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´╗┐Title: Bluebeard
Author: Johnson, Clifton
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Bluebeard" ***

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Bedtime Wonder Tales




                   *       *       *       *       *


  The Babes in the Wood
  The Brave Tin Soldier
  The Fox and the Little Red Hen
  Golden Hair and the Three Bears

  Puss in Boots
  Jack and the Beanstalk
  Little Red Riding-Hood
  The Story of Chicken-Licken

  Tom Thumb
  The Pied Piper
  The Sleeping Beauty
  St. George and the Dragon

    Other books will be added to
   the series from time to time.

                   *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Bluebeard's Wife and the Forbidden Room (Page 16)_]

Bedtime Wonder Tales




Illustrated by Harry L. Smith

New York
The Macaulay Company

Copyright, 1920,
By the Macaulay Company
All Rights Reserved

Printed in the U. S. A.


The books in this series of Bedtime Wonder Tales are made up of favorite
stories from the folklore of all nations. Such stories are particularly
enjoyed by children from four to twelve years of age. As here told they
are free from the savagery, distressing details, and excessive pathos
which mar many of the tales in the form that they have come down to us
from a barbaric past. But there has been no sacrifice of the simplicity
and humor and sweetness that give them perennial charm.

The sources of the stories in this volume are as follows: Page 11,
France; 24, Grimm; 36, England; 49, Hindustan; 58, Italy; 78, Germany;
90, Scotland; 103, Japan; 118, Ireland; 127, American Negro.


    CHAPTER                              PAGE
          I Bluebeard                      11
         II The Blood-Stained Key          17
        III A Goblin in a Bottle           24
         IV A Scholar's Fortune            32
          V Yallery Brown                  36
         VI A Troublesome Helper           43
        VII The Little Jackal              49
       VIII The Blind Ogre                 58
         IX Seven Doves                    64
          X Time and His Mother            71
         XI Blockhead Hans                 78
        XII The Rival Suitors              85
       XIII Cunning Tom                    90
        XIV A Miser's Hired Man            96
         XV The Boy in a Peach            103
        XVI A Warrior's Helpers           108
       XVII The Island of Demons          113
      XVIII Andrew Coffey                 118
        XIX Careless Mr. Buzzard          127


     Bluebeard's Wife and the Forbidden Room            Frontispiece
     The Goblin Threatens the Scholar                             28
     The Alligator Goes to the Jackal's House                     54
     Appealing to the Mother of Time                              72
     Blockhead Hans and the Dead Crow                             82
     The Monkey and the Warrior                                  110



Once upon a time--but it was a long while ago; so long, indeed, that the
oldest oaks in our forests were not yet acorns on the bough--there was a
man who lived in a splendid house and had dishes of gold and silver,
chairs and sofas covered with flowered satin, and curtains of the
richest silk. But, alas! this man was so unlucky as to have a blue
beard, which made him look so frightfully ugly that the first impulse of
every woman and girl he met was to run away from him.

In the same vicinity lived a lady of quality who had two beautiful
daughters, and he wished to marry one of them. He was even willing to
let the lady decide which of the two it should be.

Neither of the daughters, however, would have him, and the lady sighed
to think of her children's obstinacy in refusing to become the mistress
of such a magnificent mansion. But they were not able to make up their
minds to marry a man with a blue beard. Their aversion was increased by
the fact that he already had had several wives, and no one knew surely
what had become of them, though many were the excuses he made to account
for their disappearance.

At length Bluebeard, in order to cure the dislike of the lady's
daughters, invited them and their mother and some young friends to spend
a whole week at his house. They came, and nothing was thought of but
feasting, dancing, and music, and parties for hunting and fishing.

The guests were loaded with costly gifts and were so delightfully
entertained that before many days had passed, Fatima, the younger of the
two sisters, began to imagine that the beard, which she had thought was
dreadfully ugly was not so _very_ blue after all. By the end of the week
the kindness of her host had made such an impression that she concluded
it would be a pity to refuse to become his wife on account of the
trifling circumstance of his having a blue beard.

So they were married shortly afterward, and at first everything went
well. A month passed, and one morning Bluebeard told Fatima that he must
go on a journey which would take him away for at least six weeks. He
kissed her affectionately, gave her the keys of the whole mansion, and
bade her amuse herself in any manner that she pleased while he was gone.

"But, my dear," he added, in concluding, "I would have you notice among
the keys the small one of polished steel. It unlocks the little room at
the end of the long corridor. Go where you will and do what you choose,
except in the matter of that one room, which I forbid your entering."

Fatima promised faithfully to obey his orders, and she watched him get
into his carriage while she stood at the door of the mansion waving her
hand to him as he drove away.

Lest she should be lonesome during her husband's absence, she invited
numerous guests to keep her company. Most of them had not dared to
venture into the house while Bluebeard was there, but now they came
without any urging or delay, eager to see its splendors.

They ran about upstairs and downstairs, peeping into the closets and
wardrobes, admiring the rooms, and exclaiming over the beauties of the
tapestries, sofas, cabinets, and tables, and of the mirrors in which
they could see themselves from head to foot. With one consent they
praised what they saw, and envied the good fortune of their friend, the
mistress of all this magnificence.

She went around unlocking the doors for their convenience until the only
door that remained untouched was that of the obscure room at the end of
the long corridor. She wondered why she had been forbidden to enter that
room. What was there in it? Even if she did go in, her husband need
never know that she had done so.

The more she thought about it the more curious she became. Finally she
left her guests and hurried along the dark narrow passage that led to
the forbidden room. At the door she hesitated, recalling her husband's
command, and fearful of his anger; but the temptation was too strong,
and she tremblingly opened the door.

The window shutters were closed and the light was so dim that at first
she could see nothing. However, her eyes gradually became used to the
dusk and she discovered that on the floor lay the bodies of all the
wives Bluebeard had married.

Fatima uttered a cry of horror, her strength left her, and she thought
she would die from fear. The key of the room fell from her hand, but she
picked it up, hastily retreated to the corridor, and locked the door.

Yet she could not forget what she had seen, and when she returned to her
guests her mind was too disturbed for her to attend to their comfort, or
to attempt to entertain them. One by one they bade their hostess good-by
and went home, until no one was left with her but her sister Anne.


After all the guests had gone, Fatima noticed a spot of blood on the key
of the fatal room. She tried to wipe it off, but the spot remained. Then
she washed the key with soap and scoured it with sand, but her efforts
were in vain, for it was a magic key, and only Bluebeard himself had the
power to remove the stain. At last she decided not to put it with the
other keys, but to hide it, hoping her husband would not miss it.

Bluebeard returned unexpectedly that very evening. He said a horseman
had met him on the road and told him that the business which had taken
him from home had been satisfactorily settled so there was no need of
his making the long journey.

Fatima tried to welcome her husband with every appearance of pleasure,
but all the time she was dreading the moment when he should ask for the
keys. This he did not do until the following morning. Then she gave them
to him with such a blanched face and shaking hand that he easily guessed
what had happened.

"Why have you not brought me the key of the little room?" he asked

"I must have left it on my table upstairs," she faltered.

"Bring it to me at once," Bluebeard said, and she was forced to go and
make a pretence of searching for it.

When she dared delay no longer, she went to her husband and surrendered
the key. He immediately demanded the cause of the stain on it, and she
hesitated, at a loss what reply to make.

"But why need I ask?" he shouted. "I know the meaning of it right well.
You have disobeyed my commands and have been into the room I ordered you
not to enter. So you shall go in again, madam, but you will never
return. You shall take your place among the ladies you saw there."

Fatima fell on her knees at his feet weeping and begging for mercy, but
the cruel man had a heart like a stone, and he told her to prepare for

"Since I must die," she said, "at least grant me a little time to say my

"I will give you ten minutes, but not one moment more," Bluebeard

Poor Fatima hastened to a little turret chamber whither her sister had
fled in terror and grief. "Sister Anne!" she cried, "go up to the top of
the tower and see if our two brothers are coming. They promised to visit
me today. If they should be in sight beckon them to come quickly."

So the sister climbed the narrow staircase that led to the top of the
tower. No sooner did she finish the ascent than Fatima called from
below, "Anne, Sister Anne, do you see any one coming?"

Anne replied sadly, "I see nothing but the sun shining and the grass
growing tall and green."

Several times Fatima put the same question and each time she received
the same answer.

Meanwhile Bluebeard was waiting with a scimitar in one hand and his
watch in the other. At length he shouted in a fierce voice: "The ten
minutes are almost gone! Make an end to your prayers!"

"Anne, Sister Anne!" Fatima called softly, "look again. Is there no one
on the road?"

"I see a cloud of dust rising in the distance," Anne answered.

"Perchance it is made by our brothers," Fatima said.

"Alas! no, my dear sister," Anne responded. "The dust has been raised by
a flock of sheep."

"Fatima!" Bluebeard roared, "I command you to come down."

"One moment--just one moment more!" the wretched wife sobbed.

Then she called, "Anne, Sister Anne, do you see any one coming?"

"I see two horsemen riding in this direction," Anne replied, "but they
are a great way off."

"They must be our brothers," Fatima said. "Heaven be praised! Oh, sign
to them to hasten!"

By this time the enraged Bluebeard was howling so loud for his wife to
come down that his voice shook the whole mansion. Fatima dared delay no
longer, and she descended to the great hall, threw herself at her wicked
husband's feet, and once more begged him to spare her life.

"Silence!" Bluebeard cried. "Your entreaties are wasted! You shall die!"

He seized her by the hair and raised his scimitar to strike. At that
moment a loud knocking was heard at the gates, and Bluebeard paused with
a look of alarm.

Anne had run down to let the brothers in, and they hurried to the hall,
flung open the door, and appeared with swords ready drawn in their
hands. They rushed at Bluebeard, and one rescued his sister from her
husband's grasp while the other gave the wretch a sword-thrust that put
an end to his life.

So the wicked Bluebeard perished, and Fatima became mistress of all his
riches. Part of her wealth she bestowed on her sister, Anne, and part on
her two brothers. The rest she retained herself, and presently she
married a man whose kind treatment helped her to forget her unfortunate
experience with Bluebeard.


Once upon a time there was a poor woodcutter who worked from daylight to
dark, and as he spent little he saved some money. He had an only son,
and one day he said to him: "This money which I have earned by the sweat
of my brow shall be spent on your education. Go to school and learn
something useful that you may be able to support me in my old age when
my limbs become so stiff that I am obliged to sit at home."

The son went away to a great school and was very industrious and made
excellent progress. He had been at the school a long time, but had not
learned all that was to be learned when his father's store of money was
exhausted, and he was obliged to come home.

"I can give you no more," his father said sadly, "for in these dear
times I am scarcely able to earn my daily bread."

"Make yourself easy as to that, my good father," the son responded. "I
will suit myself to the times."

When the father was about to go to the forest to chop, the son said, "I
will go with you and help."

"Ah! but you have never been used to such hard work," the father
objected. "You must not attempt it. Besides, I have only one ax and no
money to buy another."

"Go and ask your neighbor to lend you an ax till I have earned enough to
buy one for myself," the son said.

So the father borrowed an ax, and he and the scholar went together to
the forest, where the young man helped with the work and was very lively
and merry. About noon, when the sun stood right over their heads, the
father sat down to rest for a while and eat his dinner.

The scholar, however, took his share of bread and said: "I am not tired.
I will go a little deeper into the forest and look for birds' nests."

"Oh, you silly fellow!" his father exclaimed, "why do you want to run
about? You will get so weary you will not be able to raise your arm.
Keep quiet a bit and sit down here with me."

But the young man would not do that. He went off among the trees eating
his bread and peeping about among the bushes for nests. To and fro he
wandered until he came to an immense hollow oak tree. The tree was
certainly hundreds of years old, and five men taking hold of hands could
not have reached around it.

The scholar had stopped to look at this great tree thinking that many a
bird's nest must be built within its hollow trunk when he fancied he
heard a voice. He listened and there came to his ears a half-smothered
cry of "Let me out!"

He looked around, but could see no one. Indeed, it seemed to him that
the voice came from the ground. So he called, "Where are you?"

The voice replied, "Here I am among the roots of the oak tree. Let me
out! Let me out!"

The scholar therefore began to search at the foot of the tree where the
roots spread. Finally in a little hollow, he found a glass bottle. He
picked it up and held it so he could look through toward the light. Then
he perceived a thing inside shaped like a frog which kept jumping up and

"Let me out! Let me out!" the thing cried again; and the scholar, not
suspecting any evil, drew the stopper from the bottle.

Immediately the little creature sprang forth, and it grew and grew until
in a few moments it stood before the scholar a frightful goblin half as
tall as the oak tree. "Do you know what your reward is for letting me
out of that glass bottle?" the goblin cried with a voice of thunder.

"No," the scholar answered without fear, "how should I?"

"Then I will tell you that I must break your neck," the goblin

"You should have told me that before," the scholar said, "and you would
have stayed where you were. But my head will remain on my shoulders in
spite of you, for there are several people's opinions to be asked yet
about this matter."

[Illustration: _The Goblin Threatens The Scholar_]

"Keep your people out of my way," the goblin snarled. "I was shut up in
that bottle for a punishment, and I have been kept there for such a
length of time that I long ago vowed I would kill whoever let me out for
not coming to release me sooner. So I shall break your neck."

"Softly, softly!" the scholar responded, "that is quicker said than
done. I don't know whether to believe your word or not. You told me you
were in that bottle. But how could such a giant as you are get into so
small a space? Prove that you spoke the truth by retiring into the
bottle, and afterward do what you please with me."

Full of pride, the goblin boasted, "I can easily furnish you the proof
you ask"; and he shrank and shrank until he was as small as before. Then
he crept back into the bottle.

Instantly the scholar replaced the stopper, and put the bottle once more
where it had been among the oak roots. He picked up his ax and was about
to go back to his father when the goblin cried lamentably: "Oh, let me
out! Do let me out."

"No, not a second time," the scholar said. "I shall not give you a
chance to take my life again in a hurry, after I have got you safe."

"Free me," the goblin pleaded, "and I will give you wealth that will
last you your life-time."

"No, no, you will only deceive me!" the scholar declared.

"You are disregarding your own best interests," the goblin said.
"Instead of harming you I will reward you richly."

"Well, I will hazard letting him out," the scholar thought, "for he may
after all keep his word."

Then he addressed the goblin, saying: "I will release you. See to it
that you do as you have promised."

So he removed the stopper and the goblin jumped out and soon became as
big as before. "Now you shall have your reward," the monster said, and
he reached the scholar a little piece of rag. "Apply that to a wound,
and the wound will at once heal," he explained; "or touch it to iron and
the iron will change to silver."

"I will try it," the scholar responded, and he went to the oak tree and
slashed off a piece of bark with his ax. Then he touched the place with
the rag, and immediately the wound closed up as if the bark had never
been gashed at all.

"That is quite satisfactory," the scholar said. "Now we can separate."

"I thank you for releasing me," the goblin remarked as he turned away.

"And I thank you heartily for your present," the scholar said.


After parting from the goblin, the young man went back to his father,
who asked:

"Where have you been roaming so long? You have neglected your work. I
was quite certain you would do nothing of this kind well."

"Be contented," was the son's response, "I will make up the lost time.
Watch me while I cut down this tree at one blow."

He rubbed his ax with the magic rag, and gave the tree a powerful blow,
but because the ax-head had been changed into silver the edge turned

"Ah, Father!" the son exclaimed, "do you see how poor an ax you have
given me?"

"What have you done?" the father cried. "That ax was borrowed, and you
have ruined it. I must pay for it, but I know not how I shall do so."

"Don't be troubled," the son said. "I will soon pay for the ax."

"Why, you simpleton! how will you do that?" his father retorted. "You
have nothing but what I give you. Some student nonsense is stuck in your
head. Of wood-cutting you know nothing."

"Well, Father," the son said, "I can work no more today now that my ax
is spoiled. Let us make a holiday of the few hours that remain before

"Eh, what?" his father cried, "do you think I can keep my hands in my
pockets as you do? You can go home, but I must keep on with the

"No," the son objected, "you must come, too, for this is the first time
I have been in the forest, and I do not know the way out."

At last he persuaded his father to accompany him. After they reached
home the son took the damaged ax to a goldsmith in a neighboring town.
"This ax-head is silver," the scholar told him. "I want to sell it."

The goldsmith tested it to make sure of the quality of the metal,
weighed it, and said, "Your ax is worth one hundred dollars, but I have
not so much money in the shop."

"Give me what you have," the scholar requested, "and I will trust you
for the rest."

So the goldsmith gave him eighty dollars, and the scholar tramped back
home. "Father," he said, "I have some money now. Do you know what we
will have to pay our neighbor to make good the loss of his ax?"

"Yes," the father answered, "the ax was nearly new, and it cost him a

"Then give him two dollars," the son said. "He will have no regrets when
he gets double payment. Here are fifty dollars. Pay our neighbor and
keep the rest for yourself. You shall live at your ease in future and
never want again."

"My goodness!" the man exclaimed, "where did you get this money?"

The son told everything that had happened. He now could easily procure
all the money he pleased, and the first use he made of his wealth was to
return to school and learn as much as he could. Afterward, because he
could heal all wounds with his rag, he became the most celebrated
surgeon in the world.


Once upon a time there was a lad about eighteen years old named Tom
Tiver who had hired out to work for a farmer. One beautiful Sunday night
in July he was walking across a field. The weather was warm and still,
and the air was full of little sounds as if the trees and grasses were
softly chattering to themselves.

But all at once there came from on ahead the most pitiful wailings that
ever he had heard--a sobbing as of a child spent with fear and nearly
heartbroken. Soon the sound changed to a moan, and then rose again in a
long whimpering wailing that made Tom sick to hark to it. He began to
look everywhere for the poor creature.

"It must be Sally Barton's child," he thought. "She was always a flighty
thing and never looks after it properly. Like as not she's flaunting
about the lanes, and has clean forgot the baby."

He looked and looked, yet he could see nought. Meanwhile the whimpering
got louder and stronger and there seemed to be words of some sort
mingled with the sobs. Tom harkened with all his ears, and heard the
unhappy creature saying: "Oh! the stone, the great big stone! Oh! the
stone on top!"

He wondered where the stone might be, and he looked until he found,
close to a hedge, a great flat stone almost buried in the earth and
hidden in the matted grass and weeds. Down he fell on his knees and
listened again. Clearer than ever, but tired with crying came the little
sobbing voice, "Oh! oh! the stone, the stone on top!"

Tom was scared, and he disliked to meddle with the thing, but he could
not withstand the whimpering baby, and he tore like mad at the earth
around the stone till he got his fingers under it and felt it loosening.
Then a puff of warm air came out of the damp earth and the tangle of
grass and growing things, and he tipped the stone back out of the way.

Underneath where it had been was a cavity, and there lay a tiny thing on
its back blinking up at the moon and at him. It was no bigger than a
year old baby, but it had a great mass of hair and a heavy beard, and
the hair and the beard were so long and so twisted round and round the
creature's body that Tom could not see its clothes. The hair was yellow
and silky like a child's, but the face of the thing was as old as if it
had not been young and smooth for hundreds of years. There were just
wrinkles and two bright black eyes set in a lot of shining yellow hair;
and the skin was the color of fresh-turned earth in the spring--brown as
brown could be--and its bare hands and feet were as brown as its face.
The crying had stopped, but the tears were standing on its cheeks, and
the tiny creature looked dazed in the moonshine and the night air.

When its eyes got used to the moonlight it looked boldly up in Tom's
face and said: "Tom, you are a good lad."

The coolness with which it spoke was astonishing, and its voice was high
and piping like the twittering of a little bird. Tom touched his hat,
and tried to think what he ought to say.

"Hoots!" the thing exclaimed, "you needn't be afraid of me. You have
done me a good turn, and I'll do as much for you."

Tom couldn't speak yet, but he thought, "Lord! for sure it's a bogle!"

The creature seemed to know what passed in Tom's mind, for it instantly
said: "I'm no bogle, but you'd better not ask what I am. Anyhow, I am a
good friend of yours."

Tom's knees smote together with terror. Certainly an ordinary body
couldn't have known what he had been thinking, but the thing looked so
kind and spoke so fair, that he made bold to say in a quavering voice,
"Might I be asking to know your honor's name?"

"H'm!" the creature said, pulling its beard, "as for that, you may call
me Yallery Brown. That's the way I look as you plainly see, and 'twill
do for a name as well as any other. I am your friend, Yallery Brown, my

"Thank you, master," Tom responded meekly.

"And now," it said, "I'm in a hurry to-night. So tell me without delay
what I can do for you. Would you like a wife? I can give you the finest
lass in the town. Would you like riches? I can give you as much gold as
you can carry. Or would you have me help you with your work? Only say
the word."

Tom scratched his head. "I have no hankering for a wife," he said.
"Wives are bothersome bodies, and I have women folk at home who will
mend my clothes. Gold is worth having, but if you could lighten my work
that would suit me best of all. I can't abide work, and I'll thank--"

"Stop!" Yallery Brown cried, as quick as lightning, "I'll help you and
welcome, but if ever you thank me you'll never see me more. Remember
that! I'll have no thanks"; and it stamped its tiny feet on the ground
and looked as wicked as a raging bull. "Harken! you great lump!" it went
on, calming down a bit. "If ever you need help, or get into trouble,
call on me. Just say, 'Yallery Brown, come from the earth, I want you!'
and I'll be with you at once; and now, good night."

So saying, it picked a dandelion puff and blew the winged seeds all up
into Tom's eyes and ears. When Tom could see again Yallery Brown was
gone, and he would have thought he had been dreaming, were it not for
the stone on end and the hole at his feet.


Tom went home and to bed, and by morning he had nearly forgotten all
about what had happened the previous evening. But when he went to start
the day's work, there was none to do. The horses had been fed, the
stables cleaned, and everything put in its proper place, and he had
nothing to do but stand around with his hands in his pockets.

So it was from morn till night, and so it was on the days that followed.
All Tom's work was done by Yallery Brown, and better done than Tom
himself could do it. No matter how much the master gave Tom to do, he
could sit down at his ease while the work did itself. The hoe, or broom,
or whatever it was would get into motion with no visible hand put to it
and would finish the task in no time.

Yallery Brown kept out of sight during the day, but in the gray
twilight, after the sun had gone down, Tom often saw the tiny creature
hopping around like a Will-of-the-Wisp without a lantern.

At first Tom found it mighty fine to be relieved of his work. He had
naught to do and good pay for it; but by and by things began to go
wrong. His work continued to be done, but the work of the other lads was
all undone. If his buckets were filled theirs were upset; if his tools
were sharpened theirs were blunted and spoiled; if his horses were made
as clean as daisies, theirs were splashed with muck, and so on.

Day in and day out it was the same. Naturally the lads began to have
hard feelings toward Tom, and they would not speak to him or go near
him, and they carried tales to the master. So things went from bad to

Tom could not work even if he wished to; the spade would not stay in his
hand, the scythe escaped from his grip, and the plow ran away from him.
More than once he tried his best to do his tasks so that Yallery Brown
would leave him and his fellow laborers alone. But he couldn't, and he
was compelled to sit by and look on and have the cold shoulder turned on
him while the uncanny thing was meddling with the others and working for

At last matters got so bad that the master would keep Tom no longer, and
if he had not discharged him the other lads would have left. They swore
they would not stay on the same farm with him. Tom felt badly, for it
was a good place; and he was very angry with Yallery Brown who had got
him into such trouble.

So he shook his fist in the air and shouted as loud as he could,
"Yallery Brown, come from the earth, you scamp, I want you!"

Hardly had the words left his lips when he felt something tweaking his
leg behind, and he was pinched so hard that he jumped with the smart of
it. He looked down and there was Yallery Brown with his shining hair and
wrinkled face, and wicked glinting black eyes.

Tom was in a fine rage, and he would have liked to kick the ugly
creature, but he restrained himself and said, "Look here, master, I'll
thank you to leave me alone after this. Do you hear? I want none of your
help, and I'll have nothing more to do with you."

The horrid thing broke into a screeching laugh, and pointed its brown
finger at Tom. "Ho, ho, Tom!" it said, "you have thanked me, my lad, and
I told you not to do so."

"But I don't want your help," Tom yelled. "I only want never to see you
again, and to have nothing more to do with you. Now go."

The thing only laughed and screeched and mocked as long as Tom went on
berating it, but as soon as his breath gave out it said with a grin:
"Tom, my lad, I'll tell you something. Truly, I'll never help you again,
and even if you call me you will not see me after today. But I never
agreed to let you alone, and that I shall not do, my lad. I was where I
could do no harm under that stone, Tom, and you let me out. If you had
been wise I would have been your friend and worked for you, but I am
your friend no longer, and in the future when everything goes crooked
you can know that it is Yallery Brown's doing. Mark my words, will you?"

Then it began to sing and curse and call down misfortunes on him, and it
danced round Tom with its yellow hair and beard all flying and a savage
scowl on its wrinkled bit of a face. Tom could only stand there shaking
all over and staring down at the gruesome thing until at last it rose in
the air and floated away on the wind over a wall out of sight with a
parting shriek of cunning laughter.

In the days and weeks and years that followed Tom worked here and he
worked there, and turned his hand to this and to that, but whatever he
did always went wrong. There was no end to Yallery Brown's spite even
until Tom's life ended.


Once upon a time a little jackal lived near the bank of a great river.
Every day he went down to the water to catch the crabs that were there.

Not far away, in the same river, dwelt a cruel alligator. He saw the
little jackal come down to the water every day, and he thought, "What a
nice tender morsel that little jackal would make if I could only catch

One day the alligator hid in the mud, where the water was shallow near
shore. Only the tip of his nose stuck out, and that looked very much
like the back of a crab.

Soon the little jackal came running along the bank of the river seeking
his usual food. When he saw the end of the alligator's nose he thought
he had found a fine big crab, and he put in his paw to scoop it out of
the mud.

The moment he did that, snap! the teeth of the alligator came together,
and the jackal was caught by the paw. He was terribly frightened, for he
knew the alligator intended to pull him into the river and eat him.

However, he began to laugh, though the alligator's teeth hurt him sadly.
"Oh, you stupid old alligator!" he said. "You thought you would catch my
paw, and instead caught a bulrush root that I stuck down in the water to
tickle your nose. Ha, ha! you silly, silly alligator."

"Well, well," the alligator thought, "I am very much disappointed. I
certainly supposed I had caught that little jackal. But it seems I have
nipped nothing except a bulrush root. There is no use of holding on to
that." So he opened his mouth.

Then the little jackal snatched out his paw. "O stupid one!" he cried,
"you really had caught me, and now you have let me go. Ha, ha!
ring-a-ting, ring-a-ting! You'll never catch me again." So saying, off
he ran up the bank and into the jungle.

The alligator was furiously angry. "I was tricked by the little rascal
that time," he said, "but if I get hold of him again he will not escape
so easily."

Once more the alligator hid in the mud and waited. But the little jackal
came no more to the river. He was afraid, and he stayed in the woods
living on figs that he gathered under a wild fig tree.

Day after day passed and it became plain to the alligator that the
little jackal was avoiding the river. So early one morning he crawled
out of the water and dragged himself to the wild fig tree. There he
gathered together a great heap of figs and hid under them.

Shortly afterward the jackal came running to the fig tree, licking his
lips, for he was very hungry. At sight of the great heap of figs he was
delighted. "Now I will not have the trouble of picking up the figs
scattered about on the ground," he said. "Somebody has piled them up all
ready for me. How nice!"

But when he went nearer he became suspicious, and thought, "It looks as
though something might be hidden under those figs."

Then he cried out: "What is the matter here? Usually, when I come to the
fig tree, all the figs that are any good roll about in the wind. Those
figs in the pile lie so still that I doubt if they are fit to eat. I
will have to go to some other place to get good figs."

The jackal's words made the alligator fear that he had failed again, and
he thought: "This little jackal is very particular. I will just shake
myself and make the figs roll about a trifle. Then he will come near
enough for me to grab him."

So the alligator shook himself, and away rolled the figs in all

"Oh, you stupid old alligator!" the jackal shouted; "if you had stayed
still you might have caught me. Ring-a-ting, ring-a-ting! Thank you for
shaking yourself and letting me know you were there!" Then away he ran
as fast as his legs would carry him.

The alligator gnashed his teeth with rage. "Never mind! I will catch
this little jackal yet," he declared, and he hid in the tall grass
beside the path that led to the fig tree.

He waited there for several days, but he saw nothing of his intended
victim. The jackal was afraid to come to the fig tree any more. He
stayed in the jungle and fed on such roots and berries as he could find
there, but found so little that he grew thin and miserable.

One morning the alligator made his way to the jackal's house while the
jackal was away. He squeezed in through the narrow doorway and hid under
the heap of dead leaves that was the jackal's bed.

Toward evening the little jackal came running home. He was very hungry,
for he had found scarcely anything to eat all day, and he was very tired
too. Just as he was about to go in and lie down on his bed he noticed
that the sides of the doorway were scraped and broken as if some big
animal had forced its way through.

[Illustration: _The Alligator Goes to the Jackal's House_]

The little jackal was terribly frightened. He thought, "Is it possible
that the wicked alligator has come to hunt for me here in my own house
and is waiting inside to catch me?"

Then he called loudly: "What is the matter, house of mine? Every day
when I come home you say, 'All is well, little jackal,' but today you
say nothing, and I am afraid to come in."

Of course the house did not really speak to him, but he wanted to find
out if the alligator was there, and the alligator believed his words.
The stupid creature thought, "I shall have to speak just as the house
would speak or this tiresome little jackal will not come in."

He made his voice as small and soft as he could, and said, "All is well,
little jackal."

Then the jackal knew that the alligator was in his house, and he was
more scared than ever. However, he contrived to respond in a cheerful
voice: "All right, little house! I will come in as soon as I have been
to the brook for a drink of water."

When the alligator heard these words he was filled with joy. He lay
quite still under the leaves thinking: "Now I will have that little
jackal at last. This time he shall not escape me."

But while he waited, the jackal gathered together a great heap of dead
wood and brush and piled it against the door of the house. When it was
big enough, the jackal set fire to the heap. It blazed up with a great
noise, and the wicked alligator was burned to death.

Then the little jackal danced about singing:

  "The alligator's dead, and I am glad!
  Oh, ring-a-ting-a-ting; oh, ring-a-ting-ting!
  The alligator's dead, and I am glad!"

After that the little jackal went wherever he pleased in safety, and he
ate so many figs and so many crabs that he became as fat as fat could


In Italy dwelt a woman named Janella who had eight children. Seven of
them were sons, but the youngest was a daughter.

After the sons grew up they went off to see the world. They went on and
on until they came to a wood in which dwelt an ogre. This ogre had been
blinded by a woman while he lay asleep, and ever since then he had been
such an enemy to womankind that he devoured all whom he could catch.

When the youths arrived at the ogre's house, tired out with walking, and
faint with hunger, they begged him, for pity's sake, to give them
something to eat.

The ogre replied that if they would serve him he would supply them with
food. They would have nothing else to do but watch over his safety, each
in turn, a day at a time.

This seemed a very satisfactory arrangement to them, and they consented
to remain in the service of the ogre. So he let them have all the lower
part of the house to live in.

After the brothers had been gone from home a long time, and no tidings
of them were received, Channa, their sister, dressed for a journey and
went to seek them. On and on she walked, asking at every place she came
to whether any one had seen her seven brothers. Finally she got news at
an inn of where they were, and away she went to the ogre's house in the

There she made herself known to her brothers and was received with great
joy. After the greetings were over the youths told her to stay quietly
in their part of the house so the ogre would not be aware of her
presence. They also cautioned her to give a portion of whatever she had
to eat to a cat which lived there. Otherwise the cat would do her harm.

Channa heeded their advice and got along very well. She shared her food
with the cat, always doing it fairly to the last morsel, and saying,
"This for me--this for thee."

But one day when the ogre sent the brothers out to do some hunting they
left Channa a little basket of peas to cook. While shelling the peas,
she found a hazel nut among them, and as ill-luck would have it she ate
the nut, forgetting to give half to the cat. The latter, out of spite,
ran to the hearth and put out the fire.

Then Channa left the room and went upstairs to the blind ogre's part of
the house. She asked him for a few coals, and when he heard a woman's
voice he said: "Welcome, madam! Just you wait a while." Afterward he
began to sharpen his teeth with a whetstone.

She saw that she had made a mistake in not obeying her brother's orders,
and she ran back to the room below. There she bolted the door and placed
against it stools, tables, chests, and in fact everything she could

As soon as the ogre had put an edge on his teeth he groped his way to
the door and found it fastened. So he proceeded to kick it to break it
open. The seven brothers came home while he was making all this
disturbance, and the ogre accused them of treachery.

Things might have gone badly had it not been for the cleverness of
Grazio, the eldest, who said to the ogre: "She has fortified herself so
securely inside that you cannot get at her. Come, I will take you to a
place where we can seize her without her being able to defend herself."

Then they led the ogre by the hand to the edge of a deep pit, where they
gave him a push that sent him headlong to the bottom. After that they
got shovels and covered him with earth.

By and by they returned to the house and Channa unfastened the door.
They told her to be more careful in future, and to beware of plucking
any grass or other plant that might grow on the spot where the ogre was
buried, or they would be changed into doves.

"Heaven keep me from bringing such a misfortune on you!" Channa

They took possession of all the ogre's goods, made themselves masters of
the whole house, and lived very comfortably and merrily there until
spring. Then it happened one morning when the brothers had gone off on
some errand, that a poor pilgrim came to the ogre's wood. He was looking
up at an ape perched in a pine tree when the creature threw a heavy cone
at him. This struck him on the head so hard that the poor fellow set up
a loud cry.

Channa heard the noise and ran to where he was sitting on the ground
hanging on to his bruised head. She took pity on him and plucked a tuft
of rosemary which was growing on the ogre's grave near by. Then she
hurried to the house and made a plaster of it with bread and salt. In a
few minutes she rejoined the pilgrim and bound the plaster on his head.
After that she had him go with her to the house where she gave him some
breakfast. When he finished eating she sent him on his way.


Scarcely had the pilgrim gone when seven doves came flying into the
room, and said: "Behold your brothers turned to birds and made
companions of snipes, woodpeckers, jays, owls, rooks, starlings,
blackbirds, tom-tits, larks, kingfishers, wrens, and sparrows. We shall
be persecuted by hawks, and hunters will try to shoot us. Ah! why did
you pluck that accursed rosemary and bring such a calamity on us? Doves
we must remain for the rest of our lives unless you find the Mother of
Time. She can tell you how to get us out of our trouble."

Channa was greatly distressed over what she had done, and said she would
start at once searching for the Mother of Time. She urged them to make
the ogre's house their home until she returned.

Away she went and journeyed on and on until she came to the seashore,
where the waves were banging against the rocks. A huge whale came to the
surface close at hand, looked at her, and asked, "What are you seeking,
my pretty maiden?"

She replied, "I am seeking the Mother of Time."

"Hear then what you must do," the whale said. "Go along the shore, and
when you come to a river, follow it up to its source. There you will
meet some one who will show you the way. But do me one kindness. After
you have found the old woman, ask her how I can swim about safely
without so often knocking on the rocks and being thrown up on the

"I will gladly do that for you," Channa said.

Then she thanked the whale and walked on along the shore. At length she
came to a river and followed it up to its source in a beautiful open
country of meadows starred with flowers. There she met a mouse who said
to her, "Where are you going all alone, my pretty maiden?"

"I am seeking the Mother of Time," Channa replied.

"You have a long way to go," the mouse commented. "But do not lose
heart. Go to yonder mountain, and you will obtain more news to help you
in your search. And when you find the Mother of Time, will you do me one
favor? Ask her what we mice can do to get rid of the tyranny of the

Channa promised to do this for the mouse, and trudged off toward the
mountain. When she got to it she sat down on a stone to rest. Some ants
were busy close by, and one of them addressed Channa, saying, "Who are
you and whither are you going?"

She answered, "I am an unhappy girl who is seeking the Mother of Time."

"Then keep on over the mountain to a large plain, and there you will get
more news," the ant said. "After you find the old woman please ask her
how the ants can live longer. We store up a great deal of food, and this
seems to me a folly while our lives are so short."

"Be at ease," Channa responded. "You can be sure that I will do your

Then she toiled on over the mountain to the great plain, where a
wide-spreading old oak tree called to her as she was passing. "Whither
are you going so sad, my little lady?" it said. "Come and rest in my

She thanked the old oak, but begged to be excused from stopping because
she was going in haste to find the Mother of Time.

"You are not far from her dwelling," the oak announced. "Before you have
finished another day's journey you will get to a high mountain on the
summit of which is the home of her whom you seek. If you have as much
kindness as beauty you will oblige me by asking her why it is that my
fruit which used to be relished by strong men is now only made the food
of hogs."

"It will be a pleasure to do you such a service," Channa affirmed, and

The next day she arrived at the foot of a mountain which had its summit
far up among the clouds. There she found an old man, wearied and
wayworn, who had lain down on some hay. The moment he saw Channa he knew
her, for he was the pilgrim to whom she had ministered. When she told
him what she was seeking he responded that at last he could make some
return for her kindness.

"My pretty maiden," he said, "I would have you know that on the top of
this mountain you will find a castle which was built so long ago that no
one knows when it was built. The walls are cracked, the foundations are
crumbling, the doors are worm-eaten, the furniture is worn out, and, in
short, everything is gone to wrack and ruin.

"When you are almost to the castle, hide until Time goes out. After he
has gone, enter, and you will find an old, old woman, whose face is
covered with deep wrinkles, and whose eyebrows are so shaggy she will
not be able to see you. She is seated on a clock which is fastened to
the wall.

"Go in quickly and take off the weights that keep the machinery of the
clock in motion. Then ask the old woman to answer your questions. She
will instantly call her son to come and destroy you, but because you
have stopped the clock by taking the weights he cannot move. Therefore
she will be obliged to tell you what you want to know."


When the pilgrim finished speaking, Channa climbed the mountain and
arrived in the vicinity of the castle quite out of breath. There she
waited till Time came out. He was an old man with a long beard, he wore
a cloak and carried a scythe, and he had large wings that bore him
swiftly out of sight.

Channa now entered the castle, and though she gave a start of fright
when she saw the strange old woman, she hastened to seize the weights of
the clock and tell what she wanted.

The old woman at once called loudly to her son, but Channa said, "You
will not see your son while I hold these clock-weights."

Thereupon the old woman began to coax Channa, saying: "Let go of them,
my dear. Do not stop my son's course. No one has ever done that before.
Let go of the weights, and may Heaven reward you."

"You are wasting your breath," Channa responded. "You must say something
better than that if you would have me quit my hold."

"Well then," the old woman said, "hide behind the door, and when Time
comes home I will make him tell me all you wish to know. As soon as he
goes out again you can depart."

Channa let go the weights and hid behind the door. Presently Time came
flying in, and his mother repeated to him the maiden's questions.

[Illustration: _Appealing to the Mother of Time_]

In reply he said: "The oak tree will be honored as it was of yore when
men find the treasure that is buried among its roots. The mice will
never be safe from the cat unless they tie a bell to her neck to warn
them when she is coming. The ants will live a hundred years if they will
dispense with flying, for when an ant is going to die it puts on wings.
The whale should make friends with the sea-mouse, who will serve as a
guide so that the monster will never go astray. The doves will resume
their former shape when they fly and alight on the column of riches."

So saying, Time went forth to run his accustomed race. Then Channa bade
the old woman farewell and descended the mountain. She arrived at the
foot just as the seven doves arrived there. Her long absence had made
them anxious, and they had come to look for her. They alighted on the
horn of a dead ox, and at once they changed to the handsome youths they
had been formerly.

While they were marveling at this transformation Channa greeted them and
told them what Time had said. Then they understood that the horn, as the
symbol of plenty, was what he called the column of wealth.

Now they all started on the return journey, taking the same road by
which Channa had come. When they arrived at the old oak and she informed
the tree of what Time had said, the oak begged them to take away the
treasure from its roots. So the seven brothers borrowed tools in a
neighboring village and dug till they unearthed a great heap of gold
money. This they divided into eight parts and shared it between
themselves and their sister.

After according to the oak tree the honor it so much desired they again
tramped along the homeward road, and when they became weary lay down to
sleep under a hedge. Presently they were seen there by a band of robbers
who tied them hand and foot, and carried off their money.

They bewailed the loss of their wealth which had so soon slipped through
their fingers, and they were anxious lest they should perish of
starvation or be devoured by wild beasts. As they were lamenting their
unhappy lot the mouse whom Channa had met appeared. She told it what
Time had said about getting rid of the tyranny of the cats, and the
grateful mouse nibbled the cords with which they were bound till it set
them free.

Somewhat farther on they encountered the ant which listened eagerly
while Channa repeated Time's advice. Then it asked her why she was so
pale and downcast.

So she related how the robbers had tricked them.

"Cheer up," the ant said. "Now I can requite the kindness you have done
me. I know where those robbers hide their plunder. Follow me."

The ant guided them to a group of tumble-down houses and showed them a
pit which the brothers entered. There they found the money which had
been stolen from them, and off they went with it to the seashore. The
whale came to speak with them, and was rejoiced to learn what Time had

While they were talking with the whale, they saw the robbers coming,
armed to the teeth.

"Alas, alas!" they cried, "now we are lost."

"Fear not," the whale said. "I can save you. Get on my back and I will
carry you to a place of safety."

Channa and her brothers climbed on the whale who carried them to within
sight of Naples. There it left them on the shore and they returned to
their old home safe and sound and rich. Thereafter they enjoyed a happy
life, in accord with the old saying, "Do all the good you can and make
no fuss about it."


Far away in the country was an old mansion in which dwelt a squire well
along in years and his two sons. These sons thought themselves
exceedingly clever. Indeed, they were convinced that had they known only
half of what they did know, it would have been quite enough.

Both wanted to marry the king's daughter. She had proclaimed that she
would have for her husband the man who knew best how to choose his
words, and they were confident that one or the other of them was certain
to win her.

Only a week was allowed to prepare for the wooing, but that was plenty
long enough for the two brothers. One knew the whole Latin dictionary by
heart. He also knew three years' issue of the daily paper of the town so
he could repeat backward or forward as you pleased all that had appeared
in it.

The other had studied the laws of corporation and thought he could speak
with wisdom and authority on matters of state. Besides, he was very
expert with his fingers and could embroider roses and other flowers or
figures in a manner that gave his friends great pleasure.

The old father gave each of the sons a fine horse. He presented a black
horse to the one who knew the dictionary and the daily paper by heart,
and the other, who was so clever at corporation law, received a
milk-white steed. Just before they started, the young men oiled the
corners of their mouths that they might be able to speak more fluently.

The squire had a third son, but nobody thought him worth counting. He
was not learned as his brothers were and was generally called "Blockhead
Hans." While the servants stood in the courtyard watching the two clever
youths mount their horses Hans chanced to appear.

"Well, well!" he said, "where are you off to? You are in your
Sunday-best clothes."

"We are going to the royal court to woo the princess," they replied.
"Haven't you heard what has been proclaimed throughout all the

They told him about it, and Hans shouted, "Hurrah! I'll go too." The
brothers laughed at him and rode off.

"Dear father," Blockhead Hans said, "I must have a horse. Perhaps I can
win the princess. If she will have me, she will. If she won't have me,
she won't."

"Stop that nonsense!" the old man ordered. "I will not give you a horse.
You can't speak wisely. You don't know how to choose your words. But
your brothers--ah! they are very different lads."

"All right," Hans said, "I have a goat. If you won't give me a horse,
the goat will have to serve instead. He can carry me."

So he put a bridle on his goat, got on its back, dug his heels into its
sides and went clattering down the road like a hurricane. Hoppitty hop!
What a ride!

"Here I come!" Blockhead Hans shouted, and he sang so that the echoes
were roused near and far.

Once he stopped and picked up a dead crow. Presently he overtook his
brothers as they rode slowly along on their fine horses. They were not
speaking, but were turning over in their minds all the clever things
they intended to say, for everything had to be thought out.

"Hello!" Blockhead Hans bawled, "here I am. Just see what I found on the
road." And he proudly held up the dead crow for them to look at.

"You foolish lad," his brothers said, "what are you going to do with

"I shall give it to the princess," he answered.

"Do so, certainly!" they said, laughing loudly and riding on.

Blockhead Hans thought he would continue the journey in their company,
but he saw an old wooden shoe by the roadside. Such a prize was not to
be neglected, and he got off his goat and picked it up. Then he cantered
along the highway till he came up behind his brothers.

"Slap, bang! here I am!" he shouted. "See what I have just found? Such
things are not to be picked up every day on the road!"

[Illustration: _Blockhead Hans and the Dead Crow_]

The brothers turned round to learn what in the world he could have

"Simpleton!" they said, "that cracked old shoe is absolutely worthless.
Are you going to take that to the princess?"

"Of course I shall," Blockhead Hans replied, and the brothers laughed
and rode along.

But the lad on the goat soon brought them to a standstill by hopping off
his goat and shouting: "Hurrah! Here's the best treasure of all!"

"What have you found now?" the brothers asked.

"Oh! something more for the princess," he said. "How pleased she will

"Why, that is pure mud, straight from the ditch!" the brothers

"Of course it is!" Blockhead Hans responded. "There never was any better
mud. See how it runs through my fingers."

So saying, he filled his coat pocket with it. The brothers did not enjoy
these interruptions or his company, and they rode off with such speed
that they were hidden in a cloud of dust raised by their horses' hoofs.
They reached the gate of the royal city a good hour before Blockhead
Hans did.


Each suitor for the hand of the princess was numbered as he arrived and
had to wait his turn. They waited as patiently as they could, standing
in line closely guarded to prevent the jealous rivals from getting into
a fight with one another.

A crowd of people had gathered in the throne room at the palace to look
on while the princess received her suitors, and as each suitor came in
all the fine phrases he had prepared passed out of his mind. Then the
princess would say: "It doesn't matter. Away with him!"

At last the brother who knew the dictionary by heart appeared, but he
did not know it any longer. The floor creaked, and the ceiling was made
of glass mirrors so that he saw himself standing on his head. At one of
the windows were three reporters and an editor, and each of them was
writing down what was said to publish it in the paper that was sold at
the street corners for a penny. All this was fearful. You couldn't blame
him for feeling nervous.

"It is very hot in here, isn't it?" was the only thing that the brother
who knew the dictionary could think of to say.

"Of course it is," the princess responded. "We are roasting young
chickens for dinner today."

The youth cleared his throat. "Ahem!" There he stood like an idiot. He
was not prepared for such remarks from the princess. How nice it would
be to make a witty response! But he could think of nothing appropriate,
and all he did was to clear his throat again. "Ahem!"

"It doesn't matter," the princess said. "Take him out." And out he had
to go.

Now the other brother entered. "How hot it is here!" he said.

The princess looked as if she thought him tiresome as she responded: "Of
course. We are roasting young chickens today."

"Where do you--um?" the youth stammered, and the reporters wrote down,
"Where do you--um?"

"It doesn't matter," the princess said. "Take him out."

After a while Blockhead Hans had his turn. He rode his goat right into
the room and exclaimed, "Dear me, how awfully hot it is here!"

The princess looked at him and his goat with more interest than she
showed in most of her suitors and said: "Of course! We are roasting
young chickens today."

"That's good," Blockhead Hans commented; "and will you let me roast a
crow with them?"

"Gladly," the princess responded; "but have you anything to roast it in?
I have neither pot nor saucepan to spare."

"That's all right," Blockhead Hans told her. "Here is a dish that will
serve my purpose." And he showed her the wooden shoe and laid the crow
in it.

The princess laughed and said, "If you are going to prepare a dinner you
ought at least to have some soup to go with your crow."

"Very true," he agreed, "and I have it in my pocket." Then he showed her
the mud he was carrying.

"I like you," the princess declared. "You can answer when you are spoken
to. You have something to say. So I will marry you. But do you know that
every word we speak is being recorded and will be in the paper tomorrow.
Over by the window not far from where we are you can see three reporters
and an old editor. None of them understands much and the editor doesn't
understand anything."

At these words the reporters giggled, and each dropped a blot of ink on
the floor.

"Ah! those are great people," Blockhead Hans remarked. "I will give the
editor something to write about."

Then he took a handful of mud from his pocket and threw it smack in the
great man's face.

"That was neatly done!" the princess said--"much better, in fact, than I
could have done it myself."

She and Blockhead Hans were married, and presently he became king and
wore a crown and sat on the throne. At any rate so the newspaper said,
but of course you can't believe all you see in the papers.


Once there was a bad boy named Tom, and the older he grew, the wiser and
slyer he thought himself. Many were the tricks he played until no one
liked him or trusted him.

One day he asked his grandmother for some money. She had plenty, but she
would not give him any. So that evening Tom went to the pasture and
caught the old woman's black cow. He took the cow to a deserted house
which stood at a distance from any other, and there he kept her two or
three days, giving her food and water at night when nobody would see him
going and coming.

Tom made his grandmother believe that some one had stolen the cow. This
was a great grief to her. At last she told the lad to buy her another
cow at a fair in a neighboring town, and she gave him three pounds with
which to make the purchase.

He promised to get one as near like the other as possible and went off
with the money. Then he took a piece of chalk, ground it into powder,
steeped it in a little water and rubbed it in spots and patches over the
head and body of the cow he had hidden.

Early the next morning he took her to an inn near the fair and spent the
day in pleasure. Toward evening he drove the cow home before him, and as
soon as he got to his grandmother's the cow began to bellow.

The old woman ran out rejoicing for she thought her own black cow had
been found, but when she saw the spots and patches of white she sighed
and exclaimed, "Alas, you'll never be the kindly brute my Black Lady
was, though you bellow exactly like her."

"'Tis a mercy you know not what the cow says," Tom remarked to himself,
"or all would be wrong with me."

The old woman put her cow to pasture the following morning, but there
came on a heavy shower of rain, which washed away the chalk. So the old
woman's Black Lady came home at night and the new cow went away with the
shower and was never heard of afterward.

But Tom's father had some suspicions, and he looked closely at the cow's
face and found some of the chalk still remaining. Then he gave Tom a
hearty beating and turned him out of the house.

Tom traveled about from place to place, and by hook or by crook
contrived to make a living till he reached the size and years of a man.
He was always planning ways to get hold of other people's money, for he
did not like to exert himself to earn what he needed.

Once he met a party of reapers seeking work. At once he hired the whole
company of about thirty and agreed to give them a week's reaping at ten
pence a day, which was two pence higher than any had gotten that year.
This made the poor reapers think he was a very honest, generous, and
genteel master.

Tom took them to an inn and gave them a hearty breakfast. "Now," he
said, "there are so many of you together, it's quite possible that while
most are honest men, some may be rogues. You will have to sleep nights
together in a barn, and your best plan is to give what money you have to
me to keep safe for you. I'll mark down each sum in a book opposite the
name of the man whose it is, and you shall have it all when I pay you
your wages."

"Oh! very well, there's my money, and there's mine, and here's mine,"
they said.

Some gave him five, six, seven, and eight shillings, all they had earned
through the harvest. Tom now went with them out of the village to a
field of standing grain, remote from any house, and set the men at work.
Then he left, telling them he was going to order dinner for them, but in
reality he set off at top speed to get as far away from them as
possible, lest, when they found out his trick, they should follow and
overtake him.

Soon the farmer to whom the grain belonged saw the reapers in his field
and came to ask what they were about. "Stop!" he cried, "I have given
you no orders to reap this grain, and besides it is not ripe."

At first they persisted in keeping on with the work, but finally the
farmer convinced them that they had been fooled, and the reapers went
away sorely lamenting their misfortune.


Tom escaped, but it was a rough life he led, and he was always in fear
of punishment for his many misdeeds. At last he concluded he had had
enough of depending on his wits for a livelihood and decided he would go
to work.

So he hired himself to an old miser of a farmer with whom he continued
several years. On the whole he made a good servant, and though he
sometimes played tricks on those about him, it was his habit to make
good any damage he did.

His master was a miser, as I have said, and he and his help ate supper
with no other light than that of the fire, for he would not furnish
candles. Tom did not like this, and one night he thrust his spoon into
the middle of the soup dish where the soup was hottest and clapped a
spoonful into his master's mouth.

"You rascal!" his master cried, "my mouth is all burned."

"Then why do you keep the house so dark?" Tom asked. "I can't half see,
and what wonder is it if I missed the way to my own mouth and got the
spoon in your mouth, instead?"

After that they always had a candle on the table at supper, for his
master would feed no more in the dark while Tom was present.

One day a butcher came and bought a fine fat calf from Tom's master. He
tied its legs, took it on the horse's back in front of him, and off he

"Master," Tom said, "what do you say to playing a joke on that fellow?
With your leave I'll get that calf away from him before he has gone two
miles, and he won't know what has become of it either."

"You can try," the master said, "but I don't believe you can do it."

So Tom went into the house, got a pretty shoe with a silver buckle to it
that belonged to the servant maid and ran across a field till he got
ahead of the butcher. He threw the shoe into the middle of the highway
and hid behind a hedge. The butcher came riding along with the calf
before him.

"Hey!" he said, "there's a fine lady's shoe. If it wasn't that this calf
makes it a great trouble to get off and on I'd alight and pick the shoe
up. But after all what is the use of one shoe without its neighbor?"

On he rode and let it lie. Tom then slipped out from behind the hedge,
secured the shoe, and ran across the fields till he again got before the
butcher. He threw the shoe into the middle of the road and once more
crouched behind the hedge and waited.

Along came the butcher, and saw the shoe. "Now," he said, "I can have a
pair of good shoes for the lifting. I'll take them home and put my old
woman in a good humor for once."

Down he got, lifted off the calf, tied his horse to the hedge, and ran
back, thinking to get the other shoe. While he was gone Tom picked up
the calf and the shoe and tramped off home.

The butcher did not find the shoe he went back to get, and when he
returned to his horse the other shoe was gone and so was his calf. "No
doubt the calf has broken the rope that was about its feet," he said,
"and has run into the fields."

So he spent a long time searching for it amongst the hedges and ditches.
Finally he returned to Tom's master and told him a long story of how he
had lost the calf by means of a pair of shoes, which he believed the
devil himself must have dropped in the roadway and had picked up later
and the calf too.

"I suppose I ought to be thankful," he said in concluding, "that I have
my old horse left to carry me home so that I don't have to walk."

"Wouldn't you like to buy another calf?" Tom asked.

"Why, yes," the butcher responded, "if you have one to sell."

Tom then brought from the barn the very calf that the butcher had lost,
but as Tom had made a fine white face on it with chalk and water, the
butcher did not recognize it. So the sale was made, its legs were tied
and it was hoisted onto the horse in front of the butcher. As soon as he
was gone, Tom told his master he believed he could get the calf again.

"Oh, no!" the farmer said, "you've fooled him once and he'll be on the
lookout for mischief now. But you can try if you want to."

Away ran Tom through the fields until he got ahead of the butcher near
where he had taken the calf from him. There he hid behind the hedges and
as the butcher was passing he put his hand on his mouth and cried, "Baw,
baw!" like a calf.

When the butcher heard this he stopped his horse. "There's the calf I
lost," he said.

Down he got, lifted the calf from his horse to the ground, and scrambled
hastily through the hedge, thinking he would lay his hands on the lost
calf in a few moments. But as he went through one part of the hedge, Tom
went through another, got the calf on his back and hurried through the
fields home.

The poor butcher spent his time in vain running hither and thither
seeking his calf. At last he returned to his horse, and when he found
his other calf gone he concluded the place was bewitched.

"Oh, misfortunate day!" he cried, "what shall I do now? and what'll Joan
say when I get home, for my money's gone, and the two calves are gone,
and I can't buy her the shawl I promised to get."

Back he went to the farmer lamenting his loss. But the farmer thought
the joke had been carried far enough now. He told him what had happened
and gave him his calf and the second payment of money. So the butcher
went off well satisfied, for he had had a good deal of fun for his
trouble, had he not?


It was the beginning of summer. On the bank of a river in Japan an old
woman kneeled washing clothes. She took the clothes from a basket beside
her and washed them in the water, which was so clear that you could
plainly see the stones at the bottom and the dartings of the little

Presently there came floating down the stream a big round
delicious-looking peach.

"Well," the woman said, "I am sixty years old, and never before have I
seen so large and handsome a peach. It must be fine to eat."

She looked about for a stick with which to reach the peach, but saw
none. For a moment she was perplexed. Then she clapped her hands, and
nodded her head while she sang these words:

  "Far waters are bitter, near waters are sweet--
  Leave the bitter, come to the sweet."

She sang the words three times, whereupon, strange to say, the peach
rolled over and over in the water till it came to the shore in front of

"How delighted my old man will be!" she thought as she picked it up.

Then she packed the clothes she had been washing into the basket and
hurried home. Soon she saw her husband returning from the mountain where
he had been cutting grass. She ran to meet him and showed him the peach.

"Dear me!" the old man said, "it is wonderful. Where did you buy it?"

"Buy it? I did not buy it," she replied. Then she told him how she got
it from the river.

"I feel hungry," the old man affirmed. "Let us eat the peach at once."

They went to the house and got a knife. But just as the old man was
about to cut the peach he heard a child's clear voice say, "Good sir,

Instantly the peach split in two halves, and out danced a little boy
less than six inches high. This was so unexpected that the man and woman
nearly fainted with astonishment and fright.

"Do not be afraid," the boy said. "You have often lamented that you have
no child, and I have been sent to be your son."

The old couple were very much pleased, and they did all they could to
show how welcome he was to their home. Peach-boy was the name they gave
him. The years passed, and he grew to be a man remarkable for his
beauty, his courage, and, above all, for his great strength.

One day he came to the old man and old woman and said: "Father, your
kindness has been higher than the mountain on which you cut grass; and
Mother, yours has been deeper than the river in which you wash clothes.
How can I thank you?"

"Do not thank us," the old man replied. "The time will come when we
cannot work, and then we shall be dependent on you."

"But as things are," Peach-boy said, "I am so greatly indebted to you
that I hesitate to make a request that is in my mind."

"What is it?" they questioned.

"It is that you allow me to go away for a short time," he answered.

"Go away? Where to?" they asked.

"I would have you know," he said, "that north of the mainland of Japan
is an island inhabited by demons, who kill our people and steal our
treasure. I want to destroy them and bring back all their stolen riches.
For this purpose I wish to leave you."

The old man was at first speechless with astonishment, but as he
considered the matter he was convinced that Peach-boy was not mortal in
his origin and therefore was probably safe from injury.

So he said: "You wish to go, and I will not stop you. Indeed, as those
demons are the enemies of Japan, the sooner you destroy them and save
your country from their depredations the better."

Preparations for Peach-boy's journey began at once. The old woman made
him some dumplings and got his clothes ready. When the time came for him
to start, the old couple saw him off with tears in their eyes.

"Take care of yourself. May you return victorious," they said.


Peach-boy walked steadily and rapidly along the highway from early
morning until midday, when he sat down to eat his dinner. Just as he
took out one of the dumplings, a big savage dog appeared.

"Wow! wow!" the dog barked. "You have come into my territory without
leave. If you do not at once give me your dinner I will devour you."

Peach-boy smiled scornfully. "I am on my way to fight the enemies of
Japan," he said. "Don't try to stop me or I will slay you."

"I did not know the purpose of your journey," the dog responded,
cowering and putting his tail between his legs. "I humbly beg your
pardon for my rude conduct. Please allow me to accompany and help you."

"You are welcome to go with me," Peach-boy said.

"But I am very hungry," the dog told him. "Will you please give me
something to eat?"

"Here is a dumpling for you," was Peach-boy's response.

When the dog had eaten the dumpling they hurried on. They crossed many
mountains and valleys, and one day a monkey sprang down from a tree in
front of them and asked, "Where are you going so fast?"

"We are going to fight the enemies of Japan," Peach-boy answered.

"Then pray allow me to go with you," the monkey said.

The dog came angrily forward. "Of what use would you be?" he snarled. "I
alone accompany this great warrior."

Monkeys and dogs never can be friends, and of course this speech made
the monkey very angry.

"You think a great deal of yourself!" he screeched, and he approached
the dog ready to assail him with his teeth and nails.

But Peach-boy stepped between them, saying: "Stop! Do not be so hasty,
you two. Stand back, dog. This monkey is not a bad fellow, and I intend
to enrol him as one of my vassals."

Then he gave the monkey half a dumpling to eat. Presently the three went
on along the highway. But it was no easy matter to keep the peace
between the dog and the monkey. So at last Peach-boy had the monkey
march ahead of him with his standard, and the dog follow behind him
carrying his sword.

[Illustration: _The Monkey and the Warrior_]

At length they entered a wilderness, and a wonderful bird sprang up from
the ground as if to assail them. The bird's head plumage was of the
deepest crimson and his body was clothed with a feather robe in five

The dog dashed at the bird to seize and devour him, but Peach-boy sprang
forward and prevented this. Then he said: "Bird, do you wish to
interrupt my journey? If so, the dog shall bite off your head. But if
you submit to me you can be one of my company and help fight the enemies
of Japan."

The bird instantly bowed in front of Peach-boy, saying, "I am a humble
bird called the pheasant. It would be an honor to accompany you on such
an expedition."

"Does this low fellow go with us?" the dog growled disdainfully.

"That is no business of yours," Peach-boy said; "and I give you three
animals warning that if any quarreling starts among you I will send you
all back that very moment. In war a good position is better than good
luck, but union is better than either good luck or good position. There
can be no squabbling among ourselves if we are to win."

The three animals listened respectfully and promised implicit obedience.
Then the pheasant ate a half dumpling that Peach-boy gave him, and the
four went on together.


At last Peach-boy and his companions came to the sea. They looked off
across the water in the direction which he told them the island lay
whose demon inhabitants he and they were to destroy, and saw nothing but
waves. The dog, the monkey, and the pheasant are all creatures that live
on dry land, and though the steepest cliff and deepest valley could not
frighten them, yet when they saw that endless stretch of rolling waves,
they stood speechless and fearful.

Peach-boy observed this and said in a loud voice: "My vassals, why do
you tremble? Does the ocean frighten you? It would have been better to
have come alone than to have picked up such companions. But now I will
dismiss you. Return!"

They were much pained at hearing these reproaches, and they clung to him
beseeching him not to send them away. Apparently they were plucking up
courage, and he consented to retain them.

He had them help prepare a boat, and they set sail with the first
favorable wind. The shore behind them was soon lost to sight, and for a
while the animals were very unhappy. But they gradually became
accustomed to the motion and presently stood on deck eagerly looking
ahead to see the island as soon as it came into view. When they wearied
of that they began to show their accomplishments. The dog sat up and
begged, the monkey played tricks, and the pheasant sang a song.

Their performances greatly amused Peach-boy, and before he knew it the
island was close at hand. On it he could see numerous flags fluttering
above what seemed to be an impregnable fortress. This fortress had a
heavy gate of iron, and inside were many closely-crowded houses, all of
which had iron roofs.

Peach-boy turned to the pheasant and said: "You have wings. Fly to the
fortress and find out what those island demons are doing."

The pheasant promptly obeyed his orders and found the demons, some of
them red, some black, some blue, assembled on the iron roofs of their
houses. "Listen, you island demons!" the pheasant cried. "A mighty
warrior is coming with an army to destroy you. If you wish to save your
lives, yield at once."

"You vain pheasant!" the demons laughed, "it is you who will be
destroyed--not us."

So saying, they shook their horns at him, girded up their garments of
tiger-skin, and seized their weapons. But that did not scare the
pheasant. He swooped down and with one peck took off the head of a red

Then began a fierce battle, and soon the gate burst open, and Peach-boy
with the dog and monkey rushed in raging like lions. The demons, who
thought that they only had to do with one bird, were much alarmed, yet
they fought bravely, and even their children joined in the fray. The
sound of their yells as it mingled with the sound of the waves beating
on the shore was truly terrible.

In the end they got the worst of it. Some fell from the roofs of their
houses, the walls of the fortress, and the wild cliffs, and some were
killed by the irresistible onslaughts of Peach-boy, and of the dog, the
monkey, and the pheasant.

When, at last, only the head demon remained alive, he threw away his
weapons, and knelt in submission before Peach-boy with the tears
streaming down his cheeks. "Great warrior," he said, "spare my life!
From today I shall reform. Spare me!"

Peach-boy laughed scornfully. "You villain!" he cried, "for many years
you have persecuted and killed innocent people; and now that your own
life is in danger you beg for mercy and promise to reform. You deserve
no mercy, and shall receive none."

So the head demon shared the fate of the rest of his tribe, and
Peach-boy and his comrades loaded their boat with the hoarded island
treasures. There were coral and tortoise and pearls, not to speak of
magic hats and coats that made their wearers invisible.

All these things they carried away, and great was the joy of the old man
and old woman when they saw Peach-boy return victorious. After that he
and they lived happily to the end of their days.


My grandfather, Andrew Coffey, was known to every one in the region
about his home as a quiet decent man. He was fond of rambling and
riding, and was familiar with every hill and dale, bog and pasture,
field and covert in that part of the country.

Then fancy his surprise, while riding only a few miles from home, one
evening, to find himself in a vicinity that he did not recognize at all.
His good horse was constantly stumbling against some tree or into some
bog-hole that by rights ought not to be there. To make matters worse, a
cold March wind was blowing, and rain began to pelt down.

Soon he was gladdened by the sight of a light among the trees in the
distance, and when he drew near he found a cabin, though for the life of
him he couldn't think how it came there. However, after tying his horse,
in he walked. A fire was blazing on the hearth, and near it was a
comfortable chair. But not a soul was there in the room.

He sat down and got a little warm and cheered after his drenching, but
all the while he was wondering and wondering. He was still puzzling over
his experiences when he heard a voice.

"Andrew Coffey! Andrew Coffey!" it said.

Good heavens! who was calling him, and not a soul in sight? Look around
as he might, he could find no one indoors or out. To add to his other
worries, his horse was gone. Again he heard the voice.

"_Andrew Coffey! Andrew Coffey!_ tell me a story," it said, and it spoke
louder than before.

What a thing to ask for! It was bad enough not to be left in peace
seated by the fire drying oneself, without being bothered for a story. A
third time the voice spoke, and louder than ever.

"Andrew Coffey! Andrew Coffey! tell me a story or it will be the worse
for you," it said.

My poor grandfather was so dumb-founded that he could only stand and
stare. For a fourth time the voice spoke.

"ANDREW COFFEY! ANDREW COFFEY!" it shouted, "I told you it would be the
worse for you."

Then a man bounced out from a cupboard that Andrew Coffey had not
noticed before. He was in a towering rage, and he carried as fine a
blackthorn club as was ever used to crack a man's head. When my
grandfather clapped eyes on him he knew him for Patrick Rooney who had
gone overboard one day in a sudden storm while fishing on the sea long
years ago.

Andrew Coffey did not stop to visit, but took to his heels and got out
of the house as quickly as he could. He ran and he ran taking little
thought of where he went till at last he ran against a tree. Then he sat
down to rest.

But he had been there only a few moments when he heard voices. One said,
"the vagabond is heavy."

Another said, "Steady now, lads."

A third said, "I've lugged him as far as I care to."

A fourth said, "We'll stop when we get to the big tree yonder."

That happened to be the tree under which Andrew Coffey was sitting.
"Better see than be seen," he thought. Then he swung himself up by a
branch and was soon snugly hidden away in the tree.

The rain and wind had ceased and there was light enough for Andrew
Coffey to see four men carrying a long box. They brought it under the
tree, set it down, and opened it. Then, what should they take out but
Patrick Rooney? Never a word did he say, and he was as pale as
new-fallen snow.

The men gathered brushwood and soon had a fire burning. Then they stuck
two stakes into the ground on each side of the fire, laid a pole across
on the tops of them, and on to the pole they slung Patrick Rooney.

"He's all fixed now," one said, "but who's to take care of the fire
while we're away?"

With that Patrick opened his lips. "Andrew Coffey," he said.

Then the four men, each speaking the name once, called out, "Andrew
Coffey! Andrew Coffey! Andrew Coffey! Andrew Coffey!"

"Gentlemen, I'd be glad to oblige you," Andrew Coffey said, "but I know
nothing about this sort of roasting."

"You'd better come down, Andrew Coffey," Patrick said.

It was the second time he spoke, and Andrew Coffey decided he would come
down. The four men went off, and he was left alone with Patrick. He sat
down by the fire and kept it even, and all the while Patrick looked at

Poor Andrew Coffey couldn't understand the situation at all, and he
stared at Patrick and at the fire, and thought of the cabin in the wood
till he felt quite dazed.

"Ah, you're burning me!" Patrick said, very short and sharp.

"I beg your pardon," my grandfather said, and hastened to fix the fire.

He couldn't get the notion out of his head that something was wrong.
Hadn't everybody, near and far, said that Patrick had fallen overboard?

"_Andrew Coffey!_ _Andrew Coffey!_ you're burning me!" Patrick

My grandfather was sorry enough, and he vowed he wouldn't do so again.

"You'd better not," Patrick grumbled, and he gave him a cock of his eye,
and a grin of his teeth that sent a shiver down Andrew Coffey's back. It
certainly was odd that Andrew Coffey should be there in a thick wood
that he had never set eyes on before, roasting Patrick Rooney. You can't
wonder that my grandfather thought and thought and forgot the fire.

_"Andrew Coffey!_ _Andrew Coffey!_ I'll punish you for the way you're
neglecting me!" Patrick Rooney cried.

He was unslinging himself from the pole now, and his eyes glared and his
teeth glistened. My grandfather got up in haste and ran off into the
gloomy wood. He stumbled over stones, the brambles tore his clothes, the
branches beat his face.

Presently he saw a light and was glad. A minute later he was kneeling by
a hearth-side, dazed and bedraggled. The flames leaped and crackled, and
he was beginning to get warm and feel a little easy in his mind when he
heard a voice shouting, "Andrew Coffey! Andrew Coffey!"

It's hard for a man to jump after going through all my grandfather had,
but jump he did. When he looked around, where should he find himself but
in the very cabin in which he had first met Patrick.

"Andrew Coffey! Andrew Coffey! tell me a story," the voice said.

"Is it a story you want?" my grandfather said, as bold as could be, for
he was tired of being frightened. "Well then, here's one."

And he told the tale of what had befallen him from first to last that
night. The tale was long and he was weary. He must have fallen asleep,
for when he awoke he lay on a hillside under the open heavens, and his
horse grazed at his side.


Mr. Turkey Buzzard doesn't have any sense. You watch him and you will
see that what I have said is true.

When the rain pours down he sits on the fence and hunches up his
shoulders and draws in his neck and tries to hide his head. There he
sits looking so pitiful that you are real sorry for him.

"Never mind," he says to himself, "when this rain is over I'm going to
build a house right off. I'm not going to let the rain pelt me this way

But after the clouds were gone, and a fresh breeze blew, and the sun
shone, what did Mr. Turkey Buzzard do? He sat on top of a dead pine tree
where the sun could warm him, and he stretched out his wings, and he
turned round and round so the wind could dry his feathers. Then he
laughed to himself and said: "The rain is over. It isn't going to rain
any more, there's no use of my building a house now."

Mr. Turkey Buzzard is certainly a very careless man. When it is raining
he can't build a house, and when it isn't raining he doesn't need one.

                   *       *       *       *       *

If you have enjoyed these stories you will want to read the other books
in the series.

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