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Title: Stories of Starland
Author: Proctor, Mary
Language: English
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  [Illustration: RICHARD A. PROCTOR.]



     STORIES OF STARLAND

     BY
     MARY PROCTOR
     (Daughter of late Richard A. Proctor)


     NEW YORK
     POTTER & PUTNAM COMPANY
     LONDON
     G. W. BACON & CO., Limited



     Copyright, 1898,
     BY
     POTTER & PUTNAM COMPANY.


     THE MERSHON COMPANY PRESS,
     RAHWAY, N. J., U. S. A.



     DEDICATED
     TO THE MEMORY OF MY BROTHER
     HARRY.



The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his
handiwork.--Psalms.



PREFACE.


This book has been a labor of love from the beginning to the end, and
I have thoroughly enjoyed conversing with my little friends Harry and
Nellie. Now that the book is finished, I leave it with regret.

It is impossible to give all the authorities for my legends of the stars.
Many were told to me by my father when I was a little girl, or I found
them among books in his library, which is now scattered far and wide.
Others are from Grecian mythology, Japanese folk-lore, Hindoo legends,
while some of the American Indian stories were found in musty volumes
of the Bureau of Ethnology at the Smithsonian Institution.

As for the descriptive astronomy, among my authorities are Professor
C. A. Young, Professor Barnard, Agnes M. Clerke, Professor R. S. Ball,
Schiaparelli, Flammarion, Professor Todd, Mr. Lowell of Flagstaff, Ariz.,
and my father, the late Richard A. Proctor.

With the kind permission of Houghton, Mifflin & Co. I have been allowed
to use the following selections: "Why the Stars Twinkle," by Oliver
Wendell Holmes; "The Evening Star," by Longfellow; "Lady Moon," by
Lord Houghton; and "The New Moon," by Mrs. Follen. The editor of _St.
Nicholas_ has kindly given me permission to include the poems "The Four
Sunbeams," by M. K. B.; "Estelle's Astronomy," by Delia Hart Stone; and
"Seven Little Indian Stars," by Mrs. S. M. B. Piatt. I am indebted to
the editor of _Child-Study Monthly_ for the little poem "Is It True?" by
Morgan Growth. The poem on "The Solar System" is taken from the _Youth's
Companion_, with the kind permission of the editor. The verses about
"Wynken, Blynken, and Nod" are so familiar to every child that my book
of Stories of Starland would seem incomplete without this poem by Eugene
Field. The illustration of a Part of the Milky Way is from a photograph
taken by Professor Barnard at the Lick Observatory. Mr. Percival Lowell
has also very kindly allowed me to make use of his excellent illustration
of the Canals of Mars, taken from Todd's "New Astronomy," published by
the American Book Company.

I now submit this little book to my young readers, sincerely hoping its
pages may inspire them with a renewed interest in the wonders of Starland.

     Mary Proctor.

     New York City, June, 1898.



CONTENTS.


                                                                       PAGE

     Light,                       F. W. Bourdillon,                      13

                             THE STORY OF GIANT SUN.

     Ancient Stories of the Sun--Heat of the Sun--Distance of the
     Sun--Size of the Sun--The Sun in the Days of Its Youth,          13-33

     On the Setting Sun,          Sir Walter Scott,                      29

     The Four Sunbeams,           M. K. B., from St. Nicholas,           31

     The Sun,                                                            32

                            THE FAMILY OF GIANT SUN.

     What Is a Planet?--Story of Planet Mercury--Story of Planet
     Venus,                                                           34-45

     Estelle's Astronomy,         Delia Hart Stone,                      47

     Venus,                       Milton,                                47

     The Evening Star,            Longfellow,                            48

     Mercury,                     Baker,                                 48

                              A RAMBLE ON THE MOON.

     Story of the Moon--Story of the Man in the Moon--Story of the
     Woman in the Moon--Story of the Toad in the Moon--Scenery on
     the Moon--Hindoo Legend,                                         49-67

     The New Moon,                Mrs. Follen,                           65

     Lady Moon,                   Lord Houghton,                         66

     A Legend,                    Taken from the New York Tribune,       67

                      THE PLANET MARS AND THE BABY PLANETS.

     Story of Planet Mars--Story of the Baby Planets,                 68-79

                         STORY OF JUPITER AND HIS MOONS.

     Story of Jupiter--Jupiter as Seen through a Telescope--The Moons
     of Jupiter--Eclipse of Jupiter's Moons,                          80-93

     Jupiter,                     Moore,                                 92

     A Lesson in Astronomy,       Youth's Companion,                     92

                               THE GIANT PLANETS.

     The Planet Saturn--The Planet Uranus--Difference between a
     Planet and a Star--Discovery of Planet Neptune,                 94-103

     Is It True?                  Morgan Growth, from Child-Study
                                  Monthly,                              102

                               COMETS AND METEORS.

     Story of Comets--Story of Meteors--Story of a Shooting Star,   104-114

     Starlight at Sea,            Amelia B. Welby,                      113

                          STORIES OF THE SUMMER STARS.

     Legends of the Great Bear--Stories of the Great Dipper--Story
     of the Dragon--Stories of the Northern Crown--Story of the
     Lion--The Milky Way--A Swedish Legend--Legend of the Swan--
     Meeting of the Star-Lovers,                                    116-146

     The Stars and the Violets,                                         145

     The Nights,                  Adelaide Proctor,                     145

     The Calling of the Stars,                                          146

                           STORY OF THE WINTER STARS.

     Story of the Royal Family--Story of the Fishes--Story of the
     Pleiades--Story of the Seven Little Indian Boys--Why the Stars
     Twinkle--Flowers of Heaven--Number of the Stars--Distance of
     the Stars--What Are the Stars Made of?--Our Island Universe,   147-179

     Wynken, Blynken, and Nod,    Eugene Field,                         177

     Seven Little Indian Stars,   Mrs. S. M. B. Piatt, from St.
                                  Nicholas,                             178

     Why the Stars Twinkle,       Oliver Wendell Holmes,                179

                              "GOD BLESS THE STAR!"

     "God Bless the Star!"                                          181-186

     Crossing the Bar,            Tennyson,                             185

     Ye Golden Lamps of Heaven,   Doddridge,                            185



  [Illustration: "HARRY."]



STORIES OF STARLAND.



LIGHT.


     Night has a thousand eyes,
       And the day but one;
     Yet the light of the bright world dies
       With the dying sun.

     The mind has a thousand eyes,
       And the heart but one;
     Yet the light of the whole life dies
       When love is done.

                           --F. W. Bourdillon.



THE STORY OF GIANT SUN.


"Sister, come here and talk to me. I am so tired of being alone."

His sister Mary at once closed her book, and took a chair beside Harry's
couch. Poor little Harry was not like other boys. He could not play and
run about as they did, for he was a cripple. All the long weary days
he had to lie on a couch which was placed under the shady trees during
the warm summer season. He had learned to love the flowers and trees,
and the bright blue sky overhead, and his sister often told him pretty
stories about them. She was just thinking of telling him one now, when
he said gently:


ANCIENT STORIES OF THE SUN.

"Sister, you have told me so many stories of the flowers. I wish you
would tell me something about the sky. I have been looking at it for such
a long time, watching the little white clouds floating across it like
boats with silver sails; and then I tried to look at the bright yellow
sun, but it dazzles my eyes. Won't you tell me about it, and where it
goes in the evening when we cannot see it any more? Is it always ready
in the morning to give us light? Is it ever late, do you think? What
would we do if it forgot to come round the edge of the earth and give
us light?" he continued anxiously.

  [Illustration: EARTH SUPPOSED TO BE FLAT.]

"There is no fear of that," said his sister Mary, laughing at the idea.
"But a long time ago people asked the very same question. In those days
they thought the earth was flat, and surrounded by an ocean without
end. The Hindoos supposed that the earth rested upon four elephants,
and the four elephants stood on the back of an immense tortoise, which
itself floated on the surface of an endless ocean. It was thought that
the sun plunged into the ocean when it disappeared in the evening, and
some people said they heard a hissing noise when the red-hot body went
under the waves.

"But if the sun dropped into the water each evening, how did it happen
that next morning it was seen again, as hot and bright as ever? The
people could not tell why, so they said that during the night the gods
made a new sun to be used the next day."

"That must have kept them busy," said Harry, laughing.

  [Illustration: ANCIENT IDEA OF THE EARTH.]

"The good people made up another story about the sun, so that the same
one could be saved each night. Just as it was dropping into the ocean, a
god named Vulcan, who had a great boat ready, caught it, and all night
long he paddled with the blazing sun. Next morning he was ready at
sunrise to send the sun up into the sky in the east. He threw it with
so much force that it would go very high, and when it came down on the
other side in the west, he stood ready to catch it again."

"But where does the sun really go to at night?" asked Harry curiously.
"I should like to know."


HEAT OF THE SUN.

  [Illustration: ILLUSTRATING DAY AND NIGHT.]

"We live on a big round globe called Earth," replied his sister, "and
we travel round the sun, which gives the earth light and heat. The sun
is like a great lamp in the sky, and when you face the lamp you see the
light, but if you turn away from it you are in darkness. As the earth
goes around the sun, it whirls around like a huge top; first one side
and then the other is turned to the sun and gets sunlight, and so we
have day and night. If the sun, or the lamp in the sky, went out and
stopped shining, all the light would go out on the earth, and we would
miss its heat as well.

"It is so hot that if it kept coming nearer and nearer until it was as
far from the earth as the pretty bright moon, the earth would get warmer
and warmer and melt like a ball of wax."

  [Illustration]

"Just like Nellie's doll, then," said Harry, "when she left it on the
grass the other day. The sun was so hot that day that when Nellie picked
up her doll, she found that its wax face had melted and the eyes had
fallen in. So the sun did that," continued Harry, laughing heartily.
"Poor Nellie! I must tell her that the next time I see her."

"I can show you something else to prove how hot the sun is," said Mary,
as she picked up a leaf from the ground. "Just wait a moment while I go
into the house and get a magnifying-glass."

In a few minutes she returned, holding the glass in one hand and the
leaf in the other. She held it so that the sun shone directly upon the
glass and passed through it onto the leaf. In a few seconds the leaf
began to smoke, and then burn, until a little hole could be seen.

Harry was so surprised that he had to try it for himself, and he looked
forward with much delight to a visit from his cousin Nellie.

"Won't I have a lot to tell her?" he said to his sister: "all about the
sun's melting her dollie, and how to make the sun burn a hole through
a leaf. But the sun cannot be very far away, can it?" he asked.


DISTANCE OF THE SUN.

"Yes, it is very far away," replied Mary. "If a railroad could be made
from the earth to the sun, and a train started going at the rate of a
mile a minute, it would take days and weeks and years to get there.

"Let me see," said Mary, making a little note in her note-book. "There
are sixty minutes in an hour, and twenty-four hours in a day, and three
hundred and sixty-five days in a year. Why, Harry, do you know it would
take that train nearly one hundred and seventy-five years to get there?"

"It must be very far away, then," said Harry, "more than a hundred miles."

"It is more than a million miles," said Mary. "It is nearly ninety-three
millions of miles away. Now let us suppose you want to go to the sun.
You would call at the railroad office and ask for a ticket to Sunland.
The officer in charge would appear a little surprised, because that is
quite a long trip. Then he would look up the cost of the journey in his
book, and hand you a mileage book, saying: 'Sir, if you want to save
money on this trip, you had better take a mileage book with you, costing
two cents for every mile. Even then your fare will be nearly two million
dollars.'"

"Then I would say: 'Dear sir, I cannot go, as I know my sister could not
spare all that money. I think I would rather walk to the sun.' How long
would it take me to walk there, supposing I could walk?" asked Harry
thoughtfully.

"Dear, you would have to keep walking a very long time before you would
ever get there. Supposing you walked four miles an hour, and ten hours
a day, and kept this up for hundreds of years, you would be more than
six thousand years on the way. When you reached the sun you would be
footsore and weary, and as old as the hills."

Harry laughed heartily at the idea, and thought again of poor Nellie's
doll and the melting wax running like tears down its cheeks.

"But suppose," he asked, his eyes bright with excitement, "someone fired
a big cannon at the sun. Would the cannon-ball ever get there?"

Again Mary brought out her little note-book, and, with rather a look
of surprise, she said: "Supposing the cannon-ball went as fast as it
could go, it would take nine years to reach the sun, and the sound of
the explosion would reach there in fourteen years. The cannon-ball would
come along first, and five years afterward, if you were living on the
sun, you would hear the sound made when the cannon was fired off.

"It takes time for me to walk from the garden to the house, so it takes
time for sound to travel from the earth to the sky; and sound travels
only one-fifth of a mile in a second. Do you remember the thunderstorm
the other day, Harry, that frightened you so?"

"I shall never forget it," said Harry, trembling at the thought. "You
said, 'Count slowly'; and I counted one, two, three, four, five, up to
fifteen."

"Then I said: 'Don't be afraid, brother; the storm is three miles away.'"

"Yes, I remember," said Harry; "and I thought you were very clever, and
wondered how you knew."

"It was not so wonderful, after all, was it?" said Mary, laughing.

"Now tell me, sister," said Harry. "Supposing I had a very long arm,
and stretched it out toward the sun, and touched it with the tip of my
little finger. What would happen?"

"You would never know that you had burned it, for the pain of burning
would be one hundred and fifty years going along your little finger,
and down your giant arm nearly ninety-three millions of miles long,
before it at last reached your brain. Then it would let you know that
one hundred and fifty years before you had burned your little finger."

Harry stretched out his little arm in the direction of the sun, and,
looking at it critically, laughed at the idea of a giant arm millions
of miles long.

"It is too short by several inches," said his sister, reading his
thoughts, and joining in the laugh. "It would take hundreds and hundreds
of little arms as long as yours, would it not? Now what else do you want
to know about the sun?"


SIZE OF THE SUN.

"If you are not very tired, sister," said Harry coaxingly, "I should
like to know how large it is. Is it as large as the earth?"

  [Illustration]

"Ever so much larger," replied Mary. "It is so large that if it were
cut up into a million parts, each part would be larger than the earth.
If we could weigh the sun in a pair of giant scales, it would take over
three hundred thousand globes as heavy as the earth to make the scales
even. If the sun were hollowed out, and the earth placed in the center,
there would be room for the moon as well. Now the moon is thousands of
miles from the earth, and yet the edge of the sun would be thousands of
miles from the moon, as you will see in the picture. If a tunnel could
be made through the center of the sun, and a train started going at the
rate of a mile a minute, it would take six hundred days for the train
to reach the other side of the tunnel. If this same train went around
the edge of the sun it would take five years. A train going around the
earth would take seventeen days to complete the journey."

"But suppose we went around the sun in a big steamer, like the one Uncle
Robert came over in; how long would that take?" asked Harry curiously.

"Only fifteen years," said his sister, laughing. "If you had started when
you were a little baby you would still have five more years to travel
before you would get back again to the starting-point."

"Then the sun must be very large," said Harry thoughtfully. "Let us call
it GIANT SUN. Has it always been as large as it is now?"


THE SUN IN THE DAYS OF ITS YOUTH.

"Ever so much larger," replied Mary.

  [Illustration: THE SUN AND PLANETS FORMING OUT OF STAR-MIST.]

"Once upon a time it was a ball of glowing gas reaching as far as the path
of the last planet. The ball whirled around rapidly and the outer edge
cooled. A ring formed and separated from the ball and whirled around on
its own account, until it broke up into fragments. One of the fragments
drew all the others toward it, and another ball was formed, but quite a
small ball this time, called a planet. Just like the central ball, the
planet kept whirling around, threw off a ring, the ring broke up into
little pieces, and the pieces, coming together, made a little moon. The
planet is Neptune, and it still has only one moon. Meanwhile the ball in
the center kept whirling around, other rings formed other planets with
their attendant moons, completing the family of Giant Sun.

"The Sun is in the center and his planets circle around him. Next to him
is playful little Mercury, then beautiful Venus, then our own planet
Earth. Beyond it, we find ruddy Mars, the four hundred and fifty baby
planets, giant planet Jupiter, the ringed planet Saturn, and the last
two planets, Uranus and Neptune. All these planets are under the control
of the sun, and cannot get away from him."

"What is the sun made of?" asked Harry.

"Of iron and copper and silver, and many other things we can find on
earth; but the sun is so hot that they are melted together into a mass
like glue. This is the center of the sun. Outside is a shell of bright
clouds, from which rosy flames leap to a height of thousands of miles
above the surface of the sun. All around the edge of the sun, and reaching
millions of miles beyond it, is the pearly light of the corona like a
crown of glory. The pearly corona fades away into a soft beam of light."

"How beautiful the sun must be!" said Harry, as he listened attentively
to his sister. "But is it all alone in the sky, and does it not have
any little stars to play with?"

"It is not at all lonely," said Mary, laughing at the idea of the stars
as playthings for Giant Sun, "and is kept quite busy looking after its
large family of planets. I will tell you about them to-morrow, or nurse
will scold me for tiring you. And now, good-by, my dear. Don't forget
all I have told you about Giant Sun."

"Forget! how could I, sister? It is better than any fairy tale I have
ever heard. Giant Sun! Why you have told me enough to keep me thinking
all day and all night. Here comes Nellie. Hello! Nellie, come here and
let me tell you all about GIANT SUN, and how he melted your dollie for
you the other day."

"Melted my dollie!" said a pretty little golden-haired girl, as she
tripped like a little fairy up the garden-path. "So he melted my dollie,
did he? I should like to see him do it again!" Tears came into her eyes
at the thought of her sad experience. Since then, however, a china head
had replaced the melted wax, and Nellie's fickle little heart had been
comforted. So the tears soon vanished in a smile as she showed her new
treasure to Harry.


ON THE SETTING SUN.

     Those evening clouds, that setting ray,
     And beauteous tint, serve to display
         Their great Creator's praise;
     Then let the short-lived thing called man,
     Whose life's comprised within a span,
         To Him his homage raise.

     We often praise the evening clouds,
       And tints so gay and bold,
     But seldom think upon our God,
       Who tinged these clouds with gold.

                           --Sir Walter Scott.

  [Illustration: GIANT SUN AND LITTLE EARTH.]


THE FOUR SUNBEAMS.

BY M. K. B.

     Four little sunbeams came earthward one day,
     Shining and dancing along on their way,
       Resolved that their course should be blest.
     "Let us try," they all whispered, "some kindness to do,
     Not seek our own pleasuring all the day through,
       Then meet in the eve at the west."

     One sunbeam ran in at a low cottage door,
     And played "hide-and-seek" with a child on the floor,
       Till baby laughed loud in his glee,
     And chased with delight his strange playmate so bright,
     The little hands grasping in vain for the light
       That ever before them would flee.

     One crept to the couch where an invalid lay,
     And brought him a dream of the sweet summer day,
       Its bird-song and beauty and bloom;
     Till pain was forgotten and weary unrest,
     And in fancy he roamed through the scenes he loved best,
       Far away from the dim, darkened room.

     One stole to the heart of a flower that was sad,
     And loved and caressed her until she was glad,
       And lifted her white face again;
     For love brings content to the lowliest lot,
     And finds something sweet in the dreariest spot,
         And lightens all labor and pain.

     And one, where a little blind girl sat alone,
     Not sharing the mirth of her playfellows, shone
       On hands that were folded and pale,
     And kissed the poor eyes that had never known sight,
     That never would gaze on the beautiful light
       Till angels had lifted the veil.

     At last, when the shadows of evening were falling,
     And the sun, their great father, his children was calling,
       Four sunbeams sped into the west.
     All said: "We have found that in seeking the pleasure
     Of others, we fill to the full our own measure,"
       Then softly they sank to their rest.

                           --St. Nicholas, December, 1879.


THE SUN.

     Somewhere it is always light;
       For when 'tis morning here,
     In some far distant land 'tis night,
       And the bright moon shines there.

     When you've retired and gone to sleep,
       They are just rising there;
     And morning o'er the hill doth creep
       When it is evening here.

     And other distant lands there be
       Where it is always night;
     For weeks the sun they never see,
         The stars alone give light.

     But though 'tis dark both night or day
       It is as wondrous quite
     That when the night has passed away,
       The sun for weeks gives light.

     Yes, while you sleep the sun shines bright,
       The sky is blue and clear;
     For weeks and weeks there is no night
       But always daylight there.



THE FAMILY OF GIANT SUN.


The next morning, when Mary came out in the garden to sit with Harry,
she was surprised to see an audience of three instead of one: Harry,
whose face beamed with delight when he saw her; Nellie, who was seated
in a tiny rocking chair beside him, and Nellie's doll.

"You see, dollie wants to know all about Giant Sun, too," Nellie gravely
informed Mary. "I never could remember all, and she might remember what I
forget. Besides, she must learn some day. That is what mamma said about
me. I heard her," Nellie continued wisely, as she looked up at Mary.
"Do you mind telling me about the sky-people too?"

"Mind? Why you little bit of a doll baby," laughed Mary, as she picked
her up, doll and all, and hugged her, "if you and dollie promise not
to go to sleep, you can stay here as long as you want to. But does Aunt
Agnes know you are here, Nellie; or have you run away from home?"

  [Illustration: GIANT SUN AND HIS FAMILY.]

"No, I have not run away," said Nellie earnestly, "but my dollie has.
Nurse brought me over here, but she did not know my dollie was here. I
forgot all about her yesterday, while Harry was telling me about Giant
Sun, and I left her out on the grass. But she didn't melt a bit. I knew
you wouldn't, dear little dollie, would you? Now, dollie, sit up straight,
and listen to Cousin Mary talk. My, how she can talk, too! Can't you?"

"I'll try," said Mary, laughing. "So you want to hear about Giant Sun
and his family. He has such a large family, and he has to give them all
plenty of light and heat. If he put out his big lamp in the sky, it would
be always dark here, and we would shiver with cold and die. When I come
to your room at night, Harry, to say good-night, I always carry a lamp
in my hand so that I can see you; but supposing a puff of wind blew it
out, then I could not see you at all.

"Now this light is not only for us, but for the rest of the sun's family
as well. First, there is little Mercury, who was named after the god
of thieves; and he deserves this name, because he steals more light and
heat from the sun than any of the other planets."


WHAT IS A PLANET?

"What is a planet?" asked Harry.

"A planet is just like this earth we are living on, and only shines with
the light it borrows from the sun. If we lived on planet Mercury, and
could look at our earth, we would see it shining like a bright star in
the sky; but all the light comes from the sun."

"Do we live on a star, then?" asked Nellie, her little eyes wide open
with amazement.

"No; we live on a planet. We could not live on a star, as a star is
blazing hot. That is the difference between a star and a planet. A star
is hot and bright and shining and gives light to the planets, if it has
any. Planets are little globes like the earth that circle around the sun."

"Then the sun must be a star," said Harry, "as you told me yesterday
that it is very hot."

"That is right," said Mary; "and every star in the sky is a sun."

"And has lots of weensy-teensy planets going all around it?" asked Nellie
excitedly.


STORY OF PLANET MERCURY.

"Some of them have, I am sure," said Mary. "But now we are running along
too fast, and I must tell you about our own sun first, and its nearest
planet Mercury. Well, Mercury is a very warm little world, and it gets
so near the sun that sometimes it is about nine times as warm as here,
and at other times it is only four times as warm. You see, Mercury does
not go round the sun in a perfect circle, so at times it is farther away
than at others. Now, the sun is like a great fire in the sky, and the
nearer we go to it the warmer we are. How would you like to live on a
little world where it is nine times warmer than it is here?"

"I should not like it at all, would you, dollie?" said Nellie; "we would
roast if we went to world Mercury."

"But we don't know whether there are any people there," continued Mary,
"and if there are, they might not mind the heat at all. You can get used
to the heat, just as Uncle Robert did when he went to India. Don't you
remember how he felt the change when he came home, and how he shivered?
He missed the heat just as we would suffer from it if we went to India
for the first time."

  [Illustration: COMPARATIVE SIZE OF SUN AS SEEN FROM THE PLANETS.]

"Then Uncle Robert would not mind going to Mercury," said Harry, laughing,
"if he is getting to like the heat in India. But I do not want him to
go yet, as he might never come back again; and what would we do without
him?"

"What would we?" said Nellie mournfully, her eyes filling with tears at
the very thought.

"Is a planet made of earth and stones and trees and flowers, just like
planet Earth?" asked Harry.

  [Illustration: COMPARATIVE SIZE OF THE PLANETS.]

"Yes, dear," replied his sister; "only some planets, like Jupiter and
Saturn, are still wrapped up in a blanket of clouds and steam, and we
cannot see them yet. They are very hot indeed, and all the water that
will make the oceans and seas and bays is now steam and clouds hiding
the true planet from view. Water could no more rest on the surface of
the planets Jupiter and Saturn than it could rest on red-hot iron. Don't
you remember, the other day, when nurse upset a cup of water on the hot
stove, how the water sizzled and turned into steam in a moment?

"Now planet earth, a long time ago, when it was a very young world, was
very hot like Jupiter. All the lakes and seas and oceans were turned into
steam and blankets of cloud. It would have been a very uncomfortable world
to live on then. But it became cooler and cooler, and the clouds changed
into the oceans and seas and lakes that make our earth so beautiful.

"Some day this little world will grow old, and the oceans will get
smaller and smaller, and the earth colder and colder. Then there will be
scarcely any air to breathe, and we would gasp, and die just like that
poor fish that Uncle Robert caught last week and threw in the bottom of
the boat. Don't you remember, Nellie, how the poor little thing gasped
and jumped around? It could not live out of the water, so it died. Now,
we cannot live without air, and if this earth had not any air we would
die. But this will not happen for a very long time."

"Are you quite sure?" asked Harry, with an anxious look on his face;
"because I don't want to die yet, sister."

"Quite sure, my little brother," she said, kissing him tenderly; "for
hundreds and hundreds of years must pass away before anyone will have
any idea that the earth is growing old."

"And what will become of the poor little fishes when the oceans dry up?"
asked Nellie sadly, as she clasped her dollie closely in her arms, as
though to protect it from the coming trouble.

"I expect they will all die," said Harry wisely; "because you know,
Nellie, they can't live out of water. Can they?"

"Or else that fish Uncle Robert caught would have lived," said Nellie.
"But please tell us a story about Mercury, Cousin Mary, and the other
little planets."

"Well, Mercury is a very little planet, and instead of taking a year of
three hundred and sixty-five days, it goes around the sun in eighty-eight
days. That is, it goes round the sun four times while we go round it
only once. Some think Mercury always keeps the same side turned to the
sun, so that it is always day on one side and night on the other, but
we are not quite sure about this yet."

"I should like to live on Mercury, wouldn't you, Harry?" said Nellie,
clapping her hands with glee. "Just think of day all the time, and never
having to go to sleep!"

"But you would get very tired of that," said Mary, "and long for the
night to come. And, besides, would you not miss seeing the moon and the
beautiful stars?"

"I would live on the edge of Mercury," said Harry thoughtfully, "so that
when I was tired of day I might slip around it and have night. It must
be very cold on the other side, where the sun does not shine, if Mercury
gets all its heat from the sun."

"I suspect it is," said Mary, "and I don't believe we should like to live
on Mercury, after all; so let us try the next planet, which is called
Venus."


STORY OF PLANET VENUS.

"What a pretty name," said Nellie; "and is Venus very warm, like Mercury?"

"It is not so near to the sun," replied Mary, "but it is about twice as
warm and bright as our planet. Venus is nearly as large as the earth,
and sometimes she is called her twin sister.

"Like Mercury, she may probably always turn the same face to the sun,
and get baked on one side and frozen on the other. She looks like a
beautiful silver globe in the sky. Sometimes we see her early in the
morning as a morning star, or just about twilight as an evening star.
Like Mercury and the earth, she borrows all her light from the sun. We
only see her because the sun is shining on her. Next to Venus is our
own planet, earth, and around it circles the moon, but I must tell you
about that another time."

  [Illustration: EARTH IN SPACE.]


ESTELLE'S ASTRONOMY.

BY DELIA HART STONE.

     Our little Estelle
       Was perplexed when she found
     That this wonderful world
       That we live on is round.

     How 'tis held in its place
       In its orbit so true
     Was a puzzle to her,
       With no answer in view.

     "It must be," said Estelle,
       "Like a ball in the air
     That is hung by a string;
       But the string isn't there!"

                           --St. Nicholas, March, 1896.


VENUS.

     Fairest of stars, last in the train of night,
     If better thou belong not to the dawn,
     Sure pledge of day, that crown'st the smiling morn
     With thy bright circlet.

                           --Milton.


THE EVENING STAR.

     Lo! in the painted oriel of the West,
       Whose panes the sunken sun incarnadines,
       Like a fair lady at her casement, shines
     The evening star, the star of love and rest!
     And then anon she doth herself divest
       Of all her radiant garments, and reclines
       Behind the somber screen of yonder pines,
     With slumber and soft dreams of love oppressed.

     O my beloved, my sweet Hesperus!
       My morning and my evening star of love!
     My best and gentlest lady! even thus,
       As that fair planet in the sky above,
     Dost thou retire unto thy rest at night,
     And from thy darkened window fades the light.

                           --Longfellow.


MERCURY.

     First, Mercury, amid full tides of light,
     Rolls next the sun, through his small circle bright;
     Our earth would blaze beneath so fierce a ray,
     And all its marble mountains melt away.
     Fair Venus next fulfills her larger round,
     With softer beams and milder glory crowned;
     Friend to mankind, she glitters from afar,
     Now the bright evening, now the morning star.

                           --Baker.



A RAMBLE ON THE MOON.


The moon was shining brightly and flooding Harry's room with its rays.
He was suffering so very much, and had tried in vain to sleep. Presently
he asked his nurse if she would not let Mary come and talk to him. "It
will not tire me," he begged earnestly; "and it does tire me to lie here
hour after hour with no one to talk to."

His nurse understood him so well, and her heart ached for the lonely
child who had so little to amuse him in life. She never refused a request
if it were at all possible to grant it. So she called his sister Mary,
who hastened at once to his room, and brother and sister were soon far
away on a ramble in starland.

"We shall go to the moon this evening," she began, "and find out what
a queer old world it is."

"Old?" asked Harry; "why do you call it old, when it looks so bright
and new? See, sister, how it seems to be looking right into the window
and watching us. I wonder if it knows what we are saying about it. Now
what would it think if it heard you calling it old?"

  [Illustration: THE MOON.]

"But it is," said Mary, laughing; "and very old indeed. Its face is
wrinkled and scarred, and is just like that of the old dried-up apple
we found in the orchard the other day."

"What makes it so bright, then, if it is so old?" asked Harry, as he
looked curiously at the moon.

"It borrows its light from the sun," replied his sister; "if the sun
were to stop shining you would not be able to see the moon at all. It
would be as dark as night and twice as gloomy."

"Do you think there are people on the moon?" asked Harry excitedly.

"No, dear, not even the 'Man in the Moon,' though I am going to tell
you some stories about him presently. Besides, no one could live on the
moon, as there is not any air to breathe, and you cannot live without
air. There is not any water to drink; in fact, there is not a drop of
water on the moon."

"Then it must be very old," said Harry thoughtfully, "because you know
you told me, sister, some time ago, that if a planet grows very old all
the oceans and bays disappear."

"Yes, the moon is very old; it is a dead world. If you could go there,
you would find it a very gloomy spot. There are no trees or flowers;
and there is not even a blade of grass. The sky is always black and the
stars shine night and day. The shadows are so black on the moon that
it would be a fine place to play hide-and-seek. The moment you stepped
into a shadow you would become invisible."

  [Illustration: SCENERY ON THE MOON.]

"Just like the prince in the fairy tale who put on a little cap and no
one could see him," said Harry.

"Yes; that prince would not need the cap on the moon. If he did not want
anyone to know he was there, all he would have to do would be to keep
in the shadow. No one would hear his footsteps, as not a sound can be
heard on the moon. It would be useless to speak, as there is no air to
carry the sound of a voice."

"I should not like to go to the moon, then," said Harry seriously,
"because you could not tell me any stories, sister, could you? What
would I do then?"

"I really cannot imagine," said Mary, laughing; "but perhaps you might
come across the Man in the Moon and talk to him in sign-language."

"Like the deaf-and-dumb people?" asked Harry.

"If he could understand it," said Mary; "but then, we know there is
really not any Man in the Moon."

"But there is a story about him," said Harry coaxingly, "and I do wish
you would tell it to me, just now while the moon is looking at us from
the sky."


THE MAN IN THE MOON.

"Well, once upon a time," began Mary, in true fairy-story fashion,
"there was a man who went out into the woods and picked up sticks on a
Sunday. That was very wicked of him, you know, because Sunday is a day
of rest, and picking up sticks is work. He tied the sticks together into
a bundle, and, putting them on his shoulder, started to walk home with
them. On the way he met a handsome stranger, who said to him:

"'What are you picking up sticks for on Sunday?'

"'It does not matter to me whether it is Sunday or Monday,' replied the
man roughly. 'I pick up sticks when I want to.'

"'Very well, then,' replied the handsome stranger sternly, 'since you
will not observe Sunday as a day of rest on earth, you shall have an
everlasting moon-day in heaven.' Next moment he went whirling away to
the sky, and landed on the moon, where you can still see him with his
load of sticks on his back at full moon."

"Can I see him now, sister?" asked Harry.

"Not to-night," she replied, "because there is only a quarter moon. But
perhaps you can see the face of the woman in the moon, if you look very
carefully. See her sharp chin and pointed nose and shaggy eyebrows."

"Why, is there a woman in the moon, too?" asked Harry, as he looked
intently at the moon, trying to see all his sister had pointed out, but
having to rely largely upon his imagination.


THE WOMAN IN THE MOON.

"I have heard a story of an old woman who was sent to the moon."

"Why, what had she done?" asked Harry.

"She was very unhappy while on earth, because she could not tell when
the world would come to an end; that is, when it would get old and dead
like the moon, so that no one could live on it any longer. For this she
was sent to the moon. She has been weaving a forehead strap ever since.
Once a month she stirs a kettle of boiling hominy, and her cat sits
beside her unraveling her net. So she keeps on weaving and weaving, and
the cat unravels her work as soon as it is done. This must continue to
the end of time, for never till then will her work be finished."

"Poor old woman!" said Harry; "I wonder she does not hide her work from
the cat, or send the cat away. But then, that is only a story. Can you
tell me another?"

"Do you never tire of stories?" asked Mary, smiling.

"Never, when you tell them to me, sister. And you seem to know such a
lot of them."

"But these stories are only fairy-tales," said Mary, laughing; "these
moon-stories, I mean."

"I don't mind," said Harry roguishly; "we must have a little make-up story
now and then, or I would get tired. Do you make them all up yourself,
sister?"

"No, indeed," said Mary. "I find them here and there and everywhere;
sometimes right in the middle of a big book on astronomy, or in the
corner of an old newspaper, or hidden away in a book covered with dust
on the top shelf in the library."

"Where did you find that story about the old woman and the cat?"

"In a book of Indian legends, and the story is told by the Iroquois
Indians. Here is another one I found. Would you like to hear it?"

"You know I would, dear," said Harry, nestling closer to his sister, as
she clasped his hand in hers.


THE TOAD IN THE MOON.

"Once upon a time a little wolf fell very much in love with a toad, and
went a-wooing one night. Just like the frog, 'he would a-wooing go.'
You remember, Harry, don't you?"

"'Whether his mother would let him or no,'" continued Harry; "of course
I remember all about him. So the wolf went after the toad and----"

"He prayed that the moon would light him on his way," continued Mary; "and
his prayer was heard. By the clear light of the full moon he ran after
the toad, and he nearly caught her, when, what do you think happened?"

"Oh, go on, sister; tell me quickly!" said Harry excitedly.

"Why, the toad jumped right onto the face of the moon, and, turning
round to the wolf, said: 'How's that, Mr. Wolf?' And she is laughing at
the wolf to this day."

"That was a clever little toad," said Harry, laughing; "and how vexed
Mr. Wolf must have been! Are there any more people on the moon--I mean
story people?"

"Yes, there is one we read about in the legend of Hiawatha. Don't you
remember how Nokomis tells about a warrior

     "'... Who very angry
     Seized his grandmother, and threw her
     Up into the sky at midnight,
     Right against the moon he threw her:
     'Tis her body that you see there.'"

"Do you think he meant the black marks you can see all over the moon,
sister?"

  [Illustration: EARTH AS SEEN FROM THE MOON.]


SCENERY ON THE MOON.

"Very likely," replied Mary; "and perhaps you would like me to tell you
what those black marks are. They are enormous plains and gloomy caverns
on the moon. A long time ago, perhaps, these plains were bays and seas.
At least, a great astronomer named Galileo thought they were, and he
gave them such pretty names--the Sea of Serenity, the Bay of Dreams,
the Ocean of Storms. But he lived in the days before it was known that
there is not any water on the surface of the moon. Then the caverns on
the moon may once have been volcanoes pouring forth hot lava and ashes,
just as the active volcanoes on the earth. But the volcanoes in the moon
have gone out. They are now like huge dark caverns, some of them more
than fifty miles across. One is three miles deep, and it is named Tycho,
after a great astronomer of olden times.

"Then there are mountains on the moon just like the mountains on earth,
and quite as high. In walking over the moon you would find it very rough
and uneven, but you would not mind this very much, as you would weigh
so much less. Just think, Harry, you would weigh only one-sixth as much
as you do here."

"And what would Uncle Robert weigh?" asked Harry, with a gleam of mischief
in his eye.

  [Illustration: PLANET EARTH AND THE MOON.]

"He would only weigh forty pounds," said Mary, laughing; "and if he
played football on the moon, a good kick would send the ball six times
as far away as here. Supposing we were on the moon now, you could throw
a stone at Uncle Robert's house on the other side of the grounds, six
hundred yards away, and hit one of the windows."

"I expect Uncle Robert may be glad then we are not on the moon," said
Harry, laughing; "because I am afraid I should be throwing stones at the
windows all the time. I can see the windows plainly from here. There is
a light in the library."

"Then it must be very late," said Mary, looking over at the house;
"because uncle said he would not be home till nine o'clock. So I can
only tell you one more little story about the moon, and then I must let
you go to sleep. This story is told by the Hindoo people, and gives the
reason why the moon shines with such a soft, silvery light."


THE HINDOO LEGEND.

"The Sun, the Moon, and the Wind had been invited to dinner one day by
their uncle and aunt, Thunder and Lightning. Their mother (one of the
most distant stars you see far up in the sky) waited patiently at home
for the return of her children. Sad to relate, the Sun and Wind were
both greedy and selfish, and, while enjoying the good feast, forgot all
about their poor hungry mother at home.

"But the gentle Moon did not forget, and whenever a dainty dish was
placed before her she would put part of it aside for the Star who waited
so patiently at home. When the Sun, Moon, and Wind returned home, the
Star, who had kept her bright little eye open all night long, said:

"'Dear children, have you brought anything home for me?'

"Then the Sun, who was the oldest, said: 'I have brought nothing home
for you. I went out to enjoy myself with my friends, not to get a dinner
for my mother.'

"And the Wind said: 'Neither have I brought home anything for you, mother.
You could scarcely expect me to think of you when I merely went out for
my own pleasure.'

"But the gentle Moon said: 'Mother, see all the good things I saved for
you,' and she placed a choice dinner before her mother.

"Then the Star turned to the Sun, and said: 'Because you went out to
amuse yourself with your friends, without any thought of your poor,
lonely mother at home, you shall be cursed. Henceforth your rays shall
be ever hot and scorching. They shall burn all they touch, and men shall
hate you and cover their heads when you appear.' That is why the sun is
so hot to this day.

"Then she turned to the Wind and said: 'You also, who forgot your mother
while you were enjoying yourself, shall be punished. You shall always
blow during the hot, dry weather, and shall parch and shrivel all living
things. Men shall detest and avoid you from this time till the end of the
world.' That is why the wind is so disagreeable during the hot weather.

"But to the gentle Moon she said: 'Daughter, because you remembered your
hungry mother at home, you shall be cool, calm, and bright. No dazzling
glare will accompany your pure rays, and men will call you "blessed."'
That is why the moon's light is so soothing and beautiful."

"Is that all?" asked Harry, as his sister finished the story.

"That is all," said Mary; "but here is a little good-night lullaby by
Eugene Field, and then you must go to sleep:

     "'In through the window a moonbeam comes,
     Little gold moonbeam with misty wings,
     All silently creeping, he asks, "Are you sleeping,
     Sleeping and dreaming, while the pretty stars sing?"'"


THE NEW MOON.

BY MRS. FOLLEN.

         Dear mother, how pretty
         The moon looks to-night!
     She was never so cunning before;
         Her two little horns
         Are so sharp and bright,
     I hope she'll not grow any more.

         If I were up there,
         With you and my friends,
     I'd rock in it nicely, you'd see;
         I'd sit in the middle
         And hold by both ends;
     Oh, what a bright cradle 'twould be!

         I would call to the stars
         To keep out of the way
     Lest we should rock over their toes;
         And then I would rock
         Till the dawn of the day,
     And see where the pretty moon goes.

         And there we would stay
         In the beautiful skies,
     And through the bright clouds we would roam;
             We would see the sun set,
         And see the sun rise,
     And on the next rainbow come home.

       --Taken from Child-Life, edited by Whittier.

  [Illustration]


LADY MOON.

BY LORD HOUGHTON.

     Lady Moon, Lady Moon, where are you roving?
             Over the sea.
     Lady Moon, Lady Moon, whom are you loving?
             All that love me.

     Are you not tired with rolling, and never
             Resting to sleep?
     Why look so pale and so sad, as forever
             Wishing to weep?

     Ask me not this, little child, if you love me;
             You are too bold;
     I must obey my dear Father above me,
                     And do as I'm told.

     Lady Moon, Lady Moon, where are you roving?
             Over the sea.
     Lady Moon, Lady Moon, whom are you loving?
             All that love me.

       --Taken from Child-Life, edited by Whittier.


A LEGEND.

     A moonbeam once fell on the bell of a flower,
       Way down by a silvery rill;
     'Twas cradled to sleep in a rapturous hour,
       When all the green forest was still.

     That flower, when golden and glad was the morning,
       Was shriveled and wilted and thin;
     But on the next night, all its chalice adorning,
       The moonbeam still lingered within.

     Since then has the flower been tender and creamy,
       Wherever its petals have blown,
     All fragile and pearly and dainty and dreamy
       Is the night-blooming cereus known.

       --Taken from the New York Tribune.



THE PLANET MARS AND THE BABY PLANETS.


Next morning Harry and his little cousin Nellie, with her doll, awaited
Mary. Harry had told Nellie about his delightful ramble on the moon the
evening before, and she was delighted with the stories of the man, the
woman, and the toad in the moon.

"I wonder what cousin Mary will tell us about this morning," she said.

"I am going to tell you about a pretty little planet named Mars," said
Mary, as she came into the room and overheard Nellie's remark. Picking
up Nellie, and placing her on her knee, she began the story of Mars as
follows:


STORY OF PLANET MARS.

"Next door to our own planet earth is a beautiful little world tinted
with red. It has snow-white caps at the north and south poles just like
our earth, and trees and flowers perhaps far prettier, for all we know.
But there is not much water on Mars, because Mars is an old planet."

"How do you know it is old?" asked Harry.

  [Illustration: THE PLANET MARS.]

"I know it is old," replied his sister, "because the older a planet
is, the smaller are the seas and lakes and the amount of water on its
surface. As the planet gets older and older, the water disappears, until
not a drop is left. But there are wonderful canals all over Mars, and if
there were boats up there, you could go all over Mars by means of these
canals. When Mr. Lowell looked at Mars through his fine telescope, he
not only saw the canals, but round spots where the canals meet."

"Perhaps the spots are landing-places where the captains take new
passengers aboard," said Harry earnestly.

"Perhaps, Harry," said his sister, laughing; "that is, if there are any
people on Mars, and captains and boats. How you would enjoy going in a
yacht up and down these canals, seeing the lovely flowers and scenery
on Mars, for I am sure it must be a very beautiful little world.

"It is not quite as bright on Mars as it is here, since it is farther
away from the sun and only gets one-half as much light and heat. The
year is also nearly twice as long and lasts six hundred and eighty-seven
days, instead of only three hundred and sixty-five. Therefore, the summer
season is nearly twice as long, but not nearly as warm as here."

"Then the winter must be twice as long and much colder than here," Harry
said. "I do not think I should like that. But perhaps the canals freeze
over in the winter time, and there may be fine skating up there?"

  [Illustration: CANALS OF MARS (LOWELL).]

"No, the canals disappear altogether during the winter time," replied
Mary; "or, rather, we cannot see them until they reappear again as
faint dark lines in the spring-time. They get wider and wider until the
summer season, then they get narrow again and disappear. Some of them
are double, but the double lines we see may mean only grass and ferns
on each side of a large canal fifty miles wide. When the canals double,
the little round spots at the junctions of the canals darken. Perhaps
these spots are like little islands in a desert, and they are covered
with grass during the summer time."

"I should like to live on one of those little islands," said Harry.
"Wouldn't you, Nellie?"

"If I could take my dollie with me," she replied, as she gazed at it
tenderly. "And we might go for little boat-rides all around the islands.
Do you think there are any little girls on Mars who have beautiful
dollies like mine?"

"I really do not know," replied Mary; "but if there are any people living
on Mars, I do know they are not like us. We could not live there, as
there is not enough air for us to breathe. We would gasp just as that
poor fish did the other day, when Uncle Robert hauled it up out of the
lake and threw it into the boat. We must have air, and plenty of it, if
we want to live."

"So we could not live on Mars, could we, sister?" said Harry.

"It would not be comfortable," replied Mary; "besides, it is not nearly
as warm as here. Poor Uncle Robert would nearly freeze during the long
winter. He would also find another surprise awaiting him if he went to
Mars. Mars is a smaller world than the earth, so everything weighs less."

"Ah! I see," said Harry, clapping his hands with glee. "Uncle would
not be so heavy on Mars. How glad he would be to go there! Poor Uncle
Robert! He is so heavy he just shakes the house when he walks across
the floor. Next time I see him I shall say: 'Go to Mars, Uncle Robert,
and see what will happen to you there.' How much would he weigh on Mars?"

"He weighs two hundred and forty pounds here, and would weigh only ninety
pounds there, and you would weigh only thirty pounds. So I could pick
you up, couch and all, and carry you as easily as Nellie carries her
doll in its doll-carriage."

"Then dollie would weigh nothing at all," said Nellie, looking at her
doll curiously.

Harry looked puzzled, and after thinking a moment, he said to his sister:

"I cannot see why I would weigh less if I went to Mars."

  [Illustration: MARS AND THE EARTH.]

"Because the planet being smaller than the earth, it has less power
to attract you and to hold you down to its surface. The earth is like
a great magnet, and if there were not something drawing us to it and
keeping us there, we would be greatly puzzled. Tables and chairs would
not stand firm, and we would stagger about for want of weight, just as
when a diver tries to walk in deep water. He has to have heavy weights
fastened to him so as to keep him in place. A stone that would be quite
heavy on earth would weigh only a few ounces on Mars. Nellie could carry
this large rocking-chair I am sitting in and eight or ten dollies as
well. Do you remember seeing the men at the circus jumping over bars five
feet high? Well, on Mars they could jump fifteen feet, while the clumsy
old elephant we saw there would probably be as graceful and nimble as
a deer."

"How would football be on Mars?" asked Harry.

"Very unlike football here, dear. A good kick would send the ball much
farther than here."

"Is Mars very far away?" asked Nellie. "If we could go there in a train,
would it take us ever so long going?"

"About sixty years," said Mary, laughing, "if the train went a mile a
minute. If you tried to walk it, going four miles an hour and ten hours
a day, it would take you more than two thousand years to get there. So,
I don't think we can take that trip, little girl, can we? But let us
call on the next-door neighbor or neighbors to Mars, for there are about
four hundred and fifty of them."


STORY OF THE BABY PLANETS.

"Four hundred and fifty little worlds?" asked Harry.

"Where can there be room for them all, and don't they knock against each
other in the sky?"

"No, there is plenty of room for them up there. Besides, they are so
small, some of them being only ten miles wide."

"Why, Uncle Robert walked ten miles the other day," said Harry; "he could
walk all around those little worlds. And if they are so little, I suppose
he would weigh scarcely anything at all if he lived on one of them. I
should think he would be almost like the giant with the seven-league
boots. Don't you remember, Nellie, you were reading about him the other
day. Poor little Jack the Giant Killer would not have much chance there,
but perhaps he could fly if he weighed so little. And how would football
be on these little worlds?"

"You might give the ball such a kick that it would leave the planet
altogether and circle around the sun as a planet on its own account."

How Harry and Nellie laughed at the idea of a football circling around
the sun as a planet!

"And is this really true?" inquired Harry. "Why, this is better than
any fairy story I ever heard. Now, tell me some more. Don't you think
we might be able to fly on these tiny worlds?"

"If you could get someone to make you a pair of wings up there, it would
be quite easy to fly. Our bodies would only weigh a few pounds, so we
ought to be able to flap a pair of wings strong enough to keep us flying.
That is, if the air around these little worlds is as dense as ours."

"Don't I wish I lived there, then," said Harry regretfully, "because
it would not matter about my being lame. And I could put on my wings
whenever I wanted to see you, Nellie, and fly across the park, and way,
way up into the sky, and----"

"Oh, don't! Harry," said Nellie, throwing her doll on the ground and
catching hold of her cousin in dismay; "if you go you must take me with
you too. And poor little dollie," she continued, suddenly remembering
her precious charge, "and Cousin Mary and Uncle Robert and Aunt Agnes
and everybody in the world. What would we do if you flew away from us?"

"But I can't," said Harry, laughing at her dismay; "and it's just like a
little girl to think I would go and leave her all alone. No, we'll all
go some day, won't we?" he continued, turning to his sister Mary; "and
we'll be with the angels--and have wings. You and Nellie and I--why, we
will all fly, and I shall forget I ever was lame on planet earth then."

"And will father have wings, too?" asked Nellie curiously. "He will want
a very big pair, something like the big eagle's down at the aquarium."

"Will he, you little rogue?" exclaimed the loud, good-natured voice of
her father, as he appeared on the scene. "So this is where you are, and
I have been looking for you all over the house and grounds."

"I told nurse I would be back in a minute," she replied.

"A minute!" said her father, laughing heartily; "why, you have been
here nearly an hour. So you want your father to have wings, do you, you
little rogue! Wait till I show you how you would fly if you had wings."
The next moment he put her up on his shoulder, dollie and all, and ran
with her across the meadow at full speed, while she laughed merrily and
clapped her hands with delight.

"So the party is broken up," said Harry's nurse, who came to look after
her charge.

"Yes; one of the audience has flown," said Harry, laughing.

"And I must fly, too," said Mary, as she kissed Harry lovingly. "And I
shall tell you about the rest of Giant Sun's family to-morrow. Good-by."



STORY OF JUPITER AND HIS MOONS.


It was several days before Mary could see Harry again and tell him
"sky-stories," as he called them, for he had been suffering much pain.
Even her gentle voice irritated him, and perfect quiet was ordered by
the doctor until the little sufferer was better. At last he was able
to enjoy the sunlight and the flowers and the song of the birds again,
and one bright morning he was all ready, as he told his sister, to take
another trip to Starland. As Mary arranged the pillows on the couch for
him, and a large sunshade, so that the glare of sunlight would not hurt
his eyes, he caught hold of her hand and, pressing it lovingly, he said:

"Darling, what should I do without you? You are so good to me."

"How can I help it, little sweetheart!" said Mary, as she turned her head
aside to keep him from seeing the tears that would come to her eyes;
"how can I help it, when I love you so dearly. Besides, you are my own
dear little brother, and you don't know how I missed you all last week."

"Did you really, sister? And I was dreaming away all day long about the
wonderful stories you have been telling me. I played football on Mars,
and had beautiful wings when I lived on the baby planets, and flew from
one to another, and now I want to know something about the giant planets.
You said they lived next door to the little tiny planets."


STORY OF JUPITER.

"Yes, next door to the baby planets we come to the largest of all,
the giant planet Jupiter. If a tunnel were made through the center of
Jupiter, eleven globes as large as the earth, placed side by side, would
reach from one side to the other. You could make thirteen hundred globes
out of planet Jupiter as large as the earth. If the earth were a large
snowball, and a giant could roll thirteen hundred such snowballs into
one, he would have a ball to play with as large as planet Jupiter. If
it were made of the same material as the earth, it would be more than
three hundred times as heavy."

"It would take a very big giant to play with that snowball, wouldn't
it?" said Harry, smiling at the thought. "There would not be much room
in the sky for him to play in, would there?"

  [Illustration: GIANT JUPITER AND THE EARTH.]

"Plenty of room," replied his sister, laughing; "room for millions and
millions of balls as large as Jupiter, and much, much larger."

"What a wonderful place the sky must be!" said Harry, in awe. "Now,
tell me some more about Jupiter. Didn't you tell me last week that he
is hidden away among blankets, and very, very hot?"

"That is right, Harry, but some day he will cool down, and the blankets
will change into beautiful oceans and seas and lakes. Then it will be
a world like ours, with trees and flowers, and perhaps people will live
there."

"The sun is so much further away from Jupiter than from the earth that
it gives it only one twenty-seventh as much light and heat. If you can
imagine the sun as a bright lamp in the sky, and someone turning down
the wick of the lamp till its light is only one twenty-seventh as bright
as it is now, you can imagine how dim the light and small the amount of
heat must be on Jupiter."

"How long does Jupiter take in going round the sun?" asked Harry.

"About twelve years," replied Mary; "and the day is only about ten hours
long, instead of twenty-four as here."

"What a short day!" said Harry, in surprise. "Then you could work only
five hours and sleep five hours. I believe I would sleep all day, and
all night, too. I must tell Nellie about that next time I see her."

"Why did not she come this morning, I wonder?" said Mary. "Perhaps she
has gone for a walk with her nurse."

"I'll tell her about my trip," said Harry generously, "when she comes
over here again. And now what else is there about Jupiter?"


JUPITER AS SEEN THROUGH A TELESCOPE.

"If you look at it through a large telescope you will see that it is
beautifully colored, as if Uncle Robert had taken his paint-box, and
dipped his brush into browns and reds, and tinted the cloud-belts around
Jupiter here and there with touches of yellow and orange, olive-green
and purple. Only an artist could get such beautiful effects. If we could
journey to one of the little moons of Jupiter----"

"Has Jupiter moons also?" asked Harry, delighted at the thought.

"Five of them," said Mary; "and I shall tell you about them later.
Supposing we could journey to one of these little moons, what a glorious
sight Jupiter would be! From the nearest moon it would look thousands of
times larger than our moon. The colors we see only faintly through our
telescopes would present a magnificent sight when seen at close range,
while constant changes would be taking place, as varied as the changes
in the clouds flitting across a summer sky. Great cloud-masses drift
hither and thither with enormous speed, driven by winds of hurricane
force. By watching the changes that take place in the clouds, we know
there must be winds blowing at the rate of nearly two hundred miles
per hour. Do you remember the cyclone Uncle Robert told us about, when
several houses were blown down and trees uprooted?"

"Yes, indeed, I do," replied Harry, "and his poor little dog Fido was
nearly killed by a falling chimney."

"Poor little Fido would not have much chance on Jupiter. The storms
there are ever so much worse than here. The strongest buildings would
be blown down in a few moments; sturdy oaks would be uprooted and blown
about by the wind like straws."

"Do the storms last very long?" asked Harry.

"They last six and seven weeks at a time," replied Mary, "so that Jupiter
would scarcely be a comfortable world to live on yet. Besides, it is
still in the fiery stage."

"Won't you tell me some more about the little moons of Jupiter?" asked
Harry.


THE MOONS OF JUPITER.

"They are not so little, after all, brother, except the first one, which
is only one hundred miles wide. It is such a shy little moon that it keeps
hiding behind Jupiter, or gets so close to him that it is lost in the
glare of light from the giant planet. We had no idea it was there at all
until an American astronomer, Professor Barnard, caught sight of it one
evening. It was playing hide-and-seek as usual, but Professor Barnard,
with his keen eyes, spied the little speck of light. It is now known
as the fifth moon of Jupiter. It was only discovered in 1892, and just
think, that for the hundreds and hundreds of years it has been there,
yet no one had seen it. The French people were so delighted because
Professor Barnard caught sight of the little truant that they gave him
a beautiful gold medal."

  [Illustration: JUPITER AND HIS MOONS.]

"Won't you show the little moon to me sometime?" said Harry. "I should
like to see it so much."

"You can only see it through a very large telescope; but I can show you
the other four moons if Uncle Robert will lend us his telescope."

"Here he comes," said Harry, in great glee, as he saw Uncle Robert
crossing the meadow. "Won't you bring over your telescope this evening?"
said Harry pleadingly, as he told him what Mary had just said.

"Certainly, my little man," his uncle replied; "but we can only see
three of the moons this evening as one of them is eclipsed."

"What's that?" said Harry, in surprise at the strange word.

"Eclipsed means hidden," said Mary, laughing. "If Uncle Robert stands
right in front of you, as he is doing just now, he hides me from you,
so I am eclipsed."

"Very true," said Uncle Robert, laughing heartily at the hint. "Planet
Mary is eclipsed by Uncle Robert, and poor little Planet Harry cannot
see her till Uncle Robert gets out of the way." This he immediately
proceeded to do, and next moment he was pursuing Fido, who was having
a not over-friendly encounter with a strange cat in a neighbor's garden.

"Oh, dear," said Harry, in distress, "where were we? We were up in the
sky among the planets, and now Uncle Robert has brought us back again
to earth. Do listen to poor Fido." He certainly seemed to be getting
the worse of the encounter with Pussy; but when Uncle Robert came to the
rescue the enemy vanished, and Fido, nothing daunted, went in search of
other prey. When peace and quiet were once more restored, Mary resumed
her story.


ECLIPSE OF JUPITER'S MOONS.

"Do you know, the appearance and disappearance of the little moons of
Jupiter once gave a great deal of trouble to astronomers. They had a
way of appearing a little too soon or a little too late. They were very
seldom on time. This was very provoking, as astronomers were rather
proud of being able to tell exactly when these little moons could be
seen. At last they found out what was the matter, and that they were to
blame and not the moons. We see the little moons on account of their
light, and light takes time to travel. Don't you remember, I told you
sound travels a mile in five seconds. Light travels even more quickly,
for it only takes a little over a second in coming to us from the moon.
It takes about eight minutes in coming to us from the sun; but Jupiter
is about five times as far away from us as the sun, so that light takes
about half an hour in coming to us from Jupiter. We do not see it as
it is, but as it was more than half an hour ago, when its rays of light
started out to Planet Earth.

"Now, Jupiter, in going around the sun, is sometimes on the same side
of the sun as we are. Then the light from the moons reaches us in about
thirty-two minutes. But when Jupiter is on the opposite side of the
sun, and as far away from us as it can be, then light takes as much as
forty-eight minutes in coming here--over a quarter of an hour longer. So
a clever astronomer decided that when Jupiter and his moons are nearest
to us, it does not take as long for their light to reach us as when they
are farther away, and this is because light, like sound, must have time
to travel.

"Even though light can go round the earth seven times in a second,
traveling at the rate of about 186,000 miles a second, yet, as Jupiter
is millions of miles away, it takes light about half an hour, and some
times forty-eight minutes, for it to cross that great distance. It is
just the same as if Uncle Robert were in India. It would take him a much
longer time to come and see you than if he were at his home just a few
hundred yards away. It takes time for him to travel here, just as it
takes time for light to travel from the little moons of Jupiter."

"I wish we had five moons shining on our earth," said Harry; "how pretty
it would be! Does it take the moons as long as our moon to get around
Jupiter?"

"They are much livelier than our moon," replied Mary; "and the second
moon flies right around Jupiter in a little more than a day and a half,
and even the outside moon only takes about two weeks; so there must
always be a moon shining in the sky for Jupiter. These moons, except
the moon discovered by Professor Barnard, are all larger than our moon,
and the fourth one is nearly as large as Mars. But I hear the bell for
lunch, Harry, and I must run away now. I will tell you about the other
planets later."

"How many are there?" said Harry, as his sister kissed him good-by.

"Only three," replied Mary; "and I shall tell you about them to-morrow,
if you are not too tired."

"Too tired!" said Harry. "I am never too tired to listen to you."


JUPITER.

     Oh! that it were my doom to be
       The spirit of yon beauteous star,
     Dwelling up there in purity,
       Alone, as all such bright things are;
     My sole employ to pray and shine,
     To light my censer at the sun!

                           Moore: Loves of the Angels.


A LESSON IN ASTRONOMY.

     The solar system puzzled us,
       Miss Mary said she thought it would,
     And so she gave us each a name,
     And made it all into a game,
         And then we understood.

     Theresa, with her golden hair
       All loose and shining, was the sun,
     And 'round her Mercury and Mars,
     Venus, and all the other stars
       Stood waiting, every one.

     I was the earth, with little Nell
       Beside me for the moon so round,
     And Saturn had two hoops for rings,
     And Mercury a pair of wings,
       And Jupiter was crowned.

     Then when Miss Mary waved her hand,
       Each slow and stately in our place,
     We circled round the sun until
     A comet, that was little Will,
       Came rushing on through space.

     He darted straight into our midst,
       He whirled among us like a flash,
     The stars went flying, and the sun,
     And laughing, breathless, wild with fun,
       The "system" went to smash.

                           --Youth's Companion.



THE GIANT PLANETS.

THE PLANET SATURN.


Harry had spent a most delightful evening looking through Uncle Robert's
telescope at the little moons of Jupiter, and he also had seen the planet
Saturn, with its rings and moons. Next evening when his sister came to
talk with him he had many questions to ask her. First of all he wanted
to know what the rings were made of.

  [Illustration: THE RINGED PLANET SATURN.]

"Millions of little moons," replied his sister. "I wish you could see
Saturn and its rings through the great telescope at the Lick Observatory.
It makes such a pretty picture. Like Jupiter, the planet Saturn is
surrounded by clouds; but they are tinted with blue at the poles, yellow
elsewhere, and dotted here and there with brown; purple, and red spots.
Around the center is a creamy white belt. Then, there are eight moons
that accompany Saturn in its journey around the sun; but they give very
little light to the planet, since if they could all be full together
they would give but a sixteenth part of the light we receive from the
moon."

"Why is that?" asked Harry.


THE PLANET URANUS.

"Because Saturn is so far away from the Sun," replied Mary. "Next to
Saturn we find Uranus. This planet was first seen by William Herschel,
who afterwards became one of the greatest astronomers the world has ever
known. When Herschel was a little boy his home was in Hanover. He had
great talent for music, and when he was fourteen years old he joined the
band of the Hanoverian Guards. What a proud boy he was when he dressed
in his new uniform! However, pride must have a fall, and it was not very
long before he wished he had never entered the army. Just about this
time war broke out between France and England, and as Hanover belonged
to the English it was attacked by the French. The Hanoverian Guards were
badly defeated. Herschel spent the night after the battle hiding away in
a ditch, and next day, assisted by his friends, he ran away to England.
There he continued his musical studies, and some years later he became
a fine organist."

"Did he have to play a big organ like the one in our church?" asked Harry.

"Something like that, I suppose," said Mary; "and he played very well
indeed. He learned more and more about music, and in the evenings when
going and coming from the church he used to notice the beautiful stars
overhead, and he wished to learn something about them."

"Just the way I feel," said Harry. "I get nurse to pull up the window
curtain at night so that I can see the stars from my bed, and they seem
to laugh and wink their little eyes at me as if they knew I was watching
them. Did Herschel have a telescope like the one Uncle Robert has?"

"He was not so fortunate, but he wanted one very much indeed. So he
borrowed a telescope from a friend, and every night after practicing in
the church he would amuse himself looking at the stars. He longed to
have a telescope of his own; but he found that they cost more than he
could afford to pay, so he decided to make one. He bought all that was
necessary, and turned his home for the time into a workshop. He had a
dear, good-natured sister named Caroline, and she did all she could to
help her brother. Sometimes he was too busy to eat and she used to feed
him. When he was tired she would read to him from the 'Arabian Nights.'"

"The same book I have?" asked Harry, in surprise.

"The very same; and this helped to pass away the time while Herschel
polished away on the great mirror of his telescope. When the telescope
was finished people came from far and near to see it. One evening when
Herschel was gazing at the stars with this magic glass he spied a star
not marked down on his charts. 'Something wrong here,' thought Herschel;
'this must be a comet.' But after noticing it for a while he found that
it was not a comet, but a planet or wanderer among the stars."


DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PLANET AND A STAR.

"How could he tell the difference?" asked Harry. "When I looked at Planet
Jupiter last night it looked like the stars, only rounder and bigger."

"The planets are so much nearer to us than the stars that we can follow
them as they slowly creep between us and the stars in their journey
around the sun. The stars are so far away that we would have to watch
them for thousands of years before they would seem to move at all, yet
we know they are moving."

"Are the stars moving?" said Harry, in surprise.

"Yes, they are moving, just as distant steamers seen at sea are moving;
but they are so far away that they seem motionless. Don't you remember how
we used to watch them from the seashore. Still they were going as fast
as steam could take them. We might compare the steamers to the stars,
and the little boats nearer shore were more like the planets. We could
easily follow the boats with our eyes as they danced over the waves, and
in the same way we can easily follow the planets as they creep across
the sky, because they are so much nearer to us than the stars."

"The new planet was called Uranus, although at first the friends of
Herschel wanted to name it after him. Next to Uranus comes the planet
Neptune, which was discovered before it was ever seen."


THE DISCOVERY OF PLANET NEPTUNE.

"How could that happen?" asked Harry.

"Because Uranus behaved so strangely," replied his sister. "The planets
attract each other; for instance, the earth is swayed to and fro by
Jupiter and Venus, and a great struggle is always going on among the
planets in the family of Giant Sun. It could be plainly seen that Saturn
was taking part in the struggle and dragging Uranus toward it, but
something beyond the newly discovered planet was pulling it the other
way. 'There must be another planet,' said the astronomers, and they were
right. After puzzling over the problem two astronomers found the truant,
and announced exactly when and where it was to be seen. And there it was,
nearly exactly where these learned men said it would be. The new planet
was christened Neptune, and it takes about one hundred and sixty-four
years to go around the sun. It is so far away from the sun that it only
receives one nine-hundredth of the amount of light and heat we receive
on planet earth."

"Then it must be very cold on planet Neptune?" said Harry.

"And very dark also," said Mary, "since from this planet the sun only
looks as large as an electric light seen at a distance of a few feet."

  [Illustration: SIZE OF PLANETS, COMPARED WITH THE SUN.]


"IS IT TRUE?"

BY MORGAN GROWTH.


     She stood where the winter sunlight
       Seemed opening into the skies--
     (She was only a little girl, you see,
       And her teacher was old and wise).

     "You never can be promoted,"
     That wise, wise teacher said,
     "For the lesson you need the most of all
     You leave unlearned, little maid."

     "I didn't like to say it"--
     Her answer was grave, and slow--
     "That the earth goes whirling 'round like a ball,
     For I don't see how they know.

     "I'll write it down on my paper,
       (The one that I hand to you)
     But when I die I shall find the Lord,
       And ask Him if it's true."

     The classes were called without her,
       And the schooldays come and go,
     And other children wonder and wait--
         It is hers alone to know.

     Sometimes, in the empty schoolroom,
       The teacher is left alone
     With the echoes that linger about the place
       And call from stone to stone.

     And, lo, with this world's learning
       Before his wondering view,
     He goes to his Lord--his all-wise Lord,
       And asks Him if it's true.

                           --From Child-Study Monthly.



COMETS AND METEORS.


A few evenings later Mary had a wonderful story to tell her brother
about some visitors from space who often visit the kingdom of Giant Sun.
"They are called comets, or hairy stars, but I rather enjoy calling them
'celestial tramps.'"

"What are they like?" asked Harry.


STORY OF COMETS.

"They usually have a bright golden head, sometimes as large as the earth,
and as they approach the sun they adorn themselves with a glittering train
millions of miles in length. Some of the comets are regular visitors,
and we know just when to expect them; others come, and do not return
for hundreds of years, while a few visit the sun never to return again."

"Where do they come from?" asked Harry.

  [Illustration: A COMET.]

"We scarcely know," replied Mary, "except that it is from outer space,
just like tramps on earth. We do not know where tramps come from, nor
do we expect to see them again. If they do revisit us, however, we can
usually recognize them. Do you remember the old man who came to the
kitchen door the other day and begged for food? You felt so sorry for
him. You would know him if you saw him again on account of his long
white beard, white hair, and shabby clothes.

"When a celestial tramp returns, however, it is not so easy to recognize
it. When it first greeted us it may have had a large head and a gorgeous
train millions of miles in length. Next time we see it, how it has
changed! Its head may be small, its train may have vanished, or it may
be the proud owner of three or four trains. A comet usually changes its
appearance at every visit. Just as if the old man we saw the other day
were to cut off his beard, dye his hair black, and wear Uncle Robert's
dress-suit. We should not know him, should we, Harry?"

  [Illustration: OLD PICTURE OF A COMET.]

"I should think not," said Harry, laughing at the very idea. "Then how
can you tell when the same comet visits us again?"

"Because it has a regular path marked out for it in the sky," replied
Mary, "and it travels along that path unless something happens to it on
the way. It may go too near giant planet Jupiter. Just like our tramp
again. Let us suppose he has a regular path marked out and it takes him
across Uncle Robert's farm and leads to our kitchen door. We may expect
to see Mr. Tramp to-morrow, but as he crosses the farm a dog bites him
and frightens him away. Perhaps then we may not see him again."

"Poor old man," laughed Harry. "I hope that won't happen to him. Do the
'celestial tramps' travel very quickly through the sky?"

"Not very quickly until they come close to the sun. Then they rush around
it ever so much faster than an express train; but as they recede from
the sun they go more slowly until they seem only to creep along, as if
worn out by their long journey. They also lose their trains after they
go away from the sun, and the train becomes shorter and shorter, till
the comet looks like a round, fluffy ball, just as it did before it came
too near the sun. It is the sun's heat that drives the particles from
the head of the comet and forms a train."

"What are comets made of?" asked Harry.

"Of millions of tiny little particles covered with coats of glowing gas.
These particles are made up of carbon, sodium, iron, and magnesium. You
will find plenty of sodium in the sea, while common table salt is partly
sodium. You know what magnesium is. Some of that medicine doctor gives
you is made of it."

"So if I get some iron and salt and coal and some of my medicine, and
put them all together, I should have a bit of a comet," said Harry.

"But you must remember the coal, iron, sodium, and magnesium must be very
much heated, and don't forget the coat of gas. Sometimes a comet breaks
into pieces, and the fragments travel along by themselves as meteors."

"Sometimes the earth plunges through swarms of meteors, which journey
in regular paths around the sun. At such a time, the bright masses seem
to fall in showers from the sky. There are three great showers which
we always know when to expect. Some come in August, some on the 13th
or 14th of November, and there is another shower which always appears
within a day or two of the 27th of November.

     "'If you November's stars would see,
     From twelfth to fourteenth watching be,
     In August too stars shine from heaven,
     On nights between nine and eleven.'"


STORY OF METEORS.

"What are meteors?" asked Harry.

"Meteors are great masses of stone or iron which sometimes weigh several
tons. Lieutenant Peary found one not long ago in the Arctic regions,
and it weighed about eighty tons. It is lucky for us that many meteors
do not fall on the earth, or we should have to walk about with iron
umbrellas over our heads as a protection. When they do fall on earth,
they are much prized and placed in our museums as curiosities.

"A story is told about a meteor that fell on a farm some time ago. The
landlord said it belonged to him, for when he rented the farm to the
tenant he claimed all minerals and metals found in the ground.

"'But it was not on the farm when the lease was made out,' said the tenant.

"'Then I claim it as flying game,' replied the landlord angrily.

"'But it has neither wings nor feathers, so I lay claim to it as ground
game,' said the tenant in reply.

"While the dispute was going on the custom-house officers seized the
meteorite, because, as they said, it had come into the country without
paying duty."

  [Illustration: A METEOR.]

"That is not a true story, is it?" asked Harry, laughing.

"Scarcely," replied Mary; "but it was a good joke on the landlord. And
now we come to the very smallest members of the family of Giant Sun. I
mean the shooting stars."

"Those bright little flying stars we can see at night?" asked Harry.


STORY OF A SHOOTING STAR.

"Yes," replied Mary; "and if they could only talk, what a wonderful story
they would have to tell! A shooting star is very much smaller than a
meteor, and the largest does not weigh more than a quarter of an ounce.
You could easily hold one in your hand, for it is like a small stone,
only, unlike a stone, it is always on the move. It hurries along through
space ever so much faster than an express train, and all goes well as
long as it keeps above the blanket of air that surrounds the earth. If
it comes too near, however, it is sure to be destroyed. It dashes into
the air at the rate of twenty-five miles a second, rubbing against every
particle it meets on its way. This makes it intensely hot, until it
glows with brilliant light. We see it for a few moments as it flashes
out against the dark sky; but the light soon fades and all that remains
of the shooting star is its ashes. Sometimes they sift down upon the
earth and settle on the tops of high mountains, or sink into the ocean,
or float in through an open window and rest upon tables and books as
fine dust. But when our good housekeeper finds it there she carefully
removes it with her duster. She does not know nor does she care where
it came from; it certainly has no right there, and she treats it with
small ceremony."

"I wonder what she would say if she knew that the dust had come from
the sky," said Harry.

"I do not think it would make any difference," said Mary, laughing. "And
now I am going to tell you a little story about a shooting star, and
then I must say good-night.

"It is said that the evil genii--you remember reading about them in the
Arabian Nights, don't you, Harry?"

"Indeed I do," he replied.

"Well, at night they are said to fly up to the gates of heaven and listen
to the conversation of the angels. When the angels see their hidden foes,
they hurl fiery shooting stars at them and with so good an aim that for
every shooting star we may be sure there is one spirit of evil less in
the world."


STARLIGHT AT SEA.

     Overhead the countless stars
       Like eyes of love were beaming,
     Underneath the weary Earth
       All breathless lay a-dreaming.

     The twilight hours like birds flew by,
       As lightly and as free;
     Ten thousand stars were in the sky,
         Ten thousand in the sea.

     For every wave with dimpled face
       That leaped upon the air
     Had caught a star in its embrace
       And held it trembling there.

                           --Amelia B. Welby.

  [Illustration: LICK OBSERVATORY.]



STORIES OF THE SUMMER STARS.


It was a glorious night in June, and the stars sparkled like gems against
the dark background of the sky.

  [Illustration: THE GREAT BEAR.]

Harry was enjoying the scene, as the doctor had allowed him to spend
the warm summer evenings out on the lawn in front of the house. This
was a royal treat to him. He could see all the sky at once, he said
to his sister, and could look at the stars while she told him stories
about them. First of all, there was the Great Dipper in the North, and
the Little Dipper with the Pole Star. He was surprised when his sister
said that the Great Dipper formed part of the group of stars known as
the Great Bear, and he listened intently while she related the story as
told in olden times by the Grecians.


LEGENDS OF THE GREAT BEAR.

"The Great Bear was said to be Calisto, the beautiful daughter of Lycaon,
king of Arcadia. Juno, the wife of Jupiter, was jealous of Calisto,
and threatened to destroy her beauty. Fearing that Juno would harm her,
Jupiter changed her into a bear.

     "'Her arms grow shaggy and deformed with hair,
     Her nails are sharpened into pointed claws,
     Her hands bear half her weight, and turn to paws;
     Her lips, that once could tempt a god, begin
     To grow distorted in an ugly grin;
     And, lest the supplicating brute might reach
     The ears of Jove, she was deprived of speech.'

"Calisto had a son named Arcas, who became a great hunter. One day he
roused a bear in the chase, and, not knowing that it was his mother,
was about to kill her, when Jupiter, taking pity on them both, changed
Arcas into the Little Bear."

"Who was Jupiter?" asked Harry.

"In the olden times, he was supposed to live on the top of Mount Olympus,
with his beautiful wife Juno. When Jupiter was angry with people, it
is said he would hurl thunderbolts at them, and when he was pleased he
placed them after death among the stars."

"So he was pleased with Calisto and her son?" said Harry.

"So the story says," replied Mary. "But he also seemed to be afraid of
his jealous wife Juno.

"A modern Greek legend gives another account of this constellation or
group of stars. It is supposed that at one time the sky was made of
glass and it touched the earth on both sides. It was soft and thin, and
someone nailed a bear skin upon it, and the nails became stars; and the
tail is represented by the three bright stars known as the handle of
the Great Dipper.

"Another story is told about a princess who was turned into a bear on
account of her pride in rejecting all suitors. For this her skin was
nailed to the sky as a warning to other proud maidens.

"Would you like to hear what the Indians tell about the Great Bear?"
asked Mary.

"Indeed I should," replied Harry. "I had no idea the Indians looked at
the stars."

"They spend so much time on the open plains that they cannot help noticing
them," said Mary; "and they tell many strange legends about them. The
Iroquois Indians tell the following story about the Great Bear, which
must have seemed like a Bear to them, just as it did to the Grecians.

"Once upon a time a party of hunters who were in pursuit of a bear were
suddenly attacked by three monster stone giants who destroyed all but
three of them. These, together with the bear, were carried up to the
sky by invisible hands. The bear is still being pursued by the first
hunter with his bow, the second hunter carries a kettle, and the third
is carrying sticks wherewith to light a fire when the bear is killed.
Only in the autumn does the hunter pierce the bear with an arrow, and
it is said that it is the dripping blood that tinges the autumn foliage."

"I like that story," said Harry. "Don't you know another bear story?"

"I can tell you one," replied his sister, "that is told by the Fox
Indians of Louisiana. In the days of long ago the Indians believed that
the trees were able to walk about at night and talk to each other. One
dark night as a bear was wandering homeward through a lonely wood, he
was very much surprised to see the trees walking about, nodding their
heads and whispering to each other.

"At first Mr. Bear thought it was only the wind; but where he saw a
mighty oak before him, the next moment it was far behind him or on the
other side of the road. Presently he happened to run against a tree. It
was the oak, the lord of trees. The oak was angry and reached out one of
its long branches and grabbed the bear by the tail. The bear struggled
all night long to get away, and at last the oak, losing all patience,
gave his tail a final twist and hurled him up into the sky. They say
his tail was stretched in the struggle."


STORIES OF THE GREAT DIPPER.

"That is a funny story," said Harry, enjoying the account of Mr. Bear.
"Are there any stories about the Great Dipper? I wonder why it is called
the 'Dipper'?"

  [Illustration: THE GREAT DIPPER AND THE LITTLE DIPPER.]

"Because it is supposed to look like a dipper," replied Mary. "You can
see the four large stars representing the dipper and the three stars that
form the handle. It is known as the 'Saucepan' in the South of France,
and in other parts of France it is called the 'Chariot of David.' In
England it is called the 'Plow' and sometimes 'Charles's Wain.' That
means wagon. In Italy it is known as the 'Car of Bootes.' Bootes was
supposed to be an ox-driver and inventor of the plow--the Dipper. One
day the driver, oxen, and plow were suddenly lifted off the earth and
placed in the sky. You can see Bootes now, and in front of him are the
seven stars of the Great Dipper, which he must drive around the Pole
Star for all eternity.

"A pretty story is told of a peasant who met our Saviour near the shores
of Galilee and gave Him a ride in his wagon. As a reward he was offered
a home in heaven; but he preferred to drive his wagon from east to west
for all eternity, and his wish was granted. There stands his wagon in
the sky, and the brightest of the three stars is called 'The Rider.'

"In North Germany 'The Rider' is supposed to start out on his journey
before midnight, and to return twenty-four hours later, his wagon turning
round with a great noise. He urges on his horses with loud cries of 'hi!
he!' which it is said have sometimes been heard by lucky mortals."

"Hush, sister," said Harry softly; "let us see if we can hear him now."

"No, you could only hear him at midnight," replied his sister--"that
is, if the story were true."

"It is only like a fairy story, then?" asked Harry.

"All these stories are fairy stories," replied Mary; "and here is another.

"A Basque legend relates that a certain husbandman had two oxen stolen
from him by two wicked thieves. He sent his laborer after them, but he
did not return. Then he sent his housekeeper, and his dog, and finally
he decided to go after the thieves himself. He was so angry that he lost
his temper, and in punishment for the remarks he made he was condemned
to continue his search through the sky for all eternity. There you can
see him now. The two oxen are the first two stars, then follow the two
thieves, and lastly the two servants, the husbandman, and the little dog."

"Where is the little dog?" asked Harry.

"Look at the three stars in the handle of the Dipper," replied Mary.
"Now look at the middle star, and if you have good eyes you can see a
little star close beside it. Here, look through this opera-glass and
you can see it better."

"I see it now," said Harry, as he looked through the glasses. "So that
is the little dog?"

"Yes," replied his sister; "and the Arabians gave it the name of Alcor."

"Dear little Alcor," said Harry, as he continued looking at him, "I am
going to look for you every evening now, because I can see the Great
Dipper from my window."

"So you can," replied Mary; "I forgot that it faced north.

"The American Indians tell a quaint story about the Little Dipper. Would
you like to hear it?"

  [Illustration: THE LITTLE BEAR.]

"If you are not tired, sister," said Harry.

"You will get tired first, for I enjoy telling you these stories, if
they amuse you, dear. Well, here is one that I came across some years
ago among a collection of Indian legends.

"Once upon a time a party of Indians went out hunting in a strange
country and lost their way. They wandered about for many moons."

"What does that mean?" asked Harry.

"I suppose they did not know anything about our months, so they counted
from full moon to full moon. This shows how much they observe the sky.
But, as I was saying, they wandered about for many moons, and at last the
chiefs decided to hold a council and pray to the gods to show them the
way home. During the dance that preceded the council, while the flames
of burnt offerings were ascending to the gods, a little child appeared
suddenly in their midst and said she had been sent as their guide.

"She said she was the Spirit of the Pole Star, and that if they followed
where it led them they would reach their home in the far North. The
hunters thanked the child, and following her advice they soon reached
home. Here they held another council, and decided to call the Pole Star,
'the star which never moves,' by which name it is known among these
Indians to this day.

"When the hunters died it is said they were taken up to the sky, and we
can see them still following the Pole Star. The hunters are supposed to
be the stars that form the Little Dipper."

"They are smaller than the stars of the Great Dipper," said Harry, "and
the dipper is smaller, but I can see it quite well. And what are the
stars between the two Dippers?"


STORY OF THE DRAGON.

"They curve in and out like a great dragon," said Mary; "and two bright
stars mark its eyes."

"Yes, it does look something like a dragon," said Harry. "What is its
name?"

"It is called the Dragon, as that was the name given to it by the Grecians
long ago. This was supposed to be the dragon that Juno placed as guardian
of a tree covered with golden apples. No one dared to touch the tree
while the dread monster was there. But a brave man named Hercules was
not afraid, and killed the dragon. To reward it for guarding the tree
Juno placed it among the stars.

"See the two bright stars that mark the eyes of the Dragon, and quite
close to it is Hercules, represented in the olden maps as crushing the
head of the dragon under his foot. Bootes, who drives the Great Bear
around the Pole Star, is very near Hercules. There you can see him, with
his hunting dogs."

  [Illustration: BOOTES AND HIS HUNTING DOGS.]

"Where, sister? I cannot see him," said Harry.

"Look right overhead, and to the west you will see Bootes with a very
bright star; and to the east is Hercules, or the Kneeler, as he is
sometimes called. Now, in between there is a pretty little half-circle
of stars like a crown. This is called the Northern Crown."


STORIES OF THE NORTHERN CROWN.

"I can see that very well," replied Harry, "for it is exactly overhead,
and I cannot help seeing Hercules and the Bear-driver. They are large
enough," he continued, laughing. "Why are the little stars called the
Northern Crown?"

"This was supposed to be a beautiful crown of seven stars given by
Bacchus to Ariadne, the daughter of Minos, second king of Crete.

     "'Her crown among the stars he placed,
     And with an eternal constellation grac'd,
     The golden circlet mounts, and as it flies
     Its diamonds twinkle in the distant skies.'

"There is a pretty legend told about it by the Shawnee Indians. They call
this group of stars the 'Celestial Sisters,' on account of the story,
which is as follows:

"White Hawk was a great hunter, handsome, tall, and strong. One day,
while wandering through the forest in search of game, he suddenly found
himself on the borders of a prairie. It was covered with grass, and
flowers, and a ring was worn through the grass, without any path leading
to or from it. White Hawk was surprised at this, so he hid behind some
bushes and watched.

     "'Soon he heard, high in the heavens,
       Issuing from the feathery clouds,
     Sounds of music, quick descending,
       As if angels came in crowds.'

"Looking up he saw a small speck in the sky which gradually became
larger and larger. It was a silver basket containing twelve beautiful
maidens, who leaped out as it touched the ground. They danced around in
the ring, beating time on a silver ball. White Hawk gazed at the fairies
in wonder, and, rushing out from his hiding place, tried to capture the
youngest and prettiest. But the sisters were too nimble for him, and,
jumping into the basket, they were soon far away in the sky.

"White Hawk was vexed, but he came again next day. This time he disguised
himself as a rabbit, but one of the little sisters saw him creeping
toward them. She gave the alarm just in time for them to escape.

"Next day White Hawk disguised himself as a mouse, and hid in the stump of
a tree that he had moved close to the fairy ring. The sharp-eyed little
fairy noticed that the stump was not in the same place, and warned her
sisters, but they only laughed at her. They even ran around it striking
it in fun. Out ran White Hawk, caught the youngest and prettiest, and
took her home as his bride.

"For a while they were happy, but the 'Celestial Sister' became homesick,
and longed for her sisters in the sky. One day when White Hawk was out
hunting she made a silver basket and, taking it to the fairy ring, she
stepped into it, while she sang a magic chant. White Hawk was returning
home across the fields just as the basket rose above the tops of the
trees, and, hearing the music, he knew what had happened.

"But his wife did not forget him, and her father sent for him and invited
him to come to the sky, where he is now one of the bright stars shining
near the Northern Crown."

  [Illustration: THE NORTHERN CROWN, AND BOOTES, THE BEAR-DRIVER.]

"That must be the brightest star in Bootes," said Harry. "What is it
called?"

"Arcturus," replied his sister. "Near Bootes is Virgo, the Virgin who
lived on Earth during the Golden Age when people were very good. Near
her are the scales in which she weighed the good and evil deeds of men."


STORY OF THE LION.

"Just above the Virgin, in the west, you can see some stars that look
like a sickle," said Mary.

  [Illustration: LEO, THE LION.]

Harry looked in the direction pointed out by his sister, and there he
saw the sickle plainly outlined by a few bright stars.

"Is there a story about it, sister?" he asked.

"Yes," replied his sister; "or rather there is a story not about the
sickle, but about the group of stars to which it belongs, known as the
constellation of the Lion.

"You remember how jealous Juno was, and she was even displeased with
a brave man named Hercules, because he was afraid of nothing. She told
her cousin to command Hercules to bring him the skin of a fierce lion
that roamed at large through the forests. Hercules was not afraid, and
attacked the lion. Finding he could not kill it with his club and arrows,
he strangled the animal with his hands. He returned home carrying the
dead lion on his shoulders, but Juno's cousin was so frightened at the
sight of it and at this proof of the great strength of the hero that
he ordered him to tell the story of his brave deeds in future at a safe
distance outside the town."

"What a coward Juno's cousin must have been!" said Harry disdainfully.
"I suppose Hercules laughed at him."

"Of course he did," said Mary. "But he was not the only brave man Juno
disliked. Orion, the mighty hunter, also aroused her anger because he
boasted that nothing could harm him. She sent a scorpion out of the earth,
and it stung him, causing his death. See the heart of the scorpion,
marked by a bright red star named Antares. Above it is the serpent and
the serpent-holder."

  [Illustration: THE SCORPION.]


THE MILKY WAY.

  [Illustration: THE MILKY WAY IS CROWDED WITH STARS.]

"Now look at the band of silvery light reaching from the north to the
south. That is the Milky Way, and it is made up of millions of bright
stars. There are large stars and little stars, and Professor Barnard
thinks that there may be some very small stars forming out of the
star-mist. These little stars glitter in vast beds of glowing gas. As
scientists believe, this gas is the matter from which worlds and suns
are made. The stars at these points in space seem to be actually growing
out of the star-mist now surrounding them. I shall show you to-morrow
some fine photographs Professor Barnard has taken of the Milky Way where
you can see this star-mist in the background of the stars.

"According to a French legend, the stars in the Milky Way are lights
held by angel-spirits to show us the way to heaven. The Grecians called
the Milky Way the road to the palace of heaven. On the road stand the
palaces of the illustrious gods, while the common people of the skies
live on either side of them.

"Even the Algonquin Indians had something to say about it, for they
believed that it was the 'Path of Souls' leading to the villages in the
sun. As the spirits travel along the pathway, their blazing camp-fires
may be seen as bright stars. Longfellow refers to this in his poem
'Hiawatha,' in describing the journey of Chibiabos to the land of the
hereafter.

"While hunting deer he crossed the Big Sea Water and was dragged beneath
the treacherous ice by evil spirits. By magic he was summoned thence,
and, hearing the music and singing, he,--

     "'Came obedient to the summons,
     To the doorway of the wigwam,
     But to enter they forbade him.
     Through a chink a coal they gave him,
     Through the door a burning fire-brand.
     Ruler in the Land of Spirits,
     Ruler o'er the dead they made him,
     Telling him a fire to kindle
     For all those who died hereafter,
     Camp-fires for their night encampments,
     On their solitary journey
     To the kingdom of Ponemah,
     To the land of the hereafter.'"


A SWEDISH LEGEND.

"According to a Swedish legend, there once lived on earth two mortals who
loved each other. When they died they were doomed to dwell on different
stars, far, far apart. But, 'as they sat and listened to the music of
the spheres,' they thought of building a bridge of light that should
reach from star to star, till it spanned the distance separating them
from each other.

     "'They toiled and built a thousand years in love's all-powerful might,
     And so the Milky Way was made a bridge of starry light.'

"Now, Harry, look at the Milky Way in the northern part of the sky, and
what do you see?" asked Mary.

"Some stars that look like a W," replied Harry; "and just below it is
another but larger W."

"The small W is Cassiopeia," said Mary, "and the large one is Cepheus;
but I shall tell you their story another time, as it is getting late
now. Under the large W, you will see some stars that look like a large
cross. This is sometimes called the Northern Cross, but it is better
known as the Swan."


LEGEND OF THE SWAN.

"The 'Swan' is supposed to represent a wonderful musician named Orpheus.
Apollo gave him a magic harp, which he played with such sweetness that
the wild beasts of the forest were tamed by its sounds, rapid rivers
ceased to flow, and mountains and trees listened to the music.

"One day Orpheus met a beautiful maiden named Eurydice, and won her for
his bride. But their happiness did not last long, as a serpent lurking
in the grass stung her foot, and she died of the wound.

"Orpheus mourned her sadly, until at last he died and his spirit met
hers in the kingdom of Pluto. Afterward Orpheus and Eurydice were placed
among the stars. You can see the harp beside Orpheus, and it is adorned
with a sparkling blue star named Vega.

"And now one more story," said Mary, as she heard the church clock chime
nine, "and then we must say 'good-by' to the stars for to-night."

  [Illustration: THE SWAN.]

"It has been lovely," said Harry. "I could listen to these stories all
night long. How I shall enjoy the stars since you have told me so much
about them! What are you going to tell me now?"

"Just under the Swan can you see a bright star, and a little star on
each side of it?" asked Mary.

Harry looked, and after a few moments he found them. When his sister had
made sure that he could see the stars she meant, she began her story as
follows:


MEETING OF THE STAR-LOVERS.

"The Japanese call the Milky Way the Silver River of Heaven, and they
believe that on the seventh day of the seventh month (7th of July), the
Shepherd-boy star and the Spinning-maiden star cross the Milky Way to
meet each other. Vega, the bright star in the harp, is supposed to be
the spinning-maiden, and on the other side of the Milky Way, crossing
over where you see the bright star and the little star on each side,
you will find the shepherd boy, otherwise known as the Goat. These stars
are known among the Japanese as the 'boy with an ox' and 'the girl with
a shuttle,' about whom the following story is told:

"There once lived on the banks of the Silver River of Heaven a beautiful
maiden who was the daughter of the Sun. Night and morning she was always
weaving, blending the roseate hues of morning with the silvery tints of
evening. That is why she was called the Spinning maiden. The Sun-king
chose a husband for her. He was a Shepherd boy who guarded his flocks
on the banks of the celestial stream.

"After meeting him the Spinning maiden ceased to work, and the bright
hues of morning were left to take care of themselves, while the silvery
tints of evening hung like ragged fringe on the dark mantle of night.
The Sun-king, believing that the Shepherd boy was to blame, banished
him to the other side of the Silver River, telling him that only once a
year, on the seventh day of the seventh month, could the Spinning maiden
come to see him.

"The king called together myriads of doves and commanded them to make a
bridge over the river of stars. Supported on their wings, the Shepherd
boy crossed over to the other side. No sooner had he set foot on the
opposite shore than the doves flew away, filling the heavens with their
billing and cooing. The weeping wife and loving husband stood awhile
gazing at each other from afar, and then they separated, one in search
of another flock of sheep, the other to ply her shuttle during the long
hours of daylight.

"Thus the days passed away, and the Sun-king rejoiced that his daughter
was busy again. But when night comes, and all the lamps of heaven are
lighted, the lovers stand beside the banks of the starry river and gaze
lovingly at each other, eagerly awaiting the seventh day of the seventh
month. As the time draws near the Japanese are filled with anxiety. What
if it should rain, for the River of Heaven is filled to the brim, and
a single raindrop would make it overflow! This would cause a flood, and
the bridge of doves would be swept away.

"But if the night is clear, then the Spinning maiden crosses over in
safety, and meets her Shepherd boy. This she does every year except when
it rains. That is why the Japanese hope for clear weather on the 7th of
July, when the 'meeting of the star-lovers' is made a gala day all over
the country."

  [Illustration: THE EAGLE.]

"Sister, I can see the Spinning-maiden star, and the Shepherd boy, but
where is the bridge of doves?" asked Harry.

"Across the Milky Way," said Mary.

"See the bright star, which is called Altair, and one little star on
each side. We call that the Eagle, so if you change the story a little
you can say the Eagle takes the Spinning maiden across the Silver River
of Heaven."


THE STARS AND THE VIOLETS.

     When the sky was first made and suspended
       From the far and invisible bars,
     It enveloped the world, and God fashioned
       Small windows, and these are the stars.

     And the bits of the sky, through the evening,
       Fluttered down to the sod and the dew,
     And behold! in the morn they had blossomed,
       And these are the violets blue.


THE NIGHTS.

       Oh, the Summer night
       Has a smile of light
     And she sits on a sapphire throne;
       Whilst the sweet winds load her
       With garlands of odor,
     From the bud to the rose o'erblown!

       But the Autumn night
       Has a piercing sight,
     And a step both strong and free;
       And a voice for wonder,
       Like the wrath of the thunder,
     When he shouts to the stormy sea!

       And the Winter night
       Is all cold and white,
     And she singeth a song of pain;
       Till the wild bee hummeth,
       And the warm spring cometh,
     When she dies in a dream of rain!

                           --Adelaide Proctor.


THE CALLING OF THE STARS.

     God's presence through the twilight stillness glides,
       To spirits vocal--silent to the ear;
     He calls by name each fair star where it hides,
       And each star brightens, as it answers 'Here!'

     Though we too call the stars, they answer not,
       They do not softly come like children shy
     At a fond parent's calling, for, I wot,
       We do not know what names God calls them by.

  [Illustration: THE GREAT TELESCOPE AT LICK OBSERVATORY.]



STORIES OF THE WINTER STARS.

     I heard the trailing garments of the night
       Sweep through her marble halls,
     I saw her sable skirts all fringed with light
       From the celestial walls.

                           --Longfellow.


Winter had come with its cold north winds and frosty air. The stars
glittered like gems against the dark velvet sky, and seemed reflected
in the mantle of pure white snow that covered the earth. Mary had asked
Harry's nurse to move his couch into her room so that he might see the
stars from the windows, one looking south, the other east. Impatiently
Harry now awaited his sister, who had promised to take him on another
trip to starland. The room was in total darkness, and nurse had raised
the curtains. Looking right into one window was the mighty giant Orion,
while the Twins peeped into another.


STORY OF THE ROYAL FAMILY.

"It is as good as a play," said Harry, as his sister started to tell
him about them.

"First of all," she said, "I am going to tell you the story of the Royal
Family, although we cannot see them from this window. You can get a
glimpse of Cepheus from your own room, but the rest of the Royal Family
are overhead. You would have to make a hole through the roof if you
wanted to watch them while I told their story."

"If we could go out-of-doors, as we did last summer, could we see them
overhead?" asked Harry.

"Yes," replied his sister; "but it is too cold now to look at them except
from a warm, cozy room. To-morrow I shall show you a map of these stars,
and when the days grow warm again we can look for them in the sky."

"Can you see them during the summer-time as well as the winter?" asked
Harry.

  [Illustration: QUEEN CASSIOPEIA.]

"Yes, we can see them all the year round, just as we can always see
the Pole Star and the Great Dipper. The Royal Family consists of King
Cepheus, Queen Cassiopeia, and her daughter Andromeda, sometimes called
the 'Chained Lady.' Perseus, the rescuer, is at the feet of Andromeda,
while her head rests upon the shoulder of the winged horse Pegasus.

"The Grecians told a wonderful story about this family. It appears that
Cassiopeia boasted of her beauty, and said she was more attractive than
Juno, the wife of Jupiter. As for her daughter Andromeda, not a nymph in
the sea could compare with her in good looks. You may imagine how Juno
and the sea-nymphs felt when they heard this vain boast!

"They determined to have revenge, and Juno asked Jupiter to punish
Cassiopeia. So she was sent away from the earth and placed among the
stars with her husband Cepheus.

  [Illustration: KING CEPHEUS.]

"As for Andromeda, the sea-nymphs asked Neptune to send a sea-monster
to devour her. She was chained to a rock so that she might not escape
this terrible fate; but just as the monster was approaching a brave hero
named Perseus came to her rescue.

  [Illustration: THE FAIR ANDROMEDE.]

"Perseus was returning through the air on his winged horse Pegasus
from a terrible encounter with the Gorgons. These were three sisters
who frightened everyone that saw them. Serpents were wreathed around
their heads instead of hair, their hands were of brass, their bodies
were covered with scales, and their eyes had the power of turning all
they looked at to stone. Perseus had cut off the heads of one of these
terrible beings, and when he saw the monster approaching Andromeda,
he turned the head which he still held in his hand toward it, and in a
moment it turned to stone.

"As a reward for his bravery, he was placed after his death among the
stars, and near the fair Andromeda. He still holds the head in his hand,
and a star named Algol, or the Demon, as the Arabs call it, marks the
evil eye. Sometimes it is bright, but in a few hours it will grow dim,
as though winking at the people on earth. For this reason it is called
a variable or changing star."

  [Illustration: PERSEUS.]

"What is that, sister?" asked Harry.

"A star that is brighter one time than another. Supposing someone kept
turning the wick of the lamp up and down so that at one moment the room
would be very bright and the next moment quite dim. You would call that
a changing light. So it is with these stars, only in the case of Algol
it is a planet that goes around it and at times cuts off part of its
light. For two days and a half it is very bright, then during three or
four hours it begins to get dim, and remains so for twenty minutes and
then it gets bright again.

"Supposing you were trying to read by lamplight, and I should now and
then hold a book between the lamp and you. Each time I did so the light
on your book would grow dim. There is another variable or changing star
named Mira, in the group of stars called Cetus, which is no other than
the sea-monster which was sent to devour Andromeda. You can see it if
you look out of the window facing south, and you will notice that it is
at a safe distance from Andromeda, who is almost exactly overhead just
now."


STORY OF THE FISHES.

"Not far from the sea-monster are the Fishes, and the story about them
is as follows:

"One day when Venus and her little son Cupid were walking beside the
banks of a river they were frightened at seeing a terrible giant named
Typhon. Flames flashed from his eyes, and as he glared at Venus and
Cupid they were overcome with fear and called on Jupiter to help them.
He changed them into fishes, and afterward placed them among the stars.

"Between Cetus and Orion you can see some stars winding in and out, and
they are part of the River Eridanus. A daring youth named Phaeton tried
to drive the chariot of the sun through the sky one day. Jupiter struck
him with a thunderbolt, and hurled him from heaven into the river below.

  [Illustration: RIVER ERIDANUS.]

     "'At once from life and from the chariot driven,
     Th' ambitious boy fell thunderstruck from heaven.

       *       *       *       *       *

     The breathless Phaeton, with flaming hair,
     Shot from the chariot like a falling star
     That in a summer's evening from the top
     Of heaven drops down, or seems at least to drop.'

"His sisters mourned his unhappy end, and were changed by Jupiter into
poplars, which are still to be seen on the banks of the River Eridanus.

     "'All the night long their mournful watch they keep,
     And all the day stand round the tomb and weep.'"

"Poor Phaeton," said Harry, as Mary finished the story. "And is that
Phaeton with those three bright stars near the river?"

  [Illustration: CLOUD OF STAR-MIST IN ORION.]

"No; that is Orion," replied his sister, "and the three bright stars mark
his belt. Under it you can see a small cloud of mist, if you look at it
through your opera glass. It is clinging around one of the faint stars
in the sword. This is star-mist, from which other stars are being made,
and it looks small only because it is so far away from us; but there is
enough star-dust there to make thousands of bright stars. Astronomers
called these clouds nebulæ."

"Who was Orion?" asked Harry. "Won't you tell me more about him?"

"He was a mighty hunter, and in the old maps you can see him represented
as warding off the attack of the Bull, which is glaring at him with its
bright red eye named Aldebaran. A story was told by the Grecians about
this bull:

"Once upon a time there was a beautiful little girl named Europa, and she
was a princess of Phœnicia. One day she was playing with some friends and
gathering flowers in a meadow near the seashore. Suddenly a snow-white
bull appeared, and the little children were very much afraid. But the
princess was not afraid. She made a pretty garland of flowers and placed
it around the bull's neck. When it knelt down in front of her as though
to thank her, she jumped on its back, and it ran away with her down
to the sea. Plunging under the waves, it swam with her to Crete. The
Grecians thought they saw the bull outlined among the stars in the sky,
but only its head and shoulders are there."

  [Illustration: THE BULL, AND THE PLEIADES.]

"But there are not any animals really in the sky, are there?" said Harry.

"No," said Mary, laughing at the question; "but if you look at the stars
you can imagine you see outlines of bulls and serpents and all kinds of
strange animals. Only you have to imagine very much, and this is exactly
what the Grecians did.

"In the shoulder of the bull is the pretty little cluster of stars known
as the Pleiades."


STORY OF THE PLEIADES.

"What is a cluster of stars?" asked Harry.

  [Illustration: A BALL OF SUNS.]

"Hundreds and thousands of stars forming a family party, as it were;
and seen from earth they seem to be closely packed together. But if we
could draw near to them, however, we should find that they were very far
apart. If you look at the Pleiades through your opera glass you will see
quite a number of little stars, and if you could see it through the large
telescope at the Lick Observatory you would be able to count hundreds
of stars. When the cluster had its photograph taken, not long ago, six
thousand stars were counted, so you might call the Pleiades a 'ball of
suns.' There are hundreds of these clusters, or 'family parties,' in
the sky--mighty regiments marching across the star-depths."

"What do you mean, sister?" asked Harry in surprise.

"All the stars are moving," replied his sister. "Some in one direction,
some in another; but the stars in the Pleiades are all drifting in the
same direction.

"The Pleiades were said to be the seven daughters of Atlas, and were
so beautiful that Orion pursued them across wood and dale, till the
sisters called on Jupiter to help them. He changed them into doves, and
afterward placed them among the stars. Orion still seems to be pursuing
them among the stars; but, strange to say, they are drifting toward him
now instead of away from him."

  [Illustration: ORION, THE GREAT HUNTER.]

"Then he will soon catch them," said Harry, laughing at the idea. "I
once heard something about the 'Lost Pleiad.' What does that mean?"

"One of the seven stars supposed to represent the sisters does not shine
as brightly as the rest, so the Grecians called it the 'Lost Pleiad.'

"Some say the Lost Pleiad is Electra, who hid her face in her hands
so that she might not see the burning of Troy. But she seems to have
recovered from her fright, as her star now glows as brightly as the
rest. Others said it was Merope, who married a mortal while her sisters
married gods.

"An Iroquois legend accounts for the Lost Pleiad by saying it is a little
Indian boy in the sky who is very homesick. When he cries he covers his
face with his hands and thus hides his light."

"Do tell me about him," said Harry, looking forward to a treat, as he
always enjoyed these Indian stories.

"The story is as follows," said Mary:


STORY OF THE SEVEN LITTLE INDIAN BOYS.

"Once upon a time seven little Indian boys lived in a log cabin in the
woods. Every evening when the stars peeped out of the sky these children
would take hold of hands and dance around, while they sang the 'Song of
the Stars,' and the stars learned to love them. They would often beckon
to the little boys, inviting them to come up to the sky; but the children
loved their home on earth too well.

"But one day they found fault with everything. The oatmeal was too
hot at breakfast, there was an absence of pie at dinner-time; and the
distressing news that they were only to have corn and beans for supper
was a climax to their 'tale of woe.'

"Meanwhile their mother calmly ate her supper, while her seven little
boys looked on in hungry dismay. When supper-time was over they filed
slowly and sadly out of the cabin. Their mother felt sorry for them, it
is true; but she knew that if she gave in now she would have to give in
always. She watched her boys as they danced as usual that evening and
sang their song to the stars; and then she hurried into the cabin and
cleared away the uneaten corn and beans.

"Alas! she did not hear the song her children sang to the stars. When
the stars beckoned as usual to the little boys, inviting them to come up
to the sky, they had accepted the invitation. As they danced round and
round their heads and their hearts grew lighter, and in a few moments
they were soaring like birds through the air. Just then their mother
went to the cabin door to tell them it was time to come home; and imagine
her horror when she saw her children slowly disappearing in the sky!

"And now every evening the lonely mother gazes at seven bright stars in
the sky, which she fondly believes are her seven little boys, but which
are really the seven stars known to us as the Pleiades. One star in the
group does not shine as brightly as the rest, and this must be one of
the little Indians who is homesick."

"I shall never forget that story," said Harry, who had enjoyed every
word of it; "and now I wish you would tell me about that very bright
star on the other side of Orion. I can only just see it, but it is so
beautiful. It is bluish-white, and twinkles so brightly."

"That is Sirius, the brightest star in this part of the sky," replied
Mary, "and ever so much larger than the sun."

"What makes it twinkle?" asked Harry.


WHY THE STARS TWINKLE.

"When we look at the stars we have to see them through the great ocean of
air that surrounds the earth," replied Mary. "Like the Atlantic Ocean,
when the ocean of air is disturbed there are waves, and we have to look
at the stars through the waves. That is why their light seems to dance
about so. When the air is still then the starlight is steady, but when
it moves the stars twinkle. If we could go to the moon, where there is
not any air, we would not see the stars twinkle."

"Then I should rather stay here," said Harry, "because I like to watch
them dancing about. They seem so merry, I am sure they are laughing at
us, sister. Is there a story about Sirius?"

"It is part of a group of stars named the 'Great Dog,'" she replied;
"and higher up you will see the 'Little Dog.' These are the hounds that
Orion always took with him when he went hunting. They seem to have even
followed him to the sky.

  [Illustration: THE GREAT DOG.]

"Sirius is also known as the Dog-star, because when it was seen by the
Egyptians in the east just before dawn it was thought to announce the
overflow of the Nile. Therefore the Egyptians watched this star, which
warned them, like a faithful dog, of the coming deluge. It was their
watch-dog or sentinel.

"Now I am going to tell you about the Twins, two brothers who loved each
other dearly while on earth. They were named Castor and Pollux. Castor
was killed in battle. Pollux could not bear to remain on earth without
him, so Jupiter placed him in the sky next to his brother.

  [Illustration: THE HEAVENLY TWINS, CASTOR AND POLLUX.]

"If you look through the glass you can see that Pollux is a golden-yellow
star and Castor has a green tinge."

"Are all the stars colored?" asked Harry.


THE FLOWERS OF HEAVEN.

"Yes," replied his sister, "and they are as varied in color as the
flowers of the earth. The stars may be called 'The flowers of heaven.'
Longfellow says so beautifully:

     "'Silently, one by one, in the infinite meadows of heaven
     Blossomed the lovely stars, the forget-me-nots of the angels.'

"Some of the natives of Australia believe that when the flowers die
on earth they rise on the winds and float away to the fair fields of
heaven, where they flourish forever in immortal beauty. We cannot see
the colors of these flowers of heaven very well, on account of the air
that surrounds the earth. If it were removed, then the dark sky would
seem to be covered with starry flowers of all the colors of the rainbow."

"How beautiful!" said Harry thoughtfully. "How I wish we could see them
that way!"

"But even as it is," said his sister, "you can see some of these colors.
Look at white Sirius, that sometimes seems to me tinged with blue, and
then at red Aldebaran in the eye of the bull, and a creamy star called
Capella just near the Twins. So you can see some of the colors. And now
a few more words about Castor, which is a double star. That is, it is
made up of two bright stars, and they go around each other.

"Professor Ball was once showing the stars through his telescope to some
friends, when he pointed out this double star to them. First of all, he
told them to note the different colors of the stars, for one was white,
the other green. All double stars are of complementary colors. One may
be green and the other red, one blue and the other orange.

"Then Professor Ball told his visitors that the stars went round each
other.

"'Oh, yes!' said one of the visitors. 'I saw them going round in the
telescope.'

"But it was the twinkling that made the stars appear to dance around
each other. In reality, he would have had to remain with his eye at the
telescope more than a hundred years before he could have seen the stars
go completely around each other."


NUMBER OF THE STARS.

"I wonder how many stars there are in the sky, sister," said Harry. "Do
you think we could count them?"

"I read somewhere," replied his sister, "that the stars are as plentiful
as the sands on the seashore. Still, in the whole sky, the number bright
enough to be seen without a telescope is only from six to seven thousand
in a clear, moonless sky. With an opera glass you can bring the number
up to one hundred thousand. A small telescope can show about three
hundred thousand, while with a telescope such as the one at the Lick
Observatory the number would be nearly one hundred million. But it is
possible to photograph the stars, and millions of stars have had their
pictures taken. Probably we would never have known anything about them
but the camera caught them, and now they are being named and labeled,
so that they cannot escape us again. In fact, some of the stars are so
far away that if we had not captured them in this way they would have
remained hidden to us forever."

"What do you mean, sister?" said Harry, his eyes filled with surprise.

"I mean, dear, that some stars are so far away that their light has
not yet reached us. Don't you remember what I told you about Jupiter's
moons: that they are so far away that light takes about half an hour
in coming from them to the earth. Well, the stars are hundreds of times
as far away as Jupiter's moons. So far away are they that even from the
nearest--a star seen in the southern hemisphere--light takes four years
and four months in reaching us, although light travels more than 186,000
miles a second."


DISTANCE OF THE STARS.

"Look at the Pole Star some night, and you will not see it as it is now,
but as it was more than sixty-two years ago. All this time its light
has been on its way to Planet Earth. If a planet travels around the Pole
Star, or Polaris, as it is sometimes called, and an astronomer on that
planet looked at the earth he would not see it as it is now, but as it
was more than sixty-two years ago. There are other stars so far away that
light takes hundreds of years in coming here. Perhaps they faded out
long ago, but the message is still on its way. It does seem strange to
think of people who may be living on distant worlds in space, watching
our little world, but we need not fear. The earth is so small that it
could not be seen at all, even from the nearest star. At that distance
Giant Sun would not look quite as bright as Sirius does to us, and giant
Planet Jupiter would only appear as a faint speck of light near the sun."

"How far away everything seems to be!" said Harry. "Yet you said just
now that we could tell what the stars are made of. How can we do that?"


WHAT ARE THE STARS MADE OF?

"The stars are made of iron, copper, zinc, and other such metals, but
the heat is so intense that these metals are turned into vapor. You have
seen the steam coming from the spout of a kettle when water is boiling,
and you know then that the water is scalding hot. But imagine heat so
great that masses of iron and copper are not only melted but turned
into vapor. Then you have some idea of the intense heat that prevails on
the stars. The rains that fall on earth are made up of drops of water,
but the rainfalls on the stars must be drops of melting iron, while the
clouds that form are sheets of molten metal."

"How wonderful!" said Harry; "and how do we know this, as the stars are
so far away?"

"By means of a little instrument known as the spectroscope, or
light-sifter. But you must wait till you are a little older before I can
explain that to you, as it is something very difficult to understand.
At any rate, I can tell you this, that when we want to find out what
a star is made of we catch a ray of its light and examine it with the
light-sifter. As Professor Ball quoted in one of his lectures:

     "'Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
     Now we find out what you are,
     When unto the midnight sky
     We the spectroscope apply.'"

"And can you tell how old the stars are?" asked Harry; "because when you
were talking about the planets you said some are old and some are young."

"This same little spectroscope tells us that as well, and we can recognize
the stars that are in their infancy, and others that are middle-aged or
nearly worn-out."

"How strange to think of worn-out stars," said Harry; "yet I suppose
they must grow old sometime, just as we do; only I suppose they take
ever so much longer growing up."

"Hundreds of years," said Mary, laughing at the idea of grown-up stars.
"There are young stars and old stars, and even the star that gives us
light and heat will grow cold and dead some day, and not warm its planets
any longer. But that will be millions of years hence, long after we are
dead and gone."


OUR ISLAND UNIVERSE.

"So it is all over the heavens. Our little universe is like an island in
space. There are other islands like our own, with their millions of stars
and star-clusters and star-mist, passing through the periods of youth,
middle age, old age, and decay. Our little universe is not eternal. It
cannot last forever, but as long as it does we should feel glad that we
are here to enjoy it.

"Now, Harry, I really think we have had quite a long ramble in starland
for one evening, and I believe two little stars I know need a rest."

"They are a little tired," said Harry, smiling; "two little worn-out
stars, sister; and perhaps they do want to let the curtains down over
them for awhile."

"I believe they do," said Mary softly; and the stars were hidden by
their curtains almost before she had said the words.


WYNKEN, BLYNKEN, AND NOD.

     Wynken, Blynken, and Nod, one night
       Sailed off in a wooden shoe--
     Sailed on a river of crystal light
       Into a sea of dew.
       "Where are you going, and what do you wish?"
       The old man asked of the three.
       "We have come to fish for the herring-fish
       That live in this beautiful sea.
       Nets of silver and gold have we,"
                   Said Wynken,
                       Blynken,
                       And Nod.

     The old Moon laughed and sang a song
       As they rocked in the wooden shoe,
     And the wind that sped them all night long
       Ruffled the waves of dew.
     The little stars were the herring-fish
       That lived in the beautiful sea,
       "Now cast your net wherever you wish,
       Never afeared are we."
       So cried the stars to the fishermen three,
                       Wynken,
                       Blynken,
                       And Nod.

     All night long their nets they threw
       For the stars in the twinkling foam;
     Then down from the sky came the wooden shoe,
       Bringing those fishermen home.
     'Twas all so pretty a tale, it seemed
       As if it could not be.
     And some folks thought 'twas a dream they dreamed
       Of sailing that beautiful sea.
       But I shall name you the fishermen three,
                     Wynken,
                     Blynken,
                     And Nod.

     Wynken and Blynken are two little eyes,
       And Nod is a little head,
     And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies
       Is a wee one's trundle-bed.
     So shut your eyes while mother sings
       Of wonderful sights that be;
     And you shall see the beautiful things
       As you rock in the misty sea,
       Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three,
                     Wynken,
                     Blynken,
                     And Nod.

                           --Eugene Field.


SEVEN LITTLE INDIAN STARS.

BY MRS. S. M. B. PIATT.

     Seven little Indian boys were they,
       Dancing with the moonbeams on a mound,
     In the wind they all were whirled away,
         And the fireflies searched the dews around.

     Seven little Indian stars are they,
       Seven, and only one, my child, is dim.
     That's the Singer, their sad stories say;
       That's the Singer--let us pity him.

     Oh, the little Singer! (You can see
       He's not shining as the others are.)
     Once, when all the stars made wishes, he
       Wished he didn't have to be a star.

                           --St. Nicholas, March, 1890.


WHY THE STARS TWINKLE.

BY OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES.

     When Eve had led her lord away,
       And Cain had killed his brother,
     The stars and flowers,--the poets say,--
       Agreed with one another

     To cheat the cunning tempter's art
       And show the world its duty,
     By keeping on its wicked heart
       Their eyes of love and beauty.

     A million sleepless lids, they say,
       Will be at least a warning;
     And so the flowers will watch by day,
       The stars from eve to morning.

     On hills and prairies, fields and lawn,
       Their dewy eyes upturning,
     The flowers still watch from reddening dawn
         Till western skies are burning.

     Alas! each hour of daylight tells
       A tale of shame so crushing,
     That some turn white as sea-bleached shells,
       And some are always blushing.

       And when the patient stars look down,
         On all their light discovers,
       The traitor's smile, the murderer's frown,
         The lips of lying lovers,

       They try to shut their saddening eyes
         And in the vain endeavor
       We see them twinkling in the skies,
         And so--they wink,--forever.

       --Taken from The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table.



"GOD BLESS THE STAR!"


"Darling, I am feeling so tired this evening, won't you sit beside my
bed and hold my hand in yours while you tell me about the stars?"

His sister Mary suggested lighting the lamp and reading a story, but he
held her hand with gentle force, saying:

"Do not light the lamp. Leave the curtain up so that I can see the stars
from my window, and tell me in your own words that story you told me
of a star the other day--Dickens' story of a star. Don't you remember,
sister?"

Still holding his little hand in hers, and giving it a loving pressure,
she rested her head on the pillow beside his, and began, in low soft
tones:

"There was once a beautiful bright star that shone down upon the home
of a little boy and girl who wondered at its light. They learned to
know it so well that every evening the one who saw it first would say,
'I see the star,' and before they went to sleep at night they would say
'Good-night' to the star, and, 'God bless the star!'

"But the little girl, while she was still very young, became very weak
and feeble, so that she was unable to go to the window and look at the
star, so the brother would stand there alone and watch for it. As soon
as he saw it he would turn round to his sister, and say, 'I see the
star,' and the little sister would answer gently, 'God bless my brother
and the star!' One evening the brother looked at the star alone, for his
little sister had passed away to her home among the stars. That was a
sad and lonely evening for the brother, and at night he dreamed of his
sister. Her face seemed to be looking at him from the bright star, and
he could see a pathway of light reaching from it to his room.

"Along the pathway were people passing from this earth to the stars.
Angels waited to receive them, and as they reached the star people came
out to welcome them. Kissing their friends tenderly, they went away
together down avenues of light. But there was one who waited patiently
near the entrance of the star and asked the guide who led the people
thither if her brother had not yet come.

"'Not yet,' he replied kindly, and as she turned sadly away the little
brother reached out his arms toward her, and said, 'Here I am sister;
I am coming to you.'

"As she turned her beaming eyes on him, the star was shining into the
room, and he could see its rays of light through his tears. From that
hour the child looked on that star as his future home, where he would
some day meet his angel sister again.

"And he waited, oh! so patiently, and the years rolled slowly by. He
grew to manhood, and still the star shone down upon him at night. Then
he grew to be an old man with gray hair and wrinkled face, and his steps
were slow and feeble. Others had gone before him to the star. A little
brother who died while he was young--his mother--his daughter--and now
surely his own time had come.

"One night he lay upon a bed of sickness, and as his children gathered
around him he suddenly cried out, as he had long ago, 'I see the star.'
Then they whispered to each other, 'He is dying,' and he heard them, and
said: 'I am. My age is falling from me like a mantle, and I move toward
the star as a child. And, O my Father, now I thank thee that the star
has so often opened to receive those dear ones who await me!'

"And next day the star was shining, and it still shines, upon his grave."

       *       *       *       *       *

Harry had been lulled to sleep by the sound of his sister's voice, and
in the dim light Mary could see that he was smiling in his dreams. Were
his dreams, she wondered, about Stories of Starland?


CROSSING THE BAR.

     Sunset and evening star,
       And one clear call for me!
     And may there be no moaning of the bar,
       When I put off to sea.

     But such a tide, as, moving, seems asleep,
       Too full for sound and foam,
     When that which drew from out the boundless deep
       Turns again home.

     Twilight and evening bell,
       And after that the dark!
     And may there be no sadness of farewell,
       When I embark.

     For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place
       The flood may bear me far,
     I hope to see my Pilot face to face
       When I have cros't the bar.

                           --Tennyson.


YE GOLDEN LAMPS OF HEAVEN.

     Ye golden lamps of heaven, farewell,
       With all your feeble light;
     Farewell, thou ever-changing Moon,
         Pale empress of the Night.

     And thou, refulgent Orb of Day,
       In brighter flames arrayed;
     My soul, that springs beyond thy sphere,
       No more demands thine aid.

     Ye stars are but the shining dust
       Of my divine abode,
     The pavement of those heavenly courts
       Where I shall reign with God.

     Father of eternal light
       Shall there his beams display,
     Nor shall one moment's darkness blend
       With that unvaried day.

                           --Philip Doddridge.





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