces. The King's daughter, a beautiful
young maiden, was very ill, and it was feared she must die.

Victor asked one of the people if there was no hope.

It so happened that this man was the greatest physician in the kingdom
and he answered:

"Alas, there is no hope!"

Then Victor went to a distant forest where he knew a healing spring was
to be found. Very few remembered it was there; and those who had seen it
did not know of its power to heal disease.

Victor filled a crystal goblet with the precious water and carried it to
the palace. The old King shook his head sadly, but consented to let the
attendants moisten the parched lips of the Princess with the water, as
it could do no harm. Far from doing harm, it wrought a great good; and
in time the royal maiden was restored to health.

Then, for gratitude, the King would have given his daughter to Victor
for a wife; but Victor remembered Blanche, and knew that no other maiden
must be bride of his.

Not long after this the King was lost overboard at sea during a storm.
Now the people must have a new ruler. They determined to choose a wise
and brave man; and, young as he was, no man could be found braver and
wiser than Victor; so the people elected him for their King. Thus
Fontana's gift of the eyes of Wisdom had made him truly "one of the
great men of earth."

In her humble home Blanche dreamed every night of Victor, and hoped he
would grow good, if he did not become great; and Victor remembered
Blanche, and knew that her love was his dearest blessing.

"This old palace," thought he, "will never do for my beautiful bride."

So he called together his people, and told them he must have a castle of
gems. Some of the walls were to be of rubies, some of emeralds, some of
pearls. There was to be any amount of beaten gold for doors and pillars;
and the ceilings were to be of milk-white opals, with a rosy light which
comes and goes.

All was done as he desired; and when the castle of gems was finished it
would need a pen of jasponyx dipped in rainbows to describe it.

Victor thought he would not have a guard of soldiers for his castle, but
would lock the four golden gates with a magic key, so that no one could
enter unless the gates should swing back of their own accord.

When the castle of gems was just completed, and not a soul was in it,
Victor locked the gates with a magic key, and then dropped the key into
the ocean.

"Now," thought he, "I have done a wise thing. None but the good and true
can enter my castle of gems. The gates will not swing open for men with
base thoughts or proud hearts!"

Then he hid himself under the shadow of a tree, and watched the people
trying to enter. But they were proud men, and so the gates would not
open.

King Victor laughed, and said to himself:

"I have done a wise thing with my magic key. How safe I shall be in my
castle of gems!"

So he stepped out of his hiding place, and said to the people:

"None but the good and true can get in."

Then he tried to go in himself; but the gates would not move.

The King bowed his head in shame, and walked back to his old palace.

"Alas!" said he to himself, "wise and great as I am, I thought I could
go in. I see it must be because I am filled with pride. Let me hide my
face; for what would Blanche say if she knew, that, because my heart is
proud, I am shut out of my own castle? I am not worthy that she should
love me; but I hope I shall learn of her to be humble and good."

The next day he sailed for the home of his childhood. When Blanche saw
him she blushed and cast down her eyes; but Victor knew they were full
of tears of joy. He held her hand, and whispered:

"Will you go with me and be my bride, beautiful Blanche?"

"I will go with you," she answered softly; and Victor's heart rejoiced.

All the while Blanche never dreamed that he was a great Prince, and that
the men who came with him were his courtiers.

When they reached Victor's kingdom, and the people shouted "Long live
the Queen!" Blanche veiled her face and trembled; for Victor whispered
in her ear that the shouts were for her. And as the people saw her
beautiful face through her gossamer veil, they cried all the more
loudly:

"Long live Queen Blanche! Thrice welcome, fair lady!"

The sun was sinking in the west, and his rays fell with dazzling
splendor upon the castle of gems. When Blanche saw the silent, closed
castle and its golden gates she remembered the words of Queen Fontana,
who had said that her lily should have power to "open the strongest
locks, and swing back the heaviest doors."

Like one walking in a dream, she led Victor toward the resplendent
castle. She touched with her lily the lock which fastened one of the
gates.

    "Gates of gold could not withstand
     One touch of that magic wand."

In an instant, the hinges trembled; and the massive door swung open so
far that forty people could walk in side by side. Then it slowly closed,
and locked itself without noise.

One of the people who passed in was the King, whose heart was no longer
proud. The others, who had entered unwittingly, could not speak for
wonder. Some of them were poor, and some were lame or blind; but all
were good and true.

At the rising of the moon a wonderful thing came to pass. The people
entered the castle of gems and became beautiful. This was through the
power of the magic lily.

Now there were no more crooked backs, and lame feet, and sightless eyes;
and the King looked at these people, who were beautiful as well as good,
and declared he would have them live in the castle; and the gentlemen
should be knights; and the ladies maids of honor.

To this day Victor and Blanche rule the kingdom; and such is the charm
of the lily--so like the pure heart of the Queen--that the people are
becoming gentle and good.

Until Queen Fontana shall call for the magic spectacles and the lily of
pearl, it is believed that Victor and Blanche will live in the castle of
gems, though the time should be a hundred years.



THE HEN THAT HATCHED DUCKS

BY HARRIET BEECHER STOWE


Once there was a nice young hen that we will call Mrs. Feathertop. She
was a hen of most excellent family, being a direct descendant of the
Bolton Grays, and as pretty a young fowl as you wish to see of a
summer's day. She was, moreover, as fortunately situated in life as it
was possible for a hen to be. She was bought by young Master Fred Little
John, with four or five family connections of hers, and a lively young
cock, who was held to be as brisk a scratcher and as capable a head of a
family as any half-dozen sensible hens could desire.

I can't say that at first Mrs. Feathertop was a very sensible hen. She
was very pretty and lively, to be sure, and a great favorite with Master
Bolton Gray Cock, on account of her bright eyes, her finely shaded
feathers, and certain saucy dashing ways that she had, which seemed
greatly to take his fancy. But old Mrs. Scratchard, living in the
neighboring yard, assured all the neighborhood that Gray Cock was a fool
for thinking so much of that flighty young thing--that she had not the
smallest notion how to get on in life, and thought of nothing in the
world but her own pretty feathers. "Wait till she comes to have
chickens," said Mrs. Scratchard. "Then you will see. I have brought up
ten broods myself--as likely and respectable chickens as ever were a
blessing to society--and I think I ought to know a good hatcher and
brooder when I see her; and I know _that_ fine piece of trumpery, with
her white feathers tipped with gray, never will come down to family
life. _She_ scratch for chickens! Bless me, she never did anything in
all her days but run round and eat the worms which somebody else
scratched up for her!"

When Master Bolton Gray heard this he crowed very loudly, like a cock of
spirit, and declared that old Mrs. Scratchard was envious because she
had lost all her own tail-feathers, and looked more like a worn-out old
feather duster than a respectable hen, and that therefore she was filled
with sheer envy of anybody that was young and pretty. So young Mrs.
Feathertop cackled gay defiance at her busy rubbishy neighbor, as she
sunned herself under the bushes on fine June afternoons.

Now Master Fred Little John had been allowed to have these hens by his
mamma on the condition that he would build their house himself, and take
all the care of it; and, to do Master Fred justice, he executed the job
in a small way quite creditably. He chose a sunny sloping bank covered
with a thick growth of bushes, and erected there a nice little
hen-house, with two glass windows, a little door, and a good pole for
his family to roost on. He made, moreover, a row of nice little boxes
with hay in them for nests, and he bought three or four little smooth
white china eggs to put in them, so that, when his hens _did_ lay, he
might carry off their eggs without their being missed. The hen-house
stood in a little grove that sloped down to a wide river, just where
there was a little cove which reached almost to the hen-house.

The situation inspired one of Master Fred's boy advisers with a new
scheme in relation to his poultry enterprise. "Hullo! I say, Fred," said
Tom Seymour, "you ought to raise ducks--you've got a capital place for
ducks there."

"Yes, but I've bought _hens_, you see," said Freddy; "so it's no use
trying."

"No use! Of course there is! Just as if your hens couldn't hatch ducks'
eggs. Now, you just wait till one of your hens wants to set, and you put
ducks' eggs under her, and you'll have a family of ducks in a twinkling.
You can buy ducks' eggs, a plenty, of old Sam under the hill; he always
has hens hatch his ducks."

So Freddy thought it would be a good experiment, and informed his mother
the next morning that he intended to furnish the ducks for the next
Christmas dinner; and when she wondered how he was to come by them,
he said, mysteriously, "O, I will show you how!" but did not further
explain himself. The next day he went with Tom Seymour, and made a trade
with old Sam, and gave him a middle-aged jack-knife for eight of his
ducks' eggs. Sam, by the bye, was a woolly-headed old negro man, who
lived by the pond hard by, and who had long cast envying eyes on Fred's
jack-knife, because it was of extra-fine steel, having been a Christmas
present the year before. But Fred knew very well there were any number
more of jack-knives where that came from, and that, in order to get a
new one, he must dispose of the old; so he made the trade and came home
rejoicing.

Now, about this time Mrs. Feathertop, having laid her eggs daily with
great credit to herself, notwithstanding Mrs. Scratchard's predictions,
began to find herself suddenly attacked with nervous symptoms. She lost
her gay spirits, grew dumpish and morose, stuck up her feathers in a
bristling way, and pecked at her neighbors if they did so much as
look at her. Master Gray Cock was greatly concerned, and went to old
Doctor Peppercorn, who looked solemn and recommended an infusion of
angle-worms, and said he would look in on the patient twice a day till
she was better.

"Gracious me, Gray Cock!" said old Goody Kertarkut, who had been
lolling at the corner as he passed, "a'n't you a fool?--cocks always
are fools. Don't you know what's the matter with your wife? She wants
to set--that's all; and you just let her set! A fiddlestick for Doctor
Peppercorn! Why, any good old hen that has brought up a family knows
more than a doctor about such things. You just go home and tell her to
set, if she wants to, and behave herself."

When Gray Cock came home, he found that Master Freddy had been before
him, and established Mrs. Feathertop upon eight nice eggs, where
she was sitting in gloomy grandeur. He tried to make a little affable
conversation with her, and to relate his interview with the Doctor and
Goody Kertarkut, but she was morose and sullen, and only pecked at him
now and then in a very sharp, unpleasant way; so, after a few more
efforts to make himself agreeable, he left her, and went out promenading
with the captivating Mrs. Red Comb, a charming young Spanish widow, who
had just been imported into the neighboring yard.

"Bless my soul!" said he, "you've no idea how cross my wife is."

"O you horrid creature!" said Mrs. Red Comb; "how little you feel for
the weaknesses of us poor hens!"

"On my word, ma'am," said Gray Cock, "you do me injustice. But when a
hen gives way to temper, ma'am and no longer meets her husband with a
smile--when she even pecks at him whom she is bound to honor and
obey----"

"Horrid monster! talking of obedience! I should say, sir, you came
straight from Turkey!" And Mrs. Red Comb tossed her head with a most
bewitching air, and pretended to run away, and old Mrs. Scratchard
looked out of her coop and called to Goody Kertarkut:

"Look how Mr. Gray Cock is flirting with that widow. I always knew she
was a baggage."

"And his poor wife left at home alone," said Goody Kertarkut. "It's the
way with 'em all!"

"Yes, yes," said Dame Scratchard, "she'll know what real life is now,
and she won't go about holding her head so high, and looking down on her
practical neighbors that have raised families."

"Poor thing, what'll she do with a family?" said Goody Kertarkut.

"Well, what business have such young flirts to get married," said Dame
Scratchard. "I don't expect she'll raise a single chick; and there's
Gray Cock flirting about fine as ever. Folks didn't do so when I was
young. I'm sure my husband knew what treatment a setting hen ought to
have--poor old Long Spur--he never minded a peck or so now and then. I
must say these modern fowls a'n't what fowls used to be."

Meanwhile the sun rose and set, and Master Fred was almost the only
friend and associate of poor little Mrs. Feathertop, whom he fed daily
with meal and water, and only interrupted her sad reflections by pulling
her up occasionally to see how the eggs were coming on.

At last "Peep, peep, peep!" began to be heard in the nest, and one
little downy head after another poked forth from under the feathers,
surveying the world with round, bright, winking eyes; and gradually the
brood was hatched, and Mrs. Feathertop arose, a proud and happy mother,
with all the bustling, scratching, caretaking instincts of family
life warm within her breast. She clucked and scratched, and cuddled
the little downy bits of things as handily and discreetly as a
seven-year-old hen could have done, exciting thereby the wonder of the
community.

Master Gray Cock came home in high spirits and complimented her; told
her she was looking charmingly once more, and said, "Very well, very
nice!" as he surveyed the young brood. So that Mrs. Feathertop began
to feel the world going well with her, when suddenly in came Dame
Scratchard and Goody Kertarkut to make a morning call.

"Let's see the chicks," said Dame Scratchard.

"Goodness me," said Goody Kertarkut, "what a likeness to their dear
papa!"

"Well, but bless me, what's the matter with their bills?" said Dame
Scratchard. "Why, my dear, these chicks are deformed! I'm sorry for you,
my dear, but it's all the result of your inexperience; you ought to have
eaten pebble-stones with your meal when you were setting. Don't you see,
Dame Kertarkut, what bills they have? That'll increase, and they'll be
frightful!"

"What shall I do?" said Mrs. Feathertop, now greatly alarmed.

"Nothing as I know of," said Dame Scratchard, "since you didn't come to
me before you set. I could have told you all about it. Maybe it won't
kill 'em, but they'll always be deformed."

And so the gossips departed, leaving a sting under the pin-feathers of
the poor little hen mamma, who began to see that her darlings had
curious little spoon-bills different from her own, and to worry and fret
about it.

"My dear," she said to her spouse, "do get Doctor Peppercorn to come in
and look at their bills, and see if anything can be done."

Doctor Peppercorn came in, and put on a monstrous pair of spectacles and
said: "Hum! Ha! Extraordinary case--very singular!"

"Did you ever see anything like it, Doctor?" said both parents, in a
breath.

"I've read of such cases. It's a calcareous enlargement of the vascular
bony tissue, threatening ossification," said the Doctor.

"Oh, dreadful!--can it be possible?" shrieked both parents. "Can
anything be done?"

"Well, I should recommend a daily lotion made of mosquitoes' horns and
bicarbonate of frogs' toes together with a powder, to be taken morning
and night, of muriate of fleas. One thing you must be careful about:
they must never wet their feet, nor drink any water."

"Dear me, Doctor, I don't know what I _shall_ do, for they seem to have
a particular fancy for getting into water."

"Yes, a morbid tendency often found in these cases of bony tumification
of the vascular tissue of the mouth; but you must resist it, ma'am,
as their life depends upon it." And with that Doctor Peppercorn
glared gloomily on the young ducks, who were stealthily poking the
objectionable little spoon-bills out from under their mothers' feathers.

After this poor Mrs. Feathertop led a weary life of it; for the young
fry were as healthy and enterprising a brood of young ducks as ever
carried saucepans on the end of their noses, and they most utterly set
themselves against the doctor's prescriptions, murmured at the muriate
of fleas and the bicarbonate of frogs' toes and took every opportunity
to waddle their little ways down to the mud and water which was in their
near vicinity. So their bills grew larger and larger, as did the rest of
their bodies, and family government grew weaker and weaker.

"You'll wear me out children, you certainly will," said poor Mrs.
Feathertop.

"You'll go to destruction, do ye hear?" said Master Gray Cock.

"Did you ever see such frights as poor Mrs. Feathertop has got?" said
Dame Scratchard. "I knew what would come of _her_ family--all deformed,
and with a dreadful sort of madness, which makes them love to shovel mud
with those shocking spoon-bills of theirs."

 [Illustration: "THEY MUST NEVER WET THEIR FEET, NOR DRINK ANY WATER,"
 SAID THE DOCTOR]

"It's a kind of idiocy," said Goody Kertarkut. "Poor things! they
can't be kept from the water, nor made to take powders, and so they got
worse and worse."

"I understand it's affecting their feet so that they can't walk, and a
dreadful sort of net is growing between their toes; what a shocking
visitation!"

"She brought it on herself," said Dame Scratchard. "Why didn't she come
to me before she set? She was always an upstart, self-conceited thing,
but I'm sure I pity her."

Meanwhile the young ducks throve apace. Their necks grew glossy like
changeable green and gold satin, and though they would not take the
doctor's medicine, and would waddle in the mud and water--for which they
always felt themselves to be very naughty ducks--yet they grew quite
vigorous and hearty. At last one day the whole little tribe waddled off
down to the bank of the river. It was a beautiful day, and the river was
dancing and dimpling and winking as the little breezes shook the trees
that hung over it.

"Well," said the biggest of the little ducks, "in spite of Doctor
Peppercorn I can't help longing for the water. I don't believe it is
going to hurt me; at any rate, here goes." And in he plumped, and in
went every duck after him, and they threw out their great brown feet as
cleverly as if they had taken rowing-lessons all their lives, and sailed
off on the river, away, away, among the ferns, under the pink azalias,
through reeds and rushes and arrow-heads and pickerel-weed, the happiest
ducks that ever were born; and soon they were quite out of sight.

"Well, Mrs. Feathertop, this is a dispensation," said Mrs. Scratchard.
"Your children are all drowned at last, just as I knew they'd be. The
old music-teacher Master Bullfrog, that lives down in Water-Dock Lane,
saw 'em all plump madly into the water together this morning; that's
what comes of not knowing how to bring up a family."

Mrs. Feathertop gave only one shriek and fainted dead away, and was
carried home on a cabbage leaf, and Mr. Gray Cock was sent for, where he
was waiting on Mrs. Red Comb through the squash vines.

"It's a serious time in your family, sir," said Goody Kertarkut, "and
you ought to be at home supporting your wife. Send for Doctor Peppercorn
without delay."

Now as the case was a very dreadful one, Doctor Peppercorn called a
council from the barnyard of the Squire two miles off, and a brisk
young Doctor Partlett appeared in a fine suit of brown and gold, with
tail-feathers like meteors. A fine young fellow he was, lately from
Paris, with all the modern scientific improvements fresh in his head.

When he had listened to the whole story, he clapped his spur into the
ground, and, leaning back laughed so loud that all the cocks in the
neighborhood crowed.

Mrs. Feathertop rose up out of her swoon, and Mr. Gray Cock was greatly
enraged.

"What do you mean, sir, by such behavior in the house of mourning?"

"My dear sir, pardon me, but there is no occasion for mourning. My dear
madam, let me congratulate you. There is no harm done. The simple matter
is, dear madam, you have been under a hallucination all along. The
neighborhood and my learned friend the doctor have all made a mistake in
thinking that these children of yours were hens at all. They are ducks,
ma'am, evidently ducks, and very finely formed ducks, I dare say."

At this moment a quack was heard, and at a distance the whole tribe were
seen coming waddling home, their feathers gleaming in green and gold,
and they themselves in high good spirits.

"Such a splendid day as we have had!" they all cried in a breath. "And
we know now how to get our own living; we can take care of ourselves in
future, so you need have no further trouble with us."

"Madam," said the Doctor, making a bow with an air which displayed his
tail-feathers to advantage, "let me congratulate you on the charming
family you have raised. A finer brood of young healthy ducks I never
saw. Give claw, my dear friend," he said, addressing the elder son. "In
our barnyard no family is more respected than that of the ducks."

And so Madam Feathertop came off glorious at last; and when after this
the ducks used to go swimming up and down the river, like so many
nabobs, among the admiring hens, Doctor Peppercorn used to look after
them and say: "Ah! I had the care of their infancy!"

And Mr. Gray Cock and his wife used to say to each other: "It was our
system of education did that!"



 [Illustration: THE BALLAD OF PIPING WILL]

BY ANNA HEMPSTEAD BRANCH


     There was a lad named Piping Will
       With tattered coat and poor;
     He had no home to bide him in,
       But roamed from door to door.

     This lad had naught except a pipe
       On which he used to play;
     Yet never lad did laugh so free,
       Nor had a look so gay.

    "Nay, bide, thou merry piper-boy!"
       The kindly house-dames said.
    "The roads are rough, the skies are wild,
       And thou dost lack for bread.

    "The hills are steep, the stones unkind--
       Why wilt thou always roam?
     And winter turns a barren heart
       To them that have no home."

     Then would he smile and pipe awhile,
       But would not ever stay.
     How strange that he could be so poor,
       Yet have a heart so gay!

     And so the good folk shook their heads,
       And they would turn and stare
     To see him piping through the fields.
       What was he doing there?

     It fell about the blithe Yule-tide,
       When winter winds were keen,
     The Burgomaster's little maid
       Slipped from the house unseen;

     For she had heard that in the wood
       The dear snow-children run,
     And play where shadows are most cold
       And where there is no sun.

     But lo, the evening hurried on,
       And bitter sleet blew cold;
     It whitened all her scarlet cloak
       And flying locks of gold.

     The road was hid, and she was lost,
       And knew not where to go;
     And still the sharp blast swept her on,
       Whether she would or no.

     Now who is this amid the sleet?
       His face she cannot see!
     He tunes his pipe against the wind,
       As merry as can be.

     He tunes his pipe against the wind
       With music sweet and wild,
     When lo, a fluttering scarlet cape,
       The sobbing of a child!

     He took her up and held her close;
      "I'll take you home," he said.
     But still the little maid sobbed on,
       Nor was she comforted.

    "What! Cold and hungry, little maid,
       And frightened of the storm?
     I'll play upon my pipe," said he,
      "And that will keep you warm!"

     And lo, when first he blew his pipe,
       It was a wondrous thing--
     The sleet and snow turned all to flowers,
      The birds began to sing!

     When next he blew upon his pipe,
       She marveled more and more;
     For, built of gold with strange device,
       A palace rose before!

     A lovely lady led them in,
       And there they sat them down;
     The piper wore a purple cloak,
       And she a snow-white gown.

     And there was song and light and cheer,
       Feasting and everything!
     Who would have thought that Piping Will
       Could be so great a king?

     The third time that he blew his pipe
       They took her to the queen;
     Her hair was yellow as the sun,
       And she was clothed in green.

 [Illustration: "THEY TOOK HER TO THE QUEEN"]

     Yet did she kiss that little maid,
       Who should no longer roam--
     When lo, the dear dream flashed away,
       And there she was at home!

    "Make this thy home, thou Piping Will,"
       The Burgomaster cried.
    "Thou hast restored our little maid!
       I tell thee, thou must bide."

 [Illustration: "'NAY, BIDE, THOU MERRY PIPER BOY!' THE KINDLY
 HOUSE-DAMES SAID"]

 [Illustration]

    "Make this thy home, thou Piping Will,"
       The bustling mother said.
    "Come, warm thyself before the hearth
       And eat the good white bread."

     But Piping Will would only smile:
      "Good friends, I cannot wait!"
     (Who could have thought that tattered coat
       Had been a robe of state!)

     So forth he fared into the night,
       And, piping, went his way.
    "How strange," they said, "a lad so poor
       Can have a heart so gay!"

     Only the little maid that sat
       Upon her father's knee
     Remembered how they two had fared
       That night right pleasantly.

     And as she ate her bread and milk,
       So close and safe and warm,
     She wondered what strange, lovely lands
       He wrought of wind and storm.

     For he that plays a fairy pipe
       Is lord of everything!
     She laughed to think that Piping Will
       Should be so great a king.

 [Illustration: "A LOVELY LADY LED THEM IN"]



LITTLE ANNIE'S DREAM, OR THE FAIRY FLOWER

BY LOUISA M. ALCOTT


In a large and pleasant garden sat little Annie, all alone, and she
seemed very sad, for drops that were not dew fell fast upon the flowers
beside her, which looked wonderingly up, and bent still nearer, as if
they longed to cheer and comfort her. The warm wind lifted up her
shining hair, and softly kissed her cheek, while the sunbeams, looking
most kindly in her face, made little rainbows in her tears, and lingered
lovingly about her. But Annie paid no heed to sun, or wind, or flower;
still the bright tears fell, and she forgot all but her sorrow.

"Little Annie, tell me why you weep," said a low voice in her ear; and,
looking up, the child beheld a little figure standing on a vine leaf at
her side; a lovely face smiled on her from amid bright locks of hair,
and shining wings were folded on a white and glittering robe that
fluttered in the wind.

"Who are you, lovely little thing?" cried Annie, smiling through her
tears.

"I am a Fairy, little child, and am come to help and comfort you; now
tell me why you weep, and let me be your friend," replied the spirit, as
she smiled more kindly still on Annie's wondering face.

"And are you really, then, a little Elf, such as I read of in my fairy
books? Do you ride on butterflies, sleep in flower-cups, and live among
the clouds?"

"Yes, all these things I do, and many stranger still that all your fairy
books can never tell; but now, dear Annie," said the Fairy, bending
nearer, "tell me why I found no sunshine on your face; why are these
great drops shining on the flower and why do you sit alone when bird and
bee are calling you to play?"

"Ah, you will not love me any more if I should tell you all," said
Annie, while the tears began to fall again; "I am not happy, for I am
not good; how shall I learn to be a patient, gentle child? Good little
Fairy, will you teach me how?"

"Gladly will I aid you Annie. The task is hard, but I will give this
fairy flower to help and counsel you. Bend hither, that I may place it
on your breast; no hand can take it hence, till I unsay the spell that
holds it there."

As thus she spoke, the Elf took from her bosom a graceful flower, whose
snow-white leaves shone with a strange, soft light. "This is a fairy
flower," said the Elf, "invisible to every eye save yours; now listen
while I tell its power, Annie. When your heart is filled with loving
thoughts, when some kindly deed has been done, some duty well performed,
then from the flower there will arise the sweetest, softest fragrance,
to reward and gladden you. But when an unkind word is on your lips, when
a selfish, angry feeling rises in your heart, or an unkind, cruel deed
is to be done, then will you hear the soft, low chime of the flower
bell; listen to its warning, let the word remain unspoken, the deed
undone, and in the quiet joy of your own heart, and the magic perfume
of your bosom flower, you will find a sweet reward."

"O kind and generous Fairy, how can I ever thank you for this lovely
gift!" cried Annie. "I will be true, and listen to my little bell
whenever it may ring. But shall I never see you more? Ah! if you would
only stay with me, I should indeed be good."

"I cannot stay now, little Annie," said the Elf, "but when another
Spring comes round, I shall be here again, to see how well the fairy
gift has done its work. And now farewell, dear child; be faithful to
yourself, and the magic flower will never fade."

Then the gentle Fairy folded her little arms around Annie's neck, laid a
soft kiss on her cheek, and, spreading wide her shining wings, flew
singing up among the white clouds floating in the sky.

And little Annie sat among her flowers, and watched with wondering joy
the fairy blossom shining on her breast.

The pleasant days of Spring and Summer passed away, and in little
Annie's garden Autumn flowers were blooming everywhere, with each day's
sun and dew growing still more beautiful and bright; but the fairy
flower, that should have been the loveliest of all, hung pale and
drooping on little Annie's bosom; its fragrance seemed quite gone, and
the clear, low music of its warning chime rang often in her ear.

When first the Fairy placed it there, she had been pleased with her new
gift, and for a while obeyed the fairy bell, and often tried to win some
fragrance from the flower by kind and pleasant words and actions; then,
as the Fairy said, she found a sweet reward in the strange, soft perfume
of the magic blossom as it shone upon her breast; but selfish thoughts
would come to tempt her, she would yield, and unkind words fell from her
lips; and then the flower drooped pale and scentless, the fairy bell
rang mournfully, Annie would forget her better resolutions, and be again
a selfish, willful little child.

At last she tried no longer, but grew angry with the faithful flower,
and would have torn it from her breast; but the fairy spell still held
it fast, and all her angry words but made it ring a louder, sadder peal.
Then she paid no heed to the silvery music sounding in her ear, and each
day grew still more unhappy, discontented, and unkind; so, when the
Autumn days came round, she was no better for the gentle Fairy's gift,
and longed for Spring, that it might be returned; for now the constant
echo of the mournful music made her very sad.

One sunny morning, when the fresh, cool winds were blowing, and not a
cloud was in the sky, little Annie walked among her flowers, looking
carefully into each, hoping thus to find the Fairy, who alone could take
the magic blossom from her breast. But she lifted up their drooping
leaves, peeped into their dewy cups in vain; no little Elf lay hidden
there, and she turned sadly from them all, saying: "I will go out into
the fields and woods, and seek her there. I will not listen to this
tiresome music more, nor wear this withered flower longer." So out into
the fields she went, where the long grass rustled as she passed, and
timid birds looked at her from their nests; where lovely wild flowers
nodded in the wind, and opened wide their fragrant leaves to welcome in
the murmuring bees, while butterflies, like winged flowers, danced and
glittered in the sun.

Little Annie looked, searched, and asked them all if any one could tell
her of the Fairy whom she sought; but the birds looked wonderingly at
her with their soft, bright eyes, and still sang on; the flowers nodded
wisely on their stems, but did not speak, while butterfly and bee buzzed
and fluttered away, one far too busy, the other too idle, to stay and
tell her what she asked.

Then she went through broad fields of yellow grain that waved around her
like a golden forest; here crickets chirped, grasshoppers leaped, and
busy ants worked, but they could not tell her what she longed to know.

"Now will I go among the hills," said Annie, "she may be there." So up
and down the green hillsides went her little feet; long she searched and
vainly she called; but still no Fairy came. Then by the riverside she
went, and asked the gay dragon flies and the cool white lilies if the
Fairy had been there; but the blue waves rippled on the white sand at
her feet, and no voice answered her.

Then into the forest little Annie went; and as she passed along the dim,
cool paths, the wood-flowers smiled up in her face, gay squirrels peeped
at her, as they swung amid the vines, and doves cooed softly as she
wandered by; but none could answer her. So, weary with her long and
useless search, she sat amid the ferns, and feasted on the rosy
strawberries that grew beside her, watching meanwhile the crimson
evening clouds that glowed around the setting sun.

The night-wind rustled through the boughs, and when the autumn moon rose
up, her silver light shone on the child, where, pillowed on green moss,
she lay asleep amid the wood-flowers in the dim old forest.

And all night long beside her stood the Fairy she had sought, and by
elfin spell and charm sent to the sleeping child this dream.

Little Annie dreamed she sat in her own garden, as she had often sat
before, with angry feelings in her heart, and unkind words upon her
lips. The magic flower was ringing its soft warning, but she paid no
heed to anything, save her own troubled thoughts; thus she sat, when
suddenly a low voice whispered in her ear: "Little Annie, look and see
the evil things that you are cherishing."

Then Annie saw, with fear and wonder, that the angry words she uttered
changed to dark, unlovely forms, each showing plainly from what fault or
passion it had sprung. Some of the shapes had scowling faces and bright,
fiery eyes; these were the spirits of Anger. Others, with sullen,
anxious, looks seemed gathering up all they could reach, and Annie saw
that the more they gained, the less they seemed to have; and these she
knew were shapes of Selfishness. Spirits of Pride were there, who folded
their shadowy garments round them, and turned scornfully away from all
the rest. These and many others little Annie saw, which had come from
her own heart, and taken form before her eyes.

When first she saw them, they were small and weak; but as she looked
they seemed to grow and gather strength, and each gained a strange power
over her. She could not drive them from her sight, and they grew ever
stronger, darker, and more unlovely to her eyes. They seemed to cast
black shadows over all around, to dim the sunshine, blight the flowers,
and drive away all bright and lovely things; while rising slowly round
her Annie saw a high, dark wall, that seemed to shut out everything she
loved; she dared not move, or speak, but, with a strange fear at her
heart, sat watching the dim shapes that hovered round her.

Higher and higher rose the shadowy wall. Slowly the flowers near her
died, lingeringly the sunlight faded; but at last they both were gone,
and left her all alone behind the gloomy wall. Then she could hear no
more, but, sinking down among the withered flowers, wept sad and bitter
tears, for her lost liberty and joy; then through the gloom there shone
a faint, soft light, and on her breast she saw her fairy flower, upon
whose snow-white leaves her tears lay shining.

Clearer and brighter grew the radiant light, till the evil spirits
turned away to the dark shadow of the wall, and left the child alone.

The light and perfume of the flower seemed to bring new strength to
Annie, and she rose up, saying, as she bent to kiss the blossom on her
breast: "Dear flower, help and guide me now, and I will listen to your
voice, and cheerfully obey my faithful fairy bell."

Then in her dreams she felt how hard the spirits tried to tempt and
trouble her, and how, but for her flower, they would have led her back,
and made all dark and dreary as before. Long and hard she struggled, and
tears often fell; but after each new trial, brighter shone her magic
flower, and sweeter grew its breath, while the spirits lost still more
their power to tempt her. Meanwhile, green, flowering vines crept up the
high, dark wall, and hid its roughness from her sight; and over these
she watched most tenderly, for soon, wherever green leaves and flowers
bloomed, the wall beneath grew weak, and fell apart. Thus little Annie
worked and hoped, till one by one the evil spirits fled away, and in
their place came shining forms, with gentle eyes and smiling lips, who
gathered round her with such loving words, and brought such strength and
joy to Annie's heart, that nothing evil dared to enter in; while slowly
sank the gloomy wall, and, over wreaths of fragrant flowers, she passed
out into the pleasant world again, the fairy gift no longer pale and
drooping, but now shining like a star upon her breast.

Then the low voice spoke again in Annie's sleeping ear, saying:
"Remember well the lesson of the dream, dear child, and let the shining
spirits make your heart their home."

And with that voice sounding in her ear, little Annie woke to find it
was a dream; but like other dreams it did not pass away; and as she sat
alone, bathed in the rosy morning light, and watched the forest waken
into life, she silently resolved to strive, as she had striven in her
dream, to bring back light and beauty to its faded leaves, by being what
the Fairy hoped to render her, a patient, gentle little child. And as
the thought came to her mind, the flower raised its drooping head, and,
looking up into the earnest little face bent over it, seemed by its
fragrant breath to answer Annie's silent thought, and strengthen her for
what might come.

Meanwhile the forest was astir, birds sang their gay good-morrows from
tree to tree, while leaf and flower turned to greet the sun, who rose up
smiling on the world; and so beneath the forest boughs and through the
dewy fields went little Annie home, better and wiser for her dream.

        *       *       *

Autumn flowers were dead and gone, white winter snow fell softly down;
yet now, when all without looked dark and dreary, on little Annie's
breast the fairy flower bloomed more beautiful than ever. The memory of
her forest dream had never passed away, and through trial and temptation
she had been true, and kept her resolution still unbroken; seldom now
did the warning bell sound in her ear, and seldom did the flower's
fragrance cease to float about her, or the fairy light to brighten all
whereon it fell.

So, through the long, cold winter, little Annie dwelt like a sunbeam in
her home, each day growing richer in the love of others, and happier in
herself; often was she tempted, but, remembering her dream, she listened
only to the music of the fairy bell, and the unkind thought or feeling
fled away, the smiling spirits of gentleness and love nestled in her
heart, and all was bright again.

At length, one day, as she sat singing in the sunny nook where all her
fairest flowers bloomed, weary with gazing at the far-off sky for the
little forms she hoped would come, she bent to look with joyful love
upon her bosom flower; and as she looked, its folded leaves spread wide
apart, and, rising slowly from the deep white cup, appeared the smiling
face of the lovely Elf whose coming she had waited for so long.

"Dear Annie, look for me no longer; I am here on your breast, for you
have learned to love my gift, and it has done its work most faithfully
and well," the Fairy said, as she looked into the happy child's bright
face, and laid her little arms most tenderly about her neck.

"And now have I brought another gift from Fairy-land, as a fit reward
for you, dear child," she said, when Annie had told all her gratitude
and love; then, touching the child with her shining wand, the Fairy bid
her look and listen silently.

And suddenly the world, to Annie, seemed changed for the air was filled
with strange, sweet sounds, and all around her floated lovely forms. In
every flower sat little smiling Elves, singing gayly as they rocked amid
the leaves. On every breeze, bright, airy spirits came floating by; some
fanned her cheek with their cool breath, and waved her long hair to and
fro, while others rang the flower-bells, and made a pleasant rustling
among the leaves. In the fountain, where the water danced and sparkled
in the sun, astride of every drop she saw merry little spirits, who
plashed and floated in the clear, cool waves, and sang as gayly as the
flowers, on whom they scattered glittering dew. The tall trees, as
their branches rustled in the wind, sang a low, dreamy song, while the
waving grass was filled with little voices she had never heard before.
Butterflies whispered lovely tales in her ear, and birds sang cheerful
songs in a sweet language she had never understood before. Earth and air
seemed filled with beauty and with music she had never dreamed of until
now.

"Oh, tell me what it means, dear Fairy! is it another and a lovelier
dream, or is the earth in truth so beautiful as this?" she cried,
looking with wondering joy upon the Elf, who lay upon the flower on her
breast.

"Yes, it is true, dear child," replied the Fairy, "and few are the
mortals to whom we give this lovely gift; what to you is now so full of
music and of light, to others is but a pleasant summer world; they never
know the language of butterfly or bird or flower, and they are blind
to all that I have given you the power to see. These fair things are
your friends and playmates now, and they will teach you many pleasant
lessons, and give you many happy hours; while the garden where you
once sat, weeping sad and bitter tears, is now brightened by your own
happiness, filled with loving friends by your own kindly thoughts and
feelings; and thus rendered a pleasant summer home for the gentle, happy
child, whose bosom flower will never fade. And now, dear Annie, I must
go; but every springtime, with the earliest flowers, will I come again
to visit you, and bring some fairy gift. Guard well the magic flower,
that I may find all fair and bright when next I come."

Then, with a kind farewell, the gentle Fairy floated upward through the
sunny air, smiling down upon the child, until she vanished in the soft,
white clouds; and little Annie stood alone in her enchanted garden,
where all was brightened with the radiant light, and fragrant with the
perfume of her fairy flower.



COMPANIONS

BY HELEN HUNT JACKSON


During the whole of one of a summer's hottest days I had the good
fortune to be seated in a railway car near a mother and four children,
whose relations with each other were so beautiful that the pleasure of
watching them was quite enough to make one forget the discomforts of the
journey.

It was plain that they were poor; their clothes were coarse and old, and
had been made by inexperienced hands. The mother's bonnet alone would
have been enough to have condemned the whole party on any of the world's
thoroughfares. I remembered afterward, with shame, that I myself had
smiled at the first sight of its antiquated ugliness; but her face was
one which it gave you a sense of rest to look upon--it was so earnest,
tender, true, and strong. It had little comeliness of shape or color in
it, it was thin, and pale; she was not young; she had worked hard; she
had evidently been much ill; but I have seen few faces which gave me
such pleasure. I think that she was the wife of a poor clergyman; and I
think that clergyman must be one of the Lord's best watchmen of souls.
The children--two boys and two girls--were all under the age of 12, and
the youngest could not speak plainly. They had had a rare treat; they
had been visiting the mountains, and they were talking over all the
wonders they had seen with a glow of enthusiastic delight which was
to be envied. Only a word-for-word record would do justice to their
conversation; no description could give any idea of it--so free, so
pleasant, so genial, no interruptions, no contradictions; and the
mother's part borne all the while with such equal interest and eagerness
that no one not seeing her face would dream that she was any other than
an elder sister.

In the course of the day there were many occasions when it was necessary
for her to deny requests, and to ask services, especially from the
eldest boy; but no young girl, anxious to please a lover, could have
done either with a more tender courtesy. She had her reward; for no
lover could have been more tender and manly than was this boy of 12.
Their lunch was simple and scanty; but it had the grace of a royal
banquet. At the last, the mother produced with much glee three apples
and an orange, of which the children had not known. All eyes fastened on
the orange. It was evidently a great rarity. I watched to see if this
test would bring out selfishness. There was a little silence; just the
shade of a cloud. The mother said: "How shall I divide this? There is
one for each of you; and I shall be best off of all, for I expect big
tastes from each of you."

"Oh, give Annie the orange. Annie loves oranges," spoke out the oldest
boy, with a sudden air of a conqueror, and at the same time taking the
smallest and worst apple himself.

"Oh, yes, let Annie have the orange," echoed the second boy, nine years
old.

"Yes, Annie may have the orange, because that is nicer than the apple,
and she is a lady, and her brothers are gentlemen," said the mother,
quietly. Then there was a merry contest as to who should feed the mother
with largest and most frequent mouthfuls; and so the feast went on. Then
Annie pretended to want an apple, and exchanged thin golden strips of
orange for bites out of the cheeks of Baldwins; and, as I sat watching
her intently, she suddenly fancied she saw longing in my face, and
sprang over to me, holding out a quarter of her orange, and saying,
"Don't you want a taste, too?" The mother smiled, understandingly, when
I said, "No, I thank you, you dear, generous little girl; I don't care
about oranges."

At noon we had a tedious interval of waiting at a dreary station. We sat
for two hours on a narrow platform, which the sun had scorched till it
smelled of heat. The oldest boy--the little lover--held the youngest
child, and talked to her, while the tired mother closed her eyes and
rested. Now and then he looked over at her, and then back at the baby;
and at last he said confidentially to me (for we had become fast friends
by this time): "Isn't it funny, to think that I was ever so small as
this baby? And papa says that then mamma was almost a little girl
herself."

The two other children were toiling up and down the banks of the
railroad track, picking ox-eye daisies, buttercups, and sorrel. They
worked like beavers, and soon the bunches were almost too big for their
little hands. Then they came running to give them to their mother. "Oh,
dear," thought I, "how that poor, tired woman will hate to open her
eyes! and she never can take those great bunches of common, fading
flowers, in addition to all her bundles and bags." I was mistaken.

"Oh, thank you, my darlings! How kind you were! Poor, hot, tired little
flowers, how thirsty they look! If they will only try and keep alive
till we get home, we will make them very happy in some water; won't we?
And you shall put one bunch by papa's plate, and one by mine."

Sweet and happy, the weary and flushed little children stood looking up
in her face while she talked, their hearts thrilling with compassion for
the drooping flowers and with delight in the giving of their gift. Then
she took great trouble to get a string and tie up the flowers, and then
the train came, and we were whirling along again. Soon it grew dark, and
little Annie's head nodded. Then I heard the mother say to the oldest
boy, "Dear, are you too tired to let little Annie put her head on your
shoulder and take a nap? We shall get her home in much better ease to
see papa if we can manage to give her a little sleep." How many boys of
twelve hear such words as these from tired, overburdened mothers?

Soon came the city, the final station, with its bustle and noise. I
lingered to watch my happy family, hoping to see the father. "Why, papa
isn't here!" exclaimed one disappointed little voice after another.
"Never mind," said the mother, with a still deeper disappointment in her
own tone; "perhaps he had to go to see some poor body who is sick." In
the hurry of picking up all the parcels, and the sleepy babies, the poor
daisies and buttercups were left forgotten in a corner of the rack. I
wondered if the mother had not intended this. May I be forgiven for the
injustice! A few minutes after I passed the little group, standing still
just outside the station, and heard the mother say, "Oh, my darlings, I
have forgotten your pretty bouquets. I am so sorry! I wonder if I could
find them if I went back. Will you all stand still if I go?"

"Oh, mamma, don't go, don't go. We will get you some more. Don't go,"
cried all the children.

"Here are your flowers, madam," said I. "I saw that you had forgotten
them, and I took them as mementos of you and your sweet children." She
blushed and looked disconcerted. She was evidently unused to people, and
shy with all but her children. However, she thanked me sweetly, and
said:

"I was very sorry about them. The children took such trouble to get
them, and I think they will revive in water. They cannot be quite dead."

"They will never die!" said I, with an emphasis which went from my heart
to hers. Then all her shyness fled. She knew me; and we shook hands, and
smiled into each other's eyes with the smile of kindred as we parted.

As I followed on, I heard the two children, who were walking behind,
saying to each other: "Wouldn't that have been too bad? Mamma liked them
so much, and we never could have got so many all at once again."

"Yes, we could, too, next Summer," said the boy, sturdily.

They are sure of their "next summers," I think, all six of those
souls--children, and mother, and father. They may never again gather so
many ox-eye daisies and buttercups "all at once." Perhaps some of the
little hands have already picked their last flowers. Nevertheless, their
summers are certain. To such souls as these, all trees, either here or
in God's larger country, are Trees of Life, with twelve manner of fruits
and leaves for healing; and it is but little change from the summers
here, whose suns burn and make weary, to the summers there, of which
"the Lamb is the light."



PRINCE LITTLE BOY

BY S. WEIR MITCHELL


A great many children live on the borders of Fairy-land and never visit
it at all, and really there are people who grow up and are not very
unhappy who will not believe they have lived near to it all their lives.
But if once you have been in that pleasant country you never quite
forget it, and when some stupid man says, "It is all stuff and
nonsense," you do not say much, even if you yourself have come to be an
old fellow with hair of two colors, but you feel proud to know how much
more you have seen of the world than he has. Children are the best
travelers in Fairy-land, and there also is another kingdom which is easy
for them to reach and hard for some older folks.

Once upon a time there was a small boy who lived so near to Fairy-land
that he sometimes got over the fence and inside of that lovely country,
but, being a little afraid, never went very far, and was quick to run
home if he saw Blue Beard or an Ogre or even Goody Two-Shoes. Once or
twice he went a little farther, and saw things which may be seen but can
never be written.

Sometimes he told his father that he had been into Fairy-land; but his
father, who was a brick-maker and lived in the wood, only laughed, and
cried aloud; "Next time you go, be sure to fetch back some fairy money."

One day the small boy, whose real name was Little Boy, told his father
that he had gone a mile into Fairy-land, and that there the people were
born old and grew younger all the time, and that on this account the
hands of their clocks went backward. When his father heard this, he said
that boy was only fit to sing songs and be in the sun, and would never
make bricks worth a penny. Then he added, sharply, that his son must get
to work at once and stop going over the fence to Fairy-land. So, after
that, Little Boy was set to dig clay and make bricks for a palace which
the King was building. He made a great many bricks of all colors, and
did seem to work so very hard that his father began to think he might in
time come to make the best of bricks. But if you are making bricks you
must not even be thinking of fairies, because something is sure to get
into the bricks and spoil them for building anything except a Spanish
castle or a palace of Aladdin.

I am sorry to say that while Little Boy made bricks and patted them well
and helped to bake them hard he was forever thinking of a Fairy who had
kissed him one day in the wood. This was a very strange Fairy, large,
with white limbs, and eyes which were full of joy for a child, but to
such as being old looked upon them, were, as the poet says, "lakes of
sadness." Perhaps, being little, you who read can understand this. I
cannot; but whoever has once seen this Fairy loves the sun and the woods
and all living creatures, and knows things without being taught, and
what men will say before they say it. Yet, while he knows all these
strange things, and what birds talk about, and what songs the winds sing
to the trees, he can never make good bricks.

And this was why Little Boy's bricks were badly made; on account of
which the King's palace, having many poor bricks in it, fell down one
fine day and cracked the crowns of twenty-three courtiers and had like
to have killed the King himself. This made the King very angry, so he
put on his crown and said wicked words, and told everybody he would give
one hundred pieces of gold to whoever would find the person who had made
the bad bricks. When Little Boy's father heard this, he knew it must
have been his son who was to blame. So he told his son that he had been
very careless, and that surely the King would kill him, and that the
best thing he could do would be to run away and hide in Fairy-land.

Little Boy was very badly scared, and was well pleased when his mother
had put some cakes and apples in a bag and slung it over his shoulder
and told him to run quickly away; and this he was glad to do, because he
saw the King's soldiers coming over the hill to take him. When they came
to his father's house his father told them that it was his son who had
made the bad bricks. After hearing this, they let the man go, and went
after Little Boy. As their legs were long and his were short, they soon
got very near to him, and he had just time to scramble over the fence
into Fairy-land. Then the soldiers began to get over the fence, too; but
at this moment the giant Fee-Faw-Fum came out of the wood, and said, in
a voice that was as loud as the roar of the winds of a winter night:
"What do you want here?" This gave them such a fright that they all sat
there in a row on top of the fence like sparrows, and could not move for
a week. You may be sure Little Boy did not stop to look at them, but ran
away, far away into Fairy-land. Of course, he soon got lost, because in
the geographies there is not a word about Fairy-land, and nobody knows
even what bounds it on the north.

It is sad to be lost, but not in Fairy-land. The sooner you lose
yourself, the happier you are. And then such queer things chance to
you--things no one could dream would happen. Mostly it is the children
for whom they occur, and the grown-up person who is quite happy in this
joyous land is not often to be met with. Perhaps you think I will tell
you all about the fairy country. Not I, indeed. I have been there in my
time; but my travels there I cannot write, or else I might never be
allowed to return again.

By-and-by Little Boy grew tired and went into a deep wood and there sat
down and ate a cake, and saw very soon that the squirrels were throwing
him nuts from the trees. Of course, as he was in Fairy-land, this was
just what one might have expected. He tried to crack the nuts with his
teeth, but could not, and this troubled the squirrels so much that
presently nine of them came down and sat around him and began to crack
nuts for him and to laugh.

When Little Boy had finished his meal, he lay down and tried to go to
sleep, for it was pleasant and warm, and the moss was soft to lie upon,
and strange birds came and went and sang love-songs. But just as he was
almost asleep he was shaken quite roughly, and when he looked up saw a
beautiful Prince.

"Ho! ho!" said the Prince, "I heard you getting ready to snore. A moment
more and I should have been too late."

"How is that?" said Little Boy, "and who are you?"

"Sir, I am Fine Ear, and before things happen I hear them. Do not you
know, Fair Sir" (this is the way fairies speak), "that if you fall
asleep the first day that you are in Fairy-land, it is years before you
wake? Some people don't wake."

Little Boy felt that he was in high society, so he said, politely:

"Gracious Prince, a million thanks; but how can I keep awake?"

"It is only for one night, young sir. Come with me. My sister, Goody
Two-Shoes, lives close by, and she may help us."

So they went along through the twilight and walked far, until Little Boy
was ready to drop. At last Fine Ear said that as he heard his sister
breathing, she could not be more than three miles away. As they climbed
a great hill, it became dark, and Little Boy grew more and more sleepy,
and could not see his way, and tumbled about so much that at last the
Prince stood still and said: "My dear fellow, this won't do; you will be
in Dream-land before I can pinch you." Then he whistled, and a little
silver star--a shining white light--fell out of the fairy sky and rolled
beside them, making all the road as bright as day, and quite waking up
Little Boy.

After this they walked on, and the Prince said he would ask Jack the
Giant-killer to supper. Little Boy replied that he would be proud to
meet him. Just as they came near to the house, which was built of pearls
and rubies, the Prince said: "Alas! here comes that tiresome fool,
Humpty Dumpty." When Little Boy looked, he saw a short man very crooked
in the back, and with a head all to one side, not having been well
mended by the doctors, as you may recall. Also his mouth was very large,
which was a pity, because when he stopped before them and bowed in a
polite way, all of a sudden he opened this great mouth and gaped; and
when poor, sleepy Little Boy saw this, what could he do but gape for
company, and at once fall down sound asleep before the kind Prince could
move?

"Alas! fool," said Fine Ear, "why must you gape at a mortal? You knew
what would happen. It was lucky you did not sneeze."

Meanwhile, there lay Little Boy sound asleep, and what was to be done?
At last he was carried into the house of Goody Two-Shoes and put on a
bed. Every one knew that he could not be waked up, and so they put fairy
food in his mouth twice a day, and just let him alone, so that for
several years he slept soundly, and by reason of being fed with fairy
food grew tall and beautiful; what was more strange, his clothes grew
also.

At the end of seven years a great Sayer of Sooth came by on his way to
visit his fairy godmother, and when he heard about Little Boy's sleep he
stood still and uttered a loud Sooth. When Goody Two-Shoes heard it she
was sorry, because it was told her that Little Boy would never wake
until he was carried back to the country of mortals, when he would wake
up at once. Now by this time she had come to love him very much, and was
sorry to part with him, because in seven years he had never spoken one
cross word!

 [Illustration: "SHE PUT AROUND LITTLE BOY'S NECK A FAIRY KISS"]

But Sooths must be obeyed; so she sent for a gentle Giant, and told him
to carry Little Boy to the Queen's tailor and to dress him like a fairy
Prince, and to set him down on the roadside near his father's house.
Then when the Giant took him up in his great arms, all sound asleep, she
put around Little Boy's neck a fairy kiss tied fast to a gold chain, and
this was for good luck. After this the Giant walked away, and Goody
Two-Shoes went into the house and cried for two days and a night.

When the Giant came to Common-Folks'-land, he laid Little Boy beside the
high-road and went home. Toward evening, the King's daughter went by,
and seeing Little Boy, who, as I have said, was now grown tall and
dressed all in velvet and jewels, she came and stood by him, and when
she saw the fairy kiss hanging around his neck she knelt down and kissed
him. Then all the old ladies cried, "Fy! for shame!" but you know she
could not help it. As for Little Boy, he kept ever so still, being now
wide awake, but having hopes that she would kiss him again, which she
did, twice. As he still seemed to sleep, he was put in the Princess's
chariot and taken to the King's palace.

At last, when every one had looked at him, they put him on a bed, and
when morning came he opened his eyes, and began to walk around to
stretch his legs. But as he went downstairs he met the King, who said to
him: "Fair Sir, what is the name of thy beautiful self?" To which he
answered: "I am called Prince Little Boy." "Ha! ha!" said the King.
"That was the name of the bad brick-maker. Perchance thou art he." Then
he called his guards, and Little Boy was at once shut up in a huge
tower, for the King was not quite sure, or else he would have put him to
death at once. But after Little Boy had been there three days he put his
head out of a window and saw the Princess in the garden. Then he said:

"Sweet lady, look up."

"Alas!" said she, "they have sent for thy mother, and if she says thou
art Little Boy they will kill thee, and, alas! I love thee."

"Ah!" he cried, "come to this tower at midnight, and cast me kisses a
many through the night; blow a kiss to the north, blow a kiss to the
south, to the east, to the west, from the flower of thy mouth and it may
be that one will float to Fairy-land and fetch us help, for if not, I be
but a dead man."

All this she did because she was brave and loved him. She stood in the
dark and blew kisses to the four winds, and then listened, and by and by
came a noise like great wings, and all the air was filled with strange,
sweet odors, the like of which that Princess never smelled again.

As for Little Boy, he was aware of a Giant who was as tall as the tower.
"Sir," said the Giant, "it is told me that you must keep your eyes shut
until I bid them to open. I have brought the Kiss Queen to pay you a
visit. No man has ever seen her; for if he did he could never, never
kiss or be kissed of any mortal lips."

"Sir," said Little Boy, "the Princess is more sweet than any that kiss
in Fairy-land."

"Prince," said the Giant, "your education has been but slight, or else
you would know that all kisses are made in Fairy-land. But shut your
eyes and stir not."

Then Little Boy did close his two eyes. At once he felt a tiny kiss from
lips that might have been as long as one's fingernail, and once he was
kissed on each cheek and once on his chin, and then he felt faint for a
moment. All was still for a while, until the Giant said: "You are lucky.
Open your eyes, Fair Sir," and went away.

Next day all the people came to see the King try Little Boy. When Little
Boy saw his mother he was almost ready to cry, but he kept still and
waited. Then the King said to her: "Tell me, is this your son? and do
not deceive me, or dreadful things will happen to you and to him."

At this the good woman looked at him with care. "This looks like my
son," she said; "but it is not my son, because this young man has a
dimple on each cheek and one on his chin. Who ever saw any one with
three dimples?"

When the King heard this and Little Boy's father declared also that his
lost son had no dimples, the King bade them all go free, and said he had
been now nine years angry about those bricks, and that whoever would
find the bad brick-maker should marry the Princess. When Prince Little
Boy heard this he said that he was the bad boy who had made those
bricks. But the King was as good as his word, and ordered that the
Prince should marry the Princess, and not have his head cut off, because
the Princess did wisely say that a husband with no head wasn't much good
as a husband. Therefore they were married that minute, and I have heard
that they spent their honeymoon in Fairy-land. And this is the end of
the Story of Prince Little Boy.



THE BEE-MAN OF ORN[E]

BY FRANK R. STOCKTON


In the ancient country of Orn there lived an old man who was called the
Bee-man, because his whole time was spent in the company of bees. He
lived in a small hut, which was nothing more than an immense bee-hive,
for these little creatures had built their honeycombs in every corner of
the one room it contained--on the shelves, under the little table, all
about the rough bench on which the old man sat, and even about the
head-board and along the sides of his low bed.

All day the air of the room was thick with buzzing insects, but this did
not interfere in any way with the old Bee-man, who walked in among them,
ate his meals, and went to sleep, without the slightest fear of being
stung.

He had lived with the bees so long, they had become so accustomed to
him, and his skin was so tough and hard, that the bees no more thought
of stinging him than they would of stinging a tree or a stone. A swarm
of bees had made their hive in a pocket of his old leathern doublet; and
when he put on this coat to take one of his long walks in the forest in
search of wild bees' nests, he was very glad to have this hive with him,
for, if he did not find any wild honey, he would put his hand in his
pocket and take out a piece of a comb for a luncheon. The bees in his
pocket worked very industriously, and he was always certain of having
something to eat with him wherever he went. He lived principally upon
honey; and when he needed bread or meat, he carried some fine combs to a
village not far away and bartered them for other food. He was ugly,
untidy, shrivelled, and brown. He was poor, and the bees seemed to be
his only friends. But, for all that, he was happy and contented; he had
all the honey he wanted, and his bees, whom he considered the best
company in the world, were as friendly and sociable as they could be,
and seemed to increase in number every day.

One day there stopped at the hut of the Bee-man a Junior Sorcerer. This
young person, who was a student of magic, was much interested in the
Bee-man, whom he had often noticed in his wanderings, and he considered
him an admirable subject for study. He had got a great deal of useful
practice by trying to find out, by the various rules and laws of
sorcery, exactly why the old Bee-man did not happen to be something that
he was not, and why he was what he happened to be. He had studied a long
time at this matter, and had found out something.

"Do you know," he said, when the Bee-man came out of his hut, "that you
have been transformed?"

"What do you mean by that?" said the other, much surprised.

"You have surely heard of animals and human beings who have been
magically transformed into different kinds of creatures?"

"Yes, I have heard of these things," said the Bee-man; "but what have I
been transformed from?"

"That is more than I know," said the Junior Sorcerer. "But one thing is
certain; you ought to be changed back. If you will find out what you
have been transformed from, I will see that you are made all right
again. Nothing would please me better than to attend to such a case."

And, having a great many things to study and investigate, the Junior
Sorcerer went his way.

This information greatly disturbed the mind of the Bee-man. If he had
been changed from something else, he ought to be that other thing,
whatever it was. He ran after the young man, and overtook him.

"If you know, kind sir," he said, "that I have been transformed, you
surely are able to tell me what it is that I was."

"No," said the Junior Sorcerer, "my studies have not proceeded far
enough for that. When I become a Senior I can tell you all about it.
But, in the meantime, it will be well for you to try to find out for
yourself your original form; and when you have done that, I will get
some of the learned masters of my art to restore you to it. It will be
easy enough to do that, but you could not expect them to take the time
and trouble to find out what it was."

And, with these words, he hurried away, and was soon lost to view.

Greatly disturbed, the Bee-man retraced his steps, and went to his hut.
Never before had he heard anything which had so troubled him.

"I wonder what I was transformed from?" he thought, seating himself on
his rough bench. "Could it have been a giant, or a powerful prince, or
some gorgeous being whom the magicians or the fairies wished to punish?
It may be that I was a dog or a horse, or perhaps a fiery dragon or a
horrid snake. I hope it was not one of these. But whatever it was,
everyone has certainly a right to his original form, and I am resolved
to find out mine. I will start early to-morrow morning; and I am sorry
now that I have not more pockets to my old doublet, so that I might
carry more bees and more honey for my journey."

He spent the rest of the day in making a hive of twigs and straw; and,
having transferred to this a number of honeycombs and a colony of bees
which had just swarmed, he rose before sunrise the next day, and having
put on his leathern doublet and having bound his new hive to his back,
he set forth on his quest, the bees who were to accompany him buzzing
around him like a cloud.

As the Bee-man pressed through the little village the people greatly
wondered at his queer appearance, with the hive upon his back. "The
Bee-man is going on a long journey this time," they said; but no one
imagined the strange business on which he was bent.

About noon he sat down under a tree, near a beautiful meadow covered
with blossoms, and ate a little honey. Then he untied his hive and
stretched himself out on the grass to rest. As he gazed upon his bees
hovering about him, some going out to the blossoms in the sunshine, and
some returning laden with the sweet pollen, he said to himself: "They
know just what they have to do, and they do it; but alas for me! I know
not what I may have to do. And yet, whatever it may be, I am determined
to do it. In some way or other I will find out what was my original
form, and then I will have myself changed back to it."

And now the thought came to him that perhaps his original form might
have been something very disagreeable, or even horrid.

"But it does not matter," he said sturdily. "Whatever I was that shall I
be again. It is not right for anyone to keep a form which does not
properly belong to him. I have no doubt I shall discover my original
form in the same way that I find the trees in which the wild bees hive.
When I first catch sight of a bee tree I am drawn toward it, I know not
how. Something says to me: 'That is what you are looking for.' In the
same way I believe that I shall find my original form. When I see it, I
shall be drawn toward it. Something will say to me: 'That is it.'"

When the Bee-man was rested he started off again, and in about an hour
he entered a fair domain. Around him were beautiful lawns, grand trees,
and lovely gardens; while at a little distance stood the stately palace
of the Lord of the Domain. Richly dressed people were walking about or
sitting in the shade of the trees and arbors; splendidly equipped horses
were waiting for their riders; and everywhere were seen signs of wealth
and gayety.

"I think," said the Bee-man to himself, "that I should like to stop here
for a time. If it should happen that I was originally like any of these
happy creatures it would please me much."

He untied his hive, and hid it behind some bushes, and, taking off his
old doublet, laid that beside it. It would not do to have his bees
flying about him if he wished to go among the inhabitants of this fair
domain.

For two days the Bee-man wandered about the palace and its grounds,
avoiding notice as much as possible, but looking at everything. He saw
handsome men and lovely ladies; the finest horses, dogs, and cattle that
were ever known; beautiful birds in cages, and fishes in crystal globes;
and it seemed to him that the best of all living-things were here
collected.

At the close of the second day the Bee-man said to himself: "There is
one being here toward whom I feel very much drawn, and that is the Lord
of the Domain. I cannot feel certain that I was once like him, but it
would be a very fine thing if it were so; and it seems impossible for me
to be drawn toward any other being in the domain when I look upon him,
so handsome, rich, and powerful. But I must observe him more closely,
and feel more sure of the matter, before applying to the sorcerers to
change me back into a lord of a fair domain."

The next morning the Bee-man saw the Lord of the Domain walking in his
gardens. He slipped along the shady paths, and followed him so as to
observe him closely, and find out if he were really drawn toward this
noble and handsome being. The Lord of the Domain walked on for some
time, not noticing that the Bee-man was behind him. But suddenly
turning, he saw the little old man.

"What are you doing here, you vile beggar?" he cried; and he gave him a
kick that sent him into some bushes which grew by the side of the path.

The Bee-man scrambled to his feet, and ran as fast as he could to the
place where he had hidden his hive and his old doublet.

"If I am certain of anything," he thought, "it is that I was never a
person who would kick a poor old man. I will leave this place. I was
transformed from nothing that I see here."

He now traveled for a day or two longer, and then he came to a great
black mountain, near the bottom of which was an opening like the mouth
of a cave.

 [Illustration: "HE WAS EXTREMELY LIVELY AND ACTIVE, AND CAME BOUNDING
 TOWARD THEM"]

This mountain he had heard was filled with caverns and underground
passages, which were the abodes of dragons, evil spirits, and horrid
creatures of all kinds.

"Ah me!" said the Bee-man with a sigh, "I suppose I ought to visit this
place. If I am going to do this thing properly, I should look on all
sides of the subject, and I may have been one of those horrid creatures
myself."

Thereupon he went to the mountain, and as he approached the opening of
the passage which led into its inmost recesses, he saw, sitting upon the
ground, and leaning his back against a tree, a Languid Youth.

"Good-day," said this individual when he saw the Bee-man. "Are you going
inside?"

"Yes," said the Bee-man, "that is what I intend to do."

"Then," said the Languid Youth, slowly rising to his feet, "I think I
will go with you. I was told that if I went in there I should get my
energies toned up, and they need it very much; but I did not feel equal
to entering by myself, and I thought I would wait until some one came
along. I am very glad to see you, and we will go in together."

So the two went into the cave, and they had proceeded but a short
distance when they met a very little creature, whom it was easy to
recognize as a Very Imp. He was about two feet high, and resembled in
color a freshly polished pair of boots. He was extremely lively and
active, and came bounding toward them.

"What did you two people come here for?" he asked.

"I came," said the Languid Youth, "to have my energies toned up."

"You have come to the right place," said the Very Imp. "We will tone you
up. And what does that old Bee-man want?"

"He has been transformed from something, and wants to find out what it
is. He thinks he may have been one of the things in here."

"I should not wonder if that were so," said the Very Imp, rolling his
head on one side, and eying the Bee-man with a critical gaze.

"All right," said the Very Imp; "he can go around, and pick out his
previous existence. We have here all sorts of vile creepers, crawlers,
hissers, and snorters. I suppose he thinks anything will be better than
a Bee-man."

"It is not because I want to be better than I am," said the Bee-man,
"that I started out on this search. I have simply an honest desire to
become what I originally was."

"Oh; that is it, is it?" said the other. "There is an idiotic moon-calf
here with a clam head, which must be just what you used to be."

"Nonsense," said the Bee-man. "You have not the least idea what an
honest purpose is. I shall go about and see for myself."

"Go ahead," said the Very Imp, "and I will attend to this fellow who
wants to be toned up." So saying he joined the Languid Youth.

"Look here," said the Youth, "do you black and shine yourself every
morning?"

"No," said the other, "it is water-proof varnish. You want to be
invigorated, don't you? Well, I will tell you a splendid way to begin.
You see that Bee-man has put down his hive and his coat with the bees in
it. Just wait till he gets out of sight, and then catch a lot of those
bees, and squeeze them flat. If you spread them on a sticky rag, and
make a plaster, and put it on the small of your back, it will invigorate
you like everything, especially if some of the bees are not quite dead."

"Yes," said the Languid Youth, looking at him with his mild eyes, "but
if I had energy enough to catch a bee I would be satisfied. Suppose you
catch a lot for me."

"The subject is changed," said the Very Imp. "We are now about to visit
the spacious chamber of the King of the Snap-dragons."

"That is a flower," said the Languid Youth.

"You will find him a gay old blossom," said the other. "When he has
chased you round his room, and has blown sparks at you, and has snorted
and howled, and cracked his tail, and snapped his jaws like a pair of
anvils, your energies will be toned up higher than ever before in your
life."

"No doubt of it," said the Languid Youth; "but I think I will begin with
something a little milder."

"Well, then," said the other, "there is a flat-tailed Demon of the Gorge
in here. He is generally asleep, and, if you say so, you can slip into
the farthest corner of his cave, and I'll solder his tail to the
opposite wall. Then he will rage and roar, but he can't get at you, for
he doesn't reach all the way across his cave; I have measured him. It
will tone you up wonderfully to sit there and watch him."

"Very likely," said the Languid Youth; "but I would rather stay outside
and let you go up in the corner. The performance in that way will be
more interesting to me."

"You are dreadfully hard to please," said the Very Imp. "I have offered
them to you loose, and I offered them fastened to a wall, and now the
best thing I can do is to give you a chance at one of them that can't
move at all. It is the Ghastly Griffin, and is enchanted. He can't stir
so much as the tip of his whiskers for a thousand years. You can go to
his cave and examine him just as if he were stuffed, and then you can
sit on his back and think how it would be if you should live to be a
thousand years old, and he should wake up while you are sitting there.
It would be easy to imagine a lot of horrible things he would do to you
when you look at his open mouth with its awful fangs, his dreadful
claws, and his horrible wings all covered with spikes."

"I think that might suit me," said the Languid Youth. "I would much
rather imagine the exercises of these monsters than to see them really
going on."

"Come on, then," said the Very Imp; and he led the way to the cave of
the Ghastly Griffin.

The Bee-man went by himself through a great part of the mountain, and
looked into many of its gloomy caves and recesses, recoiling in horror
from most of the dreadful monsters who met his eyes. While he was
wandering about, an awful roar was heard resounding through the passages
of the mountain, and soon there came flapping along an enormous dragon,
with body black as night, and wings and tail of fiery red. In his great
fore-claws he bore a little baby.

"Horrible!" exclaimed the Bee-man. "He is taking that little creature to
his cave to devour it."

He saw the dragon enter a cave not far away, and, following, looked in.
The dragon was crouched upon the ground with the little baby lying
before him. It did not seem to be hurt, but was frightened and crying.
The monster was looking upon it with delight, as if he intended to make
a dainty meal of it as soon as his appetite should be a little stronger.

"It is too bad!" thought the Bee-man. "Somebody ought to do something."
And turning around, he ran away as fast as he could.

He ran through various passages until he came to the spot where he had
left his bee-hive. Picking it up, he hurried back, carrying the hive in
his two hands before him. When he reached the cave of the dragon, he
looked in and saw the monster still crouched over the weeping child.
Without a moment's hesitation, the Bee-man rushed into the cave and
threw his hive straight into the face of the dragon. The bees, enraged
by the shock, rushed upon the head, mouth, eyes, and nose of the dragon.

The great monster, astounded by this sudden attack, and driven almost
wild by the numberless stings of the bees, sprang back to the farthest
corner of his cave, still followed by the bees, at whom he flapped
wildly with his great wings and struck with his paws. While the dragon
was thus engaged with the bees, the Bee-man rushed forward, and seizing
the child, he hurried away. He did not stop to pick up his doublet, but
kept on until he saw the Very Imp hopping along on one leg, and rubbing
his back and shoulders with his hands, and stopped to inquire what was
the matter, and what had become of the Languid Youth.

"He is no kind of a fellow," said the Very Imp. "He disappointed me
dreadfully. I took him up to the Ghastly Griffin, and told him the thing
was enchanted, and that he might sit on its back and think about what it
could do if it was awake; and when he came near it the wretched creature
opened its eyes, and raised its head, and then you ought to have seen
how mad that simpleton was. He made a dash at me and seized me by the
ears; he kicked and beat me till I can scarcely move."

"His energies must have been toned up a good deal," said the Bee-man.

"Toned up! I should say so!" cried the other. "I raised a howl, and a
Scissor-jawed Clipper came out of his hole, and got after him; but that
lazy fool ran so fast that he could not be caught."

The Bee-man now ran on and soon overtook the Languid Youth.

"You need not be in a hurry now," said the latter, "for the rules of
this institution don't allow the creatures inside to come out of this
opening, or to hang around it. If they did, they would frighten away
visitors. They go in and out of holes in the upper part of the
mountain."

The two proceeded on their way.

"What are you going to do with that baby?" said the Languid Youth.

"I shall carry it along with me," said the Bee-man, "as I go on with my
search, and perhaps I may find its mother. If I do not, I shall give it
to somebody in that little village yonder. Anything would be better than
leaving it to be devoured by that horrid dragon."

"Let me carry it, I feel quite strong enough now to carry a baby."

"Thank you," said the Bee-man; "but I can take it myself. I like to
carry something, and I have now neither my hive nor my doublet."

"It is very well that you had to leave them behind," said the Youth,
"for the bees would have stung the baby."

"My bees never sting babies," said the other.

"They probably never had a chance," remarked his companion.

They soon entered the village, and after walking a short distance the
Youth exclaimed: "Do you see that woman over there sitting at the door
of her house? She has beautiful hair, and she is tearing it all to
pieces. She should not be allowed to do that."

"No," said the Bee-man. "Her friends should tie her hands."

"Perhaps she is the mother of this child," said the Youth, "and if you
give it to her she will no longer think of tearing her hair."

"But," said the Bee-man, "you don't really think this is her child?"

"Suppose you go over and see," said the other.

The Bee-man hesitated a moment, and then he walked toward the woman.
Hearing him coming, she raised her head, and when she saw the child she
rushed toward it, snatched it into her arms, and screaming with joy she
covered it with kisses. Then with happy tears she begged to know the
story of the rescue of her child, whom she never expected to see again;
and she loaded the Bee-man with thanks and blessings. The friends and
neighbors gathered around, and there was great rejoicing. The mother
urged the Bee-man and the Youth to stay with her, and rest and refresh
themselves, which they were glad to do, as they were tired and hungry.

They remained at the cottage all night, and in the afternoon of the next
day the Bee-man said to the Youth: "It may seem an odd thing to you, but
never in all my life have I felt myself drawn toward any living being as
I am drawn toward this baby. Therefore I believe that I have been
transformed from a baby."

"Good!" cried the Youth. "It is my opinion that you have hit the truth.
And now would you like to be changed back to your original form?"

"Indeed I would!" said the Bee-man. "I have the strongest yearning to be
what I originally was."

The Youth, who had now lost every trace of languid feeling, took a great
interest in the matter, and early the next morning started off to tell
the Junior Sorcerer that the Bee-man had discovered what he had been
transformed from, and desired to be changed back to it.

The Junior Sorcerer and his learned Masters were filled with delight
when they heard this report, and they at once set out for the mother's
cottage. And there by magic arts the Bee-man was changed back into a
baby. The mother was so grateful for what the Bee-man had done for her
that she agreed to take charge of this baby, and to bring it up as her
own.

"It will be a grand thing for him," said the Junior Sorcerer, "and I am
glad that I studied his case. He will now have a fresh start in life,
and will have a chance to become something better than a miserable old
man living in a wretched hut with no friends or companions but buzzing
bees."

The Junior Sorcerer and his Masters then returned to their homes, happy
in the success of their great performance; and the Youth went back to
his home anxious to begin a life of activity and energy.

Years and years afterward, when the Junior Sorcerer had become a Senior
and was very old indeed, he passed through the country of Orn, and
noticed a small hut about which swarms of bees were flying. He
approached it, and looking in at the door he saw an old man in a
leathern doublet, sitting at a table, eating honey. By his magic art he
knew this was the baby which had been transformed from the Bee-man.

"Upon my word!" exclaimed the Sorcerer, "he has grown into the same
thing again!"

 [E] From "The Bee-Man of Orn, and Other Fanciful Tales";
 copyright, 1887, by Charles Scribner's Sons. Used by permission of the
 publishers.



THE POT OF GOLD[F]

BY MARY E. WILKINS FREEMAN


The Flower family lived in a little house in a broad grassy meadow,
which sloped a few rods from their front door down to a gentle, silvery
river. Right across the river rose a lovely dark green mountain, and
when there was a rainbow, as there frequently was, nothing could have
looked more enchanting than it did rising from the opposite bank of the
stream with the wet, shadowy mountain for a background. All the Flower
family would invariably run to their front windows and their door to see
it.

The Flower family numbered nine: Father and Mother Flower and seven
children. Father Flower was an unappreciated poet, Mother Flower was
very much like all mothers, and the seven children were very sweet and
interesting. Their first names all matched beautifully with their last
name, and with their personal appearance. For instance, the oldest girl,
who had soft blue eyes and flaxen curls, was called Flax Flower: the
little boy, who came next, and had very red cheeks and loved to sleep
late in the morning, was called Poppy Flower, and so on. This charming
suitableness of their names was owing to Father Flower. He had a theory
that a great deal of the misery and discord in the world comes from
things not matching properly as they should; and he thought there
ought to be a certain correspondence between all things that were in
juxtaposition to each other, just as there ought to be between the last
two words of a couplet of poetry. But he found, very often, there was no
correspondence at all, just as words in poetry do not always rhyme when
they should. However, he did his best to remedy it. He saw that every
one of his children's names was suitable and accorded with their
personal characteristics; and in his flower-garden--for he raised
flowers for the market--only those of complementary colors were allowed
to grow in adjoining beds, and, as often as possible, they rhymed in
their names. But that was a more difficult matter to manage, and very
few flowers were rhymed, or, if they were, none rhymed correctly. He had
a bed of box next to one of phlox, and a trellis of woodbine grew next
to one of eglantine, and a thicket of elderblows was next to one of
rose; but he was forced to let his violets and honeysuckles and many
others go entirely unrhymed--this disturbed him considerably, but he
reflected that it was not his fault, but that of the man who made the
language and named the different flowers--he should have looked to it
that those of complementary colors had names to rhyme with each other,
then all would have been harmonious and as it should have been.

Father Flower had chosen this way of earning his livelihood when he
realized that he was doomed to be an unappreciated poet, because it
suited so well with his name; and if the flowers had only rhymed a
little better he would have been very well contented. As it was, he
never grumbled. He also saw to it that the furniture in his little house
and the cooking utensils rhymed as nearly as possible, though that too
was oftentimes a difficult matter to bring about, and required a vast
deal of thought and hard study. The table always stood under the gable
end of the roof, the foot-stool always stood where it was cool, and the
big rocking-chair in a glare of sunlight; the lamp, too, he kept down
cellar where it was damp. But all these were rather far-fetched, and
sometimes quite inconvenient. Occasionally there would be an article
that he could not rhyme until he had spent years of thought over it, and
when he did it would disturb the comfort of the family greatly. There
was the spider. He puzzled over that exceedingly, and when he rhymed it
at last, Mother Flower or one of the little girls had always to take
the spider beside her, when she sat down, which was of course quite
troublesome. The kettle he rhymed first with nettle, and hung a bunch
of nettle over it, till all the children got dreadfully stung. Then he
tried settle, and hung the kettle over the settle. But that was no place
for it; they had to go without their tea, and everybody who sat on the
settle bumped his head against the kettle. At last it occurred to Father
Flower that if he should make a slight change in the language the kettle
could rhyme with the skillet, and sit beside it on the stove, as it
ought, leaving harmony out of the question, to do. Accordingly all the
children were instructed to call the skillet a skettle, and the kettle
stood by its side on the stove ever afterward.

The house was a very pretty one, although it was quite rude and very
simple. It was built of logs and had a thatched roof, which projected
far out over the walls. But it was all overrun with the loveliest
flowering vines imaginable, and, inside, nothing could have been more
exquisitely neat and homelike; although there was only one room and a
little garret over it. All around the house were the flower-beds and the
vine-trellises and the blooming shrubs, and they were always in the most
beautiful order. Now, although all this was very pretty to see, and
seemingly very simple to bring to pass, yet there was a vast deal of
labor in it for some one; for flowers do not look so trim and thriving
without tending, and houses do not look so spotlessly clean without
constant care. All the Flower family worked hard; even the littlest
children had their daily tasks set them. The oldest girl, especially,
little Flax Flower, was kept busy from morning till night taking care of
her younger brothers and sisters, and weeding flowers. But for all that
she was a very happy little girl, as indeed were the whole family, as
they did not mind working, and loved each other dearly.

Father Flower, to be sure, felt a little sad sometimes; for, although
his lot in life was a pleasant one, it was not exactly what he would
have chosen. Once in a while he had a great longing for something
different. He confided a great many of his feelings to Flax Flower; she
was more like him than any of the other children, and could understand
him even better than his wife, he thought.

One day, when there had been a heavy shower and a beautiful rainbow, he
and Flax were out in the garden tying up some rose-bushes, which the
rain had beaten down, and he said to her how he wished he could find the
Pot of Gold at the end of the rainbow. Flax, if you will believe me,
had never heard of it; so he had to tell her all about it, and also say
a little poem he had made about it to her.

The poem ran something in this way:

    O what is it shineth so golden-clear
      At the rainbow's foot on the dark green hill?
    'Tis the Pot of Gold, that for many a year
      Has shone, and is shining and dazzling still.
    And whom is it for, O Pilgrim, pray?
    For thee, Sweetheart, shouldst thou go that way.

Flax listened with her soft blue eyes very wide open. "I suppose if we
should find that pot of gold it would make us very rich, wouldn't it,
father?" said she.

"Yes," replied her father; "we could then have a grand house, and keep a
gardener, and a maid to take care of the children, and we should no
longer have to work so hard." He sighed as he spoke, and tears stood in
his gentle blue eyes, which were very much like Flax's. "However, we
shall never find it," he added.

"Why couldn't we run ever so fast when we saw the rainbow," inquired
Flax, "and get the Pot of Gold?"

"Don't be foolish, child!" said her father; "you could not possibly
reach it before the rainbow was quite faded away!"

"True," said Flax, but she fell to thinking as she tied up the dripping
roses.

The next rainbow they had she eyed very closely, standing out on the
front doorstep in the rain, and she saw that one end of it seemed to
touch the ground at the foot of a pine-tree on the side of the mountain,
which was quite conspicuous amongst its fellows, it was so tall. The
other end had nothing especial to mark it.

"I will try the end where the tall pine-tree is first," said Flax to
herself, "because that will be the easiest to find--if the Pot of Gold
isn't there I will try to find the other end."

A few days after that it was very hot and sultry, and at noon the
thunder heads were piled high all around the horizon.

"I don't doubt but we shall have showers this afternoon," said Father
Flower, when he came in from the garden for his dinner.

After the dinner-dishes were washed up, and the baby rocked to sleep,
Flax came to her mother with a petition.

"Mother," said she, "won't you give me a holiday this afternoon?"

"Why, where do you want to go, Flax?" said her mother.

"I want to go over on the mountain and hunt for wild flowers," replied
Flax.

"But I think it is going to rain, child, and you will get wet."

"That won't hurt me any, mother," said Flax, laughing.

"Well, I don't know as I care," said her mother, hesitatingly. "You have
been a very good industrious girl, and deserve a little holiday. Only
don't go so far that you cannot soon run home if a shower should come
up."

So Flax curled her flaxen hair and tied it up with a blue ribbon, and
put on her blue and white checked dress. By the time she was ready to go
the clouds over in the northwest were piled up very high and black, and
it was quite late in the afternoon. Very likely her mother would not
have let her go if she had been at home, but she had taken the baby, who
had waked from his nap, and gone to call on her nearest neighbor, half a
mile away. As for her father, he was busy in the garden, and all the
other children were with him, and they did not notice Flax when she
stole out of the front door. She crossed the river on a pretty arched
stone bridge nearly opposite the house, and went directly into the woods
on the side of the mountain.

Everything was very still and dark and solemn in the woods. They knew
about the storm that was coming. Now and then Flax heard the leaves
talking in queer little rustling voices. She inherited the ability to
understand what they said from her father. They were talking to each
other now in the words of her father's song. Very likely he had heard
them saying it sometime, and that was how he happened to know it.

    "O what is it shineth so golden-clear
     At the rainbow's foot on the dark green hill?"

Flax heard the maple-leaves inquire. And the pine-leaves answered back:

    "'Tis the Pot of Gold, that for many a year
     Has shone, and is shining and dazzling still."

Then the maple-leaves asked:

    "And whom is it for, O Pilgrim, pray?"

And the pine-leaves answered:

    "For thee, Sweetheart, shouldst thou go that way."

Flax did not exactly understand the sense of the last question and
answer between maple and pine-leaves. But they kept on saying it
over and over as she ran along. She was going straight to the tall
pine-tree. She knew just where it was, for she had often been there. Now
the rain-drops began to splash through the green boughs, and the thunder
rolled along the sky. The leaves all tossed about in a strong wind and
their soft rustles grew into a roar, and the branches and the whole tree
caught it up and called out so loud, as they writhed and twisted about
that Flax was almost deafened, the words of the song:

    "O what is it shineth so golden-clear?"

Flax sped along through the wind and the rain and the thunder. She was
very much afraid that she should not reach the tall pine which was quite
a way distant before the sun shone out, and the rainbow came.

The sun was already breaking through the clouds when she came in sight
of it, way up above her on a rock. The rain-drops on the trees began to
shine like diamonds, and the words of the song rushed out from their
midst, louder and sweeter:

    "O what is it shineth so golden-clear?"

Flax climbed for dear life. Red and green and golden rays were already
falling thick around her, and at the foot of the pine-tree something was
shining wonderfully clear and bright.

At last she reached it, and just at that instant the rainbow became a
perfect one, and there at the foot of the wonderful arch of glory was
the Pot of Gold. Flax could see it brighter than all the brightness of
the rainbow. She sank down beside it and put her hand on it, then she
closed her eyes and sat still, bathed in red and green and violet
light--that, and the golden light from the Pot, made her blind and
dizzy. As she sat there with her hand on the Pot of Gold at the foot
of the rainbow, she could hear the leaves over her singing louder and
louder, till the tones fairly rushed like a wind through her ears. But
this time they only sang the last words of the song:

    "And whom is it for, O Pilgrim, pray?
     For thee, Sweetheart, shouldst thou go that way."

At last she ventured to open her eyes. The rainbow had faded almost
entirely away, only a few tender rose and green shades were arching over
her; but the Pot of Gold under her hand was still there, and shining
brighter than ever. All the pine needles with which the ground around it
was thickly spread, were turned to needles of gold, and some stray
couplets of leaves which were springing up through them were all gilded.

Flax bent over it trembling and lifted the lid off the pot. She
expected, of course, to find it full of gold pieces that would buy the
grand house and the gardener and the maid that her father had spoken
about. But to her astonishment, when she had lifted the lid off and bent
over the Pot to look into it, the first thing she saw was the face of
her mother looking out of it at her. It was smaller of course, but just
the same loving, kindly face she had left at home. Then, as she looked
longer, she saw her father smiling gently up at her, then came Poppy and
the baby and all the rest of her dear little brothers and sisters
smiling up at her out of the golden gloom inside the Pot. At last she
actually saw the garden and her father in it tying up the roses, and the
pretty little vine-covered house, and, finally, she could see right into
the dear little room where her mother sat with the baby in her lap, and
all the others around her.

Flax jumped up. "I will run home," said she, "it is late, and I do want
to see them all dreadfully."

So she left the Golden Pot shining all alone under the pine-tree, and
ran home as fast as she could.

When she reached the house it was almost twilight, but her father was
still in the garden. Every rose and lily had to be tied up after the
shower, and he was but just finishing. He had the tin milk pan hung on
him like a shield, because it rhymed with man. It certainly was a
beautiful rhyme, but it was very inconvenient. Poor Mother Flower was at
her wits' end to know what to do without it, and it was very awkward for
Father Flower to work with it fastened to him.

Flax ran breathlessly into the garden, and threw her arms around her
father's neck and kissed him. She bumped her nose against the milk pan,
but she did not mind that; she was so glad to see him again. Somehow,
she never remembered being so glad to see him as she was now since she
had seen his face in the Pot of Gold.

"Dear father," cried she, "how glad I am to see you! I found the Pot of
Gold at the end of the rainbow!"

Her father stared at her in amazement.

"Yes, I did, truly, father," said she. "But it was not full of gold,
after all. You were in it, and mother and the children and the house and
garden and--everything."

"You were mistaken, dear," said her father, looking at her with his
gentle, sorrowful eyes. "You could not have found the true end of the
rainbow, nor the true Pot of Gold--that is surely full of the most
beautiful gold pieces, with an angel stamped on every one."

"But I did, father," persisted Flax.

"You had better go into your mother, Flax," said her father; "she will
be anxious to see you. I know better than you about the Pot of Gold at
the end of the rainbow."

So Flax went sorrowfully into the house. There was the tea-kettle
singing beside the "skettle," which had some nice smelling soup in it,
the table was laid for supper, and there sat her mother with the baby in
her lap and the others all around her--just as they had looked in the
Pot of Gold.

Flax had never been so glad to see them before--and if she didn't hug
and kiss them all!

"I found the Pot of Gold at the end of the rainbow, mother," cried she,
"and it was not full of gold, at all; but you and father and the
children looked out of it at me, and I saw the house and garden and
everything in it."

Her mother looked at her lovingly. "Yes, Flax dear," said she.

"But father said I was mistaken," said Flax, "and did not find it."

"Well dear," said her mother, "your father is a poet, and very wise; we
will say no more about it. You can sit down here and hold the baby now,
while I make the tea."

Flax was perfectly ready to do that; and, as she sat there with her
darling little baby brother crowing in her lap, and watched her pretty
little brothers and sisters and her dear mother, she felt so happy that
she did not care any longer whether she found the true Pot of Gold or
not.

But, after all, do you know, I think her father was mistaken, and that
she had.

 [F] From "The Pot of Gold and Other Stories," by Mary E.
 Wilkins Freeman, published by Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Company; used by
 special arrangement.

 [Illustration]



 [Illustration: VERSES ABOUT FAIRIES]



THE FAIRY THORN

_An Ulster Ballad_

BY SAMUEL FERGUSON


    "Get up, our Anna dear, from the weary spinning wheel,
      For your father's on the hill, and your mother is asleep:
    Come up above the crags, and we'll dance a Highland reel
      Around the fairy thorn on the steep."

    At Anna Grace's door, 't was thus the maidens cried--
      Three merry maidens fair, in kirtles of the green;
    And Anna laid the sock and the weary wheel aside--
      The fairest of the four, I ween.

    They're glancing through the glimmer of the quiet eve,
      Away in milky wavings of the neck and ankle bare;
    The heavy-sliding stream in its sleepy song they leave,
      And the crags in the ghostly air;

    And linking hand in hand, and singing as they go,
      The maids along the hillside have ta'en their fearless way,
    Till they come to where the rowan trees in lonely beauty grow
      Beside the Fairy Hawthorn gray.

    The Hawthorn stands between the ashes tall and slim,
      Like matron with her twin grand-daughters at her knee;
    The rowan berries cluster o'er her low head, gray and dim,
      In ruddy kisses sweet to see.

    The merry maidens four have ranged them in a row,
      Between each lovely couple a stately rowan stem;
    And away in mazes wavy, like skimming birds, they go--
      Oh, never carroled bird like them!

    But solemn is the silence of the silvery haze,
      That drinks away their voices in echoless repose;
    And dreamily the evening has stilled the haunted braes,
      And dreamier the gloaming grows.

    And sinking, one by one, like lark-notes from the sky,
      When the falcon's shadow saileth across the open shaw,
    Are hushed the maidens' voices, as cowering down they lie
      In the flutter of their sudden awe.

    For, from the air above, and the grassy ground beneath,
      And from the mountain-ashes and the old white thorn between,
    A power of faint enchantment doth through their beings breathe,
      And they sink down together on the green.

    They sink together silent, and stealing side by side,
      They fling their lovely arms o'er their drooping necks so fair;
    Then vainly strive again their naked arms to hide,
      For their shrinking necks again are bare.

    Thus clasped and prostrate all, with their heads together bowed,
      Soft o'er their bosoms beating--the only human sound--
    They hear the silky footsteps of the silent fairy crowd,
      Like a river in the air, gliding round.

    Nor scream can raise, nor prayer can any say,
      But wild, wild the terror of the speechless three;
    For they feel fair Anna Grace drawn silently away,
      By whom, they dare not look to see.

    They feel their tresses twine with her parting locks of gold,
      And the curls elastic falling, as her head withdraws;
    They feel her sliding arms from their trancèd arms unfold,
      But they dare not look to see the cause.

    For heavy on their senses the faint enchantment lies,
      Through all that night of anguish and perilous amaze;
    And neither fear nor wonder can open their quivering eyes,
      Or their limbs from the cold ground raise.

    Till out of night the earth has rolled her dewy side,
      With every haunted mountain and streamy vale below;
    When, as the mist dissolves in the yellow morning tide,
      The maidens' trance dissolveth so.

    They fly, the ghastly three, as swiftly as they may,
      And told their tale of sorrow to anxious friends in vain--
    They pined away and died within the year and day,
      And ne'er was Anna Grace seen again.



FAIRY DAYS

BY WILLIAM MAKEPEACE THACKERAY


    Beside the old hall fire, upon my nurse's knee,
    Of happy fairy days, what tales were told to me!
    I thought the world was once all peopled with princesses,
    And my heart would beat to hear their loves and their distresses.
    And many a quiet night, in slumber sweet and deep,
    The pretty fairy people would visit me in sleep.

    I saw them in my dreams come flying east and west;
    With wondrous fairy gifts the newborn babe they blessed.
    One has brought a jewel, and one a crown of gold,
    And one has brought a curse, but she is wrinkled and old.
    The gentle queen turns pale to hear those words of sin,
    But the king, he only laughs, and bids the dance begin.

    The babe has grown to be the fairest of the land,
    And rides the forest green, a hawk upon her hand,
    An ambling palfrey white, a golden robe and crown;
    I've seen her in my dreams riding up and down:
    And heard the ogre laugh, as she fell into his snare,
    At the tender little creature, who wept and tore her hair.

    But ever when it seemed her need was at the sorest,
    A prince in shining mail comes prancing through the forest,
    A waving ostrich-plume, a buckler burnished bright;
    I've seen him in my dreams, good sooth! a gallant knight.
    His lips are coral red beneath a dark mustache;
    See how he waves his hand and how his blue eyes flash!

    "Come forth, thou Paynim knight!" he shouts in accents clear.
    The giant and the maid, both tremble his voice to hear.
    Saint Mary guard him well! he draws his falchion keen,
    The giant and the knight are fighting on the green.
    I see them in my dreams, his blade gives stroke on stroke,
    The giant pants and reels, and tumbles like an oak!

    With what a blushing grace he falls upon his knee
    And takes the lady's hand and whispers, "You are free."
    Ah! happy childish tales of knight and faërie!
    I waken from my dreams, but there's ne'er a knight for me;
    I waken from my dreams, and wish that I could be
    A child by the old hall-fire upon my nurse's knee!



 [Illustration: A VISIT TO ELFLAND
 From the painting by F. Y. Cory]



THE FAIRY QUEEN


      Come, follow, follow me--
      You, fairy elves that be,
      Which circle on the green--
      Come, follow Mab, your queen!
    Hand in hand let's dance around,
    For this place is fairy ground.

      When mortals are at rest,
      And snoring in their nest,
      Unheard and unespied,
      Through keyholes we do glide;
    Over tables, stools, and shelves,
    We trip it with our fairy elves.

      And if the house be foul
      With platter, dish, or bowl,
      Up stairs we nimbly creep,
      And find the sluts asleep;
    There we pinch their arms and thighs--
    None escapes, nor none espies.

      But if the house be swept,
      And from uncleanness kept,
      We praise the household maid,
      And duly she is paid;
    For we use, before we go,
    To drop a tester in her shoe.

      Upon a mushroom's head,
      Our table cloth we spread;
      A grain of rye or wheat
      Is manchet, which we eat;
    Pearly drops of dew we drink,
    In acorn cups, filled to the brink.

      The brains of nightingales,
      With unctuous fat of snails,
      Between two cockles stewed,
      Is meat that's easily chewed;
    Tails of worms, and marrow of mice,
    Do make a dish that's wondrous nice.

      The grasshopper, gnat, and fly,
      Serve us for our minstrelsy;
      Grace said, we dance a while,
      And so the time beguile;
    And if the moon doth hide her head,
    The glow-worm lights us home to bed.

      On tops of dewy grass
      So nimbly do we pass,
      The young and tender stalk
      Ne'er bends when we do walk;
    Yet in the morning may be seen
    Where we the night before have been.



THE SEA PRINCESS


    In a palace of pearl and sea-weed,
      Set round with shining shells,
    Under the deeps of the ocean,
      The little Sea Princess dwells.

    Sometimes she sees the shadows
      Of great whales passing by,
    Or white-winged vessels sailing
      Between the sea and sky.

    And when through the waves she rises,
      Beyond the breakers' roar,
    She hears the shouts of the children
      At play on the sandy shore.

    Or sees the ships' sides tower
      Above like a wet, black wall;
    Or shouts to the roaring breakers,
      And answers the sea-gull's call.

    But, down in the quiet waters,
      Better she loves to play,
    Making a sea-weed garden--
      Purple and green and gray;

    Stringing with pearls a necklace,
      Or learning curious spells
    From the water-witch, gray and ancient,
      And hearing the tales she tells.

    Out in the stable her sea-horse
      Champs in his crystal stall;
    And fishes with scales that glisten
      Come leaping forth at her call.

    So the little Sea Princess
      Is busy and happy all day,
    Just as the human children
      Are busy and happy at play.

    And when the darkness gathers
      Over the lonely deep,
    On a bed of velvet sea-weed
      The Princess is rocked to sleep.



LONG AGO


    When the fairies used to live here,
      Long ago,
    There was never any dark,
      Or any snow;
    But the great big sun kept shining
      All the night,
    And the roses just kept blooming,
      Oh, so bright!

    Then the little children never
      Teased their mothers;
    And little sisters always
      Loved their brothers.
    And they played so very gently--
      But, you know,
    That was when the fairies lived here,
      Long ago.



THISTLE-TASSEL[G]

BY FLORENCE HARRISON


    Thistle-Tassel, Thistle-Tassel,
      Dancing in the sunlight;
    Thistle-Tassel, Thistle-Tassel,
      With your silver wings,
    Will you come and live with me
    In my little nursery,
    Down beside a royal city,
      Where the river sings?

    Little Lady, Little Lady,
      Stepping in the sunlight;
    Little Lady, Little Lady,
      Where the rivers run,
    What have you to give to me,
    In your pretty nursery,
    Fairer than a shady valley,
      Brighter than the sun?

    Thistle-Tassel, Thistle-Tassel,
      Dancing in the twilight;
    Thistle-Tassel, Thistle-Tassel,
      With your yellow hair,
    You shall have a couch of down,
    You shall have a golden crown,
    And a little gown of silver
      Sewn for you to wear.

    Little Lady, Little Lady,
      Stooping in the twilight;
    Little Lady, Little Lady,
      All so bonnie brown,
    Roses are a softer bed,
    Golden flowers crown my head,
    Finer than a robe o' silver
      Is a fairy gown.

    Thistle-Tassel, Thistle-Tassel,
      Dancing in the starlight;
    Thistle-Tassel, Thistle-Tassel,
      With a bright penny
    You shall buy the sugar plums,
    And the honey when it comes,
    Very sweet, and golden-glowing
      As the honey bee.

    Little Lady, Little Lady,
      Sighing in the starlight;
    Little Lady, Little Lady,
      In the heather curled,
    Fairy fruit is full and clear,
    And the honey bee is here:
    Never need have we of money
      In a fairy world.

    Thistle-Tassel, Thistle-Tassel,
      Dancing in the moonlight;
    Thistle-Tassel, Thistle-Tassel,
      Queen of fairy ones,
    I will give you street and spire,
    Boat, and bridge, and beacon fire,
    And a sound of merry music
      Where the river runs.

    Little Lady, Little Lady,
      Kneeling in the moonlight;
    Little Lady, Little Lady,
      In your yellow shoon:
    Where the boats and bridges be,
    Naught have you to give to me
    Fairer than a twilit valley,
      Brighter than the moon.

 [G] From "Elfin Songs," by Florence Harrison; used by
 permission of the publishers, Blackie & Sons, Glasgow.



SONG OF THE FAIRY

BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE


      Over hill, over dale,
        Through bush, through brier,
      Over park, over pale,
        Through flood, through fire,
      I do wander everywhere,
      Swifter than the moon's sphere;
      And I serve the fairy queen,
      To dew her orbs upon the green;
      The cowslips tall her pensioners be;
      In their gold coats spots you see:
      These be rubies, fairy favors--
      In those freckles live their savors.
    I must go seek some dewdrops here,
    And hang a pearl in every cowslip's ear.



 [Illustration: _From a Thistle Print, copyright by Detroit Publishing
 Company_
 LITTLE OLD MAN OF THE WOODS
 FROM A PAINTING BY IRVING R. BACON]



THE FAIRIES

BY WILLIAM ALLINGHAM


    Up the airy mountain,
      Down the rushy glen,
    We daren't go a-hunting
      For fear of little men;
    Wee folk, good folk,
      Trooping all together:
    Green jacket, red cap,
      And white owl's feather!

    Down along the rocky shore
      Some make their home,
    They live on crispy pancakes
      Of yellow tide-foam;
    Some in the reeds
      Of the black mountain-lake,
    With frogs for their watch-dogs,
      All night awake.

    High on the hill-top
      The old King sits;
    He is now so old and gray
      He's nigh lost his wits.
    With a bridge of white mist
      Columbkill he crosses,
    On his stately journeys
      From Slieveleague to Rosses;
    Or going up with music
      On cold starry nights,
    To sup with the Queen
      Of the gay Northern Lights.

    They stole little Bridget
      For seven years long;
    When she came down again
      Her friends were all gone.
    They took her lightly back,
      Between the night and morrow,
    They thought that she was fast asleep,
      But she was dead with sorrow.
    They have kept her ever since
      Deep within the lake,
    On a bed of flag-leaves,
      Watching till she wake.

    By the craggy hill-side,
      Through the mosses bare,
    They have planted thorn-trees
      For pleasure here and there.
    Is any man so daring
      As dig them up in spite,
    He shall find their sharpest thorns
      In his bed at night.

    Up the airy mountain,
      Down the rushy glen,
    We daren't go a-hunting
      For fear of little men;
    Wee folk, good folk,
      Trooping all together;
    Green jacket, red cap,
      And white owl's feather!



OH, WHERE DO FAIRIES HIDE THEIR HEADS?

BY THOMAS HAYNES BAYLY


    Oh, where do fairies hide their heads
      When snow lies on the hills,
    When frost has spoiled their mossy beds,
      And crystallized their rills?

    Beneath the moon they cannot trip
      In circles o'er the plain,
    And draughts of dew they cannot sip
      Till green leaves come again.

    Perhaps, in small blue diving-bells
      They plunge beneath the waves--
    Inhabiting the wreathèd shells
      That lie in coral caves.
    Perhaps in red Vesuvius
      Carousal they maintain;
    And cheer their little spirits thus
      Till green leaves come again.

    Or, maybe, in soft garments rolled,
      In hollow trees they lie,
    And sing, when nestled from the cold,
      To while the season by.
    There, while they sleep in pleasant trance,
      'Neath mossy counterpane,
    In dreams they weave some fairy dance,
      Till green leaves come again.

    When they return there will be mirth
      And music in the air,
    And fairy rings upon the earth,
      And mischief everywhere.
    The maids, to keep the elves aloof,
      Will bar the doors in vain;
    No key-hole will be fairy-proof,
      When green leaves come again.



 [Illustration: MODERN FAIRY TALES]



THE ELF OF THE WOODLANDS

RETOLD FROM RICHARD HENGIST HORNE BY WILLIAM BYRON FORBUSH


One morning when the summer sun was still sleeping an Elf came up from
below, tickling an oak-tree's foot, skipping like a flea, and
whispering mischievously to himself.

    "With little legs straddling,
      He dances about--
    Pretends to be waddling--
      Then leaps with a flout.
    Now he stops--
    Now he hops--
      Now cautiously trips
    On tiptoe
    And sliptoe
      He scuttles and skips;
    Along the grass gliding,
    Half dancing, half sliding."

There was a pretty white cottage on the edge of the wood, and, with
everybody quiet within, it also seemed asleep. Toward this cottage
skipped the Elf.

He was a little fellow, scarce five inches tall. His body was as brown
as the bark of a tree, all mixed with green streaks and tarnished gold.
You could hardly see him as he went stooping along against the green
leaves and the brown branches.

When he got to the sleeping cottage he climbed up the lattice, and
poked his sharp little nose into every crevice. He pulled open a loose
shutter, tapped once or twice on the windows, and when he found a broken
pane--in he went!

In this cottage lived a girl named Toody. She was not very big, as you
can believe when I tell you that all the shrubs in the garden were
taller than she, and all the flowers nodded over her head. In this same
house lived Toody's cousins, Kitty, and Crocus, and Twig, and Tiny--only
Tiny was a little dog, not a little boy. And here, too, lived
Grandmother Grey.

    "In spectacles, tucker and flower'd-chintz gown,
    Who always half smiled when trying to frown."

Grandmother Grey took care of them all. At five o'clock that morning she
woke up. "What noise do I hear below?" she cried. "It is daylight, but
nobody is up I know."

So Grandmother Grey threw off her skullcap and bandage, and nightcap
with all its ribbons, bows and strings, and called out loudly: "Come,
children, jump up quickly! There's a rat in the dairy! Come down with
me."

Then Toody, and Crocus, and Kitty, and Twig, in their nightgowns and
nightcaps, ran scrambling and laughing down stairs, with Tiny barking
and tumbling about between their legs. They crept through the parlor,
where all the shutters were closed but one. Like cautious Indians they
went silently on, Dame Grey and the children in single file, each
holding on to the one before by the tail of her nightgown.

Into the dairy they went, and stared about. Then they huddled together
in fear, for behind a milk-jug, under the spout, they saw a quaint
little figure.

    "It was golden, and greenish, and earthy brown,
      With a perking nose and a pointed chin;
    It had very bright eyes and a funny frown,
      With a russet-apple's network skin."

They all started to run in terror, but brave Tiny sprang up and began to
chase the Elf round a milkpan.

Oh, what a race was there! They ran so fast that the two small bodies
were as one. They looked like the dark band on the humming-top when you
spin it. And just as Tiny was about to catch him, the Elf leaped into a
pan, swam across three pails of milk, climbed the wall and hid on a
shelf.

"We've lost him; we've lost him!" cried all the children. But, just in
time, Grandmother Grey seized her jelly-bag, swung it across the shelf,
and into it was swept our little elfin friend.

"Now, children," said she, "Go up and dress."

The children did not know what the old dame was going to do next. She
led the way into the parlor. "Tiny," said she, "I depend on you to keep
watch for us." So Tiny stood like a soldier, with both ears cocked and
his nose down bent, and watched every motion that was going on in the
bag, which stood up now like a tent on the floor.

'Twas but a minute before the children were down again, all dressed.
The tea-kettle was singing, and the hot rolls were on the table, and
everybody was ringing the bell all at once for more eggs. But Tiny stood
guard over the jelly-bag tent.

"I think the Elf is hungry and thirsty," said Toody. So she slipped a
saucer of milk under the edge of the tent, and then, laughing, she
rolled in an egg. They all listened for ten minutes, and then they
plainly heard the crackling of the shell.

"Away with the tea things!" said Dame Grey to Martha, the maid. "And
bring me my white wicker bird-cage."

So the bird-cage was brought, and Grandmother Grey took up the jelly-bag
carefully, clapped its mouth to the open cage-door, shook it, and--pop!
in went the Elf, and the cage door was made fast! Did he moan? Did he
complain? Not he. With one spring and ten kicks he climbed to the pole
and seated himself there, with his hands on the pole.

Toody ran close to the cage, and so did Crocus and Twig; and Kitty, a
little farther off, stood staring and smiling. But the Elf was not a bit
frightened. He sat swinging his little legs, with his tongue in his left
cheek and his left eye looking down with a half-winking, impertinent
air.

"Now," cried Dame Grey, "tell us who you are, little Sir, and what you
are. Do you know that you have spoilt all my cream, and broken my best
china-cup? Speak up now! What have you to say for yourself?"

The Elf was very angry, but it would never do to show it. So he tried
to look as gentle as a good child reading a book. He rubbed some of
the yellow of the egg off his chin, and stuck it on his leg like a
buttercup. He shrugged his shoulders up in a bunch, and then, with a
sneeze as if he had caught cold in the forest, he began:

    "Nine white witches sat in a circle close,
      With their backs against a greenwood tree,
    As around the dead-nettle's summer stem
      Its woolly white blossoms you see.
    Then from hedges and ditches, these old lady-witches,
      Took bird-weed and rag-weed and spear-grass for me,
    And they wove me a bower, 'gainst the snow-storm or shower,
      In a dry old hollow beech tree.
                  _Twangle tee!_
    _Ri-rigdum, dingle shade-laugh, tingle dee!_"

"Nonsense!" said Grandmother Grey. "You can't fool me with your nettles,
and nonsense, and hedges, and ditches. What do I care about all that?
You know as well as I do that you came here to _steal cake_ and _drink
cream_. Besides, you have broken my best china-cup!"

The Elf gave a sigh, and looked up in the air; then took a glance at
Martha's broom, and as he looked down he thought he saw Toody winking at
him. So he just smiled and said: "I declare, by the tom-tit's folly, and
the mole's pin-hole eye, and the woodpecker's thorny tongue, that I have
told you the truth."

Noticing that Toody was still winking at him he kept on, and told the
following story:

"One day when I was loafing about in the wood I heard a strange noise in
the bushes. I peeped over the edge, and there was a robin bathing in the
brook. It ruffled its feathers with a spattering sound, made itself into
a fussy ball, and threw up a shower of water; but what I most noticed
was its eye--its eye!--"

"Its eye--its eye?" broke in all the children. "What about its eye?"

The Elf glanced again at Toody, and he saw that this time she gave him a
quiet nod, as much as to say, "I'll find you a chance." So the Elf gave
a downward squint at the closed cage-door, just for a hint. Then he
scratched his cheek, jumped down on the floor of the cage, and began to
act out a "robin," just as if he were on the stage.

"Its eye--its eye? Well, just as soon as it caught a glimpse of me it
bobbed--took wing--and was out of sight. Then back it came again, as if
angry. It looked like an alderman lecturing the poor, but meaning really
to--_unlock the cage!_ I mean--to try to fool me. See! How high it
flies. Clear up to the tip-top of the tree. Look at its large bright
eye! There! There! See how it bobs--makes a quick bow, just as I am
doing--points down its tail and up its nose--and off it goes!"

And out and off went the Elf!

"Run, Tiny, run! Oh, Kitty! Twig! The little rascal is gone! Run, Toody,
run! Ah, I caught you; you are the one who loosened the cage-door. Run,
Tiny! Oh, Kitty, Twig, and Crocus, that robin redbreast story was only
meant to fool us!" Thus cried Grandmother Grey, till she was breathless.

      "Off they all ran trooping,
      And hallooing and whooping,
      Beneath the low boughs stooping,
        Right through the wood,
      For Grandmama Grey,
      Like an old duck, led the way,
        When a string of ducks trudge to a flood.
      Then came Kitty, side by side
      With Toody, who oft cried;
    'Oh, Kitty dear, was ever such rare fun, fun, fun!'
                And Crocus close to Twig,
                Both scampered in a jig,
      For they knew the Elf his freedom-race had won, won, won!
            As for him, the roguish Elf,
            He took good care of himself;
      His mites of legs they twinkled as he fled, fled, fled.
            He was scarcely seen, indeed,
            He so glistened with his speed,
      And his hair streamed out like silver grass behind his head."

So Dame Grey and the children chased the Elf till they were hot and
tired, and till the sun went down; and by and by they gave up, and all
went home to let Martha wash their soiled hands and faces.

It was a warm and pleasant night, and before very long all the children
were fast asleep.

    "Within a very little nook,
      Toody always slept alone,
    Its strip of window stole a look
      Over the lawn and hayrick-cone.

    Within the open lattice crept
      Some jasmine from the cottage wall,
    And to the breathing of her sleep,
      Softly swayed, with rise and fall.

    But something else comes creeping in,
      As softly, from the starry night--
    The Elf!--'tis he!--first peeping in,
      Now like a moth doth he alight.

    He trips up to the little bed,
      And near it hangs a full-blown rose;
    Then in the middle of the flower
      Places a light that gleams and glows.

    It is a glowworm from the lea,
      And lighting up the rose's heart,
    A fairy grot it seems to be,
      Where dream-thoughts live and ne'er depart.

    And now the Elf once more is gone
      Into the woodlands wild,
    Leaving his blessing thus to shine
      Upon the sleeping child."



PRINCESS FINOLA AND THE DWARF[H]

BY EDMUND LEAMY


A long, long time ago there lived in a little hut in the midst of a
bare, brown, lonely moor an old woman and a young girl. The old woman
was withered, sour-tempered, and dumb. The young girl was as sweet and
as fresh as an opening rosebud, and her voice was as musical as the
whisper of a stream in the woods in the hot days of summer. The little
hut, made of branches woven closely together, was shaped like a
bee-hive. In the center of the hut a fire burned night and day from
year's end to year's end, though it was never touched or tended by human
hand. In the cold days and nights of winter it gave out light and heat
that made the hut cozy and warm, but in the summer nights and days it
gave out light only. With their heads to the wall of the hut and their
feet toward the fire were two sleeping-couches--one of plain woodwork,
in which slept the old woman; the other was Finola's. It was of bog-oak,
polished as a looking-glass, and on it were carved flowers and birds of
all kinds that gleamed and shone in the light of the fire. This couch
was fit for a Princess, and a Princess Finola was, though she did not
know it herself.

Outside the hut the bare, brown, lonely moor stretched for miles on
every side, but toward the east it was bounded by a range of mountains
that looked to Finola blue in the daytime, but which put on a hundred
changing colors as the sun went down. Nowhere was a house to be seen,
nor a tree, nor a flower, nor sign of any living thing. From morning
till night, nor hum of bee, nor song of bird, nor voice of man, nor any
sound fell on Finola's ear. When the storm was in the air the great
waves thundered on the shore beyond the mountains, and the wind shouted
in the glens; but when it sped across the moor it lost its voice, and
passed as silently as the dead. At first the silence frightened Finola,
but she got used to it after a time, and often broke it by talking to
herself and singing.

The only other person beside the old woman Finola ever saw was a dumb
Dwarf who, mounted on a broken-down horse, came once a month to the hut,
bringing with him a sack of corn for the old woman and Finola. Although
he couldn't speak to her, Finola was always glad to see the Dwarf and
his old horse, and she used to give them cake made with her own white
hands. As for the Dwarf he would have died for the little Princess, he
was so much in love with her, and often and often his heart was heavy
and sad as he thought of her pining away in the lonely moor.

It chanced that he came one day, and she did not, as usual, come out to
greet him. He made signs to the old woman, but she took up a stick and
struck him, and beat his horse and drove him away; but as he was leaving
he caught a glimpse of Finola at the door of the hut, and saw that she
was crying. This sight made him so very miserable that he could think of
nothing else but her sad face, that he had always seen so bright; and he
allowed the old horse to go on without minding where he was going.
Suddenly he heard a voice saying: "It is time for you to come."

The Dwarf looked, and right before him, at the foot of a green hill, was
a little man not half as big as himself, dressed in a green jacket with
brass buttons, and a red cap and tassel.

"It is time for you to come," he said the second time; "but you are
welcome, anyhow. Get off your horse and come in with me, that I may
touch your lips with the wand of speech, that we may have a talk
together."

The Dwarf got off his horse and followed the little man through a hole
in the side of a green hill. The hole was so small that he had to go on
his hands and knees to pass through it, and when he was able to stand he
was only the same height as the little Fairyman. After walking three or
four steps they were in a splendid room, as bright as day. Diamonds
sparkled in the roof as stars sparkle in the sky when the night is
without a cloud. The roof rested on golden pillars, and between the
pillars were silver lamps, but their light was dimmed by that of the
diamonds. In the middle of the room was a table, on which were two
golden plates and two silver knives and forks, and a brass bell as big
as a hazelnut, and beside the table were two little chairs.

"Take a chair," said the Fairy, "and I will ring for the wand of
speech."

The Dwarf sat down, and the Fairyman rang the little brass bell, and in
came a little weeny Dwarf no bigger than your hand.

"Bring me the wand of speech," said the Fairy, and the weeny Dwarf bowed
three times and walked out backward, and in a minute he returned,
carrying a little black wand with a red berry at the top of it, and,
giving it to the Fairy, he bowed three times and walked out backward as
he had done before.

The little man waved the rod three times over the Dwarf, and struck him
once on the right shoulder and once on the left shoulder, and then
touched his lips with the red berry, and said: "Speak!"

The Dwarf spoke, and he was so rejoiced at hearing the sound of his own
voice that he danced about the room.

"Who are you at all, at all?" said he to the Fairy.

"Who is yourself?" said the Fairy. "But come, before we have any talk
let us have something to eat, for I am sure you are hungry."

Then they sat down to table, and the Fairy rang the little brass bell
twice, and the weeny Dwarf brought in two boiled snails in their shells,
and when they had eaten the snails he brought in a dormouse, and when
they had eaten the dormouse he brought in two wrens, and when they had
eaten the wrens he brought in two nuts full of wine, and they became
very merry, and the Fairyman sang "Cooleen Dhas," and the Dwarf sang
"The Little Blackbird of the Glen."

"Did you ever hear the 'Foggy Dew'?" said the Fairy.

"No," said the Dwarf.

"Well, then, I'll give it to you; but we must have some more wine."

And the wine was brought, and he sang the "Foggy Dew," and the Dwarf
said it was the sweetest song he had ever heard, and that the Fairyman's
voice would coax the birds off the bushes!

"You asked me who I am?" said the Fairy.

"I did," said the Dwarf.

"And I asked you who is yourself?"

"You did," said the Dwarf.

"And who are you, then?"

"Well, to tell the truth, I don't know," said the Dwarf, and he blushed
like a rose.

"Well, tell me what you know about yourself."

"I remember nothing at all," said the Dwarf, "before the day I found
myself going along with a crowd of all sorts of people to the great fair
of the Liffey. We had to pass by the King's palace on our way, and as we
were passing the King sent for a band of jugglers to come and show their
tricks before him. I followed the jugglers to look on, and when the play
was over the King called me to him, and asked me who I was and where I
came from. I was dumb then, and couldn't answer; but even if I could
speak I could not tell him what he wanted to know, for I remembered
nothing of myself before that day. Then the King asked the jugglers, but
they knew nothing about me, and no one knew anything, and then the King
said he would take me into his service; and the only work I have to do
is to go once a month with a bag of corn to the hut in the lonely moor."

"And there you fell in love with the little Princess," said the Fairy,
winking at the Dwarf.

The poor Dwarf blushed twice as much as he had done before.

"You need not blush," said the Fairy; "it is a good man's case. And now
tell me, truly, do you love the Princess, and what would you give to
free her from the spell of enchantment that is over her?"

"I would give my life," said the Dwarf.

"Well, then, listen to me," said the Fairy. "The Princess Finola was
banished to the lonely moor by the King, your master. He killed her
father, who was the rightful King, and would have killed Finola, only he
was told by an old sorceress that if he killed her he would die himself
on the same day, and she advised him to banish her to the lonely moor,
and she said she would fling a spell of enchantment over it, and that
until the spell was broken Finola could not leave the moor. And the
sorceress also promised that she would send an old woman to watch over
the Princess by night and by day, so that no harm should come to her;
but she told the King that he himself should select a messenger to take
food to the hut, and that he should look out for someone who had never
seen or heard of the Princess, and whom he could trust never to tell
anyone anything about her; and that is the reason he selected you."

"Since you know so much," said the Dwarf, "can you tell me who I am, and
where I came from?"

"You will know that time enough," said the Fairy. "I have given you back
your speech. It will depend solely on yourself whether you will get back
your memory of who and what you were before the day you entered the
King's service. But are you really willing to try and break the spell of
enchantment and free the Princess?"

"I am," said the Dwarf.

"Whatever it will cost you?"

"Yes, if it cost me my life," said the Dwarf; "but tell me, how can the
spell be broken?"

"Oh, it is easy enough to break the spell if you have the weapons," said
the Fairy.

"And what are they, and where are they?" said the Dwarf.

"The spear of the shining haft and the dark blue blade and the silver
shield," said the Fairy. "They are on the farther bank of the Mystic
Lake in the Island of the Western Seas. They are there for the man who
is bold enough to seek them. If you are the man who will bring them back
to the lonely moor you will only have to strike the shield three times
with the haft, and three times with the blade of the spear, and the
silence of the moor will be broken forever, the spell of enchantment
will be removed, and the Princess will be free."

"I will set out at once," said the Dwarf, jumping from his chair.

"And whatever it cost you," said the Fairy, "will you pay the price?"

"I will," said the Dwarf.

"Well, then, mount your horse, give him his head, and he will take you
to the shore opposite the Island of the Mystic Lake. You must cross to
the island on his back, and make your way through the water-steeds that
swim around the island night and day to guard it; but woe betide you if
you attempt to cross without paying the price, for if you do the angry
water-steeds will rend you and your horse to pieces. And when you come
to the Mystic Lake you must wait until the waters are as red as wine,
and then swim your horse across it, and on the farther side you will
find the spear and shield; but woe betide you if you attempt to cross
the lake before you pay the price, for if you do, the black Cormorants
of the Western Seas will pick the flesh from your bones."

"What is the price?" said the Dwarf.

"You will know that time enough," said the Fairy; "but now go, and good
luck go with you."

The Dwarf thanked the Fairy, and said good-by. He then threw the reins
on his horse's neck, and started up the hill, that seemed to grow bigger
and bigger as he ascended, and the Dwarf soon found that what he took
for a hill was a great mountain. After traveling all the day, toiling up
by steep crags and heathery passes, he reached the top as the sun was
setting in the ocean, and he saw far below him out in the waters the
island of the Mystic Lake.

He began his descent to the shore, but long before he reached it the sun
had set, and darkness, unpierced by a single star, dropped upon the sea.
The old horse, worn out by his long and painful journey, sank beneath
him, and the Dwarf was so tired that he rolled off his back and fell
asleep by his side.

He awoke at the breaking of the morning, and saw that he was almost at
the water's edge. He looked out to sea, and saw the island, but nowhere
could he see the water-steeds, and he began to fear he must have taken a
wrong course in the night, and that the island before him was not the
one he was in search of. But even while he was so thinking he heard
fierce and angry snortings, and, coming swiftly from the island to the
shore, he saw the swimming and prancing steeds. Sometimes their heads
and manes only were visible, and sometimes, rearing, they rose half out
of the water, and, striking it with their hoofs, churned it into foam,
and tossed the white spray to the skies. As they approached nearer and
nearer their snortings became more terrible, and their nostrils shot
forth clouds of vapor. The Dwarf trembled at the sight and sound, and
his old horse, quivering in every limb, moaned piteously, as if in pain.
On came the steeds, until they almost touched the shore, then rearing,
they seemed about to spring on to it.

The frightened Dwarf turned his head to fly, and as he did so he heard
the twang of a golden harp, and right before him whom should he see but
the little man of the hills, holding a harp in one hand and striking the
strings with the other.

"Are you ready to pay the price?" said he, nodding gayly to the Dwarf.

As he asked the question, the listening water-steeds snorted more
furiously than ever.

"Are you ready to pay the price?" said the little man a second time.

A shower of spray, tossed on shore by the angry steeds, drenched the
Dwarf to the skin, and sent a cold shiver to his bones, and he was so
terrified that he could not answer.

"For the third and last time, are you ready to pay the price?" asked the
Fairy, as he flung the harp behind him and turned to depart.

When the Dwarf saw him going he thought of the little Princess in the
lonely moor, and his courage came back, and he answered bravely:

"Yes, I am ready."

The water-steeds, hearing his answer, and snorting with rage, struck the
shore with their pounding hoofs.

"Back to your waves!" cried the little harper; and as he ran his fingers
across his lyre, the frightened steeds drew back into the waters.

"What is the price?" asked the Dwarf.

"Your right eye," said the Fairy; and before the Dwarf could say a word,
the Fairy scooped out the eye with his finger, and put it into his
pocket.

The Dwarf suffered most terrible agony; but he resolved to bear it for
the sake of the little Princess. Then the Fairy sat down on a rock at
the edge of the sea, and, after striking a few notes, he began to play
the "Strains of Slumber."

The sound crept along the waters, and the steeds, so ferocious a moment
before, became perfectly still. They had no longer any motion of their
own, and they floated on the top of the tide like foam before a breeze.

"Now," said the Fairy, as he led the Dwarf's horse to the edge of the
tide.

The Dwarf urged the horse into the water, and once out of his depth, the
old horse struck out boldly for the island. The sleeping water-steeds
drifted helplessly against him, and in a short time he reached the
island safely, and he neighed joyously as his hoofs touched solid
ground.

The Dwarf rode on and on, until he came to a bridle-path, and following
this, it led him up through winding lanes, bordered with golden furze
that filled the air with fragrance, and brought him to the summit of the
green hills that girdled and looked down on the Mystic Lake. Here the
horse stopped of his own accord, and the Dwarf's heart beat quickly as
his eye rested on the lake, that, clipped round by the ring of hills,
seemed in the breezeless and sunlit air--

        "As still as death.
    And as bright as life can be."

After gazing at it for a long time, he dismounted, and lay at his ease
in the pleasant grass. Hour after hour passed, but no change came over
the face of the waters; and when the night fell, sleep closed the
eyelids of the Dwarf.

The song of the lark awoke him in the early morning, and, starting up,
he looked at the lake, but its waters were as bright as they had been
the day before.

Toward midday he beheld what he thought was a black cloud sailing across
the sky from east to west. It seemed to grow larger as it came nearer
and nearer, and when it was high above the lake he saw it was a huge
bird, the shadow of whose outstretched wings darkened the waters of the
lake; and the Dwarf knew it was one of the Cormorants of the Western
Seas. As it descended slowly, he saw that it held in one of its claws a
branch of a tree larger than a full-grown oak, and laden with clusters
of ripe red berries. It alighted at some distance from the Dwarf, and,
after resting for a time, it began to eat the berries and to throw the
stones into the lake, and wherever a stone fell a bright red stain
appeared in the water. As he looked more closely at the bird the Dwarf
saw that it had all the signs of old age, and he could not help
wondering how it was able to carry such a heavy tree.

Later in the day, two other birds, as large as the first, but younger,
came up from the west and settled down beside him. They also ate the
berries, and throwing the stones into the lake it was soon as red as
wine.

When they had eaten all the berries, the young birds began to pick the
decayed feathers off the old bird and to smooth his plumage. As soon as
they had completed their task, he rose slowly from the hill and sailed
out over the lake, and dropping down on the waters dived beneath them.
In a moment he came to the surface, and shot up into the air with a
joyous cry, and flew off to the west in all the vigor of renewed youth,
followed by the other birds.

When they had gone so far that they were like specks in the sky, the
Dwarf mounted his horse and descended toward the lake.

He was almost at the margin, and in another minute would have plunged
in, when he heard a fierce screaming in the air, and before he had time
to look up, the three birds were hovering over the lake.

The Dwarf drew back frightened.

The birds wheeled over his head, and then, swooping down, they flew
close to the water, covering it with their wings, and uttering harsh
cries.

Then, rising to a great height, they folded their wings and dropped
headlong, like three rocks, on the lake, crashing its surface, and
scattering a wine-red shower upon the hills.

Then the Dwarf remembered what the Fairy told him, that if he attempted
to swim the lake, without paying the price, the three Cormorants of the
Western Seas would pick the flesh off his bones. He knew not what to do,
and was about to turn away, when he heard once more the twang of the
golden harp, and the little fairy of the hills stood before him.

"Faint heart never won fair lady," said the little harper. "Are you
ready to pay the price? The spear and shield are on the opposite bank,
and the Princess Finola is crying this moment in the lonely moor."

At the mention of Finola's name the Dwarf's heart grew strong.

"Yes," he said; "I am ready--win or die. What is the price?"

"Your left eye," said the Fairy. And as soon as said he scooped out the
eye, and put it in his pocket.

The poor blind Dwarf almost fainted with pain.

"It's your last trial," said the Fairy, "and now do what I tell you.
Twist your horse's mane round your right hand, and I will lead him to
the water. Plunge in, and fear not. I gave you back your speech. When
you reach the opposite bank you will get back your memory, and you will
know who and what you are."

Then the Fairy led the horse to the margin of the lake.

"In with you now, and good luck go with you," said the Fairy.

The Dwarf urged the horse. He plunged into the lake, and went down and
down until his feet struck the bottom. Then he began to ascend, and
as he came near the surface of the water the Dwarf thought he saw a
glimmering light, and when he rose above the water he saw the bright sun
shining and the green hills before him, and he shouted with joy at
finding his sight restored.

But he saw more. Instead of the old horse he had ridden into the lake he
was bestride a noble steed, and as the steed swam to the bank the Dwarf
felt a change coming over himself, and an unknown vigor in his limbs.

When the steed touched the shore he galloped up the hillside, and on the
top of the hill was a silver shield, bright as the sun, resting against
a spear standing upright in the ground.

The Dwarf jumped off, and, running toward the shield, he saw himself as
in a looking-glass.

He was no longer a dwarf, but a gallant knight. At that moment his
memory came back to him, and he knew he was Conal, one of the Knights of
the Red Branch, and he remembered now that the spell of dumbness and
deformity had been cast upon him by the Witch of the Palace of the
Quicken Trees.

Slinging his shield upon his left arm, he plucked the spear from the
ground and leaped on to his horse. With a light heart he swam back over
the lake, and nowhere could he see the black Cormorants of the Western
Seas, but three white swans floating abreast followed him to the bank.
When he reached the bank he galloped down to the sea, and crossed to the
shore.

Then he flung the reins upon his horse's neck, and swifter than the wind
the gallant horse swept on and on, and it was not long until he was
bounding over the enchanted moor. Wherever his hoofs struck the ground,
grass and flowers sprang up, and great trees with leafy branches rose on
every side.

At last the knight reached the little hut. Three times he struck the
shield with the haft and three times with the blade of his spear. At the
last blow the hut disappeared, and standing before him was the little
Princess.

The knight took her in his arms and kissed her; then he lifted her on to
the horse, and, leaping up before her, he turned toward the north, to
the palace of the Red Branch Knights; and as they rode on beneath the
leafy trees, from every tree the birds sang out, for the spell of
deathly silence over the lonely moor was broken forever.

[H] From "The Golden Spear," by Edmund Leamy; used by permission of the
publisher, Desmond Fitzgerald, New York.



THE STRAW OX

_A Russian Tale_


An old man and an old woman lived in an old house on the edge of the
forest. The old man worked in the field all day and the woman spun flax.
But for all of their hard work they were very poor--never one penny
could they save. One day the old man said to the old woman:

"I would like to give you something to please you, but I have nothing to
give."

"Never mind that," said the old woman, "make me a straw ox."

"A straw ox!" cried the old man. "What will you do with that?"

"Never mind that," said the old woman.

So the old man made a straw ox.

"Smear it all over with tar," said the old woman.

"Why should I smear it with tar?" asked the old man.

"Never mind that," said the old woman.

So the old man smeared the straw ox all over with tar.

The next morning when the old woman went out into the field to gather
flax she took the straw ox with her and left it standing alone near the
edge of the forest.

A bear came out of the woods, and said to the ox: "Who are you?"

    "I am an ox all smeared with tar,
     And filled with straw, as oxen are,"

replied the ox.

"Oh," said the bear. "I need some straw to mend my coat, and the tar
will keep it in place. Give me some straw and some tar."

"Help yourself," said the ox.

So the bear began to tear at the ox, and his great paws stuck fast, and
he pulled and he tugged, and he tugged and he pulled, and the more he
pulled and tugged, the faster he stuck, and he could not get away.

Then the ox dragged the bear to the old house on the edge of the forest.

When the old woman came back with her apron full of flax and saw that
the straw ox had gone she ran home as fast as she could. There stood the
ox with the bear stuck fast to him.

"Husband, husband! Come here at once," she cried. "The ox has brought
home a bear; what shall we do?"

So the old man came as fast as he could, pulled the bear off the ox,
tied him up, and threw him into the cellar.

The next morning when the old woman went into the field to gather flax
she again took the straw ox with her, and again she left him standing
alone near the edge of the forest.

A wolf came out of the woods, and said to the ox: "Who are you?"

    "I am an ox all smeared with tar,
     And filled with straw, as oxen are,"

replied the ox.

"Oh," said the wolf, "I need some tar to smear my coat so that the dogs
cannot catch me."

"Help yourself," said the ox.

The wolf put up his paws to take the tar and his paws stuck fast. He
pulled and he tugged, and he tugged and he pulled, and the more he
pulled and tugged, the faster he stuck and he could not get away.

Then the ox dragged the wolf to the old house on the edge of the forest.

When the old woman came back with her apron full of flax and saw that
the straw ox had gone she ran home as fast as she could. There stood the
ox in the yard with the wolf stuck fast to him.

 [Illustration: "THEN CAME THE FOX, WITH MANY GEESE RUNNING BEFORE
 HIM"]

"Husband, husband! Come here at once!" she cried. "The ox has brought
home a wolf; what shall we do?"

So the old man came as fast as he could, pulled the wolf off the ox,
tied him up, and threw him into the cellar.

The next morning when the old woman went out into the field to gather
flax she again took the straw ox with her, and again she left it
standing alone near the edge of the forest.

A fox came out of the woods, and said to the ox: "Who are you?"

    "I am an ox all smeared with tar,
     And filled with straw, as oxen are,"

replied the ox.

"Oh," said the fox, "I need some tar to smear my coat so that the dogs
cannot catch me."

"Help yourself," said the ox.

The fox put up his paws to take the tar, and his paws stuck fast. He
pulled and he tugged, and he tugged and he pulled, and the more he
pulled and tugged, the faster he stuck, and he could not get away.

Then the ox dragged the fox to the old house on the edge of the forest.

When the old woman came back with her apron full of flax and saw that
the straw ox had gone she ran home as fast as she could. There stood the
ox with the fox stuck fast to him.

"Husband, husband! Come here at once!" she cried. "The ox has brought
home a fox; what shall we do?"

So the old man came as fast as he could, pulled the fox off the ox, tied
him up, and threw him into the cellar.

The next morning when the woman came back with her apron full of flax
and saw that the ox had gone and she had run home as fast as she could,
there stood the ox with a rabbit stuck fast to him.

And the old man threw the rabbit into the cellar.

The next morning the old man said:

"Now we will see what will come of all of this."

So he took his knife and sat down by the cellar door and began to make
the knife sharp and bright.

"What are you doing, old man?" asked the bear.

"I am making my knife sharp and bright so as to cut up your coat and
make a nice warm jacket for the old woman to keep her warm this winter."

"Oh," said the bear. "Do not cut up my coat. Let me go, and I will bring
you some nice, sweet honey to eat."

"Very well," said the old man, "see to it that you do."

So the old man let the bear go.

Then he sat down again and began to make his knife sharp and bright.

"What are you doing, old man?" asked the wolf.

"I am making my knife sharp and bright so as to cut up your coat to make
me a fine fur cap," said the old man.

"Oh," said the wolf. "Do not cut up my coat. Let me go and I will bring
you some sheep."

"Very well," said the old man, "see to it that you do."

So the old man let the wolf go.

Then he sat down again with his knife in his hand.

"What are you doing, old man?" asked the fox.

"I am making my knife sharp and bright so as to cut up your coat to make
me a nice fur collar."

"Oh," said the fox, "do not cut up my coat. Let me go and I will bring
you some geese."

"Very well," said the old man, "see to it that you do."

And in the same way he let the rabbit loose, who said that he would
bring some cabbage and some turnips and some carrots.

The next morning early the old woman woke up and said:

"Some one is knocking at the door."

So the old man got up and went to the door and opened it.

"See," said the bear, "I have brought you a jar full of honey."

"Very well," said the old man, and he gave the jar to the old woman who
put it on the shelf.

Then came the wolf driving a flock of sheep into the yard.

"See," said the wolf, "I have brought you a flock of sheep."

"Very well," said the old man, and he drove the sheep into the pasture.

Then came the fox, with many geese running before him, and the old man
drove them into the pen; and then came the rabbit with cabbages and
turnips and carrots and other good things, and the old woman took them
and put them into the pot and cooked them.

And the old man said to the old woman, "Now we have sheep in the pasture
and many geese in the pen, and we are rich, and I can give you something
to please you."



THE LITTLE PRINCESS OF THE FEARLESS HEART

BY B. J. DASKAM


Once upon a time the great, yellow stork carried a baby Princess to the
Queen of that country which lies next to fairy-land.

All throughout the kingdom the bells rang, the people shouted, and the
King declared a holiday for a whole year. But the Queen was very
anxious, for she knew that the fairies are a queer lot, and their
borders were very close indeed.

"We must be very careful to slight none of them at the christening," she
said, "for goodness knows what they might do, if we did!"

So the wise-men drew up the lists, and when the day for the christening
arrived, the fairies were all there, and everything went as smoothly as
a frosted cake.

But the Queen said to the Lady-in-waiting:

"The first fairy godmother gave her nothing but a kiss! I don't call
that much of a gift!"

"'Sh!" whispered the Lady-in-waiting. "The fairies hear everything!"

And indeed, the fairy heard her well enough, and very angry she was
about it, too. For she was so old that she knew all about it, from
beginning to end, and she was sure that the Wizard with Three Dragons
was sitting in the Black Forest, watching the whole matter in his
crystal globe. So she had whispered her gift--which was nothing more nor
less than a Fearless Heart--into the ear of the Little Princess. But the
Queen thought she had only kissed her.

So, when the clock was on the hour of four (which, as every one knows,
is the end of christenings and fairy gifts) the first godmother went up
to the golden cradle.

"Since my first gift was not satisfactory to every one," she said,
angrily, "I will give the Little Princess another. And that is, that
when the time comes she shall marry the Prince of the Black Heart!"

Then the clock struck four, while the Queen wept on the bosom of the
Lady-in-waiting.

And that was the end of the christening.

Then the King called the wise-men together, and for forty days and
nights they read the books and studied the stars.

In the end, they laid out a Garden, with a wall so high that the sun
could not shine over it until noon, and so broad that it was a day's
journey for a swift horse to cross it. One tiny door there was: but the
first gate was of iron, and five-and-twenty men-at-arms stood before it,
day and night, with drawn swords; the second gate was of beaten copper,
and before that were fifty archers, with arrows on the string; the third
gate was of triple brass, and before it a hundred knights, in full
armor, rode without ceasing.

Into the Garden went the Little Princess, and the Queen, and all her
ladies; but no man might pass the gates, save the King himself. And
there the Princess dwelt until her seventeenth birthday, without seeing
any more of the world than the inside of the wall.

Now it happened that, some time before, a young Prince had ridden out of
the west and set about his travels. For the wise-man on the hill had
come to him and said:

"In the kingdom which lies next to fairyland dwells a Little Princess
who has a Fearless Heart. There is a wall which will not be easy to
climb, but the Princess is more beautiful than anything else in the
world!"

And that was enough for the Prince, so he girded on his sword, and set
out, singing as he went for pure lightness of heart.

But it is not so easy to find fairyland as it is to eat a ripe apple,
and the Prince could have told you that, before he was through. For in
some places it is so broad that it takes in the whole world, and in
others so narrow that a flea could cross it in two jumps. So that some
people never leave it all their lives long, but others cross at a single
step, and never see it at all.

Finally, the Prince came to the place where all roads meet, and they
were as much alike as the hairs on a dog's back. But it was all one to
him, so he rode straight ahead and lost himself in fairyland.

When the first fairy godmother saw him, she laughed to herself and flew
away, straight over his head, to the wall around the Garden. But you may
be sure that she did not trouble the guards at the triple gates: for, if
one has wings, what is the use of stairs? So over the wall she flew to
the room where the Little Princess lay sleeping.

You may readily believe that the Princess was astonished when she awoke
to find the fairy beside her bed, but she was not in the least alarmed,
for, you see, she did not know that there was anything in the world to
be afraid of.

"My dear," said the old lady, "I am your first fairy godmother."

"How do you do, Godmother?" said the Princess, and she sat up in bed and
courtesied. Which is a very difficult trick, indeed, and it is not every
Princess who can do it.

Her godmother was so delighted that she leaned over and kissed her.

"That is the second time I have kissed you," she said. "When I go, I
will kiss you again, and you had better save the three of them, for they
will be useful when you go out into the world. And, my dear, it is high
time that you were going out."

Then the Little Princess was overjoyed, but she only nodded her head
wisely and said:

"I know, the world is as big as the whole Garden, and wider than the
wall. But I can never go out, for the gates are always locked."

"If you do not go now," said the fairy, "you will have to go later, and
that might not be so well. And you should not argue with me, for I am
older than you will ever be, and your godmother, besides. Now kiss me,
for I must be going."

So she flew away, about her other affairs, for she was a very busy old
lady indeed.

In the morning the Princess went to breakfast with the King and the
Queen.

"Mother," she said, "it is high time that I went out into the world!"

The Queen was so startled that she dropped her egg on the floor and the
King was red as a beet with anger.

"Tut! Tut!" he shouted. "What nonsense is this?"

"My fairy godmother was here last night," said the Princess, "and she
told me all about it. I will go this morning, please, if I may."

"Nonsense!" roared the King.

"You will do no such thing!" wailed the Queen.

"There could have been no one here," said the King, "for the gates were
all locked."

"Who told you that you had a fairy godmother?" asked the Queen.

And there was an end of that.

But that night, after the Princess had said her prayers and crept into
bed, she heard her godmother calling to her from the Garden, so she
slipped on her cloak and stole out into the moonlight. There was no one
to be seen, so she pattered along in her little bare feet until she came
to the gate in the wall.

While she was hesitating whether or not to run back to her little white
bed, the gates of triple brass opened as easily as if her godmother had
oiled them, and the Little Princess passed through the copper gates, and
the iron gate, and out into fairyland.

But if you ask me why she saw the guards at the gates no more than they
saw her, I can only tell you that I do not know, and you will have to be
satisfied with that.

As for the Princess, she was as happy as a duck in a puddle. As she
danced along through the forests, the flowers broke from their stems to
join her, the trees dropped golden fruit into her very hands, and the
little brook which runs through fairyland left its course, and followed
her, singing.

And all the while, her godmother was coming down behind her, close at
hand, to see that she came to no harm; but the Princess did not know
that.

At last she came to the place where the Prince from the west lay
sleeping. He was dreaming that he had climbed the wall and had found
the Princess, so that he smiled in his sleep and she knelt above him,
wondering, for she had never seen a man before, save her father, the
King, and the Prince was very fair. So she bent closer and closer, until
her breath was on his cheek, and as he opened his eyes, she kissed him.

As for the Prince, he thought that he was still asleep, till he saw that
she was many times more beautiful than in his dreams, and he knew that
he had found her at last.

 [Illustration: THE PRINCESS AND THE FAIRY]

"You are more beautiful than anything else in the world," he said, "and
I love you better than my life!"

"And I love you with all my heart!" said the Little Princess.

"Will you marry me," asked the Prince, "and live with me forever and
ever?"

"That I will," said the Princess, "and gladly, if my father, the King,
and my mother, the Queen, will let me leave the Garden."

And she told the Prince all about the wall with the triple gates.

The Prince saw that it would be no easy task to win the consent of the
King and the Queen, so nothing would do but that he must travel back to
the west and return with a proper retinue behind him.

So he bade the Princess good-by and rode bravely off toward the west.

The Princess went slowly back through fairyland, till she came to the
wall, just as the sun was breaking in the east. As every one knows,
White Magic is not of very much use in the daytime, outside of
fairyland, and if you ask why this is not so at christenings, I will
send you to Peter Knowall, who keeps the Big Red Book.

So the guards at the triple gates saw the Princess, and they raised such
a hub-bub, that the King and the Queen rushed out to see what all the
noise was about. You can easily believe that they were in a great way
when they saw the Little Princess, who they thought was safe asleep in
her bed.

They lost no time in bundling her through the gates, and then they fell
to kissing her, and scolding her, and shaking her, and hugging her, all
in the same breath.

But the Princess said, "I have been out into the world, and I am going
to marry the Prince!"

Then perhaps there was not a great to-do about the Garden!

They bullied and coaxed and scolded and wept, but the Princess only
said,

"I love him with all my heart and when the time comes I will go to him,
if I have to beg my way from door to door!"

At that the King flew into a towering rage.

"Very well, Miss!" he shouted. "But when you go, you may stay forever! I
will cut your name off the records, and any one who speaks it will be
beheaded, if it is the High Lord Chancellor, himself!"

Then it was the turn of the Princess to weep, for she loved her parents
dearly, but she could not promise to forget the Prince.

So matters went from pence to ha'pennies, as the saying goes, till
finally the Princess could bear it no longer, so she found her cloak and
stole down to the triple gates.

Everything went very much as it had before, save that there was no
Prince asleep under the tree where she had first found him. Then the
Princess would have turned back, but the little brook which followed at
her heel had swollen out into a broad, deep river, and there was nothing
to do but go ahead, till she came to a cottage among the trees, and
before the door sat an old, old woman, spinning gold thread out of
moonlight. And by that any one could have told that she was a fairy, but
the Princess thought it was always done that way in the world.

"Oh, Mother," she cried, "how shall I find my way out of the forest?"

But the old woman went on spinning, and the Princess thought that she
had never seen anything fly so fast as the shuttle.

"Where were you wanting to go?" she asked.

"I am searching for the Prince from the west," said the Princess sadly.
"Can you tell me where to find him?"

The fairy shook her head and went on with her spinning, so fast that you
could not see the shuttle at all.

But the Princess begged so prettily that finally she said,

"If I were looking for a Prince, I would follow my nose until I came to
the Black Forest, and then I would ask the Wizard with Three Dragons,
who knows all about it, and more, too! That is, unless I thought that I
would be afraid in the Black Forest."

"What is afraid?" asked the Little Princess. "I do not know that."

And no more she did, so the fairy laughed, for she saw trouble coming
for the Wizard. She stopped her wheel with a click, but for all her fast
spinning, there was only enough gold thread to go around the second
finger of the Princess's left hand.

As for the Princess, she thanked the old lady very kindly, and set
bravely off toward the Black Forest.

But the Wizard with Three Dragons only laughed as he gazed into his
crystal globe, for in it he could see everything that was happening in
any place in the world, and I do not need Jacob Wise-man to tell me that
a globe like that is worth having!

Now, when the Prince had left the Princess in fairyland, he lost no time
in riding back to the west. The old King, his father, was overjoyed when
he heard of the Little Princess, and he gave the Prince a retinue that
stretched for a mile behind him.

 [Illustration: THE WIZARD WITH THE THREE DRAGONS, AND HIS CRYSTAL
 GLOBE]

But when they came to the place where all roads meet, the Prince was
greatly perplexed, for this time, you see, he knew where he wanted to
go. In the end, he trusted to chance and rode ahead, but they had not
gone far before they came to the castle of the Wizard with Three
Dragons, in the middle of the Black Forest.

In the great hall sat the Wizard, himself, waiting for them, and he was
as soft as butter.

Yes, yes, he knew the Princess well enough, but it was too late to go
further that night. So the Prince and all his train had best come into
the castle and wait till morning.

That was what the Wizard said, and the Prince was glad enough to listen
to him, for he was beginning to fear that he would never find the
Princess again. But hardly had the last bowman come within the doors
than the Wizard blew upon his crystal globe, and muttered a spell.

At that, the Prince and his entire train were changed to solid stone, in
the twinkling of an eye, and there they remained till, at the proper
time, the Little Princess of the Fearless Heart came up the great stone
steps of the castle.

The Wizard was sitting on his throne with his Dragons behind his
shoulder, staring into his crystal globe as it spun in the air, hanging
on nothing at all.

He never took his eyes away when the Princess came up to the throne, and
she was far too polite to interrupt him when he was so busy. So for a
long, long time she stood there waiting, and the Wizard chuckled to
himself, for he thought that she was too frightened to speak. So he
breathed upon his crystal globe and muttered a spell.

But of course, nothing happened, for the Little Princess had a Fearless
Heart!

Then the Wizard grew black as night, for he saw that the matter was not
so easy as plucking wild flowers, so he turned away from the crystal
globe and stared at the Princess. His eyes burned like two hot coals,
so that she drew her cloak closer about her, but you cannot hide your
heart from a Wizard with Three Dragons, unless your cloak is woven of
sunlight, and the Little Black Dwarf has the only one of those in the
whole world, stowed away in an old chest in the garret.

So the Wizard saw at once that the Little Princess had a Fearless Heart,
and his voice was soft as rain-water.

"Oh, Little Princess," he said. "What is it that you want of me in the
Black Forest?"

"I am looking for the Prince from the west," said the Princess, eagerly.
"Can you tell me where to find him?"

"Yes," said the Wizard. "I can tell you that, and perhaps some other
things, besides. But what will you give me for my trouble?"

Then the Little Princess hung her head, for she had nothing about her
that was worth so much as a bone button, and the Wizard knew that as
well as you and I. So he said, very softly, "Will you give me your
Fearless Heart?"

And there was the whole matter in a nutshell!

But the Princess stamped her foot on the stone floor. "Of course I will
not give you my heart," she said. "And if you will not tell me for
kindness, I will be going on, for I have nothing with which to pay you!"

"Not so fast!" cried the Wizard--for he was as wise as a rat in a
library--"If you will not give me your heart, just let me have a kiss
and I will call it a bargain!"

Then the Princess remembered her godmother's three kisses, and she
thought that this was the place for them, if they were ever to be used
at all, although she liked the thought of kissing the Wizard about as
much as she liked sour wine. She crept up to the throne, and, with her
eyes tight closed, gave the Wizard the first of the three kisses.

At that the whole Black Forest shook with the force of the Magic,
hissing through the trees, and the Wizard, with his Three Dragons turned
into solid stone!

The crystal globe spun around in the air, humming like a hive full of
bees and sank slowly to the foot of the throne.

Hardly had it touched the ground than the whole castle rent and split
into a thousand pieces, and I would not like to have been there, unless
I had a bit of gold thread spun out of moonlight around my finger, for
the huge rocks were falling as thick as peas in a pan!

But the Princess hardly noticed the rocks at all, for, as the sun rose
over the Black Forest, she recognized the marble figure of the Prince,
standing among the ruins. You may be sure that she was heartbroken as
she went up to him, weeping very bitterly and calling and calling on his
name. Then in her sorrow she reached up and kissed the cold stone face
with the second magic kiss.

Then suddenly she felt the marble grow soft and warm beneath her touch,
and the Prince came back to life and took her in his arms.

When he recognized the silent figures of his gay train, he was sad as
death, and the Princess wept with him. But suddenly they saw an old, old
woman picking her way among the fallen stones.

"Oh," said the Little Princess, "that is the old woman whom I met in the
forest, spinning!"

At that the fairy laughed so hard that her hair tumbled down about her
feet, and it turned from gray to silver, and silver to gold. The years
fell from her like a cloak, until she was more beautiful than the
thought of man could conceive!

"Ah! I know you now!" cried the Little Princess. "You are my first fairy
godmother!"

And that was the way of it, so she kissed them both for pure joy. But
when they asked her as to which of the stone figures should have the
third magic kiss, she shook her head,

"None of them at all!" she said. "But give me back that bit of gold
thread, for you will have no further use for it."

Then she stretched the thread between her two hands until it was so fine
that you could not see it at all, and laid it on the ground around the
Wizard and his Dragons, and tied a magic knot, just behind the crystal
globe.

"Now give the third kiss to the crystal globe," she said, "and see what
will happen!"

So the Little Princess kissed the globe, and from the place where her
lips touched it, a stream of water trickled down. As it touched the feet
of each statue, the marble softened to flesh and blood, and the breath
came back to it until all of the Prince's train were alive again; but as
for the Wizard, the water could not pass the gold thread, so there he
sits until this day--unless some busybody has untied the magic knot.
Then the fairy flew away, singing a low, happy song.

When the Prince and the Princess came to the Garden, there was a wedding
which lasted a month, and then they rode off toward the west.

After they had gone, the Queen whispered to the Lady-in-waiting,

"You see what careful parents can do! The first fairy godmother was
quite wrong about the Prince of the Black Heart!"

But at that very moment, the Prince had bared his arm to pluck a
water-flower, as they rested beside the way.

"What is that black mark on your arm?" asked the Princess.

"Oh," said the Prince, laughing, "that is just a scar I have borne from
birth. It is in the shape of a heart, and so, for a jest, my people call
me the Prince of the Black Heart."

"Black Heart, indeed!" cried the Little Princess, angrily.

And that is the end of the story, for if you have no fear in your heart,
black magic is no such great thing after all.

But if any old fogy should wag his gray beard and say there is not a
word of truth in it, you may be very sure that he came to fairyland at
the narrow place, and never saw it at all. So you may just smile at him,
for there is one thing, at least, that you know more about than he does!

 [Illustration]



MOPSA THE FAIRY

RETOLD FROM JEAN INGELOW

    "_For he that hath his own world
      Hath many worlds more._"


A boy, whom I knew very well, was once going through a meadow which was
full of buttercups. He sat down by an old hawthorn hedge which was
covered with blossoms, and took out a slice of plum-cake for his lunch.
While the boy was eating, he observed that this hedge was very high
and thick, and that there was a great hollow in the trunk of the old
thorn-tree, and he heard a twittering as if there was a nest somewhere
inside. So he thrust his head in, twisted himself around, and looked up.
After getting used to the dim light in the hollow of the tree, he saw, a
good way above his head, a curious nest. It was about three times as
large as a goldfinch's. Just then he thought he heard some little voices
cry, "Jack, Jack!"

"I must get near," said the boy. So he began to wriggle and twist
himself up, and just as he reached the top three heads which had been
peeking over the edge of the nest suddenly popped down again.

"Those heads had no beaks, and the things have no feathers," said Jack,
as he stood on tip-toe and poked in one of his fingers.

When he snatched one of them out of the nest, it gave a loud squeak, and
Jack was so frightened that he lost his footing, dropped it, and slipped
down himself. Luckily, he was not hurt, nor the "thing" either. It was
creeping about like an old baby, and had on a little frock and pinafore.


THE FAIRY BABY'S LUNCH

"It's a fairy!" exclaimed Jack, "and this must be a fairies' nest."

The young Fairy climbed up the side of the hollow and scrambled again
into her nest, and Jack followed. Upon which all the nestlings popped up
their heads, and showing their pretty white teeth pointed at the slice
of cake.

"It's a small piece, and I may not have anything more to eat for a long
time," said Jack; "but your mouths are very small, so you shall each
have a piece."

The young fairies were a long time munching the cake, and before they
had finished it began to be rather dark, because a thunder-storm was
coming up. The wind rose and made the old tree rock, and creak, and
tremble. The little Fairies were so frightened that they got out of the
nest and crept into Jack's pockets.

After the storm was over, Jack pulled one of the Fairies out of his
waistcoat pocket and said to her: "It is time for supper. Where are we
going to get it?" Then in the light of the moon he looked at her very
attentively. "When I first saw you in the nest," said he, "you had a
pinafore on, and now you have a smart little apron with lace around it."

"That is because I am much older now," said the Fairy. "We never take
such a long time to grow up as you do. Put me into your pocket again,
and whistle as loudly as you can."


THE GREAT WHITE BIRD

So Jack whistled loudly; and suddenly without hearing anything, he felt
something take hold of his legs and give him a jerk which hoisted him on
to its back, where he sat astride. It was a large white bird, and
presently he found that they were rising up through the trees and out
into the moonlight, with Jack on the bird's back and all the fairies in
his pockets.

"And so we are going to Fairy-land," exclaimed Jack; "how delightful!"

As the evening grew dark the great white bird began to light up. She did
it in this way. First, one of her eyes began to beam with a beautiful
green light, and then when it was as bright as a lamp, the other eye
began to shine, and the light of that eye was red. So they sailed
through the darkness, Jack reminding the bird once in a while that he
was very hungry.


TO THE FAIR CITY

They were sailing over the ocean by this time, and there were boats and
vessels. The great white bird hovered among them, making choice of one
to take Jack and the Fairies up the wonderful river which leads to
Fairy-land. Finally she set him down in a beautiful little open boat,
with a great carved figure-head to it. The bird said: "Lie down in the
bottom of the boat and go to sleep. You will dream that you have some
roast fowl, some new potatoes, and an apple pie. Mind you, don't eat too
much in your dream, or you will be sorry for it when you wake." Jack
put his arms around the neck of the bird and hugged her; then she spread
her wings and sailed slowly away. Then Jack fell asleep in the rocking
boat, and dreamed as the bird promised, and when he woke up he was not
hungry any more!

 [Illustration: IT WAS A LARGE WHITE BIRD
 FROM A DRAWING BY HARRY ROUNTREE]

Morning came, and the Fairies were still asleep in his pocket. The boat
moved on through the night, and now he found himself in the outlet of
the wonderful river, the shores of which were guarded, not by real
soldiers, but by rose-colored flamingoes.

Now that he had fairies in his pockets, he could understand bird talk,
and so he heard many wise words from the birds of that country which
guided him on his way.

It was not long before he came to the city that was the capital. It was
a fair day, and the city square was full of white canopies, lined with
splendid flutings of pink. It was impossible to be sure whether they
were real tents, or gigantic mushrooms. Each one of the people who sold
in these tents had a little high cap on his head shaped just like a
bee-hive made of straw. In fact, Jack soon saw bees flying in and out,
and it was evident that these folks had their honey made on the
premises.


THE LITTLE OLD FAIRY WOMAN

After Jack had visited the fairy city, he went back to the river. The
water was so delightfully clear that he thought he would have a swim, so
he took off his clothes and folded them very carefully so as not to hurt
the Fairies, and laid them beside a hay-cock. When he came out he saw a
little old woman with spectacles on, knitting beside his clothes. She
smiled upon him pleasantly.

"I will give you some breakfast out of my basket," said she. So she took
out a saucerful of honey, a roll of bread, and a cup of milk.

"Thank you," said Jack, "but I am not a beggar boy, so I can buy this
breakfast. You look very poor."

It seems that the old woman was very poor; in fact, she was a slave, and
on that very day they were about to sell her in the slave market in the
city square. So Jack went along into the city again with her, and when
she was put up for sale, he bought her from her cruel master, although
it took a half-crown, the biggest piece of money that he had. His next
largest piece he gave to the little woman, and told her to buy some
clothes with it. She came back to the boat where Jack was, with her
hands empty, but her face full of satisfaction.


THE WONDERFUL PURPLE ROBE

"Why, you have not bought any new clothes," said Jack.

"I have bought what I wanted," said the Fairy Woman; and she took out of
her pocket a little tiny piece of purple ribbon, with a gold-colored
satin edge, and a very small tortoise-shell comb.

She took the piece of ribbon and pulled and pulled it until it was as
large as a handkerchief. Then she pulled and pulled it again, and the
silk stretched until it nearly filled the boat. Next, the little old
woman pulled off her ragged gown and put on the silk. It was now a most
beautiful robe of purple, with a gold border, and it just fitted her.
Then she took out the little tortoise-shell comb, pulled off her cap and
threw it into the river. As she combed her hair, it grew much longer and
thicker, until it fell in waves all about her body. It all turned gold
color, and she was so covered with it that you could not see one bit of
her except her eyes, which peeped out and were very bright.

Then she began to gather up her lovely locks and said: "Master, look at
me now!" So she threw back the hair from her face, and it was a
beautiful young face, and she looked so happy that Jack was glad he had
bought her with his half-crown.


THE MAGIC KISS

Then instantly the little Fairies awoke and sprang out of Jack's
pockets. One of them had a green velvet cap and sword; the second had a
white spangled robe, and lovely rubies and emeralds around her neck; but
the third one, who sat down on Jack's knee, had a white frock and a blue
sash, was very little, and she had a face just like that of a sweet
little child.

"How comes it that you are not like the others?" asked Jack. She
answered: "It is because you kissed me."

"Somehow," Jack explained to the former Fairy Slave, "she was my
favorite."

"Then you will have to let her sit on your knee, master, sometimes," she
explained; "and you must take special care of her, for she cannot now
take the same care of herself that others can. The love of a mortal
works changes indeed to the life of a fairy."

"I don't want to have a slave," said Jack to the little lady. "Can't you
find some way to be wholly free again?"

"Yes, master, I can be free if you can think of anything that you really
like better than the half-crown that you paid for me."

"I would like going up this river to Fairy-land much better," said
Jack. So suddenly the river became full of thousands of little people
coming down the stream in rafts. They had come to take the Fairy Woman
away with them.


THE FAIRY WOMAN'S PARTING GIFT

"What gift may I give you before I go?" she asked.

"I should like," said Jack, "to have a little tiny bit of that purple
gown of yours with the gold border."

So she told Jack to lend her his knife, and with it she cut off a very
small piece of the skirt of her robe and gave it to him. "Now I advise
you," she said, "never to stretch this unless you want to make something
particular out of it."

"Will ye step aboard, my dearest?" sang the Fairy Woman as she sailed
away.

    "Will ye step aboard, my dearest? for the high seas lie
           before us.
       So I sailed adown the river in those days without alloy.
     We are launched! But when, I wonder, shall a sweeter sound
           float o'er us
       Than yon 'pull'e haul'e, pull'e haul'e, yoy! heave, hoy!'"

All Jack had to do to make his magic boat go wherever he wished was to
give it a command, so he ordered it to float up the river to Fairy-land.

It was not long before the towers of the castle of the Queen of
Fairy-land could be seen in the distance; and soon the castle, with its
beautiful gardens, was close beside them along the river bank. But Jack
did not dare to enter the castle until he was sure of a shelter of his
own. So he pulled and pulled at the piece of purple silk, until it
became large enough to make a splendid canopy like a tent. It roofed in
all the after-part of the boat, so now he had a delightful little home
of his own, and there was no fear of its being blown away, for no wind
ever blows in Fairy-land.


TO THE PALACE

When the Fairy Woman went back to her people she took all of the fairy
children with her, and left only Mopsa with Jack. Now, Jack carefully
washed her face, and put a beautiful clean white frock on her.

"We will go into the Queen's palace together," said he.

The Queen greeted Mopsa and Jack very kindly; and every day they went up
to the palace, and every night back again to the tent on the little
boat.

One song which they liked to sing made Jack rather uncomfortable:

    "And all the knights shall woo again,
     And all the doves shall coo again,
     And all the dreams come true again,
         And Jack shall go home."

Every evening Jack noticed that Mopsa was a little taller, and had
grown-up to a higher button on his coat. She looked much wiser, too.
"You must learn to read," said he; and as she made no objection, he
arranged daisies and buttercups into the forms of the letters, and she
learned nearly all of them in one evening, while crowds of the fairies
from the castle looked on, hanging from the boughs and shouting out the
names of the letters as Mopsa said them. They were very polite to Jack,
for they gathered up all the flowers for him, and emptied them from
their little caps at his feet as fast as he wanted them.


MOPSA IS TO BE A QUEEN

Now it seems that as soon as Mopsa was full grown she was destined to be
Queen herself. One day, just before dusk, she said to Jack: "Jack, will
you give me your little purse that has the silver fourpence in it?"

Now this purse was lined with a nice piece of pale green silk; and when
Jack gave it to her, she pulled the silk out and stretched it, just as
the fairy woman had done, and it became a most lovely cloak. Then she
twisted up her long hair into a coil, fastened it around her head, and
called to the fireflies, which were beginning to glitter on the trees;
and they came and alighted in a row upon the coil, and turned into
diamonds directly! So now Mopsa had a crown and a robe. She was so
beautiful that Jack thought he would never be tired of looking at her.

The next morning Jack found that his fairy boat had floated away. He
called to it, but it would not return. "Never mind," said Mopsa, "my
country is still waiting for me beyond the purple mountains. I shall
never be happy unless we go there, and we can go together on foot."

So they walked toward the purple mountains hand-in-hand. When night
came, and they were too tired to walk any further, the shooting stars
began to appear in all directions; and at Mopsa's command they brought a
little cushion, and Jack and Mopsa sat upon it, and the stars carried
the two over the paths of the mountains and half-way down the other
side. When they awoke the next morning, there spread before them the
loveliest garden one ever saw, and among the trees and woods was a most
beautiful castle.

 [Illustration: QUEEN MOPSA FLIES TO HER KINGDOM
 FROM A DRAWING BY FLORENCE MARY ANDERSON]

"Oh, Jack!" said Mopsa, "I am sure that castle is the place I am to live
in. I shall soon be Queen and there I shall reign."

"And I shall be King there," said Jack. "Shall I?"

"Yes, if you can," answered Mopsa; "and in Fairy-land, of course,
whatever you can do, you may do."

It was a long way to the castle; and at last Jack and Mopsa were so
tired that they sat down, and Mopsa began to cry.

"Remember," said Jack, "that you are nearly a Queen, and you can never
reach your castle by sitting still."

All of a sudden they heard the sweetest sound in the world; it was the
castle clock, and it was striking twelve at noon. As it finished
striking, they came out at the farther edge of a great bed of reeds,
and here was the castle straight before them.

Inside the castle lived a lovely lady, and when she saw Mopsa she took
her to her arms. "Who are you?" asked the lovely lady.

"I am a Queen," said Mopsa.

"Yes, my sweet Queen," answered the lady, "I know you are."

"Do you promise that you will be kind to me until I grow up?" inquired
Mopsa. "Will you love me and teach me how to reign? I am only ten years
old, and the throne is too big for me to sit upon, but I am Queen."

"Yes," answered the lady, "and I will love you just as if I were your
mother."


QUEEN MOPSA

When Mopsa ran through the castle door it shut suddenly behind her, and
Jack was left behind. After great difficulty he succeeded in climbing
the walls, and crept through a window; and when he got inside he saw a
very wonderful sight. There was Mopsa in the great audience-room,
dressed superbly in a white satin gown, with a long train of crimson
velvet, which was glittering with diamonds. It reached almost from one
end of the gallery to the other, and had hundreds of fairies to hold it
to keep it in its place; but in her hair were no jewels, only a little
crown made of daisies, and on her shoulders her robe was fastened with a
little golden image of a boat. These things were to show the land she
had come from and the vessel she had come in. At one side of Mopsa stood
the lovely lady; and on the other, to Jack's amazement, a little boy of
his own size, who looked exactly like himself.

"I will go in," said Jack. "There is nothing to prevent me." He set his
foot on the step, and while he hesitated Mopsa came out to meet him. He
looked at her earnestly, because her lovely eyes were not looking at
him, but far away toward the west.

"Jack lives there," she said, as if speaking to herself. "He will play
there again, in his father's garden."

Then she brought her eyes down slowly from the rose-flush in the cloud
and looked at him and said, "Jack."

"Yes," said Jack, "here I am. What is it that you wish to say?"

She answered, "I am come to give you back your kiss."


GOOD-BY TO MOPSA

So she stooped forward as she stood on her step and kissed him, and her
tears fell on his cheek.

"Farewell," she said; and she turned and went up the steps into the
great hall. Jack gazed at her as she entered, and would fain have
followed, but could not stir, the great doors closed together again, and
he was left outside. Then he knew, without having been told, that he
should never enter them any more.

Suddenly he perceived that reeds were growing up between him and the
great doors, and he walked on among them toward the west. Then, as the
rosy sky turned gold color, all on a sudden he came to the edge of the
reed-bed and walked out upon a rising ground. Jack ran up it, looking
for the castle. At last he saw it, lying so far, so very far off that
all its clear outlines were lost; and very soon, as it grew dark, they
seemed to mingle with the shapes of the hill and the forest.

He looked up into the rosy sky, and held out his arms, and called:
"Come! Oh, come!" In a minute or two he saw a little black mark
overhead, a small speck, that grew larger and larger. In another instant
he saw a red light and a green light; then he heard the winnowing noise
of a bird's great wings, and suddenly the great white bird alighted at
his feet and said: "Here I am."

"I wish to go home," said Jack.

"That is well," answered the bird.

As Jack flew through the darkness he thought once again of the little
boy who looked just like himself, who lived in the far castle; and he
did not feel sure whether he himself was upon the back of the bird or
within the castle with Queen Mopsa. Then he fell asleep, and did not
dream at all, nor know anything more until the great bird woke him.

"Wake up, now, Jack," she said, "we are at home."

As they flew toward the earth Jack saw the church, and the wood, and his
father's house, which seemed to be starting up to meet him. In two
seconds he stepped down into the deep grass of his father's meadow.

"Good-by," said the great bird. "Make haste and run in, for the dews are
falling." And before he could ask her one question, or even thank her,
she made a wide sweep over the grass, beat her magnificent wings and
soared away.


JACK COMES HOME

Jack opened the little gate that led into the garden, stole through the
shrubbery and came up to the drawing-room window and peeped in. His
father and mother were sitting there, his mother sat with her back to
the open window, but a candle was burning, and she was reading aloud
about a Shepherd Lady and a Lord.

At last his father noticed him, and beckoned him to come in. So Jack
did, and got upon his father's knee, and laid his head on his father's
waistcoat, and wondered what he would think if he should tell him about
the fairies that had been in somebody else's waistcoat pocket. He
thought, besides, what a great thing a man is. He had never seen
anything so large in Fairy-land, nor so important; so, on the whole, he
was glad that he had come back and felt very happy.

"I think," said his father, "it must be time this man of ours was in
bed."

So his mother kissed him good-night, and he went up into his own room
and said his prayers. He got into his little white bed and comfortably
fell asleep.



THE LINE OF GOLDEN LIGHT, OR THE LITTLE BLIND SISTER[I]

BY ELIZABETH HARRISON


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

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

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

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

 [Illustration: "AVILLA RAN FORWARD AND CRIED: 'NOW GIVE SIGHT TO MY
 SISTER'"]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 [I] From "In Story-Land," by Elizabeth Harrison; used by
 permission of the publishers, the National Kindergarten and Elementary
 College, 2944 Michigan Boulevard, Chicago, Ill.



 [Illustration]

A FAIRY STORY ABOUT A PHILOSOPHER'S STONE WHICH WAS LOST

BY M. BOWLEY


The Mermaids and the Sea-gulls were collected in crowds upon the shore.
There was hardly a sound except the monotonous splash of little waves
breaking, and the rippling rattle of the shingle as it followed the
water returning. Thousands of eyes were fixed upon the piece of rocky
land that jutted out into the sea, where the Philosopher's magnificent
castle stood, or _had_ stood, for there was now very little of it left.
No wonder the Mermaids and the Mer-babies and the Sea-gulls were
astonished. Even the sea was speckled with fish who were putting their
heads out of the water to watch. For the Philosopher's castle was fading
away, melting like mist before the sun!

The Philosopher himself could be seen rushing about, tearing his
scanty white hair. That was another equally astonishing thing, for only
yesterday the Philosopher had been young and handsome, as well as the
richest and greatest man in all the land--so rich and great that he was
to have married the Princess very soon.

Now he was old and wild and gaunt. A tattered brown cloak with rents and
holes in it hung from his thin shoulders, flapping as he ran about, and
all his dingy dress was dirty and ragged. He looked like a wandering
peddler. What had become of his many servants? Where were his horses and
chariots, and the strange beasts from foreign lands which had wandered
in the beautiful gardens--the gardens with the pavilions, where all the
flowers had been in bloom for the Princess?

There was only one tower standing now, and the top of that was growing
more and more flimsy. Presently, through the walls, rooms could be seen.
In one of them there stood a golden cage, and in it was a Parrot.

Very soon the bars of the cage were like cobwebs, and the Parrot began
to tear them apart. Then he spread his wings with a joyful scream, and
flew on to the rocks, above the heads of the crowds upon the shore.

Immediately every one called a different question to the Parrot, who
smoothed his feathers and took no notice until, when the noise and
excitement were rather less, an old Sea-gull spoke for them all. Then
the new-comer consented to tell what he knew of the events of the day.

It was due, he said, to the Philosopher's having lost the Magic Stone.
Upon this stone his youthful appearance, and everything that he owned,
had depended.

Early that morning a great tumult had suddenly arisen. The Philosopher
went out walking. Soon an old man had rushed in, crying that he had lost
the Magic Stone. He commanded every slave in the castle instantly to
leave whatever work he was doing, and help to find it. At first no one
heeded him, for they could not any of them be persuaded that he was
their master. Then the confusion had grown rapidly worse, for each one
found he was fading away, growing every moment more pale and thin. As
the hours passed all the servants became white ghosts, and they floated
away in companies together.

 [Illustration: "EVERYONE CALLED A DIFFERENT QUESTION TO THE PARROT"]

The furniture was melting now in the same manner. The tables were
sinking down, and all the vessels used for cooking, and what not, were
falling softly and noiselessly upon the floors--where there were any
floors to hold them. Everything was blowing gently about, so that the
air seemed filled with bits of cloud. Presently the remnants would be
swept into the sea by the passing breezes.

"And how have you escaped?" asked the Sea-gull.

The Parrot raised his crest and looked very much offended.

"Because _I_ am real," he said with dignity. "I was the only real thing
in the castle. The Philosopher stole me at the same time that he stole
the Magic Stone."

"Stole it?" cried the Mermaids and the Mer-babies and the Sea-gulls.

"Yes," said the Parrot; "he stole it in a far-off land, and he stole me.
I was to be a present to the Princess; for he thought of marrying the
Princess even at that time, and the Philosopher knew there was not in
all the world another parrot like me."

He opened his wings and puffed up every feather. He certainly was a
magnificent creature. The grown-up Sea-gulls felt quite ashamed of their
homely dresses of black and white; but the young ones only gaped, and
crowded open-mouthed to the front to look.

The Parrot's snowy coat shaded different colors like opals when he
moved, and each feather was edged with gold. The crest upon his head
sparkled as if there were diamonds in it, and under his wings he was
rose-red.

"But I am free!" he cried, as the diamonds glittered and flashed,--"free
to go home where the palm-trees grow, and the sun shines as it never
shines in this chilly land! Look well at me while you can, for you will
never see me again."

With that he poised a moment above them, then sailed away to the South,
like a gorgeous monster butterfly. And they never did see him again.

When they had watched him out of sight, and turned again, there was
nothing remaining of the castle, and the Philosopher, too, had
disappeared. The sun was setting, and the Mermaids and the Mer-babies
went to their homes in the sea, while the Sea-gulls put their little
gulls to bed in the nests among the rocks high above the restless
waves.

         *       *       *

Now all the talk was of the Philosopher's Magic Stone, and who should
find it. And at court every one was discussing how this unexpected turn
of events would affect the Princess's marriage. It was to have taken
place in a very short time. The King was very angry. He considered that
a slight had been cast upon the Princess and upon himself by the
carelessness of the Philosopher. He was not well pleased, either,
to know that the great wealth of the man who was to have been his
son-in-law was all due to magic influences. Neither did he like what
he heard of the Philosopher's appearance when last he was seen. He
announced that the Princess's wedding would take place at the time
fixed, and that she should be married to the first Prince, or other
suitable candidate, who arrived on that day. And even the Philosopher
might take his chance of being the first, if he were then in a position
to support the Princess in the luxury to which she had been accustomed.

 [Illustration: "DO YOU THINK THE PHILOSOPHER WILL FIND THE STONE?" SHE
 ASKED OF THE ELDEST LADY-IN-WAITING.]

As for the Princess herself, what did she think of it all? No one knew,
for she did not say. She sat at her palace window, and looked out over
the distant mountains, and dreamed of her wedding day.

"Do you think the Philosopher will find the Stone?" she asked of the
Eldest Lady-in-Waiting, who was in attendance.

"We may well hope so, your Royal Highness," said the Eldest Lady. "He is
a great man and wise. I hear, too, that he had been walking only a short
distance from the castle when he lost the Stone. It can hardly fail to
be found very soon."

The Princess sat still and looked over toward the mountains.

"Do you think the Philosopher will find the Stone?" she asked presently
of the Youngest and Favorite Lady-in-Waiting.

"Alas! your Royal Highness, I fear it is not likely," said the Favorite
Lady. "All the Sea-people have been searching day and night, I hear, and
nothing has been heard of it yet."

The Princess smiled. She still sat and smiled when the Favorite Lady
wrapped a cloak about herself, and took a letter that lay by the
Princess's hand. Then, without permission or instruction, she set out
toward the mountains. The Princess rested her elbows on the
window-ledge, and watched her out of sight, and perhaps wondered who
would be the earliest to arrive, and so fill the place of bridegroom, on
her wedding-day.

And all this time, as the Lady-in-Waiting had said, the Sea-people had
been searching day and night.

The Mer-babies and the little Sea-gulls were quite neglected, and did
no lessons; for every one was too busy to attend to them. They played
about and romped on the shore when they grew tired of hunting for the
Philosopher's Stone. The Sea-gulls had told the land-birds, who were
searching the woods and the fields, while the fresh-water fish knew of
it from their relatives in the sea, and they were searching the lakes
and the rivers. Then the Sea-gulls determined to consult the Great
Albatross of the Southern Seas, the King among all sea-fowl. They
arrived one sunny morning, and found him expecting them, for he had
heard what had happened--in the first place from the Parrot, who had
passed that way. So he was prepared with his answer. It did not satisfy
the Sea-gulls at all. They went away very much disappointed, for the
Albatross was in a bad temper, and said only:

"Go home and attend to the children."

They waited about until late, but he would say nothing more. So they
were obliged to return and confess their want of success to the
Mermaids, who sympathized with them, and agreed that it was very
ill-natured of the Albatross. They proposed to go to the Sea-serpent and
ask his advice, which the Sea-gulls thought a good plan. They set off at
once for the deep seas, where he lived, inquiring of the fish they met
whether any news had been heard. But the fish had nothing to tell, and
the Mermaids came to the Sea-serpent's home.

He was curled on his great rock throne, with giant seaweeds of all
colors waving round him, and the stars of the anemones gleaming out from
dark corners.

 [Illustration: CONSULTING THE WISE WHITE BEAR]

The Sea-serpent listened to the request of the Mermaids; but they met
with no better luck than the Sea-gulls, for he said exactly the same:
"Go home and attend to the children."

Then he retired into the great caves, and would not come out again.

So the Mermaids went home disconsolate. They began to think they might
have to give up the hope of finding the Magic Stone.

Of course the Mer-babies heard all that was going on. They discussed
the situation, as usual. They did not mean to be left behind in this
business, though they were not considered to be of any consequence. It
was evidently correct to consult somebody who lived at a distance, and
they thought of the Wise White Bear. He was farther off, too, than
either the Albatross or the Sea-serpent, for he lived at the north pole;
but when he was mentioned the very young Mer-babies for once suggested
that it was nearly bedtime, and they found that they were sleepy. Some
one whispered that the White Bear ate the poor seals, and the youngest
Mer-babies crept into holes in the rocks to rest, they said, while the
little Sea-gulls went walking home, one behind the other, right across
the sands, without having been called. But the older Mer-babies set off
for the north pole.

They arrived home next morning, very tired and very cross. When the
sleepy ones who had stayed behind asked what the Wise Bear had said,
they would not tell, and for the first time the Mer-babies quarreled.
They declared in the end that they would none of them look for the
"Philosopher's ugly Stone ever any more."

So if the Princess really wanted to marry the Philosopher, that day she
lost some of her helpers. But no one knew what she wished, for she never
mentioned him. She sat at her window that looked out over the mountains,
and she gazed ever outward.

It was the night before her wedding. She had been there all day, and for
many days. It was very quiet, and the lamps were lighted. The Eldest
Lady-in-Waiting spread out the lovely robes, ready for the morrow, where
the Princess might see them; but she never moved nor spoke. As midnight
approached she leaned out and let the soft wind blow upon her face.

The hour of midnight was striking from all the belfries, when a great
clatter sounded down below in the courtyard. Horses neighed, and men ran
about. The Princess leaned more forward, and listened. Then a horseman,
whose jewels sparkled in the moonlight, looked up and kissed a hand to
her, and she kissed hers to him. It was one minute past midnight, and
the morning of her wedding-day! She dropped the curtains and turned to
greet the Favorite Lady-in-Waiting, who had come in. The Princess threw
her arms round her Lady's neck to welcome her back, she was so glad and
happy.

So it came about that the Prince of the City Over the Mountains was the
first to arrive on that eventful morning; for, though through all the
rest of the night, and up to the very hour of the wedding, noble Princes
and their retinues were received in state by the King, all of them had
to be told that they were too late, and most of them rode off again at
once. Some who had never seen the Princess, but who had been attracted
by reports of her beauty and her stateliness, waited to attend her
marriage feast, and to regret that they had not hurried themselves a
little more.

As for the Philosopher, who should have been one of the chief persons of
interest on that important occasion, no one even thought of him, unless
the Princess did. But she looked too well pleased for any one to suppose
she missed him--which was fortunate, for he was never heard of any more.

When the eventful day was past, the Mermaids and the Sea-gulls covered
the shore once again, talking it over, and the Mer-babies and the little
Sea-gulls stood around listening.

Presently the Mer-mothers said: "No more holidays. Lessons to-morrow!"
and the Mer-babies sighed, and the little Sea-gulls looked gloomy.

One of the Mer-babies stepped forward, holding something.

"Please take care of our pretty ball for us," she said, "until holidays
come again."

As she was speaking the Mermaids sprang up, and they and all the
grown-up Sea-gulls cried with one accord:

"The Philosopher's Stone!"

And, sure enough, it was. It lay in the Mermaid's hand, all glowing with
its magic blue, pale and dark by turns, its wonderful veins panting as
if it were a living thing, its threads of gold moving and twining
underneath, round the red heart burning deep in the midst of it.

"That!" cried every one of the Mer-babies and every one of the little
Sea-gulls. "Why, we have had _that_ all the time! We found it on the
sand, and we have played with it every day since!"

Then the Sea-gulls remembered what the Albatross had said, and the
Mermaids remembered what the Sea-serpent had said, and the Mer-babies
remembered what the Wise White Bear had said, and they all looked at one
another.

Now arose the question, What should be done with the Stone?

It needed no long discussion to settle. Every one agreed that it should
be given to the Youngest Lady-in-Waiting; for she had done for the
Princess what no one else had thought of doing, in carrying her letter
to her true love so that he might be in time to win her. The happy day
just past was entirely owing to her devotion.

The Stone was duly presented to her, and, accordingly, she became the
richest and most beautiful woman in the land, as she was already the
kindest, while the Sea-folks generally, and the Mer-babies in
particular, gained great fame and distinction; for had they not found
the Magic Stone when it was lost, and given it to the nation's favorite?
And they do say that the Favorite Lady-in-Waiting married a charming
Prince almost (but not quite!) as captivating as the husband of the
Princess.



 [Illustration: "IT WAS ONE MINUTE PAST MIDNIGHT, AND THE MORNING OF HER
 WEDDING DAY!"]



 [Illustration: THE BAD TEMPER OF THE PRINCESS]

By Marian Burton


1

Once upon a time, in a dainty little kingdom all parks and rivers
and cottages and flowers, there lived a jolly, red-faced king named
Rudolpho. Every one of his subjects loved him, the surrounding kings
were his loyal friends, and the neighboring kingdoms were on the best
of terms with him. Indeed, they had a happy way, these old kings, of
exchanging thrones for a week now and then, just as some preachers
nowadays exchange pulpits--to prove, I suppose, how very good their own
is, after all. This king about whom I am telling you was fat, of course,
and looked very like our good friend Santa Claus.

Yet, strange as it may seem, with all these blessings--a rich kingdom,
faithful subjects, and a loving wife--this good king was not happy.
There was one cloud, a very pretty silver-edged cloud, but yet a cloud,
which hung just in front of the sun of his happiness and cast a great
big shadow.

The king had a daughter, the Princess Madge, his only child; and though
she was obedient in everything else, she just wouldn't, _wouldn't_,
marry. Now the king was very anxious for her to marry and settle down on
the throne, because he was growing old. Every morning for three weeks,
just before breakfast, he had had three separate twinges of pain. The
queen said it was because of his rheumatism, but he knew better; he was
sure that it was old age, and it made him very eager to have the kingdom
in the hands of the new son-in-law king before he died.

Of course there were plenty of princes and dukes and barons and lords
who would gladly have wedded the pretty princess for her own sweet sake
alone, to say nothing of the prospect of being king some day, but she
wouldn't have one of them. There was not a man in the kingdom nor in any
of the surrounding kingdoms who suited her capricious fancy. Princes of
haughty mien, princes of gentle manner, handsome princes, ugly princes,
tall princes, short princes, fat princes, lean princes, had been
introduced at the court, had been encouraged by the king and queen, and
had sought to gain her favor. She had been showered with gifts of rare
flowers and precious stones, and had received thousands of little
letters smelling of perfume; but from prince, from jewels, and from
written vows of love she turned away with the same cheerful
determination.

A princess is a lonely little body, you know, and custom was so rigid in
the time of the Princess Madge that she had no one to talk to excepting
Pussy Willow, the royal kitten. She had no brother, no sister, no
cousin, and no dearest friend. She didn't even have a chance to speak
freely to her own father and mother. It is true, she took breakfast with
them every morning at eleven in the great breakfast-room, but the
butlers and waiters and pages and flunkies were always standing about,
with their ears pricked up and their eyes bulging out, so that no one
dared whisper a secret or have even the jolliest little family quarrel.
It is true her royal mama came at precisely ten o'clock to kiss her good
night every evening, but there were always a dozen maids and ladies in
waiting, and it was impossible to have a real good talk. But Pussy
Willow was her constant companion, and to Pussy she told everything.
That friendly cat was the only living thing in the whole kingdom that
really knew that the princess intended to marry sometime. That was what
worried the king and queen so much; Madge made them believe that she
would never marry any one, never, _never_, NEVER, but would live alone
to the end of her days and leave the kingdom to any one who wished for
it.

 [Illustration: "Came at precisely ten o'clock to kiss her good-night"]

"Pussy, I wouldn't tell a story to the king and queen for the world, but
isn't it fun to see them take on so? If I really thought that papa was
ill and likely to die, I would be as good as gold; but those little
pains of his are only rheumatism, I am sure, so I don't mind teasing
him just a little. You know, Pussy, that when my ideal comes--oh, you
needn't look up and blink in such surprise, for I really have an ideal,
and I will tell you all about him!" Whereupon Pussy shook her head till
her gold-bell necklace tinkled loudly, then she yawned a little and
began to wash her face. She looked very wise as she sat there stroking
her whiskers and thumping thoughtfully on the floor with her bunchy
tail. After thinking thus seriously for a few minutes, she suddenly
began a sympathetic little purr-song which seemed to say:

"Go on, little mistress; I am all ready to listen, and I'll not tell a
soul." Then Princess Madge continued:

"I don't care whether he is prince or pauper, high or low, handsome or
plain; but he must in any case be contented. You know what contented
means, Pussy--satisfied with what he has until he deserves and can get
something better. If he is like that he will always be unselfish and
happy. Oh, yes, and I shall be happy, too. Now I am going to write a
letter to papa and tell him that I will marry if he will find me a
contented man."

Quick as thought, the princess opened her rose-wood and gold desk, drew
out some paper with her crest on it and a jeweled pen, and wrote
daintily and carefully. It took her a very long time, Pussy Willow
thought.

"Now, kitty, listen; I will read it to you:

     "To his Majesty the King, from her Royal Highness, the Princess
     Madge.

     "DEAR OLD PAPA: I have at last decided to be married if you can
     find a man to suit me. Now read, my dear papa, and remember
     that this decision is final. I will marry the first contented
     man you can find, no matter who he is. Read this little poem;
     it is my guiding star at this very serious time:

    "'There is a jewel which no Indian mine can buy,
      No chemic art can counterfeit.
      It makes men rich in greatest poverty,
      Makes water wine, turns wooden cups to gold.
      Seldom it comes, to few from heaven sent,
      That much in little, all in naught--_content_.'

     "What I have written, I have written.

                 "Your own             MADGE.


"That sounds very well, doesn't it, Pussy? I am going to fold it so, and
so, then cut off a strand of my hair--see, Pussy, it is nearly a yard
long, and it will go around and around this letter and tie in a great
golden knot. When the king sees that he will know it is very important.
Now I will go to the door and tell the page to run with this to papa,
and then--oh, I wonder what he will say!"

She ran to the door, spoke a few words to the page who stood just
outside, then returned to the great cushioned chair by the window. Pussy
climbed into her lap. They both winked a few times and blinked a few
times and then fell fast asleep.


II

Half an hour later the king, with his crown comfortably pushed back on
his head, and a smile very much all over his ruddy face, burst into the
queen's sitting-room. He held a tangle of golden hair in one hand and a
sheet of blue note-paper in the other.

"My dear, my dear, what do you think has happened? Here, written by her
own hand, the hand of the Princess Madge, are the happy words which
drive away all our fears. She will marry, my dear, she will marry; and
listen: she cares not what may be his rank or age or condition--he must
be a _contented_ man, that is all. Oh, what a child, what a child!"

"Oh, Rudolpho, my love, is it true? Why, why, I am so happy! Is it
really true? Do give me my fan. Yes, thank you. Fan me, dear; a little
faster. It quite took my breath away. Just to think of that! Now go at
once and issue a royal edict summoning every contented man in this
kingdom and in all the surrounding kingdoms to a grand feast here in the
palace. After the feast we will hold a trial, and the Princess Madge
shall be the judge."

Away rushed the king, the pages in waiting outside the door vainly
trying to catch the end of his fluttering robe.

The next day a cavalcade of heralds set out from the palace gates,
bearing posters which were hung in the market-place of every village for
leagues about. In blue letters on a gold ground were these words:

    Ho, ye! Hear, ye! Ho, ye!

     On the twenty-third day of the month now present, every
     _contented_ man throughout the universe is summoned to the
     court of King Rudolpho for a feast and a trial for the hand
     of the Princess Madge. He among you all who is absolutely
     contented shall have the princess's hand in marriage, together
     with half the kingdom. Every man will be tried by the princess
     herself. Every man who falls short and stands not the test
     shall never again enter King Rudolpho's court.

                  My hand + My seal +.
                        RUDOLPHO, _Rex_.


The day dawned, brilliant and glorious. How the contented men jostled
each other, and frowned at each other, and scolded each other as
they thronged through the palace gates! They all gathered in the
banquet-hall, where a wonderful feast was spread--a roasted ox, with
wild boar and lamb and turkey and peacock, and a hundred kinds of
fruit, and fifty kinds of ice-water; but as a dinner-party it was not a
success. Conversation was dull, each man glowered at his neighbor, and
all seemed eager to finish the feast and begin the trial.

Finally it was over, and five hundred and fifty contented men assembled
in the royal court-room. The king and queen were seated on their
thrones, but the princess was nowhere to be seen. There was a moment of
breathless waiting--then suddenly a door at the side of the court-room
opened and the Princess Madge, carrying Pussy Willow, entered and was
followed by her train-bearers and maids of honor. She wore a wonderful
gown all white and gold down the front, with the foamiest of sea-foam
green trains hanging from her shoulders away out behind her. Slowly,
majestically, she walked across the room, and stopped before a table on
which lay a golden gavel. A quick tap of the gavel silenced the little
murmur that had arisen at her entrance. The king glanced at the queen,
and they both smiled with pride in their stately daughter. The princess
tapped again and began:

"Princes, baronets, honorables, commons of this kingdom and our
neighboring kingdoms, I bid you welcome. You have come to sue for my
hand and my fortune. I know full well, my noble men, that if I asked
it you would gladly give me some great proof of your bravery and
goodness--but I ask you to take no risk and make no sacrifice. I merely
wish to know whether I can find in any of you that secret of all true
courage and happiness--contentment. Now let every man of you who is
contented, _thoroughly contented_, rise. Remember, there are no degrees
in contentment; it is absolute."

The black-robed throng arose--some eagerly, some impatiently, some
disdainfully, some few slowly and thoughtfully, but they all stood and
waited in utter silence.

 [Illustration: THE PRINCESS MADGE ENTERS]

"As I put the test question, if there is any one who cannot answer it,
let him go quietly out through yonder door and never again show his
discontented face in this court. You say you are contented--happy,
unselfish, and satisfied with what the gods have given you. Answer me
this! Why, then, do you scowl and jostle one another? Why do you want to
marry any one--least of all, a princess with half the riches of a great
kingdom as a dowry, to spoil your happiness? Greedy fortune-hunters! Do
you call that contentment?"

The contented men stood a moment in baffled silence, then turned, one
and all, and slowly marched out of the room. As the door closed upon the
last one of the disappointed suitors, the princess picked up her pretty
kitten and, turning to her father and mother, said:

"Would you have me marry one of _those_? Why, they aren't half so
contented as a common, everyday pussy-cat. Good-by!" And she laughed a
merry laugh, threw a kiss at the astonished king and queen, and ran from
the room.


III

At luncheon one day many months after the dismissal of the discontented
suitors, the prime minister entered the dining-room and announced to the
king that a man had been found within the palace gates without a royal
permit, and had been immediately put in the dungeon. He was a handsome
fellow, the prime minister said, but very poorly clad. He made no
resistance when he was taken prisoner, but earnestly requested that his
trial might come off as soon as possible, as he rather wanted to make a
sketch of the palace and gardens, and he couldn't see very well from the
slit in the top of the dungeon; but he begged them not to put themselves
nor the king to any inconvenience, as he could just as well remain where
he was and write poems.

"In sooth, your Majesty," said the prime minister, in conclusion, "from
all we have heard and seen, it seemeth that at last we have found a
contented man."

As soon as the king finished his royal repast he disguised himself in
the long cloak and hat of a soldier and went with the prime minister and
the turnkey to catch a glimpse of the prisoner. As they approached the
dungeon they heard a rich bass voice singing:

    "Let the world slide, let the world go!
     A fig for care, and a fig for woe.
     If I must stay, why, I can't go,
     And love makes equal the high and low."

The king drew nearer, stooped, and peeped through the keyhole. Just
opposite the door, on a three-legged stool, sat the prisoner. His head
was thrown back and he was looking at the sky through the bars in the
top of his cell. The song had ceased and he was talking softly to
himself. The king, in a whisper, told the prime minister to bring the
princess and have her remain hidden just outside the door. Then he
motioned to the turnkey to throw back the bolts, and he entered the
dungeon alone.

"Why are you talking to yourself, man?" he asked. The man answered:

"Because, soldier, I like to talk to a sensible man, and I like to hear
a sensible man talk."

"Ha, ha!" laughed the king. "Pretty good, pret-ty good! They tell me
that all things please you. Is it true?"

"I think I can safely say yes, soldier."

"But why are you so poorly clad?"

"The care of fine clothes is too much of a burden--I have long ago
refused to be fashion's slave."

"But where are your friends?"

"Of those that I have had, the good are dead, and happier so than here;
the evil ones have left me and are befriending some one else, for which
I say, 'Joy go with them.'"

"And is there nothing that you want?" As the king asked this question he
looked at the man in a peculiarly eager way, nor did the answer
disappoint him.

"I have all of the necessities of life and many of the luxuries. I am
perfectly content. I know I have neither land nor money, but is not the
whole world mine? Can even the king himself take from me my delight in
the green trees and the greener fields, in that dainty little cloud
flecking heaven's blue up yonder like a bit of foam on a sunlit sea? Oh,
no! I am rich enough, for all nature is mine--"

"And _I_ am yours," said a sweet young voice. The man looked up in
surprise, and there before him, holding out her pretty hands toward him,
stood the Princess Madge, who had slipped into the cell unnoticed.

The man sprang to his feet, clasped the little hands in his, and said:

"I know not what you mean, sweet lady, when you say that you are mine;
but oh, you are passing beautiful!"

"Papa," called the princess, "this is quite dreadful. Quick, take off
that ugly soldier's coat and tell him who we are and all about it!"

The king, starting as if from a dream, threw off the rough coat and hat
and stepped forth into the beam of sunlight, resplendent in gold and
ermine.

"Thou dost not know me, my man? I am the king. Hast thou not read our
last proclamation?"

"No, your Majesty; I never do read proclamations."

 [Illustration: I am Perfectly Content]

"Then thou didst not know that the hand of the princess is offered to
the first contented man who enters the palace?"

"No, your Majesty; I knew it not."

"Then know it now, and know, too, that thou art the man. To thee I give
my daughter, together with half my kingdom. No, no--not a word. Thou
deservest her. May you be happy!"

The prisoner, almost dumb with astonishment, almost dazed with joy,
knelt and kissed the princess's white hands, then looked into her eyes
and said:

"Ah, well it is for me that I saw you not until now, for I should have
been miserably discontented until you were mine!"



THE FLYING SHIP

_A Russian Tale_


Once upon a time there was a Princess who was always wanting something
new and strange. She would not look at the princes who came to woo her
from the kingdoms round about, because, she said, they all came in the
same way, in carriages which had four wheels and were drawn by four
horses. "Why could not one come in a carriage with five wheels?" she
exclaimed petulantly, one day, "or why come in a carriage at all?" She
added: "If one came in a flying ship I would wed him!"

So the King made proclamation that whoever came to the palace in a
flying ship should wed the Princess, and succeed to the kingdom. As the
Princess was very beautiful and the kingdom very rich, men everywhere
began to try to build ships that would fly. But that was not so easy.
They could build ships that would sail--but flying was quite another
thing!

On the far edge of the kingdom dwelt a widow with three sons. The two
elder, hearing the proclamation, said that they wanted to go to the city
and build each a flying ship. So the mother, who was very proud of these
sons, and quite convinced that should the Princess see one of them it
would not be necessary for him to have a flying ship, laid out their
best clothes and gave each a satchel containing a lunch of white bread
and jam and fruit, and wished them good luck on their journeys.

Now the third son was called Simple, because he did not do as his
brothers did, and cared nothing for fine clothes and fine airs, but
liked to wander off in the woods by himself. When Simple saw his
brothers starting off all so grandly he said: "Give me a lunch, and I
will go and build a flying ship."

The truth was that the idea of a flying ship very much appealed to
Simple, though he did not give much thought to the Princess.

But his mother said: "Go back into the woods, Simple, that is the place
for you."

But Simple persisted, and at last she gave him a satchel containing a
lunch of black bread without any jam, and a flask of water.

As Simple neared the woods he met a Manikin who asked him for something
to eat. Simple was ashamed to open his satchel with the black bread and
water in it. "But," he reflected, "if one is hungry black bread is
better than no bread." The Manikin certainly looked hungry, so Simple
put his hand into the satchel and took out the roll of bread--and lo--it
was not black at all, but white, made of the finest flour, and spread
with rich, golden butter. The flask, too, when he took it out, was not
as it had been when his mother put it in, but was filled with red wine.

So Simple and the Manikin sat down by the roadside and ate together.
Then the Manikin asked Simple where he was going, and Simple told him
that he was going to build a flying ship. He almost forgot about the
Princess, but remembered, as an afterthought, and he told the Manikin
that when the ship was done he would fly in it to the palace and marry
the Princess.

"Well," said the Manikin, "if you want to do that take this ax with you
and the first tree that you come to strike it three times with the ax,
then bow before it three times, and then kneel down with your face
hidden until you are told to get up. There will be a flying ship before
you. Climb into it and fly to the palace of the Princess, and if you
meet anybody along the way take them along."

So Simple took the ax and went into the wood, and the first tree that he
came to he struck three times with the ax, then bowed three times before
it, then knelt down and hid his face. By-and-by he felt someone touch
his shoulder and he looked up, and there was a ship with wings
outspread, all ready to fly. So he climbed into it and bade it fly away
to the city of the Princess.

As he flew over a clearing in the woods Simple saw a man with his ear to
the ground, listening.

"Ho!" he cried, "you below! What are you doing?"

"I am listening to the sounds of the world," said the man.

"Well," said Simple, "come up into the ship. Maybe you can hear more up
here."

So the man climbed up into the ship, and they flew on. As they passed
over a field they saw a man hopping on one leg, with the other strapped
up behind his ear.

"Ho!" cried Simple, "You below! Why do you hop on one leg, with the
other bound up?"

"Because," said the man, "if I were to unbind the other I would step so
far that I would be at the end of the world in a minute."

"Well," said Simple, "come up into the ship, that will be less tiresome
than hopping so far."

So the man came up into the ship and they flew on. As they passed a
clear lake of cold water they saw a man standing beside it looking so
disconsolately at the water that Simple called out, "Ho, you below! Why
do you look at the water so sadly?"

"Because," said the man, "I am very thirsty."

"Well," called Simple, "why don't you take a drink? There is water
enough!"

"No," said the man, "it is not right that I should drink here, for I am
so thirsty that I would drink all of this at one gulp, and there would
be no lake, and I would still be thirsty."

"Well," said Simple, "come up into the ship. Maybe we can find water
enough for you somewhere."

So the man climbed up into the ship and they flew on. As they passed
over a village they met a man carrying a great basket of bread. "Ho!"
cried Simple, "you below! Where are you going?"

"I am going to the baker's at the other end of the village to buy some
bread for my breakfast," replied the man.

"But you have a big basketful of bread now," said Simple.

"Oh," said the man, "that is not enough for the first morsel. I shall
eat that up in one bite. There are not bakers enough in this village to
keep me supplied, and I am always hungry."

"Well," said Simple, "come up into the ship. Maybe we shall find some
bread in the city."

So the man climbed up into the ship and they flew on. As they passed
over a meadow they saw a man carefully carrying a bundle of straw.

"Ho!" cried Simple, "you below! Why do you carry that straw so
carefully, when there is straw all about you in the meadow?"

"But this is no ordinary straw," said the man. "It has a magic power,
and when it is scattered about it will make the hottest place as cold as
ice."

"Well," said Simple, "bring it along and come up into the ship. It may
be hot in the city."

So the man climbed up into the ship and they flew on. As they passed
over a wooded park they saw a man carrying a bundle of sticks.

"Ho!" cried Simple, "you below! Why do you carry those sticks so
carefully when all the woods about you are full of sticks?"

"But these are not ordinary sticks," said the man. "If I were to throw
them on the ground they would become soldiers, armed and ready for a
battle."

"Well," said Simple, "they are wonderful sticks indeed! Bring them up
into the ship. There may be a need for soldiers in the city."

So the man climbed up into the ship and they flew on. Soon they came to
the city, where the word soon went about that a ship was flying over,
and men and women came out into the streets and on to the roofs of the
houses to see what it might be like. And the King came out on his
balcony and saw Simple and his strange crew flying straight toward the
palace.

"Now, now," said the King, "what sort of a fellow is this? I cannot have
him marry my daughter. He has not a knight in his train--and as for
him--!" the King had no words in which to express his thought.

The Princess, too, looking out and seeing the flying ship with Simple in
the bow and the other strange folk behind him, repented of her rash
word, and said: "You must give this fellow some impossible task to do,
so that he will fail, for it is certain that I cannot wed him."

So the King sent for his courtiers, and bade them wait upon the man in
the flying ship and say to him that before his daughter could be given
in marriage a flask of water must be brought this day from a spring at
the end of the world.

The man with the wonderful hearing had his ear to the deck of the ship,
and he heard this order, and reported it to Simple, who lamented, and
said: "How can I bring a flask of water from the end of the world? It
may take me a year to go there and back--perhaps even the rest of my
life."

But the man with the bound leg said: "You forget that I am here. When
the summons comes I will take the flask and go for the water."

So when the messenger came Simple answered quietly that the order would
be obeyed at once.

The man with the bound leg unfastened his leg from behind his ear and
started off to the end of the world, and when he came there he filled
the flask and came back with it, and Simple went with it to the palace,
arriving just as the King and the Princess were finishing their dinner.

"That is all very well," said the King, "but we cannot have this fellow
wed the Princess. We will prepare a feast, and tell him that it must be
eaten at once. Let forty oxen be killed, and five hundred loaves be
prepared and five hundred cakes be baked, and all of these must this
fellow and his followers eat."

The man with the wonderful hearing having his ear to the deck of the
ship reported this conversation to Simple, who lamented and said: "How
can we eat forty oxen, and five hundred loaves and five hundred cakes!
It will take us a year to eat so much, or maybe all of the rest of our
lives."

"Oh," said the hungry man, who had long since eaten the few loaves from
his basket, "you forget that I am here. Perhaps now for the first time
in my life I shall have enough to eat."

So when the feast was served they all sat down to it, and ate as they
wished; then the hungry man ate the remainder of the forty oxen and the
five hundred loaves and the five hundred cakes and there was not a crumb
left. When he had quite finished he said that he could have eaten at
least two more oxen and another hundred cakes, but that he was not quite
so hungry as he had been.

When the King's messengers told him that the feast was all eaten that
same night he said: "That is all very well, but we cannot have this
fellow wed the Princess. We will prepare a drinking, and serve five
hundred flagons of wine, and tell him that it must all be drunken that
same night, or he cannot wed the Princess. Let the flagons of wine be
prepared and served to him, and all of them must this fellow and his
followers drink."

The man with the wonderful hearing having his ear to the deck of the
ship reported this to Simple, who lamented and said: "How can we drink
five hundred flagons of wine? It will take us a year to do so, or maybe
all of the rest of our lives."

But the thirsty man said, "You forget that I am here. Perhaps now for
the first time in my life I shall have enough to drink."

So when the wine was served they all gathered around the table and drank
as much as they wanted of it; then the thirsty man picked up flagon
after flagon and drank them off until all were empty. And at the end he
said that he could have drunken at least fifty flagons more, but that he
was not so thirsty as he had been.

When the messengers of the King reported that the wine was all drunken,
the King said: "Now are we put to it, for we cannot have this fellow wed
the Princess." So he sent his messengers to the ship bidding Simple come
to the palace and make ready for the wedding, and prepared a bath for
him. And when Simple entered the room for the bath he found that it was
heated so hot that the walls burned his hands when he touched them, and
the floors were like red-hot iron. But the man with the straw had come
in behind him, warned by the man with the wonderful hearing, and seeing
what was afoot, scattered his straw all about the bathroom, and at once
it became as cold as one could wish, and, the door having been locked,
Simple climbed up on the stove and went to sleep, and there they found
him in the morning, wrapped in a blanket.

When this was reported to the King he was very angry, and he said, "This
fellow is evidently very smart, but for all of that we cannot have him
wed the Princess. I will give him an impossible task. Go you to him,"
he said to the messenger, "and tell him that he must come to me at
to-morrow's sunrise with an army fitting the rank of one who would wed
the Princess."

When the man with the wonderful hearing reported this to Simple he was
in despair, and lamented and said: "Now at last am I beaten, though,
after all, I have a flying ship, even if I do not wed the Princess. It
will take me a year to raise an army, perhaps it would take all the rest
of my life."

But the man with the sticks said: "You forget that I am here. Now all of
these others have proven that they could help you to win the Princess,
let me at least do my share."

So at dawn they flew out over the parade ground, and the man with the
sticks threw them down upon the ground, and immediately there sprung up
soldiers, in platoons and regiments, with armor, and captains and
colonels and generals to command them. And the King and his courtiers
had never seen such an army, and the Princess, standing on the balcony
beside her father, as they rode by the palace, seeing Simple riding at
the head of the band, with the generals paying him homage, said: "This
man must be a very great prince indeed, and, now that I look at him he
is not so uncomely, after all."

And Simple, riding at the head of his army, looking up at the balcony
and seeing the Princess there said to himself: "A flying ship is all
very well, but the Princess is very beautiful, and to wed her will be
the most wonderful thing in the world."

So Simple and the Princess were married, and the crew of the flying ship
were at the wedding, and all of the captains and the colonels and the
generals of his army, and never had there been such a wedding in the
kingdom. And by and by the King died, and Simple became the King, and
the Princess became the Queen, and they lived happily ever after.



ROBIN OF THE LOVING HEART

BY EMMA ENDICOTT MAREAN


"_Please, Mother, tell us a story. Have him a wood-chopper boy this
time. Please, Mother, quick, for Elizabeth is sleepy already. Oh,
Mother, hurry!_"

_So here is the story._

         *       *       *

Once upon a time there was a little boy who lived all alone with his
parents in the heart of a deep wood. His father was a wood-chopper who
worked hard in the forest all day, while the mother kept everything tidy
at home and took care of Robin. Robin was an obliging, sunny-hearted
little fellow who chopped the kindling as sturdily as his father chopped
the dead trees and broken branches, and then he brought the water and
turned the spit for his mother.

As there were no other children in the great forest, he made friends
with the animals and learned to understand their talk. In the spring the
mother robin, for whom he thought he was named, called him to see the
blue eggs in her nest, and in the autumn the squirrels chattered with
him and brought him nuts. But his four dearest friends were the Owl, who
came to his window evenings and gave him wise counsel; the Hare, who
played hide-and-seek with him around the bushes; the Eagle, who brought
him strange pebbles and shells from the distant seashore; and the Lion,
who, for friendship's sake, had quite reformed his habits and his
appetite, so that he lapped milk from Robin's bowl and simply adored
breakfast foods.

Suddenly all the happiness in the little cottage was turned to mourning,
when the good wood-chopper was taken ill, and the mother was at her
wits' end to take care of him and to provide bread and milk. Robin's
heart burned within him to do something to help, but he could not swing
an ax with his little hands.

"Ah," he said that night to his friend the Owl, "if I were a great
knight, perhaps I could ride to the city and win the Prize for Good
Luck."

"And what is the Prize for Good Luck?" asked the Owl, who knew
everything in the world except that.

 [Illustration: "THE OWL CALLED A COUNCIL OF ROBIN'S BEST FRIENDS"]

Then Robin explained that the lovely princess, whose hair was like spun
gold and whose eyes were like the blue forget-me-nots by the brook, had
lost her precious amulet, given to her by her godmother, which kept her,
as long as it lay on her neck, healthy and beautiful and happy. One day,
when she was playing in the flower-garden, the little gold chain snapped
and the amulet rolled away. Everybody in the palace had searched, the
soldiers had been called out to help, and all the small boys had been
organized into an amulet brigade, for what they cannot see is usually
not worth seeing at all. But no one could find it, and in the meantime
the princess grew pale, and, truth to tell, rather cross. Her hair
dulled a little, and her eyes looked like forget-me-nots drowned in the
brook. When the court philosopher reasoned the matter out and discovered
that the amulet had been carried far away, perhaps outside the kingdom,
the king offered the Prize for Good Luck for its return.

"Now, if I could win the Prize for Good Luck," said Robin, "we should
have bread and milk all the time, and Mother need not work so hard."

Then the Owl in her wisdom called a council of Robin's best friends, and
asked them what they were going to do about it. They waited respectfully
for her advice; and this was her wonderful plan:

"Robin could win the Prize for Good Luck," declared the Owl, "if only he
were wise and swift and clear-sighted and strong enough. Now I will lend
him my wisdom, the Hare shall lend his swiftness, the Eagle shall lend
his eyesight, and the Lion shall lend his strength." And thus it was
agreed.

Then the Owl went back to little Robin's window and explained the plan.

"You must remember," she said warningly, "time is precious. It is almost
morning now. I cannot long spare my wisdom, for who would guide the
feathered folk? If the Hare cannot run, how can he escape the fox? If
the Eagle cannot see, he will dash himself into the cliff if he flies,
and he will starve to death if he sits still. If the Lion's strength is
gone, the wolves will be the first to know it. Return, then, without
delay. At the stroke of nine o'clock to-morrow night, we shall await you
here. Now go quickly, for rather would I die than live like the
feather-brained blue jay."

Immediately Robin felt himself so strong and so brave that he hesitated
not a minute. Swift as a hare he hastened to the palace, and at daybreak
he blew the mighty horn that announced the coming of one who would seek
for the amulet. The king groaned when he saw him, sure that it would be
a vain quest for such a little fellow. The truth was that the court
philosopher feared the amulet had been stolen by the Ogre of Ogre
Castle, but no one dared to mention the fact, much less to ask the Ogre
to return it. The princess, however, immediately sat up and took notice,
charmed by the brave light in Robin's eyes and his merry smile.

Robin asked to be taken up into the highest tower of the palace, and
there, looking leagues and leagues away to Ogre Castle, he saw with his
Eagle sight the amulet, glowing like sunlight imprisoned in a ruby.

The Ogre was turning it over and over in his hand, muttering to himself,
in the stupid way ogres always have: "It must be a nut, for I can see
something good inside." Robin could not hear him, but he was sure, by
the help of the Owl's wisdom, that it was the amulet.

 [Illustration: "AT DAYBREAK ROBIN BLEW THE MIGHTY HORN"]

In a thrice--that means while you count three--Robin was speeding away
with the Hare's swiftness toward Ogre Castle, and in a few minutes he
was demanding the amulet from the Ogre.

Now usually the Ogre was not at all a disagreeable fellow, and the Owl's
wisdom would have easily sufficed to enable Robin to secure the amulet
without trouble, but he had just tried to crack the amulet with his
teeth. It broke off the very best tooth he had in his head, and his poor
jaws ached so that he was in a very bad temper. He turned fiercely, and
for a few minutes Robin needed all the strength the Lion had given him.

 [Illustration: "THE PRINCESS WAVED HER LILY HAND TO ROBIN"]

After all, the Ogre was one of the pneumatic-tire, hot-water-bag kind of
giants, who flat out if you stick a pin into them and lie perfectly limp
until they are bandaged up and set going once more. That is really a
secret, but Robin knew it by the help of the Owl's wisdom, and he was
not the least little bit afraid.

So Robin managed to get the amulet away without too much difficulty, and
the Hare's swiftness quickly took him back to the palace. When the
princess, who was watching from the tower window, saw the rosy light of
the amulet in the distance, pinkness came back to her cheeks, and her
eyes shone like stars, and she waved her lily hand to Robin in perfect
happiness.

Ah, such a merrymaking as they planned for that evening! Robin was to
receive the Prize for Good Luck, so much gold coin that it would take
three carts and six mules to carry it back to the cottage. The king
counted out money all the afternoon, and the queen put up tarts and jars
of honey for Robin to take to his mother, and the princess gave him her
photograph.

Now comes the sad part. It had taken so much time to reach the palace,
to explain to the king, to ascend the tower and find the amulet, to
conquer the Ogre of Ogre Castle, and to return to the palace, that it
was almost night before Robin realized it. When the money had been
counted out and the tarts wrapped in paraffin paper and the pots of
honey packed in excelsior, it was seven o'clock.

Now the party was to begin at nine, for the princess had to have her
white satin frock sent home from the dressmaker, and her hair had to be
curled. The Punch and Judy was to come at ten, and the ice-cream was to
be served at eleven, for in palaces people keep terribly late hours, not
at all good for them. Just as Robin had dressed himself in a beautiful
blue velvet suit, thinking how fine it was that he should open the dance
with the princess and how lucky it was that he had the strength of a
lion, so that he could dance at all after his busy day, he suddenly
remembered his promise to the Owl.

It was such a shock that, in spite of the Lion's strength, he nearly
fainted. Then he went quickly to the king and told him that he must go
away at once. The king was very angry and bade him have done with such
nonsense.

"Faith, you must stay," he said crossly. "There would be no living with
the princess if her party is spoiled. Besides, you will lose the Prize
for Good Luck, for the people have been promised that they shall see it
presented to somebody to-night and we must not disappoint them."

 [Illustration: "THE SAUCY BLUE JAY MOCKED THE FLUTTERING OWL"]

Poor Robin's heart was heavy. How could he lose all that he had gained
and go away as poor as when he came? That wasn't all nor half of all. To
lose the money would be bad, but he had much more to lose than that. For
one day he had enjoyed the fun of being stronger and wiser and swifter
and keener-sighted than anybody else. Isn't that better than money and
all the prizes for good luck? Yes, indeed, his heart answered over and
over again. How could he go back and give up the wisdom and the
swiftness and the clear sight and the strength, even if he could give up
the money?

"I know now," he thought bitterly, "how the Owl felt when she said she
would not be a feather-brain like the blue jay. And it is much more
important for a boy to be strong than for a common old lion, who is
pretty old anyway. And there are lots of hares in the forest and eagles
on the mountain."

Then Robin slowly climbed the stairs to the tower, for he thought he
would see what the Owl and the Hare and the Eagle and the Lion were
doing in the forest. He looked over to the cottage, leagues and leagues
away. There, under a big oak, lay the Owl, her feathers all a-flutter.
She had had no more sense than to go out in the brilliant sunshine, and
something had gone wrong inside her head. The saucy blue jay stood back
and mocked her. Robin's heart gave one little throb of pity, but he was
wise enough to see the value of wisdom, and he hardened himself. "I
don't believe she has sense enough to know that anything is wrong," he
said to himself.

Then he looked for the Hare. "Oh, he's all right," said Robin, gladly.
But just then he saw a dark shape, only about a mile away, following the
Hare's track.

Robin's heart gave two throbs of pity. "Poor old Hare!" he said. "I have
had lots of fun with him."

Then he looked for the Eagle, and his heart beat hard and fast when he
saw him sitting alone on the dead branch of a tree, one wing hanging
bruised, perhaps broken, and his sightless eyes turned toward the tower,
waiting, waiting. Blind!

 [Illustration: "IT FOLLOWED THE HARE'S TRACK"]

Robin looked quickly for the Lion. For a time he could not find him, for
tears came in his eyes as he thought of the Eagle. Then he saw the poor
creature, panting from thirst, trying to drag himself to the river. He
was almost there when his last bit of strength seemed to fail, and he
lay still, with the water only a few yards away.

Then Robin's heart leaped and bounded with pity, and with pure
gladness, too, that he was not yet too late to save his friends from the
consequences of their own generosity. The last rays of sunset struck the
tower as Robin, forgetting all about his blue velvet clothes and the
princess and the Prize for Good Luck, ran and raced, uphill and down,
through brambles and briers, over bogs and hummocks, leaving bits of
lace caught on the bushes, swifter than ever he hastened to the Ogre of
Ogre Castle or to the lovely princess with the amulet.

 [Illustration: "HE SAW THE POOR CREATURE PANTING FROM THIRST"]

 [Illustration: "HE SAW THE BLIND EAGLE SITTING ALONE IN THE TREE"]

He was there--oh, yes, he was there long before nine o'clock. The Owl
received back her wisdom, and I can tell you that she soon sent the
saucy blue jay packing. The Hare had his swiftness, and the fox was left
so far behind that he was soon glad to limp back home and eat the plain
supper that Mrs. Fox had prepared for him. The poor blind Eagle opened
his eyes, and saw the moon and the stars, and, better than moon and
stars, the loving face of his comrade, Robin. The Lion drank his fill,
and said that now he would like some breakfast food, please. So the
story ended happily after all.

Oh, yes, I forgot about the Prize for Good Luck, didn't I? When the king
told the princess that Robin was foolish enough to give back the wisdom
and the swiftness and the clear sight and the strength that had won the
prize for him, and that without them he was only a very common little
boy, not good enough for a princess to dance with, she stamped her foot
and called for the godmother who gave her the amulet in the first place.

Then the princess's godmother said that the princess for once was quite,
quite right--that Robin must have the three cartloads of gold coin drawn
by six mules, and the tarts and honey for his mother, and whenever the
princess gave another party she must ask him to open the dance with her,
blue velvet suit or no blue velvet suit--"because," said the godmother,
"there is one thing better than wisdom or swiftness or clear sight or
strength, and that is a loving heart."

         *       *       *

_But Elizabeth had gone to sleep._



IN SPRING

    Rippling and gurgling and giggling along,
    The brooklets are singing their little spring song;
    Laughing and lively and gay as can be,
    They are skipping right merrily down to the sea.

 [Illustration]



A FAMOUS CASE

BY THEODORE C. WILLIAMS


    Two honey-bees half came to blows
    About the lily and the rose,
      Which might the sweeter be;
    And as the elephant passed by,
    The bees decided to apply
      To this wise referee.

    The elephant, with serious thought,
    Ordered the flowers to be brought,
      And smelt and smelt away.
    Then, swallowing both, declared his mind:
    "No trace of perfume can I find,
      But both resemble hay."

               MORAL

    Dispute is wrong. But foolish bees,
    Who will contend for points like these,
    Should not suppose good taste in roses
    Depends on elephantine noses.

 [Illustration]



OLD-FASHIONED STORIES



THE TWELVE HUNTSMEN


Hundreds of thousands of years ago a prince met a fair maiden as he
traveled through the Enchanted Land. The prince loved the maiden dearly,
and she loved him as much as he loved her.

"Will you marry me?" asked the prince one day.

"Indeed I will," said the maiden, "for there is no one in all the world
I love so well."

Then all was as merry as merry could be. The maiden danced and sang, and
the prince laughed aloud for joy.

But one day, as they were together, a messenger arrived hot and
breathless. He came from the prince's father, who was King of a
neighboring kingdom.

"His Majesty is dying," said the messenger, "and he would speak with
you, my lord."

"Alas," said the prince to the maiden, "I must leave you, and remain
with my father until his death. Then I shall be king and I will come for
you and you shall be my queen. Till then, good-by. This ring I give you
as a keepsake. Once more, farewell."

The maiden drew the ring on her finger, and, with a sad heart, watched
the prince ride off.

The King had but a short time to live when his son arrived at the
palace. "Ah," said the dying man, "how glad I am that you are come.
There is one promise I wish you to make ere I die. Then I shall close my
eyes in peace."

"Surely, dear father, I will promise what you ask. There is nothing I
would not do to let you rest at ease."

Then said the dying King, "Promise that you will marry the bride whom I
have chosen for you," and he named a princess well known to the prince.

Without thinking of anything but to ease his father's mind, the prince
said, "I promise." The King smiled gladly as he heard the words, and
closed his eyes in peace.

The prince was now proclaimed King, and the time soon came when he must
go to the bride his father had chosen for him, and ask, "Will you marry
me?" This he did, and the princess answered, "Indeed I will."

Now the maiden who had first promised to marry the prince heard of this,
and it nearly broke her heart. Each day she grew paler and thinner,
until her father at last said: "Wherefore, my child, do you look so sad?
Ask what you will, and I shall do my utmost to give it you."

For a moment his daughter thought. Then she said: "Dear father, find for
me eleven maidens exactly like myself. Let them be fair, and tall, and
slim, with curly golden hair."

"I shall do my best," said her father; and he had a search made far and
wide throughout the Enchanted Land until the eleven maidens were found.
Each was fair, and tall, and slim, and there was not one whose golden
hair did not curl.

The maiden was pleased indeed, and she next ordered twelve huntsmen's
dresses to be made of green cloth, trimmed with beaver fur; also twelve
green caps each with a pheasant's feather. Then to each of the maidens
she gave a dress and hat, commanding her to wear them, while the twelfth
she wore herself.

The twelve huntsmen then set out on horseback to the court of the King,
who, when a prince, had promised to marry their leader.

So well was the maiden disguised by the hunting-dress, that the King did
not recognize her. She asked if he were in need of huntsmen, and if he
would take her and her companions into his service.

Never had a finer troop been seen, and the King said he would gladly
engage them. So they entered his service, and lived at the palace, and
were treated with all kindness and respect.

Now among the King's favorites at court was a lion. To possess this lion
was as good as to have a magician, for he knew all secret things.

One evening the lion said to the King: "You imagine you engaged twelve
young huntsmen not long ago, do you not?"

"I did," said the King.

"Pray excuse me, if I contradict you," said the lion, "but I assure you,
you are mistaken. They were not huntsmen whom you engaged, but twelve
maidens."

"Nonsense," said the King, "absurd, ridiculous!"

"Again I would crave forgiveness if I offend," said the lion, "but those
whom you believe to be huntsmen are, in truth, twelve fair maidens."

"Prove what you say, if you would have me believe it," said the King.

"To-morrow, then, summon the twelve to the royal chamber. On the floor
let peas be scattered. Then, as the huntsmen advance toward you, you
will see them trip and slide as maidens. If they are men they will walk
with a firm tread."

"Most wise Lion!" said the King, and he ordered it to be done as the
royal beast had said.

But in the palace was a servant who already loved the fair young
huntsmen, and when he heard of the trap that was to be laid, he went
straight to them and said, "The lion is going to prove to the King that
you are maidens." Then he told them how he would seek to do this, and
said, "Do your best to walk with a firm tread."

Next morning the King ordered the twelve huntsmen to be called, and as
they walked across the royal chamber, it was with so firm a tread that
not a single pea moved.

After they had left, the King turned to the lion and said, "You have
spoken falsely. They walked as other men."

But the lion said: "They must have been warned, or they would have
tripped and slidden as maidens. I will yet prove to you that I speak the
truth. To-morrow, summon the twelve to the royal chamber. Let twelve
spinning-wheels be placed there. Then, as the huntsmen advance toward
you, you will see each cast longing looks at the spinning-wheels, which,
if they were men, you must grant they would not do."

The King was pleased that the huntsmen should again be put to the test,
for the lion was a wise beast and had never before been proved wrong.

But again the kind servant warned the disguised maidens, and they
resolved not even to glance in the direction of the spinning-wheels.

Next morning the King ordered the twelve huntsmen to be called, and as
they walked across the royal chamber there was not one of them but
looked straight into the eyes of the King. It seemed as though they had
not known that the spinning-wheels were there.

After they had gone the King turned to the lion, and again he said, "You
have spoken falsely." Then he told the royal beast that the twelve
huntsmen had not even glanced in the direction of the spinning-wheels.

"They must have been warned," repeated the lion, but the King believed
him no longer.

So the huntsmen stayed with the King and went out a-hunting with him,
and the more he saw of them the more he liked them.

One day, while they were in the forest, news was brought that the
princess whom the King was to marry was on her way to meet the
hunting-party.

When the true bride heard it, she grew white as a lily, and, staggering,
fell backward. Fortunately, the trunk of a tree supported her until the
King, wondering what had happened to his dear huntsman, ran to the spot
and pulled off her glove.

Looking at the white hand, what was his surprise to see upon the middle
finger the ring he had given to the maiden he loved. Then he looked into
her face and recognized her, and in a flash he understood that she had
come to court as a huntsman, only to be near him. The King was so
touched that he kissed her white cheeks till they grew rosy, and her
blue eyes opened in wonder. "You shall be my queen," he said, "and none
in all the wide world shall separate us."

Then he sent a messenger to the princess who was coming to meet him,
saying he was sorry he must ask her to return home, as the maiden that
he loved and was going to marry was with him in the forest.

And the next day the bells pealed loud and far, and at the royal wedding
the lion was an honored guest, because it had at last been proved that
he spoke the truth.



THE TWELVE DANCING PRINCESSES


Once upon a time there was a King who had twelve daughters, each more
beautiful than the other. The twelve princesses slept in a large hall,
each in a little bed of her own. After they were snugly settled for the
night, their father, the King, used to bolt the door on the outside. He
then felt sure that his daughters would be safe until he withdrew the
bolt next morning.

But one day when the King unbolted the hall door, and peeped in as
usual, he saw twelve worn-out pairs of little slippers lying about the
floor.

"What! shoes wanted again," he exclaimed, and after breakfast a
messenger was sent to order a new pair for each of the princesses.

But the next morning the new shoes were worn out, how no one knew.

This went on and on until the King made up his mind to put an end to the
mystery. The shoes, he felt sure, were danced to pieces, and he sent a
herald to offer a reward to any one who should discover where the
princesses held their night-frolic.

"He who succeeds, shall choose one of my daughters to be his wife," said
the King, "and he shall reign after my death; but he who fails, after
three nights' trial, shall be put to death."

Soon a prince arrived at the palace, and said he was willing to risk his
life in the attempt to win one of the beautiful princesses.

When night came, he was given a bedroom next the hall in which the royal
sisters slept. His door was left ajar and his bed placed so that from it
he could watch the door of the hall. The escape of the princesses he
would also watch, and he would follow them in their flight, discover
their secret haunt, and marry the fairest.

This is what the prince meant to do, but before long he was fast asleep.
And while he slept, the princesses danced and danced, for, in the
morning, the soles of their slippers were once more riddled with holes.

The next night the prince made up his mind that stay awake he would, but
again he must have fallen fast asleep, for in the morning twelve pairs
of little worn-out slippers lay scattered about the floor of the hall.

The third night, in fear and trembling, the prince began his night
watch. But try as he might, he could not keep his eyes open, and when in
the morning the little slippers were as usual found riddled with holes,
the King had no mercy on the prince who could not keep awake, and his
head was at once cut off.

After his death, many princes came from far and near, each willing to
risk everything in the attempt to win the fairest of these fair
princesses. But each failed, and each in his turn was beheaded.

Now a poor soldier, who had been wounded in the wars, was on his way
home to the town where the twelve princesses lived. One morning he met
an old witch.

"You can no longer serve your country," she said. "What will you do?"

"With your help, good mother, I mean to rule it," replied the soldier;
for he had heard of the mystery at the palace, and of the reward the
King offered to him who should solve it.

"That need not be difficult," said the witch. "Listen to me. Go
straightway to the palace. There you will be led before the throne. Tell
the King that you would win the fairest of his fair daughters for your
wife. His Majesty will welcome you gladly, and when night falls, you
will be shown to a little bedroom. From the time you enter it, remember
these three things. Firstly, refuse to drink the wine which will be
offered you; secondly, pretend to fall fast asleep; thirdly, wear this
when you wish to be invisible." So saying, the old dame gave him a cloak
and disappeared.

Straightway, the soldier went to the palace, and was led before the
throne. "I would win the fairest of your fair daughters for my wife,"
said he, bowing low before the King.

So anxious was his Majesty to discover the secret haunt of his
daughters, that he gladly welcomed the poor soldier, and ordered that he
should be dressed in scarlet and gold.

When bedtime came, the soldier was shown his little room, from which he
could see the door of the sleeping-hall. No sooner had he been left
alone than in glided a fair princess bearing in her hand a silver
goblet.

"I bring you sweet wine. Drink," she said. The soldier took the cup and
pretended to swallow, but he really let the wine trickle down into a
sponge which he had fastened beneath his chin.

The princess then left him, and he went to bed and pretended to fall
asleep. So well did he pretend, that before long his snores were heard
by the princesses in their sleeping-hall.

"Listen," said the eldest, and they all sat up in bed and laughed and
laughed till the room shook.

"If ever we were safe, we are safe to-night," they thought, as they
sprang from their little white beds, and ran to and fro, opening
cupboards, boxes, and cases, and taking from them dainty dresses, and
ribbons, and laces and jewels.

Gaily they decked themselves before the mirror, bubbling over with
mischief and merriment at the thought that once more they should enjoy
their night-frolic. Only the youngest sister was quiet.

"I don't know why," she said, "but I feel so strange--as if something
were going to happen."

"You are a little goose," answered the eldest, "you are always afraid.
Why! I need not have put a sleeping powder in the soldier's wine. He
would have slept without it. Now, are you all ready?"

The twelve princesses then stood on tiptoe at the hall door, and peered
into the little room where the soldier lay, seemingly sound asleep.
Yes, they were quite safe once more.

Back they went into the hall. The eldest princess tapped upon her bed.
Immediately it sank into the earth, and, through the opening it had
made, the princesses went down one by one.

The soldier who, peeping, had seen twelve little heads peer out of the
hall door, at once threw his invisible cloak around him, and followed
the princesses into the hall, unseen. He was just in time to reach the
youngest, as she disappeared through the opening in the floor. Halfway
down he trod upon her frock.

"Oh, what was that?" screamed the little princess, terrified. "Some one
is tramping on my dress."

"Nonsense, be quiet," said the eldest, "it must have caught on a hook."
Then they all went down, down, until they reached a beautiful avenue of
silver trees.

Thought the soldier, "I must take away a remembrance of the place to
show the King," and he broke off a twig.

"Oh, did you hear that crackling sound?" cried the youngest princess. "I
told you something was going to happen."

"Baby!" replied the eldest. "The sound was a salute."

Next they came to an avenue where the trees were golden. Here the
soldier again broke off a twig, and again was heard the crackling sound.

"A salute, I told you," said the eldest princess to her terrified little
sister.

Further on they reached an avenue of trees that glittered with diamonds.
When the soldier once more broke off a twig, the youngest princess
screamed with fright, but her sisters only went on faster and faster,
and she had to follow in fear and trembling.

At last they came to a great lake. Close to the shore lay twelve little
boats, and in each boat stood a handsome prince, one hand upon an oar,
the other outstretched to welcome a princess.

Soon the little boats rowed off, a prince and a princess in each, the
soldier, still wearing his invisible cloak, sitting by the youngest
sister.

"I wonder," said the prince who rowed her, "why the boat is so heavy
to-day. I have to pull with all my strength, and yet can hardly get
along."

"I am sure I do not know," answered the princess. "I dare say it is the
hot weather."

On the opposite shore of the lake stood a castle. Its bright lights
beckoned to the twelve little boats that rowed toward it. Drums beat,
and trumpets sounded a welcome. Very merrily did the sisters reach the
little pier. They sprang from the boats, and ran up the castle steps and
into the gay ballroom. And there they danced and danced, but never saw
or guessed that the soldier with the invisible cloak danced among them.
When a princess lifted a wine-cup to her lips and found it empty, she
felt frightened, but she little thought that the unseen soldier had
drained it. On and on they danced, until three o'clock, but then the
sisters had to stop, for all their little slippers were riddled with
holes. And in the early gray morning the princes rowed them back across
the lake, while the soldier seated himself this time beside the eldest
princess.

When they reached the bank, the sisters wandered up the sloping shore,
while the princes called after them, "Good-by, fair daughters of the
King, to-night once more shall we await you here."

And all the princesses turned, and, waving their white hands, cried
sleepily, "Farewell, farewell."

Little did the sisters dream as they loitered homeward, that the soldier
ran past them, reached the castle, and climbed the staircase that led to
his little bedroom. When, slowly and wearily, they reached the door of
the hall where they slept, they heard loud snores coming from his room.
"Ah, safe once more!" they exclaimed, and they undid their silk gowns,
and their ribbons and jewels, and kicked off their little worn-out
shoes. Then each went to her white bed, and in less than a minute was
sound asleep.

The next morning the soldier told nothing of his wonderful adventure,
for he thought he would like again to follow the princesses in their
wanderings. And this he did a second and a third time, and each night
the twelve sisters danced until their slippers were riddled with holes.
The third night the soldier carried off a goblet, as a sign that he had
visited the castle across the lake.

When next day he was brought before the King, to tell where the twelve
dancing princesses held their night-frolic, the soldier took with him
the twig with its silver leaves, the twig with its leaves of gold, and
the twig whose leaves were of diamonds. He took, too, the goblet.

"If you would live, young man," said the King, "answer me this: How
comes it that my daughters' slippers, morning after morning are danced
into holes? Tell me, where have the princesses spent the three last
nights?"

"With twelve princes in an underground castle," was the unexpected
reply.

And when the soldier told his story, and held up the three twigs and the
goblet to prove the truth of what he said, the King sent for his
daughters.

In the twelve sisters tripped, with no pity in their hearts for "the old
snorer," as they called the soldier; but when their eyes fell upon the
twigs and the goblet they all turned white as lilies, for they knew that
their secret night-frolics were now at an end for ever.

"Tell your tale," said the King to the soldier. But before he could
speak, the princesses wrung their hands, crying, "Alack! alack!" and
their father knew that at last he had discovered their secret.

Then turning to the soldier, the King said: "You have indeed won your
prize. Which of my daughters do you choose as your wife?"

"I am no longer young," replied the soldier. "Let me marry the eldest
princess."

So that very day the wedding bells pealed loud and far, and a few years
later the old soldier and his bride were proclaimed King and Queen.



EDWY AND THE ECHO


It was in the time of good Queen Anne, when none of the trees in the
great forest of Norwood, near London, had begun to be cut down, that a
very rich gentleman and lady lived in that neighborhood. Their name was
Lawley, and they had a fine old house and large garden with a wall all
round it. The woods were so close to this garden that some of the high
trees spread their branches over the top of the wall.

Now this lady and gentleman were very proud and very grand. They
despised all people poorer than themselves, and there were none whom
they despised more than the gypsies, who lived in the forest round about
them.

There was no place in all England then so full of gypsies as the forest
of Norwood.

Mr. and Mrs. Lawley had been married many years without having children.
At length they had a son, whom they called Edwy. They could not make
enough of their only child or dress him too finely.

When he was just old enough to run about without help, he used to wear
his trousers inlaid with the finest lace, with golden studs and laced
robings. He had a plume of feathers in his cap, which was of velvet,
with a button of gold to fasten it up in front under the feathers. He
looked so fine that whoever saw him with the servants who attended him
used to say, "Whose child is that?"

He was a pretty boy, too, and when his first sorrow came he was still
too young to have learned any proud ways.

No one is so rich as to be above the reach of trouble, and when at last
it came to Mr. and Mrs. Lawley it was all the more terrible.

One day the proud parents had been away some hours visiting a friend a
few miles distant. On their return Edwy was nowhere to be found. His
waiting-maid was gone, and had taken away his finest clothes. At least,
these also were missing.

The poor father and mother were almost beside themselves with grief. All
the gentlemen and magistrates round about helped in the search and tried
to discover who had stolen him. But it was all in vain. Of course the
gypsies were suspected and well examined, but nothing could be made of
it.

Nor was it ever found out how the child had been carried off. But
carried off he had been by the gypsies, and taken away to a country
among hills between Worcester and Hereford.

In that country was a valley with a river running deep at the bottom.
There were many trees and bushes, rocks and caves and holes there.
Indeed, it was the best possible place for the haunt of wild people.

To this place the gypsies carried the little boy, and there they kept
him all the following winter, warm in a hut with some of their own
children.

They stripped him of his velvet and feathers and lace and golden clasps
and studs, and clothed him in rags and daubed his fair skin with mud.
But they fed him well, and after a little while he was quite happy and
contented.

Perhaps the cunning gypsies hoped that during the long months of winter
the child would quite forget the few words he had learned to speak
distinctly in his father's house. They thought he would forget to call
himself Edwy, or to cry, "Oh, mamma, mamma, papa, papa! come to little
Edwy!" as he so often did. They taught him that his name was not Edwy,
but Jack, or Tom, or some such name. And they made him say "mam" and
"dad" and call himself the gypsy boy, born in a barn.

But after he had learned all these words, whenever anything hurt or
frightened him, he would cry again, "Mamma, papa, come to Edwy!"

The gypsies could not take him out with them while there was a danger of
his crying like that. So he never went with them on their rounds of
begging and buying rags and telling fortunes. Instead, he was left in
the hut, in the valley, with some big girl or old woman to look after
him.

It happened one day, in the month of May, that Edwy was left as usual in
the hut. He had been up before sunrise to breakfast with those who were
going out for their day's begging and stealing. After they had left, he
had fallen asleep on a bed of dry leaves. Only one old woman, who was
too lame to tramp, was left with him.

He slept long, and when he awoke he sat up on his bed of leaves and
looked about him to see who was with him. He saw no one within the hut,
and no one at the doorway.

Little children do not like to be quite alone. Edwy listened to hear if
there were any voices outside, but he heard nothing but the rush of a
waterfall close by, and the distant cry of sheep and lambs. The next
thing the little one did was to get up and go out at the door of the
hut.

The hut was built of rude rafters in the front of a cave or hole in the
rock. It was low down in the glen, at the edge of the brook, a little
below the waterfall. When the child came out he looked anxiously for
somebody, and was more and more frightened when he could find no one at
all.

The old woman must have been close at hand although out of sight, but
she was deaf, and did not hear the noise made by the child when he came
out of the hut.

Edwy did not remember how long he stood by the brook, but this is
certain, that the longer he felt himself to be alone the more frightened
he became. Then he began to fancy terrible things. At the top of the
rock from which the waters fell there was a huge old yew-tree, or rather
bush, which hung forward over the fall. It looked very black in
comparison with the tender green of the other trees, and the white,
glittering spray of the water.

Edwy looked at it and fancied that it moved. His eye was deceived by the
dancing motion of the water. While he looked and looked, some great
black bird came out from the midst of it, uttering a harsh, croaking
sound.

The little boy could bear no more. He turned away from the terrible bush
and the terrible bird, and ran down the valley, leaving hut and all
behind. And, as he ran, he cried, as he always did when hurt or
frightened, "Papa, mamma! oh, come! oh, come to Edwy!"

He ran and ran while his little bare feet were bruised with pebbles, and
his legs torn with briers. Very soon he came to where the valley became
narrower and the rocks and banks higher on either side. The brook ran
along between, and a path went in a line with the brook; but this path
was only used by the gypsies and a few poor cottagers, and was but a
lonely road.

As Edwy ran he still cried, "Mamma, mamma, papa, papa! oh, come! oh,
come to Edwy!" And he kept up this cry from time to time, till his young
voice began to be returned in a sort of hollow murmur.

When first he noticed this, he was even more frightened than before. He
stood and looked round. Then he turned with his back toward the hut and
ran and ran again until he got deeper in among the rocks. Then he
stopped again, for the high black banks frightened him still more, and
setting up his young voice he called again as he had done before.

He had scarcely finished his cry, when a voice seemed to answer him. It
said, "Come, come to Edwy!" It said it once, it said it twice, it said
it a third time. But it seemed each time more distant.

The child looked up and down, and all around, and in his terror he cried
more loudly, "Oh, papa, mamma! come, come to poor Edwy!"

It was an echo, the echo of the rocks which repeated the words of the
child. The more loudly he spoke, the more perfect was the echo. But he
could only catch the last few words, and this time he only heard, "Poor,
poor Edwy!"

Edwy still dimly remembered a far-away happy home, and kind parents,
and now he believed that what the echo said came from them. They were
calling to him, and saying, "Poor, poor Edwy!" But where could they be?
Were they in the caves, or at the top of the rocks, or in the blue
bright heavens?

He looked at the rocks and the sky, and down among the reeds and sedges
and alders by the side of the brook, but he could find no one.

After a while he called again, and called louder still.

"Come, come," was the cry again, "Edwy is lost! lost! lost!"

Echo repeated the last words as before, "Lost! lost! lost!" and now the
voice sounded from behind him, for he had moved round a corner of a
rock.

The child heard the voice behind, and turned and ran that way. Then he
stopped and heard it again in the opposite direction. Next he shrieked
from fear, and echo returned the shriek, finishing up with broken sounds
which to Edwy's ears seemed as if some one a long way off was mocking
him. His terror was now at its highest, and he did not know what to do,
or where to go. Turning round, he began once more to run down the
valley, and every step took him nearer the mouth of the glen and the
entrance to the great highroad.

And who had been driving along that road, in a fine carriage with four
horses, but Edwy's own papa and mamma!

Mr. and Mrs. Lawley had given up all hopes of finding their little boy
near Norwood, and they had set out in their coach to go all over the
country in search of him. They had come the day before to a town near to
the place where the gypsies had kept Edwy all the winter. There they had
made many inquiries, and asked about the gypsies who were to be found in
that country. But people were afraid of the gypsies, and did not like to
say anything which might bring trouble upon themselves.

The poor father and mother, therefore, could get no news there, and the
next morning they came across the country, and along the road into which
the gypsies' valley opened.

Wherever these unhappy parents saw a wild country full of woods, they
thought, if possible, more than ever of their lost child, and Mrs.
Lawley would begin to weep. Indeed, she had done little else since she
lost her boy.

The travelers first caught sight of the gypsies' valley as the coach
arrived at the top of a high hill. The descent on the other side was so
steep that it was thought right to put a drag on the wheels.

Mr. Lawley suggested that they should get out and walk down the hill, so
the coach stopped and every one got down from it. Mr. Lawley walked
first, followed closely by his servant William, and Mrs. Lawley came
after, leaning on the arm of her favorite little maid Barbara.

"Oh, Barbara!" said Mrs. Lawley, when the others were gone forward,
"when I remember all the pretty ways of my boy, and think of his lovely
face and gentle temper, and of the way in which I lost him, my heart is
ready to break."

"Oh, dear mistress," answered the little maid, "who knows but that our
grief may soon be at an end and we may find him yet and all will be
well."

Mr. Lawley walked on before with the servant. He too was thinking of his
boy as he looked up the wild lonely valley. He saw a raven rise from the
wood and heard its croaking noise--it was perhaps the same black bird
that had frightened Edwy.

William remarked to his master that there was a sound of falling water
and that there must be brooks running into the valley. Mr. Lawley,
however, was too sad to talk to his servant. He could only say, "I don't
doubt it," and then they both walked on in silence.

They came to the bottom of the valley even before the carriage got
there. They found that the brook crossed the road in that place, and
that the road was carried over it by a little stone bridge.

Mr. Lawley stopped upon the bridge. He leaned on the low wall, and
looked upon the dark mouth of the glen, William stood a little behind
him.

William was young, and his sense of hearing was very quick. As he stood
there he thought he heard a voice, but the rattling of the coach-wheels
over the stony road prevented his hearing it distinctly. He heard the
cry again, but the coach was coming nearer, and made it still more
difficult for him to catch the sound.

His master was surprised the next moment to see him jump over the low
parapet of the bridge and run up the narrow path which led to the glen.

It was the voice of Edwy and the answering echo which William had heard.
He had got just far enough away from the sound of the coach-wheels at
the moment when the echo returned poor little Edwy's wildest shriek.

The sound was fearful and unnatural, but William was not easily put out.
He looked back to his master, and his look made Mr. Lawley at once leave
the bridge and follow him, though hardly knowing why.

They both went up the glen, the man being some way in front of his
master. Another cry and another answering echo again reached the ear of
William. The young man once more looked round at his master and ran on.
The last cry had been heard by Mr. Lawley, who followed as quickly as he
could. But, as the valley turned and turned among the rocks, he soon
lost sight of his servant.

Very soon Mr. Lawley came to the very place where the echo had most
astonished Edwy, because the sound had seemed to come from opposite
sides. Here he heard the cry again, and heard it distinctly. It was the
voice of a child crying, "No! no! no! papa! mamma! Oh, come! oh, come!"
and then a fearful shriek or laugh of some wild woman's voice.

Mr. Lawley rushed on, winding in and out between the rocks. Different
voices, all repeated in strange confusion by the echoes, rang in his
ears. But amid all these sounds he thought only of that one sad cry,
"Papa! mamma! Oh, come! oh, come!"

Suddenly he came out to where he saw his servant again, and with him an
old woman who looked like a witch. She held the hand of a little ragged
child very firmly, though the baby struggled hard to get free, crying,
"Papa! mamma! Oh, come! oh, come!"

William was talking earnestly to the woman, and had got hold of the
other hand of the child.

Mr. Lawley rushed on, trembling with hope and fear. Could this boy be
his Edwy? William had entered his service since he had lost his child
and could not therefore know the boy. He himself could not be sure--so
strange, so altered did the baby look.

But Edwy knew his own papa in a moment. He could not run to meet him,
for he was tightly held by the gypsy, but he cried, "Oh, papa! papa is
come to Edwy!"

The old woman knew Mr. Lawley, and saw that the child knew him. She had
been trying to persuade William that the boy was her grandchild. But it
was no use now. She let the child's hand go, and, while he was flying to
his father's arms, she disappeared into some well-known hole or hollow
in the neighboring rocks.

Who can describe the feelings of the father when he felt the arms of his
long-lost boy clinging round his neck, and the little heart beating
against his own? Or who could say what the mother felt when she saw her
husband come out from the mouth of the valley, bearing in his arms the
little ragged child? Could this be her own baby, her Edwy? She could
hardly be sure of her happiness till the boy held out his arms to her
and cried, "Mamma! mamma!"

Before they got into the coach the happy parents knelt down upon the
grass to thank God for his goodness. There was no pride now in their
hearts and they never forgot the lesson they had learned.

In their beautiful home at Norwood they were soon as much loved and
respected as they had been feared and disliked. Even the gypsies in time
became their faithful friends, and Edwy was as safe in the forest as in
his own garden at home.



THE LITTLE OLD WOMAN WHO LIVED IN A VINEGAR-BOTTLE


There was once upon a time a little old woman who lived in a
vinegar-bottle. One day, as she was sweeping out her house, she found a
silver coin, and she thought she should like to buy a fish.

So off she went to the place where the fishermen were casting their
nets. When she got there the nets had just been drawn up, and there was
only one little fish in them. So the fishermen let her have that for her
silver piece.

But, as she was carrying it home, the little fish opened its mouth and
said: "Pray, good woman, throw me into the water again. I am but a very
little fish, and I shall make you a very poor supper. Pray, good woman,
throw me into the water again!"

So the little old woman had pity on the little fish, and threw it into
the water.

But hardly had she done so before the water began to bubble and a little
fairy stood beside her. "My good woman," she said, "I am the little fish
you threw into the water, and, as you were so kind to me when I was in
trouble, I promise to give you anything that you wish for."

Then the little old woman thanked the fairy very much, but said she did
not want for anything. She lived in a nice little vinegar-bottle with a
ladder to go up and down, and had all she wished for.

"Well," said the fairy, "if at any time you want anything, you have only
to come to the waterside and call 'Fairy, fairy,' and I shall appear, to
answer you."

So the little old woman went home, and she lay awake all night trying to
think of something she wanted. And the next morning she went to the
waterside and called "Fairy, fairy"; and the water bubbled, and the
little fairy stood beside her.

"What do you want, good woman?" she said.

And the little old woman answered: "You were so kind, ma'am, as to
promise that you would give me anything I wished for, because I threw
you into the water when you were but a little fish. Now, if you please,
ma'am, I should like a little cottage. For you must know I live in a
vinegar-bottle, and I find it very tiresome to have to go up and down a
ladder every time I go in and out of my house."

"Go home and you shall have one," said the fairy.

So the little old woman went home, and there she found a nice
whitewashed cottage, with roses climbing round the windows.

She was very happy, and thought she would never want anything more; but
after a while she grew discontented again.

So back she went to the waterside and called "Fairy, fairy"; and the
water bubbled, and the little fairy stood beside her.

"What do you want, good woman?" she said.

And the little old woman answered: "You have been very kind, ma'am, in
giving me a house, and now, if you please, ma'am, I would like some new
furniture. For the furniture I had in the vinegar-bottle looks very
shabby now that it is in the pretty little cottage."

"Go home and you shall have some," said the fairy.

So the little old woman went home, and there she found her cottage
filled with nice new furniture, a stool and table, a neat little
four-post bed with blue-and-white checked curtains, and an armchair
covered with flowered chintz.

She was very happy, and thought she would never want anything more; but
after a while she grew discontented again.

So back she went to the waterside and called "Fairy, fairy"; and the
water bubbled, and the little fairy stood beside her.

"What do you want, good woman?" she said.

And the little old woman answered: "You have been very kind, ma'am, in
giving me a house and furniture, and now, if you please, ma'am, I would
like some new clothes. For I find that the clothes I wore in the
vinegar-bottle are not nearly good enough for the mistress of such a
pretty little cottage."

Then the fairy said, "Go home and you shall have some."

So the little old woman went home, and there she found all her old
clothes changed to new ones. There was a silk dress and a flowered
apron, and a grand lace cap and high-heeled shoes.

Well, she was very happy, and she thought she should never want anything
more; but after a while she grew discontented again.

So back she went to the waterside and called "Fairy, fairy"; and the
water bubbled, and the little fairy stood beside her.

"What do you want, good woman?" she said.

And the little old woman answered: "You have been very kind, ma'am, in
giving me a house and furniture and clothes; and now, if you please, I
should like a maid. For I find when I have to do the work of the house
that my new clothes get very dirty."

Then the fairy said, "Go home and you shall have one."

So the little old woman went home, and there she found at the door a
neat little maid with a broom in her hand, all ready to sweep the floor.

This made her very happy, and she thought she would never want anything
more; but after a while she grew discontented again.

So back she went to the waterside and called "Fairy, fairy"; and the
water bubbled, and the little fairy stood beside her.

"What do you want, good woman?" she said.

And the little old woman answered: "You have been very kind, ma'am, in
giving me a house and furniture, and clothes, and a maid; and now, if
you please, I should like a pony. For when I go out walking my new
clothes get very much splashed with the mud."

Then the fairy said, "Go home and you shall have one."

So the little old woman went home, and there she saw at the door a
little pony all ready bridled and saddled for her to ride.

She was very happy, and thought she would never want anything more; but
after a while she grew discontented again.

So back she went to the waterside and called "Fairy, fairy"; and the
water bubbled, and the little fairy stood beside her.

"What do you want, my good woman?" she said.

And the little old woman answered: "You have been very kind, ma'am, in
giving me a house and furniture, and clothes, and a maid, and a pony;
and now, if you please, ma'am, I should like a covered cart. For I find
that my new clothes get quite as muddy riding as walking."

Then the fairy said, "Go home and you will find one."

So the little old woman went home, and there she found her pony
harnessed into a nice little covered cart.

She had hardly seen the cart, when back she ran to the waterside,
calling "Fairy, fairy"; and the water bubbled, and the little fairy
stood beside her.

"What _do_ you want, good woman?" said she.

And the little old woman answered: "You have been very kind, ma'am, in
giving me a house and furniture, and clothes, and a maid, and a pony and
a cart; but now, if you please, ma'am, I should like a coach and six.
For it is like all the farmers' wives to ride about in a cart."

Then the fairy said: "Oh, you discontented little old woman! The more I
give you, the more you want. Go back to your vinegar-bottle."

So the little old woman went home, and she found everything gone--her
cart, and her pony, and her maid, and her clothes, and her furniture,
and her house. Nothing remained but the little old vinegar-bottle, with
the ladder to get up the side.



THE SNOW QUEEN


Once upon a time there was a little boy called Kay. And there was a
little girl. Her name was Gerda.

They were not brother and sister, this little boy and girl, but they
lived in tiny attics next door to one another.

When they were not playing together, Gerda spent her time peeping at
Kay, through one of the little panes in her window. And Kay peeped back
at Gerda.

Outside each attic was a tiny balcony, just big enough to hold two
little stools and a window-box. Often Gerda would step out of her attic
window into the balcony, carrying with her a three-legged wooden stool.
Then she would climb over the low wall that separated her from Kay.

And there in Kay's balcony the two children would sit and play together,
or tell fairy tales, or tend the flowers that bloomed so gaily in the
window-box.

At other times it was Kay who would bound over the low wall into Gerda's
balcony, and there, too, the little boy and girl were as happy as though
they had been in Fairyland.

In each little window-box grew a rose-bush, and the bloom and the scent
of the red roses they bore gave Kay and Gerda more delight than you can
imagine; and all her life long a red rose remained little Gerda's
favorite flower.

But it was not always summer-time, and when cold, frosty winter came,
and the Snow Queen sailed down on the large white snowflakes from a gray
sky, then no flowers bloomed in the window-boxes. And the balcony was so
slippery that the children dared not venture to step out of their attic
windows, but had to run down one long flight of stairs and up another to
be able to play together.

Sometimes, though, Kay stayed in his own little room and Gerda stayed
in hers, gazing and gazing at the lovely pictures of castles, and
mountains, and sea, and flowers that the Snow Queen had drawn on the
window-panes as she passed.

But now that the little panes of glass were covered with pictures, how
could Kay and Gerda peep at each other from the attic windows?

Ah, they had a plan, and a very good plan, too. Kay would heat a penny
on the stove, and then press it against the window-pane, and so make
little round peep-holes. Then he would put his eye to one of these
little rounds and--what did he see? A bright black eye peeping from
Gerda's attic, for she, too, had heated a penny and made peep-holes in
her window.

It was in winter, too, when the children could not play together on the
balcony, that Gerda's grandmother told them stories of the Snow Queen.

One night, as Kay was undressing to go to bed, he climbed on a chair and
peeped out of one of his little round holes, and there, on the edge of
the window-box, were a few big snowflakes. And as the little boy watched
them, the biggest grew bigger and bigger, until it grew into a white
lady of glittering, dazzling ice. Her eyes shone like two bright stars.

"It must be the Snow Queen," thought Kay, and at that moment the white
lady nodded to him, and waved her hand, and as he jumped from his chair,
he fancied she flew past the window. "It must be the Snow Queen." Would
he ever see her again?

At last the white winter melted away and green spring burst upon the
earth. Then once more summer--warm, bright, beautiful summer.

It was at five o'clock, one sunny afternoon, that Kay and Gerda sat
together on their little stools in the balcony, looking at a
picture-book.

"Oh!" cried Kay suddenly, "oh, there is something sharp in my eye, and I
have such a pain in my heart!"

Gerda put her arms round Kay's neck and looked into his eye.

"I can see nothing, Kay dear."

"Oh! it is gone now," said the boy, and they turned again to the
picture-book.

But something had flown into Kay's eye, and it was not gone; a little
bit had reached his heart, and it was still there. Listen, and I will
tell you what had happened.

There was about this time a most marvelous mirror in the world. It
belonged to the worst hobgoblin that ever lived, and had been made by
his wicked little demons.

Those who looked into this mirror saw reflected there all the mean and
ugly people and things in the world, and not one beautiful sight could
they see. And the thoughts of those who looked into this mirror became
as mean and ugly as the people and things they saw.

This delighted the hobgoblin, who ordered his little demons to carry the
mirror all over the world and to do as much mischief with it as they
could.

But one day, when they had traveled far, the mirror slipped from the
hands of the little imps, and fell to earth, shivered into hundreds of
thousands of millions of bits. Then it did more harm than ever, for
the tiny pieces, some no bigger than a grain of sand, were blown all
over the world, and often flew in people's eyes, and sometimes even
found their way into their hearts.

 [Illustration: "THEY FLEW UP AND UP ON A DARK CLOUD"]

And when a big person or a child had a little bit of this magic mirror
in his eye, he saw only what was mean and ugly; and if the tiniest grain
of the glass reached his heart, alas! alas! it froze all the kindness
and gentleness and love that was there, and the heart became like a lump
of ice.

This is what had happened to poor little Kay. One tiny bit of the magic
mirror had flown into his eye; another had entered his heart.

"How horrid you look, Gerda. Why are you crying? And oh, see the worm in
that rose. Roses are ugly, and so are window-boxes." And Kay kicked the
window-box, and knocked two roses from the rose-bush.

"Kay dear, what is the matter?" asked Gerda.

The little boy did not answer, but broke off another rose, and then,
without saying good-by, stepped in at his own window, leaving Gerda
alone.

The next time the little girl brought out the picture-book, Kay tore the
leaves, and when the grandmother told them a story, he interrupted her
and made ugly faces. And he would tread on Gerda's toes and pull her
hair, and make faces at her, too.

"How cruel little Kay grows," said his friends; for he mocked the old
people and ill-treated those who were weak. And all through the blue
summer and the yellow autumn Kay teased little Gerda, or left her that
he might play with the bigger children in the town.

But it was when winter came, and the big white snowflakes once more fell
from a gray sky, that Gerda felt loneliest, for Kay now drew on his
thick gloves, slung his little sledge across his back, and marched off
alone. "I am going to ride in the square," he shouted in her ear as he
passed. But Gerda could not answer; she could only think of the winters
that had gone, when she and Kay always sat side by side in that same
little sledge. How happy they had been! Oh, why, why had he not taken
her with him?

Kay walked briskly to the square, and there he watched the bolder of the
boys tie their sledges to the farmers' carts. With what glee they felt
themselves being drawn over the snow-covered ground! When they reached
the town gates they would jump out, unfasten their sledges, and return
to the square to begin the fun all over again.

Kay was thinking how much he would like to tie his little sledge behind
a cart, when a big sledge, painted white, drove by. In it sat some one
muffled in a white fur coat and cap. Twice the sledge drove round the
square.

As it passed Kay the second time, he quickly fastened on his little
sledge behind, and in a moment found himself flying through the streets.
What fun! On and on through snowdrifts, bounding over ditches, rushing
down hills, faster and faster they flew.

Little Kay grew frightened. Twice he tried to unfasten the string that
tied his sledge to the other, but both times the white driver turned
round and nodded to him to sit still. At last they had driven through
the town gates. The snow fell so heavily that it blinded him. Now he
could not see where they were going, and Kay grew more frightened still.
He tried to say his prayers, but could only remember the multiplication
table. Bigger and bigger grew the snowflakes, till they seemed like
large white birds. Then, suddenly, the sledge stopped. The driver stood
up. She was a tall lady, dazzlingly white. Her eyes shone like two
stars. She was the Snow Queen.

"It is cold," said the white lady; "come into my sledge. Now, creep
inside my furs."

Kay did as he was told, but he felt as if he had fallen into a
snowdrift.

"You are still cold," said the Snow Queen, and she kissed his forehead.
Her lips were like ice, and Kay shivered and felt the old pain at his
heart. But only for a minute, for the Snow Queen kissed him again,
and then he forgot the pain, and he forgot Gerda, and he forgot his
grandmother and his old home, and had not a thought for anything or any
one but the Snow Queen.

He had no fear of her now, no, not although they flew up and up on a
dark cloud, away over woods and lakes, over rivers, islands, and seas.
No, he was not afraid, although the cold wind whistled around them, and
beneath the wild wolves howled. Kay did not care.

Above them the moon shone bright and clear. All night long the boy would
gaze at it and the twinkling stars, but by day he slept at the feet of
the Snow Queen.

         *       *       *

But what of little Gerda?

Poor child, she watched and she waited and she wondered, but Kay did not
come, and nobody could tell her where he was. The boys had seen him
drive out of the town gates behind a big sledge painted white. But no
one had heard of him since.

Little Gerda cried bitterly. Perhaps Kay was drowned in the river. Oh,
what a long, cold winter that was! But spring came at last, bright
spring with its golden sunshine and its singing birds.

"Kay is dead," said Gerda.

"Kay dead? It is not true," said the sunshine.

"Kay dead? We do not believe it," twittered the swallows.

And neither did little Gerda believe it.

"I will put on my new red shoes," said the child one morning, "and go to
the river and ask it about Kay." So she put on her little red shoes, and
kissed her old grandmother who was still asleep, and wandered alone, out
beyond the town gates, and down to the river-bank.

"Have you taken my little playfellow?" she asked. "I will give you these
if you will bring him back to me," and she flung her little shoes into
the river.

They fell close to the bank and the little waves tossed them back on to
the dry pebbles at her feet. "We do not want you, we will keep Kay,"
they seemed to say.

"Perhaps I did not throw them far enough," thought Gerda; and, stepping
into a boat that lay among the rushes, she flung the red shoes with all
her might into the middle of the river.

But the boat was not fastened and it glided out from among the rushes.
Soon it was drifting faster and faster down the river. The little shoes
floated behind.

"Perhaps I am going to little Kay," thought Gerda, as she was carried
farther and farther down the river. How pretty it was! Trees waved and
flowers nodded on its banks. Sheep grazed and cattle browsed, but not
one soul, big or little, was to be seen.

After a long time Gerda came to a cherry-garden which stretched down to
the river-bank. At the end of this garden stood a tiny cottage with a
thatched roof, and with red, blue, and yellow glass windows.

On either side of the door stood a wooden soldier. Gerda thought the
soldiers were alive, and shouted to them.

The wooden soldiers, of course, did not hear, but an old, old woman, who
lived in the tiny house, wondered who it could be that called. She
hobbled out, leaning on her hooked stick. On her head she wore a big
sun-hat, and on it were painted beautiful flowers.

"You poor child," said the old, old woman, walking straight into the
river, and catching hold of the boat with her hooked stick; "you poor
dear!" And she pulled the boat ashore and lifted out little Gerda on to
the green grass.

Gerda was delighted to be on dry land again, but she was a little bit
afraid of the old, old woman, who now asked her who she was and where
she came from.

"I am looking for Kay, little Kay. Have you seen him?" began Gerda, and
she went on to tell the old, old woman the whole story of her playmate
and his strange disappearance. When she had finished, she asked again,
"Have you seen him?"

"No," said the old, old woman, "but I expect him. Come in," and she took
little Gerda by the hand. "Come to my house and taste my cherries." And
when they had gone into the cottage, the old, old woman locked the door.
Then she gave Gerda a plate of the most delicious cherries, and while
the little girl ate them, the old, old woman combed her hair with a
golden comb.

Now this old, old woman was a witch, and the comb was a magic comb, for
as soon as it touched her hair, Gerda forgot all about Kay. And this was
just what the witch wished, for she was a lonely old woman, and would
have liked Gerda to become her own little girl and stay with her always.

Gerda did enjoy the red cherries, and, while she was still eating them,
the old, old woman stole out to the garden and waved her hooked stick
over the rose-bushes and they quickly sank beneath the brown earth.
For Gerda had told her how fond Kay had once been of their little
rose-bushes in the balcony, and the witch was afraid the sight of roses
would remind the little girl of her lost playmate. But now that the
roses had vanished, Gerda might come into the garden.

How the child danced for joy past the lilies and bluebells, how she
suddenly fell on her knees to smell the pinks and mignonette, and then
danced off again, in and out among the sunflowers and hollyhocks!

Gerda was perfectly happy now, and played among the flowers until the
sun sank behind the cherry-trees. Then the old, old woman again took her
by the hand, and led her to the little house. And she undressed her and
put her into a little bed of white violets, and there the little girl
dreamed sweet dreams.

The next day and the next again and for many more Gerda played among the
flowers in the garden.

One morning, as the old woman sat near, Gerda looked at her hat with the
wonderful painted flowers. Prettiest of all was a rose.

"A rose! Why, surely I have seen none in the garden," thought Gerda, and
she danced off in search.

But she could find none, and in her disappointment hot tears fell. And
they fell on the very spot where the roses had grown, and as soon as
the warm drops moistened the earth, the rose-bushes sprang up.

"You are beautiful, beautiful," she said; but in a moment the tears fell
again, for she thought of the rose-bushes in the balcony, and she
remembered Kay.

"Oh Kay, dear, dear Kay, is he dead?" she asked the roses.

"No, he is not dead," they answered, "for we have been beneath the brown
earth, and he is not there."

"Then where, oh, where is he?" and she went from flower to flower
whispering, "Have you seen little Kay?"

But the flowers stood in the sunshine, dreaming their own dreams, and
these they told the little maiden gladly, but of Kay they could not tell
her, for they knew nothing.

Then the little girl ran down the garden path until she came to the
garden gate. She pressed the rusty latch. The gate flew open, and Gerda
ran out on her little bare feet into the green fields. And she ran, and
she ran, until she could run no longer. Then she sat down on a big stone
to rest.

"Why, it must be autumn," she said sorrowfully, as she looked around.
And little Gerda felt sorry that she had stayed so long in the magic
garden, where it was always summer.

"Why have I not been seeking little Kay?" she asked herself, and she
jumped up and trudged along, on and on, out into the great wide world.

         *       *       *

At last the cold white winter came again, and still little Gerda was
wandering alone through the wide world, for she had not found little
Kay.

"Caw, caw," said a big raven that hopped on the stone in front of her.
"Caw, caw."

"Have you seen little Kay?" asked Gerda, and she told the bird her sad
story.

"It may have been Kay," said the raven, "I cannot tell. But if it was,
he will have forgotten you now that he lives with the princess."

"Does he live with a princess?" asked Gerda.

"Yes, he does. If you care to listen, I will tell you how it came about.
In this kingdom lives a princess so clever that she has read all the
newspapers in the world, and forgotten them again. Last winter she made
up her mind to marry. Her husband, she said, must speak well. He must
know the proper thing to say, and say it prettily. Otherwise she would
not marry. I assure you what I say is perfectly true, for I have a tame
sweetheart who lives at court, and she told me the whole story.

"One day it was published in the newspapers that any handsome young man
might go to the palace to speak to the princess. The one who spoke most
prettily and answered most wisely should be chosen as her husband. What
a stir there was! Young men flocked to the palace in crowds, chattering
as they came. But when they saw the great staircase, and the soldiers
in their silver uniform, and the grand ladies in velvet and lace, they
could only talk in whispers. And when they were led before the beautiful
princess, who was seated on a pearl as big as a spinning-wheel, they
were silent. She spoke to them, but they could think of nothing to say,
so they repeated her last words over and over again. The princess did
not like that, and she----"

"But Kay, little Kay, did he come?" interrupted Gerda.

"You are in too great a hurry," said the raven; "I am just coming to
that. On the third day came a boy with sparkling eyes and golden hair,
but his clothes were shabby. He----"

"Oh, that would be Kay. Dear, dear Kay, I have found him at last."

"He had a knapsack on his back, and----"

"No, it must have been a sledge," again interrupted Gerda.

"I said he had a knapsack on his back, and he wore boots that creaked,
but----"

"Oh, then it must be Kay, for he had new boots. I heard them creak
through our attic wall when----"

"Little girl, do not interrupt, but listen to me. He wore boots that
creaked, but even that did not frighten him. He creaked up the great
staircase, he passed the soldiers in silver uniform, he bowed to the
ladies in velvet and lace, and still he was quite at his ease. And when
he was led before the beautiful princess who was seated on a pearl as
big as a spinning-wheel, he answered so prettily and spoke so wisely
that she chose him as her husband."

"Indeed, indeed it was Kay," said little Gerda. "He was so clever. He
could do arithmetic up to long division. Oh, take me to him."

"I will see what can be done," said the raven. "I will talk about it to
my tame sweetheart. She will certainly be able to advise us. Wait here
by the stile," and the raven wagged his head and flew off.

It was growing dark before he returned. "Here is a roll my tame
sweetheart sent you. 'The little maiden must be hungry,' she said.
As for your going to the palace with those bare feet--the thing is
impossible. The soldiers in silver uniform would not let you go up
the great stair. But do not cry. My sweetheart knows a little back
staircase. She will take you to the prince and princess. Follow me."

 [Illustration: "'YOU POOR CHILD,' SAID THE OLD WOMAN, WALKING STRAIGHT
 INTO THE RIVER"]

On tiptoe little Gerda followed the raven, as he hopped across the
snow-covered field and up the long avenue that led to the palace garden.
And in the garden they waited silently until the last light had gone
out. Then they turned along the bare walk that led to the back door. It
stood wide open.

Oh, how little Gerda's heart beat, as on the tips of her little bare
toes she followed the raven up the dimly lighted back staircase!

On the landing at the top burned a small lamp. Beside it stood the tame
sweetheart.

Gerda curtsied as her grandmother had taught her.

"He," said the tame sweetheart, nodding to the raven of the field, "he
has told me your story. It has made me sad. But if you carry the lamp, I
will lead the way, and then we shall see----"

"We shall see little Kay," murmured Gerda.

"Hush! we shall see what we shall see," said the tame sweetheart.

Through room after room Gerda followed her strange guide, her heart
thumping and thumping so loudly that she was afraid some one in the
palace would hear it and wake.

At last they came to a room in which stood two little beds, one white
and one red. The tame sweetheart nodded to the little girl.

Poor Gerda! she was trembling all over, as she peeped at the little head
that rested on the pillow of the white bed.

Oh! that was the princess.

Gerda turned to the little red bed. The prince was lying on his face,
but the hair, surely it was Kay's hair. She drew down the little red
coverlet until she saw a brown neck. Yes! it was Kay's neck, she felt
sure.

"Kay, Kay, it is I, little Gerda, wake, wake."

And the prince awoke. He turned his head. He opened his eyes--and--alas!
alas! it was not little Kay.

Then Gerda cried and cried as if her heart would break. She cried until
she awoke the princess, who started up bewildered.

"Who are you, little girl, and where do you come from, and what do you
want?"

"Oh, I want Kay, little Kay, do you know where he is?" And Gerda told
the princess all her story, and of what the ravens had done to help her.

"Poor little child," said the princess, "how sad you must feel!"

"And how tired," said the prince, and he jumped out of his little red
bed, and made Gerda lie down.

The little girl was grateful indeed. She folded her hands and was soon
fast asleep.

And Gerda dreamed of Kay. She saw him sitting in his little sledge, and
it was dragged by angels. But it was only a dream, and, when she awoke,
her little playmate was as far away as ever.

The ravens were now very happy, for the princess said that, although
they must never again lead any one to the palace by the back staircase,
this time they should be rewarded. They should for the rest of their
lives live together in the palace garden, and be known as the court
ravens, and be fed from the royal kitchen.

When little Gerda awoke from her dreams, she saw the sunbeams stealing
across her bed. It was time to get up.

The court ladies dressed the little girl in silk and velvet, and the
prince and princess asked her to stay with them at the palace. But Gerda
begged for a little carriage, and a horse, and a pair of boots, that she
might again go out into the great wide world to seek little Kay.

So they gave her a pair of boots and a muff, and when she was dressed,
there before the door stood a carriage of pure gold. The prince himself
helped Gerda to step in, and the princess waved to her as she drove off.

But although Gerda was now a grand little girl, she was very lonely. The
coachman and footman in the scarlet and gold livery did not speak a
word. She was glad when the field raven flew to the carriage and perched
by her side. He explained that his wife, for he was now married, would
have come also, but she had eaten too much breakfast and was not well.
But at the end of three miles the raven said good-by, and flapping his
shiny black wings, flew into an elm. There he watched the golden
carriage till it could no longer be seen.

Poor Gerda was lonely as ever! There were gingernuts and sugar-biscuits
and fruit in the carriage, but these could not comfort the little girl.

When would she find Kay?

         *       *       *

In a dark forest lived a band of wild robbers. Among them was an old
robber-woman, with shaggy eyebrows and no teeth. She had one little
daughter.

"Look, look! what is that?" cried the little robber-girl one afternoon,
as something like a moving torch gleamed through the forest. It was
Gerda's golden carriage. The robbers rushed toward it, drove away the
coachman and the footman, and dragged out the little girl.

"How plump she is! You will taste nice, my dear," the old woman said to
Gerda, as she drew out her long, sharp knife. It glittered horribly.
"Now, just stand still, so, and--oh! stop, I say, stop," screamed the
old woman, for at that moment her daughter sprang upon her back and bit
her ear. And there she hung like some savage little animal. "Oh, my ear,
my ear, you bad, wicked child!" But the woman did not now try to kill
Gerda.

Then the robber-child said, "Little girl, I want you myself, and I want
to ride beside you." So together they stepped into the golden carriage
and drove deep into the wood. "No one will hurt you now, unless I get
angry with you," said the robber-girl, putting her arm round Gerda. "Are
you a princess?"

"No," said Gerda, and she told the robber-girl all her story. "Have you
seen little Kay?" she ended.

"Never," said the robber-girl, "never." Then she looked at Gerda and
added, "No one shall kill you even if I am angry with you. I shall do it
myself." And she dried Gerda's eyes. "Now this is nice," and she lay
back, her red hands in Gerda's warm, soft muff.

At last the carriage stopped at a robber's castle. It was a ruin. The
robber-girl led Gerda into a large, old hall and gave her a basin of hot
soup. "You shall sleep there to-night," she said, "with me and my pets."

Gerda looked where the robber-girl pointed, and saw that in one corner
of the room straw was scattered on the stone floor.

"Yes, you shall see my pets. Come, lie down now."

And little Gerda and the robber-girl lay down together on their straw
bed. Above, perched on poles, were doves.

"Mine, all mine," said the little robber-girl. Jumping up, she seized
the dove nearest her by the feet and shook it till its wings flapped.
Then she slung it against Gerda's face. "Kiss it," she said. "Yes, all
mine; and look," she went on, "he is mine, too;" and she caught by the
horn a reindeer that was tied to the wall. He had a bright brass collar
round his neck. "We have to keep him tied or he would run away. I tickle
him every night with my sharp knife, and then he is afraid;" and the
girl drew from a hole in the wall a long knife, and gently ran it across
the reindeer's neck. The poor animal kicked, but the little robber-girl
laughed, and then again lay down on her bed of straw.

"But," said Gerda, with terror in her eyes, "you are not going to sleep
with that long, sharp knife in your hand?"

"Yes, I always do," replied the robber-girl; "one never knows what may
happen. But tell me again all about Kay, and about your journey through
the wide world."

And Gerda told all her story over again. Then the little robber-girl put
one arm round Gerda's neck, and with her long knife in the other, she
fell sound asleep.

But Gerda could not sleep. How could she, with that sharp knife close
beside her? She would try not to think of it. She would listen to the
doves. "Coo, coo," they said. Then they came nearer.

"We have seen little Kay," they whispered. "He floated by above our nest
in the Snow Queen's sledge. She blew upon us as she passed, and her icy
breath killed many of us."

"But where was little Kay going? Where does the Snow Queen live?" asked
Gerda.

"The reindeer can tell you everything," said the doves.

"Yes," said the reindeer, "I can tell you. Little Kay was going to the
Snow Queen's palace, a splendid palace of glittering ice, away in
Lapland."

"Oh, Kay, little Kay!" sighed Gerda.

"Lie still, or I shall stick my knife into you," said the little
robber-girl.

And little Gerda lay still, but she did not sleep. In the morning she
told the robber-girl what the doves and the reindeer had said.

The little robber-girl looked very solemn and thoughtful. Then she
nodded her head importantly. At last she spoke, not to Gerda, but to the
reindeer.

"I should like to keep you here always, tied by your brass collar to
that wall. Then I should still tickle you with my knife, and have the
fun of seeing you kick and struggle. But never mind. Do you know where
Lapland is?"

Lapland! of course the reindeer knew. Had he not been born there? Had he
not played in its snow-covered fields? As the reindeer thought of his
happy childhood, his eyes danced.

"Would you like to go back to your old home?" asked the robber-girl.

The reindeer leaped into the air for joy.

"Very well, I will soon untie your chain. Mother is still asleep. Come
along, Gerda. Now, I am going to put this little girl on your back, and
you are to carry her safely to the Snow Queen's palace. She must find
her little playfellow." And the robber-girl lifted Gerda up and tied her
on the reindeer's back, having first put a little cushion beneath her.
"I must keep your muff, Gerda, but you can have mother's big, black
mittens. Come, put your hands in. Oh, they do look ugly."

"I am going to Kay, little Kay," and Gerda cried for joy.

"There is nothing to whimper about," said the robber-girl. "Look! here
are two loaves and a ham." Then she opened wide the door, loosened the
reindeer's chain, and said, "Now run."

And the reindeer darted through the open door, Gerda waving her
blackmittened hands, and the little robber-girl calling after the
reindeer, "Take care of my little girl."

On and on they sped, over briers and bushes, through fields and forests
and swamps. The wolves howled and the ravens screamed. But Gerda was
happy. She was going to Kay.

         *       *       *

The loaves and the ham were finished, and Gerda and the reindeer were in
Lapland.

They stopped in front of a little hut. Its roof sloped down almost to
the ground, and the door was so low that to get into the hut one had to
creep on hands and knees. How the reindeer squeezed through I cannot
tell, but there he was in the little hut, telling an old Lapp woman who
was frying fish over a lamp, first his own story and then the sad story
of Gerda and little Kay.

"Oh, you poor creatures," said the Lapp woman, "the Snow Queen is not
in Lapland at present. She is hundreds of miles away at her palace in
Finland. But I will give you a note to a Finn woman, and she will direct
you better than I can." And the Lapp woman wrote a letter on a dried
fish, as she had no paper.

Then, when Gerda had warmed herself by the lamp, the Lapp woman tied her
on to the reindeer again, and they squeezed through the little door and
were once more out in the wide world.

On and on they sped through the long night, while the blue northern
lights flickered in the sky overhead, and the crisp snow crackled
beneath their feet.

At last they reached Finland and knocked on the Finn woman's chimney,
for she had no door at all. Then they squeezed down the chimney and
found themselves in a very hot little room.

The old woman at once loosened Gerda's things, and took off her mittens
and boots. Then she put ice on the reindeer's head. Now that her
visitors were more comfortable she could look at the letter they
brought. She read it three times and then put it in the fish-pot, for
this old woman never wasted anything.

There was silence for five minutes, and then the reindeer again told his
story first, and afterward the sad story of Gerda and little Kay.

Once more there was silence for five minutes, and then the Finn woman
whispered to the reindeer. This is what she whispered: "Yes, little Kay
is with the Snow Queen, and thinks himself the happiest boy in the
world. But that is because a little bit of the magic mirror is still in
his eye, and another tiny grain remains in his heart. Until they come
out, he can never be the old Kay. As long as they are there, the Snow
Queen will have him in her power."

"But cannot you give Gerda power to overcome the Snow Queen?" whispered
the reindeer.

"I cannot give her greater power than she has already. Her own loving
heart has won the help of bird and beast and robber-girl, and it is
that loving heart that will conquer the Snow Queen. But this you can do.
Carry little Gerda to the palace garden. It is only two miles from here.
You will see a bush covered with red berries. Leave Gerda there and
hurry back to me."

Off sped the reindeer.

"Oh, my boots and my mittens!" cried Gerda.

But the reindeer would not stop. On he rushed through the snow until he
came to the bush with the red berries. There he put Gerda down and
kissed her, while tears trickled down his face. Then off he bounded,
leaving the little girl standing barefoot on the crisp snow.

Gerda stepped forward. Huge snowflakes were coming to meet her. They did
not fall from the sky. No, they were marching along the ground. And what
strange shapes they took! Some looked like white hedgehogs, some like
polar bears. They were the Snow Queen's soldiers.

Gerda grew frightened. But she did not run away. She folded her hands
and closed her eyes. "Our Father which art in heaven," she began, but
she could get no further. The cold was so great that she could not go
on. She opened her eyes, and there, surrounding her, was a legion of
bright little angels. They had been formed from her breath, as she
prayed, "Our Father which art in heaven." And the bright little angels
shivered into a hundred pieces the snowflake army, and Gerda walked on
fearlessly toward the palace of the Snow Queen.

         *       *       *

Little Kay sits alone in the great ice hall. He does not know that he is
blue with cold, for the Snow Queen has kissed away the icy shiverings
and left his heart with no more feeling than a lump of ice.

And this morning she has flown off to visit the countries of the south,
where the grapes and the lemons grow.

"It is all so blue there," she had said, "I must go and cast my veil of
white across their hills and meadows." And away she flew.

So Kay sits in the great ice hall alone. Chips of ice are his only
playthings, and now he leaves them on the ice-floor and goes to the
window to gaze at the snowdrifts in the palace garden. Great gusts of
wind swirl the snow past the windows. Kay can see nothing. He turns
again to his ice toys.

Outside, little Gerda struggles through the biting wind, then, saying
her morning prayer, she enters the vast hall. At a glance she sees the
lonely boy. In a twinkling she knows it is Kay. Her little bare feet
carry her like wings across the ice floor. Her arms are round his neck.

"Kay, dear, dear Kay!"

But Kay does not move. He is still and cold as the palace walls.

Little Gerda bursts into tears, hot, scalding tears. Her arms are yet
round Kay's neck, and her tears fall upon his heart of ice. They thaw
it. They reach the grain of glass, and it melts away.

And now Kay's tears fall hot and fast, and as they pour, the tiny bit of
glass passes out of his eye, and he sees, he knows, his long-lost
playmate.

"Little Gerda, little Gerda!" he cries, "where have you been, where have
you been, where are we now?" and he shivers as he looks round the vast
cold hall.

But Gerda kisses his white cheeks, and they grow rosy; she kisses his
eyes, and they shine like stars; she kisses his hands and feet, and he
is strong and glad.

Hand in hand they wander out of the ice palace. The winds hush, the sun
bursts forth. They talk of their grandmother, of their rose-trees.

The reindeer has come back, and with him there waits another reindeer.
They stand by the bush with the red berries.

The children bound on to their backs, and are carried first to the hut
of the Finn woman, and then on to Lapland. The Lapp woman has new
clothes ready for them, and brings out her sledge. Once more Kay and
Gerda are sitting side by side. The Lapp woman drives, and the two
reindeer follow. On and on they speed through the white-robed land. But
now they leave it behind. The earth wears her mantle of green.

"Good-by," they say to the kind Lapp woman; "good-by" to the gentle
reindeer.

Together the children enter a forest. How strange and how sweet the song
of the birds!

A young girl on horseback comes galloping toward them. She wears a
scarlet cap, and has pistols in her belt. It is the robber-girl.

"So you have found little Kay."

Gerda smiles a radiant smile, and asks for the prince and princess.

"They are traveling far away."

"And the raven?"

"Oh, the raven is dead. But tell me what you have been doing, and where
you found little Kay."

The three children sit down under a fir-tree, and Gerda tells of her
journey through Lapland and Finland, and how at last she had found
little Kay in the palace of the Snow Queen.

"Snip, snap, snorra!" shouts the robber-girl, which is her way of saying
"Hurrah!" Then, promising that if ever she is near their town, she will
pay them a visit, off she gallops into the wide world.

On wander the two children, on and on. At last they see the tall towers
of the old town where they had lived together. Soon they come to the
narrow street they remember so well. They climb the long, long stair,
and burst into the little attic.

The rose-bush is in bloom, and the sun pours in upon the old
grandmother, who reads her Bible by the open window.

Kay and Gerda take their two little stools and sit down one on either
side of her, and listen to the words from the Good Book. As they listen,
a great peace steals into their souls.

And outside it is summer--warm, bright, beautiful summer.



THE MASTER-MAID


Once there was a King who had a son, and this Prince would not stay at
home, but went a long, long way off to a very far country. There he met
a Giant; and though it seems a strange thing for a King's son to do, the
Prince went to the Giant's house to be his servant, and the Giant gave
the Prince a room, to sleep in, which, very strangely, had a door on
every side. However, the Prince thought little of this, for he was very
tired, and he went quickly to bed, and slept soundly all night.

Now, the Giant had a large herd of goats; and very likely the Prince
thought the Giant would send him to herd the goats. But the Giant did
nothing of the sort. In the morning he prepared to take the goats to
pasture himself; but before he set out he told the Prince that he
expected him to clean the stable before he came back in the evening.

"I am a very easy master," said the Giant, "and that is all I expect you
to do. But remember, I expect the work to be well done." Then, before he
reached the door, he turned back and said, in a threatening way: "You
are not to open a single one of the doors in your room. If you do, I
shall kill you."

Then the Giant shut the door in a way that seemed to say, "I mean every
word I have said," and he went off with his goats, and left the Prince
alone.

When he was gone, the Prince drummed for a while with his fingers on the
window. Then, when the Giant and his flock had gone out of sight, he
began to walk about the room, whistling to himself and looking at the
forbidden doors.

The house seemed silent and lonely, and he really had nothing to do. To
clean a stable with only one stall seemed a very small task for a sturdy
boy like him.

At last he said to himself: "I wonder what the Giant keeps behind those
doors? I think I shall look and see."

If the Giant had been there the Prince would have paid dear for his
curiosity; but he was far away, and the Prince boldly opened the first
door, and inside he saw a huge pot, or cauldron, boiling away merrily.

"What a strange thing," said the Prince; "there is no fire under the
pot. I must go in and see it!"

And into the room he went, and bent down to see what queer soup it was
that boiled without a fire. As he did so, a lock of his hair dipped into
the pot; and when he raised his head, the lock looked like bronze. The
cauldron was full of boiling copper.

He went out and closed the door carefully behind him; and, wondering if
there was a copper pot in the next room, he opened the second door.
There was a cauldron inside, boiling merrily; but there was no fire to
be seen. He went over and looked into the pot; and as it did not look
exactly like the first one, he dipped in another lock. When he raised
his head, up came the lock, weighted heavily with silver. The cauldron
was full of boiling silver.

Wondering greatly at the Giant's riches, the Prince went out, closed the
door very carefully, and opened the third door. He almost tip-toed into
this room, he was so curious; but he went through the same performance.
And when he raised his head from the third pot that boiled without a
fire, the third lock of hair was like a heavy tassel of gold. The third
pot was full of boiling gold.

Full of amazement at the Giant's great riches, the Prince hurried out of
the room, and closed the door with the greatest care. By this time he
was so full of curiosity that he ran as fast as he could to the fourth
door. And yet he scarcely dared to open it to see the riches he was sure
it hid behind it.

However, he opened it, very gently and very quietly; and there on the
bench, in the window, looking out, sat a beautiful maiden.

Although the door opened very quietly, she heard the sound, and looked
up. And when she saw the handsome young Prince standing in the doorway,
she started toward him, and cried in great distress: "O boy, boy! why
have you come here?"

The Prince told her he had come to serve the Giant, and found him a very
easy master. Indeed, he said the Giant had given him nothing to do that
day but clean the stable.

The maiden told him that if he tried to clean it as everyone else did,
he would never finish the work, because for every pitchforkful he threw
out, ten would come back.

The thing to do, she said, was to use the handle of his pitchfork, and
the work would soon be done.

The Prince said he would follow her advice; and then they sat all day
and talked of pleasant things. Indeed, they liked each other so well
that they very soon settled that they would get married.

When it came toward evening, the maiden reminded the Prince that the
Giant would soon be home. So the youth went out to clean the stable.
First, he tried to do the work as any other boy would do it; but when he
found that in a very short time he would not have room to stand, he
quickly turned the pitchfork around and used the handle. In a few
moments the stable was as clean as a stable could be. Then he went back
to his room and wandered about it with his hands in his pockets, looking
quite as innocent as if he had not raised the latch of a single door.

Soon the Giant came in and asked if his work was done. The Prince said
it was. Of course, the Giant did not believe him; but he went out to
see. When he came back he said very decidedly to the Prince: "You have
been talking to my Master-Maid. You could not have learned how to clean
that stable yourself."

But the Prince made himself appear as if he had never heard of the
maiden before, and asked such stupid questions that the Giant went away
satisfied, and left him to sleep.

Next morning, before the Giant set out with his goats, he again told
the Prince that he would find he was an easy master: all he had to
do that day was to catch the Giant's horse that was feeding on the
mountain-side. And having set him this task, the Giant said that if the
Prince opened one of the doors he would kill him. Then he took his
staff, and was soon out of sight.

Quick as the Giant disappeared, the Prince, who had no more interest in
the other rooms, opened the fourth door. The maiden asked him about his
day's task; and when she heard it; she told the Prince that the horse
would rush at him with flame bursting from its nostrils, and its mouth
wide open to tear him. But, she said, if he would take the bridle that
hung on the crook by the door, and fling it straight into the horse's
mouth, the beast would become quite tame. He promised to do so; and they
talked all day of pleasant things. And when it came toward evening the
maiden reminded him that the Giant would soon be home.

So the Prince went out to catch the horse; and everything happened as
the maiden said. But when the fiery horse rushed at him with open mouth
he watched his opportunity, and just at the right moment he flung the
bridle in between its teeth, and the horse stood still. Then the Prince
mounted it and rode it quietly home. He put the horse in the stable, and
went to his room, sat down and whistled to himself as if he did not know
there was a maiden in the world.

Very soon the Giant came in, and asked about the horse, and the Prince
said very quietly that it was in the stable. The Giant did not believe
him; but he went to see, and again accused the Prince of having been
talking to his Master-Maid.

The Prince pretended to be stupid, and asked silly questions, and said
he would like to see the maid. "You shall see her soon enough," the
Giant promised, and went away and left the Prince to go to sleep.

The next day, before the Giant set out, he told the Prince to go down
underground and fetch his taxes. Then he warned the Prince not to touch
the doors, and went off with his goats.

No sooner was he out of sight than the Prince rushed to the maiden, and
asked her how he was to find his way underground to get the taxes, and
how much he should ask for. She took him to the window and pointed out a
rocky ledge. He must go there, she said, take a club that hung beside
it, and knock on the rocky wall. As soon as he did so, a fiery monster
would come out, and ask his errand.

"But remember," said the maiden, "when he asks how much you want, you
are to say: 'As much as I can carry.'"

The Prince promised to do as she said, and they sat down close together
and talked until the evening of what they would do when they escaped
from the Giant and went home to get married.

When evening came the maiden reminded the Prince of the Giant's coming,
and he went to get the money from the fiery monster. Everything happened
as the maiden said; and when the monster, with sparks flying everywhere
from him, asked fiercely, "How much do you want?" the Prince was not in
the least afraid, but said: "As much as I can carry."

"It is a good thing you did not ask for a horse-load," said the monster;
and he took the Prince in and filled a sack, which was as much as the
Prince could do to carry. Indeed, that was nothing to what the Prince
saw there, for gold and silver coins lay around, inside the mountain,
like pebbles on the seashore.

The Prince carried the money back to the Giant's house; and when the
Giant reached home, the Prince sat quietly in his room, whistling
softly, just as if he had never risen from his seat since the Giant
left.

The Giant demanded the money for his taxes. "Here it is," said the
Prince, showing him the bursting sack. The Giant examined the money, and
then again accused the Prince of having been talking to the Master-Maid.

"Master," said the Prince, "this is the third day you have talked about
the Master-Maid. Will you let me see her?"

The Giant looked at the Prince from under his bushy eyebrows, and said:
"It is time enough to-morrow. I will show her to you myself, and you
will see quite enough of her," and he went off and left the Prince to
his sleep.

But next morning, early, the Giant strode into the Prince's room, and
saying, "Now I will take you to see the Master-Maid," he opened the door
of the fourth room, beckoned the Prince to follow him in, and said to
the maiden: "Kill this youth, boil him in the large cauldron, and when
the broth is ready, call me."

Then, just as if he had said nothing more startling than "Prepare some
cauliflower for dinner," he lay down on the bench and fell so fast
asleep that his snores sounded like thunder.

 [Illustration: "KILL THIS YOUTH. BOIL HIM IN THE LARGE CAULDRON," SAID
 THE GIANT]

Immediately the maiden began to make her preparations very neatly and
quickly. First, with a little knife she made a small gash in the
Prince's little finger and dropped three drops of his blood on the
wooden stool, near the cauldron. Then she gathered up a lot of rubbish,
such as old shoes and rags, and put them in the cauldron with water and
pepper and salt. Last of all, she packed a small chest with gold, and
gave it to the Prince to carry; filled a water-flask; took a golden cock
and hen, and put a lump of salt and a golden apple in her pocket. Then
the maid and the Prince ran to the sea-shore as fast as they could,
climbed on board a little ship that had come from no-one-knows-where,
and sailed away.

After a while the Giant roused a little, and said sleepily: "Will it
soon boil?"

The first drop of blood answered quietly: "It is just beginning." And
the Giant went to sleep again.

At the end of a few hours more he roused again and asked: "Will it soon
be ready?"

And the second drop said: "Half done," in the maiden's mournful voice,
for she had seen so many dark deeds done that, until the Prince came,
she was always sad.

Again the Giant went to sleep, for several hours; but then he became
quite awake, and asked: "Is it not done yet?"

The third drop said: "Quite ready." And the Giant sat up, and looked
around. The maiden was nowhere to be seen, but the Giant went over to
the pot and tasted the soup.

At once he knew what had happened, and in a furious rage rushed to the
sea, but he could not get over it. So he called up his water-sucker, who
lay down and drank two or three draughts; and the water fell so low that
the horizon dropped, and the Giant could see the maiden and the Prince a
long way off.

But the Master-Maid told the Prince to throw the lump of salt into the
sea, and as soon as he did so it became such a high mountain that the
Giant could not cross it, and the water-sucker could not gather up any
more water.

Then the Giant called his hill-borer, who bored a tunnel through the
mountain, so that the sucker could go through and drink up more water.

Then the maiden told the Prince to scatter a few drops from the
water-bottle into the sea. As soon as he did so the sea filled up, and
before the water-sucker could drink one drop, they were at the other
side, safe in the kingdom of the Prince's father.

The Prince did not think it was fitting that his bride should walk to
his palace, so he said he would go and fetch seven horses and a carriage
to take her there. The maiden begged him not to go, because, she said,
he would forget her; but he insisted. Then she asked him to speak to no
one while he was away, and on no account to taste anything; and he
promised that he would go straight to the stable for the horses, and
without speaking a word to anyone, would come straight back.

When he got to the palace he found it full of a merry company, for his
brother was going to be married to a lovely princess, who had come from
a far-off land. But in answer to their cries of welcome and questions
the Prince said no word, and only shook his head when they offered him
food, until the pretty laughing young sister of the bride-to-be rolled a
bright red apple across the courtyard to him. Laughing back at her, he
picked it up, and without thinking bit into it. Immediately he forgot
the Master-Maid, who had saved his life and was now sitting alone on the
seashore waiting for him.

She waited until the night began to grow dark; then she went away into
the wood near the palace to find shelter. There she found a dark hut,
owned by a Witch, who at first would not allow her to stay. The Witch's
hard heart, however, was softened by the maiden's gold, and she allowed
her to have the hut.

Then the maid flung into the fire a handful of gold, which immediately
melted and boiled all over the hut, and gilded the dark, dingy walls.
The Witch was so frightened that she ran away, and the maid was left
alone in the little gilded house.

The next morning the Sheriff was passing through the wood, and stopped
to see the gilded house. At once he fell in love with the beautiful
maiden, and asked her to marry him. The maiden asked if he had a great
deal of money, and the Sheriff said he had a good deal, and went away to
fetch it. In the evening he came back with a two-bushel bag of gold; and
as he had so much, the maiden seemed to think she would marry him.

But as they were talking she sprang up, saying she had forgotten to put
coal on the fire. The Sheriff went to do it for her, and immediately she
put a spell on him so that until morning came, he could not let the
shovel go, and had to stand all night pouring red hot coals over
himself. In the morning he was a sad sight to see, and hurried home so
fast, to hide himself, that people thought he was mad.

The next day the Attorney passed by, and the same thing happened. The
Attorney brought a four-bushel sack of money to show the maid how rich
he was; and while they were talking the maid said she had forgotten to
close the door, so the Attorney went to close it. When he had his hand
on the latch the maid cried: "May you hold the door, and the door you,
and may you go between wall and wall, till day dawns."

And all night long the Attorney had to rush back and forth, trying to
escape from the blows of the door which he could not let go. He made a
great deal of noise, but the maid slept as soundly as if she were in the
midst of calm. In the morning the Attorney escaped, and went home so
bruised-and-battered looking that everyone stopped and stared at him.

The next day the Bailiff saw the bright little house and the maid. He at
once fell in love with her, and brought at least six bushels of money to
show how rich she would be, if she married him. The maid seemed to think
she would; but while they were talking she suddenly remembered to tie up
the calf.

The Bailiff went to do it for her, and she put a spell on him, so that
all night long he had to fly over hill and dale holding on to the calf's
tail, which he could by no means let go. In the morning he was a sorry
sight, as he limped slowly home, with torn coat and ragged boots at
which everyone looked, for he was always dressed very neatly.

While all this was happening, the Prince had quite forgotten the maid;
and, indeed, it was arranged that he was to marry the young Princess who
had thrown him the apple on the same day that his brother married her
sister.

 [Illustration: THE BAILIFF COULD NOT LET GO OF THE CALF'S TAIL]

But when the two Princes and their brides were seated in the carriage
the trace-pin broke, and no pin could be got that would not break, until
the Sheriff thought of the maiden's shovel-handle. The King sent to
borrow it, and it made a pin that did not break in two.

Then a curious thing happened: the bottom of the carriage fell out, and
as fast as a new one was made it fell to pieces. However, the Attorney
thought of the maiden's door. The King sent to borrow it, and it fitted
the bottom of the carriage exactly.

Everything was now ready, and the coachman cracked his whip; but, strain
as they would, the horses could not move the carriage. At last the
Bailiff thought of the Master-Maid's calf; and although it was a very
ridiculous thing to see the King's carriage drawn by a calf, the King
sent to borrow it. The maiden, who was very obliging, lent it at once.
The calf was harnessed to the carriage, and away it went over stock and
stone, pulling horse and carriage as easily and quickly as it had pulled
the Bailiff.

When they got to the church door the carriage began to go round and
round so quickly that it was very difficult and dangerous to get out of
it.

When they were seated at the wedding feast, the Prince said he thought
they ought to invite the maiden who lived in the gilded hut, because
without her help they could not have got to the church at all. The King
thought so too; so they sent five courtiers to ask her to the feast.

"Greet the King," replied the maid, "and tell him if he is too good to
come to me, I am too good to go to him."

So the King had to go himself and invite her; and as they went to the
palace he thought she was something else than what she seemed to be.

So he put her in the place of honor beside the Prince; and after a while
the Master-Maid took out the golden cock and hen and the golden apple,
which she had brought from the Giant's house, and put them on the table.

At once the cock and hen began to fight.

"Oh! look how those two there are fighting for the apple," said the
Prince.

"Yes, and so did we fight to get out of danger," said the Master-Maid.

Then the Prince knew her again. The Witch who had thrown him the apple
disappeared, and now for the first time they began really to keep the
wedding.



CAP O' RUSHES[J]


Well, there was once a very rich gentleman who had three daughters, and
he thought he'd see how fond they were of him. So he says to the first:

"How much do you love me, my dear?"

"Why," says she, "as I love my life."

"That's good," says he.

So he says to the second: "How much do you love me, my dear?"

"Why," says she, "better nor all the world."

"That's good," says he.

So he says to the third: "How much do you love me, my dear?"

"Why, I love you as fresh meat loves salt," says she.

Well, but he was angry! "You don't love me at all," says he, "and in my
house you stay no more." So he drove her out, there and then, and shut
the door in her face.

Well, she went away, on and on, till she came to a fen, and there she
gathered a lot of rushes and made them into a kind of a sort of a cloak,
with a hood, to cover her from head to foot, and to hide her fine
clothes.

And then she went on and on till she came to a great house.

"Do you want a maid?" says she.

"No, we don't," said they.

"I haven't nowhere to go," says she; "and I ask no wages, and will do
any sort of work," says she.

"Well," said they, "if you like to wash the pots and scrape the
saucepans you may stay," said they.

So she stayed there, and washed the pots, and scraped the saucepans, and
did all the dirty work. And because she gave no name they called her
"Cap o' Rushes."

Well, one day there was to be a great dance a little way off, and the
servants were allowed to go and look on at the grand people. Cap o'
Rushes said she was too tired to go, so she stayed at home.

But when they were gone, she offed with her cap o' rushes, and cleaned
herself, and went to the dance. And no one there was so finely dressed
as she!

Well, who should be there but her master's son, and what should he do
but fall in love with her the minute he set eyes on her. He wouldn't
dance with anyone else.

But before the dance was done, Cap o' Rushes slipped off and away she
went home. And when the other maids came back she was pretending to be
asleep with her cap o' rushes on.

Well, next morning they said to her: "You did miss a sight, Cap o'
Rushes!"

"What was that?" says she.

"Why, the beautifullest lady you ever saw, dressed right gay and ga'.
The young master--he never took his eyes off her."

"Well, I should like to have seen her," says Cap o' Rushes.

"Well, there's to be another dance this evening, and perhaps she'll be
there."

But, come the evening, Cap o' Rushes said she was too tired to go with
them. Howsoever, when they were gone, she offed with her cap o' rushes,
cleaned herself, and away she went to the dance.

The master's son had been reckoning on seeing her, and he danced with no
one else, and never took his eyes off her. But before the dance was over
she slipped off and home she went, and when the maids came back she
pretended to be asleep with her cap o' rushes on.

Next day they said to her again: "Well, Cap o' Rushes, you should have
been there to see the lady. There she was again, gay and ga', and the
young master--he never took his eyes off her."

"Well, there," says she, "I should ha' liked to ha' seen her."

"Well," says they, "there's a dance again this evening, and you must go
with us, for she's sure to be there."

Well, come this evening, Cap o' Rushes said she was too tired to go; and
do what they would she stayed at home. But when they were gone, she
offed with her cap o' rushes and cleaned herself, and away she went to
the dance.

The master's son was rarely glad when he saw her. He danced with none
but her, and never took his eyes off her. When she wouldn't tell him her
name, nor where she came from, he gave her a ring, and told her if he
didn't see her again he should die.

Well, before the dance was over, off she slipped, and home she went; and
when the maids came home she was pretending to be asleep with her cap o'
rushes on.

Well, next day they says to her: "There, Cap o' Rushes, you didn't come
last night, and now you won't see the lady, for there's no more dances."

"Well, I should have rarely liked to have seen her," says she.

The master's son he tried every way to find out where the lady was
gone; but go where he might, and ask whom he might, he never heard
anything about her. And he got worse and worse for the love of her, till
he had to keep to his bed.

"Make some gruel for the young master," they said to the cook. "He's
dying for the love of the lady." The cook set about making it, when Cap
o' Rushes came in.

"What are you a-doing of?" says she.

"I'm going to make some gruel for the young master," says the cook, "for
he's dying for love of the lady."

"Let me make it," says Cap o' Rushes.

Well, the cook wouldn't at first, but at last she said yes, and Cap o'
Rushes made the gruel. And when she had made it she slipped the ring
into it on the sly before the cook took it upstairs.

The young man he drank it, and then he saw the ring at the bottom.

"Send for the cook," says he.

So up she came.

"Who made this gruel here?" says he.

"I did," says the cook, for she was frightened.

And he looked at her.

"No, you didn't," says he. "Say who did it, and you shan't be harmed."

"Well, then, 't was Cap o' Rushes," says she.

"Send Cap o' Rushes here," says he.

So Cap o' Rushes came.

"Did you make my gruel?" says he.

"Yes, I did," says she.

"Where did you get this ring?" says he.

"From him that gave it me," says she.

"Who are you, then?" says the young man.

"I'll show you," says she. And she offed with her cap o' rushes, and
there she was in her beautiful clothes.

Well, the master's son he got well very soon, and they were to be
married in a little time. It was to be a very grand wedding, and
everyone was asked, far and near. And Cap o' Rushes' father was asked.
But she never told anybody who she was.

But before the wedding, she went to the cook, and says she:

"I want you to dress every dish without a mite of salt."

"That'll be rare nasty," says the cook.

 [Illustration: "AND THERE SHE WAS IN HER BEAUTIFUL CLOTHES"]

"That doesn't signify," said she.

Well, the wedding day came, and they were married. And after they were
married all the company sat down to the dinner. When they began to eat
the meat, it was so tasteless they couldn't eat it. But Cap o' Rushes'
father tried first one dish and then another, and then he burst out
crying.

"What's the matter?" said the master's son to him.

"Oh!" says he, "I had a daughter. And I asked her how much she loved me.
And she said, 'As much as fresh meat loves salt.' And I turned her from
my door, for I thought she didn't love me. And now I see she loved me
best of all. And she may be dead for aught I know."

"No, father, here she is!" said Cap o' Rushes. And she goes up to him
and puts her arms round him.

And so they were all happy ever after.

 [J] From "English Fairy Tales," collected by Joseph Jacobs;
 used by permission of G. P. Putnam's Sons.



FULFILLED


It was Christmas eve, and in the great house on the hill there was much
rejoicing and preparation for the feasting on the morrow. A knock came
at the door, and two strangers stood there. "We have lost our way," they
said, "and the night is dark and cold, and we do not know where to go,
and we would be glad to be allowed to stay for the night."

But the farmer and his wife said "No!" very shortly. They had no room
for beggars.

So the strangers went to the foot of the hill where stood the small
cottage of a laborer and his wife. In this house there was much
happiness, but there was no preparation for feasting on the morrow. They
were poor folk, who could not keep the feast.

But when the strangers came the laborer opened the door wide and bade
them enter and draw near the fire and warm themselves. And, because
there was but one bed in the house, the laborer and his wife gave that
to their guests, and themselves slept on straw in an outer room; but,
strange to say, they never slept better in all their lives.

In the morning they urged the strangers to stay with them, as it was a
feast-day, and a sorry time for travelers to be on the road. And,
because there was no meat in the house, the laborer went out and killed
the one goat which they owned, and his wife dressed it, and cooked it,
and made a feast. Then the strangers and the laborer and his wife went
to church together, and all came home and sat down to the good dinner.

And when they were departing one of the strangers said to the laborer:
"How many horns had the little goat?"

The laborer looked a bit confused, for he had not meant that his guests
should know that he had sacrificed his last goat for them, but he
answered: "Why, there were but two, of course."

"Then," said the guests, "you and your wife shall have two wishes, one
for each of you."

The laborer and his wife looked at each other, at first in perplexity,
and then they smiled. They were very contented, they said. They had
looked into each other's eyes, and had seen that which made for
happiness and contentment. So they told the guests that they had no
wishes to make: if they might but have their daily bread, and the hope
of heaven when they died, there was nothing more.

The strangers said that these things should certainly be fulfilled, and
took their leave, promising to come again next year, and spend the
night, and attend church, and share the feast with their friends.

From that day on everything that the laborer and his wife did prospered.
Their pigs were fat, and brought good prices on the market; their corn
grew thick and tall, and the barns were filled with golden grain; their
hens laid more and bigger eggs than ever before, so that soon the couple
were no longer poor, but prosperous.

They knew quite well to whom they owed such good fortune, and often
spoke about it, and looked forward to the time when their friends should
come again next year. For it seemed to them that they could hardly enjoy
the good things that had been given to them until they had thanked those
through whose favor the good fortune had come.

Now, the farmer and his wife remembered that these strangers had first
come to them; and when they heard the story they were envious, for,
although they were rich, they were not content.

So one day the farmer went down the hill to the laborer's cottage and
said:

"After all, your house is but small to entertain such guests. When they
come again this year, send them up to our house, and we will give them a
grand feast, and soft beds to sleep on, and take them to the church in
our fine carriage."

The laborer and his wife thought that it was very nice that their
friends were to be so well entertained, and were very willing to promise
to send them to the house of the farmer.

So when the Christmas season was come the farmer and his wife killed an
ox, and prepared a great feast. And when the strangers came they were
right royally entertained; but the next morning they said that they must
hasten, as they were to enter the church with the friends of the year
before. This was very satisfactory to the farmer and his wife, for they
did not want to go to church on Christmas Day, but the farmer said that
since the strangers were going to the church he would drive them there
in his carriage.

So the finest horses on the farm were harnessed to the carriage and it
stood at the door. And just as they were about to drive away one of the
strangers turned to the farmer, asking: "Did you kill the ox for us?"

"Oh, yes," answered the farmer, eagerly.

"And how many horns did he have?"

This was the question that the farmer and his wife had been waiting for,
and the farmer's wife whispered in her husband's ear: "Say four--there
will be that much more for us."

So the farmer answered: "Indeed, it was a very peculiar ox; it had four
horns."

"Then," said the stranger, "you shall have four wishes, two for each of
you."

Then they mounted into the carriage and were driven off to the church,
the farmer driving very fast, for he was eager to get back home to his
wife so that they might talk over what they were to wish for.

So when he started back the horses were pretty well "blown," and could
not go fast, and the farmer whipped them, and at last one of them
stumbled and a trace broke. This was most provoking, and he could not
wait to fix it right, but fastened it hastily, for he wanted to be at
home again. Then the other horse stumbled, and the other trace broke, so
both of them were down.

At this the farmer was very angry. "The wicked elves take you! I wish--"
But the words were not all out of his mouth before the horses had gone,
leaving the harness dangling to the carriage.

The farmer was indeed angry now, but there was nothing to be done about
it, and he knew that he had but one wish left and he wanted to make that
one very carefully, so he packed the harness on his back, left the wagon
standing, and started home on foot.

Now, at home the farmer's wife was very impatient for him to come, for
she wanted to talk over with him what her two wishes should be, and at
last she exclaimed: "Oh, I wish that he would hurry!"

No sooner were the words spoken than the farmer shot through the air and
into the house, angry at having been brought so speedily, and at his
wife for having so foolishly wasted a wish. So immediately they began to
quarrel about it, and the farmer said that it was all her fault for
making him lie about the number of horns on the ox.

"Plague take the woman!" he exclaimed, "I wish that two of the horns
were growing out of her head this minute!"

No sooner were the words spoken than the woman threw her hands to her
head and cried aloud in pain, for two horns were growing rapidly, one on
each side of her head, and soon they were pushing through her hair and
shoving her cap aside.

But the farmer clapped his hand to his mouth exclaiming: "Oh, that was
my last wish. Do you now quickly wish for a million dollars!"

"Much good a million dollars would do me!" said his wife, "with horns on
my head like an ox!"

"But you could buy bonnets of silk and of velvet and cover them up,"
pleaded her husband, who saw his last hope of riches disappearing, as,
indeed, it did, for he had hardly stopped speaking when his wife
exclaimed: "I wish that the horns were gone off of my head."

And in a moment the horns were gone, and so was the last wish, and so
was the hope for great riches, and so, also, were the two fine horses!



KING GRISLY-BEARD

RETOLD FROM THE BROTHERS GRIMM


Once there was a great King who had a daughter that was very beautiful,
but so haughty and vain she thought none of the Princes who came to ask
her in marriage were good enough for her, and she made sport of them.

One day the King, her father, held a great feast, and invited all the
Princes at once. They sat in a row, according to their rank--Kings and
Princes and Dukes and Earls. Then the Princess came in, and passed down
the line by them all; but she had something disagreeable to say to
every one. The first was too fat. "He's as round as a tub!" she said.
The next one was too tall. "What a flag-pole!" she declared. The next
was too short. "What a dumpling!" was her comment. The fourth was too
pale, and so she called him "Wall-face." The fifth was too red, and was
named "Coxcomb."

Thus she had some joke upon every one, but she laughed more than all at
a good King who was there. "Look at him," said she; "his beard is like
an old mop. I call him 'Grisly-Beard.'" So after that the good King got
the nickname of "Grisly-Beard."

Now the old King, her father, was very angry when he saw how badly his
daughter behaved, and how she treated all his friends. So he said that,
willing or unwilling, she should marry the first beggar that came to the
door! All the Kings and Nobles heard him say this.

Two days afterward a traveling singer came by. When he began to sing and
beg alms the King heard him and said: "Let him come in." So they brought
in a dirty-looking fellow, and he sang before the King and the Princess.
When he begged a gift the King said: "You have sung so well that I will
give you my daughter for your wife."

 [Illustration: "YOU HAVE SUNG SO WELL I WILL GIVE YOU MY DAUGHTER FOR
 YOUR WIFE"]

The Princess begged for mercy, but her father said: "I shall keep my
word." So the parson was sent for, and she was married to the singer.
Then the King said: "You must get ready; you can't stay here any longer;
you must travel on with your husband."

Then the beggar departed and took his wife with him.

Soon they came to a great wood. "Whose wood is this?" she asked.

"It belongs to King Grisly-Beard," said he. "If you had taken him this
would have been yours."

"Ah, unlucky girl that I am! I wish I had taken King Grisly-Beard."

Next they came to some fine meadows. "Whose are these beautiful green
meadows?" she asked.

"They belong to King Grisly-Beard. If you had taken him they would have
been yours."

"Ah, unlucky girl that I am! I wish indeed I had married King
Grisly-Beard."

Then they came to a great city. "Whose is this noble city?" she asked.

"It belongs to King Grisly-Beard," he said again. "If you had taken him
this would have been yours, also."

 [Illustration: A DRUNKEN SOLDIER RODE HIS HORSE AGAINST HER STALL]

"Ah, miserable girl that I am," she sighed. "Why did I not marry King
Grisly-Beard?"

"That is no business of mine," said the singer.

At last they came to a small cottage. "To whom does this little hovel
belong?" she asked.

"This is yours and mine," said the beggar. "This is where we are to
live."

"Where are your servants?" she asked, falteringly.

"We cannot afford servants," said he. "You will have to do whatever is
to be done. Now, make the fire and put on water and cook my supper."

The Princess knew nothing of making fires and cooking, and the beggar
was forced to help her. Early the next morning he called her to clean
the house.

Thus they lived for three days, and when they had eaten up all there was
in the cottage, the man said: "Wife, we can't go on like this, spending
money and earning nothing. You must learn to weave baskets." So he went
out and cut willows, and brought them home and taught her how to weave.
But it made her fingers very sore.

"I see that this will never do," said her husband; "try and spin.
Perhaps you will do that better."

So she sat down and tried to spin, and her husband tried to teach her;
but the threads cut her tender fingers till the blood ran.

"I am afraid you are good for nothing," said the man. "What a bargain I
have got. However, I will try and set up a trade in pots and pans, and
you shall stand in the market and sell them."

"Alas!" sighed she, "when I stand in the market, if any of my father's
court pass by and see me there, how they will laugh at me!"

But the beggar said she must work, if she did not wish to die of hunger.
At first, the trade went very well, for many people, seeing such a
beautiful woman, bought her wares and paid their money without thinking
of taking away the goods. Then her husband bought a fresh lot of ware,
and she sat down one day with it in the corner of the market; but a
drunken soldier came by and rode his horse against her stall, and broke
her goods into a thousand pieces. So she began to weep: "Ah, what will
become of me?" said she. "What will my husband say?" So she ran home and
told him all.

"How silly you were," he said, "to put a china-stall in the corner of
the market where everybody passes; but let us have no more crying. I see
you are not fit for this sort of work; so I will go to the King's palace
and ask if they do not want a kitchen-maid."

So the next day the Princess became a kitchen-maid, and helped the cook
do all the dirtiest work.

She had not been there long before she heard that the eldest son of the
King of that country was going to be married. She looked out of one of
the windows and saw all the ladies and gentlemen of the court in fine
array. Then she thought with a sore heart of her own sad fate. Her
husband, it is true, had been in a way kind to her; but she realized now
the pride and folly which had brought her so low.

All of a sudden, as she was going out to take some food to her husband
in their humble cottage, the King's son in golden clothes broke through
the crowd; and when he saw a beautiful woman at the kitchen door, he
took her by the hand and said that she should be his partner in the
dance.

Then she trembled for fear, for when she looked up she saw that it was
King Grisly-Beard himself who was making fun of her. However, he led her
into the ballroom, and as he did so the cover of her basket came off, so
that the fragments of food in it fell to the floor. Then everybody
laughed and jeered at her, and she wished herself a thousand feet deep
in the earth.

She sprang to the door to run away; but King Grisly-Beard overtook her,
brought her back, and threw his golden cloak over her shoulders.

"Do not be afraid, my dear," said he; "I am the beggar who has lived
with you in the hut. I brought you there because I loved you. I am also
the soldier who upset your stall. I have done all this to cure you of
your pride. Now it is all over; you have learned wisdom, and it is time
for us to hold our marriage feast."

Then the maids came and brought her the most beautiful robes, and her
father and his whole court came in and wished her much happiness. The
feast was grand, and all were merry; and I wish you and I had been of
the party.

 [Illustration]



_The Country Rat and the Town Rat_


[Illustration]

A Country Rat invited a Town Rat, an intimate friend, to pay him a
visit, and partake of his country fare. As they were on the bare
plough-lands, eating their wheat-stalks and roots pulled up from the
hedge row, the Town Rat said to his friend, "You live here the life of
the ants, while in my house is the horn of plenty. I am surrounded with
every luxury, and if you will come with me, as I much wish you would,
you shall have an ample share of my dainties." The Country Rat was
easily persuaded, and returned to town with his friend. On his arrival,
the Town Rat placed before him bread, barley, beans, dried figs, honey,
raisins, and last of all, brought a dainty piece of cheese from a
basket. The Country Rat being much delighted at the sight of such good
cheer, expressed his satisfaction in warm terms, and lamented his own
hard fate. Just as they were beginning to eat, some one opened the door,
and they both ran off squeaking as fast as they could to a hole so
narrow that two could only find room in it by squeezing. They had
scarcely again begun their repast when someone else entered to take
something out of a cupboard, on which the two Rats, more frightened than
before, ran away and hid themselves. At last the Country Rat, almost
famished, thus addressed his friend: "Although you have prepared for me
so dainty a feast, I must leave you to enjoy it by yourself. It is
surrounded by too many dangers to please me. I prefer my bare
plough-lands and roots from the hedge row, so that I only can live in
safety and without fear."

             _#Peace is more desirable than wealth#_

 [Illustration]



 [Illustration: FABLES]



THE FOX AND THE GOAT


A Fox one day tried to drink at a well when he caught his feet on a
stone and fell into the water. It was not so deep as to drown him, yet
the poor Fox could not get out. Soon a Goat came that way. He, too,
thought he would drink, but then he saw the Fox in the well, so he said,
"Is the water good?" "Oh, yes," said the Fox, "it is very good and nice,
and there is a lot of it." In sprang the Goat, and at once the Fox
sprang on to his back, and thence out of the well. "Ah, my friend!" said
he, as he stood safe on the brink, "if your brains had been as large as
your beard, you would have seen where you meant to jump to!" and then
the sly Fox ran off and left the poor Goat in the well. _Look before you
leap._



THE TWO FROGS


Two Frogs were neighbors. The one inhabited a deep pond, far removed
from public view; the other lived in a gully containing little water,
and traversed by a country road. He that lived in the pond warned his
friend, and entreated him to change his residence and come and live with
him, saying that he could enjoy greater safety from danger and more
abundant food. The other refused, saying that he felt it so very hard
to remove from a place to which he had become accustomed. A few days
afterward a heavy wagon passed through the gully, and crushed him to
death under its wheels. _A wilful man will have his way to his own
hurt._



THE DOG IN THE MANGER


A cross Dog lay in a manger full of hay; and when the Ox came near to
eat his own food, the rude and ill-bred cur at once began to snarl and
bite at him. "What a selfish Beast thou art!" said the Ox; "thou canst
not eat the hay thyself, nor wilt thou look on while others feed." _Do
not be selfish._



THE STAG AT THE POOL


One hot day, a Stag, who came down from the hills to quench his thirst
at a pool of clear water, saw his form in the stream. "Ah!" said he,
"what fine horns these are--with what grace do they rise above my head!
I wish that all the parts of my body were as good as they. But sometimes
I quite blush at these poor, thin, weak legs of mine." While he thought
thus, all at once the cries of the huntsman and the bay of the hounds
were heard. Away flew the Stag, and by the aid of these same thin, weak
legs he soon outran the hunt. At last he found himself in a wood, and he
had the bad luck to catch his fine horns in the branch of a tree, where
he was held till the hounds came up and caught him. He now saw how
foolish he had been in thinking so ill of his legs which would have
brought him safely away, and in being so vain of those horns which had
caused his ruin. _The useful is better than the beautiful._



THE WAR-HORSE AND THE ASS


A War-Horse, grand in all the trappings of war, came with a great noise
down the road. The ground rang with the sound of his hoofs. At the same
time a meek Ass went with tired step down the same road with a great
load on his back. The Horse cried to the poor Ass to "get out of my way,
or I will crush you beneath my feet." The Ass, who did not wish to make
the proud horse cross, at once went to the side, so that he might pass
him. Not long after this, the Horse was sent to the wars. There he had
the ill-luck to get a bad wound, and in that state, as he was not fit to
serve in the field of war, his fine clothes were taken from him, and he
was sold to the man with whom the Ass dwelt. Thus the Ass and the Horse
met once more, but this time the grand War-Horse was, with great pains
and toil, drawing a cart with a load of bricks. Then the Ass saw what
small cause he had to think his lot worse than that of the Horse, who
had in times gone by treated him with so much scorn. _Pride will have a
fall._



THE FROGS WHO WANTED A KING


In old times when the Frogs swam at ease through the ponds and lakes,
they grew tired of their tame mode of life. They thought they would like
some kind of change, so they all met and with much noise prayed to Jove
to send them a King. Jove and all the gods laughed loud at the Frogs,
and with a view to please them he threw to them a log, and said, "There
is a King for you!" The loud fall of the log made a great splash in the
lake, which sent a thrill through all the Frogs; and it was long ere
they dared to take a peep at their new lord and King. At length some of
the more brave swam to him, and they were soon followed by the rest; and
when they saw that he did not move but lay quite still, they leaped upon
his back, and sprang and sang on him, and cried out that he was no King
but a log. Such a King did not at all please them; so they sent a fresh
prayer to Jove to beg him for a King who had some life, and would move.
Then Jove sent a Stork, and said he thought this would suit them. The
Stork had but just come to the Frogs than he set to work to eat them up
as fast as he could. Of course the Frogs did not like this new King even
as well as King Log, and they sent at once to Jove and prayed to him to
take away the Stork. They would rather have no King at all than all be
eaten up. But Jove would not grant their prayer this time. "No," said
he, "it was your own wish, and if you will be so vain and foolish, you
must pay the cost." _It is better to bear the ills we have than fly to
those we know not of._



 [Illustration]

THE OX AND THE FROG


An ox, drinking at a pool, trod on a brood of young frogs, and crushed
one of them to death. The mother coming up, and missing one of her sons,
inquired of his brothers what had become of him.

"He is dead," said they; "for just now a very huge beast with four great
feet came to the pool and crushed him with his cloven heel."

The frog, puffing herself out, inquired, "Was the beast as big as _that_
in size?"

"Cease mother, to puff yourself out," said her son, "and do not be
angry; for you would, I assure you, sooner burst than successfully
imitate the hugeness of that monster."

_To know the limitations of our nature, and act accordingly, is the part
of wisdom._



 [Illustration]

THE HERON WHO WAS HARD TO PLEASE


A heron having bolted down too large a fish, burst its deep gullet-bag
and lay down on the shore to die. A kite seeing it, exclaimed: "You
richly deserve your fate; for a bird of the air has no business to seek
its food from the sea."

_Everyone should be content to mind his own business._

 [Illustration]



THE SHEPHERD BOY AND THE WOLF


A Shepherd Boy, who tended his sheep in a field near a village, used to
make fun of his friends by crying out now and then, "A Wolf! a Wolf!" as
if a Wolf were at the heels of his sheep. This trick did well more than
once. The men who were in the village would leave their work, and come
in hot haste to the boy's help, each man with an axe or a club with
which to kill the Wolf. But as each time they found that it was a Boy's
joke, they made up their minds not to come at his cries. One day the
Wolf did come; and the Boy cried and cried, "The Wolf! The Wolf! Help!
Help!" But it was all in vain, each man thought he was at his old game
again. So the Wolf ate the poor Sheep. _No one trusts a liar even when
he speaks the truth._



THE ASS, THE COCK, AND THE LION


An Ass and a Cock one day ate together just as a fine Lion passed by. As
soon as he had cast his eyes on the Ass, he made up his mind to make a
meal of him. But it is said that the Lion, though he is the King of
Beasts, dreads to hear a cock crow. Now, it came to pass that, just as
the Lion was in the act of springing on the Ass, the Cock sent forth a
loud and shrill crow. The Lion took to his heels at once, and ran off
as fast as he could. The Ass saw this, and thought that the Lion was
running off through fear of him. So he gave a great bray, and threw up
his head, and started to chase the runaway King of Beasts. But they had
not gone far in this way when the Lion turned round. He soon saw that
there was but an Ass behind him; so he stood still in his flight, laid
hold of the poor Ass, and soon tore him to pieces. _Pride oft leads to
ruin._



THE LION, THE BEAR, AND THE FOX


A Lion and a Bear were roaming together in the wood when they found a
dead Fawn. "This belongs to me," cried the Bear, for she had been the
first to catch sight of it. "No! to me," said the Lion; "am I not the
King of Beasts?" As they could not agree as to who should own the body
of the Fawn, they fell to blows. The fight was hard and long; and at
last both were so faint and weak with loss of blood that they lay down
on the ground and panted, for they were quite out of breath. Just then a
Fox went by, and saw that the Bear and the Lion had no strength left, so
he quickly stepped in between them and bore off the Fawn as his prize.
"Ah!" said they, "how foolish we have been! The end of all our fighting
has been to give that sly scamp the Fox a good meal." _Half a loaf is
better than no bread._



THE HORSE AND THE STAG


The Horse had the plain entirely to himself. A Stag intruded into his
domain, and shared his pasture. The Horse desiring to revenge himself
on the stranger, requested a man, if he were willing to help him in
punishing the Stag. The man replied, that if the Horse would receive
a bit in his mouth, and agree to carry him, that he would contrive
effectual weapons against the Stag. The Horse consented and allowed the
man to mount him. From that hour he found that, instead of obtaining
revenge on the Stag, he had enslaved himself to the service of man.
_Beware of him who demands pay for a courtesy._



THE LION AND THE BOAR


On a summer day, when the great heat induced a general thirst, a Lion
and a Boar came at the same moment to a small well to drink. They
fiercely disputed which of them should drink first, and were soon
engaged in the agonies of a mortal combat. On their stopping on a sudden
to take breath for the fiercer renewal of the strife, they saw some
Vultures waiting in the distance to feast on the one which should fall
first. They at once made up their quarrel, saying, "_It is better for us
to make friends than to become the food of Crows or Vultures._"



THE HUNTSMAN AND THE FISHERMAN


A Huntsman, returning with his dogs from the field, fell in by chance
with a Fisherman, bringing home a basket well laden with fish. The
Huntsman wished to have the fish; and their owner experienced an equal
longing for the contents of the game-bag. They quickly agreed to
exchange the produce of their day's sport. Each was so well pleased with
his bargain that for some time they made the same exchange day after
day. A neighbor said to them, "If you go on in this way, you will soon
destroy, by frequent use, the pleasure of your exchange, and each will
again wish to retain the fruits of his own sport." _Abstain and enjoy._



 [Illustration]

THE ASS IN THE LION'S SKIN


An ass, having put on the lion's skin, roamed about in the forest, and
amused himself by frightening all the foolish animals he met with in his
wanderings. At last, meeting a fox, he tried to frighten him also, but
the fox no sooner heard the sound of his voice than he exclaimed: "I
might possibly have been frightened myself, if I had not heard you
bray."

_Deceitfulness has too many ill-concealed marks to escape discovery by
someone, sometime._



 [Illustration: THE CAT AND THE MONKEY]

 [Illustration: A MILLER, HIS SON, AND THEIR ASS]

 [Illustration: THE HARE AND THE TORTOISE]

 [Illustration: THE TOWN RAT AND THE COUNTRY RAT]

 FROM DRAWINGS BY BESS BRUCE CLEVELAND



 [Illustration: THE HEN AND THE GOLDEN EGGS]

 [Illustration: THE LION AND THE GNAT]

 [Illustration: THE ASS IN THE LION'S SKIN]

 [Illustration: THE OX AND THE FROG]

 FROM DRAWINGS BY BESS BRUCE CLEVELAND



 [Illustration]

THE HARE and THE TORTOISE


A hare one day ridiculed the short feet and slow pace of the tortoise.
The latter laughing, said: "Though you be swift as the wind, I will beat
you in a race." The hare, deeming her assertion to be simply impossible
assented to the proposal; and they agreed that the fox should choose the
course and fix the goal. On the day appointed for the race they started
together. The tortoise never for a moment stopped, but went on with a
slow but steady pace straight to the end of the course. The hare,
trusting to his native swiftness, cared little about the race, and lying
down by the wayside, fell fast asleep. At last, waking up, and moving as
fast as he could, he saw the tortoise had reached the goal, and was
comfortably dozing after her fatigue.

                _Slow and steady wins the race._



THE FOX AND THE WOOD-CUTTER


A Fox, running before the hounds, came across a Wood-cutter felling an
oak, and besought him to show him a safe hiding-place. The Wood-cutter
advised him to take shelter in his own hut. The Fox crept in and hid
himself in a corner. The huntsman came up with his hounds, in a few
minutes, and inquired of the Wood-cutter if he had not seen the Fox. He
declared that he had not seen him, and yet pointed, all the time he was
speaking, to the hut where the Fox lay hid. The huntsman took no notice
of the signs, but, believing his word, hastened forward in the chase. As
soon as they were well away, the Fox departed without taking any notice
of the Wood-cutter: whereon he called to him, and reproached him,
saying, "You ungrateful fellow, you owe your life to me, and yet you
leave me without a word of thanks." The Fox replied, "Indeed, I should
have thanked you fervently, _if your deeds had been as good as your
words, and if your hands had not been traitors to your speech_."



THE LION AND OTHER BEASTS ON A HUNT


The Lion and a lot of other Beasts made a plan to share whatever they
caught when they went on a hunt. The first day they went out they took a
fat Stag, which was cut up into three parts. The Lion said he would be
the chief judge, and laid his paw on one of the shares, and thus spoke:
"This first piece I claim as your lord and king; this part, too, I claim
as the most brave and most fierce of you all; and as for the third," he
cried, as he bent his big, bright eyes on the crowd of Beasts, "I mean
to take that, too, and let me see which of you dare stop me!" _Might is
apt to make a right._



THE EAGLE AND THE ARROW


A man shot a shaft at an Eagle, and hit him in the heart. When in the
pains of death, the Eagle saw that the dart was made in part with one of
his own quills. "Ah!" said he, "how much more sharp are wounds which are
made by arms which we have ourselves made!" _It is sad to find that we
are the cause of our own ills._



THE MOUSE AND THE FROG


One day a Mouse met a Frog, and so well did they like each other that
they said they would travel together. The Frog feared lest the Mouse
should come to harm, and so tied his own hind-leg to the fore-leg of the
Mouse. After a walk of some days like this on land, they came to a pond.
The Frog made a start to swim, and bade the Mouse be of good heart.
When they had got half-way over, the Frog made a sharp plunge to the
bottom--and of course took the Mouse with him. The poor Mouse tried so
hard to get to the top of the water again, and made such a splash, and
such a noise, that a Kite that was flying past heard it, flew down,
caught the Mouse, bore him off, and took the Frog with him. _Self-help
is best._



THE WOLF AND THE GOAT


As a Goat stood on the top of a high rock, a Wolf who could not get at
her where she was thus spoke to her: "Pray come down; I much fear that
you will fall from that great height; and you will, too, find the grass
down here much more fresh and thick." "I am much pleased by your kind
thought," said the Goat, "but do not mind if I do not accept it, as I
think that you think more of your own meal than of mine." _Keep far from
those you do not trust._



THE BAD DOG


There was once a Dog which was so fierce and bad that his master had to
tie a big clog round his neck lest he should bite and tease men and boys
in the street. The Dog thought that this was a thing to be proud of, so
ran through the best known streets, and grew so vain that he scorned the
dogs he met, and would not be seen with them. But one of them said in
his ear, "You are wrong, my friend; the badge round your neck is a mark
of shame, not a cause for pride." _Some win fame only for their folly._



THE KID AND THE WOLF


A Kid who had left the side of her dam was caught by a Wolf. When she
saw that the Wolf had got her fast, and that there was no chance of
flight, the Kid said, "If my life is to be short, let it at least be
gay. Do you pipe for a time, and I will dance." So the Wolf set to play
and the Kid to dance; but the music was heard by some Dogs who were
near, and they ran to find out what it was for. When the Wolf saw them
on their way he ran off as fast as his legs could go, and then the Dogs
took the Kid home to her dam. _There is oft a slip between the cup and
the lip._



 [Illustration]

THE FOX AND THE GRAPES


A famished fox saw some clusters of rich black grapes hanging from a
trellised vine. She resorted to all her tricks to get them, but wearied
herself in vain, for she could not reach high enough. At last, she
turned away, beguiling herself of her disappointment by saying: "The
grapes are sour, and not ripe as I thought."

_Disappointment may be lightened by philosophy, even if the latter is
wrong._

 [Illustration]



 [Illustration]

THE FOX AND THE RAVEN


A raven having stolen a bit of cheese, perched in a tree, and held it in
her beak. A fox seeing her longed to possess himself of the cheese, and
by wily stratagem succeeded. "How handsome is the raven," he exclaimed,
"in the beauty of her shape, and in the fairness of her complexion! Oh,
if her voice were only equal to her beauty, she would deservedly be
considered the Queen of the birds!" This he said deceitfully; but the
raven, anxious to refute the reflection cast upon her voice, set up a
loud caw, and dropped the cheese. The fox quickly picked it up, and thus
addressed the raven: "My good raven, your voice is right enough, but
your wit is wanting."

              _Flattery is often a mask to hide evil._

 [Illustration]



THE BULL AND THE GOAT


A Bull fled from a Lion and ran into a cave where a Goat lived. The Goat
tried to stop his entrance, and struck at him with his horns. The Bull,
though cross at this, did not butt at the Goat on the spot, but just
said, "Do not think that I fear you. Wait till the Lion is out of sight,
and then I will treat you as you deserve." _Never profit by the woes of
others._



THE RAVEN AND THE SWAN


A Raven who did not like his black coat had the wish to grow as white as
a Swan. So he left his old friends and haunts, and went to the streams
and lakes, where he spent all his time washing and dressing his clothes;
but all was of no use, he was just as black as ever; and as he had not
had food that was good for him, he soon grew ill and died. _We cannot
change our skins._



THE THIEF AND THE DOG


One night a Thief came to a house that he meant to rob; but he knew that
he had no chance to do this till he had made the Dog who took care of it
quiet. So he threw to him some sops with the hope that that would stop
his bark. "Get out will you!" cried the Dog; "I did not trust you from
the first, but now I know that you mean no good!" _Do not take a bribe
to do wrong._



THE HORSE AND THE LOADED ASS


A man who had a Horse and an Ass had a way of putting all the load on
the back of the Ass, and none on the Horse. One day as they went in this
way by a long, long road, the poor tired Ass tried to get the Horse to
help him to bear his load. But the Horse was not kind, and said lots of
cruel things to the Ass and said he must trudge on in front. The Ass did
trudge on; but the weight was too much for him, so he fell down on the
road, and at once died. The man then came up, took the load from the
back of the Ass, and laid it on that of the Horse; and made him bear the
body of the Ass, too. So the Horse was punished, and at last had to bear
the whole of the load. _Be kind to the weak._



THE ASS WITH THE SALT


A Man who had an Ass heard that salt was to be bought for less gold at
the seaside than where he was, so he went there to buy some. He put as
much on his Ass as he could bear, and was going home, when just as they
had to cross a small bridge, the Ass fell into the stream; the salt at
once melted, so the Ass with ease got up the bank, and, now free from
his load, went on his way with a light heart. Very soon after this the
man went to the seaside once more, and put still more salt on his Ass.
As they went their way they came once more to the bridge where the Ass
fell into the stream. The Ass thought of his fall and what had come of
it, and this time took care to roll into the water once more; the salt
was again gone, and he was free from his load. The Man was cross at
this, and thought to cure the Ass of this trick, so the third time he
gave him a load of sponges. As soon as they came to the bridge the Ass
fell into the stream; but as the sponges drew in the water he found as
he trudged home that this time his load had grown in weight. _We may
play a trick once too often._



THE COCK AND THE JEWEL


As a young Cock tried to find food for himself and his Hens in a
farmyard, he saw a gem which shone with bright rays, and which some one
had let fall there. The Cock did not see what use such a thing could be
to him, and did not stop to think if it might be of use to any one else.
But he shook his head with a wise air, and said: "You shine like a very
fine and rare thing, but for my part my taste lies in quite another
line. I would rather have a grain of corn than all the gems in the
world." _Learn how to use all things for good._



THE FOX WHO HAD LOST HIS TAIL


A Fox, caught in a trap, escaped with the loss of his "brush."
Henceforth feeling his life a burden from the shame and ridicule to
which he was exposed, he schemed to bring all the other Foxes into a
like condition with himself, that in the common loss he might the
better conceal his own deprivation. He assembled a good many Foxes, and
publicly advised them to cut off their tails saying "that they would not
only look much better without them, but that they would get rid of the
weight of the brush, which was a great inconvenience." One of them
interrupting him said, "_If you had not yourself lost your tail, my
friend, you would not thus counsel us._"



 [Illustration]

THE EAGLE AND THE JACKDAW


An eagle flying down from his eyrie on a lofty rock, seized upon a
lamb, and carried him aloft in his talons. A jackdaw, who witnessed the
capture of the lamb, was stirred with envy, and determined to emulate
the strength and flight of the eagle. He flew around with a great whir
of his wings, and settled upon a large ram, with the intention of
carrying him off; but his claws becoming entangled in his fleece he was
not able to release himself, although he fluttered with his feathers as
much as he could. The shepherd, seeing what had happened, ran up and
caught him. He at once clipped his wings, and taking him home at night,
gave him to his children. On their saying: "Father, what kind of bird is
it?" he replied: "To my certain knowledge he is a daw; but he will have
it that he is an eagle."

           _We should know our weakness and our strength._

 [Illustration]



 [Illustration]

THE HEN AND THE GOLDEN EGGS


A Cottager and his wife had a hen which laid every day a golden egg.
They supposed that it must contain a great lump of gold in its inside,
and killed it in order that they might get it, when to their surprise
they found that the hen differed in no respect from their other hens.
The foolish pair, thus hoping to become rich all at once, deprived
themselves of the gain of which they were day by day assured.

_It is better to be content with small things that are certain than to
seek big things that are uncertain._



THE DOG AND THE ASS


An Ass laden with loaves of bread was going on a long journey with a dog
to guard him from harm. Before the journey was ended both were famished
with hunger, which the Ass was able to appease by eating the grass and
thistles that grew by the roadside. Seeing this, the dog's hunger became
still sharper, so that he begged for a piece of bread from the Ass's
load.

"If you are hungry," said the Ass rudely, "you can eat grass just as I
do. I have no bread to give you."

Just then they saw, in the distance, a Wolf loping toward them, and the
trembling Ass begged the dog to protect him.

"No," said the dog. "People who live alone will have to fight alone."
And he went off and left the unfortunate Ass to his fate.

_When your friends need you, go to their assistance. You do not know
when you may need them._



THE NORTH WIND AND THE SUN


The North Wind and the Sun had a discussion as to which was the
stronger, and had the more power, and finally agreed that the first
to compel a traveler to remove his cloak should be the winner in the
contest between them. The North Wind began, by blowing a strong blast,
thinking to tear away the traveler's cloak. But his breath was so cold,
that he only succeeded in making the traveler wind his garment more and
more closely around him, until he resembled a sheath.

Then came the Sun's turn, and he shed his beams on the poor man's head
so that he loosened his cloak, and basked in their warmth, and finally
quite forgetful of the cold, he cast his cloak aside and took shelter
from the heat under a tree that grew by the roadside.

_Gentleness is often stronger than force._



THE FOX AND THE LION


A Fox who had never yet seen a Lion, when he fell in with him by a
certain chance for the first time in the forest, was so frightened that
he was near dying with fear. On his meeting with him for the second
time, he was still much alarmed, but not to the same extent as at first.
On seeing him the third time, he so increased in boldness that he went
up to him, and commenced a familiar conversation with him.

_Acquaintance softens prejudices._



THE CROW AND THE PITCHER


A Crow perishing with thirst saw a pitcher, and, hoping to find water,
flew to it with great delight. When he reached it, he discovered to his
grief that it contained so little water that he could not possibly get
at it. He tried everything he could think of to reach the water, but all
his efforts were in vain. At last he collected as many stones as he
could carry, and dropped them one by one with his beak, into the
pitcher, until he brought the water within his reach, and thus saved
his life.

_Necessity is the mother of invention._



THE ASS AND HIS SHADOW


A Traveler hired an Ass to convey him to a distant place. The day being
intensely hot, and the sun shining in its strength, the traveler stopped
to rest, and sought shelter from the heat under the Shadow of the Ass.
As this afforded only protection for one, and as the traveler and the
owner of the Ass both claimed it, a violent dispute arose between them
as to which had the right to it. The owner maintained that he had let
the Ass only, and not his Shadow. The traveler asserted that he had,
with the hire of the Ass, hired his Shadow also. The quarrel proceeded
from words to blows, and while the men fought the Ass galloped off.

_In quarreling about the shadow we often lose the substance._



THE WOLF AND THE CRANE


A Wolf, having a bone stuck in his throat, hired a Crane for a large sum
to put his head into his throat and draw out the bone. When the Crane
had extracted the bone, and demanded the promised payment, the Wolf,
grinning and grinding his teeth, exclaimed: "Why, you have surely
already a sufficient recompense in having been permitted to draw out
your head in safety from the mouth and jaws of a wolf."

_In serving the wicked, expect no reward, and be thankful if you escape
injury for your pains._



 [Illustration]

THE FOX AND THE CRANE


A fox invited a crane to supper, and provided nothing for his
entertainment but some soup made of pulse, and poured out into a broad,
flat stone dish. The soup fell out of the long bill of the crane at
every mouthful, and his vexation at not being able to eat afforded the
fox most intense amusement.

The crane, in his turn, asked the fox to sup with him, and set before
her a flagon, with a long, narrow mouth, so that he could easily insert
his neck, and enjoy its contents at his leisure; while the fox, unable
even to taste it, met with a fitting requital, after the fashion of her
own hospitality.

_Unfeeling jests and pranks at the expense of others beget unhappiness
and discomfort at the expense of ourselves._



THE CAT AND THE MONKEY

 [Illustration]


A monkey once found some chestnuts, which he put on the hot coals of a
fire to roast. He was puzzled, however, as to how he should get them
again without burning himself. Seeing a nice tabby cat in a corner, he
thus accosted her: "Please come and sit with me awhile, for I am
lonely." Puss took a seat at the monkey's side, without thinking of
harm, when he jumped on her back. Seizing both her paws, he made her
pull the nuts from the fire, despite her cries.

_Study your acquaintances, and beware of those who, in the guise of
friendship, would use you for their own selfish purposes._



THE DANCING MONKEYS


A Prince had some Monkeys trained to dance. Being naturally great mimics
of men's actions, they showed themselves most apt pupils; and, when
arrayed in their rich clothes and masks, they danced as well as any of
the guests. The spectacle was often repeated with great applause, till
on one occasion a guest, bent on mischief, took from his pocket a
handful of nuts, and threw them on the stage. The Monkeys at the sight
of the nuts forgot their dancing, and became (as indeed they were)
Monkeys instead of actors, and pulling off their masks, and tearing
their robes, they fought with one another for the nuts. The dancing
spectacle thus came to an end, amidst the laughter and ridicule of the
audience.

_Habits are not easily broken._



THE HARES AND THE FROGS


The Hares, oppressed with a sense of their own exceeding timidity,
and weary of the perpetual alarm to which they were exposed, with
one accord determined to put an end to themselves and their troubles,
by jumping from a lofty precipice into a deep lake below. As they
scampered off in a very numerous body to carry out their resolve,
the Frogs lying on the banks of the lake heard the noise of their
feet, and rushed helter-skelter to the deep water for safety. On seeing
the rapid disappearance of the Frogs, one of the Hares cried out to his
companions: "Stay, my friends, do not do as you intended; for you now
see that other creatures who yet live are more timorous than ourselves."

_Conquer fear._



THE LION AND THE GNAT


A Gnat came to a Lion and said: "I do not the least fear you, nor are
you stronger than I am. You can scratch with your claws, and bite with
your teeth--so can a woman in her quarrels. Let us fight, and see who
shall conquer." The Gnat, having sounded his horn, fastened himself upon
the Lion, and stung him on the nostrils and parts of the face devoid of
hair. The Lion, trying to crush him, tore himself with his claws, until
he punished himself severely. The Gnat thus prevailed over the Lion,
and, buzzing about in a song of triumph, flew away. But shortly
afterward he became entangled in the meshes of a cobweb, and was eaten
by a spider. He greatly lamented his fate, saying: "Woe is me! that I,
who can wage war successfully with the hugest beast, should perish
myself from this spider, the most inconsiderable of insects!"

_Esteem yourself neither highly nor lowly, but walk humbly in the face
of the Unknown._



THE FROGS AND THE BULLS


Two frogs, sitting on the edge of a pond saw two Bulls fighting in a
meadow close by. "Alas!" cried one of the frogs. "Those dreadful beasts
are fighting. What will become of us!"

"There is no reason for fear," said the other frog. "Their quarrels have
nothing to do with us. Their lives are different from ours, and cannot
affect us."

"Alas!" said the first frog, "you are wrong. One of them will certainly
triumph. The vanquished will take refuge from the victor in our marshes,
and we shall be trampled under his feet."

_When the strong fall out, the weak are the greatest sufferers from
their quarrels._



THE LARK AND HER YOUNG ONES


A Lark had made her nest in the early Spring on the young green wheat.
The brood had almost grown to their proper strength, and attained the
use of their wings and the full plumage of their feathers, when the
owner of the field, overlooking his crop, now quite ripe, said, "The
time is come when I must send to all my neighbors to help me with my
harvest." One of the young Larks heard his speech, and told it to his
mother, asking her to what place they should move for safety.

"There is no occasion to move yet, my son," she replied; "the man who
only sends to his friends to help him with his harvest is not really in
earnest." The owner of the field again came a few days later, and saw
the wheat shedding the grain from excess of ripeness, and said, "I will
come myself to-morrow with my laborers, and with as many reapers as I
can hire, and will get in the harvest." The Lark on hearing these words
said to her brood, "It is time now to be off, my little ones, for the
man is in earnest this time; he no longer trusts to his friends, but
will reap the field himself."

_Self-help is the best help._



BELLING THE CAT


The mice who lived in the old house met one day to discuss the means to
be used to get rid of a large, fierce black cat that had taken up her
abode there, and made her living by hunting and eating them up one by
one, so that their numbers were greatly reduced. Each mouse lived in
constant dread of being pounced upon and eaten.

Even the youngest scarcely dared to scurry across the floor, its little
heart beating pit-a-pat, and they found it so hard to get time to look
for food that they all grew thin.

They lived in such dread that when they met, no one at first could think
of anything to say. But at last a young mouse plucked up his spirits and
said: "I will tell you what to do. Fasten a bell on the cat's neck. As
she walks about the bell will ring, and we shall hear it and can tell
where she is."

This seemed so good a plan that the mice all chattered joyously, until
an old mouse asked quietly: "Who will go out and bell the cat?"

None of the mice dared; and they quickly realized that _what seems an
easy plan may be hard to carry out, and some things are easier said than
done_.



 [Illustration]

A MILLER, HIS SON, AND THEIR ASS


A miller and his son were driving their ass to a neighboring fair to
sell him. They had not gone far when they met a troop of women collected
around a well. "Look," cried one, "did you ever see such fellows, to be
trudging on foot when they might ride?" The old man, hearing this, made
his son mount, and continued to walk at his side.

Presently they came to a group of old men in debate. "There," said one
of them, "it proves what I was a-saying: what respect is shown to old
age in these days? Do you see that idle lad riding, while his old father
has to walk? Get down, you young scapegrace, and let the old man rest
his weary limbs." Upon this the old man made his son dismount, and got
up himself.

Soon they met a company of women and children. "Why, you lazy old
fellow," cried several tongues at once, "how can you ride upon the
beast, while that poor little lad can hardly keep pace by the side of
you?" The miller immediately took up his son behind him. They had now
almost reached the town.

"Pray, honest friend," said a citizen, "is that ass your own?" "Yes,"
said the old man. "Oh, one would not have thought so," said the other,
"by the way you load him. Why, you two fellows are better able to carry
the poor beast than he you." So they tied the legs of the ass together,
and by the aid of a pole endeavored to carry him on their shoulders over
a bridge. The sight brought the people in crowds to laugh at it; till
the ass broke the cords that held him and fell into the river. Upon
this, the old man, vexed and ashamed, made his way home.

_In trying to please everybody one is quite likely to please nobody._



THE TORTOISE AND THE EAGLE


A Tortoise, lazily basking in the sun, complained to the sea-birds of
her hard fate, that no one would teach her to fly. An Eagle hovering
near, heard her lamentation, and demanded what reward she would give
him, if he would take her aloft, and float her in the air. "I will give
you," she said, "all the riches of the Red Sea." "I will teach you to
fly then," said the Eagle; and taking her up in his talons, he carried
her almost to the clouds,--when suddenly letting her go, she fell on a
lofty mountain, and dashed her shell to pieces. The Tortoise exclaimed
in the moment of death: "I have deserved my present fate; for what had I
to do with wings and clouds, who can with difficulty move about on the
earth?"

_If men had all they wished, they would be often ruined._



THE PEACOCK AND JUNO


The Peacock made complaint to Juno that, while the small nightingale
pleased every ear with his song, he no sooner opened his mouth than he
became a laughing-stock of all who heard him. The Goddess, to console
him, said, "But you far excel in beauty and in size. The splendor of the
emerald shines in your neck, and you unfold a tail gorgeous with painted
plumage." "But for what purpose have I," said the bird, "this dumb
beauty so long as I am surpassed in song?" "The lot of each," replied
Juno, "has been assigned by the will of the Fates--to thee, beauty; to
the eagle, strength; to the nightingale, song; to the raven, favorable,
and to the crow, unfavorable auguries. These are all contented with the
endowments allotted to them."

_Contentment is happiness._



THE LION, THE FOX, AND THE ASS


The Lion, the Fox, and the Ass entered into an agreement to assist each
other in the chase. Having secured a large booty, the Lion, on their
return from the forest, asked the Ass to allot his due portion to each
of the three partners in the treaty. The Ass carefully divided the spoil
into three equal shares, and modestly requested the two others to make
the first choice. The Lion, bursting into a great rage, devoured the
Ass. Then he requested the Fox to do him the favor to make a division.
The Fox accumulated all that they had killed into one large heap, and
left to himself the smallest possible morsel. The Lion said, "Who has
taught you, my very excellent fellow, the art of division? You are
perfect to a fraction." He replied, "I learnt it from the Ass, by
witnessing his fate."

_Happy is the man who learns from the misfortunes of others._



THE FATHER AND HIS SONS


A Father had a family of sons who were perpetually quarreling among
themselves. When he failed to heal their disputes by his exhortations,
he determined to give them a practical illustration of the evils of
disunion and for this purpose he one day told them to bring him a bundle
of sticks. When they had done so, he placed the faggot into the hands of
each of them in succession, and ordered them to break it in pieces. They
each tried with all their strength and were not able to do it. He next
unclosed the faggot, and took the sticks separately, one by one, and
again put them into their hands, on which they broke them easily. He
then addressed them in these words: "My sons, if you are of one mind,
and unite to assist each other, you will be as this faggot, uninjured by
all the attempts of your enemies; but _if you are divided among
yourselves, you will be broken as easily as these sticks_."



 [Illustration]

THE DOVE AND THE ANT


An ant went to the bank of a river to quench its thirst, and, being
carried away by the rush of the stream, was on the point of being
drowned. A dove, sitting on a tree overhanging the water, plucked a leaf
and let it fall into the stream close to her. The ant, climbing on to
it, floated in safety to the bank. Shortly afterward a bird-catcher came
and stood under the tree, and laid his lime-twigs for the dove, which
sat in the branches. The ant, perceiving his design, stung him in the
foot. He suddenly threw down the twigs, and thereupon made the dove take
wing.

_The grateful heart will find opportunities to show gratitude._



 [Illustration]

THE FOX AND THE CAT


A fox was boasting to a cat of its clever devices for escaping its
enemies. "I have a whole bag of tricks," he said, "which contains a
hundred ways of escaping my enemies."

"I have only one," said the cat, "but I can generally manage with that."
Just at that moment they heard the cry of a pack of hounds coming toward
them, and the cat immediately scampered up a tree and hid himself in the
boughs. "This is my plan," said the cat. "What are you going to do?"

The fox thought first of one way, then of another, and while he was
debating, the hounds came nearer, and at last the fox in his confusion
was caught up by the hounds and soon killed by the huntsmen.

_Better one carefully thought out plan of action than a hundred untried
ideas._



 [Illustration: THE FOX AND THE GRAPES]

 [Illustration: THE FOX AND THE CAT]

 [Illustration: THE FOX AND THE RAVEN]

 [Illustration: THE FOX AND THE CRANE]

 FROM DRAWINGS BY BESS BRUCE CLEVELAND



 [Illustration: THE HERON WHO WAS HARD TO PLEASE]

 [Illustration: THE ANTS AND THE GRASSHOPPER]

 [Illustration: THE EAGLE AND THE JACKDAW]

 [Illustration: THE DOVE AND THE ANT]

 FROM DRAWINGS BY BESS BRUCE CLEVELAND



 [Illustration]

THE ANTS AND THE GRASSHOPPER


The ants were employing a fine winter's day in drying grain collected in
the summer-time. A grasshopper, perishing from famine, passed by and
earnestly begged for a little food. The ants inquired of him: "Why did
you not treasure up food during the summer?" He replied: "I had not
leisure enough. I passed the days in singing." They then said in
derision: "If you were foolish enough to sing all the summer you must
dance supperless to bed in the winter."

_In living, be guided much by the laws of nature, and not by the hope of
mercy._



FABLES FROM INDIA

ADAPTED BY RAMASWAMI RAJU



THE GLOW-WORM AND THE DAW

A Jackdaw once ran up to a Glow-Worm and was about to seize him. "Wait a
moment, good friend," said the Worm; "and you shall hear something to
your advantage."

"Ah! what is it?" said the Daw.

"I am but one of the many Glow-Worms that live in this forest. If you
wish to have them all, follow me," said the Glow-Worm.

"Certainly!" said the Daw.

Then the Glow-Worm led him to a place in the wood where a fire had been
kindled by some woodmen, and pointing to the sparks flying about, said,
"There you find the Glow-Worms warming themselves round a fire. When you
have done with them, I shall show you some more, at a distance from this
place."

The Daw darted at the sparks, and tried to swallow some of them; but his
mouth being burned by the attempt, he ran away exclaiming, "Ah, the
Glow-Worm is a dangerous little creature!"

Said the Glow-Worm with pride, "_Wickedness yields to wisdom!_"



THE FOX AND THE VILLAGERS


A Fox that had long been the dread of the village poultry yard was one
day found lying breathless in a field. The report went abroad that,
after all, he had been caught and killed by some one. In a moment,
everybody in the village came out to see the dead Fox. The village
Cock, with all his Hens and Chicks, was also there to enjoy the sight.

The Fox then got up, and shaking off his drowsiness, said, "I ate a
number of Hens and Chicks last night; hence I must have slumbered longer
than usual."

The Cock counted his Hens and Chicks and found a number wanting. "Alas!"
said he, "how is it I did not know of it?"

"My dear sir," said the Fox, as he retreated to the wood, "it was last
night I had a good meal on your Hens and Chicks, yet you did not know of
it. A moment ago they found me lying in the field, and you knew of it at
once." _Ill news travels fast!_



THE FROG AND THE SNAKE


A Snake and a Frog were friends in a pond. The Snake taught the Frog to
hiss, and the Frog taught the Snake to croak. The Snake would hide in
the reeds and croak. The Frogs would say, "Why, there is one of us," and
come near. The Snake would then dart at them, and eat all he could
seize. The Frog would hide in the reeds and hiss. His kin would say,
"Why, there is the Snake," and keep off.

After some time, the Frogs found out the trick of the Snake, and took
care not to come near him. Thus the Snake got no Frogs to eat for a long
time; so he seized his friend to gobble him up.

The Frog then said, though too late, "By becoming your friend, I lost
the company of my kindred, and am now losing my life." _One's neck to
fate one has to bend, when one would make so bad a friend!_



THE ASSEMBLY OF ANIMALS


Once there was a great assembly of the animals in a wood. The Lion said,
"Look how great my valor! 'Tis this that makes me king of the woods."

The Fox said, "Look, how deep my cunning! 'Tis this that feeds me so
well."

The Peacock said, "Look, how bright my feathers! 'Tis this that makes me
the wonder and admiration of the wood."

The Elephant said, "Look, how long and powerful my tusks! there is
nothing that can resist them."

A Toad, who lived secure in the heart of a rock, close by, said, "'Tis
the Lion's valor that leads him to the herds, and gets him killed by the
hunters. 'Tis the Fox's cunning that brings him to the furrier at last.
'Tis the plumes of the Peacock that men covet; hence his ruin. The
Elephant is hunted for his tusks, and they are his bane." _In the mark
of your vanity is your death!_



THE COCK AND HIS THREE HENS


A Cock, named Crimson Crest, was once strutting about with his three
hens, Meek Love, Bright Wit, and Fine Feather. The hens, being in very
good spirits, said, "Ah, how we love you!"

"Why do you love me at all?" said Crimson Crest.

"Because," said they, "of the noble qualities that adorn your mind."

"Are you sure," said he, "you love me for the qualities that adorn my
mind?"

"Yes, we are," said the three with one voice.

After having gone over some distance, Crimson Crest dropped down like
one dead.

Meek Love wept, saying, "Ah, how he loved us!"

Bright Wit wept, saying, "Ah, how well he crowed!"

Fine Feather wept, saying, "Ah, what bright plumes he had!"

Crimson Crest some time after showed signs of life.

Meek Love cried, "Oh, live and love us again!"

Bright Wit cried, "Oh, let us hear your crowing again!"

Fine Feather cried, "Oh, let us see your bright plumes again!"

Then Crimson Crest got up like one waking from a trance, and with a
hearty laugh exclaimed, "Ladies, you fancied you all loved me for one
and the same reason; but now you see. _There is many a way to love as
they say!_"



THE BLACK DOG AND THE WHITE DOG


A Man in the East once went about saying, "I can put these two dogs
together, one of which is white, and the other black, as you see, and
make a gray dog of them; and turn the gray dog again to the black dog
and the white dog, if people would pay for the fun."

A Wag who heard these words removed the two dogs at night, and left
instead a gray cur. The man rose up in the morning and complained
bitterly to the crowd, which came to see him, that some one had stolen
his two dogs.

"No," said the Wag, who was one of the crowd, "some one has simply saved
you the trouble of putting the two dogs together, and making a gray dog
of them. So you must now perform the other part of your trick, and make
the black dog and the white dog out of this gray cur."

The man quietly threw his wallet over his shoulders and walked away. The
Wag and the crowd shouted--"The tongue hath no bone in it. It can turn
as you twist it." _It is one thing to say, and another thing to do!_



THE ELEPHANT AND THE APE


An Elephant named Grand Tusk and an Ape named Nimble were friends.

Grand Tusk observed, "Behold, how big and powerful I am!"

Nimble cried in reply, "Behold, how agile and entertaining I am!"

Each was eager to know which was really superior to the other, and which
quality was the most esteemed by the wise.

So they went to Dark Sage, an owl that lived in an old tower, to have
their claims discussed and settled.

Dark Sage said, "You must do as I bid, that I may form an opinion."

"Agreed!" cried both.

"Then," said Dark Sage, "cross yonder river, and bring me the mangoes on
the great tree beyond."

Off went Grand Tusk and Nimble, but when they came to the stream, which
was flowing full, Nimble held back; but Grand Tusk took him up on his
back, and swam across in a very short time. Then they came to the
mango-tree, but it was very lofty and thick. Grand Tusk could neither
touch the fruit with his trunk, nor could he break the tree down to
gather the fruit. Up sprang Nimble, and in a trice let drop a whole
basketful of rich ripe mangoes. Grand Tusk gathered the fruit up into
his capacious mouth, and the two friends crossed the stream as before.

"Now," said Dark Sage, "which of you is the better? Grand Tusk crossed
the stream, and Nimble gathered the fruit." _Each thing in its place is
best._



THE CROW AND THE DAWN


A Crow that lived on a tree by a great city in the East thought that the
day dawned because of his cawing. One day he said to himself, "How
important I am! But for my care, I confess, the world would get into a
mess."

He had a mind to see how the world would fare if for it he did not care.
So toward day-dawn he shut his eyes, and slept away without cawing. Then
he awoke, and found the sun shining as bright as ever on the great city.

He said, with great ill-humor, "I see how it happened. Some knave of my
kind must have cawed and helped the sun up!"

_Error breeds error._



THE LION AND THE GOAT


A Lion was eating up one after another the animals of a certain country.
One day an old Goat said, "We must put a stop to this. I have a plan by
which he may be sent away from this part of the country."

"Pray act up to it at once," said the other animals.

The old Goat laid himself down in a cave on the roadside, with his
flowing beard and long curved horns. The Lion on his way to the village
saw him, and stopped at the mouth of the cave.

"So you have come, after all," said the Goat.

"What do you mean?" said the Lion.

"Why, I have long been lying in this cave. I have eaten up one hundred
Elephants, a hundred Tigers, a thousand Wolves, and ninety-nine Lions.
One more Lion has been wanting. I have waited long and patiently. Heaven
has, after all, been kind to me," said the Goat, and shook his horns and
his beard, and made a start as if he were about to spring upon the Lion.

The latter said to himself, "This animal looks like a Goat, but it does
not talk like one. So it is very likely some wicked spirit in this
shape. Prudence often serves us better than valor, so for the present I
shall return to the wood," and he turned back.

The Goat rose up, and, advancing to the mouth of the cave, said, "Will
you come back to-morrow?"

"Never again," said the Lion.

"Do you think I shall be able to see you, at least, in the wood
to-morrow?"

"Neither in the wood, nor in this neighborhood any more," said the Lion,
and running to the forest, soon left it with his kindred.

The animals in the country, not hearing him roar any more, gathered
round the Goat, and said, "_The wisdom of one doth save a host._"



THE SUNLING


In the good old days a Clown in the East, on a visit to a city kinsman,
while at dinner, pointed to a burning candle and asked what it was. The
City Man said, in jest, it was a sunling, or one of the children of the
sun.

The Clown thought that it was something rare; so he waited for an
opportunity, and hid it in a chest of drawers close by. Soon the chest
caught fire, then the curtains by its side, then the room, then the
whole house.

After the flames had been put down the City Man and the Clown went into
the burned building to see what remained. The Clown turned over the
embers of the chest of drawers. The City Man asked what he was seeking
for. The Clown said, "It is in this chest that I hid the bright sunling;
I wish to know if he has survived the flames."

"Alas," said the City Man, who now found out the cause of all the
mischief, "_never jest with fools!_"



THE MUSHROOM AND THE GOOSE


A Goose that was once cackling with great pride thought that a Mushroom
was gazing at it, and said, "You contemptible thing, why do you stare at
me like that? You can never hope to meet me on terms of equality, can
you?"

"Certainly, madam," said the Mushroom "and that very soon."

This enraged the Goose more, so she said, "I would cut you up in pieces
with my bill but for the people who are close by, and who are so silly
as to care for you," and went strutting away. Soon after the Goose and
Mushroom were served up in separate dishes, very near each other.

"Ah," said the Mushroom, "you see we have met after all, and so
closely." _Those who have a common fate in the end had better be
friends._



THE FABLES OF PILPAY THE HINDU


Pilpay is thought to have been a Hindu who lived many centuries before
Jesus was born, and who wrote fables that have been translated into
almost every language. His fables are older than those of Æsop.



THE FOX AND THE HEN


A hungry Fox, spying a fine fat Hen, made up his mind to eat her. But as
he was about to spring upon her he heard a great noise, and looking up,
saw a drum hanging upon a tree. As the wind blew, the branches beat upon
the drum.

"Ah!" said he. "A thing that can make so much noise must certainly have
more flesh upon it than a miserable hen."

So, allowing the Hen to escape, he sprang upon the drum; but when he
tore the parchment head open he found that there was nothing inside.

"Wretched being that I am," said he. "I have missed a dainty meal for
nothing at all."

_By being too greedy we may miss everything that is worth having._



THE THREE FISHES


Three Fishes lived in a pond. The first was wise, the second had a
little sense, and the third was foolish. A fisherman saw the fish, and
went home for his net in order that he might catch them.

"I must get out of this pond at once," said the Wise Fish. And he threw
himself into a little channel that led to a river. The others did not
trouble at all.

Presently the Fisherman returned with his net, and stopped up the
channel leading to the river. The Second Fish wished he had followed the
example of the Wise Fish; but he soon thought of a plan to escape. He
floated upside down on the surface of the water, and the fisherman,
thinking he was dead, did not trouble about him any more.

But the Foolish Fish was caught, and taken home to be eaten.

_We should all endeavor to be wise._



THE FALCON AND THE HEN


"How ungrateful you must be!" said a Falcon to a Hen. "You are fed with
the best of food, you have a snug bed provided for you at night, you are
protected from foxes, and yet, when the men who do all this for you want
to take hold of you, you run away and do not return their caresses. Now,
I do not receive anything like so many benefits, and yet I allow the men
to hold me, and I serve them when they go hunting in the field."

"Ah!" said the Hen. "What you say is true. But, remember, you never see
a hawk roasting in front of the fire, whereas you see hundreds of good
fat hens treated in that way."

_Circumstances alter cases._



THE KING WHO GREW KIND


A cruel King was riding out one day, when he saw a fox attack a hen. But
just then a dog ran after the fox and bit his leg. The fox, however,
lame as he was, managed to escape into his hole, and the dog ran off. A
man who saw him threw a stone at the dog, and cracked his head; but at
this moment a horse passing by ran against the man and trod on his foot.
A minute later the horse's foot stepped upon a stone, and his ankle was
broken.

"Ah," said the King. "This will be a lesson to me. I see that
misfortunes always overtake those who ill-use others."

And from that time the King became a kind and wise ruler of his people.

_Punishment sooner or later overtakes those who wrong others._



 [Illustration: MODERN FABLES]



THE HORSES' COUNCIL

ADAPTED FROM JOHN GAY


Once upon a time, a restless, dissatisfied horse persuaded all the other
horses on the farm that they were oppressed by the man who owned them,
and that they should rebel against him.

So a meeting was called to which all the horses came, to argue the
matter and see what should be done. One wanted one thing, one another,
and at the last a young colt, who had not yet been trained sprang to the
front with tossing mane, and proud, arched neck, and eyes of fire, and
thus addressed the listening throng of horses:

"What slaves we are! How low has fallen our race! Because our fathers
lived in their service, must we too toil? Shall we submit ourselves to
man, and spend our youth in servile tasks; with straining sinews drag
the ploughshare through the heavy soil, or draw the carrier's heavy load
in winter cold or beneath the sun of summer? See how strong we are, how
weak man is! Shall we subdue our strength, and champ a bit, and serve
his pride? Not so. Away with bit and bridle, rein and spur! We shall be
free as air!"

He ceased, and with a step of conscious pride regained his place among
the crowd, from which came snickers of applause and neighs of praise.

Then from behind the crowd, with slow and stately movements, came an
aged steed. He faced the turbulent crew, and with firm accents that
compelled their silence, he began to speak:

"When I was young as you," he said, "I too cried out for freedom from
the daily toil that was my task. I soon had better thoughts. Man toils
for us. For us he braves the summer heat, to store our food. If we lend
him our strength to plough the land, he sows and reaps the grain, that
we may share it, as we share the toil. _Through all the world's history
it has been decreed each one must in some way aid the other's need._"

He ceased, and left the place, and by his words the council quietly
dispersed.



THE OAK AND THE REED

ADAPTED FROM THE FRENCH OF LA FONTAINE


One day the Oak said to the Reed: "Nature has been indeed unkind to you.
She has made you so weak that even the tiniest bird that flies bends you
to earth beneath her little weight. The gentlest breeze that scarcely
moves the surface of the lake has power to bend your head.

"My head, which rises like a mountain, is not content to stop the
blazing rays of sunshine, but braves even the tempest; the wind that to
you seems to be a hurricane, to me is but a gentle sigh of wind at
eventide.

"If you had grown beneath the shelter of my leafy crown, with which I
cover all the ground around, I would have saved you from the storms
which make you suffer. Alas, you are most often found along the marshy
borders of the kingdom of the winds. Nature, it seems to me, has been to
you unjust."

"Your pity," said the Reed, "comes from good nature, but have no care
for me. The winds for me hold far less danger than they hold for you. I
bend but do not break. You have till now resisted all their powerful
blows and never bent your back. But wait the end."

Just as the gentle little Reed ended these words, a great north wind
rushed down from the horizon and flung itself on them with fury. The
Reed bent low before it, but the tree defied the anger of the blast and
held its head upright. But the strong wind drew back, doubled its force,
and with a furious rush tore up the oak tree by its mighty roots.

The blast passed on and in the quiet that it left behind, the Reed
raised up her head, and looking sadly at the giant tree whose stately
head lay in the waters of the stream, she sadly said:

"_It is often well to bend before the storms that threaten us._"



THE ADVANTAGE OF KNOWLEDGE

ADAPTED FROM THE FRENCH OF LA FONTAINE


Two citizens lived beside each other in a town in France. The one was
rich and had a fine house, and a garden, horses, and carriages, and
servants to wait on him. But he was stupid, for when he was a boy at
school he learned nothing. The other man was poor in gold and silver,
but he was rich in knowledge, and full of wisdom, and he knew all the
beauty and the glory of the world.

These two held constant arguments. The rich man said that nothing in the
world should be held in honor but riches, and that the wise and learned
should bow to him because of all his wealth.

"My friend," he often said, "what use is it to read so many books? They
do not bring you money! You have a small house, you wear the same coat
in the winter that you do in summer."

The wise man could not always answer back, he had too much to say, and
often kept silence.

But a war broke out. All the town, in which the two men lived, was
broken down, and both men had to leave it to seek their fortune in
another place. The rich man, who had lost his money, was now poor indeed,
for he had nothing, and wandered through the world getting nothing but
scorn for his ignorance. But the wise man was welcomed everywhere, and
received with honor because of all the wisdom and the knowledge that he
brought with him.

_Knowledge is power._



THE TORRENT AND THE RIVER

ADAPTED FROM THE FRENCH OF LA FONTAINE


With great noise and much tumult a torrent fell down the mountain side.
All fled before it; horror followed it; it made the country round it
tremble.

Only one traveler, who was flying from robbers that were following
after him, dared to cross the stream, and put it as a barrier between
him and the men who were pursuing him. This gave him confidence although
the robbers still followed. So when he reached the edge of a broad
river, that seemed to him to be an image of sleep, it looked so soft and
peaceable and quiet, he rode his horse into the water to cross it. It
had no high banks, but a little beach sloped from the meadow down to
meet the water, which looked so peaceful that it seemed as if a little
child might cross it, to gather flowers on the other side, and so the
traveler thought it held no danger for him.

But the quiet river was very deep, and though it made no noise, its
current ran so strongly that it lifted both the horse and rider on its
waves and carried them away, and drowned them.

_Quiet people are stronger than the noisy._



THE TOMTIT AND THE BEAR

BY THE BROTHERS GRIMM


One summer day, as a Wolf and a Bear were walking together in a wood,
they heard a bird singing most sweetly. "Brother," said the Bear, "what
can that bird be that is singing so sweetly?"

"Oh!" said the Wolf, "that is the king of the birds, we must take care
to show him all respect." (Now I should tell you that this bird was
after all no other than the Tomtit.)

"If that is the case," said the Bear, "I should like to see the royal
palace; so pray come along and show me it."

"Gently, my friend," said the Wolf, "we cannot see it just yet, we must
wait till the queen comes home."

Soon afterward the queen came with food in her beak, and she and the
king began to feed their young ones.

"Now for it!" said the Bear; and was about to follow them.

"Stop a little, Master Bruin," said the Wolf, "we must wait now till the
king and queen are gone again." So they marked the hole where they had
seen the nest, and went away. But the Bear, being very eager to see the
palace, soon came back again, and, peeping into the nest, saw five or
six young birds lying at the bottom of it.

"What nonsense!" said Bruin, "this is not a royal palace: I never saw
such a filthy place in my life; and you are no royal children, you
little base-born brats!"

As soon as the young tomtits heard this they were very angry, and
screamed out: "We are not base-born, you stupid bear! Our father and
mother are honest, good sort of people; and, depend upon it, you shall
suffer for your rudeness!"

At this the Wolf and the Bear grew frightened, and ran away to their
dens. But the young tomtits kept crying and screaming; and when their
father and mother came home and offered them food, they all said: "We
will not touch a bit; no, not though we should die of hunger, till that
rascal Bruin has been punished for calling us base-born brats."

"Make yourselves easy, my darlings," said the old king, "you may be sure
he shall get what he deserves."

So he went out to the Bear's den, and cried out with a loud voice,
"Bruin, the bear! thou hast been very rude to our lawful children. We
shall therefore make war against thee and thine, and shall never cease
until thou hast been punished as thou so richly deservest."

Now when the bear heard this, he called together the ox, the ass, the
stag, the fox, and all the beasts of the earth. And the Tomtit also
called on his side all the birds of the air, both great and small, and a
very large army of wasps, gnats, bees, and flies, and indeed many other
kinds of insects.

As the time came near when the war was to begin, the Tomtit sent out
spies to see who was the leader of the enemy's forces. So the gnat, who
was by far the best spy of them all, flew backward and forward in the
wood where the enemy's troops were, and at last hid himself under a leaf
on a tree close by.

The Bear, who was standing so near the tree that the gnat could hear all
he said, called to the fox and said, "Reynard, you are the cleverest of
all the beasts; therefore you shall be our leader and go before us to
battle; but we must first agree upon some signal, by which we may know
what you want us to do."

"Behold," said the fox, "I have a fine long, bushy tail, which is very
like a plume of red feathers, and gives me a very warlike air. Now
remember, when you see me raise up my tail, you may be sure that the
battle is won, and you have then nothing to do but to rush down upon the
enemy with all your force. On the other hand, if I drop my tail, the
battle is lost, and you must run away as fast as you can."

Now when the gnat had heard all this, she flew back to the Tomtit and
told him everything that had passed.

At length the day came when the battle was to be fought. As soon as it
was light, the army of beasts came rushing forward with such a fearful
sound that the earth shook. King Tomtit, with his troops, came flying
along also in warlike array, flapping and fluttering, and beating the
air, so that it was quite frightful to hear; and both armies set
themselves in order of battle upon the field.

Now the Tomtit gave orders to a troop of wasps that at the first onset
they should march straight toward Captain Reynard and fixing themselves
about his tail, should sting him with all their might. The wasps did as
they were told; and when Reynard felt the first sting, he started aside
and shook one of his legs, but still held up his tail with wonderful
bravery. At the second sting he was forced to drop his tail for a
moment; but when the third wasp had fixed itself, he could bear it no
longer, and clapped his tail between his legs, and ran away as fast as
he could.

As soon as the beasts saw this, they thought of course all was lost,
and raced across the country away to their holes.

Then the king and queen of the birds flew back in joy to their children,
and said: "Now, children, eat, drink, and be merry, for we have won the
battle!"

But the young birds said: "No; not till Bruin has humbly begged our
pardon for calling us base-born."

So the king flew back to the bear's den, and cried out:

"Thou villain bear! come forthwith to my nest, and humbly ask my
children to forgive the insult thou hast offered them. If thou wilt not
do this, every bone in thy body shall be broken."

Then the bear was forced to crawl out of his den very sulkily, and do
what the king bade him; and after that the young birds sat down
together, and ate, and drank, and made merry till midnight.



WHY JIMMY SKUNK WEARS STRIPES[K]

BY THORNTON W. BURGESS


Jimmy Skunk, as everybody knows, wears a striped suit, a suit of black
and white. There was a time, long, long ago, when all the Skunk family
wore black. Very handsome their coats were, too, a beautiful glossy
black. They were very, very proud of them, and took the greatest care of
them, brushing them carefully ever so many times a day.

There was a Jimmy Skunk then, just as there is now, and he was head of
all the Skunk family. Now, this Jimmy Skunk was very proud, and thought
himself very much of a gentleman. He was very independent, and cared for
no one. Like a great many other independent people, he did not always
consider the rights of others. Indeed, it was hinted in the wood and on
the Green Meadows that not all of Jimmy Skunk's doings would bear the
light of day. It was openly said that he was altogether too fond of
prowling about at night, but no one could prove that he was responsible
for mischief done in the night, for no one saw him. You see his coat was
so black that in the darkness of the night it was not visible at all.

Now, about this time of which I am telling you, Mrs. Ruffed Grouse made
a nest at the foot of the Great Pine, and in it she laid fifteen
beautiful buff eggs. Mrs. Grouse was very happy, very happy indeed, and
all the little meadow folks who knew of her happiness were happy, too,
for they all loved shy, demure, little Mrs. Grouse. Every morning when
Peter Rabbit trotted down the Lone Little Path through the wood past the
Great Pine he would stop for a few minutes to chat with Mrs. Grouse.
Happy Jack Squirrel would bring her the news every afternoon. The Merry
Little Breezes of Old Mother West Wind would run up a dozen times a day
to see how she was getting along.

One morning Peter Rabbit, coming down the Lone Little Path for his usual
morning call, found a terrible state of affairs. Poor little Mrs. Grouse
was heartbroken. All about the foot of the Great Pine lay the empty
shells of their beautiful eggs. They had been broken and scattered this
way and that.

"How did it happen?" asked Peter Rabbit.

"I don't know," sobbed poor little Mrs. Grouse. "In the night when I was
fast asleep something pounced upon me. I managed to get away and fly up
in the top of the Great Pine. In the morning I found all my eggs broken,
just as you see them here."

Peter Rabbit looked the ground over very carefully. He hunted around
behind the Great Pine, he looked under the bushes, he studied the ground
with a very wise air. Then he hopped off down the Lone Little Path to
the Green Meadows. He stopped at the house of Johnny Chuck.

"What makes your eyes so big and round?" asked Johnny Chuck. Peter
Rabbit came very close so as to whisper in Johnny Chuck's ear, and told
him all that he had seen. Together they went to Jimmy Skunk's house.
Jimmy Skunk was in bed. He was very sleepy and very cross when he came
to the door. Peter Rabbit told him what he had seen.

"Too bad! Too bad!" said Jimmy Skunk, and yawned sleepily.

"Won't you join us in trying to find out who did it?" asked Johnny
Chuck.

Jimmy Skunk said he would be delighted to come, but that he had some
other business that morning and he would join them in the afternoon.
Peter Rabbit and Johnny Chuck went on. Pretty soon they met the Merry
Little Breezes and told them the dreadful story.

"What shall we do?" asked Johnny Chuck.

"We'll hurry over, and tell Old Dame Nature," cried the Merry Little
Breezes, "and ask her what to do."

So away flew the Merry Little Breezes to Old Dame Nature and told her
all the dreadful story. Old Dame Nature listened very attentively. Then
she sent the Merry Little Breezes to all the little meadow folks to tell
everyone to be at the Great Pine that afternoon. Now, whatever Old Dame
Nature commanded, all the little meadow folks were obliged to do. They
did not dare to disobey her.

Promptly at 4 o'clock that afternoon all the little meadow folks were
gathered around the foot of the Great Pine. Brokenhearted little Mrs.
Ruffed Grouse sat beside her empty nest, with all the broken shells
about her.

Reddy Fox, Peter Rabbit, Johnny Chuck, Billy Mink, Little Joe Otter,
Jerry Muskrat, Hooty the Owl, Bobby Coon, Sammy Jay, Blacky the Crow,
Grandfather Frog, Mr. Toad, Spotty the Turtle, the Merry Little Breezes,
all were there. Last of all came Jimmy Skunk. Very handsome he looked in
his shining black coat, and very sorry he appeared that such a dreadful
thing should have happened. He told Mrs. Grouse how badly he felt, and
he loudly demanded that the culprit should be run down without delay and
severely punished.

Old Dame Nature has the most smiling face in the world, but this time it
was very, very grave indeed. First she asked little Mrs. Grouse to tell
her story all over again that all might hear. Then each in turn was
asked to tell where he had been the night before. Johnny Chuck, Happy
Jack Squirrel, Striped Chipmunk, Sammy Jay, and Blacky the Crow had gone
to bed when Mr. Sun went down behind the Purple Hills. Jerry Muskrat,
Billy Mink, Little Joe Otter, Grandfather Frog, and Spotty the Turtle
had been down in Farmer Brown's corn-field. Hooty the Owl had been
hunting in the lower end of the Green Meadows. Peter Rabbit had been
down in the Berry Patch. Mr. Toad had been under the big piece of bark
which he called a house. Old Dame Nature called on Jimmy Skunk last of
all. Jimmy protested that he had been very, very tired and had gone to
bed very early indeed, and had slept the whole night through.

Then Old Dame Nature asked Peter Rabbit what he had found among the
shells that morning.

Peter Rabbit hopped out and laid three long black hairs before Old Dame
Nature. "These," said Peter Rabbit, "are what I found among the egg
shells."

Then Old Dame Nature called Johnny Chuck. "Tell us, Johnny Chuck," said
she, "what you saw when you called at Jimmy Skunk's house this morning."

"I saw Jimmy Skunk," said Johnny Chuck, "and Jimmy seemed very, very
sleepy. It seemed to me that his whiskers were yellow."

"That will do," said Old Dame Nature, and she called Old Mother West
Wind.

"What time did you come down on the Green Meadows this morning?" asked
Old Dame Nature.

"Just at the break of day," said Old Mother West Wind, "as Mr. Sun was
coming up from behind the Purple Hills."

"And whom did you see so early in the morning?" asked old Dame Nature.

"I saw Bobby Coon going home from old Farmer Brown's corn-field," said
Old Mother West Wind. "I saw Hooty the Owl coming back from the lower
end of the Green Meadows. I saw Peter Rabbit down in the berry patch.
Last of all, I saw something like a black shadow coming down the Lone
Little Path toward the house of Jimmy Skunk."

Everyone was looking very hard at Jimmy Skunk. Jimmy began to look very
unhappy and very uneasy.

"Who wears a black coat?" asked Dame Nature.

"Jimmy Skunk!" shouted all the little meadow folks.

"What might make whiskers yellow?" asked Old Dame Nature.

No one seemed to know at first. Then Peter Rabbit spoke up. "It might be
the yolk of an egg," said Peter Rabbit.

"Who are likely to be sleepy on a bright sunny morning?" asked Old Dame
Nature.

"People who have been out all night," said Johnny Chuck, who himself
always goes to bed with the sun.

"Jimmy Skunk," said Old Dame Nature, and her voice was very stern, very
stern indeed, and her face was very grave. "Jimmy Skunk, I accuse you of
having broken and eaten the eggs of Mrs. Grouse. What have you to say
for yourself?"

Jimmy Skunk hung his head. He hadn't a word to say. He just wanted to
sneak away by himself.

"Jimmy Skunk," said Old Dame Nature, "because your handsome black coat,
of which you are so proud, has made it possible for you to move about in
the night without being seen, and because we can no longer trust you
upon your honor, henceforth you and your descendants shall wear a
striped coat which is the sign that you cannot be trusted. Your coat
hereafter shall be black and white, that will always be visible."

And this is why to this day Jimmy Skunk wears a striped suit of black
and white.

 [K] From "Old Mother West Wind," by Thornton W. Burgess; used
 by permission of the author and publishers, Little, Brown & Co.



 [Illustration: HOW CATS CAME TO PURR]

BY JOHN BENNETT


A Boy having a Pet Cat which he Wished to Feed, Said to Her, "Come, Cat,
Drink this Dish of Cream; it will Keep your Fur as Soft as Silk, and
Make you Purr like a Coffee-Mill."

He had no sooner said this than the Cat, with a Great Glare of her Green
Eyes, bristled her Tail like a Gun-Swab and went over the Back Fence,
head first--pop!--as Mad as a Wet Hen.

And this is how she came to do so:

The story is an old one--very, very old. It may be Persian; it may be
not: that is of very little moment. It is so old that if all the nine
lives of all the cats that have ever lived in the world were set up
together in a line, the other end of it would just reach back to the
time when this occurred.

 [Illustration: "THE CAT THAT GROUND THE COFFEE IN THE KING'S KITCHEN"]

And this is the story:

Many, many years ago, in a country which was quite as far from anywhere
else as the entire distance thither and back, there was a huge cat that
ground the coffee in the King's kitchen, and otherwise assisted with the
meals.

This cat was, in truth, the actual and very father of all subsequent
cats, and his name was Sooty Will, for his hair was as black as a night
in a coal-hole. He was ninety years old, and his mustaches were like
whisk-brooms. But the most singular thing about him was that in all his
life he had never once purred nor humped up his back, although his
master often stroked him. The fact was that he never had learned to
purr, nor had any reason, so far as he knew, for humping up his back.
And being the father of all the cats, there was no one to tell him how.
It remained for him to acquire a reason, and from his example to devise
a habit which cats have followed from that time forth, and no doubt will
forever follow.

The King of the country had long been at war with one of his neighbors,
but one morning he sent back a messenger to say that he had beaten his
foeman at last, and that he was coming home for an early breakfast as
hungry as three bears. "Have batter-cakes and coffee," he directed,
"hot, and plenty of 'em!"

At that the turnspits capered and yelped with glee, for batter-cakes and
coffee are not cooked upon spits, and so they were free to sally forth
into the city streets and watch the King's homecoming in a grand parade.

But the cat sat down on his tail in the corner and looked cross. "Scat!"
said he, with an angry caterwaul. "It is not fair that you should go and
that I should not."

"Oh, yes, it is," said the gleeful turnspits; "turn and turn about is
fair play: you saw the rat that was killed in the parlor."

"Turn about fair play, indeed!" cried the cat. "Then all of you get to
your spits; I am sure that is turn about!"

"Nay," said the turnspits, wagging their tails and laughing. "That is
over and over again, which is not fair play. 'Tis the coffee-mill that
is turn and turn about. So turn about to your mill, Sooty Will; we are
off to see the King!"

 [Illustration: "TURNING HAND-SPRINGS, HEAD-SPRINGS, AND HEEL-SPRINGS AS
 THEY WENT"]

With that they pranced out into the court-yard, turning hand-springs,
head-springs, and heel-springs as they went, and, after giving three
hearty and vociferous cheers in a grand chorus at the bottom of the
garden, went capering away for their holiday.

The cat spat at their vanishing heels, sat down on his tail in the
chimney-corner, and was very glum indeed.

Just then the cook looked in from the pantry. "Hullo!" he said gruffly.
"Come, hurry up the coffee!" That was the way he always gave his orders.

 [Illustration: "'HULLO!' HE SAID GRUFFLY. 'COME, HURRY UP THE
 COFFEE!'"]

The black cat's whiskers bristled. He turned to the mill with a fierce
frown, his long tail going to and fro like that of a tiger in its lair;
for Sooty Will had a temper like hot gunpowder, that was apt to go off
_sizz_, _whizz_, _bang_! and no one to save the pieces. Yet, at least
while the cook was by, he turned the mill furiously, as if with a right
good-will.

Meantime, out in the city a glorious day came on. The sun went buzzing
up the pink-and-yellow sky with a sound like that of a walking-doll's
works, or of a big Dutch clock behind a door; banners waved from the
castled heights, and bugles sang from every tower; the city gates rang
with the cheers of the enthusiastic crowd. Up from cellars, down from
lofts, off work-benches, and out at the doors of their masters' shops,
dodging the thwacks of their masters' straps, "pop-popping" like corks
from the necks of so many bottles, came apprentices, shop-boys, knaves
and scullions, crying: "God save the King! Hurrah! Hurrah! Masters and
work may go to Rome; our tasks shall wait on our own sweet wills; 't is
holiday when the King comes home. God save the King! Hurrah!"

Then came the procession. There were first three regiments of
trumpeters, all blowing different tunes; then fifteen regiments of
mounted infantry on coal-black horses, forty squadrons of
green-and-blue dragoons, and a thousand drummers and fifers
in scarlet and blue and gold, making a thundering din with their
rootle-te-tootle-te-tootle-te-rootle; and pretty well up to the front in
the ranks was the King himself, bowing and smiling to the populace, with
his hand on his breast; and after him the army, all in shining armor,
just enough pounded to be picturesque, miles on miles of splendid men,
all bearing the trophies of glorious war, and armed with lances and bows
and arrows, falchions, morgensterns, martels-de-fer, and other choice
implements of justifiable homicide, and the reverse, such as hautboys
and sackbuts and accordions and dudelsacks and Scotch bagpipes--a
glorious sight!

 [Illustration: A PART OF THE GRAND PROCESSION]

And, as has been said before, the city gates rang with the cheers of the
crowd, crimson banners waved over the city's pinnacled summits, and
bugles blew, trumpets brayed, and drums beat until it seemed that wild
uproar and rich display had reached its high millennium.

The black cat turned the coffee-mill. "My oh! my oh!" he said. "It
certainly is not fair that those bench-legged turnspits with feet like
so much leather should see the King marching home in his glory, while I,
who go shod, as it were, in velvet, should hear only the sound through
the scullery windows. It is not fair. It is no doubt true that "The cat
may mew, and the dog shall have his day," but I have as much right to my
day as he; and has it not been said from immemorial time that 'A cat may
look at a king'? Indeed it has, quite as much as that the dog may have
his day. I will not stand it; it is not fair. A cat may look at a king;
and if any cat may look at a king, why, I am the cat who may. There are
no other cats in the world; I am the only one. Poh! the cook may shout
till his breath gives out, he cannot frighten me; for once I am going to
have my fling!"

So he forthwith swallowed the coffee-mill, box, handle, drawer-knobs,
coffee-well, and all, and was off to see the King.

So far, so good. But, ah! the sad and undeniable truth, that brightest
joys too soon must end! Triumphs cannot last forever, even in a land of
legends. There comes a reckoning.

When the procession was past and gone, as all processions pass and go,
vanishing down the shores of forgetfulness; when barons, marquises,
dukes, and dons were gone, with their pennants and banners; when the
last lancers had gone prancing past and were lost to sight down the
circuitous avenue, Sooty Will, with drooping tail, stood by the palace
gate, dejected. He was sour and silent and glum. Indeed, who would not
be, with a coffee-mill on his conscience? To own up to the entire truth,
the cat was feeling decidedly unwell; when suddenly the cook popped
his head in at the scullery entry, crying, "How now, how now, you
vagabonds! The war is done, but the breakfast is not. Hurry up, scurry
up, scamper and trot! The cakes are all cooked and are piping hot! Then
why is the coffee so slow?" The King was in the dining-hall, in
dressing-gown and slippers, irately calling for his breakfast!

 [Illustration: "HE FORTHWITH SWALLOWED THE COFFEE-MILL"]

The shamefaced, guilty cat ran hastily down the scullery stairs and hid
under the refrigerator, with such a deep inward sensation of remorse
that he dared not look the kind cook in the face. It now really seemed
to him as if everything had gone wrong with the world, especially his
own insides. This any one will readily believe who has ever swallowed a
coffee-mill. He began to weep copiously.

 [Illustration: "AND WAS OFF TO SEE THE KING"]

The cook came into the kitchen. "Where is the coffee?" he said; then,
catching sight of the secluded cat, he stooped, crying, "Where is the
coffee?"

The cat sobbed audibly. "Some one must have come into the kitchen while
I ran out to look at the King!" he gasped, for there seemed to him no
way out of the scrape but by telling a plausible untruth. "Some one must
have come into the kitchen and stolen it!" And with that, choking upon
the handle of the mill, which projected into his throat, he burst into
inarticulate sobs.

 [Illustration: "THE CAT WAS FEELING DECIDEDLY UNWELL"]

The cook, who was, in truth, a very kind-hearted man, sought to reassure
the poor cat. "There; it is unfortunate, very; but do not weep; thieves
thrive in kings' houses!" he said, and, stooping, he began to stroke the
drooping cat's back to show that he held the weeping creature blameless.

Sooty Will's heart leaped into his throat.

 [Illustration: "IT SEEMED AS IF EVERYTHING HAD GONE WRONG"]

"Oh, oh!" he half gasped, "oh, oh! If he rubs his great hand down my
back he will feel the corners of the coffee-mill through my ribs as sure
as fate! Oh, oh! I am a gone cat!" And with that, in an agony of
apprehension lest his guilt and his falsehood be thus presently
detected, he humped up his back as high in the air as he could, so that
the corners of the mill might not make bumps in his sides and that the
mill might thus remain undiscovered.

 [Illustration: "'WHERE IS THE COFFEE?' SAID THE COOK"]

But, alas! he forgot that coffee-mills turn. As he humped up his back
to cover his guilt, the coffee-mill inside rolled over, and, as it
rolled, began to grind--_rr-rr-rr-rr-rr-rr-rr-rr-rr-rr!_

"Oh, oh! you have swallowed the mill!" cried the cook.

 [Illustration "OUT STEPPED THE GENIUS THAT LIVED UNDER THE GREAT
 OVENS"]

"No, no," cried the cat; "I was only thinking aloud."

At that out stepped the Genius that Lived under the Great Ovens, and,
with his finger pointed at the cat, said in a frightful voice, husky
with wood-ashes: "Miserable and pusillanimous beast! By telling a
falsehood to cover a wrong you have only made bad matters worse. For
betraying man's kindness to cover your shame, a curse shall be upon you
and all your kind until the end of the world. Whenever men stroke you in
kindness, remembrance of your guilt shall make you hump up your back
with shame, as you did to avoid being found out; and in order that the
reason for this curse shall never be forgotten, whenever man is kind to
a cat the sound of the grinding of a coffee-mill inside shall
perpetually remind him of your guilt and shame!"

With that the Genius vanished in a cloud of smoke.

And it was even as he said. From that day Sooty Will could never abide
having his back stroked without humping it up to conceal the mill within
him; and never did he hump up his back but the coffee-mill began slowly
to grind, _rr-rr-rr-rr!_ inside him; so that, even in the prime of life,
before his declining days had come, being seized upon by a great remorse
for these things which might never be amended, he retired to a home for
aged and reputable cats, and there, so far as the records reveal, lived
the remainder of his days in charity and repentance.

But the curse has come down even to the present day, as the Genius that
Lived under the Great Ovens said, and still maintains, though cats have
probably forgotten the facts, and so, when stroked, hump up their backs
and purr as if these actions were a matter of pride instead of being a
blot upon their family record.

 [Illustration: "HE RETIRED TO A HOME FOR AGED AND REPUTABLE CATS"]



 [Illustration: STORIES FROM SCANDINAVIA]



THE GREEDY CAT


Once on a time there was a man who had a Cat, and she was so awfully
big, and such a beast to eat, he couldn't keep her any longer. So she
was to go down to the river with a stone round her neck, but before she
started she was to have a meal of meat. So the goody set before her a
bowl of porridge and a little trough of fat. That the creature crammed
into her, and ran off and jumped through the window. Outside stood the
goodman by the barn-door threshing.

"Good day, goodman," said the Cat.

"Good day, pussy," said the goodman; "have you had any food to-day?"

"Oh, I've had a little, but I'm 'most fasting," said the Cat; "it was
only a bowl of porridge and a trough of fat--and, now I think of it,
I'll take you, too," and so she took the goodman and gobbled him up.

When she had done that, she went into the byre, and there sat the goody
milking.

"Good day, goody," said the Cat.

"Good day, pussy," said the goody; "are you here, and have you eaten up
your food yet?"

"Oh, I've eaten a little to-day, but I'm 'most fasting," said pussy; "it
was only a bowl of porridge, and a trough of fat, and the goodman--and,
now I think of it, I'll take you, too," and so she took the goody and
gobbled her up.

"Good day, you cow at the manger," said the Cat to Daisy the cow.

"Good day, pussy," said the bell-cow; "have you had any food to-day?"

"Oh, I've had a little, but I'm 'most fasting," said the Cat; "I've only
had a bowl of porridge, and a trough of fat, and the goodman, and the
goody--and, now I think of it, I'll take you, too," and so she took the
cow and gobbled her up.

Then off she set into the home-field, and there stood a man picking up
leaves.

"Good day, you leaf-picker in the field," said the Cat.

"Good day, pussy; have you had anything to eat to-day?" said the
leaf-picker.

"Oh, I've had a little, but I'm 'most fasting," said the Cat; "it was
only a bowl of porridge, and a trough of fat, and the goodman, and the
goody, and Daisy the cow--and, now I think of it, I'll take you, too."
So she took the leaf-picker and gobbled him up.

Then she came to a heap of stones, and there stood a stoat and peeped
out.

"Good day, Mr. Stoat of Stoneheap," said the Cat.

"Good day, Mrs. Pussy; have you had anything to eat to-day?"

"Oh, I've had a little, but I'm 'most fasting," said the Cat; "it was
only a bowl of porridge, and a trough of fat, and the goodman, and the
goody, and the cow, and the leaf-picker--and, now I think of it, I'll
take you, too." So she took the stoat and gobbled him up.

When she had gone a bit farther, she came to a hazel-brake, and there
sat a squirrel gathering nuts.

"Good day, Sir Squirrel of the Brake," said the Cat.

"Good day, Mrs. Pussy; have you had anything to eat to-day?"

"Oh, I've had a little, but I'm 'most fasting," said the Cat; "it was
only a bowl of porridge, and a trough of fat, and the goodman, and the
goody, and the cow, and the leaf-picker, and the stoat--and, now I think
of it, I'll take you, too." So she took the squirrel and gobbled him up.

When she had gone a little farther, she saw Reynard the fox, who was
prowling about by the woodside.

"Good day, Reynard Slyboots," said the Cat.

"Good day, Mrs. Pussy; have you had anything to eat to-day?"

"Oh, I've had a little, but I'm 'most fasting," said the Cat; "it was
only a bowl of porridge, and a trough of fat, and the goodman, and
the goody, and the cow, and the leaf-picker, and the stoat, and the
squirrel--and, now I think of it, I'll take you, too." So she took
Reynard and gobbled him up.

When she had gone a little farther she met Long Ears, the hare.

"Good day, Mr. Hopper the hare," said the Cat.

"Good day, Mrs. Pussy; have you had anything to eat to-day?"

"Oh, I've had a little, but I'm 'most fasting," said the Cat; "it was
only a bowl of porridge, and a trough of fat, and the goodman, and
the goody, and the cow, and the leaf-picker, and the stoat, and the
squirrel, and the fox--and, now I think of it, I'll take you, too." So
she took the hare and gobbled him up.

When she had gone a bit farther she met a wolf.

"Good day, you Greedy Graylegs," said the Cat.

"Good day, Mrs. Pussy; have you had anything to eat to-day?"

"Oh, I've had a little, but I'm 'most fasting," said the Cat; "it was
only a bowl of porridge, and a trough of fat, and the goodman, and
the goody, and the cow, and the leaf-picker, and the stoat, and the
squirrel, and the fox, and the hare--and now I think of it, I may as
well take you, too." So she took and gobbled up Graylegs, too.

So she went on into the wood, and when she had gone far and farther than
far, o'er hill and dale, she met a bear-cub.

"Good day, you bare-breeched bear," said the Cat.

"Good day, Mrs. Pussy," said the bear-cub; "have you had anything to eat
to-day?"

"Oh, I've had a little, but I'm 'most fasting," said the Cat; "it was
only a bowl of porridge, and a trough of fat, and the goodman, and
the goody, and the cow, and the leaf-picker, and the stoat, and the
squirrel, and the fox, and the hare, and the wolf--and, now I think of
it, I may as well take you, too." And so she took the bear-cub and
gobbled him up.

When the Cat had gone a bit farther, she met a she-bear, who was tearing
away at a stump till the splinters flew, so angry was she at having lost
her cub.

"Good day, you Mrs. Bruin," said the Cat.

"Good day, Mrs. Pussy; have you had anything to eat to-day?"

"Oh, I've had a little, but I'm 'most fasting," said the Cat; "it
was only a bowl of porridge, and a trough of fat, and the goodman,
and the goody, and the cow, and the leaf-picker, and the stoat,
and the squirrel, and the fox, and the hare, and the wolf, and the
bear-cub--and, now I think of it, I'll take you, too," and so she took
Mrs. Bruin and gobbled her up, too.

When the Cat got still farther on, she met Baron Bruin himself.

"Good day, you Baron Bruin," said the Cat.

"Good day, Mrs. Pussy," said Bruin; "have you had anything to eat
to-day?"

"Oh, I've had a little, but I'm 'most fasting," said the Cat; "it was
only a bowl of porridge, and a trough of fat, and the goodman, and
the goody, and the cow, and the leaf-picker, and the stoat, and the
squirrel, and the fox, and the hare, and the wolf, and the bear-cub, and
the she-bear--and, now I think of it, I'll take you, too," and so she
took Bruin and ate him up, too.

So the Cat went on and on, and farther than far, till she came to the
abodes of men again, and there she met a bridal train on the road.

"Good day, you bridal train on the king's highway," said she.

"Good day, Mrs. Pussy; have you had anything to eat to-day?"

"Oh, I've had a little, but I'm 'most fasting," said the Cat; "it was
only a bowl of porridge, and a trough of fat, and the goodman, and
the goody, and the cow, and the leaf-picker, and the stoat, and the
squirrel, and the fox, and the hare, and the wolf, and the bear-cub, and
the she-bear, and the he-bear--and, now I think of it, I'll take you,
too," and so she rushed at them, and gobbled up both the bride and
bridegroom, and the whole train, with the cook and the fiddler, and the
horses and all.

When she had gone still farther, she came to a church, and there she met
a funeral.

"Good day, you funeral train," said she.

"Good day, Mrs. Pussy; have you had anything to eat to-day?"

"Oh, I've had a little, but I'm 'most fasting," said the Cat; "it was
only a bowl of porridge, and a trough of fat, and the goodman, and
the goody, and the cow, and the leaf-picker, and the stoat, and the
squirrel, and the fox, and the hare, and the wolf, and the bear-cub, and
the she-bear, and the he-bear, and the bride and bridegroom, and the
whole train--and, now, I don't mind if I take you, too," and so she fell
on the funeral train and gobbled up both the body and the bearers.

Now when the Cat had got the body in her, she was taken up to the sky,
and when she had gone a long, long way, she met the moon.

"Good day, Mrs. Moon," said the Cat.

"Good day, Mrs. Pussy; have you had anything to eat to-day?"

"Oh, I've had a little but I'm 'most fasting," said the Cat; "it was
only a bowl of porridge, and a trough of fat, and the goodman, and
the goody, and the cow, and the leaf-picker, and the stoat, and the
squirrel, and the fox, and the hare, and the wolf, and the bear-cub, and
the she-bear, and the he-bear, and the bride and bridegroom, and the
whole train, and the funeral train--and, now I think of it, I don't mind
if I take you, too," and so she seized hold of the moon, and gobbled her
up, both new and full.

 [Illustration: "'THAT WE'LL FIGHT ABOUT,' SAID THE BILLY GOAT"]

So the Cat went a long way still, and then she met the sun.

"Good day, you sun in heaven."

"Good day, Mrs. Pussy," said the sun; "have you had anything to eat
to-day?"

"Oh, I've had a little, but I'm 'most fasting," said the Cat; "it was
only a bowl of porridge, and a trough of fat, and the goodman, and
the goody, and the cow, and the leaf-picker, and the stoat, and the
squirrel, and the fox, and the hare, and the wolf, and the bear-cub, and
the she-bear, and the he-bear, and the bride and bridegroom, and the
whole train, and the funeral train, and the moon--and, now I think of
it, I don't mind if I take you, too," and so she rushed at the sun in
heaven and gobbled him up.

So the Cat went far and farther than far, till she came to a bridge, and
on it she met a big billy-goat.

"Good day, you Billy-goat on Broad-bridge," said the Cat.

"Good day, Mrs. Pussy; have you had anything to eat to-day?" said the
billy-goat.

"Oh, I've had a little, but I'm 'most fasting; I've only had a bowl of
porridge, and a trough of fat, and the goodman, and the goody in the
byre, and Daisy the cow at the manger, and the leaf-picker in the
home-field, and Mr. Stoat of Stoneheap, and Sir Squirrel of the Brake,
and Reynard Slyboots, and Mr. Hopper the hare, and Greedy Graylegs the
wolf, and Bare-breech the bear-cub, and Mrs. Bruin, and Baron Bruin, and
a bridal train on the king's highway, and a funeral at the church, and
Lady Moon in the sky, and Lord Sun in heaven--and, now I think of it,
I'll take you, too."

"That we'll fight about," said the billy-goat, and butted at the Cat
till she fell right over the bridge into the river, and there she burst.

So they all crept out one after the other, and went about their
business, and were just as good as ever, all that the Cat had gobbled
up. The goodman of the house, and the goody in the byre, and Daisy the
cow at the manger, and the leaf-picker in the home-field, and Mr. Stoat
of Stoneheap, and Sir Squirrel of the Brake, and Reynard Slyboots, and
Mr. Hopper the hare, and Greedy Graylegs the wolf, and Bare-breech the
bear-cub, and Mrs. Bruin, and Baron Bruin, and the bridal train on the
highway, and the funeral train at the church, and Lady Moon in the sky,
and Lord Sun in heaven.



GUDBRAND ON THE HILLSIDE


There was once upon a time a man whose name was Gudbrand. He had a farm
which lay far away up on the side of a hill, and therefore they called
him Gudbrand on the hillside.

He and his wife lived so happily together, and agreed so well, that
whatever the man did the wife thought it so well done that no one could
do it better. No matter what he did, she thought it was always the right
thing.

They lived on their own farm, and had a hundred dollars at the bottom of
their chest and two cows in their cow-shed. One day the woman said to
Gudbrand:

"I think we ought to go to town with one of the cows and sell it, so
that we may have some ready money by us. We are pretty well off, and
ought to have a few shillings in our pocket like other people. The
hundred dollars in the chest we mustn't touch, but I can't see what we
want with more than one cow, and it will be much better for us, as I
shall have only one to look after instead of the two I have now to mind
and feed."

Yes, Gudbrand thought, that was well and sensibly spoken. He took the
cow at once and went to town to sell it; but when he got there no one
would buy the cow.

"Ah, well!" thought Gudbrand, "I may as well take the cow home again. I
know I have both stall and food for it, and the way home is no longer
than it was here." So he strolled homeward again with the cow.

When he had got a bit on the way he met a man who had a horse to sell,
and Gudbrand thought it was better to have a horse than a cow, and so he
changed the cow for the horse.

When he had gone a bit farther he met a man who was driving a fat pig
before him, and then he thought it would be better to have a fat pig
than a horse, and so he changed with the man.

He now went a bit farther, and then he met a man with a goat, and so he
thought it was surely better to have a goat than a pig, and changed with
the man who had the goat.

Then he went a long way, till he met a man who had a sheep. He changed
with him, for he thought it was always better to have a sheep than a
goat.

When he had got a bit farther he met a man with a goose, and so he
changed the sheep for the goose. And when he had gone a long, long way
he met a man with a cock. He changed the goose with him, for he thought
this wise: "It is surely better to have a cock than a goose."

He walked on till late in the day, when he began to feel hungry. So he
sold the cock for sixpence and bought some food for himself. "For it is
always better to keep body and soul together than to have a cock,"
thought Gudbrand.

He then set off again homeward till he came to his neighbor's farm, and
there he went in.

"How did you get on in town?" asked the people.

"Oh, only so-so," said the man. "I can't boast of my luck, nor can I
grumble at it either." And then he told them how it had gone with him
from first to last.

"Well, you'll have a fine reception when you get home to your wife,"
said the man. "Heaven help you! I should not like to be in your place."

"I think I might have fared much worse," said Gudbrand; "but whether I
have fared well or ill, I have such a kind wife that she never says
anything, no matter what I do."

"Aye, so you say; but you won't get me to believe it," said the
neighbor.

"Shall we have a wager on it?" said Gudbrand. "I have a hundred dollars
in my chest at home. Will you lay the same?"

So they made the wager and Gudbrand remained there till the evening,
when it began to get dark, and then they went together to the farm.

The neighbor was to remain outside the door and listen while Gudbrand
went in to his wife.

"Good evening!" said Gudbrand when he came in.

"Good evening!" said the wife. "Heaven be praised you are back again."

"Yes, here I am!" said the man. And then the wife asked him how he had
got on in town.

"Oh, so-so," answered Gudbrand. "Not much to brag of. When I came to
town no one would buy the cow, so I changed it for a horse."

"Oh, I'm so glad of that," said the woman. "We are pretty well off and
we ought to drive to church like other people, and when we can afford to
keep a horse I don't see why we should not have one. Run out, children,
and put the horse in the stable."

"Well, I haven't got the horse, after all," said Gudbrand; "for when I
had got a bit on the way I changed it for a pig."

"Dear me!" cried the woman, "that's the very thing I should have done
myself. I'm so glad of that, for now we can have some bacon in the house
and something to offer people when they come to see us. What do we want
with a horse? People would only say we had become so grand that we could
no longer walk to church. Run out, children, and let the pig in."

"But I haven't got the pig either," said Gudbrand, "for when I had got a
bit farther on the road I changed it into a milch goat."

"Dear! dear! how well you manage everything!" cried the wife. "When I
really come to think of it, what do I want with the pig? People would
only say: 'Over yonder they eat up everything they have.' No, now I have
a goat I can have both milk and cheese and keep the goat into the
bargain. Let in the goat, children."

"But I haven't got the goat either," said Gudbrand. "When I got a bit on
the way I changed the goat and got a fine sheep for it."

"Well!" returned the woman, "you do everything just as I should wish
it--just as if I had been there myself. What do we want with a goat? I
should have to climb up hill and down dale to get it home at night. No,
when I have a sheep I can have wool and clothes in the house and food as
well. Run out, children, and let in the sheep."

"But I haven't got the sheep any longer," said Gudbrand, "for when I had
got a bit on the way I changed it for a goose."

"Well, thank you for that!" said the woman; "and many thanks, too! What
do I want with a sheep? I have neither wheel nor spindle, and I do not
care either to toil and drudge making clothes; we can buy clothes now as
before. Now I can have goose-fat, which I have so long been wishing for,
and some feathers to stuff that little pillow of mine. Run, children,
and let in the goose."

"Well, I haven't got the goose either," said Gudbrand. "When I had got a
bit farther on the way I changed it for a cock."

"Well, I don't know how you can think of it all!" cried the woman. "It's
just as if I had done it all myself. A cock! Why, it's just the same as
if you'd bought an eight-day clock, for every morning the cock will crow
at four, so we can be up in good time. What do we want with a goose? I
can't make goose-fat and I can easily fill my pillow with some soft
grass. Run, children, and let in the cock."

"But I haven't the cock either," said Gudbrand; "for when I had got a
bit farther I became so terribly hungry I had to sell the cock for
sixpence and get some food to keep body and soul together."

"Heaven be praised you did that!" cried the woman. "Whatever you do, you
always do the very thing I could have wished. Besides, what did we want
with the cock? We are our own masters and can lie as long as we like in
the mornings. Heaven be praised! As long as I have got you back again,
who manage everything so well, I shall neither want cock, nor goose, nor
pig, nor cows."

Gudbrand then opened the door. "Have I won the hundred dollars now?" he
asked. And the neighbor was obliged to confess that he had.



PORK AND HONEY


At dawn the other day, when Bruin came tramping over the bog with a fat
pig, Reynard sat up on a stone by the moorside.

"Good day, grandsire," said the fox. "What's that so nice that you have
there?"

"Pork," said Bruin.

"Well, I have got a dainty bit, too," said Reynard.

"What is that?" asked the bear.

"The biggest wild bee's comb I ever saw in my life," said Reynard.

"Indeed, you don't say so," said Bruin, who grinned and licked his lips,
he thought it would be so nice to taste a little honey. At last he said:
"Shall we swap our fare?"

"Nay, nay!" said Reynard, "I can't do that."

The end was that they made a bet, and agreed to name three trees. If the
fox could say them off faster than the bear, he was to have leave to
take one bite of the bacon; but if the bear could say them faster, he
was to have leave to take one sup out of the comb. Greedy Bruin thought
he was sure to sup out all the honey at one breath.

"Well," said Reynard, "it's all fair and right, no doubt, but all I say
is, if I win, you shall be bound to tear off the bristles where I am to
bite."

"Of course," said Bruin, "I'll help you, as you can't help yourself."

So they were to begin and name the trees.

"FIR, SCOTCH FIR, SPRUCE," growled out Bruin, for he was gruff in his
tongue, that he was. But for all that he only named two trees, for fir
and Scotch fir are both the same.

"_Ash_, _Aspen_, _Oak_," screamed Reynard, so that the wood rang again.

So he had won the wager, and down he ran and took the heart out of the
pig at one bit, and was just running off with it. But Bruin was angry
because Reynard had taken the best bit out of the whole pig, and so he
laid hold of his tail and held him fast.

"Stop a bit, stop a bit," he said, and was wild with rage.

"Never mind," said the fox, "it's all right; let me go, grandsire, and
I'll give you a taste of my honey."

When Bruin heard that, he let go his hold, and away went Reynard after
the honey.

"Here, on this honeycomb," said Reynard, "lies a leaf, and under this
leaf is a hole, and that hole you are to suck."

As he said this he held up the comb under the bear's nose, took off the
leaf, jumped up on a stone, and began to gibber and laugh, for there was
neither honey nor honeycomb, but a wasp's nest, as big as a man's head,
full of wasps, and out swarmed the wasps and settled on Bruin's head,
and stung him in his eyes and ears, and mouth and snout. And he had such
hard work to rid himself of them that he had no time to think of
Reynard.

And that's why, ever since that day, Bruin is so afraid of wasps.



HOW REYNARD OUTWITTED BRUIN


Once on a time there was a bear, who sat on a hillside in the sun and
slept. Just then Reynard came slouching by and caught sight of him.

"There you sit taking your ease, grandsire," said the fox. "Now, see if
I don't play you a trick." So he went and caught three field-mice and
laid them on a stump close under Bruin's nose, and then he bawled out
into his ear, "Bo! Bruin, here's Peter the Hunter, just behind this
stump"; and as he bawled this out he ran off through the wood as fast as
ever he could.

Bruin woke up with a start, and when he saw the three little mice, he
was as mad as a March hare, and was going to lift up his paw and crush
them, for he thought it was they who had bellowed in his ear.

But just as he lifted it he caught sight of Reynard's tail among the
bushes by the woodside, and away he set after him, so that the underwood
crackled as he went, and, to tell the truth, Bruin was so close upon
Reynard that he caught hold of his off hind foot just as he was crawling
into an earth under a pine-root. So there was Reynard in a pinch; but
for all that he had his wits about him, for he screeched out, "SLIP THE
PINE-ROOT AND CATCH REYNARD'S FOOT," and so the silly bear let his foot
slip and laid hold of the root instead. But by that time Reynard was
safe inside the earth, and called out:

"I cheated you that time, too, didn't I, grandsire?"

"Out of sight isn't out of mind," growled Bruin down the earth, and was
wild with rage.



THE COCK AND THE CRESTED HEN


There was once a Cock who had a whole farmyard of hens to look after and
manage; and among them was a tiny little Crested Hen. She thought she
was altogether too grand to be in company with the other hens, for they
looked so old and shabby; she wanted to go out and strut about all by
herself, so that people could see how fine she was, and admire her
pretty crest and beautiful plumage.

So one day when all the hens were strutting about on the dust-heap and
showing themselves off, and picking and clucking, as they were wont to
do, this desire seized her, and she began to cry:

"Cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck, over the fence! cluck, cluck, cluck, over
the fence!" and wanted to get away.

The Cock stretched his neck and shook his comb and feathers, and cried:

"Go not there!" And all the old hens cackled:

"Go-go-go-go not there!"

But she set off for all that; and was not a little proud when she got
away, and could go about pluming and showing herself off quite alone.

Just then a hawk began to fly round in a circle above her, and all of a
sudden he swooped down upon her. The Cock, as he stood on top of the
dust-heap, stretching his neck and peering first with one eye and then
with the other, had long noticed him, and cried with all his might:

"Come, come, come and help! Come, come, come and help!" till the people
came running to see what was the matter. They frightened the hawk so
that he let go the Hen, and had to be satisfied with her tuft and her
finest feathers, which he had plucked from her. And then, you may be
sure, she lost no time in running-home; she stretched her neck, and
tripped along, crying:

"See, see, see, see how I look! See, see, see, see how I look!"

The Cock came up to her in his dignified way, drooped one of his wings,
and said:

"Didn't I tell you?"

From that time the Hen did not consider herself too good to be in the
company of the old hens on the dust-heap.

 [Illustration: "DIDN'T I TELL YOU?" SAID THE COCK]



THE OLD WOMAN AND THE TRAMP


There was once a tramp who went plodding his way through a forest. The
distance between the houses was so great that he had little hope of
finding a shelter before the night set in. But all of a sudden he saw
some lights between the trees. He then discovered a cottage, where there
was a fire burning on the hearth. How nice it would be to roast one's
self before that fire, and to get a bite of something, he thought; and
so he dragged himself toward the cottage.

Just then an old woman came toward him.

"Good evening, and well met!" said the tramp.

"Good evening," said the woman. "Where do you come from?"

"South of the sun, and east of the moon," said the tramp; "and now I am
on the way home again, for I have been all over the world with the
exception of this parish," he said.

"You must be a great traveler, then," said the woman. "What may be your
business here?"

"Oh, I want a shelter for the night," he said.

"I thought as much," said the woman; "but you may as well get away from
here at once, for my husband is not at home, and my place is not an
inn," she said.

"My good woman," said the tramp, "you must not be so cross and
hard-hearted, for we are both human beings, and should help one another,
as it is written."

"Help one another?" said the woman, "help? Did you ever hear such a
thing? Who'll help me, do you think? I haven't got a morsel in the
house! No, you'll have to look for quarters elsewhere," she said.

But the tramp was like the rest of his kind; he did not consider
himself beaten at the first rebuff. Although the old woman grumbled and
complained as much as she could, he was just as persistent as ever, and
went on begging and praying like a starved dog, until at last she gave
in, and he got permission to lie on the floor for the night.

That was very kind, he thought, and he thanked her for it.

"Better on the floor without sleep, than suffer cold in the forest
deep," he said; for he was a merry fellow, this tramp, and was always
ready with a rhyme.

When he came into the room he could see that the woman was not so badly
off as she had pretended; but she was a greedy and stingy woman of the
worst sort, and was always complaining and grumbling.

He now made himself very agreeable, of course, and asked her in his most
insinuating manner for something to eat.

"Where am I to get it from?" said the woman. "I haven't tasted a morsel
myself the whole day."

But the tramp was a cunning fellow, he was.

"Poor old granny, you must be starving," he said. "Well, well, I suppose
I shall have to ask you to have something with me, then?"

"Have something with you!" said the woman. "You don't look as if you
could ask any one to have anything! What have you got to offer one, I
should like to know?"

"He who far and wide does roam sees many things not known at home; and
he who many things has seen has wits about him and senses keen," said
the tramp. "Better dead than lose one's head! Lend me a pot, granny!"

The old woman now became very inquisitive, as you may guess, and so she
let him have a pot.

He filled it with water and put it on the fire, and then he blew with
all his might till the fire was burning fiercely all round it. Then he
took a four-inch nail from his pocket, turned it three times in his
hand, and put it into the pot.

The woman stared with all her might.

"What's this going to be?" she asked.

"Nail broth," said the tramp, and began to stir the water with the
porridge-stick.

"Nail broth?" asked the woman.

"Yes, nail broth," said the tramp.

The old woman had seen and heard a good deal in her time, but that
anybody could have made broth with a nail, well, she had never heard the
like before.

"That's something for poor people to know," she said, "and I should like
to learn how to make it."

"That which is not worth having will always go a-begging," said the
tramp, but if she wanted to learn how to make it she had only to watch
him, he said, and went on stirring the broth.

The old woman squatted on the ground, her hands clasping her knees, and
her eyes following his hand as he stirred the broth.

"This generally makes good broth," he said; "but this time it will very
likely be rather thin, for I have been making broth the whole week with
the same nail. If one only had a handful of sifted oatmeal to put in,
that would make it all right," he said. "But what one has to go without,
it's no use thinking more about," and so he stirred the broth again.

"Well, I think I have a scrap of flour somewhere," said the old woman,
and went out to fetch some, and it was both good and fine.

The tramp began putting the flour into the broth, and went on stirring,
while the woman sat staring now at him and then at the pot until her
eyes nearly burst their sockets.

"This broth would be good enough for company," he said, putting in one
handful of flour after another. "If I had only a bit of salted beef and
few potatoes to put in, it would be fit for gentlefolks, however
particular they might be," he said. "But what one has to go without,
it's no use thinking more about."

When the old woman really began to think it over, she thought she had
some potatoes, and perhaps a bit of beef as well; and these she gave the
tramp, who went on stirring, while she sat and stared as hard as ever.

"This will be grand enough for the best in the land," he said.

"Well, I never!" said the woman; "and just fancy--all with a nail!"

He was really a wonderful man, that tramp! He could do more than drink a
sup and turn the tankard up, he could.

"If one had only a little barley and a drop of milk, we could ask the
king himself to have some of it," he said; "for this is what he has
every blessed evening--that I know, for I have been in service under the
king's cook," he said.

"Dear me! Ask the king to have some! Well, I never!" exclaimed the
woman, slapping her knees. She was quite awestruck at the tramp and his
grand connections.

"But what one has to go without, it's no use thinking more about," said
the tramp.

And then she remembered she had a little barley; and as for milk, well,
she wasn't quite out of that, she said. And then she went to fetch
both the one and the other.

The tramp went on stirring, and the woman sat staring, one moment at him
and the next at the pot.

Then all at once the tramp took out the nail.

"Now it's ready, and now we'll have a real good feast," he said. "But to
this kind of soup the king and the queen always take a dram or two, and
one sandwich at least. And then they always have a cloth on the table
when they eat," he said. "But what one has to go without, it's no use
thinking more about."

But by this time the old woman herself had begun to feel quite grand and
fine, I can tell you; and if that was all that was wanted to make it
just as the king had it, she thought it would be nice to have it exactly
the same way for once, and play at being king and queen with the tramp.
She went straight to a cupboard and brought out the brandy bottle, dram
glasses, butter and cheese, smoked beef and veal, until at last the
table looked as if it were decked out for company.

Never in her life had the old woman had such a grand feast, and never
had she tasted such broth, and just fancy, made only with a nail!

She was in such a good and merry humor at having learned such an
economical way of making broth that she did not know how to make enough
of the tramp who had taught her such a useful thing.

So they ate and drank, and drank and ate, until they became both tired
and sleepy.

The tramp was now going to lie down on the floor. But that would never
do, thought the old woman; no, that was impossible. "Such a grand person
must have a bed to lie in," she said.

He did not need much pressing. "It's just like the sweet Christmas
time," he said, "and a nicer woman I never came across. Ah, well! Happy
are they who meet with such good people," said he; and he lay down on
the bed and went asleep.

And next morning, when he woke, the first thing he got was a good
breakfast.

When he was going, the old woman gave him a bright dollar piece.

"And thanks, many thanks, for what you have taught me," she said. "Now I
shall live in comfort, since I have learned how to make broth with a
nail."

"Well, it isn't very difficult if one only has something good to add to
it," said the tramp as he went his way.

The woman stood at the door staring after him.

"Such people don't grow on every bush," she said.



THE OLD WOMAN AND THE FISH


There was once upon a time an old woman who lived in a miserable cottage
on the brow of a hill overlooking the town. Her husband had been dead
for many years, and her children were in service round about the parish,
so she felt rather lonely and dreary by herself, and otherwise she was
not particularly well off either.

But when it has been ordained that one shall live, one cannot think of
one's funeral; and so one has to take the world as it is, and still be
satisfied; and that was about all the old woman could console herself
with. But that the road up which she had to carry the pails from the
well should be so heavy; and that the axe should have such a blunt and
rusty edge, so that it was only with the greatest difficulty that she
could cut the little firewood she had; and that the stuff she was
weaving was not sufficient--all this grieved her greatly, and caused her
to complain from time to time.

So one day, when she had pulled the bucket up from the well, she
happened to find a small pike in the bucket, which did not at all
displease her.

"Such fish does not come into my pot every day," she said; and now she
could have a really grand dish, she thought. But the fish that she had
got this time was no fool; it had the gift of speech, that it had.

"Let me go!" said the fish.

The old woman began to stare, you may be sure. Such a fish she had never
before seen in this world.

"Are you so much better than other fish, then?" she said, "and too good
to be eaten?"

"Wise is he who does not eat all he gets hold of," said the fish; "only
let me go, and you shall not remain without reward for your trouble."

"I like a fish in the bucket better than all those frisking about free
and frolicsome in the lakes," said the old woman. "And what one can
catch with one hand, one can also carry to one's mouth," she said.

"That may be," said the fish; "but if you do as I tell you, you shall
have three wishes."

"Wish in one fist, and pour water in the other, and you'll soon see
which you will get filled first," said the woman. "Promises are well
enough, but keeping them is better, and I sha'n't believe much in you
till I have got you in the pot," she said.

"You should mind that tongue of yours," said the fish, "and listen to my
words. Wish for three things, and then you'll see what will happen," he
said.

Well, the old woman knew well enough what she wanted to wish, and there
might not be so much danger in trying how far the fish would keep his
word, she thought.

She then began thinking of the heavy hill up from the well.

"I would wish that the pails could go of themselves to the well and home
again," she said.

"So they shall," said the fish.

Then she thought of the axe, and how blunt it was.

"I would wish that whatever I strike shall break right off," she said.

"So it shall," said the fish.

And then she remembered that the stuff she was weaving was not long
enough.

"I would wish that whatever I pull shall become long," she said.

"That it shall," said the fish. "And now, let me down into the well
again."

Yes, that she would, and all at once the pails began to shamble up the
hill.

"Dear me, did you ever see anything like it?" The old woman became so
glad and pleased that she slapped herself across the knees.

Crack, crack! it sounded; and then both her legs fell off, and she was
left sitting on the top of the lid over the well.

Now came a change. She began to cry and wail, and the tears started from
her eyes, whereupon she began blowing her nose with her apron, and as
she tugged at her nose it grew so long, so long, that it was terrible to
see.

That is what she got for her wishes! Well, there she sat, and there she
no doubt still sits, on the lid of the well. And if you want to know
what it is to have a long nose, you had better go there and ask her, for
she can tell you all about it, she can.



THE LAD AND THE FOX


There was once upon a time a little lad, who was on his way to church,
and when he came to a clearing in the forest he caught sight of a fox
that was lying on the top of a big stone so fast asleep that he did not
know the lad had seen him.

"If I catch that fox," said the lad, "and sell the skin, I shall get
money for it, and with that money I shall buy some rye, and that rye I
shall sow in father's corn-field at home. When the people who are on
their way to church pass by my field of rye they'll say: 'Oh, what
splendid rye that lad has got!' Then I shall say to them: 'I say, keep
away from my rye!' But they won't heed me. Then I shall shout to them:
'I say, keep away from my rye!' But still they won't take any notice of
me. Then I shall scream with all my might: 'Keep away from my rye!' and
then they'll listen to me."

But the lad screamed so loudly that the fox woke up and made off at once
for the forest, so that the lad did not even get as much as a handful of
his hair.

No; it's best always to take what you can reach, for of undone deeds you
should never screech, as the saying goes.



ADVENTURES OF ASHPOT


Norwegian children are just as fond of fairy stories as are any other
children, and they are lucky in having a great number, for that famous
story-teller, Hans Christian Andersen, was a Dane, and as the Danish
language is very like the Norwegian, his stories were probably known in
Norway long before they were known in England. But the Norwegians have
plenty of other stories of their own, and they love to sit by the fire
of burning logs or round the stove in the long winter evenings and
listen to them. Of course, they know all about people like Cinderella
and Jack the Giant-Killer, but their favorite hero is called by the name
of Ashpot, who is sometimes a kind of boy Cinderella and sometimes a
Jack the Giant-Killer.

The following are two stories which the little yellow-haired Norse
children never fail to delight in:

Once upon a time there was a man who had been out cutting wood, and when
he came home he found that he had left his coat behind, so he told his
little daughter to go and fetch it. The child started off, but before
she reached the wood darkness came on, and suddenly a great big
hill-giant swooped down upon her.

"Please, Mr. Giant," said she, trembling all over, "don't take me away
to-night, as father wants his coat; but to-morrow night, if you will
come when I go to the _stabbur_ to fetch the bread, I will go away with
you quietly."

So the giant agreed, and the next night, when she went to fetch the
bread, he came and carried her off. As soon as it was found that she was
missing, her father sent her eldest brother to look for her, but he came
back without finding her. The second brother was also sent, but with no
better result. At last the father turned to his youngest son, who was
the drudge of the house, and said: "Now, Ashpot, you go and see if you
can find your sister."

So away went Ashpot, and no sooner had he reached the wood than he met a
bear.

"Friend bear," said Ashpot, "will you help me?"

"Willingly," answered the bear. "Get up on my back."

And Ashpot mounted the bear's back and rode off. Presently they met a
wolf.

"Friend wolf," said Ashpot, "will you do some work for me?"

"Willingly," answered the wolf.

"Then jump up behind," said Ashpot, and the three went on deeper into
the wood.

They next met a fox, and then a hare, both of whom were enlisted into
Ashpot's service, and, mounted on the back of the bear, were swiftly
carried off to the giant's abode.

"Good day, Mr. Giant!" said they.

"Scratch my back!" roared the giant, who lay stretched in front of the
fire warming himself.

The hare immediately climbed up and began to scratch as desired; but the
giant knocked him over, and down he fell on to the hearthstone, breaking
off his forelegs, since which time all hares have had short forelegs.

The fox next clambered up to scratch the giant's back, but he was served
like the hare. Then the wolf's turn came, but the giant said that he was
no better at scratching than the others.

"_You_ scratch me!" shouted the giant, turning impatiently to the bear.

"All right," answered Bruin; "I know all about scratching," and he
forthwith dug his claws into the giant's back and ripped it into a
thousand pieces.

Then all the beasts danced on the dead body of the monster, and Ashpot
recovered his sister and took her home, carrying off, at the same time,
all the giant's gold and silver. The bear and the wolf burst into the
cattle-sheds and devoured all the cows and sheep, the fox feasted in the
hen-roost, while the hare had the free run of the oatfield. So every one
was satisfied.

         *       *       *

The other story is also about Ashpot, whose two elder brothers still
treated him very badly, and eventually turned him out of his home. Poor
Ashpot wandered away up into the mountains, where he met a huge giant.
At first he was terribly afraid, but after a little while he told the
giant what had happened to him, and asked him if he could find a job for
him.

"You are just the very man I want," said the giant. "Come along with
me."

The first work to be done was to make a fire to brew some ale, so they
went off together to the forest to cut firewood. The giant carried a
club in place of an axe, and when they came to a large birch-tree he
asked Ashpot whether he would like to club the tree down or climb up and
hold the top of it. The boy thought that the latter would suit him best,
and he soon got up to the topmost branches and held on to them. But the
giant gave the tree such a blow with his club as to knock it right out
of the ground, sending Ashpot flying across the meadows into a marsh.
Luckily he landed on soft ground, and was none the worse for his
adventure; and they soon managed to get the tree home, when they set to
work to make a fire.

But the wood was green, and would not burn, so the giant began to blow.
At the first puff Ashpot found himself flying up to the ceiling as if he
had been a feather, but he managed to catch hold of a piece of
birch-bark among the rafters, and on reaching the ground again he told
the giant that he had been up to get something to make the fire burn.

The fire was soon burning splendidly, and the giant commenced to brew
the ale, drinking it off as fast as it was made. Ashpot watched him
getting gradually stupid, and heard him mutter to himself, "To-night I
will kill him," so he began to think of a plan to outwit his master.
When he went to bed he placed the giant's cream-whisk, with which the
giant used to beat his cream, between the sheets as a dummy, while
Ashpot himself crept under the bedstead, where he was safely hidden.

In the middle of the night, just as he had expected, he heard the giant
come into his room, and then there was a tremendous whack as the giant
brought his club down on to the bed. Next morning the boy came out of
his room as if nothing had happened, and his master was very much
surprised to find him still alive.

"Hullo!" said the giant. "Didn't you feel anything in the night?"

"I did feel something," said Ashpot; "but I thought that it was only a
sausage-peg that had fallen on the bed, so I went to sleep again."

The giant was more astonished than ever, and went off to consult his
sister, who lived in a neighboring mountain, and was about ten times
his size. At length it was settled that the giantess should set her
cooking-pot on the fire, and that Ashpot should be sent to see her, when
she was to tip him into the caldron and boil him. In the course of the
day the giant sent the boy off with a message to his sister, and when he
reached the giantess's dwelling he found her busy cooking. But he soon
saw through her design, and he took out of his pocket a nut with a hole
in it.

"Look here," he said, showing the nut to the ogress, "you think you can
do everything. I will tell you one thing that you can't do: you can't
make yourself so small as to be able to creep into the hole in this
nut."

"Rubbish!" replied the giantess. "Of course I can!"

And in a moment she became as small as a fly, and crept into the nut,
whereupon Ashpot hurled it into the fire, and that was the end of the
giantess.

The boy was so delighted that he returned to his old tyrant the giant
and told him what had happened to his sister. This set the big man
thinking again as to how he was to rid himself of this sharp-witted
little nuisance. He did not understand boys, and he was afraid of
Ashpot's tricks, so he offered him as much gold and silver as he could
carry if he would go away and never return. Ashpot, however, replied
that the amount he could carry would not be worth having, and that he
could not think of going unless he got as much as the giant could carry.

The giant, glad to get rid of him at any cost, agreed, and, loading
himself with gold and silver and precious stones, he set out with the
boy toward his home. When they reached the outskirts of the farms they
saw a herd of cattle, and the giant began to tremble.

"What sort of beasts are these?" he asked.

"They are my father's cows," replied Ashpot, "and you had better put
down your burden and run back to your mountain, or they may bite you."

The giant was only too happy to get away, so, depositing his load, which
was as big as a small hill, he made off, and left the boy to carry his
treasure home by himself.

So enormous was the amount of the valuables that it was six years before
Ashpot succeeded in removing everything from the field where the giant
had set it down; but he and all his relations were rich people for the
rest of their lives.



NORWEGIAN BIRD-LEGENDS


The Norwegians have several quaint old legends connected with some of
their birds. This is the story of the goldcrest, known in Norway as the
"bird-king":

Once upon a time the golden eagle determined to be publicly acknowledged
as king of the birds, and he called a meeting of every kind of bird in
the world. As many of the birds would come from tropical countries, he
appointed a day in the warmest month; and the place he chose was a vast
tract called Grönfjeld, where every species of bird would feel at home,
since it bordered on the sea, yet was well provided with trees, shrubs,
flowers, rocks, sand, and heather, as well as with lakes and rivers full
of fish.

So on the morning of the great congress the birds began to arrive
in a steady stream, and by noon every description of bird was
represented--even the ostrich, though how he contrived to cross the seas
the story does not say. The eagle welcomed them, and when the last
humming-bird had settled down he addressed the meeting, saying that
there was no doubt that he had a right to demand to be proclaimed their
king. The spread of his wings was prodigious, he could fearlessly look
at the sun, and to whatever height he soared he could detect the
slightest movement of a fly on the earth.

But the birds objected to the eagle on account of his plundering
habits, and then each in turn stated his own case as a claimant for the
kingship--the ostrich could run the fastest, the bird of paradise and
the peacock could look the prettiest, the parrot could talk the best,
the canary could sing the sweetest, and every one of them, for some
reason or other, was in his own opinion superior to his fellows. After
several days of fruitless discussion it was finally decided that
whichever bird could soar the highest should be, once and for all,
proclaimed king.

Every bird who could fly at all tried his best, and the golden eagle,
confident of success, waited till last. Finally he spread his wings, and
as he did so an impudent little goldcrest hopped (unbeknown to his great
rival) on to his back. Up went the eagle, and soon outdistanced every
other bird. Then, when he had almost reached the sun, he shouted out,
"Well, here I am, the highest of all!" "Not so," answered the goldcrest,
as, leaving the eagle's back, he fluttered upward, until suddenly he
knocked his head against the sun and set fire to his crest. Stunned by
the shock, the little upstart fell headlong to the ground, but, soon
recovering himself, he immediately flew up on to the royal rock and
showed the golden crown which he had assumed. Unanimously he was
proclaimed king of the birds, and by this name, concludes the legend, he
has ever since been known, his sunburnt crest remaining as a proof of
his cunning and daring.

In those parts of Norway where the goldcrest is rarely seen the same
story, omitting the part about the sun and the burnt crest, is told of
the common wren, who is said to have broken off his tail in his great
fall. And to this is applied the moral: "Proud and ambitious people
sometimes meet with an unexpected downfall."

There are at least seven kinds of woodpeckers found in Norway, and of
these the great black woodpecker is the largest. The woodmen consider it
to be a bird which brings bad luck, and avoid it as much as possible.
They call it "Gertrude's Bird" because of the following legend:

"Our Saviour once called on an old woman who lived all alone in a little
cottage in an extensive forest in Norway. Her name was Gertrude, and she
was a hard, avaricious old creature, who had not a kind word for
anybody, and although she was not badly off in a worldly point of view,
she was too stingy and selfish to assist any poor wayfarer who by chance
passed her cottage door. One day our Lord happened to come that way,
and, being hungry and thirsty, he asked of Gertrude a morsel of bread to
eat and a cup of cold water to drink. But the wicked old woman refused,
and turned our Saviour from the door with harsh words. Our Lord
stretched forth his hand toward the aged crone, and, as a punishment,
she was immediately transformed into a black woodpecker; and ever since
that day the wicked old creature has wandered about the world in the
shape of a bird, seeking her daily bread from wood to wood and from tree
to tree. The red head of the bird is supposed to represent the red
nightcap worn by Gertrude."

Legends of this description were doubtless introduced in the early days
of Christianity in order to impress the new religion on the people, and
several have been preserved. Thus the turtle-dove is revered as a bird
which spoke kind words to our Lord on the cross; and, similarly, the
swallow is said to have perched upon the cross and to have pitied him;
while the legend of the crossbill relates how its beak became twisted in
endeavoring to withdraw the nails, and how to this day it bears upon its
plumage the red blood-stains from the cross.

One more Christian legend--about the lapwing, or peewit: The lapwing was
at one time a handmaiden of the Virgin Mary, and stole her mistress's
scissors, for which she was transformed into a bird, and condemned to
wear a forked tail resembling scissors. Moreover, the lapwing was doomed
forever and ever to fly from tussock to tussock, uttering over and over
again the plaintive cry of "Tyvit! tyvit!" ("Thief! thief!")

In the old viking times, before Christianity had found its way so far
north, the bird which influenced the people most was the raven. He was
credited with much knowledge, as well as with the power to bring good or
bad luck. One of the titles of Odin was "Raven-god," and he had as
messengers two faithful ravens, "who could speak all manner of tongues,
and flew on his behests to the uttermost parts of the earth." In those
days the figure of a raven was usually emblazoned on shield and
standard, and it was thought that as the battle raged, victory or defeat
could be foreseen by the attitude assumed by the embroidered bird on the
standard. And it is well known that William the Conqueror (who came of
viking stock) flew a banner with raven device at the battle of Hastings
where he won such a great victory.

But the greatest use of all to which the sable bird was put was to guide
the roving pirates on their expeditions. Before a start was made a raven
was let loose, and the direction of his flight gave the viking ships
their course. In this manner, according to the old Norse legends, did
Floki discover Iceland; and many other extraordinary things happened
under the influence of the raven.

 [Illustration: "EVERY DESCRIPTION OF BIRD WAS REPRESENTED"]



 THE UGLY DUCKLING

 BY HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN


It was glorious out in the country. It was summer, and the corn-fields
were yellow, and the oats were green; the hay had been put up in stacks
in the green meadows, and the stork went about on his long red legs, and
chattered Egyptian, for this was the language he had learned from his
good mother. All around the fields and meadows were great forests, and
in the midst of these forests lay deep lakes. Yes, it was really
glorious out in the country. In the midst of the sunshine there lay an
old farm, surrounded by deep canals, and from the wall down to the water
grew great burdocks, so high that little children could stand upright
under the loftiest of them. It was just as wild there as in the deepest
wood. Here sat a Duck upon her nest, for she had to hatch her young
ones; but she was almost tired out before the little ones came; and then
she so seldom had visitors. The other ducks liked better to swim about
in the canals than to run up to sit down under a burdock, and cackle
with her.

At last one egg-shell after another burst open. "Piep! piep!" it cried,
and in all the eggs there were little creatures that stuck out their
heads.

"Rap! rap!" they said; and they all came rapping out as fast as they
could, looking all round them under the green leaves; and the mother let
them look as much as they chose, for green is good for the eyes.

"How wide the world is!" said the young ones, for they certainly had
much more room now than when they were in the eggs.

"Do you think this is all the world?" asked the mother. "That extends
far across the other side of the garden, quite into the parson's field,
but I have never been there yet. I hope you are all together," she
continued, and stood up. "No, I have not all. The largest egg still lies
there. How long is this to last? I am really tired of it." And she sat
down again.

"Well, how goes it?" asked an old Duck who had come to pay her a visit.

"It lasts a long time with that one egg," said the Duck who sat there.
"It will not burst. Now, only look at the others; are they not the
prettiest ducks one could possibly see? They are all like their father;
the bad fellow never comes to see me."

"Let me see the egg which will not burst," said the old visitor.
"Believe me, it is a turkey's egg. I was once cheated in that way, and
had much anxiety and trouble with the young ones, for they are afraid of
the water. I could not get them to venture in. I quacked and clucked,
but it was no use. Let me see the egg. Yes, that's a turkey egg! Let it
lie there, and come and teach the other children to swim."

"I think I will sit on it a little longer," said the Duck. "I've sat so
long now that I can sit a few days more."

"Just as you please," said the old Duck; and she went away.

At last the great egg burst. "Piep! piep!" said the little one, and
crept forth. It was very large and very ugly. The Duck looked at it.

"It's a very large duckling," said she; "none of the others look like
that: can it really be a turkey chick? Now we shall soon find it out. It
must go into the water, even if I have to thrust it in myself."

The next day the weather was splendidly bright, and the sun shone on all
the green trees. The Mother-Duck went down to the water with all her
little ones. Splash she jumped into the water. "Quack! quack!" she said,
and one duckling after another plunged in. The water closed over their
heads, but they came up in an instant, and swam capitally; their legs
went of themselves, and there they were all in the water. The ugly gray
Duckling swam with them.

"No, it's not a turkey," said she; "look how well it can use its legs,
and how upright it holds itself. It is my own child! On the whole it's
quite pretty, if one looks at it rightly. Quack! quack! come with me,
and I'll lead you out into the great world, and present you in the
poultry-yard; but keep close to me, so that no one may tread on you, and
take care of the cats!"

And so they came into the poultry-yard. There was a terrible riot going
on in there, for two families were quarreling about an eel's head, and
the cat got it after all.

"See, that's how it goes in the world!" said the Mother-Duck; and she
whetted her beak, for she, too, wanted the eel's head. "Only use your
legs," she said. "See that you can bustle about, and bow your heads
before the old Duck yonder. She's the grandest of her tribe; she's of
Spanish blood--that's why she's so fat; and do you see, she has a red
rag around her leg; that's something particularly fine, and the greatest
distinction a duck can enjoy; it signifies that one does not want to
lose her, and that she's to be recognized by man and beast. Shake
yourselves--don't turn in your toes; a well-brought-up duck turns its
toes quite out, just like father and mother, so! Now bend your necks and
say 'Rap'!"

And they did so; but the other ducks round about looked at them, and
said quite boldly:

"Look there! now we're to have these hanging on, as if there were not
enough of us already! And--fie!--how that Duckling yonder looks; we
won't stand that!" And one duck flew up immediately, and bit it in the
neck.

"Let it alone," said the mother; "it does no harm to any one."

"Yes, but it's too large and peculiar," said the Duck who had bitten it;
"and therefore it must be buffeted."

"Those are pretty children that the mother has there," said the old Duck
with the rag on her leg. "They're all pretty but that one; that was a
failure. I wish she could alter it."

"That cannot be done, my lady," replied the Mother-Duck. "It is not
pretty, but it has a really good disposition, and swims as well as any
other; I may even say it swims better. I think it will grow up pretty,
and become smaller in time; it has lain too long in the egg, and
therefore is not properly shaped." And then she pinched it in the neck,
and smoothed its feathers. "Moreover, it is a drake," she said, "and
therefore it is not of so much consequence. I think he will be very
strong: he makes his way already."

"The other ducklings are graceful enough," said the old Duck. "Make
yourself at home; and if you find an eel's head, you may bring it to
me."

And now they were at home. But the poor Duckling which had crept last
out of the egg, and looked so ugly, was bitten and pushed and jeered, as
much by the ducks as by the chickens.

"It is too big!" they all said. And the turkey-cock, who had been born
with spurs, and therefore thought himself an emperor, blew himself up
like a ship in full sail, and bore straight down upon it; then he
gobbled, and grew quite red in the face. The poor Duckling did not know
where it should stand or walk; it was quite melancholy because it looked
ugly, and was scoffed at by the whole yard.

So it went on the first day; and afterward it became worse and worse.
The poor Duckling was hunted about by every one; even its brothers and
sisters were quite angry with it, and said: "If the cat would only catch
you, you ugly creature!" And the mother said: "If you were only far
away!" And the ducks bit it, and the chickens beat it, and the girl who
had to feed the poultry kicked at it with her foot.

Then it ran and flew over the fence, and the little birds in the bushes
flew up in fear.

"That is because I am so ugly!" thought the Duckling; and it shut its
eyes, but flew on farther; thus it came out into the great moor, where
the wild ducks lived. Here it lay the whole night long; and it was weary
and downcast.

Toward morning the wild ducks flew up, and looked at their new
companion.

"What sort of a one are you?" they asked; and the Duckling turned in
every direction, and bowed as well as it could. "You are remarkably
ugly!" said the wild ducks. "But that is very indifferent to us, so long
as you do not marry into our family."

Poor thing! it certainly did not think of marrying, and only hoped to
obtain leave to lie among the reeds and drink some of the swamp water.

Thus it lay two whole days; then came thither two wild geese, or,
properly speaking, two wild ganders. It was not long since each had
crept out of an egg, and that's why they were so saucy.

"Listen, comrade," said one of them. "You're so ugly that I like you.
Will you go with us, and become a bird of passage? Near here, in another
moor, there are a few sweet lovely wild geese, all unmarried, and all
able to say 'Rap'! You've a chance of making your fortune, ugly as you
are!"

"Piff! paff!" resounded through the air; and the two ganders fell down
dead in the swamp, and the water became blood-red. "Piff! paff!" it
sounded again, and whole flocks of wild geese rose up from the reeds.
And then there was another report. A great hunt was going on. The
hunters were lying in wait all round the moor, and some were even
sitting up in the branches of the trees, which spread far over the
reeds. The blue smoke rose up like clouds among the dark trees, and was
wafted far away across the water; and the hunting dogs came--splash,
splash!--into the swamp, and the rushes and the reeds bent down on every
side. That was a fright for the poor Duckling! It turned its head, and
put it under its wing; but at that moment a frightful great dog stood
close by the Duckling. His tongue hung far out of his mouth and his eyes
gleamed horrible and ugly; he thrust out his nose close against the
Duckling, showed his sharp teeth, and--splash, splash!--on he went,
without seizing it.

"Oh, Heaven be thanked!" sighed the Duckling. "I am so ugly that even
the dog does not like to bite me!"

And so it lay quite quiet, while the shots rattled through the reeds and
gun after gun was fired. At last, late in the day, silence was restored;
but the poor Duckling did not dare to rise up; it waited several hours
before it looked around, and then hastened away out of the moor as fast
as it could. It ran on over field and meadow; there was such a storm
raging that it was difficult to get from one place to another.

Toward evening the Duckling came to a miserable little hut. This hut was
so dilapidated that it did not know on which side it should fall; and
that's why it remained standing. The storm whistled round the Duckling
in such a way that the poor creature was obliged to sit down, to stand
against it; and the tempest grew worse and worse. Then the Duckling
noticed that one of the hinges of the door had given way, and the door
hung so slanting that the Duckling could slip through the crack into the
room.

Here lived a woman, with her Tom Cat and her Hen. And the Tom Cat, whom
she called Sonnie, could arch his back and purr, he could even give out
sparks; but for that one had to stroke his fur the wrong way. The Hen
had quite little short legs, and therefore she was called
Chickabiddy-shortshanks; she laid good eggs, and the woman loved her as
her own child.

In the morning the strange Duckling was at once noticed, and the Tom Cat
began to purr, and the Hen to cluck.

"What's this?" said the woman, looking all around; but she could not see
very well, and therefore she thought the Duckling was a fat duck that
had strayed. "This is a rare prize!" she said. "Now I shall have duck's
eggs. I hope it is not a drake. We must try that."

And so the Duckling was admitted on trial for three weeks; but no eggs
came. And the Tom Cat was master of the house, and the Hen was the lady,
and always said, "We and the world!" for she thought they were half the
world, and by far the better half. The Duckling thought one might have a
different opinion, but the Hen would not allow it.

"Can you lay eggs?" she asked.

"No."

"Then you'll have the goodness to hold your tongue."

And the Tom Cat said, "Can you curve your back, and purr and give out
sparks?"

"No."

"Then you cannot have any opinion of your own when sensible people are
speaking."

And the Duckling sat in the corner and was melancholy; then the fresh
air and the sunshine streamed in; and it was seized with such a strange
longing to swim on the water, that it could not help telling the Hen of
it.

"What are you thinking of?" cried the Hen. "You have nothing to do,
that's why you have these fancies. Purr or lay eggs, and they will pass
over."

"But it is so charming to swim on the water!" said the Duckling, "so
refreshing to let it close above one's head, and to dive to the bottom."

"Yes, that must be a mighty pleasure, truly," quoth the Hen. "I fancy
you must have gone crazy. Ask the Cat about it--he's the cleverest
animal I know--ask him if he likes to swim on the water, or to dive
down; I won't speak about myself. Ask our mistress, the old woman; no
one in the world is cleverer than she. Do you think she has any desire
to swim, and to let the water close above her head?"

"You don't understand me," said the Duckling.

"We don't understand you? Then pray who is to understand you? You surely
don't pretend to be cleverer than the Tom Cat and the woman--I won't say
anything of myself. Don't be conceited, child, and be grateful for all
the kindness you have received. Did you not get into a warm room, and
have you not fallen into company from which you may learn something. But
you are a chatterer, and it is not pleasant to associate with you. You
may believe me, I speak for your good. I tell you disagreeable things,
and by that one may always know one's true friends! Only take care that
you learn to lay eggs, or to purr and give out sparks!"

"I think I will go out into the wide world," said the Duckling.

"Yes, do go," replied the Hen.

And the Duckling went away. It swam on the water, and dived, but it was
slighted by every creature because of its ugliness.

 [Illustration: "HAVE YOU NOT FALLEN INTO COMPANY FROM WHICH YOU MAY
 LEARN SOMETHING?"]

Now came the Autumn. The leaves in the forest turned yellow and brown;
the wind caught them so that they danced about, and up in the air it was
very cold. The clouds hung low, heavy with hail and snow-flakes, and on
the fence stood the raven, crying, "Croak! croak!" for mere cold; yes,
it was enough to make one feel cold to think of this. The poor little
Duckling certainly had not a good time. One evening--the sun was just
setting in his beauty--there came a whole flock of great handsome birds
out of the bushes; they were dazzlingly white, with long flexible necks;
they were swans. They uttered a very peculiar cry, spread forth their
glorious great wings, and flew away from that cold region to warmer
lands, to fair open lakes. They mounted so high, so high! and the ugly
little Duckling felt quite strangely as it watched them. It turned round
and round in the water like a wheel, stretched out its neck toward them,
and uttered such a strange loud cry as frightened itself. Oh! it could
not forget those beautiful, happy birds; and as soon as it could see
them no longer, it dived down to the very bottom, and when it came up
again, it was quite beside itself. It knew not the name of those birds,
and knew not whither they were flying; but it loved them more than it
had ever loved any one. It was not at all envious of them. How could it
think of wishing to possess such loveliness as they had? It would have
been glad if only the ducks would have endured its company.

And the Winter grew cold, very cold! The Duckling was forced to swim
about in the water, to prevent the surface from freezing entirely; but
every night the hole in which it swam about became smaller and smaller.
It froze so hard that the icy covering cracked again; and the Duckling
was obliged to use its legs continually to prevent the hole from
freezing up. At last it became exhausted, and lay quite still, and thus
froze fast into the ice.

Early in the morning a peasant came by, and when he saw what had
happened, he took his wooden shoe, broke the ice-crust to pieces, and
carried the Duckling home to his wife. Then it came to itself again. The
children wanted to play with it, but the Duckling thought they would do
it an injury, and in its terror fluttered up into the milk-pan, so that
the milk spurted down into the room. The woman clapped her hands, at
which the Duckling flew down into the butter-tub, and then into the
meal-barrel and out again. How it looked then! The woman screamed, and
struck at it with the fire-tongs; the children tumbled over one another,
in their efforts to catch the Duckling; and they laughed and screamed
finely! Happily the door stood open, and the poor creature was able to
slip out between the shrubs into the newly fallen snow; and there it lay
quite exhausted.

But it would be too melancholy if I were to tell all the misery and want
which the Duckling had to endure in the hard Winter. It lay out on the
moor among the reeds, when the sun began to shine again and the larks to
sing: it was a beautiful Spring.

Then all at once the Duckling could flap its wings: they beat the air
more strongly than before, and bore it strongly away; and before it well
knew how all this happened, it found itself in a great garden, where the
elder trees smelt sweet, and bent their long green branches down to the
canal that wound through the region. Oh, here it was so beautiful, such
a gladness of Spring! and from the thicket came three glorious white
swans; they rustled their wings, and swam lightly on the water. The
Duckling knew the splendid creatures, and felt oppressed by a peculiar
sadness.

"I will fly away to them, to the royal birds! and they will kill me,
because I, that am so ugly, dare to approach them. But it is of no
consequence! Better to be killed by _them_ than to be pursued by ducks,
and beaten by fowls, and pushed about by the girl who takes care of the
poultry-yard, and to suffer hunger in Winter!" And it flew out into the
water, and swam toward the beautiful swans: these looked at it, and came
sailing down upon it with outspread wings. "Kill me!" said the poor
creature, and bent its head down upon the water, expecting nothing but
death. But what was this that it saw in the clear water? It beheld its
own image; and, lo! it was no longer a clumsy, dark-gray bird, ugly and
hateful to look at, but--a swan!

It matters nothing if one is born in a duck-yard, if one has only lain
in a swan's egg.

It felt quite glad at all the need and misfortune it had suffered, now
it realized its happiness in all the splendor that surrounded it. And
the great swans swam around it, and stroked it with their beaks.

Into the garden came little children, who threw bread and corn into the
water; and the youngest cried: "There is a new one!" And the other
children shouted joyously: "Yes, a new one has arrived!" And they
clapped their hands and danced about, and ran to their father and
mother; and bread and cake were thrown into the water; and they all
said: "The new one is the most beautiful of all! so young and handsome!"
And the old swans bowed their heads before him.

Then he felt quite ashamed, and hid his head under his wings, for he did
not know what to do; he was so happy, and yet not at all proud. He
thought how he had been persecuted and despised; and now he heard them
saying that he was the most beautiful of all birds. Even the elder tree
bent its branches straight down into the water before him, and the sun
shone warm and mild. Then his wings rustled, he lifted his slender neck,
and cried rejoicingly from the depths of his heart:

"I never dreamed of so much happiness when I was still the Ugly
Duckling!"



THE WILD SWANS

BY HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN


Far away, where the swallows fly when our Winter comes on, lived a King
who had eleven sons, and one daughter named Eliza. The eleven brothers
were Princes, and each went to school with a star on his breast and his
sword by his side. They wrote with pencils of diamond upon slates of
gold, and learned by heart just as well as they read: one could see
directly that they were Princes. Their sister Eliza sat upon a little
stool of plate-glass, and had a picture-book which had been bought for
the value of half a kingdom.

Oh, the children were particularly well off; but it was not always to
remain so.

Their father, who was King of the whole country, married a bad Queen,
who did not love the poor children at all. On the very first day they
could notice this. In the whole palace there was great feasting, and
the children were playing there. Then guests came; but instead of the
children receiving, as they had been accustomed to do, all the spare
cake and all the roasted apples, they only had some sand given them in a
tea-cup, and were told that they might make believe that was something
good. The next week the Queen took the little sister Eliza into the
country, to a peasant and his wife; and but a short time had elapsed
before she told the King so many falsehoods about the poor Princes that
he did not trouble himself any more about them.

"Fly out into the world and get your own living," said the wicked Queen.
"Fly like great birds without a voice."

But she could not make it so bad for them as she had intended, for they
became eleven magnificent wild swans. With a strange cry they flew out
of the palace windows, far over the park and into the wood.

It was yet quite early morning when they came by the place where their
sister Eliza lay asleep in the peasant's room. Here they hovered over
the roof, turned their long necks, and flapped their wings; but no one
heard or saw it. They were obliged to fly on, high up toward the clouds,
far away into the wide world; there they flew into a great dark wood,
which stretched away to the seashore.

Poor little Eliza stood in the peasant's room and played with a green
leaf, for she had no other playthings. And she pricked a hole in the
leaf, and looked through it up at the sun, and it seemed to her that she
saw her brothers' clear eyes; each time the warm sun shone upon her
cheeks she thought of all the kisses they had given her.

Each day passed just like the rest. When the wind swept through the
great rose hedges outside the house, it seemed to whisper to them: "What
can be more beautiful than you?" But the roses shook their heads and
answered "Eliza!" And when the old woman sat in front of her door on
Sunday and read in her hymn-book, the wind turned the leaves and said to
the book: "Who can be more pious than you?" and the hymn-book said,
"Eliza!" And what the rose bushes and the hymn-book said was the simple
truth.

When she was 15 years old she was to go home. And when the Queen saw how
beautiful she was, she became spiteful and filled with hatred toward
her. She would have been glad to change her into a wild swan, like her
brothers, but she did not dare to do so at once, because the King wished
to see his daughter.

Early in the morning the Queen went into the bath, which was built of
white marble, and decked with soft cushions and the most splendid
tapestry; and she took three toads and kissed them, and said to the
first: "Sit upon Eliza's head when she comes into the bath, that she may
become as stupid as you. Seat yourself upon her forehead," she said to
the second, "that she may become as ugly as you, and her father may not
know her. Rest on her heart," she whispered to the third, "that she may
receive an evil mind and suffer pain from it."

Then she put the toads into the clear water, which at once assumed a
green color; and calling Eliza, she caused her to undress and step into
the water. And while Eliza dived, one of the toads sat upon her hair,
and the second on her forehead, and the third on her heart; but she did
not seem to notice it; and as soon as she rose, three red poppies were
floating on the water. If the creatures had not been poisonous, and if
the witch had not kissed them, they would have been changed into red
roses. But at any rate they became flowers, because they had rested on
the girl's head, and forehead, and heart. She was too good and innocent
for sorcery to have power over her.

When the wicked Queen saw that, she rubbed Eliza with walnut juice, so
that the girl became dark brown, and smeared a hurtful ointment on her
face, and let her beautiful hair hang in confusion. It was quite
impossible to recognize the pretty Eliza.

When her father saw her he was much shocked and declared this was not
his daughter. No one but the yard dog and the swallows would recognize
her; but they were poor animals who had nothing to say in the matter.

Then poor Eliza wept, and thought of her eleven brothers who were all
away. Sorrowfully she crept out of the castle, and walked all day over
field and moor till she came into the great wood. She did not know
whither she wished to go, only she felt very downcast and longed for her
brothers: they had certainly been, like herself, thrust forth into the
world, and she would seek for them and find them.

She had been only a short time in the wood when the night fell; she
quite lost the path, therefore she lay down upon the soft moss, prayed
her evening prayer, and leaned her head against the stump of a tree.
Deep silence reigned around, the air was mild, and in the grass and in
the moss gleamed like a green fire hundreds of glow-worms; when she
lightly touched one of the twigs with her hand, the shining insects fell
down upon her like shooting stars.

The whole night long she dreamed of her brothers. They were children
again playing together, writing with their diamond pencils upon their
golden slates, and looking at the beautiful picture-book which had cost
half a kingdom. But on the slates they were not writing as they had been
accustomed to do, lines and letters, but the brave deeds they had done,
and all they had seen and experienced; and in the picture-book
everything was alive--the birds sang, and the people went out of the
book and spoke with Eliza and her brothers. But when the leaf was
turned, they jumped back again directly, so that there should be no
confusion.

When she awoke the sun was already standing high. She could certainly
not see it, for the lofty trees spread their branches far and wide above
her. But the rays played there above like a gauzy veil, there was a
fragrance from the fresh verdure, and the birds almost perched upon her
shoulders. She heard the splashing of water; it was from a number of
springs all flowing into a lake which had the most delightful sandy
bottom. It was surrounded by thick growing bushes, but at one part the
stags had made a large opening, and here Eliza went down to the water.
The lake was so clear, that if the wind had not stirred the branches and
the bushes, so that they moved, one would have thought they were painted
upon the depths of the lake, so clearly was every leaf mirrored, whether
the sun shone upon it or whether it lay in shadow.

When Eliza saw her own face she was terrified--so brown and ugly was
she; but when she wetted her little hand and rubbed her eyes and her
forehead, the white skin gleamed forth again. Then she undressed and
went down into the fresh water; a more beautiful King's daughter than
she was could not be found in the world. And when she had dressed
herself again and plaited her long hair, she went to the bubbling
spring, drank out of the hollow of her hand, and then wandered far
into the wood, not knowing whither she went. She thought of her dear
brothers, and thought that Heaven would certainly not forsake her. It is
God who lets the wild apples grow, to satisfy the hunger. He showed her
a wild apple tree, with the boughs bending under the weight of the
fruit. Here she took her midday meal, placing props under the boughs,
and then went into the darkest part of the forest. There it was so still
that she could hear her own footsteps, as well as the rustling of every
dry leaf which bent under her feet. Not one bird was to be seen, not one
ray of sunlight could find its way through the great dark boughs of the
trees; the lofty trunks stood so close together that when she looked
before her it appeared as though she were surrounded by sets of palings
one behind the other.

The night came on quite dark. Not a single glow-worm now gleamed in the
grass. Sorrowfully she lay down to sleep. Then it seemed to her as if
the branches of the trees parted above her head, and mild eyes of angels
looked down upon her from on high.

When the morning came, she did not know if it had really been so or if
she had dreamed it.

She went a few steps forward, and then she met an old woman with berries
in her basket, and the old woman gave her a few of them. Eliza asked the
dame if she had not seen eleven Princes riding through the wood.

"No," replied the old woman, "but yesterday I saw eleven swans swimming
in the river close by, with golden crowns on their heads."

And she led Eliza a short distance farther, to a declivity, and at the
foot of the slope a little river wound its way. The trees on its margin
stretched their long leafy branches across toward each other, and where
their natural growth would not allow them to come together, the roots
had been torn out of the ground, and hung, intermingled with the
branches, over the water.

 [Illustration: "THE WHOLE DAY THEY FLEW ONWARD THROUGH THE AIR"]

Eliza said farewell to the old woman, and went beside the river to the
place where the stream flowed out to the great open ocean.

The whole glorious sea lay before the young girl's eyes, but not one
sail appeared on its surface, and not a boat was to be seen. How was she
to proceed? She looked at the innumerable little pebbles on the shore;
the water had worn them all round. Glass, ironstones, everything that
was there had received its shape from the water, which was much softer
than even her delicate hand.

"It rolls on unweariedly, and thus what is hard becomes smooth. I will
be just as unwearied. Thanks for your lesson, you clear rolling waves;
my heart tells me that one day you will lead me to my dear brothers."

On the foam-covered sea-grass lay eleven white swan feathers, which she
collected into a bunch. Drops of water were upon them--whether they were
dewdrops or tears nobody could tell. Solitary it was there on the
strand, but she did not feel it, for the sea showed continual
changes--more in a few hours than the lovely lakes can produce in a
whole year. Then a great black cloud came. It seemed as if the sea would
say: "I can look angry, too." And then the wind blew, and the waves
turned their white side outward. But when the clouds gleamed red and the
winds slept, the sea looked like a rose-leaf; sometimes it became green,
sometimes white. But however quietly it might rest, there was still a
slight motion on the shore; the water rose gently like the breast of a
sleeping child.

When the sun was just about to set, Eliza saw eleven wild swans, with
crowns on their heads, flying toward the land: they swept along one
after the other, so that they looked like a long white band. Then Eliza
descended the slope and hid herself behind a bush. The swans alighted
near her and flapped their great white wings.

As soon as the sun had disappeared beneath the water, the swan's
feathers fell off, and eleven handsome Princes, Eliza's brothers, stood
there. She uttered a loud cry, for although they were greatly altered,
she knew and felt that it must be they. And she sprang into their arms
and called them by their names; and the Princes felt supremely happy
when they saw their little sister again; and they knew her, though she
was now tall and beautiful. They smiled and wept; and soon they
understood how cruel their stepmother had been to them all.

"We brothers," said the eldest, "fly about as wild swans as long as the
sun is in the sky, but directly it sinks down we receive our human form
again. Therefore we must always take care that we have a resting-place
for our feet when the sun sets; for if at that moment we were flying up
toward the clouds, we should sink down into the deep as men. We do not
dwell here: there lies a land just as fair as this beyond the sea. But
the way thither is long; we must cross the great sea, and on our path
there is no island where we could pass the night, only a little rock
stands forth in the midst of the waves; it is just large enough that we
can rest upon it close to each other. If the sea is rough, the foam
spurts far over us, but we thank God for the rock. There we pass the
night in our human form: but for this rock we could never visit our
beloved native land, for we require two of the longest days in the year
for our journey.

"Only once in each year is it granted to us to visit our home. For
eleven days we may stay here and fly over the great wood, from whence we
can see the palace in which we were born and in which our father lives,
and the high church tower, beneath whose shade our mother lies buried.
Here it seems to us as though the bushes and trees were our relatives;
here the wild horses career across the steppe, as we have seen them do
in our childhood; here the charcoal-burner sings the old songs to which
we danced as children; here is our fatherland; hither we feel ourselves
drawn, and here we have found you, our dear little sister. Two days more
we may stay here; then we must away across the sea to a glorious land,
but which is not our native land. How can we bear you away? for we have
neither ship nor boat."

"In what way can I release you?" asked the sister; and they conversed
nearly the whole night, slumbering only for a few hours.

She was awakened by the rustling of the swans' wings above her head. Her
brothers were again enchanted, and they flew in wide circles and at last
far away; but one of them, the youngest, remained behind, and the swan
laid his head in her lap, and she stroked his wings; and the whole day
they remained together. Toward evening the others came back, and when
the sun had gone down they stood there in their own shapes, and one of
them said:

"To-morrow we fly far away from here, and cannot come back until a whole
year has gone by. But we cannot leave you thus! Have you courage to come
with us? My arm is strong enough to carry you in the wood; and should
not all our wings be strong enough to fly with you over the sea?"

"Yes, take me with you," said Eliza.

The whole night they were occupied in weaving a net of the pliable
willow bark and tough reeds; and it was great and strong. On this net
Eliza lay down; and when the sun rose, and her brothers were changed
into wild swans, they seized the net with their beaks, and flew with
their beloved sister, who was still asleep, high up toward the clouds.
The sunbeams fell exactly upon her face, so one of the swans flew over
her head, that his broad wings might overshadow her.

They were far away from the shore when Eliza awoke: she was still
dreaming, so strange did it appear to her to be carried high through the
air and over the sea. By her side lay a branch with beautiful ripe
berries and a bundle of sweet-tasting roots. The youngest of the
brothers had collected them and placed them there for her. She smiled at
him thankfully, for she recognized him; he it was who flew over her and
shaded her with his wings.

They were so high that the greatest ship they descried beneath them
seemed like a white sea-gull lying upon the waters. A great cloud stood
behind them--it was a perfect mountain; and upon it Eliza saw her own
shadow and those of the eleven swans; there they flew on, gigantic in
size. Here was a picture, a more splendid one than she had ever yet
seen. But as the sun rose higher and the cloud was left farther behind
them, the floating shadowy images vanished away.

The whole day they flew onward through the air, like a whirring arrow,
but their flight was slower than it was wont to be, for they had their
sister to carry. Bad weather came on; the evening drew near; Eliza
looked anxiously at the setting sun, for the lonely rock in the ocean
could not be seen. It seemed to her as if the swans beat the air more
strongly with their wings. Alas! she was the cause that they did not
advance fast enough. When the sun went down, they must become men and
fall into the sea and drown. Then she prayed a prayer from the depths of
her heart; but still she could descry no rock. The dark clouds came
nearer in a great black threatening body rolling forward like a mass of
lead, and the lightning burst forth, flash upon flash.

Now the sun just touched the margin of the sea. Eliza's heart trembled.
Then the swans darted downward, so swiftly that she thought they were
falling, but they paused again. The sun was half hidden below the water.
And now for the first time she saw the little rock beneath her, and it
looked no larger than a seal might look, thrusting his head forth from
the water. The sun sank very fast; at last it appeared only like a star;
and then her foot touched the firm land. The sun was extinguished like
the last spark in a piece of burned paper; her brothers were standing
around her, arm in arm, but there was not more than just enough room for
her and for them. The sea beat against the rock and went over her like
fine rain; the sky glowed in continual fire, and peal on peal the
thunder rolled; but sister and brothers held each other by the hand and
sang psalms, from which they gained comfort and courage.

In the morning twilight the air was pure and calm. As soon as the sun
rose the swans flew away with Eliza from the island. The sea still ran
high, and when they soared up aloft, from their high position the white
foam on the dark green waves looked like millions of white swans
swimming upon the water.

When the sun mounted higher, Eliza saw before her, half floating in the
air, a mountainous country with shining masses of ice on its water, and
in the midst of it rose a castle, apparently a mile long, with row above
row of elegant columns, while beneath waved the palm woods and bright
flowers as large as mill-wheels. She asked if this was the country to
which they were bound, but the swans shook their heads, for what she
beheld was the gorgeous, everchanging palace of Fata Morgana, and into
this they might bring no human being. As Eliza gazed at it, mountains,
woods, and castle fell down, and twenty proud churches, all nearly
alike, with high towers and pointed windows, stood before them. She
fancied she heard the organs sounding, but it was the sea she heard.
When she was quite near the churches they changed to a fleet sailing
beneath her, but when she looked down it was only a sea mist gliding
over the ocean. Thus she had a continual change before her eyes, till at
last she saw the real land to which they were bound. There arose the
most glorious blue mountains, with cedar forests, cities, and palaces.
Long before the sun went down she sat on the rock, in front of a great
cave overgrown with delicate green trailing plants looking like
embroidered carpets.

"Now we shall see what you will dream of here to-night," said the
youngest brother; and he showed her to her bed-chamber.

"Heaven grant that I may dream of a way to release you," she replied.

And this thought possessed her mightily, and she prayed ardently for
help; yes, even in her sleep she continued to pray. Then it seemed to
her as if she were flying high in the air to the cloudy palace of Fata
Morgana; and the fairy came out to meet her, beautiful and radiant; and
yet the fairy was quite like the old woman who had given her the berries
in the wood, and had told her of the swans with golden crowns on their
heads.

"Your brothers can be released," said she. "But have you courage and
perseverance? Certainly, water is softer than your delicate hands, and
yet it changes the shape of stones but it feels not the pain that your
fingers will feel; it has no heart, and cannot suffer the agony and
torment you will have to endure. Do you see the stinging nettle which I
hold in my hand? Many of the same kind grow around the cave in which you
sleep: those only, and those that grow upon churchyard graves, are
serviceable, remember that. Those you must pluck, though they will burn
your hands into blisters. Break these nettles to pieces with your feet,
and you will have flax; of this you must plait and weave eleven shirts
of mail with long sleeves: throw these over the eleven swans, and the
charm will be broken. But recollect well, from the moment you begin this
work until it is finished, even though it should take years to
accomplish, you must not speak. The first word you utter will pierce
your brothers' hearts like a deadly dagger. Their lives hang on your
tongue. Remember all this!"

And she touched her hand with the nettle; it was like a burning fire,
and Eliza awoke with the smart. It was broad daylight; and close by the
spot where she had slept lay a nettle like the one she had seen in her
dream. She fell upon her knees and prayed gratefully, and went forth
from the cave to begin her work.

With her delicate hands she groped among the ugly nettles. These stung
like fire, burning great blisters on her arms and hands; but she thought
she would bear it gladly if she could only release her dear brothers.
Then she bruised every nettle with her bare feet and plaited the green
flax.

When the sun had set her brothers came, and they were frightened when
they found her dumb. They thought it was some new sorcery of their
wicked stepmother's; but when they saw her hands, they understood what
she was doing for their sake, and the youngest brother wept. And where
his tears dropped she felt no more pain and the burning blisters
vanished.

She passed the night at her work, for she could not sleep till she had
delivered her dear brothers. The whole of the following day, while the
swans were away, she sat in solitude, but never had time flown so
quickly with her as now. One shirt of mail was already finished, and
now she began the second.

Then a hunting horn sounded among the hills, and she was struck with
fear. The noise came nearer and nearer; she heard the barking dogs, and
timidly she fled into the cave, bound into a bundle the nettles she had
collected and prepared, and sat upon the bundle.

Immediately a great dog came bounding out of the ravine, and then
another, and another: they barked loudly, ran back, and then came again.
Only a few minutes had gone before all the huntsmen stood before the
cave, and the handsomest of them was the King of the country. He came
forward to Eliza, for he had never seen a more beautiful maiden.

"How did you come hither, you delightful child?" he asked.

Eliza shook her head, for she might not speak--it would cost her
brothers their deliverance and their lives. And she hid her hands under
her apron, so that the King might not see what she was suffering.

"Come with me," said he. "You cannot stop here. If you are as good as
you are beautiful, I will dress you in velvet and silk, and place the
golden crown on your head, and you shall dwell in my richest castle, and
rule."

And then he lifted her on his horse. She wept and wrung her hands; but
the King said:

"I only wish for your happiness: one day you will thank me for this."

And then he galloped away among the mountains with her on his horse, and
the hunters galloped at their heels.

When the sun went down, the fair regal city lay before them, with its
churches and cupolas; and the King led her into the castle, where great
fountains plashed in the lofty marble halls, and where walls and
ceilings were covered with glorious pictures. But she had no eyes for
all this--she only wept and mourned. Passively she let the women put
royal robes upon her, and weave pearls in her hair, and draw dainty
gloves over her blistered fingers.

When she stood there in full array, she was dazzlingly beautiful, so
that the Court bowed deeper than ever. And the King chose her for his
bride, although the archbishop shook his head and whispered that the
beauteous fresh maid was certainly a witch, who blinded the eyes and led
astray the heart of the King.

But the King gave no ear to this, but ordered that the music should
sound, and the costliest dishes should be served, and the most beautiful
maidens should dance before them. And she was led through fragrant
gardens into gorgeous halls; but never a smile came upon her lips or
shone in her eyes; there she stood, a picture of grief. Then the King
opened a little chamber close by, where she was to sleep. This chamber
was decked with splendid green tapestry, and completely resembled the
cave in which she had been. On the floor lay the bundle of flax which
she had prepared from the nettles, and under the ceiling hung the shirt
of mail she had completed. All these things one of the huntsmen had
brought with him as curiosities.

"Here you may dream yourself back in your former home," said the King.
"Here is the work which occupied you there, and now, in the midst of all
your splendor, it will amuse you to think of that time."

When Eliza saw this that lay so near her heart, a smile played round her
mouth and the crimson blood came back into her cheeks. She thought of
her brothers' deliverance, and kissed the King's hand; and he pressed
her to his heart, and caused the marriage feast to be announced by all
the church bells. The beautiful dumb girl out of the wood became the
Queen of the country.

Then the archbishop whispered evil words into the King's ear, but they
did not sink into the King's heart. The marriage was to take place; the
archbishop himself was obliged to place the crown on her head, and with
wicked spite he pressed the narrow circlet so tightly upon her brow that
it pained her. But a heavier ring lay close around her heart--sorrow for
her brothers; she did not feel the bodily pain. Her mouth was dumb, for
a single word would cost her brothers their lives, but her eyes glowed
with love for the kind, handsome King, who did everything to rejoice
her. She loved him with her whole heart, more and more every day. Oh,
that she had been able to confide in him and to tell him of her grief;
but she was compelled to be dumb, and to finish her work in silence.
Therefore at night she crept away from his side, and went quietly into
the little chamber which was decorated like the cave, and wove one shirt
of mail after another. But when she began the seventh she found that she
had no flax left.

She knew that in the churchyard nettles were growing that she could use;
but she must pluck them herself, and how was she to go out there unseen?

"Oh, what is the pain in my fingers to the torment my heart endures?"
thought she. "I must venture it, and help will not be denied me!"

With a trembling heart, as though the deed she purposed doing had been
evil, she crept into the garden in the moonlight night, and went through
the lanes and through the deserted streets to the churchyard. There, on
one of the broadest tombstones she saw sitting a circle of lamias. These
hideous wretches took off their ragged garments, as if they were going
to bathe; then with their skinny fingers they clawed open the fresh
graves, and with fiendish greed they snatched up the corpses and ate the
flesh. Eliza was obliged to pass close by them and they fastened their
evil glances upon her; but she prayed silently, and collected the
burning nettles, and carried them into the castle.

Only one person had seen her, and that was the archbishop. He was awake
while others slept. Now he felt sure his opinion was correct, that all
was not as it should be with the Queen; she was a witch.

In secret he told the King what he had seen and what he feared; and when
the hard words came from his tongue, the pictures of saints in the
cathedral shook their heads, as though they could have said: "It is
not so! Eliza is innocent!" But the archbishop interpreted this
differently--he thought they were bearing witness against her, and
shaking their heads at her sinfulness. Then two heavy tears rolled down
the King's cheeks; he went home with doubt in his heart, and at night
pretended to be asleep; but no real sleep came upon his eyes, for he
noticed that Eliza got up. Every night she did this, and each time he
followed her silently, and saw how she disappeared from her chamber.

From day to day his face became darker. Eliza saw it, but did not
understand the reason; but it frightened her--and what did she not
suffer in her heart for her brothers? Her hot tears flowed upon the
royal velvet and purple; they lay there like sparkling diamonds, and all
who saw the splendor wished they were Queens. In the meantime she had
almost finished her work. Only one shirt of mail was still to be
completed, but she had no flax left, and not a single nettle. Once more,
for the last time, therefore, she must go to the churchyard, only to
pluck a few handfuls. She thought with terror of this solitary wandering
and of the horrible lamias, but her will was firm as her trust in
Providence.

Eliza went on, but the King and the archbishop followed her. They saw
her vanish into the churchyard through the wicket gate; and when they
drew near, the lamias were sitting upon the gravestones as Eliza had
seen them; and the King turned aside, for he fancied her among them,
whose head had rested against his breast that very evening.

"The people must condemn her," said he.

And the people condemned her to suffer death by fire.

Out of the gorgeous regal halls she was led into a dark damp cell, where
the wind whistled through the grated window; instead of velvet and silk
they gave her the bundle of nettles which she had collected: on this she
could lay her head; and the hard burning coats of mail which she had
woven were to be her coverlet. But nothing could have been given her
that she liked better. She resumed her work and prayed. Without, the
street boys were singing jeering songs about her, and not a soul
comforted her with a kind word.

But toward evening there came the whirring of swans' wings close by the
grating--it was the youngest of her brothers. He had found his sister,
and she sobbed aloud with joy, though she knew that the approaching
night would probably be the last she had to live. But now the work was
almost finished, and her brothers were here.

Now came the archbishop, to stay with her in her last hour, for he had
promised the King to do so. And she shook her head, and with looks and
gestures she begged him to depart, for in this night she must finish her
work, or else all would be in vain, all her tears, her pain, and her
sleepless nights. The archbishop withdrew, uttering evil words against
her; but poor Eliza knew she was innocent, and diligently continued her
work.

The little mice ran about the floor; they dragged the nettles to her
feet, to help as well as they could; and a thrush sat outside the
grating of the window, and sang to her the whole night long, as sweetly
as possible, to keep up her courage.

It was still twilight; not till an hour afterward would the sun rise.
And the eleven brothers stood at the castle gate, and demanded to be
brought before the King. That could not be, they were told, for it was
still almost night; the King was asleep, and might not be disturbed.
They begged, they threatened, and the sentries came, yes, even the King
himself came out, and asked what was the meaning of this. At that moment
the sun rose and no more were the brothers to be seen, but eleven wild
swans flew away over the castle.

All the people came flocking out at the town gate, for they wanted to
see the witch burned. The old horse drew the cart on which she sat. They
had put upon her a garment of coarse sackcloth. Her lovely hair hung
loose about her beautiful head; her cheeks were as pale as death; and
her lips moved silently, while her fingers were engaged with the green
flax. Even on the way to death she did not interrupt the work she had
begun; the ten shirts of mail lay at her feet, and she wrought at the
eleventh. The mob derided her.

"Look at the red witch, how she mutters! She has no hymn-book in her
hand; no, there she sits with her ugly sorcery--tear it in a thousand
pieces!"

And they all pressed upon her, and wanted to tear up the shirts of mail.
Then eleven wild swans came flying up, and sat round about her on the
cart, and beat with their wings; and the mob gave way before them,
terrified.

"That is a sign from heaven! She is certainly innocent!" whispered many.
But they did not dare to say it aloud.

Now the executioner seized her by the hand; then she hastily threw the
eleven shirts over the swans, and immediately eleven handsome Princes
stood there. But the youngest had a swan's wing instead of an arm, for a
sleeve was wanting to his shirt--she had not quite finished it.

"Now I may speak!" she said. "I am innocent!"

And the people who saw what happened bowed before her as before a saint;
but she sank lifeless into her brother's arms, such an effect had
suspense, anguish, and pain upon her.

"Indeed, she is innocent," said the eldest brother.

And now he told everything that had taken place; and while he spoke a
fragrance arose as of millions of roses, for every piece of faggot in
the pile had taken root and was sending forth shoots; and a fragrant
hedge stood there, tall and great, covered with red roses, and at the
top a flower, white and shining, gleaming like a star. This flower the
King plucked and placed in Eliza's bosom; and she awoke with peace and
happiness in her heart.

And all the church bells rang of themselves, and the birds came in great
flocks. And back to the castle such a marriage procession was held as no
King had ever seen.



TAPER TOM


In a certain kingdom there was a very beautiful Princess, but she was so
sad that no one could make her laugh; she would not even smile, though
all in the court were gay and happy.

For a long time her father tried hard to find something that would amuse
her. But she would sit all day at her window, and, though the members of
the court passed and repassed, and called out greetings to her, she
would only sigh.

So at last her father the King caused it to be published abroad that
whoever should make the Princess laugh should have her hand in marriage,
and that half of the kingdom would be her dowry.

But, that none might attempt this difficult feat without fair assurance,
the King added as a sort of postscript to his decree that whoever tried
to make the Princess laugh and failed should have two broad red stripes
cut in his back, and salt should be rubbed into the stripes!

Now, as you may imagine, soon there were a great many sore backs in the
kingdom and in the kingdoms round about. For it was deemed but a slight
matter to make a Princess laugh: did not women giggle at little and at
nothing?

But, although many came, and there were strange things done, the
Princess remained as sad as before.

Now, there was in the kingdom a farmer who had three sons, and they
decided that each should have a trial at this task; for to win a dowry
of half a kingdom was well worth trying.

The oldest of the farmer's sons was a soldier, and had served in the
wars, where there was always much laughter. And he said that it would
not be worth while for his two brothers to plan to journey to the court,
because he intended to win the Princess that very first day.

So he dressed up in his uniform, and put his knapsack on his back, and
strutted up and down the road in front of the window of the Princess
like any pouter-pigeon. But, though the Princess looked at him, once,
she did not even turn her eyes in his direction a second time, and the
stripes which were cut in his back were deep and broad, and he went home
feeling very sore.

His next brother was a schoolmaster, and had one long leg and one short
leg, so that when he stood on the long leg he seemed a very tall man,
and when he stood on the short leg he seemed but a dwarf, and he had
always found that he could make folk laugh by quickly changing himself
from a tall man to a mere dwarf. Moreover, he was a preacher, and he
came out on the road in front of the Princess' window and preached like
seven parsons and chanted like seven clerks; but it was all for naught,
for after the first glance the Princess did not even look at him, though
the King who stood near had to hold on to the pillars for laughing.

So the schoolmaster also went home with a very sore back; and when the
third brother, whose name was Taper Tom, because he sat in the ashes and
made tapers out of fir, said he now would go and make the Princess
laugh, the two older brothers turned to him in scorn, for how could he
do what neither of them, the soldier and the schoolmaster, had quite
failed to do? The Princess would not even look at him, he might be sure.

But Taper Tom said that he would try.

But when he came to the court he did not go before the King to say that
he had come to make the Princess laugh. Many there were who were trying
that each day, and there was hardly a well back in all the kingdom by
now, and Taper Tom had no mind to have his own back cut, for they were
cutting the stripes broader and rubbing the salt in harder every day.

So Taper Tom went to the court and asked for work to do. They told him
that there was no work to be done, but he said:

"What, no work--even in the kitchen? I am sure that the cook needs some
one to fetch and carry for her."

"Well, now," said the lord high chamberlain, "that might perhaps be. You
may go to the kitchen and see."

So Taper Tom went to the kitchen and the cook gave him work fetching and
carrying. And every day Taper Tom saw the men who came and went away
with their backs sore.

One morning he was sent to the stream to catch a fish, and he caught a
nice, fat one. As he came back he met a woman leading a goose with
golden feathers by a string tied around its neck.

The old woman wanted a fish, so she asked Taper Tom if he would trade
the fish for the golden goose. "For," she said, "it is a very strange
goose. If you lead it about and anyone lays hands on it, and you say,
'Hang on, if you care to come with us,' he will have to hang on and go
with the goose wherever you lead."

"Then," said Taper Tom, "you may have my fish and I will take your
goose."

So the old woman took the fish, and Taper Tom took the end of the
string in his hand, and the goose followed after.

He had not gone far when he met a goody who looked longingly at the
goose with the golden feathers, and at last she said to Taper Tom: "That
is a very fine goose, and I would like to stroke it."

"All right," said Taper Tom.

So the goody laid her hand on the back of the goose, and Taper Tom said:
"Hang on, if you care to go with us." And the old woman could not take
her hands off the goose, no matter how hard she tried.

They went on down the road a way and came to a man who for a long time
had hated the goody, and he laughed loudly to see her hanging on to the
goose and trying so hard to let go; and thinking to make more difficulty
for her he lifted up his foot and kicked at her.

As his foot touched her dress Taper Tom said: "Hang on, if you care to
come with us." And the man's foot hung on to the dress of the goody,
and, try as hard as he would, he could not let go. He had to follow,
hopping on one foot all the while, and falling often and being dragged.
He was very angry, and said a great many bad words.

As they passed the blacksmith shop the brawny smith stood at the door,
and when he saw Taper Tom leading the goose, and the goody hanging on to
its back, and the man following, hopping on one leg, he began to laugh
very much, and ran up to the man and struck him with his bellows, which
he held in his hand.

And as the bellows touched the man, Taper Tom said: "Hang on, if you
care to come with us." And the smith had to follow after the man, for,
try as he would, he could not let go of the bellows, nor would the
bellows let go of the man.

Then Taper Tom turned in on the road that lay in front of the window of
the Princess, and though he did not look up, he knew that the Princess
was watching.

And when the Princess saw the boy leading the golden goose, and the
goody hanging on to the back of the goose, and the man hopping on one
leg behind the goody, and the smith hanging on to his bellows, she
smiled inwardly, but she did not laugh.

Taper Tom did not stop, but went on around to the kitchen; and when the
cook came out to ask for her fish, with her pot and ladle in her hand,
and she saw the golden goose, and the goody, and the man, and the smith,
she began to laugh, and laugh, and laugh, so that all the court came out
to see what had happened, and the Princess leaned from her window to
know what it was all about.

And just then the cook's ladle touched the shoulder of the smith, and at
that moment Taper Tom said: "Hang on, if you care to come with us."

And he turned and started back past the window of the Princess. And when
the Princess saw the cook hanging on to the shoulder of the smith, with
her ladle and her pot in her hand, and trying hard to get loose, and the
smith hanging on with his bellows to the coat of the man, and the man
hanging on with one foot to the goody, and the goody with her hands on
the back of the golden goose, and the golden goose following Taper Tom,
led by a string, she began to laugh and to laugh and to laugh.

Then the King proclaimed that Taper Tom should wed the Princess, and
that half the kingdom would be her dowry.



THE BOY WHO WENT TO THE NORTH WIND


"Go you now to the safe and get some meal," said the mother of the Boy.
"And mind that you carry it carefully, for there is but little left."

So the Boy went to the safe to get the meal, but as he came back with it
the North Wind blew it away, and he went home empty-handed, and there
was no meal in the house that day.

The next morning the mother sent the Boy to the safe again, and once
more the North Wind came and took the meal.

On the third day it was as before. Then the Boy said: "I will go to the
North Wind and demand that he give back my meal, for we have nothing to
eat in the house."

So the boy started and went far, far to the country where the North Wind
abode; and when he had come there the North Wind said:

"I give you greeting and thanks for your coming. What can I do for you?"

The Boy answered: "I give you back your greeting, and I am come for the
meal which you have taken away from me, for we have none left in the
house."

Then he told how for three days the North Wind had come and taken the
meal as he returned with it from the safe, and now there was nothing to
eat in the house.

"I have not got your meal," said the North Wind, "but I will give you a
magic cloth which, whenever you say to it, 'Cloth, serve forth a
dinner,' will provide you with all that you can eat and drink in a
moment."

So the boy took the cloth and started for his home, but as he had a
long way to go he stopped over night at an inn, and, being hungry, and
wanting to test the cloth, he sat down at a table and unfolded it before
him, saying: "Cloth, serve forth a dinner." Immediately there was served
upon the cloth all sorts of good things to eat--such food as the Boy had
never eaten before in his life.

"It is indeed a magic cloth," said the Boy, when, the dinner eaten, he
folded the cloth carefully and put it under his pillow before he slept.

Now, the inn-keeper had been a witness to the thing which had happened,
and had heard the words which the Boy said to the cloth, so he decided
that he must possess so wonderful a thing as that, for it would save
him much labor. Accordingly, after the Boy had gone to sleep, he stole
quietly into the room and slipped the wallet from under the Boy's pillow
and put into it a cloth of his own exactly like it.

When the Boy reached home the next day his mother asked him if he had
been to the North Wind, and if he had brought back the meal.

The Boy said: "The North Wind was glad to see me, and thanked me for
coming, but said he did not have the meal. Instead, he gave me a magic
cloth, so that we need never be hungry again, for it will serve us a
dinner at any time we bid it."

So he took the cloth from his wallet and unfolded it on the table, as he
had done at the inn, and said: "Cloth, serve forth a dinner." But, as it
was not a magic cloth, nothing happened.

Then the Boy said that he would go again to the North Wind and tell him
that his cloth would not do as it was bidden. So he journeyed far to the
home of the North Wind, and the North Wind said: "I give you greeting
and thanks for your coming. What can I do for you?"

Then the boy told him how he had come before to ask him for the meal
which the North Wind had taken, and the North Wind had given him a magic
cloth which should serve forth a dinner when it was bidden; but that,
though at the inn the cloth had served forth a dinner, when he reached
his home it had not done so, and there was nothing to eat in the house.

Then said the North Wind: "I have no meal to give you, but I will give
you a ram which, whenever you say to it, 'Ram, Ram, coin money,' will
coin gold ducats before you."

So the Boy took the ram and started for home; but as it was a long way
he stopped at the same inn on his way home, and being anxious to try the
skill of the ram, and needing to pay his bill to the inn-keeper he said
to it: "Ram, Ram, coin money." And the ram coined golden ducats until
the Boy told it to stop.

"Now," thought the observing inn-keeper, "this is a famous ram indeed. I
must have this ram, and I will not need to work at all."

So when the Boy had gone to bed, leaving the ram safely tied in his
room, the inn-keeper slipped in quietly, leading another ram which could
not coin ducats, which he left in place of the ram which the North Wind
had given to the Boy.

And when the Boy reached home his mother asked him if he had brought
back the meal this time. And the Boy answered: "The North Wind was glad
to see me, and thanked me for coming, but he said that he did not have
the meal. But he gave me a ram, which, when I bid it, 'Ram, Ram, coin
money,' coins golden ducats, so that we will not be hungry any more, for
we can buy what we need."

Then he led forth the ram into the room and said to it: "Ram, Ram, coin
money." And the ram, not being a magic ram, did nothing but stand in the
middle of the room and stare at him.

Now the Boy was angry, and he said: "I will go to the North Wind and
tell him that his ram is worth nothing, and that I want my rights for
the meal which he has taken."

So back he went to the North Wind, and when he had told his story the
North Wind said: "I have nothing that I can give you but that old stick
in the bag yonder. But when you say to it, 'Stick, come forth and lay
on,' it lays on unceasingly until you say to it, 'Stick, stop.'"

So the Boy took the bag with the stick right willingly, for he had by
this time a fair idea of the cause of his trouble; and he stopped that
night at the inn as he had done before. Though he did not call forth his
magic stick, the inn-keeper knew by the way in which he cared for his
bag that he had some special treasure, and decided that the Boy was a
simple fellow, and that he must have this too, whatever it was in the
bag.

So when the Boy had gone to his room the man slipped in quietly and
reached his hand under the Boy's pillow, where the bag lay. But the Boy
had not gone to sleep this time, and when he felt the hand under his
pillow he said, "Stick, come forth and lay on."

And the stick came forth and began to lay on about the inn-keeper's
head, and so hard did it strike that the inn-keeper soon besought the
Boy to bid it stop--for the stick would respond only to the owner. But
the Boy would not bid the stick to stop until the inn-keeper had been
roundly punished for his stealings, and had promised to return the magic
cloth and the magic ram. When he had these again in his possession the
Boy bade the stick return to the bag, and the next morning he went on to
his home.

And when he had laid the cloth on the table and said to it, "Cloth,
serve forth a dinner," and the cloth had served forth a dinner, and he
and his mother had eaten; and he had said to the ram, "Ram, Ram, coin
money," and the ram had coined golden ducats until he bade it to stop;
and he had put the stick in a safe place where it could always do his
bidding, he and his mother had plenty, and were well paid for the meal
which the North Wind had taken.



THE WONDERFUL IRON POT


Once upon a time a little boy and his mother lived together in a small
brown house at the foot of a hill. They were very poor, for the boy's
father was dead, and the rich man who lived at the top of the hill had
taken everything that they had, except one cow.

At last it came that there was nothing in the house to eat, and the
mother said: "Now we will have to sell the cow."

So she told the little boy to take the cow to town and sell it, and the
boy put a rope around the cow's neck and started off down the road.

He had not gone far before he met a man with a cloak over him and
carrying something under it. He asked the little boy where he was going,
and the boy told him that there was nothing to eat in the house and he
was trying to sell the cow.

"Will you sell her to me?" asked the man.

"What will you give me for her?" asked the little boy.

"I will give you an iron pot," said the man.

Now, the little boy knew that he ought not to sell the cow for an iron
pot, and he quickly said he would not, but as he spoke he heard a tiny
voice under the man's cloak saying: "Buy me! Buy me!" So he told the
stranger that he might have the cow.

The man took the rope in his hands, and gave the little boy the iron
pot, and he took it and went home again.

"And what did you get for the cow?" asked his mother.

By this time the boy was very much ashamed of having sold the cow for an
iron pot, and he hung his head when his mother asked him what he had
gotten. They were about to throw the pot away, for, as the mother said,
there was nothing to cook in it, when they heard a tiny voice say: "Put
me over the fire and put in water."

So the mother put the little pot over the fire and put in water, which,
indeed, was all that she had to put in. And soon the water in the pot
began to bubble and to boil, and the little pot said: "I skip! I skip!"

"How far do you skip, little Pot?" asked the mother.

"I skip to the house of the rich man at the top of the hill," said the
pot.

And the little pot began to skip, skip, first on one of its three legs
and then on another, skippity skip, skippity skip, until it came to the
house of the rich man at the top of the hill, and it skipped right into
the kitchen of the rich man's house where his wife was making a pudding.
All at once she looked up and saw the little iron pot on the table,
where it had skipped in at the window, and right in front of her, and
she said:

"Oh, where did you come from, little Pot? You are just what I want to
put my pudding in."

So she put the pudding into the little iron pot, and as soon as the
pudding was in and safely covered up, the little pot began to skip,
skip, first on one of its three legs and then on another, skippity skip,
skippity skip, down the hill, and though the farmer's wife ran after,
she could not catch it, and away it went straight to the little brown
house at the bottom of the hill.

So the little boy and his mother had pudding to eat for dinner.

The next morning the little pot begged to be put on the fire, and as
soon as the water began to bubble and to boil, it called, "I skip! I
skip!"

"How far do you skip, little Pot?" asked the mother.

"I skip to the barn of the rich man at the top of the hill," said the
little pot.

And the little pot began to skip, skip, first on one of its three legs
and then on another, skippity skip, skippity skip, until it came to the
barn of the rich man at the top of the hill. And in the barn the
thrashers were thrashing the wheat, and the little pot skipped right out
on the thrashing floor.

"Oh," said one of the men, "Where did you come from, little Pot? You are
just the thing to hold some of this wheat."

So the man began pouring the wheat into the pot, and poured and poured
until the little pot seemed quite full, but still there was room, so
the man poured until all the wheat was in the pot.

Then the little pot began to skip, skip, first on one of its three legs
and then on another, skippity skip, skippity skip, out of the barn and
out on the road. And though all of the men ran after it they could not
catch it, and it skipped down the hill to the little brown house.

So the little boy and his mother had plenty of white bread to eat.

The next morning the little pot begged to be put on the fire, and as
soon as the water began to bubble and to boil it began to skip, skip,
skippity skip, skippity skip, until it came to the bank of the rich man,
and it skipped right into the window where the rich man sat with all his
money spread out on his desk. And as he counted he looked up and saw the
little iron pot standing in front of him, and he said, "Where did you
come from, little Pot? You are just the thing for me to put my money
into."

Then he began to pile his money into the iron pot, and though it was
soon full there was yet more room, and he piled more and more, until at
last all his money was in the iron pot. Then the little pot began to
skip, skip, skippity skip, skippity skip, right out of the bank and down
the street and straight on till it came to the little brown house at the
bottom of the hill. And though the rich man ran after it he could not
catch it, and so all the money that he had taken from the little boy and
his mother was carried back to them in the little iron pot.

The next morning the little pot begged to be put on the fire again, and
the mother said: "Why should you be put on the fire, little Pot? Have we
not everything that we want?" But the little pot still wanted to be put
on the fire; and at last, when the mother had put in the water and made
the fire, and the water began to bubble and to boil, the little pot
said: "I skip! I skip!"

And the mother said: "How far do you skip, little Pot?"

"I skip to the end of the world," said the little pot. And it began to
skip, skip, first on one of its three legs and then on another, skippity
skip, skippity skip, until it came to the top of the hill, and there was
the rich man hunting for his money. And when he saw the little iron pot
he cried out: "There is the pot that stole my money!" And he caught up
with the pot and put his hand into it to take out his money, but his
hand could not find the money; so he put his head in to look for it, and
he could not see it; next he climbed into the pot, and then it began to
skip, skip, far away up the hill and up the mountain, and away to the
end of the world.



THE SHEEP AND PIG WHO SET UP HOUSEKEEPING


Once upon a time a Sheep stood in a pen to be fattened for the winter's
feast. He lived well, for he was given the best of everything, and he
soon became so fat that one day the maid who came to bring his food
said: "Eat full to-day, little Sheep, for to-morrow will come the
killing and we shall eat you." And she shut the gate and went away.

"Oh," said the Sheep, "I have heard that, Women's words are worth
heeding, and that, There is a cure and a physic for everything except
death. There being no cure for that, it is best to find a way out of
it."

So he ate up all the food that the maid had left for him, and then he
butted hard against the gate of the pen, and it flew open, and the Sheep
went out of the pen and out on the big road.

He followed the road to a neighboring farm, and made his way to a pigsty
where was fastened a Pig that he had known on the common.

"Good day, and thanks for our last merry meeting!" said the Sheep. "Do
you know why you are fed so well while you stay in this sty?"

"No, that I do not," said the Pig. "But I am very glad to get the good
food and plenty of it, which they have been bringing to me since I was
shut up."

"Ho, there is reason for that," said the Sheep. "Many a flask empties
the cask. They want to make you very fat, for their purpose is to eat
you at the winter's feasting."

"May they not forget to say grace after meat," said the Pig. "I can do
naught to hinder their eating."

"If you will do as I do we will go off together into the woods and build
a house and set up housekeeping," said the Sheep. "A home is a home, be
it ever so homely."

So the Sheep and the Pig together butted down the pigsty, and started
off on the big road together. "Good company is good comfort," said the
Pig, as they trotted along.

As they entered the big woods they met a Goose, who had come out on the
common.

"Good day, and thanks for our last merry meeting," said the Goose,
"where are you going so fast?"

"You must know that we were too well off at home, and so we have set
off into the woods to build a house and set up housekeeping," said the
Sheep, "for, Every man's house is his castle, if he build it but big and
strong enough."

"As for that," said the Goose, "all places are alike to me, but I should
like to build a house; so if you like I will go with you, for, It's but
child's play when three share the day."

"With gossip and gabble is built neither house nor stable!" said the
Pig. "What can you do to help build the house?"

"By cunning and skill a cripple can do what he will," said the Goose. "I
can gather moss to put into the crevices and cracks, and so make the
house warm and comfortable."

Now, Piggy wanted above everything else to be warm and comfortable, so
he said that the Goose might come along.

As the three journeyed on they met a Hare.

"Good day, and thanks for our last merry meeting," said the Hare; "where
are you hurrying to so fast?"

Then the Sheep explained how they were too well off at home, and were
going into the woods to build a house and set up housekeeping, "For," he
said, "You may travel the world around, but there is no place like
home."

"Oh," said the Hare, "for the matter of that, I have a home in every
bush. But I have always thought that some day I would build a house, and
I will go with you if you like."

"We could use you to scare away the dogs," said the Pig, "but you would
be no good for anything else."

"He who lives long enough will always find work to do," said the Hare.
"I have sharp teeth to gnaw the boards, and paws to hammer them fast. I
can set up at any time for a carpenter, for, Good tools make good work,
as the man said."

So he got leave to go, and there was no more said about it.

As they went deeper into the woods they met a Cock, who gave them
greeting and asked where they were going.

Then the Sheep explained how they were too well off at home, and were
going into the woods to build a house and set up housekeeping, "For,"
said the Sheep, "He who out of doors shall bake, loses at last both coal
and cake."

"Well," said the Cock, "that is just my case, for, It's far better to
sit on one's own perch, for then one can never be left in the lurch;
besides, All cocks crow loudest at home. If I may have your leave, I
will come with you."

But the Pig protested. "Flapping and crowing sets tongues a-going!" he
exclaimed, "but, A jaw on a stick never yet laid a brick. How can you
help us or make yourself useful?"

"Oh," said the Cock, "That house will never have a clock where there is
neither dog nor cock. I will wake you up every morning, and will cry the
alarm when the dawn arises."

"Very good," said the Pig, who was very like to oversleep. "Sleep is a
greedy thief, and thinks nothing of robbing you of half your life. You
may come with us."

So they all set off together into the woods, and at last they came to a
good place and built the house. The Pig hewed the timber, and the Sheep
drew it home; the Hare was the carpenter, and the Goose gathered moss
and filled all of the cracks and crevices, and the Cock wakened them
every morning early.

At last the house was done, and it was snug, and warm, and comfortable.
"'Tis good to travel east and west, but, after all, a home is best,"
said the Sheep.

And they lived together until cold weather came, when they put up a
stove to keep warm, and they planned to enjoy the long winter.

Now, not far off from the house lived the Wolf and his family, and his
brother and his brother's family.

And the Wolf and his brother saw the house which the Sheep and the Pig
and the Goose and the Hare and the Cock had builded, and they talked
together of how warm and comfortable it was, and the Wolf decided that
they must get acquainted with their new neighbors.

So he made up an errand and went to the door and said he had come to ask
for a light to his pipe; and while the door was held open he pushed
himself inside.

Then all at once he found himself in a great confusion, for the Sheep
butted him so hard that he fell against the stove; and the Pig gored and
bit him; and the Goose nipped and pecked him; and the Hare ran about
over the house, now on the floor and now aloft, so that the Wolf did not
know who or what he was, and was scared out of his wits, and all the
time the Cock perched on a top beam and flapped his wings and crowed and
crowed.

By-and-by the Wolf managed to get near the door and to dash through it.

"Neighborhood makes for brotherhood," said the Wolf's brother. "You must
have made good friends, since you remained so long. But what became of
your errand, for you have neither pipe nor smoke?"

"Nice life makes pleasant company," said the Wolf. "Such manners I never
saw. For no sooner was I inside than the shoemaker flew at me with his
last, and two smiths blew bellows and made the sparks fly, and beat
and punched me with red-hot pincers, and tore great pieces out of my
body, the hunter kept running about trying to find his gun, and it is
well for me that he did not, for I should never have come out alive; and
all the while a butcher sat up on a beam and flapped his arms and sang
out to the others: 'Put a hook into him! Put a hook into him and drag
him thither!' so it was all I could do to get out alive!"

"Well," said his brother, "we can't choose in this wicked world, and an
unbidden guest sometimes gets bad treatment. But I think that we will be
very well advised to let these new neighbors alone."

So the Wolf, and the Wolf's family, and the Wolf's brother and his
brother's family, let the Sheep and the Pig and the Goose and the Hare
and the Cock alone, and they lived very happily in their house in the
woods.



 [Illustration: MOTHER READS A FAIRY TALE]



DOLL-IN-THE-GRASS


Once upon a time there was a King who had twelve sons. These sons did
not like to do useful things--they only liked to ride and to hunt in the
woods, and to do what pleased them.

One day the King said: "You shall each one go forth into the world to
seek a bride. But you must choose a bride who can do useful things--and,
to prove it, she must be able to gather the flax and spin and weave a
shirt all in one day. If she cannot do this, I will not accept her as my
daughter-in-law."

So the sons set out on their errands, each riding a beautiful horse, and
looking forward to having a great time out in the world while he hunted
for his bride.

But the youngest son, Boots, was not popular with the others. So they
said:

"Boots shall not go with us. We will not have him along--he will not do
the things that we want to do."

So Boots drew rein on his horse, and the others rode out of sight.

Now, Boots was very unhappy when he was left alone in the woods, and he
got off his horse and sat down on a log to think. For he did not know
where to go to have the good times that his brothers had been talking
about, and he did not know where to seek a bride.

As he sat thinking, he heard a strange sound near him--a sound like
silver bells tinkling softly; or was it fairies laughing? Boots looked
all about him, but could see nothing.

"Here I am!" exclaimed a sweet little voice. And Boots looked down at
the grass at his feet, and there was the tiniest little creature smiling
up at him, swaying with the stem of a flower which waved in the slight
breeze.

"Why are you so sad?" asked this tiny maiden.

"Oh," said Boots, "my father has sent me and my brothers forth into the
world to find brides, and my brothers have gone on and left me all alone
in the woods."

The little creature laughed right merrily.

"And suppose they have!" she cried. "The wood is the most beautiful
place in the world! And as for brides--you can find them there if you
but seek for them."

By this time Boots was down in the soft grass beside her.

"But my bride must be able to gather the flax, and spin and weave a
shirt, all in one day."

"Pauf!" exclaimed the little creature, "that is no great task."

Then she tapped a tiny wand twice on the flower stem, and a
spinning-wheel stood before her--such a tiny little spinning wheel! She
lifted the wand again, and the flax stem bent down, so that she gathered
its flower, and in a minute the spinning-wheel was twirling merrily. A
touch of the wand, and the loom was before her; then the thread was spun
into white cloth as fine as cobweb. Boots watched, fascinated. The
little creature next fashioned the cloth into a shirt--such a tiny
shirt--and never was one so fine seen in all the world before.

"You shall come with me to the palace--you shall be my bride!" exclaimed
Boots.

The little creature smiled at him, and said: "I will go with you to the
palace, and I will be your bride, but I must go in my own way."

"You shall go in any way that you will!" said Boots.

So Doll-in-the-Grass touched the stem of the flower again, and her own
silver carriage came to her, drawn by two tiny white mice. And Boots
rode beside her, careful that his great horse should not crush the
little carriage.

The little mice traveled very fast, and it was not long before they
came to a stream. Now, the great horse could swim the stream without
difficulty; but when the mice plunged into it little Doll-in-the-Grass
and the silver carriage and all went under the water. Then Boots was
disconsolate, but as he stood, mourning, a beautiful maiden came up out
of the water, a maiden fairer than any in all the kingdom, and neither
smaller nor larger than any of them. And she smiled at Boots and said:
"You see how love can do great things."

And Boots caught her up on his horse before him and exclaimed: "Ah, love
can indeed do great things."

And so they rode home together. And of all the wives whom his brothers
won, none was so beautiful as Doll-in-the-Grass. And of all the shirts
that the wives spun, none was so fine or so soft as the one which
Doll-in-the-Grass gave to her father-in-law; and it had become a big
shirt--large enough for a man to wear--and was as soft as silk and as
fine as any cobweb could possibly be.

And the King loved her more than any of his other daughters-in-law, and
Boots more than any of his other sons; so he said they should live with
him in his palace, and by-and-by succeed him on the throne.



BOOTS AND HIS BROTHERS


Once upon a time there was a King who had seven sons. One day he said to
the six older ones: "You must go forth into the world, each one, and
seek a bride. But Boots is too young to go, so he shall stay at home.
And when you have found brides for yourselves, each one, you shall seek
the fairest Princess in all the seven kingdoms, and bring her home with
you, and she shall be a bride for Boots."

So the six sons set out, and each found a bride, all so lovely that it
was not possible to say which was the most beautiful. But the brothers
were so interested, each one, in his own bride, that all forgot they
were to seek a bride for Boots, and they started home again.

One night on the way they were forced by a storm to seek shelter in the
castle of a Giant, and the next morning while they were standing in the
front of the castle, with their retainers about them and their horses
saddled ready to mount and depart, the Giant suddenly turned them all
into stone where they stood--the brothers into large stone pillars, the
brides into smaller pillars, the retainers into small stones, and the
horses into stone horses. And there all stood in front of the castle,
and the Giant went away laughing.

After a long time of waiting at home, one day the King said to his
youngest son: "It must be that your brothers are dead. My heart is
broken, and had I not you, my son, to console me in my old age, I should
die of sorrow."

"But, my father," said Boots, "for long I have been thinking that I must
go forth into the world and find my brothers."

"Do not say that," said the King, "for evil has certainly befallen them,
and the same evil may befall you, and I shall be left alone."

"Nay," said Boots, "whatever evil has befallen them I must fare forth
and find out; and I will come back to you and bring my brothers with me,
that will I."

So at last the King yielded, and Boots set out. But there were no
retainers to go with him, and his father had only an old, broken-down
horse to give him, for the other brothers had taken all the fine horses
from the stables, for their own riding, and to bring back their brides
upon. But Boots set forth right merrily on the old horse, often stopping
to let him rest, for he could not go fast, as could a younger steed.

As they journeyed through the woods a Raven fell almost at the horse's
feet, and Boots pulled him back quickly, that the bird might not be
stamped upon.

"I thank you, good master," said the Raven. "I am so hungry that I was
faint, and fell from the tree. Will you give me something to eat, and I
will serve you faithfully?"

"As for that," said Boots, "I see not how you can serve me, and I have
but scant food. But if you are so hungry that you fell from a tree, you
must need food badly, so I will give you a share of my own."

So Boots gave the Raven some food, and went on through the forest. At
last he came to a stream, and saw a Salmon swimming feebly about near
the shore. "Oh," cried the Salmon, as Boots stopped to give his horse a
drink, "will you give me food? I am so hungry that I can scarce swim
about in the stream."

"Well," said Boots, "everybody seems to be hungry to-day, and for the
matter of that, so am I. And how can you serve me, I would like to know?
Nevertheless, since you are so hungry I will give you food, for it is
not pleasant to be hungry, as I well know."

So he gave the Salmon some of his food, and went on through the forest.

By-and-by he came to a Wolf, looking so gaunt and lean that he was
almost afraid to pass by where the animal stood. But the Wolf stopped
him and said: "Will you give me something to eat? I am so hungry that I
can scarce follow a trail."

"Well, now," said Boots, "this is getting a little thick. First a Raven,
and then a Salmon, and now a Wolf."

"That is so," said the Wolf, "but there is little food in the forest.
Nevertheless, with but a morsel I could follow the trail, and find
plenty, and I would serve you at any time that I could."

"Now have I many servants," laughed Boots--"a Raven, and a Salmon, and a
Wolf. I will give you food, however, for you look as if you needed it
sorely!"

So he gave the Wolf food, and when he had eaten, the Wolf said: "Do you
follow the trail which I make, and I will lead you where you would go."

Boots laughed merrily, for since he did not know which way to go
himself it hardly seemed as if the Wolf could lead him in that way.
Nevertheless, since all ways were alike, he thought, he might as well
follow the Wolf, so he turned his horse's head in that direction.

The Wolf trotted along before, and at last he turned and said: "This is
the Giant's castle, and the pillars yonder are your brothers and their
wives which the Giant has turned to stone. It is for you to go into the
castle and find a way to set them free."

"That will I," said Boots, "but how will I prevent the Giant's making a
stone pillar out of me?"

"Climb up on my back," said the Wolf, "and I will take you into the
castle, but once there you must look out for yourself. But if you need
me, whistle, and I will be beside you."

"That will I," said Boots, "and you, mind that you are not far, for I
think I shall need you right speedily."

So the Wolf trotted out and left Boots standing in the hall of the
castle. And Boots turned about and looked toward the inner room, and
there he saw a Princess which he knew at once was the fairest Princess
in all the seven kingdoms; and he said to himself: "When I have set my
brothers free I shall not need to seek far for my own bride."

The Princess greeted him, and told him that it was true that the Giant
had turned his brothers, and their brides, and their retainers into
stone, and that he would turn them back again, one by one, when he
wanted to eat them.

"And what will he do with me?" exclaimed Boots.

"Do you hide under the bed there," said the Princess, "and I will take
care of you. For you must know that no matter how brave and strong you
may be you cannot kill this Giant, for he does not keep his heart in his
body. It is hidden away somewhere, for he is afraid that some one will
kill him, so he keeps it no one knows where. But to-night I will ask him
where it is, and do you listen, and it may be that we can find it and
kill him, and you can set your brothers and their brides and me free."

"That will I," said Boots, looking at her with eyes that told what he
would do when he had set them all free.

So at last the Giant came home, and after he had eaten and was feeling
very good-natured, the Princess said to him: "I have always wondered
where it is that you keep your heart, for it is evident that it is not
in your body."

"Indeed, and it is not," said the Giant, "for if it were I should have
been dead long ago. But I will tell you where it is--it is under the
great doorstep at the entrance of the castle."

The next morning, after the Giant had gone out, Boots and the Princess
dug and tugged, and tugged and dug, until at last they lifted the great
doorstep at the entrance of the castle. But there was no heart under it.
Then the Princess piled flowers about, that it might not show where she
had been digging, and when the Giant came back he laughed loudly, and
said: "What sort of nonsense is this? You thought my heart was there,
you silly, and have piled flowers about it. But my heart is not there.
It is in the back of the big cupboard in the deepest dungeon keep."

The next day after the Giant had gone Boots and the Princess went down
to the deepest dungeon keep, and they dug and tugged, and tugged and
dug, until at last they had moved the cupboard from the wall; but there
was no heart there. So the Princess piled flowers about, as she had done
before. That night when the Giant came home he went down into the
dungeon and saw the flowers, and said: "You did, indeed, wish to pay
honor to my heart, you foolish child, but it is not there."

Then tears stood in the beautiful eyes of the Princess, and she said:
"Oh, then, tell me where it is, that I may place flowers about the
place."

"That is not possible," said the Giant, "for it is too far away from
here, and you could not get to it. On a great hill in the forest stands
a church, and in the church is a well, and in the well there is a duck,
swimming backward and forward on the water; and in the duck is an egg,
and in the egg is my heart; so you had best give up your foolish
notion."

Boots, under the bed, heard every word; and the next morning, after the
Giant had set out, he, too, started, whistling to the Wolf, who came at
once. Boots told him that he wished to go to the church that stood on
the high hill in the forest; and the Wolf said: "I know just where the
place is. Jump on my back, and we will be there in no time."

So Boots jumped upon the Wolf's back, and they set off through the
forest, and soon came to the church on the high hill. But the great
doors were locked, and it was not possible for Boots to break them down,
though he tried hard enough.

"Now," said the Wolf, "we must call the Raven."

So they called the Raven, and he came and flew up over the top of the
church, and into the belfry, and down into the porter's room, and caught
up the keys of the church, and in a moment he was back with them. Then
Boots opened the doors and he and the Wolf and the Raven entered; and in
the church they found a well, as the Giant had said, and on the water in
the well there was a duck swimming backward and forward. Then Boots
caught up the duck in his hands, and thought that now he had the Giant's
heart, when suddenly the duck let the egg drop into the water.

"Now," said the Wolf, "we must call the Salmon."

So they called the Salmon, and he swam down into the water and brought
up the egg in his mouth, and Boots caught up the egg in his hand and
squeezed it hard, and at once the Giant far off in the forest cried out.

"Squeeze it harder," cried the Salmon, "and I shall be free."

But the Giant far off in the woods begged hard for his life, and the
Wolf said: "Tell him that if he would have you spare his life he must at
once set free your brothers and their brides and their retainers," said
the Wolf.

So Boots cried aloud this message to the Giant, squeezing the heart
which he held in his hand as he did so; and the Giant called to him from
far off in the forest that he had already done this, even as Boots had
asked him, and now would he please let his heart sink back into the
water.

"No," said the Raven, "squeeze it but a little harder, and I shall be
free!"

So Boots squeezed the heart harder and harder, until at last it was
squeezed quite in two, and what was his surprise to see standing beside
him two young Princes, fair, almost, as the fair Princess in the Giant's
castle, who Boots knew was the most beautiful in all the seven kingdoms.

"Let us hasten back to the castle, now," said the Wolf, "that we may
tell the Princes and their brides and the Princess in the castle that
the Giant is dead, and they have nothing more to fear."

Then the Wolf lifted up his voice and howled, and at once two other
wolves stood beside them. "Climb up, each one of you," said the first
Wolf, "and we will be back at the castle in no time."

So Boots and the two Princes climbed up each on the back of a wolf, and
they were soon back at the castle; and Boots found his brothers, and
their fair brides, and the Princess waiting for them. Then they all set
out for the kingdom of their father, who was very glad to see them, to
be sure. And Boots said: "I have brought back your sons to you, but I
have brought back the fairest Princess in the seven kingdoms to be my
own bride."

Although the brides of the other Princes were very fair, yet all agreed
that the bride of Boots was the most beautiful of all.



VIGGO AND BEATE[L]

_Translated by Mrs. Gudrun Thorne-Thompson_

THE DOLL UNDER THE BRIER ROSEBUSH


There was once a girl, and her name was Beate. On her birthday her
father had given her a beautiful straw hat. Her mother had given her a
pair of yellow shoes and the daintiest white dress. But her old aunt had
given her the very best present of all; it was a doll, with a sweet face
and dark brown curls.

Oh, how Beate grew to love that doll, almost more than she loved Marie
and Louise, and they were her best friends.

One day Beate was walking in the yard with her doll in her arms. It had
a name now, and they had become fast friends. She had called her Beate,
her own name, and the name of her old aunt who had given her the
present.

It was in the early Spring. There was a green spot in one corner of the
yard around the old well. There stood a big willow tree with a low
trunk, and it was covered with the little yellow blossoms that children
call "goslings."

They look like goslings, too, for each little tassel has soft yellow
down, and they can swim in the water.

Now, Big Beate and Little Beate soon agreed that they would pick
goslings from the tree and throw them into the well, so that these
might have just as good a time as the big geese and goslings that were
swimming about in the pond. It was really Big Beate who thought of this
first, but Little Beate agreed immediately; you can't imagine how good
she always was.

Now, Big Beate climbed up into the willow and picked many pretty yellow
goslings into her little white apron, and when she counted them she said
that now they had enough, and Little Beate thought so too.

Both of them ran over to the well, and Big Beate helped her little
friend to get her legs firmly fixed between the logs that were around
the well, so that she might sit in comfort and watch the little goslings
swim about on the water. Then gosling after gosling was dropped down,
and as soon as each one reached the water it seemed to become alive and
it moved about. Oh, what fun!

But after awhile the little goslings would not swim any longer, but lay
quite still. That was no fun at all, so Big Beate asked her namesake if
she didn't think she might lean a little over the edge of the well and
blow on them, for then she thought they might come to life again. Little
Beate didn't answer, but she raised her left eye-brow, saying, "Please
don't do that, dear Big Beate! Don't you remember, Mother has told us
how dark it is down there in the well? Think, if you should fall in!"

"Oh, nonsense; just see how easy it is," said Big Beate. She leaned out
over the wall and blew on the nearest ones. Yes, it helped--the goslings
began to swim again. But those that were farthest away didn't move at
all.

"What stupid little things!" said Beate; and she leaned far, far out
over the edge of the well. Then her little hands slipped on the smooth
log--splash! Down she fell into the water. It was so cold, so icy cold,
and it closed over her head, and took the straw hat, which she had got
on her birthday, off her hair! She hadn't time to hear whether Little
Beate screamed, but I'm sure she did.

When Beate's head came up over the water again she grasped the round log
with both her hands, but the hands were too small, and the log too wide
and slippery, she couldn't hold on. Then she saw her dear friend, Little
Beate, standing stiff and dumb with fright, staring at her and with her
right arm stretched out to her. Big Beate hurriedly caught hold of her
and Little Beate made herself as stiff as she could, and stiffer still,
and stood there between the logs holding her dear friend out of the
water.

Now Beate screamed so loudly that her father and mother heard her and
came running as fast as they could, pale and frightened, and pulled her
out. She was dripping wet, and so scared and cold that her teeth
chattered.

Now they put Beate to bed, and Little Beate had to sleep with her. When
she had said her prayers she hugged her little friend and said: "Never,
never can I thank you enough, because you saved me from that horrible
deep well, dear Little Beate. You shall be my very best friend, always,
and when I grow up you shall be the godmother to my first daughter, and
I shall call her Little Beate for you."


THE FLOATING ISLAND

Beate was now a year older. During that year she had lost Little Beate,
but she had never forgotten her.

Big Beate had many dolls given to her, but not one was like Little
Beate. No one was so sweet and good-natured, no one so pretty and
graceful.

It was a Saturday, and the next day, Sunday, she expected her friends,
Marie and Louise, on a visit, for it was her birthday; therefore she
wanted to decorate her doll-house as prettily as she could.

Beate knew what to do. On the hillside by the Black Pond she remembered
that she had seen the prettiest little snail shells anyone might wish
for--round and fluted, with yellow and brown markings. They would be
just the thing for her bureau. She ran off to search for them, slipping
in and out through the hazel bushes, and picking empty shells by the
dozen.

But all of a sudden she heard a bird utter such a weird cry from the
lake. She peeped out between the green branches and saw a big bird
swimming about. It had a long blue neck and a white breast, but its back
was shining black. It swam fast, and then suddenly dived and was gone.

Beate stood there and stared at the water, hoping to see the bird
come up again, but she waited and waited in vain. She was frightened,
thinking it was drowned, when she saw it shoot up again far away, almost
in the middle of the lake. Then it began to swim slowly toward a tiny
green island which lay there, and crept into the high weeds and grasses
that hung over the water.

Beate could not get tired of looking at the pretty little island. Willow
bushes grew out of the grass in some places, and in one end grew a
little white-barked birch tree. Beate thought she had never seen
anything half so lovely. It seemed just like a strange little land, all
by itself.

At last Beate remembered that she must hurry home. Again she peeped
through the leaves and branches to say good-night to the island,
when--think of it!--the little green island was gone.

She thought of goblins and fairies, and ran up the path to the top of
the hill as fast as she could. But when she got there she had to look
again. And she became more astonished than ever, for now she saw the
little green island again, but far from the place where she first saw
it. It was sailing slowly toward the southern end of the lake, and the
silver birch was its sail.

As soon as Beate reached home she found Anne, the nurse, and told her
what she had seen.

Anne knew all about the floating island: it had been on the lake for
many years, she said. But there were many strange things about it. One
thing she would tell, and that was, that if anyone stood on the floating
island and took a loon's egg out of the nest and wished for something,
that wish would come true, if the egg was put safely back into the nest
again. If you wished to become a Princess of England, your wish would
indeed be fulfilled, said old Anne. But there was one more thing to
notice: you must not talk about it to a living soul.

"Not even to Father and Mother?" asked Beate.

"No," said Anne, "not to a living soul."

Beate could think of nothing but the island all that evening, and when
she had closed her eyes she could dream of nothing else all night.

Just as soon as Beate got up in the morning she begged her father to row
her and Marie and Louise out to the floating island, when they came to
visit her in the afternoon, and that he promised.

But he also asked how she had happened to think of that, and what she
wanted there. Beate thought first that she would tell him everything,
but then she remembered Anne's words, and said only that she wished to
go out there because the little green island was so pretty.

"Yes, indeed, it is pretty, and you shall see a loon's nest too," said
the father.

Then Beate's face grew red, and the tears came to her eyes, for she knew
well enough about the loon's nest and about the eggs.

In the afternoon the father took the three little girls down to the
lake. Beate's friends thought this was the loveliest place they had ever
seen, and they begged the father to stop and get some of the pretty
water-lilies for them. But Beate was longing for the floating island.

The father rowed close up to the island and around it, and when he came
to the other side the loon plunged out of the reeds into the water and
was gone.

"There is the loon's nest," said the father.

What joy! The loon's nest was on the very edge of the little tiny
island, hidden among the grasses, and in the nest were two big
grayish-brown eggs, with black spots, larger than any goose eggs.

Marie and Louise shouted and laughed, but Beate felt strangely
frightened and was very quiet. She begged her father to let her stand on
the island, only a minute, and would he let her take one of the eggs in
her hand?

The father told her she must be very careful just lift the egg gently
between her two fingers, for if the bird noticed that the egg had been
touched she would not hatch it.

And now Beate stood on the green floating island. She was excited when
she bent down to pick up the grayish-brown egg, but lifted it carefully
between two fingers. Now she might wish for anything in the wide, wide
world.

And what do you think she wished for? To become a Princess of England?
Oh, no, she knew something far better than that. Then her lips moved
softly, and she whispered to herself: "I wish that Little Beate was with
me once more, and would never, never leave me." Carefully she put the
egg back into the nest.

What was the pink something her eye now caught sight of among the tall
reeds close to the nest? It was her doll! Beate gave one shriek of joy.
"Little Beate, my own Little Beate," she sobbed, when she had her own
dearest friend in her arms again. She covered her with tears and kisses,
and held her tight in her arms as if she would never in the world let
her go.

Her father, Marie, and Louise stood by without saying a word. At last
the father kissed his little girl, and lifted her on to the raft again.

Such a birthday party as Beate had now! What did it matter that a year's
rains and snows had faded Little Beate's cheeks and bleached her brown
curls? She was the guest of honor, and sat on the prettiest chair. She
had all the cookies and chocolate that she wanted. She was petted and
loved; and at night, tired and happy, Big Beate slept with her little
friend in her arms.


HANS, THE OLD SOLDIER

Viggo was Beate's brother. He was 10 years old. Hans was Viggo's dearest
friend. The servants on the farm called the old Grenadier "Hans the
Watchdog," for they said when he talked to anyone it sounded like a dog
barking, and he looked as if he were ready to bite. But Viggo had once
said that the Grenadier's voice sounded like the rattle of a drum, and
the old soldier thought that was well said. It was from that time on
that Viggo and Hans were such good friends.

Hans the Grenadier was six feet two, and a little more. He was straight
as a stick. His hair was long and snowy white, and it hung in a braid
down his red soldier's coat.

When he came walking up to the farm from his little cottage he always
carried the ax on the left shoulder, like a gun, and marched stiff and
straight, and kept step as if the sergeant were marching right at his
heels, commanding "Left, right! Left, right!"

Viggo knew that sometimes Old Hans was willing to tell about the time he
served in the army. He told of the battles, and first and last about the
"Prince of 'Gustenberg."

"That was a man!" said Hans. "When he looked at you it was as if he
would eat you in one bite. And such a nose between the eyes! The Prince
of 'Gustenberg had a nose that shouted 'Get out of my way!' And
therefore they did get put of his way, too, wherever he showed himself.

"Do you know what the Prince of 'Gustenberg said when he spoke in front
of the troops? 'One thing is a shame,' said he, 'and that is to turn
your back before retreat is called.' And now you know what is a shame,
my boy!"

Viggo sat silent a little while.

"Have you never known a little boy to become a general?" he asked at
last.

"No, I haven't, but I have known a drummer boy to become a sergeant. He
was not much bigger than you. He could do everything you can think of.
There was one thing, though, that was very hard for him to do, and that
was to beat 'Retreat.' 'Forward March' he knew how to drum; he never
forgot that, and sometimes he beat that instead of 'Retreat,' and the
captain got angry. Usually he wasn't punished either, because he had
once saved the captain's life with a snowball."

"With a snowball?" said Viggo.

"Yes, I said snowball; he did not use greater means. We were rushing up
a hill with the enemy in front of us. It was in Winter. The captain and
the drummer boy led the march; but as soon as they came to the top of
the hill there stood the enemy in line. 'Aim!' commanded the enemy's
officer, and all the guns pointed right at the captain. Quick as
lightning the drummer boy grabbed a handful of snow and made a snowball,
and, just as the officer opened his mouth to say 'Fire!' the drummer boy
threw the snowball straight into the open mouth. He stood there, mouth
wide open. Well, then the rest of us arrived and we had a hot fight."

"Then was he made a sergeant?" asked Viggo.

"Yes, when the Prince had heard of it. He was given the rank of a
sergeant, and something better even than that. The Prince called him 'my
son.'"

"It was too bad that they didn't make him a general," said Viggo. He
added half aloud: "Do you think I might become a general, Hans?"

"Well, well, listen to the spring chicken!" said Hans. "So it is general
you want to be? Never mind, don't blush for that; it wasn't a bad
question. But it is very difficult, for you must learn much, oh, very
much."

"Mathematics, you mean?" said Viggo. "I have learned some of that
already, and languages too."

"Yes, that is well enough, but you must learn much more; you must learn
to drill so that you don't make a mistake in a single movement."

"Then do you think I might become a general?" continued Viggo.

"Who knows? But it is difficult. The eyes are not bad, you have the
right expression. But the nose--no it has not the correct shape. But, of
course, it may grow and curve in time," said Old Hans.

After that Viggo learned to drill and march from his old friend; but he
often looked in the mirror and wished with all his heart that the nose
would curve a little more.


ALLARM, THE DOG

One afternoon Viggo was walking home from school with a bag of books on
his back. He marched straight as a stick, with a soldiery step. Old Hans
was standing outside the cottage waiting for him, and when Viggo halted
and saluted, the old man asked if he could guess what present there was
for him at the house.

"How does it look?" asked Viggo.

"It is brown," said Hans. "Now guess."

"Oh, I suppose it is nothing but a lump of brown sugar from Aunt Beate,"
said Viggo.

"Try again!" said Hans, and grinned. "It is dark brown, it walks on four
feet and laps milk."

"Is it the puppy the Captain has promised me? Is it?" cried Viggo, and
forgot all about standing straight and stiff before the Grenadier.

"Right about! Of course that's what it is," said Hans the Grenadier.

But Viggo turned a somersault instead of "Right about" and ran to the
house. On a piece of carpet close by the fireplace lay the little puppy,
and he was beautiful. The body was dark brown, but the nose and paws
were light brown, and he had a light brown spot over each eye. When
Viggo sat down on the floor beside him and stroked the soft fur, he
licked Viggo's hand. Soon they had become acquainted, and from that time
on Viggo watched, to see if the puppy grew, almost as carefully as he
watched his own nose to see if it had the proper curve so that he might
become a general.

In the night, Allarm lay by Viggo's bed, and in the daytime sat beside
him when he was studying his lessons. The puppy was not allowed to go
along to school, but he met Viggo every afternoon, and barked with joy
and wagged his tail.

One winter morning Hans the Grenadier and some of the farm hands were
going to the woods to haul timber with seven horses. Viggo had a holiday
that day, so he was allowed to go along. He put his rubber boots on, and
whistled for Allarm. The puppy jumped and barked when he noticed that
they were off for the woods. But Viggo's father said it would be best to
leave Allarm at home, for there were packs of wolves in the woods. Viggo
did not like to leave Allarm behind, but when his father said so of
course he must do it. He took the strap and tied Allarm to the leg of
the sofa. Then he put his old coat on the floor beside the dog, so that
he might be comfortable. But you can't imagine how Allarm whined and
howled when he understood that he was to be left tied up.

Viggo told his father that he could not stand it to have Allarm so sad,
happen what would, and he begged that he might take him along.

The father smiled, and said if Viggo wanted to risk it he must take good
care of the dog, and not let him out of his sight. Then they untied him,
and you may imagine Allarm's joy. He jumped and barked so that the
mother had to put her fingers in her ears.

The seven horses went in a line, one after the other, and Hans the
Grenadier and Viggo and Allarm walked behind the last one. The forest
was so still you could not hear the least sound except the horses' hoofs
crunching in the snow. Here and there Viggo saw the foot-prints of a
wolf beside the road. Then he always told Allarm to keep close by him,
and that he did.

But after awhile they left the road and turned into the thick forest.
Hans the Grenadier waded in front, and the snow reached to his knees;
then came the horses and the boys, one after the other, and at last
Viggo.

After a while they came to the logs and began to hitch them to the
horses. Then suddenly Viggo remembered Allarm; he had forgotten all
about the dog since they turned away from the road. He looked around
him, and just then he heard Allarm whine and howl somewhere in the
depths of the forest.

As quick as lightning he grabbed an ax which Old Hans had driven into a
stump, and rushed in through the trees in the direction from which the
howling came. It was not easy; the snow reached far above his knees, but
he noticed nothing: he only feared he would be too late. Once he had to
stop a little to draw breath, then again he heard the pitiful wail of
the dog, but now it sounded fainter. Off Viggo rushed again, and at last
he espied something between the trees. He did not see his dog, but three
wolves stood in a circle, heads turned toward the center; the fourth one
lay inside the ring and bit something in the snow.

Viggo shouted so that it thundered in the forest, and rushed against the
wolves with lifted ax. When he came within seven or eight feet of them,
the three grey-legs took fright and sneaked, tails between legs, far
into the forest; but the fourth, who lay on top of Allarm, hated to give
up his prey. It was a large yellow wolf, and it looked up at Viggo and
showed sharp, bloody teeth.

"Let go of Allarm! Let go of my dog, or I'll teach you!" he cried, and
swung the ax high above his head. Then grey-legs sneaked slowly away
after the others. He turned once and howled, and showed his teeth, and
then disappeared among the bushes.

Far down in a hole in the snow lay Allarm. He was so bitten that he
could not jump to his feet; and, when Viggo lifted him, the blood
dripped down on the snow. His whole body shivered, but he licked Viggo's
hand.

Just then Old Hans the Grenadier stood by Viggo's side. When he had
gained his breath after his hurried run, the old man cried very angrily:
"If I did what you deserve I should have to whip you. Do you think it
fit for a youngster like you to rush against a pack of wolves? If they
had eaten you up alive before you had a chance to make a sound, what
would you have said then?"

"Then I would have said: 'One thing is a shame, and that is to turn your
back before "retreat" is called,'" said Viggo, and looked sharply at the
Grenadier.

"Well said, my boy! The nose has not quite the right curve yet, but the
eyes are there, and I do believe the heart, too," said Old Hans. He took
the dog from Viggo, and went home with both of them.


THE BLACK POND

"Hurrah, the Black Pond is frozen! The ice is more than an inch thick,
and there's a crowd of boys down there!" shouted one of Viggo's
classmates one morning, as he thrust his frost-covered head through the
door and swung his skates. It didn't take Viggo long before he got his
skates down from the nail, and ran off with his friend. And he was so
anxious to get down to the lake that he forgot to whistle for Allarm.

But Allarm had a fine nose. Just as soon as he had swallowed his
breakfast he understood that Viggo was gone. Then he ran out hunting
through the yard for Viggo's trail, and when he noticed that it didn't
lead to the school he knew he might follow. Then he rushed madly after
him over the fields, and had caught up with him long before Viggo had
reached the cottage of Hans the Grenadier, which lay close by the lake.

One thing Viggo had promised his father before he got permission to go,
and that was that he would be very careful and not skate far out from
the shore. Near the middle of the lake there was an air hole through
which warm air rose to the surface, and there the ice was never thick.

And Viggo meant honestly to do what his father had told him, but now you
shall hear what happened.

When he came to the lake there was a crowd of boys there. There must
have been twenty or more. Most of them had skates on, but some only slid
on the ice. They shouted and laughed so that you could not hear yourself
think.

As soon as Viggo had put on his skates he began to look around. Most of
the boys he knew, for he had raced with them before, and he felt that
he could beat every one of them. But there was one boy who skated by
himself, and seemed not to care about the others. He was much bigger
than Viggo, and Viggo saw immediately that it would not be easy to beat
him in a race. The boys called him Peter Lightfoot, and the name fitted
him. He could do the corkscrew, skate backward as easily as forward, and
lie so low and near the ice that he might have kissed it. But all this
Viggo could do, too.

"Can you write your initials?" asked Viggo. Yes; Peter Lightfoot stood
on one leg and wrote "P. L." in the ice, but the letters hung together.
Then Viggo started. He ran, turned himself around backward and wrote "P.
L.," and between the "P." and the "L." he made a short jump so that the
letters stood apart.

"Hurrah for Viggo! He wrote Peter Lightfoot backward!" shouted the boys,
and threw up their caps. Then the big boy blushed crimson, but he said
nothing.

Now they began to play "Fox and Geese," and everybody wanted Viggo to be
the fox. Peter wanted to play, too, for he was sure that Viggo could not
catch him. The race-course was scratched in the ice, and Viggo called,
"Out, out, my geese," and off they ran. But Viggo didn't care to run
after the little goslings, it was the big gander, Peter Lightfoot, he
wished to catch. And that was a game!

Off they went, Peter in front and Viggo after him, back and forth in
corners and circles, and all the other boys stopped and looked on. Every
time Viggo was right at his heels, Peter jumped and was far ahead of the
fox again. At last Viggo had him cornered, but just as he would have
caught the goose, Peter stretched out his left leg and meant to trip
Viggo, but his skate caught in a frozen twig and--thump! there lay Peter
Lightfoot, the ice cracking all around him.

"A good thing he wasn't made of glass," laughed the boys and crowded
around Peter. He got up and looked angrily around the circle of boys.

"Now stand in a row, we'll jump," said he, and the boys did. They piled
hats and caps on top of each other first only three high. The whole row
jumped that, then four, then five, then six, but each time fewer got
over and those who pushed the top cap off with their skates had to stop
playing and must stand aside and look on. At last there were eight hats
and caps on top of each other, and now only Peter and Viggo were left to
jump.

"Put your cap on top!" said Peter, and Viggo did. But all the boys
shouted that no one could ever make that jump.

Now, Peter came so fast that the air whistled about him, jumped--and
whiff! he was over! He touched Viggo's cap the least little bit, but it
did not fall off the pile.

"Hurrah for Peter! That was a masterly jump!" shouted the boys. "Viggo
can never do that, he is too small," said one.

Viggo knew this was the test, and his heart beat fast. He ran with all
his might. Viggo flew over like a bird, and there was at least four
inches between his skates and the topmost cap. Then the boys crowded
around him and shouted that Viggo was the champion. But Peter Lightfoot
looked at him with a sly and evil eye, and you could see he was planning
to play a trick on him. And, indeed, that's what he did.

After a little while Peter took an apple out of his pocket and rolled it
over the ice toward the airhole. "The one who dares to go for the apple
may keep it!" he called. And many dared to try that, for the apple had
not rolled far and the ice was strong enough. Now Peter threw an apple
farther out, someone got that too. But at last he rolled one that
stopped right on the edge of the open water. One boy after the other ran
out toward it, but when the ice began to crack they slowly turned around
again.

"Don't do it, it is dangerous!" shouted Viggo.

"Oh, yes, Viggo is great when things are easy, but if there is danger he
turns pale as a ghost," said Peter, and laughed aloud.

This was more than Viggo could bear. He thought of what the Prince of
Augustenburg had said before the front, and he thought he must fetch the
apple, come what might. But he forgot that "retreat" had been called,
for his father had forbidden him to go near the hole. Allarm looked at
him with grave eyes and wagged his tail slowly; he did not dare to
whine. But that did not help. Viggo ran so that the wind whistled about
his ears. The ice bent under his feet and cracked, but he glided on and
on, and the ice did not break. Now he was close by the apple; he bent
down to pick it up--crash! The ice broke, and Viggo, head first, fell
in.

In a minute his head appeared above the hole. He swam for the ice and
seized the edge, but a piece broke off every time he tried to climb up.

At first the boys stood there dumb with fright. Then they all called to
him that he must try to hold on, but no one dared to help him, and no
one thought of running for help. Peter Lightfoot had sneaked away when
Viggo fell in.

The best one of them all was Allarm. First he ran yelping around the
hole, but when he saw Viggo appear again he snatched his wet cap between
his teeth and as fast as an arrow he ran toward home. When he reached
the cottage of Hans the Grenadier the old soldier was just standing in
the open doorway. The dog put Viggo's stiff frozen cap at his feet,
whined and cried, jumped up on the old man, held on to his coat and
dragged him toward the ice. Hans understood right away what was the
matter, snatched a rope and ran toward the lake, and in no time he stood
by the hole. He threw the rope to Viggo, who had begun to grow stiff
from the icy bath, and pulled him out.

Viggo ran as fast as he could to the cottage of Hans, and when he
reached the door he had an armor of shining ice over his whole body.
When the Grenadier pulled off the boy's trousers they could stand by
themselves on the floor; they were frozen stiff.

Viggo, of course, had to change from top to toe, and what should he put
on? Hans went to his old chest and came back with his uniform. Viggo
looked rather queer; the yellow knee-trousers reached to his ankles, and
the red coat with yellow cuffs and lapels hung on him like a bag.

But he was wearing a real uniform! Hans looked at him.

"Well," he said, "I won't say much about the fit of the clothes, but who
knows you may wear a better looking uniform some day. The heart is of
the right kind, and the nose--well it is doing better."

 [L] From "The Bird and the Star," translated by Mrs. Gudrun
 Thorne-Thompson; used by special arrangement with the publishers, Row,
 Peterson & Co.

 [Illustration]



 [Illustration: STORIES FROM IRELAND]



THE FOUR WHITE SWANS


In the days of long ago there lived in the Green Isle of Erin a race of
brave men and fair women--the race of the Dedannans. North, south, east,
and west did this noble people dwell, doing homage to many chiefs.

But one blue morning after a great battle the Dedannans met on a wide
plain to choose a king. "Let us," they said, "have one king over all.
Let us no longer have many rulers."

Forth from among the princes rose five well fitted to wield a scepter
and to wear a crown, yet most royal stood Bove Derg and Lir. And forth
did the five chiefs wander, that the Dedannan folk might freely say to
whom they would most gladly do homage as king.

Not far did they roam, for soon there arose a great cry, "Bove Derg is
King! Bove Derg is King!" And all were glad, save Lir.

But Lir was angry, and he left the plain where the Dedannan people were,
taking leave of none, and doing Bove Derg no reverence. For jealousy
filled the heart of Lir.

Then were the Dedannans wroth, and a hundred swords were unsheathed and
flashed in the sunlight on the plain. "We go to slay Lir who doeth not
homage to our King and regardeth not the choice of the people."

But wise and generous was Bove Derg, and he bade the warriors do no hurt
to the offended prince.

For long years did Lir live in discontent, yielding obedience to none.
But at length a great sorrow fell upon him, for his wife, who was dear
unto him, died, and she had been ill but three days. Loudly did he
lament her death, and heavy was his heart with sorrow.

When tidings of Lir's grief reached Bove Derg, he was surrounded by his
mightiest chiefs. "Go forth," he said, "in fifty chariots go forth. Tell
Lir I am his friend as ever, and ask that he come with you hither. Three
fair foster-children are mine, and one may he yet have to wife, will he
but bow to the will of the people, who have chosen me their King."

When these words were told to Lir, his heart was glad. Speedily he
called around him his train, and in fifty chariots set forth. Nor did
they slacken speed until they reached the palace of Bove Derg by the
Great Lake. And there at the still close of day, as the setting rays of
the sun fell athwart the silver waters, did Lir do homage to Bove Derg.
And Bove Derg kissed Lir and vowed to be his friend forever.

And when it was known throughout the Dedannan host that peace reigned
between these mighty chiefs, brave men and fair women and little
children rejoiced, and nowhere were there happier hearts than in the
Green Isle of Erin.

Time passed, and Lir still dwelt with Bove Derg in his palace by the
Great Lake. One morning the King said: "Full well thou knowest my three
fair foster-daughters, nor have I forgotten my promise that one thou
shouldst have to wife. Choose her whom thou wilt."

Then Lir answered: "All are indeed fair, and choice is hard. But give
unto me the eldest, if it be that she be willing to wed."

And Eve, the eldest of the fair maidens, was glad, and that day was she
married to Lir, and after two weeks she left the palace by the Great
Lake and drove with her husband to her new home.

Happily dwelt Lir's household and merrily sped the months. Then were
born unto Lir twin babes. The girl they called Finola, and her brother
did they name Aed.

Yet another year passed and again twins were born, but before the infant
boys knew their mother, she died. So sorely did Lir grieve for his
beautiful wife that he would have died of sorrow, but for the great love
he bore his motherless children.

When news of Eve's death reached the palace of Bove Derg by the Great
Lake all mourned aloud, for love of Eve and sore pity for Lir and his
four babes. And Bove Derg said to his mighty chiefs: "Great, indeed is
our grief, but in this dark hour shall Lir know our friendship. Ride
forth, make known to him that Eva, my second fair foster-child, shall in
time become his wedded wife and shall cherish his lone babies."

So messengers rode forth to carry these tidings to Lir, and in time Lir
came again to the palace of Bove Derg by the Great Lake, and he married
the beautiful Eva and took her back with him to his little daughter,
Finola, and to her three brothers, Aed and Fiacra and Conn.

Four lovely and gentle children they were, and with tenderness did Eva
care for the little ones who were their father's joy and the pride of
the Dedannans.

As for Lir, so great was the love he bore them, that at early dawn he
would rise, and, pulling aside the deerskin that separated his
sleeping-room from theirs, would fondle and frolic with the children
until morning broke.

And Bove Derg loved them well-nigh as did Lir himself. Ofttimes would he
come to see them and ofttimes were they brought to his palace by the
Great Lake.

And through all the Green Isle, where dwelt the Dedannan people, there
also was spread the fame of the beauty of the children of Lir.

Time crept on, and Finola was a maid of twelve summers. Then did a
wicked jealousy find root in Eva's heart, and so did it grow that it
strangled the love which she had borne her sister's children. In
bitterness she cried: "Lir careth not for me; to Finola and her brothers
hath he given all his love."

And for weeks and months Eva lay in bed planning how she might do hurt
to the children of Lir.

At length, one midsummer morn, she ordered forth her chariot, that with
the four children she might come to the palace of Bove Derg.

When Finola heard it, her fair face grew pale, for in a dream had it
been revealed unto her that Eva, her stepmother, should that day do a
dark deed among those of her own household. Therefore was Finola sore
afraid, but only her large eyes and pale cheeks spake her woe, as she
and her brothers drove along with Eva and her train.

On they drove, the boys laughing merrily, heedless alike of the black
shadow resting on their stepmother's brow, and of the pale, trembling
lips of their sister. As they reached a gloomy pass, Eva whispered to
her attendants: "Kill, I pray you, these children of Lir, for their
father careth not for me, because of his great love for them. Kill them,
and great wealth shall be yours."

But the attendants answered in horror: "We will not kill them. Fearful,
O Eva, were the deed, and great is the evil that will befall thee, for
having it in thine heart to do this thing."

Then Eva, filled with rage, drew forth her sword to slay them with her
own hand, but too weak for the monstrous deed, she sank back in the
chariot.

Onward they drove, out of the gloomy pass into the bright sunlight of
the white road. Daisies with wide-open eyes looked up into the blue sky
overhead. Golden glistened the buttercups among the shamrock. From the
ditches peeped forget-me-not. Honeysuckle scented the hedgerows. Around,
above, and afar, caroled the linnet, the lark, and the thrush. All was
color and sunshine, scent and song, as the children of Lir drove onward
to their doom.

Not until they reached a still lake were the horses unyoked for rest.
There Eva bade the children undress and go bathe in the waters. And when
the children of Lir reached the water's edge, Eva was there behind them,
holding in her hand a fairy wand. And with the wand she touched the
shoulder of each. And, lo! as she touched Finola, the maiden was changed
into a snow-white swan, and behold! as she touched Aed, Fiacra, and
Conn, the three brothers were as the maid. Four snow-white swans floated
on the blue lake, and to them the wicked Eva chanted a song of doom.

As she finished, the swans turned toward her, and Finola spake:

"Evil is the deed thy magic wand hath wrought, O Eva, on us the children
of Lir, but greater evil shall befall thee, because of the hardness and
jealousy of thine heart." And Finola's white swan-breast heaved as she
sang of their pitiless doom.

The song ended, again spake the swan-maiden: "Tell us, O Eva, when death
shall set us free."

And Eva made answer: "Three hundred years shall your home be on the
smooth waters of this lone lake. Three hundred years shall ye pass on
the stormy waters of the sea betwixt Erin and Alba, and three hundred
years shall ye be tempest-tossed on the wild Western Sea. Until Decca be
the Queen of Largnen, and the good saint come to Erin, and ye hear the
chime of the Christ-bell, neither your plaints nor prayers, neither the
love of your father Lir, nor the might of your King, Bove Derg, shall
have power to deliver you from your doom. But lone white swans though ye
be, ye shall keep forever your own sweet Gaelic speech, and ye shall
sing, with plaintive voices, songs so haunting that your music will
bring peace to the souls of those who hear. And still beneath your snowy
plumage shall beat the hearts of Finola, Aed, Fiacra and Conn, and still
forever shall ye be the children of Lir."

 [Illustration: FOUR SNOW-WHITE SWANS FLOATED ON THE BLUE LAKE]

Then did Eva order the horses to be yoked to the chariot, and away
westward did she drive.

And swimming on the lone lake were four white swans.

When Eva reached the palace of Bove Derg alone, greatly was he troubled
lest evil had befallen the children of Lir.

But the attendants, because of their great fear of Eva, dared not to
tell the King of the magic spell she had wrought by the way. Therefore
Bove Derg asked, "Wherefore, O Eva, come not Finola and her brothers to
the palace this day?"

And Eva answered: "Because, O King, Lir no longer trusteth thee,
therefore would he not let the children come hither."

But Bove Derg believed not his foster-daughter, and that night he
secretly sent messengers across the hills to the dwelling of Lir.

When the messengers came there, and told their errand, great was the
grief of the father. And in the morning with a heavy heart he summoned a
company of the Dedannans, and together they set out for the palace of
Bove Derg. And it was not until sunset as they reached the lone shore of
Lake Darvra, that they slackened speed.

Lir alighted from his chariot and stood spellbound. What was that
plaintive sound? The Gaelic words, his dear daughter's voice more
enchanting even than of old, and yet, before and around, only the lone
blue lake. The haunting music rang clearer, and as the last words died
away, four snow-white swans glided from behind the sedges, and with a
wild flap of wings flew toward the eastern shore. There, stricken with
wonder, stood Lir.

"Know, O Lir," said Finola, "that we are thy children, changed by the
wicked magic of our stepmother into four white swans." When Lir and the
Dedannan people heard these words, they wept aloud.

Still spake the swan-maiden: "Three hundred years must we float on this
lone lake, three hundred years shall we be storm-tossed on the waters
between Erin and Alba, and three hundred years on the wild Western Sea.
Not until Decca be the Queen of Largnen, not until the good saint come
to Erin and the chime of the Christ-bell be heard in the land, not until
then shall we be saved from our doom."

Then great cries of sorrow went up from the Dedannans, and again Lir
sobbed aloud. But at the last silence fell upon his grief, and Finola
told how she and her brothers would keep forever their own sweet Gaelic
speech, how they would sing songs so haunting that their music would
bring peace to the souls of all who heard. She told how, beneath their
snowy plumage, the human hearts of Finola, Aed, Fiacra, and Conn should
still beat--the hearts of the children of Lir. "Stay with us to-night by
the lone lake," she ended, "and our music will steal to you across its
moonlit waters and lull you into peaceful slumber. Stay, stay with us."

And Lir and his people stayed on the shore that night and until the
morning glimmered. Then, with the dim dawn, silence stole over the lake.

Speedily did Lir rise, and in haste did he bid farewell to his children,
that he might seek Eva and see her tremble before him.

Swiftly did he drive and straight, until he came to the palace of Bove
Derg, and there by the waters of the Great Lake did Bove Derg meet him.
"Oh, Lir, wherefore have thy children come not hither?" And Eva stood by
the King.

Stern and sad rang the answer of Lir: "Alas! Eva, your foster-child,
hath by her wicked magic changed them into four snow-white swans. On the
blue waters of Lake Darvra dwell Finola, Aed, Fiacra, and Conn, and
thence come I that I may avenge their doom."

A silence as the silence of death fell upon the three, and all was still
save that Eva trembled greatly. But ere long Bove Derg spake. Fierce and
angry did he look, as, high above his foster-daughter, he held his magic
wand. Awful was his voice as he pronounced her doom: "Wretched woman,
henceforth shalt thou no longer darken this fair earth, but as a demon
of the air shalt thou dwell in misery till the end of time." And of a
sudden from out her shoulders grew black, shadowy wings, and, with a
piercing scream, she swirled upward, until the awe-stricken Dedannans
saw nought save a black speck vanish among the lowering clouds. And as a
demon of the air do Eva's black wings swirl her through space to this
day.

But great and good was Bove Derg. He laid aside his magic wand and so
spake: "Let us, my people, leave the Great Lake, and let us pitch our
tents on the shores of Lake Darvra. Exceeding dear unto us are the
children of Lir, and I, Bove Derg, and Lir, their father, have vowed
henceforth to make our home forever by the lone waters where they
dwell."

And when it was told throughout the Green Island of Erin of the fate of
the children of Lir and of the vow that Bove Derg had vowed, from north,
south, east, and west did the Dedannans flock to the lake, until a
mighty host dwelt by its shores.

And by day Finola and her brothers knew not loneliness, for in the sweet
Gaelic speech they told of their joys and fears; and by night the mighty
Dedannans knew no sorrowful memories, for by haunting songs were they
lulled to sleep, and the music brought peace to their souls.

Slowly did the years go by, and upon the shoulders of Bove Derg and Lir
fell the long white hair. Fearful grew the four swans, for the time was
not far off when they must wing their flight north to the wild sea of
Moyle.

And when at length the sad day dawned, Finola told her brothers how
their three hundred happy years on Lake Darvra were at an end, and how
they must now leave the peace of its lone waters for evermore.

Then, slowly and sadly, did the four swans glide to the margin of the
lake. Never had the snowy whiteness of their plumage so dazzled the
beholders, never had music so sweet and sorrowful floated to Lake
Darvra's sunlit shores. As the swans reached the water's edge, silent
were the three brothers, and alone Finola chanted a farewell song.

With bowed white heads did the Dedannan host listen to Finola's chant,
and when the music ceased and only sobs broke the stillness, the four
swans spread their wings, and, soaring high, paused but for one short
moment to gaze on the kneeling forms of Lir and Bove Derg. Then,
stretching their graceful necks toward the north, they winged their
flight to the waters of the stormy sea that separates the blue Alba from
the Green Island of Erin.

And when it was known throughout the Green Isle that the four white
swans had flown, so great was the sorrow of the people that they made a
law that no swan should be killed in Erin from that day forth.

With hearts that burned with longing for their father and their friends,
did Finola and her brothers reach the sea of Moyle. Cold were its wintry
waters, black and fearful were the steep rocks overhanging Alba's
far-stretching coasts. From hunger, too, the swans suffered. Dark indeed
was all, and darker yet as the children of Lir remembered the still
waters of Lake Darvra and the fond Dedannan host on its peaceful shores.
Here the sighing of the wind among the reeds no longer soothed their
sorrow, but the roar of the breaking surf struck fresh terror in their
souls. In misery and terror did their days pass, until one night the
black, lowering clouds overhead told that a great tempest was nigh. Then
did Finola call to her Aed, Fiacra, and Conn. "Beloved brothers, a great
fear is at my heart, for, in the fury of the coming gale, we may be
driven the one from the other. Therefore, let us say where we may hope
to meet when the storm is spent."

And Aed answered: "Wise art thou, dear, gentle sister. If we be driven
apart, may it be to meet again on the rocky isle that has ofttimes been
our haven, for well known is it to us all, and from far can it be seen."

Darker grew the night, louder raged the wind, as the four swans dived
and rose again on the giant billows. Yet fiercer blew the gale, until at
midnight loud bursts of thunder mingled with the roaring wind, but, in
the glare of the blue lightning's flashes, the children of Lir beheld
each the snowy form of the other. The mad fury of the hurricane yet
increased, and the force of it lifted one swan from its wild home on the
billows, and swept it through the blackness of the night. Another blue
lightning-flash, and each swan saw its loneliness, and uttered a great
cry of desolation. Tossed hither and thither by wind and wave, the white
birds were well-nigh dead when dawn broke. And with the dawn fell calm.

Swift as her tired wings would bear her, Finola sailed to the rocky
isle, where she hoped to find her brothers. But alas! no sign was there
of one of them. Then to the highest summit of the rocks she flew. North,
south, east, and west did she look, yet nought saw she save a watery
wilderness. Now did her heart fail her, and she sang the saddest song
she had yet sung.

As the last notes died Finola raised her eyes, and lo! Conn came slowly
swimming toward her with drenched plumage and head that drooped. And as
she looked, behold! Fiacra appeared, but it was as though his strength
failed. Then did Finola swim toward her fainting brother and lend him
her aid, and soon the twins were safe on the sunlit rock, nestling for
warmth beneath their sister's wings.

Yet Finola's heart still beat with alarm as she sheltered her younger
brothers, for Aed came not, and she feared lest he were lost forever.
But, at noon, sailing he came over the breast of the blue waters, with
head erect and plumage sunlit. And under the feathers of her breast did
Finola draw him, for Conn and Fiacra still cradled beneath her wings.
"Rest here, while ye may, dear brothers," she said.

And she sang to them a lullaby so surpassing sweet that the sea-birds
hushed their cries and flocked to listen to the sad, slow music. And
when Aed and Fiacra and Conn were lulled to sleep, Finola's notes grew
more and more faint and her head drooped, and soon she, too, slept
peacefully in the warm sunlight.

But few were the sunny days on the sea of Moyle, and many were the
tempests that ruffled its waters. Still keener grew the winter frosts,
and the misery of the four white swans was greater than ever before.
Even their most sorrowful Gaelic songs told not half their woe. From the
fury of the storm they still sought shelter on that rocky isle where
Finola had despaired of seeing her dear ones more.

Slowly passed the years of doom, until one midwinter a frost more keen
than any known before froze the sea into a floor of solid black ice. By
night the swans crouched together on the rocky isle for warmth, but each
morning they were frozen to the ground and could free themselves only
with sore pain, for they left clinging to the ice-bound rock the soft
down of their breasts, the quills from their white wings, and the skin
of their poor feet.

And when the sun melted the ice-bound surface of the waters, and the
swans swam once more in the sea of Moyle, the salt water entered their
wounds, and they well-nigh died of pain. But in time the down on their
breasts and the feathers on their wings grew, and they were healed of
their wounds.

The years dragged on, and by day Finola and her brothers would fly
toward the shores of the Green Island of Erin, or to the rocky blue
headlands of Alba, or they would swim far out into a dim gray wilderness
of waters. But ever as night fell it was their doom to return to the sea
of Moyle.

One day, as they looked toward the Green Isle, they saw coming to the
coast a troop of horsemen mounted on snow-white steeds, and their armor
glittered in the sun.

A cry of great joy went up from the children of Lir, for they had seen
no human form since they spread their wings above Lake Darvra, and flew
to the stormy sea of Moyle.

"Speak," said Finola to her brothers, "speak, and say if these be not
our own Dedannan folk." And Aed and Fiacra and Conn strained their eyes,
and Aed answered, "It seemeth, dear sister, to me, that it is indeed our
own people."

As the horsemen drew nearer and saw the four swans, each man shouted in
the Gaelic tongue, "Behold the children of Lir!"

And when Finola and her brothers heard once more the sweet Gaelic
speech, and saw the faces of their own people, their happiness was
greater than can be told. For long they were silent, but at length
Finola spake.

Of their life on the sea of Moyle she told, of the dreary rains and
blustering winds, of the giant waves and the roaring thunder, of the
black frost, and of their own poor battered and wounded bodies. Of their
loneliness of soul, of that she could not speak. "But tell us," she went
on, "tell us of our father, Lir. Lives he still, and Bove Derg, and our
dear Dedannan friends?"

Scarce could the Dedannans speak for the sorrow they had for Finola and
her brothers, but they told how Lir and Bove Derg were alive and well,
and were even now celebrating the Feast of Age at the house of Lir. "But
for their longing for you, your father and friends would be happy
indeed."

Glad then and of great comfort were the hearts of Finola and her
brothers. But they could not hear more, for they must hasten to fly from
the pleasant shores of Erin to the sea-stream of Moyle, which was their
doom. And as they flew, Finola sang, and faint floated her voice over
the kneeling host.

As the sad song grew fainter and more faint, the Dedannans wept aloud.
Then, as the snow-white birds faded from sight, the sorrowful company
turned the heads of their white steeds from the shore, and rode
southward to the home of Lir.

And when it was told there of the sufferings of Finola and her brothers,
great was the sorrow of the Dedannans. Yet was Lir glad that his
children were alive, and he thought of the day when the magic spell
would be broken, and those so dear to him would be freed from their
bitter woe.

Once more were ended three hundred years of doom, and glad were the four
white swans to leave the cruel sea of Moyle. Yet might they fly only to
the wild Western Sea, and tempest-tossed as before, here they in no way
escaped the pitiless fury of wind and wave. Worse than aught they had
before endured was a frost that drove the brothers to despair. Well-nigh
frozen to a rock, they one night cried aloud to Finola that they longed
for death. And she, too, would fain have died.

But that same night did a dream come to the swan-maiden, and, when she
awoke, she cried to her brothers to take heart. "Believe, dear brothers,
in the great God who hath created the earth with its fruits and the sea
with its terrible wonders. Trust in him, and he will yet save you." And
her brothers answered, "We will trust."

And Finola also put her trust in God, and they all fell into a deep
slumber.

When the children of Lir awoke, behold! the sun shone, and thereafter,
until the three hundred years on the Western Sea were ended, neither
wind nor wave nor rain nor frost did hurt the four swans.

On a grassy isle they lived and sang their wondrous songs by day, and by
night they nestled together on their soft couch, and awoke in the
morning to sunshine and to peace. And there on the grassy island was
their home, until the three hundred years were at an end. Then Finola
called to her brothers, and tremblingly she told, and tremblingly they
heard, that they might now fly eastward to seek their own old home.

Lightly did they rise on outstretched wings, and swiftly did they fly
until they reached land. There they alighted and gazed each at the
other, but too great for speech was their joy. Then again did they
spread their wings and fly above the green grass on and on, until they
reached the hills and trees that surrounded their old home. But, alas!
only the ruins of Lir's dwelling were left. Around was a wilderness
overgrown with rank grass, nettles, and weeds.

Too downhearted to stir, the swans slept that night within the ruined
walls of their old home, but, when day broke, each could no longer bear
the loneliness, and again they flew westward. And it was not until they
came to Inis Glora that they alighted. On a small lake in the heart of
the island they made their home, and, by their enchanting music, they
drew to its shores all the birds of the west, until the lake came to be
called "The Lake of the Bird-flocks."

Slowly passed the years, but a great longing filled the hearts of the
children of Lir. When would the good saint come to Erin? When would the
chime of the Christ-bell peal over land and sea?

One rosy dawn the swans awoke among the rushes of the Lake of the
Bird-flocks, and strange and faint was the sound that floated to them
from afar. Trembling, they nestled close the one to the other, until the
brothers stretched their wings and fluttered hither and thither in great
fear. Yet trembling they flew back to their sister, who had remained
silent among the sedges. Crouching by her side they asked, "What, dear
sister, can be the strange, faint sound that steals across our island?"

With quiet, deep joy Finola answered: "Dear brothers, it is the chime of
the Christ-bell that ye hear, the Christ-bell of which we have dreamed
through thrice three hundred years. Soon the spell will be broken, soon
our sufferings will end." Then did Finola glide from the shelter of the
sedges across the rose-lit lake, and there by the shore of the Western
Sea she chanted a song of hope.

Calm crept into the hearts of the brothers as Finola sang, and, as she
ended, once more the chime stole across the isle. No longer did it
strike terror into the hearts of the children of Lir, rather as a note
of peace did it sink into their souls.

Then, when the last chime died, Finola said, "Let us sing to the great
King of Heaven and Earth."

Far stole the sweet strains of the white swans, far across Inis Glora,
until they reached the good Saint Kemoc, for whose early prayers the
Christ-bell had chimed.

And he, filled with wonder at the surpassing sweetness of the music,
stood mute, but when it was revealed unto him that the voices he heard
were the voices of Finola and Aed and Fiacra and Conn, who thanked the
High God for the chime of the Christ-bell, he knelt and also gave
thanks, for it was to seek the children of Lir that the saint had come
to Inis Glora.

In the glory of noon, Kemoc reached the shore of the little lake, and
saw four white swans gliding on its waters. And no need had the saint to
ask whether these indeed were the children of Lir. Rather did he give
thanks to the High God who had brought him hither.

Then gravely the good Kemoc said to the swans: "Come ye now to land, and
put your trust in me, for it is in this place that ye shall be freed
from your enchantment."

These words the four white swans heard with great joy, and coming to the
shore they placed themselves under the care of the saint. And he led
them to his cell, and there they dwelt with him. And Kemoc sent to Erin
for a skilful workman, and ordered that two slender chains of shining
silver be made. Betwixt Finola and Aed did he clasp one silver chain,
and with the other did he bind Fiacra and Conn.

Then did the children of Lir dwell with the holy Kemoc, and he taught
them the wonderful story of Christ that he and Saint Patrick had brought
to the Green Isle. And the story so gladdened their hearts that the
misery of their past sufferings was well-nigh forgotten, and they lived
in great happiness with the saint. Dear to him were they, dear as though
they had been his own children.

Thrice three hundred years had gone since Eva had chanted the fate of
the children of Lir. "Until Decca be the Queen of Largnen, until the
good saint come to Erin, and ye hear the chime of the Christ-bell, shall
ye not be delivered from your doom."

The good saint had indeed come, and the sweet chimes of the Christ-bell
had been heard, and the fair Decca was now the Queen of King Largnen.

Soon were tidings brought to Decca of the swan-maiden and her three
swan-brothers. Strange tales did she hear of their haunting songs. It
was told her, too, of their cruel miseries. Then begged she her husband,
the King, that he would go to Kemoc and bring to her these human birds.

But Largnen did not wish to ask Kemoc to part with the swans, and
therefore he did not go.

Then was Decca angry, and swore she would live no longer with Largnen,
until he brought the singing swans to the palace. And that same night
she set out for her father's kingdom in the south.

Nevertheless Largnen loved Decca, and great was his grief when he heard
that she had fled. And he commanded messengers to go after her, saying
he would send for the white swans if she would but come back. Therefore
Decca returned to the palace, and Largnen sent to Kemoc to beg of him
the four white swans. But the messenger returned without the birds.

Then was Largnen wroth, and set out himself for the cell of Kemoc. But
he found the saint in the little church, and before the altar were the
four white swans.

"Is it truly told me that you refused these birds to Queen Decca?" asked
the King.

"It is truly told," replied Kemoc.

Then Largnen was more wroth than before, and seizing the silver chain of
Finola and Aed in the one hand, and the chain of Fiacra and Conn in the
other, he dragged the birds from the altar and down the aisle, and it
seemed as though he would leave the church. And in great fear did the
saint follow.

But lo! as they reached the door, the snow-white feathers of the four
swans fell to the ground, and the children of Lir were delivered from
their doom. For was not Decca the bride of Largnen, and the good saint
had he not come, and the chime of the Christ-bell was it not heard in
the land?

But aged and feeble were the children of Lir. Wrinkled were their once
fair faces, and bent their little white bodies.

At the sight Largnen, affrighted, fled from the church, and the good
Kemoc cried aloud, "Woe to thee, O King!"

Then did the children of Lir turn toward the saint, and thus Finola
spake: "Baptize us now, we pray thee, for death is nigh. Heavy with
sorrow are our hearts that we must part from thee, thou holy one, and
that in loneliness must thy days on earth be spent. But such is the will
of the high God. Here let our graves be digged, and here bury our four
bodies, Conn standing at my right side, Fiacra at my left, and Aed
before my face, for thus did I shelter my dear brothers for thrice three
hundred years 'neath wing and breast."

Then did the good Kemoc baptize the children of Lir, and thereafter the
saint looked up, and lo! he saw a vision of four lovely children with
silvery wings, and faces radiant as the sun; and as he gazed they
floated ever upward, until they were lost in a mist of blue. Then was
the good Kemoc glad, for he knew that they had gone to heaven.

But, when he looked downward, four worn bodies lay at the church door,
and Kemoc wept sore.

And the saint ordered a wide grave to be digged close by the little
church, and there were the children of Lir buried, Conn standing at
Finola's right hand, and Fiacra at her left, and before her face her
twin brother Aed.

And the grass grew green above them, and a white tombstone bore their
names, and across the grave floated morning and evening the chime of the
sweet Christ-bell.



THE MISHAPS OF HANDY ANDY


Andy Rooney was a fellow who had the most singularly ingenious knack of
doing everything the wrong way. He grew up in his humble Irish home full
of mischief to the eyes of every one save his admiring mother. But, to
do him justice, he never meant harm in the course of his life, and he
was most anxious to offer his services on every occasion to all who
would accept them. Here is the account of how Andy first went into
service:

When Andy grew up to be what in country parlance is called "a brave lump
of a boy," and his mother thought he was old enough to do something for
himself, she took him one day along with her to the squire's, and
waited outside the door, loitering up and down the yard behind the
house, among a crowd of beggars and great lazy dogs that were thrusting
their heads into every iron pot that stood outside the kitchen door,
until chance might give her "a sight of the squire afore he wint out, or
afore he wint in"; and, after spending her entire day in this idle way,
at last the squire made his appearance, and Judy presented her son, who
kept scraping his foot, and pulling his forelock, that stuck out like a
piece of ragged thatch from his forehead, making his obeisance to the
squire, while his mother was sounding his praises for being the
"handiest craythur alive, and so willin'--nothin' comes wrong to him."

"I suppose the English of all this is, you want me to take him?" said
the squire.

"Throth, an' your honor, that's just it--if your honor would be plazed."

"What can he do?"

"Anything, your honor."

"That means _nothing_, I suppose," said the squire.

"Oh, no, sir! Everything, I mane, that you would desire him to do."

To every one of these assurances on his mother's part Andy made a bow
and a scrape.

"Can he take care of horses?"

"The best of care, sir," said the mother.

"Let him come, then, and help in the stables, and we'll see what we can
do."

The next day found Andy duly installed in the office of stable-helper;
and, as he was a good rider, he was soon made whipper-in to the hounds,
and became a favorite with the squire, who was one of those rollicking
"boys" of the old school, who let any one that chance threw in his way
bring him his boots, or his hot water for shaving, or brush his coat,
whenever it was brushed. The squire, you see, scorned the attentions of
a regular valet. But Andy knew a great deal more about horses than about
the duties of a valet. One morning he came to his master's room with hot
water and tapped at the door.

"Who's that?" said the squire, who had just risen.

"It's me, sir."

"Oh, Andy! Come in."

"Here's the hot water, sir," said Andy, bearing an enormous tin can.

"Why, what brings that enormous tin can here? You might as well bring
the stable-bucket."

"I beg your pardon, sir," said Andy, retreating. In two minutes more
Andy came back, and, tapping at the door, put in his head cautiously.


 HOW ANDY BROUGHT HIS MASTER'S
 HOT WATER IN THE MORNING

"The maids in the kitchen, your honor, say there's not so much hot water
ready."

"Did I not see it a moment since in your hand?"

"Yes, sir; but that's not nigh the full o' the stable-bucket."

"Go along, you stupid thief, and get me some hot water directly."

"Will the can do, sir?"

"Ay, anything, so you make haste."

Off posted Andy, and back he came with the can.

"Where'll I put it, sir?"

"Throw this out," said the squire, handing Andy a jug containing some
cold water, meaning the jug to be replenished with the hot.

Andy took the jug, and the window of the room being open, he very
deliberately threw the jug out. The squire stared with wonder, and at
last said:

"What did you do that for?"

"Sure, you _towld_ me to throw it out, sir."

"Go out of this, you thick-headed villain," said the squire, throwing
his boots at Andy's head; whereupon Andy retreated, and, like all stupid
people, thought himself a very ill-used person.


 WHAT HAPPENED WHEN ANDY
 OPENED A BOTTLE OF SODA AT
 THE DINNER

Andy was soon the laughing-stock of the household. When, for example, he
first saw silver forks he declared that "he had never seen a silver
spoon split that way before." When told to "cut the cord" of a
soda-water bottle on one occasion when the squire was entertaining a
number of guests at dinner, he "did as he was desired."

He happened at that time to hold the bottle on the level with the
candles that shed light over the festive board from a large silver
branch, and the moment he made the incision, bang went the bottle of
soda, knocking out two of the lights with the projected cork, which
struck the squire himself in the eye at the foot of the table; while the
hostess, at the head, had a cold bath down her back. Andy, when he saw
the soda-water jumping out of the bottle, held it from him at arm's
length, at every fizz it made, exclaiming: "Ow! Ow! Ow!" and at last,
when the bottle was empty, he roared out: "Oh, oh, it's all gone!"

Great was the commotion. Few could resist laughter, except the ladies,
who all looked at their gowns, not liking the mixture of satin and
soda-water. The extinguished candles were relighted, the squire got his
eyes open again, and the next time he perceived the butler sufficiently
near to speak to him, he said, in a low and hurried tone of deep anger,
while he knit his brow:

"Send that fellow out of the room." Suspended from indoor service, Andy
was not long before he distinguished himself out of doors in such a way
as to involve his master in a coil of trouble, and, incidentally, to
retard the good fortune that came to himself in the end.


 THE SQUIRE SENDS ANDY TO THE
 POST-OFFICE FOR A LETTER

The squire said to him one day:

"Ride into the town and see if there's a letter for me."

"Yes, sir," said Andy.

"Do you know where to go?" inquired his master.

"To the town, sir," was the reply.

"But do you know where to go in the town?"

"No, sir."

"And why don't you ask, you stupid thief?"

"Sure, I'd find out, sir."

"Didn't I often tell you to ask what you're to do when you don't know?"

"Yes, sir."

"And why don't you?"

"I don't like to be troublesome, sir."

"Confound you!" said the squire, though he could not help laughing at
Andy's excuse for remaining in ignorance. "Well, go to the post-office.
You know the post-office, I suppose?" continued his master in sarcastic
tones.

"Yes, sir; where they sell gunpowder."

"You're right for once," said the squire--for his Majesty's postmaster
was the person who had the privilege of dealing in the aforesaid
combustible. "Go, then, to the post-office, and ask for a letter for me.
Remember, not gunpowder, but a letter."

"Yes, sir," said Andy, who got astride of his hack, and trotted away to
the post-office.

On arriving at the shop of the postmaster (for that person carried on a
brisk trade in groceries, gimlets, broadcloth, and linen-drapery), Andy
presented himself at the counter, and said:

"I want a letther, sir, if you plaze."

"Who do you want it for?" said the postmaster, in a tone which Andy
considered an aggression upon the sacredness of private life. So Andy,
in his ignorance and pride, thought the coolest contempt he could throw
upon the prying impertinence of the postmaster was to repeat his
question.


 ANDY HAS A VERY FOOLISH QUARREL
 WITH THE POSTMASTER

"I want a letther, sir, if you plaze."

"And who do you want it for?" repeated the postmaster.

"What's that to you?" said Andy.

The postmaster, laughing at his simplicity, told him he could not tell
what letter to give him unless he told him the direction.

"The directions I got was to get a letther here--that's the directions."

"Who gave you those directions?"

"The master."

"And who's your master?"

"What consarn is that of yours?"

"Why, you stupid rascal, if you don't tell me his name, how can I give
you a letter?"

"You could give it if you liked; but you're fond of axin' impident
questions, bekase you think I'm simple."

"Go along out o' this! Your master must be as great a goose as yourself,
to send such a messenger."

"Bad luck to your impidence!" said Andy. "Is it Squire Egan you dare to
say goose to?"

"Oh, Squire Egan's your master, then?"

"Yes. Have you anything to say agin it?"

"Only that I never saw you before."

"Faith, then, you'll never see me agin if I have my own consint."

"I won't give you any letter for the squire unless I know you're his
servant. Is there any one in the town knows you?"

"Plenty," said Andy. "It's not every one is as ignorant as you."


 WHY ANDY WOULD NOT PAY ELEVEN
 PENCE FOR A LETTER

Just at this moment a person to whom Andy was known entered the house,
who vouched to the postmaster that he might give Andy the squire's
letter. "Have you one for me?"

"Yes, sir," said the postmaster, producing one. "Fourpence."

The gentleman paid the fourpence postage (the story, it must be
remembered, belongs to the earlier half of the last century, before the
days of the penny post), and left the shop with his letter.

"Here's a letter for the squire," said the postmaster. "You've to pay me
elevenpence postage."

"What 'ud I pay elevenpence for?"

"For postage."

"Get out wid you! Didn't I see you give Mr. Durfy a letther for
fourpence this minit, and a bigger letther than this? And now you want
me to pay elevenpence for this scrap of a thing? Do you think I'm a
fool?"

"No; but I'm sure of it," said the postmaster.

"Well, you're welkum, to be sure; but don't be delayin' me now. Here's
fourpence for you, and gi' me the letther."

"Go along, you stupid thief!" (the word "thief" was often used in
Ireland in the humorous way we sometimes use the word "rascal") said the
postmaster, taking up the letter, and going to serve a customer with a
mouse-trap.


 WHY ANDY WENT BACK TO THE
 SQUIRE WITHOUT HIS LETTER

While this person and many others were served, Andy lounged up and down
the shop, every now and then putting in his head in the middle of the
customers and saying:

"Will you gi' me the letther?"

He waited for above half an hour, and at last left, when he found it
impossible to get common justice for his master, which he thought he
deserved as well as another man; for, under this impression, Andy
determined to give no more than the fourpence. The squire, in the
meantime, was getting impatient for his return, and when Andy made his
appearance, asked if there was a letter for him.

"There is, sir," said Andy.

"Then give it to me."

"I haven't it, sir."

"What do you mean?"

"He wouldn't give it to me, sir."

"Who wouldn't give it to you?"


 ANDY IS SENT BACK TO THE POST-OFFICE
 BY HIS ANGRY MASTER

"That owld chate beyant in the town--wanting to charge double for it."

"Maybe it's a double letter. Why didn't you pay what he asked, sir?"

"Arrah, sir, why would I let you be chated? It's not a double letther at
all; not above half the size o' one Mr. Durfy got before my face for
fourpence."

"You'll provoke me to break your neck some day, you vagabond! Ride back
for your life, and pay whatever he asks, and get me the letter."

"Why, sir, I tell you he was sellin' them before my face for fourpence
apiece."

"Go back, you scoundrel, or I'll horsewhip you; and if you're longer
than an hour, I'll have you ducked in the horsepond!"

Andy vanished, and made a second visit to the post-office. When he
arrived two other persons were getting letters, and the postmaster was
selecting the epistles for each from a large parcel that lay before him
on the counter. At the same time many shop customers were waiting to be
served.

"I've come for that letther," said Andy.

"I'll attend to you by and by."

"The masther's in a hurry."

"Let him wait till his hurry's over."

"He'll murther me if I'm not back soon."

"I'm glad to hear it."


 CALLED A "THIEF" IN JEST, ANDY DOES
 A LITTLE THIEVING IN EARNEST

While the postmaster went on with such provoking answers to these
appeals for despatch, Andy's eye caught the heap of letters which lay on
the counter. So, while certain weighing of soap and tobacco was going
forward, he contrived to become possessed of two letters from the heap,
and, having effected that, waited patiently enough until it was the
great man's pleasure to give him the missive directed to his master.

Then did Andy bestride his hack, and, in triumph at his trick on the
postmaster, rattled along the road homeward as fast as the beast could
carry him. He came into the squire's presence; his face beaming with
delight, and an air of self-satisfied superiority in his manner, quite
unaccountable to his master, until he pulled forth his hand, which had
been grubbing up his prizes from the bottom of his pocket, and, holding
three letters over his head while he said: "Look at that!" he next
slapped them down under his broad fist on the table before the squire,
saying:

"Well, if he did make me pay elevenpence, I brought your honor the worth
o' your money, anyhow."

Now, the letter addressed to the squire was from his law-agent, and
concerned an approaching election in the county. His old friend, Mr.
Gustavus O'Grady, the master of Neck-or-Nothing Hall, was, it appeared,
working in the interest of the honorable Sackville Scatterbrain, and
against Squire Egan.


 THE TROUBLE THAT CAME OF ANDY'S
 FAMOUS VISITS TO THE POST-OFFICE

This unexpected information threw him into a great rage, in the midst
of which his eye caught sight of one of the letters Andy had taken
from the post-office. This was addressed to Mr. O'Grady, and as it
bore the Dublin postmark, Mr. Egan yielded to the temptation of making
the letter gape at its extremities--this was before the days of the
envelope--and so read its contents, which were highly uncomplimentary to
the reader. As Mr. O'Grady was much in debt financially to Mr. Egan, the
latter decided to put all the pressure of the law upon his one-time
friend, and, to save trouble with the authorities, destroyed both of the
stolen letters and pledged Andy to secrecy.

Neck-or-Nothing Hall was carefully guarded from intruders, and Mr.
Egan's agent, Mr. Murphy, greatly doubted if it would be possible to
serve its master with a writ. Our friend Andy, however, unconsciously
solved the difficulty.

Being sent over to the law-agent's for the writ, and at the same time
bidden to call at the apothecary's for a prescription, he managed to mix
up the two documents, leaving the writ, without its accompanying letter,
at the apothecary's, whence it was duly forwarded to Neck-or-Nothing
Hall with certain medicines for Mr. O'Grady, who was then lying ill in
bed. The law-agent's letter, in its turn, was brought to Squire Egan by
Andy, together with a blister which was meant for Mr. O'Grady. Imagine
the recipient's anger when he read the following missive and, on opening
the package it was with, found a real and not a figurative blister:

"MY DEAR SQUIRE: I send you the blister for O'Grady as you insist on it;
but I think you won't find it easy to serve him with it.

    "Your obedient and obliged,
                "MURTOUGH MURPHY."

The result in his case was a hurried ride to the law-agent's and the
administration to that devoted personage of a severe hiding. This was
followed by a duel, in which, happily, neither combatant was hurt. Then,
after the firing, satisfactory explanations were made. On Mr. O'Grady's
part, there was an almost simultaneous descent upon the unsuspecting
apothecary, and the administration to the man of drugs and blisters of a
terrible drubbing. Next a duel was arranged between the two old friends.
Andy again distinguished himself.


 HOW ANDY WAS FINALLY DISCHARGED
 FROM THE SERVICE OF SQUIRE EGAN

When his employer's second was not looking, Andy thought he would do
Squire Egan a good turn by inserting bullets in his pistols before they
were loaded. The intention of Andy was to give Mr. Egan the advantage of
double bullets, but the result was that, when the weapons were loaded,
Andy's bullets lay between the powder and the touch-hole. Mr. O'Grady
missed his aim twice, and Mr. Egan missed his fire. The cause being
discovered, Andy was unmercifully chased and punished by the second, and
ignominiously dismissed from Mr. Egan's service.

By an accident, Andy shortly afterward was the means of driving a Mr.
Furlong to Squire Egan's place instead of to Squire O'Grady's. Mr.
Furlong was an agent from Dublin Castle, whose commission it was to aid
the cause of the Honorable Mr. Scatterbrain. Of course, Andy, when he
was told, on taking the place of the driver of the vehicle in which
Mr. Furlong was traveling, to drive this important personage to "the
squire's," at once jumped to the conclusion that by "the squire's" was
meant Mr. Egan's. Here, before the mistake was found out by the victim,
Mr. Furlong was unburdened of much important information. While this
process was going on at Mr. Egan's, a hue and cry was on foot at Mr.
O'Grady's, for the lost Mr. Furlong, and poor, blundering Andy was
arrested and charged with murdering him.


 ANOTHER OF ANDY'S BLUNDERS HAS
 A HAPPY RESULT FOR HIS OLD MASTER

He was soon set free and taken into Mr. O'Grady's service when Mr.
Furlong had made his appearance before the owner of Neck-or-Nothing
Hall. But a clever rascal named Larry Hogan divined by accident and the
help of his native wit the secret of the stolen letters, and Andy was
forced by terror to flee from Neck-or-Nothing Hall.

His subsequent adventures took him through the heat of the election, at
which his ingenuity was displayed in unwittingly stopping up the mouth
of the trumpet on which the Honorable Mr. Scatterbrain's supporters
relied to drown Mr. Egan's speeches and those of his men. He thus did a
good turn to his old master without knowing it, having merely imitated
the action of the trumpeter, who had pretended to cork up the instrument
before momentarily laying it aside.

When his fortunes seemed to be at their lowest ebb, Andy was discovered
to be the rightful heir to the Scatterbrain title and estates, his
claims to which were set forth in the second of the two letters stolen
from the post-office, which had been destroyed by the squire without his
reading it.


 ANDY TURNS OUT TO BE OF GENTLE
 BIRTH AND COMES INTO HIS OWN

Soon afterward, through his old master's influence, Andy was taken to
London, and by dint of much effort remedied many of the defects of his
early education. Then, marrying his cousin, Onoah, who had shared his
mother's cabin in the old days, and to save whom from a desperado Andy
had, this time knowingly, braved great personal danger, our hero settled
down to the enjoyment of a life such as he had never dreamed of in his
humble days.



THE GREEDY SHEPHERD


Once upon a time there lived in the South Country two brothers, whose
business it was to keep sheep. No one lived on that plain but shepherds,
who watched their sheep so carefully that no lamb was ever lost.

There was none among them more careful than these two brothers, one of
whom was called Clutch, and the other Kind. Though brothers, no two men
could be more unlike in disposition. Clutch thought of nothing but how
to make some profit for himself, while Kind would have shared his last
morsel with a hungry dog. This covetous mind made Clutch keep all his
father's sheep when the old man was dead, because he was the eldest
brother, allowing Kind nothing but the place of a servant to help him in
looking after them.

For some time the brothers lived peaceably in their father's cottage,
and kept their flock on the grassy plain, till new troubles arose
through Clutch's covetousness.

One midsummer it so happened that the traders praised the wool of
Clutch's flock more than all they found on the plain, and gave him the
highest price for it. That was an unlucky thing for the sheep, for after
that Clutch thought he could never get enough wool off them. At shearing
time nobody clipped so close as Clutch, and, in spite of all Kind could
do or say, he left the poor sheep as bare as if they had been shaven.
Kind didn't like these doings, but Clutch always tried to persuade him
that close clipping was good for the sheep, and Kind always tried to
make him think he had got all the wool. Still Clutch sold the wool, and
stored up his profits, and one midsummer after another passed. The
shepherds began to think him a rich man, and close clipping might have
become the fashion but for a strange thing which happened to his flock.

The wool had grown well that summer. He had taken two crops off the
sheep, and was thinking of a third, when first the lambs, and then the
ewes, began to stray away; and, search as the brothers would, none of
them was ever found again. The flocks grew smaller every day, and all
the brothers could find out was that the closest clipped were the first
to go.

Kind grew tired of watching, and Clutch lost his sleep with vexation.
The other shepherds, to whom he had boasted of his wool and his profits,
were not sorry to see pride having a fall. Still the flock melted away
as the months wore on, and when the spring came back nothing remained
with Clutch and Kind but three old ewes. The two brothers were watching
these ewes one evening when Clutch said:

"Brother, there is wool to be had on their backs."

"It is too little to keep them warm," said Kind. "The east wind still
blows sometimes." But Clutch was off to the cottage for the bag and
shears.

Kind was grieved to see his brother so covetous, and to divert his mind
he looked up at the great hills. As he looked, three creatures like
sheep scoured up a cleft in one of the hills, as fleet as any deer; and
when Kind turned he saw his brother coming with the bag and shears, but
not a single ewe was to be seen. Clutch's first question was, what had
become of them; and when Kind told him what he saw, the eldest brother
scolded him for not watching better.

"Now we have not a single sheep," said he, "and the other shepherds will
hardly give us room among them at shearing time or harvest. If you like
to come with me, we shall get service somewhere. I have heard my father
say that there were great shepherds living in old times beyond the
hills; let us go and see if they will take us for sheep-boys."

Accordingly, next morning Clutch took his bag and shears, Kind took his
crook and pipe, and away they went over the plain and up the hills. All
who saw them thought that they had lost their senses, for no shepherd
had gone there for a hundred years, and nothing was to be seen but wide
moorlands, full of rugged rocks, and sloping up, it seemed, to the very
sky.

By noon they came to the stony cleft up which the three old ewes had
scoured like deer; but both were tired, and sat down to rest. As they
sat there, there came a sound of music down the hills as if a thousand
shepherds had been playing on their pipes. Clutch and Kind had never
heard such music before, and, getting up, they followed the sound up the
cleft, and over a wide heath, till at sunset they came to the hill-top,
where they saw a flock of thousands of snow-white sheep feeding, while
an old man sat in the midst of them playing merrily on his pipe.

"Good father," said Kind, for his eldest brother hung back and was
afraid, "tell us what land is this, and where we can find service; for
my brother and I are shepherds, and can keep flocks from straying,
though we have lost our own."

"These are the hill pastures," said the old man, "and I am the ancient
shepherd. My flocks never stray, but I have employment for you. Which of
you can shear best?"

"Good father," said Clutch, taking courage, "I am the closest shearer in
all the plain country; you would not find enough wool to make a thread
on a sheep when I have done with it."

"You are the man for my business," said the old shepherd. "When the moon
rises, I will call the flock you have to shear."

The sun went down and the moon rose, and all the snow-white sheep laid
themselves down behind him. Then up the hills came a troop of shaggy
wolves, with hair so long that their eyes could scarcely be seen. Clutch
would have fled for fear, but the wolves stopped, and the old man said:

"Rise and shear--this flock of mine have too much wool on them."

Clutch had never shorn wolves before, yet he went forward bravely; but
the first of the wolves showed its teeth, and all the rest raised such a
howl that Clutch was glad to throw down his shears and run behind the
old man for safety.

"Good father," cried he, "I will shear sheep, but not wolves!"

"They must be shorn," said the old man, "or you go back to the plains,
and them after you; but whichever of you can shear them will get the
whole flock."

On hearing this, Kind caught up the shears Clutch had thrown away in his
fright, and went boldly up to the nearest wolf. To his great surprise,
the wild creature seemed to know him, and stood quietly to be shorn.
Kind clipped neatly, but not too closely, and when he had done with one,
another came forward, till the whole flock were shorn. Then the man
said:

"You have done well; take the wool and the flock for your wages, return
with them to the plain, and take this brother of yours for a boy to keep
them."

Kind did not much like keeping wolves, but before he could answer they
had all changed into the very sheep which had strayed away, and the hair
he had cut off was now a heap of fine and soft wool.

Clutch gathered it up in his bag, and went back to the plain with his
brother. They keep the sheep together till this day, but Clutch has
grown less greedy, and Kind alone uses the shears.



THE COBBLERS AND THE CUCKOO


Once upon a time there stood in the midst of a bleak moor, in the North
Country, a certain village; all its inhabitants were poor, for their
fields were barren, and they had little trade. But the poorest of them
all were two brothers called Scrub and Spare, who followed the cobbler's
craft, and had but one stall between them. It was a hut built of clay
and wattles. There they worked in most brotherly friendship, though with
little encouragement.

The people of that village were not extravagant in shoes, and better
cobblers than Scrub and Spare might be found. Nevertheless, Scrub and
Spare managed to live between their own trade, a small barley-field, and
a cottage-garden, till one unlucky day when a new cobbler arrived in the
village. He had lived in the capital city of the kingdom, and, by his
own account, cobbled for the queen and the princesses. His awls were
sharp, his lasts were new; he set up his stall in a neat cottage with
two windows.

The villagers soon found out that one patch of his would outwear two of
the brothers'. In short, all the mending left Scrub and Spare, and went
to the new cobbler. So the brothers were poor that winter, and when
Christmas came they had nothing to feast on but a barley loaf, a piece
of musty bacon, and some small beer of their own brewing. But they made
a great fire of logs, which crackled and blazed with red embers, and in
high glee the cobblers sat down to their beer and bacon. The door was
shut, for there was nothing but cold moonlight and snow outside; but the
hut, strewn with fir boughs, and ornamented with holly, looked cheerful
as the ruddy blaze flared up and rejoiced their hearts.

"Long life and good fortune to ourselves, brother!" said Spare. "I hope
you will drink that toast, and may we never have a worse fire on
Christmas--but what is that?"

Spare set down the drinking-horn, and the brothers listened astonished,
for out of the blazing root they heard "Cuckoo! cuckoo!" as plain as
ever the spring bird's voice came over the moor on a May morning.

"It is something bad," said Scrub, terribly frightened.

"May be not," said Spare.

And out of the deep hole at the side which the fire had not reached flew
a large gray cuckoo, and lit on the table before them. Much as the
cobblers had been surprised, they were still more so when the bird began
to speak.

"Good gentlemen," it said slowly, "can you tell me what season this is?"

"It's Christmas," answered Spare.

"Then a merry Christmas to you!" said the cuckoo. "I went to sleep in
the hollow of that old root one evening last summer, and never woke till
the heat of your fire made me think it was summer again; but now, since
you have burned my lodging, let me stay in your hut till the spring
comes round--I only want a hole to sleep in--and when I go on my travels
next summer be assured that I will bring you some present for your
trouble."

"Stay, and welcome," said Spare.

"I'll make you a good warm hole in the thatch. But you must be hungry
after that long sleep. Here is a slice of barley bread. Come, help us to
keep Christmas!"

The cuckoo ate up the slice, drank water from the brown jug--for he
would take no beer--and flew into a snug hole which Spare scooped for
him in the thatch of the hut. So the snow melted, the heavy rains came,
the cold grew less, the days lengthened, and one sunny morning the
brothers were awakened by the cuckoo shouting its own cry to let them
know that at last the spring had come.

"Now," said the bird, "I am going on my travels over the world to tell
men of the spring. There is no country where trees bud or flowers bloom
that I will not cry in before the year goes round. Give me another slice
of barley bread to keep me on my journey, and tell me what present I
shall bring you at the end of the twelve months."

"Good Master Cuckoo," said Scrub, "a diamond or pearl would help such
poor men as my brother and I to provide something better than barley
bread for your next entertainment."

"I know nothing of diamonds or pearls," said the cuckoo; "they are in
the hearts of rocks and the sands of rivers. My knowledge is only of
that which grows on the earth. But there are two trees hard by the well
that lies at the world's end. One of them is called the golden tree, for
its leaves are all of beaten gold. As for the other, it is always green,
like a laurel. Some call it the wise, and some the merry tree. Its
leaves never fall, but they that get one of them keep a blithe heart in
spite of all misfortunes, and can make themselves as merry in a poor hut
as in a handsome palace."

"Good Master Cuckoo, bring me a leaf off that tree!" cried Spare.

"Now, brother, don't be foolish!" said Scrub. "Think of the leaves of
beaten gold! Dear Master Cuckoo, bring me one of them."

Before another word could be spoken, the cuckoo had flown.

The brothers were poorer than ever that year; nobody would send them a
single shoe to mend. The new cobbler said, in scorn, they should come to
be his apprentices; and Scrub and Spare would have left the village but
for their barley field, their cabbage garden, and a maid called
Fairfeather, whom both the cobblers had courted for more than seven
years.

At the end of the winter Scrub and Spare had grown so poor and ragged
that Fairfeather thought them beneath her notice. Old neighbors forgot
to invite them to wedding feasts or merry-makings; and they thought the
cuckoo had forgotten them, too, when at daybreak, on the first of April,
they heard a hard beak knocking at their door, and a voice crying:

"Cuckoo! cuckoo! Let me in."

Spare ran to open the door, and in came the cuckoo, carrying on one side
of his bill a golden leaf, larger than that of any tree in the North
Country; and in the other, one like that of the common laurel, only it
had a fresher green.

"Here!" it said, giving the gold to Scrub and the green to Spare.

So much gold had never been in the cobbler's hands before, and he could
not help exulting over his brother.

"See the wisdom of my choice," he said, holding up the large leaf of
gold. "As for yours, as good might be plucked from any hedge. I wonder a
sensible bird should carry the like so far."

"Good Master Cobbler," cried the cuckoo, finishing the slice, "your
conclusions are more hasty than courteous. If your brother be
disappointed this time, I go on the same journey every year, and, for
your hospitable entertainment, will think it no trouble to bring each of
you whichever leaf you desire."

"Darling cuckoo," cried Scrub, "bring me a golden one."

And Spare, looking up from the green leaf on which he gazed, said:

"Be sure to bring me one from the merry tree."

And away flew the cuckoo once again.

Scrub vowed that his brother was not fit to live with a respectable man;
and taking his lasts, his awls, and his golden leaf, he left the wattle
hut, and went to tell the villagers.

They were astonished at the folly of Spare, and charmed with Scrub's
good sense, particularly when he showed them the golden leaf, and told
them that the cuckoo would bring him one every spring. The new cobbler
immediately took him into partnership; the greatest people sent him
their shoes to mend; Fairfeather smiled graciously upon him, and in the
course of that summer they were married, with a grand wedding feast, at
which the whole village danced, except Spare, who was not invited.

As for Scrub, he established himself with Fairfeather in a cottage close
by that of the new cobbler, and quite as fine. There he mended shoes to
everybody's satisfaction, had a scarlet coat for holidays, and a fat
goose for dinner every wedding-day anniversary. Spare lived on in the
old hut and worked in the cabbage garden. Every day his coat grew more
ragged, and the hut more weather-beaten; but people remarked that he
never looked sad or sour; and the wonder was that, from the time they
began to keep his company the tinker grew kinder to the poor ass with
which he traveled the country, the beggar-boy kept out of mischief, and
the old woman was never cross to her cat or angry with the children.

I know not how many years passed in this manner, when a certain great
lord, who owned that village, came to the neighborhood. His castle was
ancient and strong, with high towers and a deep moat. All the country,
as far as one could see from the highest turret, belonged to this lord;
but he had not been there for twenty years, and would not have come
then, only he was melancholy.

The cause of his grief and sorrow was that he had been prime minister at
court, and in high favor, till somebody told the Crown Prince that he
had spoken disrespectfully concerning the turning out of his Royal
Highness's toes, whereon the North Country lord was turned out of
office, and banished to his own estate. There he lived for some weeks in
very bad temper; but one day in the harvest time his lordship chanced to
meet Spare gathering watercresses at a meadow stream, and fell into
talk.

How it was nobody could tell, but from the hour of that discourse the
great lord cast away his melancholy, and went about with a noble train,
making merry in his hall, where all travelers were entertained and all
the poor were welcome.

This strange story soon spread through the North Country, and a great
company came to the cobbler's hut--rich men who had lost their money,
poor men who had lost their friends, beauties who had grown old, wits
who had gone out of fashion--all came to talk with Spare, and, whatever
their troubles, all went home merry. The rich gave him presents, the
poor gave him thanks.

By this time his fame had reached the Court. There were a great many
discontented people there besides the King, who had lately fallen into
ill humor because a neighboring princess, with seven islands for her
dowry, would not marry his eldest son. So a royal messenger was sent to
Spare, with a command that he should go to court.

"To-morrow is the first of April," said Spare, "and I will go with you
two hours after sunrise."

The messenger lodged all night at the castle, and the cuckoo came at
sunrise with the merry leaf.

"Court is a fine place," he said, when the cobbler told him he was
going; "but I cannot go there--they would lay snares and catch me. So be
careful of the leaves I have brought you, and give me a farewell slice
of barley bread."

Spare was sorry to part with the cuckoo, but he gave him a thick slice,
and, having sewed up the leaves in the lining of his leather doublet, he
set out with the messenger on his way to the royal court.

His coming caused great surprise; but scarce had his Majesty conversed
with him half an hour when the princess and her seven islands were
forgotten, and orders given that a feast for all comers should be
spread in the banquet-hall. The princes of the blood, the great lords
and ladies, ministers of state, and judges of the land, after that
discoursed with Spare, and the more they talked the lighter grew their
hearts, so that such changes had never been seen.

As for Spare, he had a chamber assigned him in the palace, and a seat at
the King's table; one sent him rich robes and another costly jewels; but
in the midst of all his grandeur he still wore the leathern doublet,
which the palace servants thought remarkably mean. One day the King's
attention being drawn to it by the chief page, his Majesty inquired why
Spare didn't give it to a beggar. But the cobbler said:

"High and mighty monarch, this doublet was with me before silk and
velvet came--I find it easier to wear than the court cut; moreover, it
serves to keep me humble, by recalling the days when it was my holiday
garment."

 [Illustration: "GOOD GENTLEMEN, CAN YOU TELL ME WHAT SEASON THIS IS?"]

The King thought this a wise speech, and commanded that no one should
find fault with the leathern doublet. So things went, and Spare
prospered at court until the day when he lost his doublet, of which we
read in the next story.



THE MERRY COBBLER AND HIS COAT


Spare, the merry cobbler, of whom we read in the last story, was treated
like a prince at the King's court; and the news of his good fortune
reached his brother Scrub in the moorland cottage one first of April,
when the cuckoo came again with two golden leaves.

"Think of that!" said Fairfeather. "Here we are spending our lives in
this humdrum place, and Spare making his fortune at court with two or
three paltry green leaves! What would they say to our golden ones? Let
us make our way to the King's palace."

Scrub thought this excellent reasoning. So, putting on their holiday
clothes, Fairfeather took her looking-glass and Scrub his drinking-horn,
which happened to have a very thin rim of silver, and, each carrying a
golden leaf carefully wrapped up that none might see it till they
reached the palace, the pair set out in great expectation.

How far Scrub and Fairfeather journeyed we cannot say, but when the sun
was high and warm at noon they came into a wood feeling both tired and
hungry.

"Let us rest ourselves under this tree," said Fairfeather, "and look at
our golden leaves to see if they are quite safe."

In looking at the leaves, and talking of their fine prospects, Scrub and
Fairfeather did not perceive that a very thin old woman had slipped from
behind the tree, with a long staff in her hand and a great wallet by her
side.

"Noble lord and lady," she said, "will ye condescend to tell me where I
may find some water to mix a bottle of mead which I carry in my wallet,
because it is too strong for me?"

As the old woman spoke, she pulled out a large wooden bottle such as
shepherds used in the ancient times, corked with leaves rolled together,
and having a small wooden cup hanging from its handle.

"Perhaps ye will do me the favor to taste," she said. "It is only made
of the best honey. I have also cream cheese and a wheaten loaf here, if
such honorable persons as you would not think it beneath you to eat the
like."

Scrub and Fairfeather became very condescending after this speech. They
were now sure that there must be some appearance of nobility about them;
besides, they were very hungry, and, having hastily wrapped up the
golden leaves, they assured the old woman they were not at all proud,
notwithstanding the lands and castles they had left behind them in the
North Country, and would willingly help to lighten the wallet.

The old woman was a wood-witch; her name was Buttertongue; and all her
time was spent in making mead, which, being boiled with curious herbs
and spells, had the power of making all who drank it fall asleep and
dream with their eyes open. She had two dwarfs of sons; one was named
Spy, and the other Pounce. Wherever their mother went, they were not far
behind; and whoever tasted her mead was sure to be robbed by the dwarfs.

Scrub and Fairfeather sat leaning against the old tree. The cobbler had
a lump of cheese in his hand; his wife held fast a hunch of bread. Their
eyes and mouths were both open, but they were dreaming of great grandeur
at court, when the old woman raised her shrill voice:

"What ho, my sons! Come here, and carry home the harvest!"

No sooner had she spoken than the two little dwarfs darted out of the
neighboring thicket.

"Idle boys!" cried the mother. "What have ye done to-day to help our
living?"

"I have been to the city," said Spy, "and could see nothing. These are
hard times for us--everybody minds his business so contentedly since
that cobbler came. But here is a leathern doublet which his page threw
out of the window; it's of no use, but I brought it to let you see I was
not idle." And he tossed down Spare's doublet, with the merry leaves in
it, which he had been carrying like a bundle on his little back.

To explain how Spy came by it, it must be said that the forest was not
far from the great city where Spare lived in such high esteem. All
things had gone well with the cobbler till the King thought that it was
quite unbecoming to see such a worthy man without a servant. His Majesty
therefore appointed one of his own pages to wait upon him. The name of
this youth was Tinseltoes, and nobody in all the court had grander
notions. Nothing could please him that had not gold or silver about it,
and his grandmother feared he would hang himself for being appointed
page to a cobbler. As for Spare, the honest man had been so used to
serve himself that the page was always in the way, but his merry leaves
came to his assistance.

Tinseltoes took wonderfully to the new service. Some said it was because
Spare gave him nothing to do but play at bowls all day on the palace
green. Yet one thing grieved the heart of Tinseltoes, and that was his
master's leathern doublet, and at last, finding nothing better would do,
the page got up one fine morning earlier than his master, and tossed the
leathern doublet out of the window into a lane, where Spy found it.

"That nasty thing!" said the old woman. "Where is the good in it?"

By this time Pounce had taken everything of value from Scrub and
Fairfeather--the looking-glass, the silver-rimmed horn, the husband's
scarlet coat, the wife's gay mantle, and, above all, the golden leaves,
which so rejoiced old Buttertongue and her sons that they threw the
leathern doublet over the sleeping cobbler for a jest, and went off to
their hut in the heart of the forest.

The sun was going down when Scrub and Fairfeather awoke from dreaming
that they had been made a lord and a lady, and sat clothed in silk and
velvet, feasting with the King in his palace hall. It was a great
disappointment to find their golden leaves and all their best things
gone. Scrub tore his hair, and vowed to take the old woman's life; while
Fairfeather lamented sore. But Scrub, feeling cold for want of his coat,
put on the leathern doublet without asking whence it came.

Scarcely was it buttoned on when a change came over him. He addressed
such merry discourse to Fairfeather that, instead of lamentations, she
made the wood ring with laughter. Both busied themselves in setting up a
hut of boughs, in which Scrub kindled a fire with a flint of steel,
which, together with his pipe, he had brought unknown to Fairfeather,
who had told him the like was never heard of at court. Then they found a
pheasant's nest at the root of an old oak, made a meal of roasted eggs,
and went to sleep on a heap of long green grass which they had gathered,
with nightingales singing all night long in the old trees about them.

In the meantime Spare had got up and missed his doublet. Tinseltoes, of
course, said he knew nothing about it. The whole palace was searched,
and every servant questioned, till all the court wondered why such a
fuss was made about an old leathern doublet. That very day things
came back to their old fashion. Quarrels began among the lords, and
jealousies among the ladies. The King said his subjects did not pay him
half enough taxes, the Queen wanted more jewels, the servants took to
their old bickerings and got up some new ones. Spare found himself
getting wonderfully dull, and very much out of place, and nobles began
to ask what business a cobbler had at the King's table; till at last his
Majesty issued a decree banishing the cobbler forever from court, and
confiscating all his goods in favor of Tinseltoes.

That royal edict was scarcely published before the page was in full
possession of his rich chamber, his costly garments, and all the
presents the courtiers had given him; while Spare was glad to make his
escape out of the back window, for fear of the angry people.

The window from which Spare let himself down with a strong rope was that
from which Tinseltoes had tossed the doublet, and as the cobbler came
down late in the twilight, a poor woodman, with a heavy load of fagots,
stopped and stared in astonishment.

"What's the matter, friend?" said Spare. "Did you never see a man coming
down from a back window before?"

"Why," said the woodman, "the last morning I passed here a leathern
doublet came out of that window, and I'll be bound you are the owner of
it."

"That I am, friend," said the cobbler with great eagerness. "Can you
tell me which way that doublet went?"

"As I walked on," the woodman said, "a dwarf called Spy, bundled it up
and ran off into the forest."

Determined to find his doublet, Spare went on his way, and was soon
among the tall trees; but neither hut nor dwarf could he see. At last
the red light of a fire, gleaming through a thicket, led him to the door
of a low hut. It stood half open, as if there was nothing to fear, and
within he saw his brother Scrub snoring loudly on a bed of grass, at the
foot of which lay his own leathern doublet; while Fairfeather, in a
kirtle made of plaited rushes, sat roasting pheasants' eggs by the fire.

"Good evening, mistress!" said Spare.

The blaze shone on him, but so changed was her brother-in-law with his
court life that Fairfeather did not know him, and she answered far more
courteously than was her wont.

"Good evening, master! Whence come ye so late? But speak low, for my
good man has sorely tired himself cleaving wood, and is taking a sleep,
as you see, before supper."

"A good rest to him," said Spare, perceiving he was not known. "I come
from the court for a day's hunting, and have lost my way in the
forest."

"Sit down and have a share of our supper," said Fairfeather; "I will put
some more eggs in the ashes; and tell me the news of court."

"Did you never go there?" said the cobbler. "So fair a dame as you would
make the ladies marvel."

"You are pleased to flatter," said Fairfeather; "but my husband has a
brother there, and we left our moorland village to try our fortune also.
An old woman enticed us with fair words and strong drink at the entrance
of this forest, where we fell asleep and dreamt of great things; but
when we woke everything had been robbed from us, and, in place of all,
the robbers left him that old leathern doublet, which he has worn ever
since, and never was so merry in all his life, though we live in this
poor hut."

"It is a shabby doublet, that," said Spare, taking up the garment, and
seeing that it was his own, for the merry leaves were still sewed in its
lining. "It would be good for hunting in, however. Your husband would be
glad to part with it, I dare say, in exchange for this handsome cloak."
And he pulled off the green mantle and buttoned on the doublet, much to
Fairfeather's delight, for she shook Scrub, crying:

"Husband, husband, rise and see what a good bargain I have made!"

Scrub rubbed his eyes, gazed up at his brother, and said:

"Spare, is that really you? How did you like the court, and have you
made your fortune?"

"That I have, brother," said Spare, "in getting back my own good
leathern doublet. Come, let us eat eggs, and rest ourselves here this
night. In the morning we will return to our own old hut, at the end of
the moorland village, where the Christmas cuckoo will come and bring us
leaves."

Scrub and Fairfeather agreed. So in the morning they all returned, and
found the old hut little the worse for wear and weather. The neighbors
came about them to ask the news of court, and see if they had made their
fortune. Everybody was astonished to find the three poorer than ever,
but somehow they liked to be back to the hut. Spare brought out the
lasts and awls he had hidden in a corner; Scrub and he began their old
trade, and the whole North Country found out that there never were
such cobblers. Everybody wondered why the brothers had not been more
appreciated before they went away to the court of the King, but, from
the highest to the lowest, all were glad to have Spare and Scrub back
again.

They mended the shoes of lords and ladies as well as the common people;
everybody was satisfied. Their custom increased from day to day, and all
that were disappointed, discontented, or unlucky, came to the hut as in
old times, before Spare went to court.

The hut itself changed, no one knew how. Flowering honeysuckle grew over
its roof; red and white roses grew thick about its door. Moreover, the
Christmas cuckoo always came on the first of April, bringing three
leaves of the merry tree--for Scrub and Fairfeather would have no more
golden ones. So it was with them when the last news came from the North
Country.



 [Illustration]

    "Here you have the faery songs, the golden, glad, and airy songs,
      When all the world was morning, and when every heart was true;
    Songs of darling Childhood, all a-wander in the wildwood--
      Songs of life's first loveliness--songs that speak of you!"

                                                        Thomas Burke



THE STORY OF CHILD CHARITY

BY FRANCES BROWNE


Once upon a time there lived a little girl who had neither father nor
mother: they both died when she was very young, and left their daughter
to the care of her uncle, who was the richest farmer in all that
country. He had houses and lands, flocks and herds, many servants to
work about his house and fields, a wife who had brought him a great
dowry, and two fair daughters.

Now, it happened that though she was their near relation, they despised
the orphan girl, partly because she had no fortune, and partly because
of her humble, kindly disposition. It was said that the more needy and
despised any creature was, the more ready was she to befriend it; on
which account the people of the West Country called her Child Charity.
Her uncle would not own her for his niece, her cousins would not keep
her company, and her aunt sent her to work in the dairy, and to sleep in
the back garret. All the day she scoured pails, scrubbed dishes, and
washed crockery-ware; but every night she slept in the back garret as
sound as a princess could sleep in her palace.

One day during the harvest season, when this rich farmer's corn had been
all cut down and housed, he invited the neighbors to a harvest supper.
The West Country people came in their holiday clothes, and they were
making merry, when a poor old woman came to the back door, begging for
broken victuals and a night's lodging. Her clothes were coarse and
ragged; her hair was scanty and gray; her back was bent; her teeth were
gone. In short she was the poorest and ugliest old woman that ever came
begging. The first who saw her was the kitchen-maid, and she ordered
her off; but Child Charity, hearing the noise, came out from her seat at
the foot of the lowest table, and asked the old woman to take her share
of the supper, and sleep that night in her bed in the back garret. The
old woman sat down without a word of thanks. Child Charity scraped the
pots for her supper that night, and slept on a sack among the lumber,
while the old woman rested in her warm bed; and next morning, before the
little girl awoke, she was up and gone, without so much as saying thank
you.

Next day, at supper-time, who should come to the back door but the old
woman, again asking for broken victuals and a night's lodging. No one
would listen to her, till Child Charity rose from her seat and kindly
asked her to take her supper, and sleep in her bed. Again the old woman
sat down without a word. Child Charity scraped the pots for her supper,
and slept on the sack. In the morning the old woman was gone; but for
six nights after, as sure as the supper was spread, there was she at the
door, and the little girl regularly asked her in.

Sometimes the old woman said, "Child, why don't you make this bed
softer? and why are your blankets so thin?" But she never gave her a
word of thanks nor a civil good-morning. At last, on the ninth night
from her first coming, her accustomed knock came to the door, and there
she stood with an ugly dog that no herd-boy would keep.

"Good-evening, my little girl," she said, when Child Charity opened the
door. "I will not have your supper and bed to-night--I am going on a
long journey to see a friend; but here is a dog of mine, whom nobody in
all the West Country will keep for me. He is a little cross, and not
very handsome; but I leave him to your care till the shortest day in all
the year."

When the old woman had said the last word, she set off with such speed
that Child Charity lost sight of her in a minute. The ugly dog began to
fawn upon her, but he snarled at everybody else. It was with great
trouble that Child Charity got leave to keep him in an old ruined
cow-house. The little girl gave him part of all her meals; and when the
hard frost came, took him to her own back garret, because the cow-house
was damp and cold in the long nights. The dog lay quietly on some straw
in a corner. Child Charity slept soundly, but every morning the servants
said to her:

"What great light and fine talking was that in your back garret?"

"There was no light but the moon shining in through the shutterless
window, and no talk that I heard," said Child Charity, and she thought
they must have been dreaming. But night after night, when any of them
awoke in the dark, they saw a light brighter and clearer than the
Christmas fire, and heard voices like those of lords and ladies in the
back garret.

At length, when the nights were longest, the little parlor-maid crept
out of bed when all the rest were sleeping, and set herself to watch
at the keyhole. She saw the dog lying quietly in the corner, Child
Charity sleeping soundly in her bed, and the moon shining through the
shutterless window; but an hour before daybreak the window opened, and
in marched a troop of little men clothed in crimson and gold. They
marched up with great reverence to the dog, where he lay on the straw,
and the most richly clothed among them said:

"Royal Prince, we have prepared the banquet hall. What will your
Highness please that we do next?"

"You have done well," said the dog. "Now prepare the feast, and see that
all things are in the best style, for the Princess and I mean to bring a
stranger, who never feasted in our halls before."

"Your Highness's commands shall be obeyed," said the little man, making
another reverence; and he and his company passed out of the window.
By-and-by there came in a company of little ladies clad in rose-colored
velvet, and each carrying a crystal lamp. They also walked with great
reverence up to the dog, and the gayest among them said:

"Royal Prince, we have prepared the tapestry. What will your Highness
please that we do next?"

"You have done well," said the dog. "Now prepare the robes, and let all
things be in the first fashion, for the Princess and I will bring with
us a stranger, who never feasted in our halls before."

"Your Highness's commands shall be obeyed," said the little lady, making
a low curtsey; and she and her company passed out through the window,
which closed quietly behind them. The dog stretched himself out upon the
straw, the little girl turned in her sleep, and the moon shone in on the
back garret. The parlor-maid was much amazed, and told the story to her
mistress; but her mistress called her a silly girl to have such foolish
dreams, and scolded her.

Nevertheless, Child Charity's aunt thought there might be something in
it worth knowing; so next night, when all the house was asleep she
crept out of bed, and watched at the back garret door. There she saw
exactly what the maid had told her.

The mistress could not close her eyes any more than the maid, from
eagerness to tell the story. She woke up Child Charity's rich uncle
before daybreak; but when he heard it he laughed at her for a foolish
woman. But that night the master thought he would like to see what went
on in the back garret; so when all the house was asleep he set himself
to watch at the crevice in the door. The same thing happened that the
maid and the mistress saw.

The master could not close his eyes any more than the maid or the
mistress for thinking of this strange sight. He remembered having heard
his grandfather say that somewhere near his meadows there lay a path,
which led to the fairies' country, and he concluded that the doings in
his back garret must be fairy business, and the ugly dog a person of
very great account.

Accordingly, he made it his first business that morning to get ready a
fine breakfast of roast mutton for the ugly dog, and carry it to him
in the old cow-house; but not a morsel would the dog taste. On the
contrary, he snarled at the master, and would have bitten him if he had
not run away with his mutton.

Just as the family were sitting down to supper that night, the ugly dog
began to bark, and the old woman's knock was heard at the back door.
Child Charity opened it, when the old woman said:

"This is the shortest day in all the year, and I am going home to hold a
feast after my travels. I see you have taken good care of my dog, and
now, if you will come with me to my house, he and I will do our best to
entertain you. Here is our company."

As the old woman spoke, there was a sound of far-off flutes and bugles,
then a glare of lights; and a great company, clad so grandly that they
shone with gold and jewels, came in open chariots, covered with gilding
and drawn by snow-white horses. The first and finest of the chariots was
empty. The old woman led Child Charity to it by the hand, and the ugly
dog jumped in before her. No sooner were the old woman and her dog
within the chariot than a marvelous change passed over them, for the
ugly old woman turned at once to a beautiful young Princess, while the
ugly dog at her side started up a fair young Prince, with nut-brown hair
and a robe of purple and silver.

"We are," said they, as the chariots drove on, and the little girl sat
astonished, "a Prince and Princess of Fairy-land; and there was a wager
between us whether or not there were good people still to be found in
these false and greedy times. One said 'Yes,' and the other said 'No';
and I have lost," said the Prince, "and must pay for the feast and
presents."

Child Charity went with that noble company into a country such as she
had never seen. They took her to a royal palace, where there was nothing
but feasting and dancing for seven days. She had robes of pale-green
velvet to wear, and slept in a chamber inlaid with ivory. When the feast
was done, the Prince and Princess gave her such heaps of gold and jewels
that she could not carry them, but they gave her a chariot to go home
in, drawn by six white horses, and on the seventh night, when the
farmer's family had settled in their own minds that she would never
come back, and were sitting down to supper, they heard the sound of her
coachman's bugle, and saw her alight with all the jewels and gold at the
very back door where she had brought in the ugly old woman. The fairy
chariot drove away, and never came back to that farmhouse after. But
Child Charity scrubbed and scoured no more, for she became a great lady
even in the eyes of her proud cousins, who were now eager to pay her
homage.



THE SELFISH GIANT

BY OSCAR WILDE


Every afternoon, as they were coming from school, the children used to
go and play in the Giant's garden.

It was a large, lovely garden, with soft green grass. Here and there
over the grass stood beautiful flower-like stars; and there were twelve
peach-trees that in the Springtime broke out into delicate blossoms of
pink and pearl, and in the Autumn bore rich fruit. The birds sat on the
trees and sang so sweetly that the children used to stop their games in
order to listen to them. "How happy we are here!" they cried to each
other.

One day the Giant came back. He had been to visit his friend the Cornish
Ogre, and had stayed with him for seven years. After the seven years
were over he had said all that he had to say, and he determined to
return to his own castle. When he arrived, he saw the children playing
in the garden.

"What are you doing there?" he cried in a gruff voice, and the children
ran away.

"My own garden is my own garden," said the Giant; "anyone can understand
that, and I will allow nobody to play in it but myself." So he built a
high wall all around it, and put up a notice board:

    TRESPASSERS
      WILL BE
    PROSECUTED

He was a very selfish Giant.

The poor children had now nowhere to play. They tried to play on the
road, but the road was very dusty, and full of hard stones, and they did
not like it. They used to wander round the high wall when their lessons
were over, and talk about the beautiful garden inside. "How happy we
were there," they said to one another.

Then the Spring came, and all over the country there were little
blossoms and little birds. Only in the garden of the Selfish Giant it
was still Winter. The birds did not care to sing in it, as there were no
children; and the trees forgot to blossom. Once a beautiful flower put
its head out from the grass, but when it saw the notice board it was so
sorry for the children that it slipped back into the ground again, and
went off to sleep. The only people who were pleased were the Snow and
the Frost. "Spring has forgotten this garden," they cried "so we will
live here all the year round." The Snow covered up the grass with her
great white cloak, and the Frost painted all the trees silver. Then they
invited the North Wind to stay with them, and he came. He was wrapped in
furs, and he roared all day about the garden, and blew the chimney-pots
down. "This is a delightful spot," he said, "we must ask the Hail on a
visit." So the Hail came. Every day for three hours he rattled on the
roof of the castle till he broke most of the slates, and then he ran
round the garden as fast as he could go. He was dressed in gray, and his
breath was like ice.

"I cannot understand why the Spring is so late in coming," said the
Selfish Giant, as he sat at the window and looked out at his cold, white
garden; "I hope there will be a change in the weather."

But the Spring never came, nor the Summer. The Autumn gave golden fruit
to every garden, but to the Giant's garden she gave none. "He is too
selfish," she said. So it was always Winter there, and the North Wind,
and the Hail, and the Frost, and the Snow danced about through the
trees.

One morning the Giant was lying awake in bed when he heard some lovely
music. It sounded so sweet to his ears that he thought it must be the
King's musicians passing by. It was really only a little linnet singing
outside his window, but it was so long since he had heard a bird sing in
his garden that it seemed to him to be the most beautiful music in the
world. Then the Hail stopped dancing over his head, and the North Wind
ceased roaring, and a delicious perfume came to him through the open
casement. "I believe the Spring has come at last," said the Giant; and
he jumped out of bed and looked out.

What did he see?

He saw a most wonderful sight. Through a little hole in the wall the
children had crept in and they were sitting in the branches of trees. In
every tree that he could see there was a little child. And the trees
were so glad to have the children back again that they had covered
themselves with blossoms, and were waving their arms gently above the
children's heads. The birds were flying about and twittering with
delight, and the flowers were looking up through the green grass and
laughing. It was a lovely scene, only in one corner it was still Winter.
It was the farthest corner of the garden, and in it was standing a
little boy. He was so small that he could not reach up to the branches
of the tree, and he was wandering all around it, crying bitterly. The
poor tree was still quite covered with frost and snow, and the North
Wind was blowing and roaring above it. "Climb up! little boy," said the
tree, and it bent its branches down as low as it could; but the boy was
too tiny.

And the Giant's heart melted as he looked out. "How selfish I have
been!" he said; "now I know why the Spring would not come here. I will
put that poor little boy on the top of the tree, and then I will knock
down the wall, and my garden shall be the children's playground for ever
and ever." He was really very sorry for what he had done.

So he crept downstairs and opened the front door quite softly, and went
out into the garden. But when the children saw him they all ran away.
Only the little boy did not run, for his eyes were so full of tears that
he did not see the Giant coming. And the Giant stole up behind him and
took him gently in his hand, and put him up into the tree. And the tree
broke at once into blossom, and the birds came and sang on it, and the
little boy stretched out his two arms and flung them round the Giant's
neck, and kissed him. And the other children, when they saw that the
Giant was not wicked any longer, came running back, and with them came
the Spring. "It is your garden now, little children," said the Giant,
and he took a great ax and knocked down the wall. And when the people
were going to market at 12 o'clock they found the Giant playing with the
children in the most beautiful garden they had ever seen.

All day long they played, and in the evening they came to the Giant to
bid him good-by.

"But where is your little companion?" he said, "the boy I put into the
tree." The Giant loved him the best because he had kissed him.

"We don't know," answered the children; "he has gone away."

"You must tell him to be sure and come here to-morrow," said the Giant.
But the children said that they did not know where he lived, and had
never seen him before; and the Giant felt very sad.

Every afternoon, when school was over, the children came and played with
the Giant. But the little boy whom the Giant loved was never seen again.
The Giant was very kind to all the children, yet he longed for his first
little friend, and often spoke of him. "How I would like to see him!" he
used to say.

Years went over, and the Giant grew very old and feeble. He could not
play about any more, so he sat in a huge, armchair, and watched the
children at their games, and admired his garden. "I have many beautiful
flowers," he said, "but the children are the most beautiful of all."

One winter morning he looked out of his window as he was dressing. He
did not hate the Winter now, for he knew that it was merely the Spring
asleep, and that the pretty flowers were resting.

Suddenly he rubbed his eyes in wonder, and looked and looked. It
certainly was a marvelous sight. In the farthest corner of the garden
was a tree quite covered with lovely white blossoms. Its branches were
all golden, and silver fruit hung down from them, and underneath it
stood the little boy he had loved.

Downstairs ran the Giant in great joy, and out into the garden. He
hastened across the grass, and came near to the child. And when he came
quite close his face grew red with anger, and he said: "Who hath dared
to wound thee?" For on the palms of the child's hands were the prints of
two nails, and the prints of two nails were on the little feet.

"Who hath dared to wound thee?" cried the Giant; "tell me, that I may
take my big sword and slay him."

"Nay!" answered the child; "but these are the wounds of Love."

"Who art thou?" said the Giant, and a strange awe fell on him, and he
knelt before the little child.

And the child smiled on the Giant, and said to him:

"You let me play once in your garden, to-day you shall come with me to
my garden, which is Paradise."

And when the children ran in that afternoon they found the Giant lying
dead under the tree, all covered with white blossoms.

 [Illustration]



 [Illustration: STORIES FROM GREAT BRITAIN]



 THE BATTLE OF THE BIRDS,
 OR, THE GRATEFUL RAVEN AND THE PRINCE

_A Scotch Tale_


Once upon a time a great contest took place between every wild creature.
The son of the King of Tethertown went to see the battle; but he arrived
late, and saw only one fight. This was between a huge Raven and a Snake.
The King's son ran to aid the Raven, and with one blow took the head off
the Snake. The Raven was very grateful, and said: "Now, I will give thee
a sight; come upon my wings."

They flew over seven mountains, seven glens, and seven moors. That
night, at the Raven's request, the King's son slept in the house of
one of the Raven's sisters. He was to meet the Raven next morning for
another trip; and for three days they journeyed. On the third morning a
handsome boy, who was carrying a bundle, came to meet the King's son.

This boy told how he had been under a spell; and he was at once released
from it by the power of the King's son. In return, he gave him the
bundle which he carried, and cautioned him not to open it until he found
the place where he desired to dwell.

On the homeward trip the bundle became very heavy, and the King's son
stopped in a grove to open it. Immediately a beautiful castle sprang
up before him. He was very sorry, for he wanted to live in the glen
opposite his father's palace. Just then a Giant appeared and offered to
put the castle back in the bundle on condition that the Prince give him
his first son when he was seven years old. The Prince promised, and soon
he had his castle in the right place. At the palace door there was a
beautiful maiden, who asked him to marry her. The wedding took place at
once, and all were happy.

Before many years they had a son; and then the Prince, who was now King,
remembered his promise to the Giant. When the boy was seven years old
the Giant came to claim him. The Queen said she would save her child.
She dressed the cook's son in fine clothes, and gave him to the Giant.
But the Giant feared some treachery, and said to the boy: "If thy father
had a rod what would he do with it?"

"He would beat the dogs if they went near the King's meat," answered the
boy.

Then the Giant knew he had been deceived, and he went again to the
palace. Again the Queen tried to trick him by giving him the butler's
son. When the Giant found he had been fooled a second time, he stalked
back to the castle, and made a terrible scene. The castle shook under
the soles of his feet as he cried: "Out here with thy son, or the stone
that is highest in thy dwelling shall be the lowest." So, in great fear,
the Queen gave her son to the Giant.

The lad lived many years in the Giant's home. On a certain holiday, when
the Giant was away, the boy heard sweet music. Looking up the stairs he
saw a beautiful little maiden. She beckoned to him to come to her, then
said: "To-morrow you may choose between my two sisters for your bride;
but, I pray you, say you will take only me. My father is forcing me to
marry a Prince whom I hate."

On the morrow the Giant said: "Now, Prince, you may go home to-morrow,
and take with you either of my two eldest daughters as your wife."

The Giant was very angry when the Prince said: "I want only the pretty
little one."

The Giant in a great rage imposed three tasks upon the King's son. He
had to clean a byre, or cow-shed, which had not been cleaned for seven
years. Secondly, he was to thatch the byre with bird's down; and lastly,
he must climb a tall fir-tree and bring five eggs, unbroken, from the
magpie's nest for the Giant's breakfast. These tasks were too great for
any mortal to accomplish, but the youth was willing to try.

He worked all morning on the dirty byre, and accomplished practically
nothing. At noon, while he was resting under a tree, the Giant's
daughter came and talked to him. In utter dejection he showed her
the impossibility of completing the task by nightfall. With words of
sympathy and encouragement, she left him and went on her way. After she
had gone, the Prince in great weariness fell asleep under the tree.

It was evening before he awoke. His first thought was of the unfinished
task, and he jumped to his feet, though only half awake. He looked at
the byre, and then he rubbed his eyes; and then he looked at the byre
again, for, lo! it was clean. Some one had come to his aid while he
slept. When the Giant came home, he knew the King's son had not cleaned
the byre, but he could not prove it, so he had to keep his word.

The second and third tasks were done in much the same way. The Prince
would try very hard to do the work alone, and when he was just about to
fail the Giant's daughter would come and encourage the youth.

In getting the eggs from the magpie's nest, the Giant's daughter was in
a great hurry, because she felt her father's breath on the back of her
neck. In her haste she left her little finger in the magpie's nest, but
there was no time to go back and get it.

When the third task was finished, the Giant ordered them to get ready
for the wedding.

The Giant tried to deceive the King's son at the very last. The three
daughters were dressed alike, and brought before him, and he was to
choose which one was his promised bride. But the Prince knew her by the
hand on which the little finger was missing; so all was well.

After the wedding the bride and bridegroom went to their chamber. The
Giant's daughter said: "Quick! quick! We must fly. My father plans to
kill you."

Then she took an apple and cut it into four parts, two of which she put
on the bed; one piece was placed by the door, and the other outside.
After that was done, they hurried out to the stables, mounted the
blue-gray filly, and were off.

In the meantime the Giant was waiting for them to go to sleep. At last
he could wait no longer, so he called out: "Are you asleep yet?" And the
apple at the head of the bed answered: "No, we are not asleep." He
called out the same thing three more times, and the three other pieces
of apple answered him the same way. When the piece outside the door
replied, the Giant knew he had been fooled, and that the couple had
fled. He started after them in hot pursuit.

Just at dawn the Giant's daughter said: "My father is close behind us,
because his breath is burning my neck. Put thy hand in the filly's ear
and throw behind thee whatever thou findest."

The Prince did so, and at once a thick forest of blackthorn sprang up
behind them.

At noon the Giant's daughter again said: "I feel my father's breath on
my neck." So the Prince reached into the filly's ear and took a piece of
stone, which he threw behind him. At once a huge rock was between them
and the Giant.

By evening the Giant was close upon them for the third time. Out of the
filly's ear the King's son took a bladder of water, and threw it behind
him. A fresh-water lake then stretched twenty miles behind them. By this
time the Giant was coming so fast that he could not stop, but plunged
headlong into the lake and was drowned.

When they approached the Prince's home, the maiden said she would wait
for him by the well. "Go thou and greet thy father, then come back for
me. But let neither man nor creature kiss thee, or thou wilt forget me."

The youth was welcomed by all his family, but he kissed none of them. As
misfortune would have it, however, an old grayhound jumped upon him and
licked his face, and then he did not remember the Giant's daughter.

She waited a long time for his return. After a while she wandered to an
old Shoemaker's cottage and asked him to take her to the palace, that
she might see the newly returned Prince. The Shoemaker, greatly awed by
her unusual beauty, said: "Come with me. I am well acquainted with the
servants at the castle, and will arrange for you to see the company."

The pretty woman attracted much attention at the feast. The gentlefolk
took her to the banquet hall and gave her a glass of cordial. Just as
she was going to drink, a flame appeared in the glass, and a golden
pigeon and a silver pigeon sprang out of the flame. At the same time,
three grains of barley fell upon the floor.

The two pigeons flew down and ate the barley grains. As they ate, the
golden pigeon said: "Do you remember how I cleaned the byre?" Three more
grains of barley fell to the ground, and the golden pigeon again spoke:
"Do you remember how I thatched the byre?" Still three more grains fell
to the ground, and the golden pigeon once more spoke: "Do you remember
how I robbed the magpie's nest? I lost my little finger, and I lack it
still."

Then the King's son remembered, and he sprang and claimed the Giant's
little daughter as his bride.



JACK AND THE BEANSTALK

RETOLD BY MARY LENA WILSON


A long, long time ago there was a boy named Jack. He and his mother were
very poor, and lived in a tiny cottage. Jack's mother loved him so much
that she could never say no to anything he asked. So whenever he wanted
money she gave it to him, until at last all they had was gone. There was
nothing left with which to buy supper. Then the poor woman began to cry,
and said to her son:

"Oh, Jack, there is nothing in the house to eat; and there is no money
to buy food. You will have to take the old cow to town and sell her. She
is all we have left."

Jack felt very bad when he saw his mother crying; so he quickly got the
cow and started off to town. As he was walking along he passed the
butcher, who stopped him and said:

"Why, Jack! what are you driving your cow away from home for?" And Jack
replied sadly: "I am taking her to town to sell her."

Then he noticed that the butcher held in his hand some colored beans.
They were so beautiful he could not keep from staring at them.

Now, the butcher was a very mean man. He knew the cow was worth more
than the beans, but he did not believe Jack knew it, so he said: "You
let me have your cow, and I will give you a whole bag of these beans."

Jack was so delighted that he could hardly wait to get the bag in his
hand. He ran off home as fast as he could.

"Oh, mother, mother!" he shouted, as he reached the house; "see what I
have got for the old cow!"

The good lady came hurrying out of the house, but when she saw only a
bagful of colored beans she was so disappointed to think he had sold her
cow "for nothing" that she flung the beans as far as she could. They
fell everywhere--on the steps, down the road, and in the garden.

That night Jack and his mother had to go to bed without anything to eat.

Next morning, when Jack looked out of his window, he could hardly
believe his eyes. In the garden where his mother had thrown some of the
beans there were great beanstalks. They were twisted together so that
they made a ladder. When Jack ran out to the garden to look more closely
he found the ladder reached up, up--'way up into the clouds! It was so
high he could not see the top.

Jack was very excited, and called to his mother: "Mother, dear, come
quickly! My beans have grown into a beautiful beanstalk ladder that
reaches to the sky! I am going to climb up and see what is at the top."

Hour after hour he climbed, until he was so tired he could hardly climb
any more. At last he came to the end, and peered eagerly over the top to
see what was there. Not a thing was to be seen but rocks and bare
ground.

"Oh," said Jack to himself. "This is a horrid place. I wish I had never
come."

Just then he saw, hobbling along, a wrinkled, ragged old woman. When she
reached Jack she looked at him and said:

"Well, my boy, where did you come from?"

"I came up the ladder," answered Jack.

 [Illustration]

The old woman looked at him very sharply. "Do you remember your father?"
she asked.

Jack thought this a queer question, but he replied: "No, I do not.
Whenever I ask my mother about him she cries, and will not tell me."

At this, the old woman leaned her face very close to Jack's and snapped
her bright eyes. "_I will tell you_," she said, "for _I am a Fairy_!"

The Fairy smiled. "Do not be afraid, my dear, for I am a good, good
Fairy. But before I tell you anything, you must promise to do exactly as
I say."

Jack promised, and the Fairy began her story.

"A long while ago, when you were only a tiny baby, your father and
mother lived in a beautiful house, with plenty of money and servants
and everything nice. They were very happy, because everyone loved your
father for the kind things he did. He always helped people who were poor
and in trouble.

"Now, miles and miles away there was a wicked Giant. He was just as bad
as your father was good. When he heard about your father he decided to
do something very terrible. He went to your house and _killed him_. He
would have killed you and your mother, too, but she fell down on her
knees and begged: 'Oh, please do not hurt me and my little baby. Take
all our treasures, but do not kill us.'

"Now of course the money was what the Giant really wanted, so he said:
'If you promise that you will never tell your little boy who his father
was, or anything about me, I will let you go. If you do tell him, I
shall find out and kill you both.'

"Your mother quickly promised, and ran out of the house as fast as she
could. All day long she hurried over the rough roads with you in her
arms. At last, when she could hardly walk a step further, she came to
the little house where you live now.

"Now, my dear Jack. I am your father's good fairy. The reason I could
not help him against the wicked Giant was because I had done something
wrong. When a fairy does something wrong she loses her power. My power
did not come back to me until the day when you went to sell your cow.
Then _I_ put it into your head to sell the cow for the pretty beans. _I_
made the beanstalk grow. _I_ made you climb up the beanstalk.

"Now, Jack, this is the country where the wicked Giant lives. I had you
come here so you could get back your mother's treasure."

When Jack heard this he was very excited.

"Follow the road," said the Fairy, "and you will come to the Giant's
house. And do not forget that some day you are to punish the wicked
Giant." And then she disappeared.

Jack had not gone far before he came to a great house. In front of it
stood a little woman. Jack went up to her and said very piteously: "Oh,
please, good, kind lady, let me come in your beautiful house and have
something to eat and a place to sleep."

The woman looked surprised. "Why, what are you doing here?" she said.
"Don't you know this is where my husband, the terrible Giant, lives? No
one dares to come near here. Every one my husband finds he has locked up
in his house. Then when he is hungry he _eats them_! He walks fifty
miles to find some one to eat."

When Jack heard this he was very much afraid. But he remembered what the
Fairy had told him, and once more he asked the woman to let him in.

"Just let me sleep in the oven," he said. "The Giant will never find me
there."

He seemed so tired and sad that the woman couldn't say no, and she gave
him a nice supper.

Then they climbed a winding stair and reached a bright, cozy kitchen.
Jack was just beginning to enjoy himself, when suddenly there was a
great pounding at the front door.

"Quick, quick!" cried the Giant's wife; "jump into the oven."

Jack was no sooner safely hidden than he heard the Giant say, in tones
of thunder:

    "Fee, fi, fo, fum,
     I smell the blood of an Englishman!"

When Jack heard this he thought surely the Giant knew that he was in the
house, but the wife said calmly:

"Oh, my dear, it is probably the people in the dungeon."

Then they both came down to the kitchen. The Giant sat so close to the
oven that by peeping through a hole, Jack could easily see him. He _was
enormous_! And how much he did eat and drink for his supper! When at
last he was through, he roared:

"Wife, bring me my hen!" And the woman brought in a beautiful hen.

"Lay!" commanded the Giant; and what was Jack's surprise when the hen
laid a golden egg. Every time the Giant said: "Lay!"--and he said it
many times--the hen obeyed.

At last both the woman and her husband fell asleep. But Jack did not
dare to sleep. He sat all cramped and tired in the oven, watching the
Giant.

When it began to get light he slowly pushed the oven door open and
crawled out ever so softly. For a minute he hardly dared breathe for
fear of waking the Giant. Then quick as a flash, he seized the hen and
stole out of the house as fast as his feet could carry him.

He did not stop running until he reached the beanstalk. All out of
breath, he climbed down the ladder with the hen in his arms.

Now, all this time, Jack's poor mother thought her son was surely lost.
When she saw him she said:

"Oh, Jack, why did you go off and leave me like that?"

"But, mother," said Jack--and proudly he held out the hen--"see what I
have brought you this time: a hen that lays golden eggs. Now we can
have everything we want. You need never be sad any more."

Jack and his mother were very happy together for many months. Whenever
they wanted anything, they just told the hen to lay a golden egg.

But after a while Jack remembered his promise to the Fairy to punish the
Giant. So he said to his mother:

"Mother dear, I think I will go back and get some more of our treasure
from the Giant."

The poor woman felt very bad when her son said this. "Oh, please do not
go, Jack," she begged. "This time the Giant will find you and kill you
for stealing his hen."

Jack decided he would not worry his mother, but he would find a way to
fool the Giant. He got some paint to color his skin brown and had a
queer suit of clothes made so that no one could discover who he was.
Without telling anyone, he got up early one morning and climbed up the
beanstalk.

It was dark and cold before he reached the Giant's house. There at the
front door was the Giant's wife; but she did not know Jack in his queer
clothes.

"Good evening, Lady," said Jack, very politely. "Will you let me in for
a night's rest? I am very tired and hungry."

But the woman shook her head. "I can't let anyone in. One night I let in
a poor boy like yourself, and he stole my husband's favorite treasure.
My husband is a cruel Giant, and since his hen was stolen he has been
worse than ever."

"Oh, _please_ let me come in just for to-night. If you don't I shall
have to lie here on the ground and die."

"Well, I can't let you do that. But mind, I shall have to hide you in
the lumber-closet, or my husband may find you and eat you up."

Of course, Jack was very glad to agree to do this. As soon as he was
safely hidden away he heard a tremendous noise, and knew that the Giant
had come home. The big fellow walked so heavily that he shook the whole
house.

    "Fe, fi, fo, fum,
     I smell the blood of an Englishman!" he shouted.

"Oh, no, my dear," she answered. "It is an old piece of meat that a crow
left on the roof."

"All right," said the Giant. "Now, hurry and get my supper." And with
that he tried to strike his poor wife. Jack could see from where he was
hiding that the Giant was even uglier than before.

"It was you who let in the boy that stole my hen," he kept saying to
her. And when Jack heard this he shivered for fear.

After his supper the Giant said in a very cross voice:

"Now, wife, bring me my bags of gold and silver."

So the old woman brought in two huge bags and put them down on the
table. The Giant opened each and poured out a great heap of silver and
gold. For a long while he sat counting the money. But at last he began
to get drowsy. So he put the gold carefully back and fell over in his
chair asleep.

Jack thought maybe the Giant was only pretending to be asleep, so that
he could catch anyone who might try to take his gold. But when the Giant
had been snoring some time, the boy carefully opened the door of the
closet and tip-toed over to the table. Not a sound could be heard except
the terrible snoring of the Giant. Slowly Jack reached out to take the
bags of money.

"Bow, wow, wow!" And a little dog, which Jack had not seen before,
jumped up from a corner by the fire, barking furiously. Jack had never
been so frightened in his life as now. Surely the Giant would wake and
kill him.

But the Giant never woke at all. He had eaten so much that he couldn't!
So Jack snatched the bags, and dashed for the beanstalk.

When at last he reached the bottom, he ran at once to the cottage to
show his mother the treasure.

For three years Jack and his mother lived very happily together. But all
this time Jack could not forget his promise to the Fairy, and what might
happen to him if he did not keep it.

At last he felt that he must go and kill the wicked Giant. He got some
yellow paint and another queer suit, so that he would not look like
himself at all. Early one morning, when it was barely light, he crept
softly out of the house and climbed up into the Giant's country.

This time he was bigger and older, and did not feel nearly so afraid as
he had before. He met the Giant's wife, just as he had the two other
times; and after a great deal of coaxing she let him in, and hid him in
the boiler.

He had barely gotten in when he felt the whole house shake, and knew
that the Giant had come home.

    "Fe, fi, fo, fum!
     I smell the blood of an Englishman."

He roared in a voice louder than ever. But now Jack was not at all
scared. He remembered what had happened before, and thought he was
quite safe.

But this time the Giant would not listen to anything his wife said. He
jumped up and began stumping around the room, shouting: "There is fresh
meat here! I can smell it! Where is it?" And he put his hand right on
the boiler.

Jack held his breath tight, and did not move a muscle. Just when he felt
sure the Giant was going to lift off the lid and find him, he heard him
say: "Well, never mind now. Bring me my supper." And then he went over
to the table and began to eat.

It seemed to Jack that he ate more than ever. But suddenly he stopped
and called out: "Wife, bring me my harp."

The poor woman ran at once and brought back the most beautiful harp Jack
had ever seen. She placed it beside her husband, and he commanded:
"Play!" And the most surprising thing happened: The harp began to play
the loveliest tunes without anyone touching it at all. Jack thought he
had never seen anything so wonderful, and said to himself:

"That harp really belongs to my mother. I shall get it away from the
Giant and take it to her."

Soon the Giant fell asleep. Jack crawled very quietly out of the boiler
and up toward the table. He stretched out his hand to seize the harp;
but just as his fingers touched it, it shouted: "Master, master, wake
up!"

Jack was horrified, for he saw at once that the harp was the Giant's
fairy, and was trying to help him.

The Giant opened his eyes, but before he could get to his feet Jack was
running for his life. Down the winding stair and through the dark hall
he went. He felt the floor tremble as the Giant came roaring after him.
He was panting for breath when he reached the front door, but did not
dare to stop. If he did, he knew the Giant would catch him, and that
would be the end of him.

And this is what surely would have happened, but the Giant had eaten so
much for his supper that he could hardly run at all. Even so, he was
close behind him all the way. And all the time he kept roaring and
shouting, which frightened Jack all the more.

As soon as Jack reached the beanstalk he called out: "Someone quick! get
me a hatchet!" Then he almost fell down the beanstalk in his hurry.

When he reached the bottom the Giant had already started to come down.
"Oh, now," thought poor Jack, "he will come and burn our house, and kill
my mother and me."

Just then a neighbor ran up to Jack with a hatchet. Jack grabbed it and
cut down the beanstalk! With a terrible crash it fell to the ground,
bringing the Giant with it.

Jack and his friends rushed up to where he fell.

"Oh, he is dead! He is dead!" they shouted.

When Jack's mother heard this she came running out of the house and
flung her arms around her son.

"Oh, mother, I am so sorry that I have been all this trouble to you. But
I promise I shall never be any more." And just at this moment the Fairy
appeared.

"Yes," she said. "Your Jack is a good boy. He did all this only because
I told him to." To Jack she said:

"Now, my dear, I hope you will always be good and kind to your mother.
And I hope you will always be kind to the poor and unhappy people, just
as your father was. If you are, I am sure that you will both be very
happy as long as you live. Good-by, good-by, my dears!" And before they
could thank her the Fairy disappeared.

Jack remembered all she had told him, and he and his mother lived
together very happily all the rest of their lives.



TOM THUMB

RETOLD BY LAURA CLARKE


Have you ever heard about Little Thumb, or Tom Thumb as he was sometimes
called? Such a queer little fellow, and such adventures, you surely must
become acquainted with.

'Way back in the days of the good King Arthur, there lived a poor man
and his wife who had no children. They wanted a child more than anything
else in the world; and one day the woman said to her husband:

"Husband, if I had a son, even if he were no bigger than my thumb, I
should be the happiest woman alive."

Now, Merlin, the King's magician, overheard this wish; and I suspect he
was fond of playing tricks, for it was not many days before the woman
had a child given her. He was so tiny that his father burst out laughing
when he saw him, and called him Tom Thumb. But the parents were as
happy as if he had been a large boy.

Tom Thumb had many exciting adventures and narrow escapes, because he
was so small. He used to drive his father's horse by standing in the
horse's ear and calling out "Gee up!" and "Gee, whoa!" just like his
father. When people saw horse and cart going along at a brisk pace, and
heard the voice but saw no driver, you may be sure they were surprised.

 [Illustration]

One day two men saw him, and thought they might get rich if they could
get Tom Thumb, take him to country fairs, and make him do funny things
to amuse the crowds. They offered Little Thumb's father a sum of gold
for the tiny fellow, but the good man said: "I would not take any sum of
money for my dear son."

Then Tom whispered in his father's ear: "Dear father, take the money and
let them have me. I can easily get away and return home."

Now, if Tom's father had known what dangers were before the little
fellow he never would have consented; but it sounded so easy that he
took the gold, and the men took Tom.

Tom rode on the brim of his new master's hat for a long time, thinking
how he might escape. Finally he saw a field-mouse's nest over a hedge,
and he said: "Master, I am cold and stiff; put me down that I may run
about and get warm."

Not suspecting anything, the man put him on the ground. What was his
surprise and anger when Little Tom darted off through the hedge. Calling
to him to come back, the master with difficulty climbed over the bushes
and started searching for his small runaway. He looked behind stones,
under clumps of grass, in little furrows, but never thought of the nest
of the field-mouse.

Little Tom stayed very still long after the angry voice had died away in
the distance. When he came forth it was dark, and he did not know which
way to go. He was still trying to make up his mind, when he overheard
two robbers on the other side of the hedge.

The first robber said: "There is plenty of gold and silver in the
rector's house, but his doors are locked and his windows barred."

"Yes," said the other one, "and if we break in we shall wake up the
servants."

This conversation gave Tom an idea. Stepping through the hedge he said
in a loud voice: "I can help you. I am so small I can get between the
bars on the window. Then I'll pass all the gold and silver out to you,
and when I get out you can divide with me."

 [Illustration]

The robbers were pleased with the idea. They decided between themselves
that as soon as they got the money in their own hands they would make
off and not divide it at all. They never suspected that Little Thumb was
planning to give them away.

Reaching the rector's home they lifted Tom up, and he crawled between
the bars and out of reach of the robbers.

Then he called out in a very loud voice, so as to waken the servants:
"Will you have everything I can get?" The servants came running
calling, "Thief! Thief!" and the two robbers escaped as fast as their
feet would carry them.

Now, the servants were so angry, and told in such loud voices what they
should do if they caught anyone in the house, that Little Thumb was very
much afraid. So he climbed out through the window and hid in the barn in
the hay.

It is best for little people to stay out of harm's way; the queerest
things may happen. While our small adventurer was peacefully sleeping,
the milkmaid came to give the cattle their morning fodder. As bad luck
would have it, she took the very truss of hay in which Tom lay; and he
awoke with a start to find himself in the cow's great mouth, in danger
of being crushed at any minute by her tremendous teeth. He dodged back
and forth in terror; and it was a relief when the cow gave one big
swallow, and he slid down into her roomy stomach.

 [Illustration]

It was dark and moist down there, however, and more hay came down with
every swallow; so Tom called out with all his might: "No more hay,
please! no more hay!"

The milkmaid screamed, and ran to the house, telling everyone that the
cow had been talking to her just like a man.

"Nonsense," said the rector; "cows do not talk." Nevertheless, he went
to the cow-shed. No sooner had he stepped inside the door than the cow
lifted her head, and a voice called in great distress: "No more hay,
please! no more hay!"

"Alas," cried the rector, "my beautiful cow is bewitched! It is best to
kill her before she makes mischief with the other cows."

So the cow was slaughtered, and the stomach, with Little Thumb inside,
was flung away.

"Now, I will work my way out and run home," thought Tom. But he was to
have another adventure first. He had just gotten his head free, when a
hungry wolf, attracted by the smell of the freshly-killed meat, seized
the stomach in its jaws and sprang away into the forest.

Instead of losing courage, Little Thumb began to plan a way of escape.
He decided on a bold scheme. In his loudest voice he called: "Wolf, if
you are hungry, I know where you can get a choice dinner."

"Where?" asked the wolf.

"There is a house not far away, and I know a hole through which you can
crawl into the kitchen. Once there you can eat and drink to your heart's
content."

The wolf did not know that Tom meant his own home; but the mention of
these good things to eat made him very hungry, and following Tom's
directions he quickly reached the house.

Things were exactly as promised. Tom waited till he was sure the wolf
had eaten so much that he could not get out through the hole he came in.
Then he called from inside the wolf: "Father, mother, help! I am
here--in the wolf's body."

It did not take long for the father to finish the wolf and rescue his
dear boy.

"We shall never let you go again, for all the riches of the world," said
the mother and father. But Tom was rather pleased with his adventures.

One day, when walking beside the river, he slipped and fell in. Before
he had a chance to swim out a fish came along and swallowed him. Tom had
escaped so often from such dangers that he was not much afraid. After a
time the fish saw a dainty worm, and, little thinking that it was on a
hook, took it in its mouth. Before it realized what had happened it was
pulled out of the water, with Little Thumb still inside.

Now, as luck would have it, this fish was to be for the King's dinner.
When the cook opened the fish to clean it and make it ready for
broiling, out stepped Little Thumb, much to the astonishment and delight
of everyone. The King said he had never seen so tiny and merry a fellow.
He knighted him, and had Sir Thomas Thumb and his father and mother live
in the palace the rest of their lives.



 [Illustration]

WHITTINGTON AND HIS CAT


In the reign of the famous King Edward III there was a little boy called
Dick Whittington, whose father and mother died when he was very young,
so that he remembered nothing at all about them, and was left a ragged
little fellow, running about a country village. As poor Dick was not old
enough to work, he was very badly off; he got but little for his dinner,
and sometimes nothing at all for his breakfast; for the people who lived
in the village were very poor indeed, and could not spare him much more
than the parings of potatoes, and now and then a hard crust of bread.

For all this Dick Whittington was a very sharp boy, and was always
listening to what everybody talked about. On Sunday he was sure to
get near the farmers, as they sat talking on the tombstones in the
churchyard, before the parson was come; and once a week you might see
little Dick leaning against the sign-post of the village inn, where
people stopped as they came from the next market town; and when the
barber's shop door was open, Dick listened to all the news that his
custo