It appears that as soon as the fog had begun to clear, the good Dame Donk had despatched a boy from a neighboring cottage to let them know where Katharine was, and that her wardrobe would need replenishing.
The excitement on finding the child safe and sound may be better imagined than described. How she was kissed, cried, and laughed over, what questions were asked and not answered, as she was taken into an adjoining room and arrayed in a complete suit of Gretel's clothes, even to the klompen, for, alas! her French shoes were now in no condition to be worn, the pretty blue frock torn and stained and hopelessly wet, the hat with its dainty plume crushed and useless; indeed, every article she had worn looked only fit for the rag-bag.
Gretel was so much smaller than Katharine that the clothes were a very tight fit, the skirt which hung round Gretel's ankles reaching just below Katharine's knees, and it was a funny little figure that stepped back into the room—no longer a fashionably dressed New York maiden, but a golden-haired child of Holland, even to the blue eyes, sparkling now with fun and merriment.
"But didn't you bring a cap for me, Marie?" she asked in a grieved tone.
"Ah, no, deary; I never thought of a cap."
"Well, you must put one on me the minute we get back."
"Oh, what will father say?" she cried delightedly, as she surveyed herself in the little mirror.
This sobered Marie at once. What would "father" say, indeed? Would he not have a right to be very angry with her, that she had allowed the child to get into such danger?
* * *
"Where is Katharine?" asked the colonel, as he stood, tall and commanding, on the threshold, later that evening, surveying eight small Hollanders, looking so much alike, except for the difference in their sizes, that they might have passed for eight Dutch dolls propped up in a row against the wall.
A sudden shriek of laughter, and one of the dolls was in his arms, smothering him with kisses. Then every one began to talk at once, as usual, and it was not until late the next evening, when he and Katharine were steaming out of Amsterdam, that the colonel was told the whole story and for the first time fully understood all that had happened to his little girl on that eventful day.
Meanwhile the new light in his daughter's eyes and the laughter on her lips kept him from any desire to inquire too deeply into the reason for a certain embarrassed frightened look on the faces of the women.
Before leaving Amsterdam the colonel was obliged to purchase a complete suit of Dutch garments for Katharine as a memento of this visit, and "because they are so pretty, father," she said, and "oh, father, I just love Holland! As for those Dutch children, I think they are simply the dearest, sweetest things I ever saw, and I have promised to write to Gretel as soon as ever I get to Paris."
THE JINGLE OF THE LITTLE JAP
BY ISABEL ECCLESTON MACKAY
There lives in a town that is called Chu-Bo A little Jap girl named Nami-Ko. She learns to spell and she learns to write, But her A B C's are the oddest sight!
For this is the way that the letters look In her neat little, queer little copy-book:
This little Jap girl has shoes most neat To put on her tiny Japanese feet, But O! They are queer—such heels, such toes! You'd think she would fall on her little Jap nose!
And these are the shoes—beware of mishap If you wear what belongs to a queer little Jap!
When this little Jap girl goes out to call She wears no hat—but a parasol! And her little Jap mother wears one too— In fact it's the way that the Japs all do.
And this is the curious parasol Which the little Jap girl wears out to call:
This little Jap girl, when she goes to bed, Has no soft pillow beneath her head, For little Jap girls have to take great care Of their smooth little, black little Japanese hair!
And this is the pillow! Imagine, chicks, A pillow like this—and as hard as bricks!
THE SEVENTH BIRTHDAY OF THE LITTLE COUSIN FROM CONSTANTINOPLE
BY EMMA C. DOWD
The Little Cousin from Constantinople was to have been given a party on her seventh birthday; but, just before the invitations were written, Mumps came uninvited, and, of course, there could be no other guests while Mumps stayed.
The Little Cousin could not help feeling just a little tearful on her birthday morning, for Mumps, as nearly everybody knows, is a painful, disagreeable visitor. She did not cry when anybody was near—oh, no, indeed! She even tried to smile; but she found smiling very difficult with a poultice on each side of her face, and she had to give it up. The Merry Mother understood, however, and told her she was a dear, brave little girl, and strove to comfort her just as the dear absent Mother in Constantinople would have comforted her if she had been there.
Before the Merry Mother left her the Little Cousin felt almost happy, sitting up among her soft pillows, and wearing her new, pink, birthday sacque, with its pretty ribbons.
"I am sorry I must be away all the morning," the Merry Mother said; "but I hope your pleasant company will keep you from missing me. I am going to shut your door for a minute, and when it opens you can pull in your visitors as fast as you please." She laughed to see the Little Cousin's astonished face, for the doctor had said that the children must not come in to see her as long as Mumps stayed. Then the door closed.
There was a slight commotion outside. The Little Cousin listened eagerly. What could it mean? Hushed voices, bits of laughter, the sliding of something over the polished floor, scurrying footsteps here and there—the Little Cousin heard it all, and waited breathlessly.
At last the feet retreated, the door opened, and the Merry Mother's face appeared. Something attached to a string came flying toward the bed.
"Catch it!" she called.
The Little Cousin grabbed it—only a small block of wood, on which was printed, "PULL."
Eagerly the little hands obeyed, when in through the doorway slid an oblong package. Across the rug and up on the bed the Little Cousin drew it, till her excited fingers clasped the package tight—what could it be?
Fastened to the further end of the bundle was another block of wood, and attached to it was another string which led outside the door. On this block was printed. "When you are ready, PULL again!"
"I'll open this first," said the Little Cousin to herself, untying the block, and laying it aside with its dangling cord. Eagerly she tore off the wrappings—it was, it was a doll, such a darling of a doll! It had brown eyes and fluffy yellow curls, and—this seemed very strange—the only thing in the way of clothing that it possessed was a little blanket that was wrapped around it.
Never mind! she was learning to sew, and she would make it a dress as soon as she was well again. She cuddled Dolly down against the pillows. She would not be lonely any more, even if Mumps should stay for a longer visit than was expected. Her dolls had all been left for the Little Sister in Constantinople, and it was so nice to have a dolly of her own again!
Then her eyes fell on the block of wood, with its inscription, and she began to pull in the string.
A square package appeared in the doorway, and she drew it toward her. Attached to it was a third block. This she untied as before, and removed the paper from her gift. It was a small trunk. She lifted the cover, and there were Dolly's missing garments! A blue dress, a pink dress, a white dress, dainty underwear, sash ribbons, a coat and hat, and even a tiny comb and brush, were found in that wonderful trunk. Of course, Dolly had to come out from her nook in the pillows, and be dressed. It took some time, because Little Cousin must stop to admire every separate garment. At last, however, the third present was pulled in, and it was a chair for Dolly to sit in.
The fourth package was big and rather heavier than the others. The Little Cousin wondered what it could be, and she found out just as soon as she could get it open. It was a dining-table for Dolly, with a real little table-cloth, and napkins, and a set of pretty china dishes.
"Oh, oh!" gasped the Little Cousin, in sheer delight. It is a pity there was no one there to see the shining of her eyes. She rested awhile among her pillows; but not long, for Dolly must have her table set for luncheon—she might be hungry.
Ready for the make-believe repast, string number five was pulled, and when the box was opened the Little Cousin fairly squealed, for there was a real luncheon for Dolly and herself, all in twos! There were two tiny buttered biscuits, two very small apple turnovers, and two little frosted cakes. There were, also, two small bottles containing a brownish liquid. It was chocolate! Oh, how glad the Little Cousin was that she had passed the stage where she could not eat! It would have been hard, indeed, to have left all those goodies for Dolly. As it was she had to take food in very small bits, but that only made it last the longer; and if it did hurt a little once in a while she did not mind, it tasted so good. So on the whole, the luncheon was a very happy affair.
When the sixth present was pulled upon the bed the Little Cousin said, "Oh!" to the accompaniment of very bright eyes, for the shape of it told her that must be a carriage—a carriage for Dolly, and it proved to be one of the very prettiest that ever a small doll rode in. She was put on the seat in a twinkling, and had only one tumble—which did not even muss her dress, and the next time she was strapped in so that she could not fall.
The seventh gift was a little white bedstead, with mattress and sheets, a dear little puffy comfortable, and a dainty coverlet and two pillows. Of course, Dolly was tired enough after her ride to be undressed and go to bed, and very sweet she looked as she was tucked snugly in.
"Now shut your eyes and go right to sleep!" Dolly was bidden, and she obeyed at once.
"What a perfectly lovely birthday!" murmured Little Cousin, drawing her darling—bed and all—close to her pillow. Then she shut her own eyes, to keep Dolly company.
When the Merry Mother peeped in, the Little Cousin from Constantinople lay quite still among her treasures—fast asleep.
LITTLE RED RIDING-HOOD
RETOLD FROM GRIMM
There was once a sweet little girl, who had gained the love of every one, even those who had only seen her once. She had an old grandmother, who knew not how to do enough for her, she loved her so much. Once she sent her a little cloak with a red velvet hood, which became her so well that she obtained the name of Little Red Riding-Hood.
One day her mother said to her: "Come, Red Riding-Hood, I want you to go and see your grandmother, and take her a piece of cake and a bottle of wine; for she is ill and weak, and this will do her good. Make haste and get ready before the weather gets too hot, and go straight on your road while you are out, and behave prettily and modestly; and do not run, for fear you should fall and break the bottle, and then grandmother would have no wine. And when you pass through the village, do not forget to courtesy and say 'Good-morning' to every one who knows you."
"I will do everything you tell me, mother," said the child as she wished her good-by and started for her long walk.
It was quite half an hour's walk through the wood from the village to the grandmother's house, and no sooner had Red Riding-Hood entered the wood than she met a wolf.
Red Riding-Hood did not know what a wicked animal he was, and felt not the least afraid of him.
"Good-day, Red Riding-Hood," he said.
"Good-morning, sir," replied the little girl, with a courtesy.
"Where are you going so early, Red Riding-Hood?" he asked.
"To my grandmother, sir," she replied. "Mother baked yesterday, and she has sent me with a piece of cake and a bottle of wine to her because she is sick, and it will make her stronger and do her good."
"Where does your grandmother live, Red Riding-Hood?"
"About half a mile from here through the wood; her house stands under three large oak trees, near to the nut hedges; you would easily know it," said Red Riding-Hood.
The wolf, when he heard this, thought to himself, "This little, delicate thing would be a sweet morsel for me at last, and taste nicer than her old grandmother, but she would not satisfy my hunger; I must make a meal of them both."
Then he walked quietly on by the side of Red Riding-Hood till they came to a part of the wood where a number of flowers grew.
"See, Red Riding-Hood," he said, "what pretty flowers are growing here; would you not like to rest and gather some? And don't you hear how sweetly the birds are singing? You are walking on as steadily as if you were going to school, and it is much more pleasant here in the wood."
Then Red Riding-Hood looked up and saw the dancing sunbeams shining between the trees and lighting up the beautiful flowers that grew all around her, and she thought, "If I were to take my grandmother a fresh nosegay, it would make her so pleased; it is early yet, and I have plenty of time."
So she went out of her way into the wood to gather flowers. And when she had picked a few, she saw some more beautiful still at a little distance so she walked on further and further, till she was quite deep in the wood.
Meanwhile the wolf went straight on to the grandmother's house, and knocked at the door. There was no answer.
So the wolf lifted the latch and the door flew open; then he rushed in, hoping to seize upon the poor old grandmother, and eat her up. But she had gone out for a little walk, so he shut the door, dressed himself in the old woman's nightgown and nightcap, and lay down in the bed to wait for Red Riding-Hood.
After Red Riding-Hood had gathered as many flowers as she could carry, she found her way back quickly to the right path, and walked on very fast till she came to her grandmother's house, and knocked at the door.
"Who is there?" said the wolf, trying to imitate the grandmother. His voice was so gruff, however, that Little Red Riding-Hood would have been frightened, only she thought her grandmother had a cold.
So she replied: "It's Little Red Riding-Hood. Mother sent you a piece of cake and a bottle of wine."
"Lift up the latch and come in," said the wolf.
So Red Riding-Hood lifted the latch and went in.
When she saw her grandmother, as she thought, lying in bed, she went up to her and drew back the curtains; but she could only see the head, for the wolf had pulled the nightcap as far over his face as he could.
"Good-morning," she said; but there was no answer. Then she got on the bed, and cried out: "Grandmother, what great ears you have!"
"The better to hear with, my dear," he said.
"Grandmother, what great eyes you have!"
"The better to see you, my dear, the better to see you."
"Grandmother, what great teeth you have!"
"The better to eat you up!"
The old wolf jumped out of bed, and Little Red Riding Hood, in the greatest terror, screamed as loud as she could.
Just then the door opened, and in came the grandmother and some woodmen who were passing. They were just in time to save Little Red-Riding-Hood from the old wolf.
Come and see my baby dear; Doctor, she is ill, I fear. Yesterday, do what I would, She would touch no kind of food; And she tosses, moans, and cries. Doctor, what do you advise?
Hum! ha! good madam, tell me, pray, What have you offered her to-day? Ah, yes! I see! a piece of cake— The worst thing you could make her take. Just let me taste. Yes, yes; I fear Too many plums and currants here. But, stop; I must just taste again, For that will make the matter plain.
But, Doctor, pray excuse me, now— You've eaten all the cake, I vow! I thank you kindly for your care; But surely that was hardly fair.
Ah, dear me! did I eat the cake? Well, it was for dear baby's sake. But keep him in his bed, well warm, And, you will see, he'll take no harm. At night and morning use once more His draught and powder, as before; And he must not be over-fed, But he may have a piece of bread. To-morrow, then, I dare to say, He'll be quite right. Good day! good day!
BY HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN
She had a little house of her own, a little garden, too, this woman of whom I am going to tell you, but for all that she was not quite happy.
"If only I had a little child of my own," she said, "how the walls would ring with her laughter, and how the flowers would brighten at her coming. Then, indeed, I should be quite happy."
And an old witch heard what the woman wished, and said, "Oh, but that is easily managed. Here is a barley-corn. Plant it in a flower-pot and tend it carefully, and then you will see what will happen."
The woman was in a great hurry to go home and plant the barley-corn, but she did not forget to say "Thank you" to the old witch. She not only thanked her, she even stayed to give her six silver pennies.
Then she hurried away to her home, took a flower-pot and planted her precious barley-corn.
And what do you think happened? Almost before the corn was planted, up shot a large and beautiful flower. It was still unopened. The petals were folded closely together, but it looked like a tulip. It really was a tulip, a red and yellow one, too.
The woman loved flowers. She stooped and kissed the beautiful bud. As her lips touched the petals, they burst open, and oh! wonder of wonders; there, in the very middle of the flower, sat a little child. Such a tiny, pretty little maiden she was.
They called her Thumbelina. That was because she was no bigger than the woman's thumb.
And where do you think she slept? A little walnut shell, lined with blue, that was her cradle.
When she slept little Thumbelina lay in her cradle on a tiny heap of violets, with the petal of a pale pink rose to cover her.
And where do you think she played? A table was her playground. On the table the woman placed a plate of water. Little Thumbelina called that her lake.
Round the plate were scented flowers; the blossoms lying on the edge, while the pale green stalks reached thirstily down to the water.
In the lake floated a large tulip leaf. This was Thumbelina's little boat. Seated there she sailed from side to side of her little lake, rowing cleverly with two white horse hairs. As she rowed backward and forward she sang softly to herself. The woman listening heard, and thought she had never known so sweet a song.
And now such a sad thing happened.
In through a broken window-pane hopped a big toad—oh, such an ugly big toad! She hopped right on to the table, where Thumbelina lay dreaming in her tiny cradle, under the pale pink rose leaf.
"How beautiful the little maiden is," she croaked. "She will make a lovely bride for my handsome son." And she lifted the little cradle, with Thumbelina in it, and hopped out through the broken window-pane, and down into the little garden.
At the foot of the garden was a broad stream. Here, under the muddy banks, lived the old toad with her son.
How handsome she thought him! But he was really very ugly. Indeed, he was exactly like his mother.
When he saw little Thumbelina in her tiny cradle, he croaked with delight.
"Do not make so much noise," said his mother, "or you will wake the tiny creature. We may lose her if we are not careful. The slightest breeze would waft her away. She is as light as gossamer."
Then the old toad carried Thumbelina out into the middle of the stream. "She will be safe here," she said, as she laid her gently on one of the leaves of a large water lily, and paddled back to her son.
"We will make ready the best rooms under the mud," she told him, "and then you and the little maiden will be married."
Poor little Thumbelina! She had not seen the ugly big toad yet, nor her ugly son.
When she woke up early in the morning, how she wept! Water all around her! How could she reach the shore? Poor little Thumbelina!
Down under the mud the old toad was very busy, decking the best room with buttercups and buds of water-lilies to make it gay for her little daughter-in-law, Thumbelina.
"Now we will go to bring her little bed and place it ready," said the old toad, and together she and her son swam out to the leaf where little Thumbelina sat.
"Here is my handsome son," she said, "he is to be your husband," and she bowed low in the water, for she wished to be very polite to the little maiden.
"Croak, croak," was all the young toad could say, as he looked at his pretty little bride.
Then they took away the tiny little bed, and Thumbelina was left all alone.
How the tears stained her pretty little face! How fast they fell into the stream! Even the fish as they swam hither and thither thought, "How it rains today," as the tiny drops fell thick and fast.
They popped up their heads and saw the forlorn little maiden.
"She shall not marry the ugly toad," they said, as they looked with eager eyes at the pretty child. "No, she shall not marry the ugly toad."
But what could the little fish do to help Thumbelina?
They found the green stem which held the leaf on which Thumbelina sat. They bit it with their little sharp teeth, and they never stopped biting, till at last they bit the green stem through; and away, down the stream, floated the leaf, carrying with it little Thumbelina.
"Free, free!" she sang, and her voice tinkled as a chime of fairy bells. "Free, free!" she sang merrily as she floated down the stream, away, far away out of reach of the ugly old toad and her ugly son.
And as she floated on, the little wild birds sang round her, and on the banks the little wild hare-bells bowed to her.
Butterflies were flitting here and there in the sunshine. A pretty little white one fluttered onto the leaf on which sat Thumbelina. He loved the tiny maiden so well that he settled down beside her.
Now she was quite happy! Birds around her, flowers near her, and the water gleaming like gold in the summer sunshine. What besides could little Thumbelina wish?
She took off her sash and threw one end of it round the butterfly. The other end she fastened firmly to the leaf. On and on floated the leaf, the little maiden and the butterfly.
Suddenly a great cockchafer buzzed along. Alas! he caught sight of little Thumbelina. He flew to her, put his claw round her tiny little waist and carried her off, up onto a tree.
Poor little Thumbelina! How frightened she was! How grieved she was, too, for had she not lost her little friend the butterfly?
Would he fly away, she wondered, or would her sash hold him fast?
The cockchafer was charmed with the little maiden. He placed her tenderly on the largest leaf he could find. He gathered honey for her from the flowers, and as she sipped it, he sat near and told her how beautiful she looked.
But there were other chafers living in the tree, and when they came to see little Thumbelina, they said, "She is not pretty at all."
"She has only two legs," said one.
"She has no feelers," said another.
Some said she was too thin, others that she was too fat, and then they all buzzed and hummed together, "How ugly she is, how ugly she is!" But all the time little Thumbelina was the prettiest little maiden that ever lived.
And now the cockchafer who had flown off with little Thumbelina thought he had been rather foolish to admire her.
He looked at her again. "Pretty? No, after all she was not very pretty." He would have nothing to do with her, and away he and all the other chafers flew. Only first they carried little Thumbelina down from the tree and placed her on a daisy. She wept because she was so ugly—so ugly that the chafers could not live with her. But all the time, you know, she was the prettiest little maiden in the world.
She was living all alone in the wood now, but it was summer and she could not feel sad or lonely while the warm golden sunshine touched her so gently, while the birds sang to her, and the flowers bowed to her.
Yes, little Thumbelina was happy. She ate honey from the flowers, and drank dew out of the golden buttercups and danced and sang the livelong day.
But summer passed away and autumn came. The birds began to whisper of flying to warmer countries, and the flowers began to fade and hang their heads, and as autumn passed away, winter came, cold, dreary winter.
Thumbelina shivered with cold. Her little frock was thin and old. She would certainly be frozen to death, she thought, as she wrapped herself up in a withered leaf.
Then the snow began to fall, and each snow-flake seemed to smother her. She was so very tiny.
Close to the wood lay a corn-field. The beautiful golden grain had been carried away long ago, now there was only dry short stubble. But to little Thumbelina the stubble was like a great forest.
She walked through the hard field. She was shaking with cold. All at once she saw a little door just before her.
The field-mouse had made a little house under the stubble, and lived so cozily there. She had a big room full of corn, and she had a kitchen and pantry as well.
"Perhaps I shall get some food here," thought the cold and hungry little maiden, as she stood knocking at the door, just like a tiny beggar child. She had had nothing to eat for two long days. Oh, she was very hungry!
"What a tiny thing you are!" said the field-mouse, as she opened the door and saw Thumbelina. "Come in and dine with me."
How glad Thumbelina was, and how she enjoyed dining with the field-mouse.
She behaved so prettily that the old field-mouse told her she might live with her while the cold weather lasted. "And you shall keep my room clean and neat, and you shall tell me stories," she added.
That is how Thumbelina came to live with the field-mouse and to meet Mr. Mole.
"We shall have a visitor soon," said the field-mouse. "My neighbor, Mr. Mole, comes to see me every week-day. His house is very large, and he wears a beautiful coat of black velvet. Unfortunately, he is blind. If you tell him your prettiest stories he may marry you."
Now the mole was very wise and very clever, but how could little Thumbelina ever care for him. Why, he did not love the sun, nor the flowers, and he lived in a house underground. No, Thumbelina did not wish to marry the mole.
However she must sing to him when he came to visit his neighbor, the field-mouse. When she had sung, "Ladybird, Ladybird, fly away home," and "Boys and girls, come out to play," the mole was charmed, and thought he would like to marry the little maiden with the beautiful voice.
Then he tried to be very agreeable. He invited the field-mouse and Thumbelina to walk along the underground passage he had dug between their houses. Mr. Mole was very fond of digging underground.
As it was dark the mole took a piece of tinder-wood in his mouth and led the way. The tinder-wood shone like a torch in the dark passage.
A little bird lay in the passage, a little bird who had not flown away when the flowers faded and the cold winds blew.
It was dead, the mole said.
When he reached the bird, the mole stopped and pushed his nose right up through the ceiling to make a hole, through which the daylight might shine.
There lay a swallow, his wings pressed close to his side, his little head and legs drawn in under his feathers. He had died of cold.
"Poor little swallow!" thought Thumbelina. All wild birds were her friends. Had they not sung to her and fluttered round her all the long glad summer days?
But the mole kicked the swallow with his short legs. "That one will sing no more," he said roughly. "It must be sad to be born a bird and to be able only to sing and fly. I am thankful none of my children will be birds," and he proudly smoothed down his velvet coat.
"Yes," said the field-mouse, "what can a bird do but sing? When the cold weather comes it is useless."
Thumbelina said nothing. Only when the others moved on, she stooped down and stroked the bird gently with her tiny hand, and kissed its closed eyes.
That night the little maiden could not sleep. "I will go to see the poor swallow again," she thought.
She got up out of her tiny bed. She wove a little carpet out of hay. Down the long underground passage little Thumbelina walked, carrying the carpet. She reached the bird at last, and spread the carpet gently round him. She fetched warm cotton and laid it over the bird.
"Even down on the cold earth he will be warm now," thought the gentle little maiden.
"Farewell," she said sadly, "farewell, little bird! Did you sing to me through the long summer days, when the leaves were green and the sky was blue? Farewell, little swallow!" and she stooped to press her tiny cheeks against the soft feathers.
As she did so, she heard—what could it be? pit, pat, pit, pat! Could the bird be alive? Little Thumbelina listened still. Yes, it was the beating of the little bird's heart that she heard. He had not been dead after all, only frozen with cold. The little carpet and the covering the little maid had brought warmed the bird. He would get well now.
What a big bird he seemed to Thumbelina! She was almost afraid now, for she was so tiny. She was tiny, but she was brave. Drawing the covering more closely round the poor swallow, she brought her own little pillow, that the bird's head might rest softly.
Thumbelina stole out again the next night. "Would the swallow look at her," she wondered.
Yes, he opened his eyes and looked at little Thumbelina, who stood there with a tiny torch of tinder-wood.
"Thanks, thanks, little Thumbelina," he twittered feebly. "Soon I shall grow strong and fly out in the bright sunshine once more; thanks, thanks, little maiden."
"Oh! but it is too cold, it snows and freezes, for now it is winter," said Thumbelina. "Stay here and be warm, and I will take care of you," and she brought the swallow water in a leaf.
And the little bird told her all his story—how he had tried to fly to the warm countries, and how he had torn his wing on a blackthorn bush and fallen to the ground. But he could not tell her how he had come to the underground passage.
All winter the swallow stayed there, and Thumbelina was often in the long passage, with her little torch of tinder-wood. But the mole and the field-mouse did not know how Thumbelina tended and cared for the swallow.
At last spring came, and the sun sent its warmth down where the swallow lay in the underground passage.
Little Thumbelina opened the hole which the mole had made in the ceiling, and the sunshine streamed down on the swallow and the little girl.
How the swallow longed to soar away, up and up, to be lost to sight in the blue, blue sky!
"Come with me, little Thumbelina," said the swallow, "come with me to the blue skies and the green woods."
But Thumbelina remembered how kind the field-mouse had been to her when she was cold and hungry, and she would not leave her.
"Farewell! farewell! then, little maiden," twittered the swallow as he flew out and up, up into the sunshine.
Thumbelina loved the swallow dearly. Her eyes were full of tears as she watched the bird disappearing till he was only a tiny speck of black.
And now sad days came to little Thumbelina.
The golden corn was once more waving in the sunshine above the house of the field-mouse, but Thumbelina must not go out lest she lose herself among the corn.
Not go out in the bright sunshine! Oh, poor little Thumbelina!
"You must get your wedding clothes ready this summer," said the field-mouse. "You must be well provided with linen and worsted. My neighbor the mole will wish a well-dressed bride."
The mole had said he wished to marry little Thumbelina before the cold winter came again.
So Thumbelina sat at the spinning-wheel through the long summer days, spinning and weaving with four little spiders to help her.
In the evening the mole came to visit her. "Summer will soon be over," he said, "and we shall be married."
But oh! little Thumbelina did not wish the summer to end.
Live with the dull old mole, who hated the sunshine, who would not listen to the song of the birds—live underground with him! Little Thumbelina wished the summer would never end.
The spinning and weaving were over now. All the wedding clothes were ready. Autumn was come.
"Only four weeks and the wedding-day will have come," said the field-mouse.
And little Thumbelina wept.
"I will not marry the tiresome old mole," she said.
"I shall bite you with my white tooth if you talk such nonsense," said the field-mouse. "Among all my friends not one of them has such a fine velvet coat as the mole. His cellars are full and his rooms are large. You ought to be glad to marry so well," she ended.
"Was there no escape from the underground home?" little Thumbelina wondered.
The wedding-day came. The mole arrived to fetch his little bride.
How could she say good-by forever to the beautiful sunshine?
"Farewell, farewell!" she cried, and waved her little hands toward the glorious sun.
"Farewell, farewell!" she cried, and threw her tiny arms round a little red flower growing at her feet.
"Tell the dear swallow, when he comes again," she whispered to the flower, "tell him I will never forget him."
"Tweet, tweet!" What was that Thumbelina heard? "Tweet, tweet!" Could it be the swallow?
The flutter of wings was round her. Little Thumbelina looked. How glad she was, for there, indeed, was the little bird she had tended and cared for so long. She told him, weeping, she must not stay. She must marry the mole and live underground, and never see the sun, the glorious sun.
"Come with me, come with me, little Thumbelina," twittered the swallow. "You can sit on my back, and I will fly with you to warmer countries, far from the tiresome old mole. Over mountains and seas we will fly to the country where the summer never ends, and the sunlight always shines."
Then little Thumbelina seated herself on her dear swallow's back, and put her tiny feet on his outstretched wing. She tied herself firmly with her little sash to the strongest feather of the bird.
And the swallow soared high into the air. High above forests and lakes, high above the big mountains that were crested with snow, he soared.
They had reached the warm countries now.
On and on flew the swallow, till he came to a white marble palace. Half-ruined it was, and vine leaves trailed up the long slender pillars. And among the broad, green leaves many a swallow had built his nest, and one of these nests belonged to Thumbelina's little swallow.
"This is my home," said the bird, "but you shall live in one of these brilliant flowers, in the loveliest of them all."
And little Thumbelina clapped her hands with joy.
The swallow flew with her to a stately sun-flower, and set her carefully on one of the broad yellow petals.
But think, what was her surprise! In the very heart of the flower stood a little Prince, fair and transparent as crystal. On his shoulders were a pair of delicate wings, and he was small, every bit as small as Thumbelina. He was the spirit of the flower.
For you know in each flower there is a spirit—a tiny little boy or girl, but this little Prince was King of all the flower spirits.
The little King thought Thumbelina the loveliest maiden he had ever seen. He took off his golden crown and placed it on the tiny head of the little maid, and in a silvery voice he asked, "Will you be my bride, little Thumbelina, and reign with me over the flower spirits?"
How glad Thumbelina was!
The little King wished to marry her. Yes, she would be his little Queen.
Then out of each blossom stepped tiny little children. They came to pay their homage to little Thumbelina.
Each one brought her a present, and the most beautiful of all the presents was a pair of wings, delicate as gossamer. And when they were fastened on the shoulders of the little Queen, she could fly from flower to flower.
And the swallow sat on his nest above, and sang his sweetest bridal song for the wedding of little Thumbelina.
THE FOX AND THE LITTLE RED HEN
Once upon a time there was a little red hen. She lived in a little white house and she had a little green garden. Every day she worked in the house and garden.
Near her home lived a family of foxes. One day Mamma Fox said to Papa Fox, "I want a fat hen to eat." There was nothing in the pantry for the baby foxes, so Papa Fox started out to find something for them all.
He ran down the road until he came to the woods. "Surely I will find something here," he said, but he found nothing to eat in the woods. As he came near the little green garden he said, "Oh, I smell fresh cake! Oh, I smell a little red hen!"
Sure enough, there was the Little Red Hen eating her cake.
Papa Fox stole up softly behind her and grabbed her and put her into the bag on his back; then he ran quickly off down the hill toward his home.
The Little Red Hen was so frightened that she could only whisper, "Oh, dear! Oh, dear! Oh, dear!"
Just then she had to sneeze, and when she put her claw into her pocket for her handkerchief, she felt her little scissors. Quick as a flash she took them out and cut a little hole in the bag. Peeping out she saw a great hill just ahead, all covered with stones. As Papa Fox stopped to rest on his way up the hill, with his back turned toward her, she cut a big hole in the bag, jumped out and quickly put a big stone in the bag in her place.
As Papa Fox kept on up the hill, he thought the bag was pretty heavy, but he said, "Never mind, she is a fat little red hen."
Mamma Fox met him at the front door with all the baby foxes.
"The water is boiling," said she. "What have you in your bag?" asked the Baby Foxes.
"A fat little red hen," said Papa Fox.
As he held the bag over the pot, he said to Mamma Fox, "When I drop her in, you clap on the lid." So he opened the bag. Splash! went the boiling water. It spilled all over Papa Fox and Mamma Fox and the Baby Foxes. Never again did they try to catch the Little Red Hen.
THE SHOEMAKER AND THE LITTLE ELVES
BY THE BROTHERS GRIMM
There was once a shoemaker, who, from no fault of his own, had become so poor that at last he had nothing left, but just sufficient leather for one pair of shoes. In the evening he cut out the leather, intending to make it up in the morning; and, as he had a good conscience, he lay quietly down to sleep, first commending himself to God. In the morning he said his prayers, and then sat down to work; but, behold, the pair of shoes were already made, and there they stood upon his board. The poor man was amazed, and knew not what to think; but he took the shoes into his hand to look at them more closely, and they were so neatly worked, that not a stitch was wrong; just as if they had been made for a prize. Presently a customer came in; and as the shoes pleased him very much, he paid down more than was usual; and so much that the shoemaker was able to buy with it leather for two pairs. By the evening he had got his leather shaped out; and when he arose the next morning, he prepared to work with fresh spirit; but there was no need—for the shoes stood all perfect on his board. He did not want either for customers; for two came who paid him so liberally for the shoes, that he bought with the money material for four pairs more. These also—when he awoke—he found all ready-made, and so it continued; what he cut out overnight was, in the morning, turned into the neatest shoes possible. This went on until he had regained his former appearance, and was becoming prosperous.
One evening—not long before Christmas—as he had cut out the usual quantity, he said to his wife before going to bed, "What say you to stopping up this night, to see who it is that helps us so kindly?" His wife was satisfied, and fastened up a light; and then they hid themselves in the corner of the room, where hung some clothes which concealed them. As soon as it was midnight in came two little manikins, who squatted down on the board; and, taking up the prepared work, set to with their little fingers, stitching and sewing, and hammering so swiftly and lightly, that the shoemaker could not take his eyes off them for astonishment. They did not cease until all was brought to an end, and the shoes stood ready on the table; and then they sprang quickly away.
The following morning the wife said, "The little men have made us rich, and we must show our gratitude to them; for although they run about they must be cold, for they have nothing on their bodies. I will make a little shirt, coat, waistcoat, trousers, and stockings for each, and do you make a pair of shoes for each."
The husband assented; and one evening, when all was ready, they laid presents, instead of the usual work, on the board, and hid themselves to see the result.
At midnight in came the Elves, jumping about, and soon prepared to work, but when they saw no leather, but the natty little clothes, they at first were astonished, but soon showed their rapturous glee. They drew on their coats, and smoothing them down, sang—
"Smart and natty boys are we; Cobblers we'll no longer be."
And so they went on hopping and jumping over the stools and chairs, and at last out at the door. After that evening they did not come again, but the shoemaker prospered in all he undertook, and lived happily to the end of his days.
THE GINGERBREAD BOY[N]
Now you shall hear a story that somebody's great, great-grandmother told a little girl ever so many years ago:
There was once a little old man and a little old woman, who lived in a little old house in the edge of a wood. They would have been a very happy old couple but for one thing—they had no little child, and they wished for one very much. One day, when the little old woman was baking gingerbread, she cut a cake in the shape of a little boy, and put it into the oven.
Presently, she went to the oven to see if it was baked. As soon as the oven door was opened, the little gingerbread boy jumped out, and began to run away as fast as he could go.
The little old woman called her husband, and they both ran after him. But they could not catch him. And soon the gingerbread boy came to a barn full of threshers. He called out to them as he went by, saying:
"I've run away from a little old woman, A little old man, And I can run away from you, I can!"
Then the barn full of threshers set out to run after him. But though they ran fast, they could not catch him. And he ran on till he came to a field full of mowers. He called out to them:
"I've run away from a little old woman, A little old man, A barn full of threshers, And I can run away from you, I can!"
Then the mowers began to run after him, but they couldn't catch him. And he ran on till he came to a cow. He called out to her:
"I've run away from a little old woman, A little old man, A barn full of threshers, A field full of mowers, And I can run away from you, I can!"
But though the cow started at once, she couldn't catch him. And soon he came to a pig. He called out to the pig:
"I've run away from a little old woman, A little old man, A barn full of threshers, A field full of mowers, A cow, And I can run away from you, I can!"
But the pig ran, and couldn't catch him. And he ran till he came across a fox, and to him he called out:
"I've run away from a little old woman, A little old man, A barn full of threshers, A field full of mowers, A cow and a pig, And I can run away from you, I can!"
Then the fox set out to run. Now, foxes can run very fast, and so the fox soon caught the gingerbread boy and began to eat him up.
Presently the gingerbread boy said: "O dear! I'm quarter gone!" And then: "Oh, I'm half gone!" And soon: "I'm three-quarters gone!" And at last: "I'm all gone!" and never spoke again.
[N] First published in St. Nicholas. Used by permission of the publishers, The Century Company.
STORIES for LITTLE BOYS
BY ROSAMOND UPHAM
Mischief was a cunning little fellow from the very first day that I saw him. Such a round, plump little body, such short, clumsy legs, and such a roguish face; just the one of all his nine brothers and sisters about whom to write a story, and so you shall hear of his preparations for the long journey upon which he went when he was two months old.
His playmates were sent away, one by one, until at last he was left all alone, with only the mastiff Rex for a companion, and a most forlorn little pup he was, running about all day long, trying to keep up with his new protector.
One morning in January, the weather being very severe, Mischief was taken into the kitchen to live, and a happier dog than he could not be imagined, trotting about after the cook and housemaid from morning until night, chasing the cats, stealing towels and brushes—in fact, attending to all the mischief that came in his way.
One day, about two weeks after he came into the house to live, a letter came from Milwaukee saying that he, too, must be sent off. And of course, Mischief knew about it. How could he help it, when the whole household were so sorry to have him go? And accordingly he began to make ready for the long journey he was so soon to take.
As he sat by the range, evidently trying to make up his mind what to take with him, his first thought was of the old coat he had had as a bed; so he crossed the room, took the coat in his mouth, and with his paws scratched it up into a bundle.
Then he thought of his milk-dish. Of course he must take that, for how could he drink from any other dish than the shiny one given him by the cook two weeks before? So he took that between his teeth and put it beside the coat. And the stove-hook, why not take that? No one seemed to be using it just at the moment. And a gelatin-box that had just been emptied, would it not be nice to pack his new collar in?
So he ran tumbling across the floor for the box, and back again for the string, when just then a pair of mittens caught his eye, and in this cold weather the mittens would be a comfort on so long a journey, so they were added to the collection under the table. And Mischief was just thinking he was about ready to start, when the very thing he most dreaded to leave behind him ran across the floor—the little yellow kitten; why could she not go with him, and then the journey would not seem so long? Accordingly, he ran after her, caught her by the neck, and tried to put her down with his other baggage; but the kitten could not understand what Mischief meant, and scratched and spit in a way that plainly said she would not accompany him.
Poor Mischief lay down in despair, and, after his hard morning's work, took a long nap, only waking in time for his dinner. The next day he was put into a warm box, carried to the station, and after a three days' journey arrived in Milwaukee, happy, well, and delighted with his new master, apparently quite forgetting his little mistress whom he left in her New Hampshire home.
WILLIE AND HIS DOG DIVER
BY H. N. POWERS
Willie was a very little child and lived near a mill. One day he saw a big cruel boy come along and throw a little puppy into the mill-pond, and then run away. Willie cried out: "O Papa, Papa, do come here!"
"What is the matter?" said his papa.
"Oh, Papa! I want the little doggie! Please get him for me. He will be drowned!"
His papa took a long pole and put it under the puppy's neck and pulled it out of the water and gave it to Willie. He was very happy with his dog, which, by next year, grew to be a big, strong, shaggy fellow, and was named Diver. He used to go with Willie everywhere the boy went, and he loved Willie very much. Everybody said: "What a beautiful dog!" and Willie was proud of him.
One day when the nuts were ripe, Willie took his basket and went to pick hazelnuts. One big bush full of nuts hung over a deep place in the mill-pond, and, as Willie reached for the top branch, he slipped and fell in the water out of sight. But when he came up, Diver jumped in, took him by his collar, and brought him safe to land. So if it was good for Willie to save the dog's life when he was a little puppy, it was good for the dog to save Willie's life when he was a little boy.
And that was Diver's way of thanking Willie for saving his life. It was a very good way, too! And Willie and Diver were always the best of friends.
GORDON'S TOY CASTLE ON THE HILL
BY EVERETT WILSON
Last Christmas little Gordon Bruce had a fine, large Christmas tree and lots of toys, just as a great many other nice boys and girls had. The tree was up in his playroom, a great, big, sunny room that used to be called the "nursery" when he was a baby.
A few days after Christmas, Gordon's mother said: "Now, Gordon, I think we will have to take down your Christmas tree, for it is getting all dried up, and the little pine needles are dropping all over the floor, and the maid has to sweep them up every day."
Gordon was sorry to have the tree taken down, for it looked so bright and Christmas-y, and he knew it would be a whole year before he would have another Christmas tree, so he asked his mother if she wouldn't wait just one day more. I think that is the way almost all the girls and boys feel. And his mother said she would wait until to-morrow.
It was a rainy day, and as none of his little friends were with him, he began to play with all his toys one after the other; there were many of them, and some of the little ones were still hanging on the tree.
Gordon's father came from Scotland, and he had read to Gordon many stories of the old days in Scotland, when the great generals and the noble lords lived in strong castles set high up on the mountains, so that the soldiers could not get near them. Now among Gordon's Christmas presents was a tiny castle just like the ones he had seen in the books his father read the stories from; and with this castle came a lot of soldiers.
So this day Gordon got out his castle and soldiers and began to play with them. First he got a chair and put a big, thick rug over it to make it look like a steep hill; then he set the castle on top of the hill and stood the soldiers on the ground at the bottom of the hill—all in a row. He was making believe that the soldiers were trying to get up to the castle. Then he dropped some beautiful colored glass marbles, that his Uncle George had given him, down on the floor of the castle. The marbles rolled out of the front door of the castle and down the rug to the bottom of the hill, and bang! they would bump right against the tall soldiers and tumble them down. One after another Gordon would roll the marbles down until by and by every one of the soldiers would be knocked over, and as they were only wooden soldiers, of course they couldn't get up by themselves. Then Gordon would stand them all up in a row again and roll the marbles down the hill until not a single soldier was standing. It was lots of fun for Gordon, for you know it really didn't hurt the soldiers a bit, for they were only made of wood and their uniforms were just red and blue paint.
The next day Gordon's mother took down the tree, and packed up the beautiful things that were on it, and put them away until next Christmas.
HANS THE INNOCENT
WRITTEN AND ILLUSTRATED BY M. I. WOOD
Once upon a time there was a woman called Mrs. Stockchen and she had a son named Hans. They lived together in a little cottage and they had a hen and a cow.
One morning Mrs. Stockchen said to her son: "Hans, my dear, will you take Cowslip, the cow, to pasture, and remember not to be late for supper." "Very well," said Hans, and he took up his stick and started for the field.
The sun was very hot when he got there, and seeing a row of five shady trees, he lay down underneath them and fell asleep in two seconds. He snored with his mouth open. Cowslip had been watching him and when she saw his eyes close, she said, "Now! here's my chance!" and, jumping over the fence, she ran away.
Hans stopped snoring and awoke at supper-time. He looked for Cowslip, but she had disappeared; he ran about calling for her, but she did not come; and at last he went home to his mother with a very sad face and said: "Oh, mother, Cowslip ran away while I was asleep. I have looked for her and cannot find her anywhere."
"You lazy, careless, naughty, careless, naughty, lazy Boy!" cried Mrs. Stockchen. "You have left my poor cow wandering all alone. She will lose her way in the dark. Just you go and find her this instant. You will get no supper till you bring her back, or my name is not Matilda Maria!"
Mrs. Stockchen had grown quite scarlet with rage and she shook the soup-ladle at her son to make him go faster. It was getting quite dark by the time Hans reached the field again and nowhere did he see any trace of the cow. He did not know in what direction she had gone, so he walked round and round the field, feeling very miserable.
Just as 10 o'clock was striking, Cowslip stepped out from behind a tree, and kneeling at Hans's feet, said in a choking voice, "I am really very sorry, Hans." "Well," said Hans, "I am sorry too, but let us get home now." So they set out, tired and rather cross.
But when they came within sight of the light in their own cottage window, they met two soldiers who stopped them, and asked what they were doing out so late. "We're just going home," said Hans. "Why," said the soldiers "you ought to have been there two hours ago."
"Well, I couldn't help it," said Hans, "this cow ran away and I had to fetch her before going home to supper."
"Boy!" said the soldiers, "you are not speaking the truth, you have stolen the cow, and you are very impertinent as well. We will take you to prison."
They tied a rope round Hans's neck and another round the cow's, and took them to prison. They put Hans into a dungeon full of horrid creatures, but they let poor Cowslip wander about in the fields outside.
One morning when Hans was crying because the door was locked and because the window bars looked so strong, Cowslip heard him. She came up beside the window, and standing on her hind-legs she peeped in and said, "Hans, my dear master, do you think that if I tried to knock down the wall with my horns, you could get out?" "I will try," said Hans. It was rather hard work for Cowslip, but at last she made a big enough hole and Hans leaped out.
He knocked off his hat in doing so, but then Hans didn't care about a little thing like that.
He jumped on her back, and away they went, over fallen trees, stones, ditches, hedges, everything. They came in sight of the cottage at last, and the sound of their approach caused Mrs. Stockchen to look out of the window. When she saw who it was she fairly jumped for joy and she rushed out at once to meet them.
Hans fell into his mother's arms. And they all lived happily ever afterward.
A REAL LITTLE BOY BLUE
BY CAROLINE S. ALLEN
Once there were four little brothers. The oldest had black eyes. He was called Little Boy Black. But I haven't time to tell about him just now. The second little brother had brown eyes. He was called Little Boy Brown. But I cannot tell you about him either. The third little brother had gray eyes, and was called Little Boy Gray. There is a very nice story I could tell you about him, but I am sure you would rather hear about the fourth little brother.
For the youngest little brother had blue eyes; and his father and mother, his grandfather and grandmother, and every one else, called him Little Boy Blue. His eyes were very blue—as blue as the flowers you find down by the brook. You love the blue flowers, I know. And so I will tell you about Little Boy Blue.
His jacket was blue, his trousers were blue, his stockings were blue, and even his little shoes were blue.
One day Little Boy Blue's mother said to him: "Do you want to go and visit Aunt Polly?" "Who is Aunt Polly?" asked Little Boy Blue. "Aunt Polly lives on a farm, on a high hill. She has horses, and cows, and pigs, and hens, and ducks, and geese—" "And elephants?" asked Little Boy Blue. "No, not any elephants. But she has a woolly white lamb." "Oh, then I will go," cried Little Boy Blue. So his mother went up-stairs and found a little blue traveling-bag. And in the little blue bag she packed some of Little Boy Blue's clothes. Then Little Boy Blue and his mother went to visit Aunt Polly, who lived on a farm on a high hill.
Little Boy Blue's mother stayed two days, and Little Boy Blue stayed ten days. When his mother was going home, she said to Aunt Polly: "Little Boy Blue likes to play, but he likes to work, too. So be sure to give him some work to do every day."
"Very well," said Aunt Polly. And so by-and-by Aunt Polly went to find Little Boy Blue. And she said to him: "Dear Little Boy Blue, what can you do to help?" He thought a minute, and then he said: "I can eat apples to see if they are ripe. And I can pull the roses in the garden, if you have too many."
"The apples are not ripe, and I have just enough roses in the garden," said Aunt Polly. "Can you drive the cows out of the corn?"
"Oh, yes, I can," said Little Boy Blue, "if Towzer can come too." Towzer was the dog.
"And perhaps you can look after the sheep?"
"Yes, Aunt Polly, I can do that," said Little Boy Blue.
On the shelf in Little Boy Blue's room stood a little blue clock. And every morning at five o'clock the door of the clock flew open, and a cuckoo came out. The cuckoo said, "Cuck-oo," five times, and then went into the little blue clock again, and the little door closed after him. Then Little Boy Blue knew it was time to get up.
When he was dressed, he came down-stairs, and Aunt Polly gave him his breakfast. He had new milk in a blue bowl, and johnny-cake on a little blue plate. These he always carried out onto the door-step because he liked, while he was eating and drinking, to see the green grass bending in the breeze, and the yellow butterflies dancing here and there in the sunshine.
"This is the creamiest milk I ever saw," said Little Boy Blue.
"That's nice," said Aunt Polly. "Do you want some more?"
"Yes, please," said Little Boy Blue. So Aunt Polly brought the blue pitcher, and poured more creamy milk into his little blue bowl, and Little Boy Blue said: "Thank you, Aunt Polly."
When Little Boy Blue could eat no more golden johnny-cake, and drink no more creamy milk, he jumped up from the door-step.
First he put his arms around Aunt Polly's neck, and gave her a hug and a kiss. Then he went into the house to get his horn. The horn was a little blue one, and it hung on a peg near the kitchen door.
What do you suppose the horn was for? Why, Little Boy Blue watched the cows and the sheep. Then if they got into the wrong places, and trampled on the crops, Little Boy Blue blew the horn. One of the men always heard the horn, and came to help drive the cows or the sheep back where they belonged.
All this was very pleasant. But one day—what do you think? The sheep ran away, and jumped over a stone wall into the meadow, and the cows got into the corn. Nobody knew how it happened. Little Boy Blue had gone out that morning, just as he always did, to look after them; and no one had heard any horn. At last Towzer ran up to the barn, barking loudly. That was to give the alarm—about the sheep and the cows.
"How queer!" said Aunt Polly, who was in the barn-yard feeding the chickens.
"How strange!" said Uncle Ben.
"Where's Little Boy Blue?" asked the men.
"I'll call him," said Aunt Polly. So she walked, and she walked, all around the farm. As Aunt Polly walked she looked here, and she looked there. And she called:
"Little Boy Blue! Come blow your horn. The sheep's in the meadow, the cow's in the corn."
Where do you think Aunt Polly found him? When the head-farmer asked her, "Where's the little boy that looks after the sheep?" Aunt Polly said: "He's under the haycock, fast asleep."
"Shall we go wake him?" said the head-farmer.
"No, no; let him lie," said Aunt Polly. "For if we should wake him, 'he'd cry, cry, cry.'"
You see Little Boy Blue got up so early, he grew sleepy. And the sun was hot. And the haymow made a soft pillow. So he fell sound asleep, and dreamed about the woolly white lamb.
But on the day after that, Little Boy Blue took a nap, first, so that when he looked after the cows and the sheep he could keep awake. He never again had to be told to blow his horn.
When Little Boy Blue's visit was over, Aunt Polly said: "You've been a dear little helper. I'm going to give you something to take home." And, oh, joy! it was the woolly white lamb!
TRAVELS OF A FOX
ADAPTED BY CECILIA FARWELL
The Fox was digging under an old tree and found a bumblebee. He gathered it up and put it into his bag and tied the string. Then he went to the first cottage at the end of the village street and said:
"Good morning, Good Mother. The way is long, and I am weary. May I leave my bag here while I go to the grocery store?"
"That will be all right," said the old woman, "put it behind the door."
So the Fox put the bag behind the door, saying, as he did so: "Be sure that you do not untie the string, Good Mother." Then he went out of the cottage and on up the road.
The old woman looked at the bag and said to herself: "Now, I wonder what that sly fellow carries so carefully? It will do no harm to see."
So she untied the string and started to look into the bag, and when the bag was opened the bumblebee flew out, and the rooster which was stalking about in the kitchen promptly ate him up.
When the Fox came back he saw that his bag had been opened and he said to the old woman: "Where is my bumblebee?"
"I opened the bag for but an instant," said the old woman, "and the bumblebee flew out and the rooster ate him up."
"Then I must take the rooster," said the Fox. So he gathered up the rooster, put him into the bag and tied the string, and threw the bag over his shoulder and went on down the road.
When he came to the next cottage he knocked at the door and said: "Good morning, Good Mother. The way is long and I am weary. May I leave my bag here while I go on to the grocery store?"
"That will be all right," said the old woman, "put it behind the door."
So the Fox put the bag behind the door, saying as he did so: "Be sure that you do not untie the string, Good Mother," and he went on down the road.
The old woman looked at the bag and said to herself, "Now I wonder what it is that that sly old fellow carries so carefully. It will do no harm to see."
So she untied the string and started to look into the bag, and when the bag was opened the rooster flew out, and the pig which was in the kitchen promptly ate him up.
When the Fox came back he saw that the bag had been opened, and he said: "Where is my rooster, Good Mother?"
"I opened the bag for but an instant, and the rooster flew out and the pig ate him up," said the woman.
"Then I must have the pig," said the Fox. So he gathered up the pig and put him into the bag and tied the string and threw the bag over his shoulder and went on down the road.
When he came to the next cottage he knocked at the door and said: "Good morning, Good Mother. The way is long and I am weary. May I leave my bag here while I go to the grocery store?"
"That will be all right," said the old woman, "put it behind the door."
So the Fox put the bag behind the door, saying as he did so, "Be sure that you do not untie the string, Good Mother," and went on down the road.
The old woman looked at the bag and said to herself: "Now I wonder what it is that that sly old fellow carries so carefully. It will do no harm to see."
So she untied the string and opened the bag the least little bit, and the pig jumped out of the bag and ran into the house where the ox stood and the ox promptly gored him to death.
When the Fox came back and saw that the bag had been opened he said: "Where is my pig, Good Mother?"
"I opened the bag the least little bit, and the pig jumped out and the ox gored him to death," said the woman.
"Then I must have the ox," said the Fox. So he went out into the yard and gathered up the ox and put him into the bag and tied the string and threw the bag on his back and went on down the road.
When he came to the next cottage he knocked at the door and said: "Good morning, Good Mother. The way is long and I am weary. May I leave my bag here while I go to the grocery store?"
"That will be all right," said the old woman, "put it behind the door."
So the Fox put the bag behind the door, saying as he did so: "Be sure that you do not untie the string, Good Mother," and went on down the road.
The woman looked at the bag and said to herself: "Now I wonder what it is that that sly old fellow carries so carefully? It will do no harm to see."
So she untied the string and opened the bag and the ox jumped out and ran out into the yard, and the little boy who was playing there chased him off over the hill and into the wood.
When the Fox came back he saw that the string had been untied, and he said to the old woman: "Where is my ox?"
"I opened the bag the least little bit, and the ox jumped out and the little boy chased him over the hill and into the wood," said the old woman.
"Then I must take the little boy," said the Fox.
So he gathered up the little boy and put him into the bag and tied the string and threw the bag over his shoulder and started off down the road.
When he came to the next house he knocked at the door and said: "Good morning, Good Mother. The way is long and I am weary. May I leave my bag while I go to the store?"
"That will be all right," said the woman, "put it behind the door."
So the Fox put the bag behind the door, saying as he did so: "Be sure that you do not untie the string, Good Mother," and went off.
This woman was very busy that morning, making cake, and she had no time to think of the bag, and it lay there for a long time. By-and-by when the cake was done her little boys gathered around the table, crying: "Let me taste the cake, Mother. Give me a piece of cake!" And she gave each one of them a piece of cake.
The cake smelled so good that the little boy in the bag cried out: "Oh, I want a piece of cake, too."
When the woman heard the little boy cry out she went to the bag, and looking down at it, she said: "Now I wonder what that sly Fox has been about?" And the little boy cried out again, and the woman untied the string and let him out, and took the house dog and put him into the bag instead, and the little boy joined the others around the table, and she gave him a piece of the cake.
When the Fox came back he saw that the bag was all tied up, and looked just as it had when he left it, so he took it from behind the door and threw it over his shoulder, saying to himself: "I have had a long journey to-day, and I am hungry. And I have not done so badly, either. I will now go into the woods and see how the little boy tastes."
So he went into the woods and untied the string to take the little boy out of the bag. But the little boy, as we know, was standing around the table with the other little boys eating cake. And no sooner was the string untied than the house dog jumped out of the bag and sprang right on the Fox, and they had a fight right then and there in the woods. Pretty soon the dog went trotting down the road. But the Fox did not go home. In fact he did not go anywhere at all.
OEYVIND AND MARIT
Oeyvind was his name. A low barren cliff overhung the house in which he was born, fir and birch looked down on the roof, and wild-cherry strewed flowers over it. Upon this roof there walked about a little goat, which belonged to Oeyvind. He was kept there that he might not go astray, and Oeyvind carried leaves and grass up to him. One fine day the goat leaped down, and—away to the cliff; he went straight up, and came where he never had been before. Oeyvind did not see him when he came out after dinner, and thought immediately of the fox. He grew hot all over, looked around about, and called, "Killy-killy-killy-goat."
"Bay-ay-ay," said the goat, from the brow of the hill, as he cocked his head on one side and looked down.
But at the side of the goat there kneeled a little girl.
"Is it yours, this goat?" she asked.
Oeyvind stood with eyes and mouth wide open, thrust both hands into the breeches he had on, and asked, "Who are you?"
"I am Marit, mother's little one, father's fiddle, the elf in the house, grand-daughter of Ole Nordistuen of the Heide farms, four years old in the autumn, two days after the frost nights, I!"
"Are you really?" he said, and drew a long breath, which he had not dared to do so long as she was speaking.
"Is it yours, this goat?" asked the girl again.
"Ye-es," he said, and looked up.
"I have taken such a fancy to the goat. You will give it to me?"
"No, that I won't."
She lay kicking her legs, and looking down at him, and then she said, "But if I give you a butter-cake for the goat, can I have him then?"
Oeyvind came of poor people, and had eaten butter-cake only once in his life, that was when grandpapa came there, and anything like it he had never eaten before nor since. He looked up at the girl. "Let me see the butter-cake first," said he.
She was not long about it, took out a large cake, which she held in her hand. "Here it is," she said, and threw it down.
"Ow, it went to pieces," said the boy. He gathered up every bit with the utmost care; he could not help tasting the very smallest, and that was so good, he had to taste another, and, before he knew it himself, he had eaten up the whole cake.
"Now the goat is mine," said the girl. The boy stopped with the last bit in his mouth, the girl lay and laughed, and the goat stood by her side, with white breast and dark brown hair, looking down.
"Could you not wait a little while?" begged the boy; his heart began to beat. Then the girl laughed still more, and got up quickly on her knees.
"No, the goat is mine," she said, and threw her arms around its neck, loosened one of her garters, and fastened it around. Oeyvind looked up. She got up, and began pulling at the goat; it would not follow, and twisted its neck downward to where Oeyvind stood. "Bay-ay-ay," it said. But she took hold of its hair with one hand, pulled the string with the other, and said gently, "Come, goat, and you shall go into the room and eat out of mother's dish and my apron." And then she sung,—
"Come, boy's goat, Come, mother's calf, Come, mewing cat In snow-white shoes. Come, yellow ducks, Come out of your hiding-place; Come, little chickens, Who can hardly go; Come, my doves With soft feathers, See, the grass is wet, But the sun does you good; And early, early is it in summer, But call for the autumn, and it will come."
There stood the boy.
He had taken care of the goat since the winter before, when it was born, and he had never imagined he could lose it; but now it was done in a moment, and he would never see it again.
His mother came up humming from the beach, with wooden pans which she had scoured: she saw the boy sitting with his legs crossed under him on the grass, crying, and she went up to him.
"What are you crying about?"
"Oh, the goat, the goat!"
"Yes; where is the goat?" asked his mother, looking up at the roof.
"It will never come back again," said the boy.
"Dear me! how could that happen?"
He would not confess immediately.
"Has the fox taken it?"
"Ah, if it only were the fox!"
"Are you crazy?" said his mother; "what has become of the goat?"
"Oh-h-h—I happened to—to—to sell it for a cake!"
As soon as he had uttered the word, he understood what it was to sell the goat for a cake; he had not thought of it before. His mother said,—
"What do you suppose the little goat thinks of you, when you could sell him for a cake?"
And the boy thought about it, and felt sure that he could never again be happy. He felt so sorry, that he promised himself never again to do anything wrong, never to cut the thread on the spinning-wheel, nor let the goats out, nor go down to the sea alone. He fell asleep where he lay, and dreamed about the goat.
Suddenly there came something wet close up to his ear, and he started up. "Bay-ay-ay!" it said; and it was the goat, who had come back again.
"What! have you got back?" He jumped up, took it by the two fore-legs, and danced with it as if it were a brother; he pulled its beard, and he was just going in to his mother with it, when he heard some one behind him, and, looking, saw the girl sitting on the greensward by his side. Now he understood it all, and let go the goat.
"Is it you, who have come with it?"
She sat, tearing the grass up with her hands, and said,—
"They would not let me keep it; grandfather is sitting up there, waiting."
While the boy stood looking at her, he heard a sharp voice from the road above call out, "Now!"
Then she remembered what she was to do; she rose, went over to Oeyvind, put one of her muddy hands into his, and, turning her face away, said,—
"I beg your pardon!"
But then her courage was all gone; she threw herself over the goat, and wept.
"I think you had better keep the goat," said Oeyvind, looking the other way.
"Come, make haste!" said grandpapa, up on the hill; and Marit rose, and walked with reluctant feet upward.
"You are forgetting your garter," Oeyvind called after her. She turned round, and looked first at the garter and then at him. At last she came to a great resolution, and said, in a choked voice,—
"You may keep that."
He went over to her, and, taking her hand, said,—
"O, nothing to thank for!" she answered, but drew a long sigh, and walked on.
He sat down on the grass again. The goat walked about near him, but he was no longer so pleased with it as before.
The goat was fastened to the wall; but Oeyvind walked about, looking up at the cliff. His mother came out, and sat down by his side, he wanted to hear stories about what was far away, for now the goat no longer satisfied him. So she told him how once everything could talk: the mountain talked to the stream, and the stream to the river, the river to the sea, and the sea to the sky; but then he asked if the sky did not talk to any one; and the sky talked to the clouds, the clouds to the trees, the trees to the grass, the grass to the flies, the flies to the animals, the animals to the children, the children to the grown-up people; and so it went on, until it had gone round, and no one could tell where it had begun. Oeyvind looked at the mountain, the trees, the sky, and had never really seen them before. The cat came out at that moment, and lay down on the stone before the door in the sunshine.
"What does the cat say?" asked Oeyvind, pointing. His mother sang,—
"At evening softly shines the sun, The cat lies lazy on the stone. Two small mice, Cream thick and nice, Four bits of fish, I stole behind a dish, And am so lazy and tired, Because so well I have fared,"
says the cat.
But then came the cock, with all the hens.
"What does the cock say?" asked Oeyvind, clapping his hands together. His mother sang,—
"The mother-hen her wings doth sink, The cock stands on one leg to think: That gray goose Steers high her course; But sure am I that never she As clever as a cock can be. Run in, you hens, keep under the roof to-day, For the sun has got leave to stay away,"
says the cock.
But the little birds were sitting on the ridge-pole, singing. "What do the birds say?" asked Oeyvind, laughing.
"Dear Lord, how pleasant is life, For those who have neither toil nor strife,"
say the birds.
And she told him what they all said, down to the ant, who crawled in the moss, and the worm who worked in the bark.
That same summer, his mother began to teach him to read. He had owned books a long time, and often wondered how it would seem when they also began to talk. Now the letters turned into animals, birds, and everything else; but soon they began to walk together, two and two; a stood and rested under a tree, which was called b, then came c, and did the same; but when three or four came together, it seemed as if they were angry with each other, for it would not go right. And the farther along he came, the more he forgot what they were: he remembered longest a, which he liked best; it was a little black lamb, and was friends with everybody; but soon he forgot a also: the book had no more stories, nothing but lessons.
One day his mother came in, and said to him,—
"To-morrow school begins, and then you are going up to the farm with me."
Oeyvind had heard that school was a place where many boys played together; and he had no objection. Indeed, he was much pleased. He had often been at the farm, but never when there was school there; and now he was so anxious to get there, he walked faster than his mother up over the hills. As they came up to the neighboring house, a tremendous buzzing, like that from the water-mill at home, met their ears; and he asked his mother what it was.
"That is the children reading," she answered, and he was much pleased, for that was the way he used to read, before he knew the letters. When he came in, there sat as many children round a table as he had ever seen at church; others were sitting on their luncheon boxes which were ranged round the walls; some stood in small groups round a large printed card; the schoolmaster, an old gray-haired man, was sitting on a stool by the chimney-corner, filling his pipe. They all looked up as Oeyvind and his mother entered, and the mill-hum ceased as if the water had suddenly been turned off. All looked at the new-comers; the mother bowed to the schoolmaster, who returned her greeting.
"Here I bring a little boy who wants to learn to read," said his mother.
"What is the fellow's name?" said the schoolmaster, diving down into his pouch after tobacco.
"Oeyvind," said his mother, "he knows his letters, and can put them together."
"Is it possible!" said the schoolmaster, "come here, you Whitehead!"
Oeyvind went over to him: the schoolmaster took him on his lap, and raised his cap.
"What a nice little boy!" said he, and stroked his hair. Oeyvind looked up into his eyes, and laughed.
"Is it at me you are laughing?" asked he, with a frown.
"Yes, it is," answered Oeyvind, and roared with laughter. At that the schoolmaster laughed, Oeyvind's mother laughed; the children understood that they also were allowed to laugh, and so they all laughed together.
So Oeyvind became one of the scholars.
As he was going to find his seat, they all wanted to make room for him.
"Now, what are you going to do?" asked the schoolmaster, who was busy with his pipe again. Just as the boy is going to turn round to the schoolmaster, he sees close beside him, sitting down by the hearthstone on a little red painted tub, Marit, of the many names; she had covered her face with both hands, and sat peeping at him through her fingers.
"I shall sit here," said Oeyvind, quickly, taking a tub and seating himself at her side. Then she raised a little the arm nearest him, and looked at him from under her elbow; immediately he also hid his face with both hands, and looked at her from under his elbow. So they sat, keeping up the sport, until she laughed, then he laughed too; the children had seen it, and laughed with them; at that, there rung out in a fearfully strong voice, which, however, grew milder at every pause,—
"Silence! you young scoundrels, you rascals, you little good-for-nothings! Keep still, and be good to me, you sugar-pigs."
That was the schoolmaster, whose custom it was to boil up, but calm down again before he had finished. It grew quiet immediately in the school, until the water-wheels again began to go: every one read aloud from his book, the sharpest louder and louder to get the preponderance, here trebles piped up, the rougher voices drummed and there one shouted in above the others, and Oeyvind had never had such fun in all his life.
"Is it always like this here?" whispered he to Marit.
"Yes, just like this," she said.
Afterwards, they had to go up to the schoolmaster, and read; and then a little boy was called to read, so that they were allowed to go and sit down quietly again.
"I have got a goat now, too," said she.
"Yes; but it is not so pretty as yours."
"Why don't you come oftener up on the cliff?"
"Grandpapa is afraid I shall fall over."
"Mother knows so many songs," said he.
"Grandpapa does, too, you can believe."
"Yes; but he does not know what mother does."
"Grandpapa knows one about a dance. Would you like to hear it?"
"Yes, very much."
"Well, then, you must come farther over here, so that the schoolmaster may not hear."
He changed his place, and then she recited a little piece of a song three or four times over, so that the boy learned it.
"Up with you, youngsters!" called out the schoolmaster. "This is the first day, so you shall be dismissed early; but first we must say a prayer, and sing."
Instantly, all was life in the school; they jumped down from the benches, sprung over the floor, and talked into each other's mouths.
"Silence! you young torments, you little beggars, you noisy boys! be quiet, and walk softly across the floor, little children," said the schoolmaster; and now they walked quietly, and took their places, after which the schoolmaster went in front of them, and made a short prayer. Then they sung. The schoolmaster began in a deep bass, all the children stood with folded hands, and joined in. Oeyvind stood farthest down by the door with Marit, and looked on; they also folded their hands, but they could not sing.
That was the first day at school.
WHAT THE CAT AND HEN DID
Four little children were playing in their garden one day. There were Mollie and Jamie and Betty and Teddy.
They were so busy making mud-pies that they did not see "Mrs. Tomkins," the old cat, when she came and mewed, and mewed, and put up her paw, and touched Mollie and Jamie and Betty and Teddy—first one and then the other, as much as to say, "Do come, some of you, and help me! Do come, please!"
By and by the children's mama came out of the house and saw how queerly the cat was acting, and said: "Children, Mrs. Tomkins is trying to get you to go with her and see if her babies are all right."
So the children left their play, and said: "Come, Mrs. Tomkins, we will go with you now."
The old cat gave a thankful "m-i-e-o-u," and started down the walk leading to the barn. Every now and then she looked back to see if the children were really coming. When she got to the stable, she ran and jumped up on the manger, and looked down into it, and gave a quick, sharp "m-i-e-o-u," as if to say, "What do you think of that?" And the children looked in and saw a hen sitting upon the old cat's kittens and trying to keep them all covered up! When the cat tried to go near them, the hen would peck at her and drive her away. How the children laughed! Mollie said: "Did you ever see anything so funny! I am going to ask Mama to write a funny story about it,—how our old hen 'dopted the kittens."
The hen had been sitting upon some eggs in a nest near where the cat had set up housekeeping, and when the cat went out, the hen came over and took the cat's little family under her wings, just as if they had been so many chick-a-biddies. And when the cat went home again, the hen wouldn't let her come near the kittens. Mollie took the hen off, and Mrs. Tomkins was happy.
The next day she came again, looking as though she said, "I am very sorry to trouble you, but I must." Then she said, "M-i-e-o-u! m-i-e-o-u!" So the children left their play and went to the stable with her, and found the hen playing mother to Mrs. Tomkins's kittens again and trying to make them keep still and stay under her wings. If one of them poked its head out, she would give it a sharp peck to make it go back.
The children laughed again, and Mollie said: "Poor Mrs. Tomkins, I would look for a new house if I were you—you do have such meddlesome neighbors! Then she took the hen off, and Mrs. Tomkins picked up one of the kittens.
The children's mama was sitting in the library reading when the old cat came in, with a kitten in her mouth. She put it softly down, went out, and soon returned with another. She kept on doing this until she had moved all her family of five kittens. Then she settled herself in a cozy corner, and looked at the lady, and purred in this way: "If you only knew how much trouble I have had with that bad old hen, you would let me and my children stay here."
The lady laughed and said: "I will see what I can do for you."
Just then the children came in and begged to have the kittens stay. So a new home was made for them in a box in the woodhouse.
DOT'S BIRTHDAY CAKE
Once there was a little girl called Dot. And she was just five years old. And she had a fine birthday cake. It was big and round, and it had five beautiful little pink candles set in pink rosebuds on top.
Dot sat at the big table at dinner that day, and by and by they put a pretty pink paper cap on her head and then brought in the birthday cake. And the little candles were all burning bright. And when she saw it she said, "Oh! oh! how lovely! It is just too pretty to cut!"
But her mama said, "I will cut it for you, dear." So she cut one piece for Dot, and then she asked Dot, "Will Marie have a piece?" Marie was Dot's big doll. And Dot looked at her and said, "Marie says, 'No, thank you.'" And mama said, "Will Fuzzy have a piece?" Fuzzy was Dot's Teddy Bear. And Dot looked at him and said: "He says, 'No, thank you.'" And mama said, "Will papa have a piece?" And Dot said, "Oh, yes. Won't you, papa?" And papa said, "Yes, please." And Dot said, "Mama, you will. You must have a piece of my birthday cake." And mama said, "Yes, thank you."
And mama cut the cake and gave Dot a piece and papa a piece and herself a piece. But she left the parts of the cake where the candles were burning,—one, two, three, four, five. And Dot's birthday cake lasted one, two, three, four, five whole days before it was all gone.
NED AND ROVER AND JACK
A boy named Ned had a little puppy-dog named Rover. One day, Ned's papa gave him a nice new toy wagon. Ned was pulling it around the yard when he saw Rover. "Come, Rover!" he said, "I will give you a fine ride." So he took Rover and put him in the wagon and gave him a ride.
But just then Ned saw a boy he knew, named Tom. Tom was running down the street. Ned called to him but he did not hear. Ned wanted to show Tom his new wagon. So he ran after Tom as fast as he could go, calling, "Tom! Tom!" and never thinking of poor little Rover. He was barking with all his might, "Bow! wow! Bow-wow! bow-wow-wow-wow!" which means "Oh, stop! stop! I'm going to fall out!" And the next minute Rover went "bumpity-bump!" out into the road, and ran off home, crying, "Ow-wow-wow!" He was not hurt much, but he was badly frightened. But he soon forgot his ride, and he grew and he grew and he grew, till, by and by, he was a big dog. And then, Ned's little brother, Jack, had a little wagon. But now Rover was too big to ride in it. So Jack said he would make Rover pull it and he would ride.
Ned helped him to harness Rover in it like a horse, and Jack climbed in and took the reins. "Get up!" said Jack, and away they went out into the yard and on into a big field. But just then a little rabbit started up in front of them, and the minute Rover saw it, he began to race after the rabbit. Poor Jack couldn't hold him at all. Round and round they went, and they ran, and they ran, and they ran! Jack called out, "Whoa, Rover! Stop, Rover!" But Rover didn't stop. He wanted to catch the rabbit and he forgot about Jack.
At last the rabbit ran toward a hole under the wall, where Rover could not get him. But Rover dashed after him as fast as he could go. "Bumpity-bump" went the little wagon, and just as Rover missed the rabbit, the wheel struck a big stone and poor Jack tumbled out on the ground. But he didn't cry. He was not hurt much, and he wasn't frightened at all. He ran and caught Rover, and said, "Oho! Who cares for a little bump like that? You're a funny horse, Rover. But you didn't catch your rabbit, you old runaway—did you?"
I had a little Kitten, His name was Pussy Grey— I lent him to a Lady While I was far away— She petted him, she fed him On things to make him fat— And now I have him back again My Kitten is a Cat!
HOW POLLY HAD HER PICTURE TAKEN
BY EVERETT WILSON
It was a bright spring morning, and all the animals on the Meadowbrook Farm had been given their breakfast, and the Piggy-wig family had settled down to a cozy nap. Suddenly there was heard a great noise and rushing out in the apple orchard. Old Mother Piggy-wig jumped up on her hind legs and looked over the fence of her sty to see what it was all about. The little pig that went to market, and the little pig that stayed at home, also jumped up, quite as excited as their mother. Then the little pig that had roast beef, and the little pig that had none, woke up, and they, too, scampered about, wishing to know what was going on down under the apple-trees. But before old Mother Piggy-wig could tell them, the little pig, who, one day, could not find his way home, found a big hole in the lower board of the sty, and at once shouted:
"Oh, I see what it is! It is little Polly going to have her picture taken."
And, sure enough, there was Polly's brother Ned with his camera; and after him came Polly, and after Polly came—guess what!
Well, first there came Blackie, the cat, then came Banty, the hen; and then came Gyp, the dog. And such a mew-mewing, and cluck-clucking, and bow-wowing you never heard!
Polly had often had her picture taken, but it was always with her papa or her mamma, and she had never had her picture taken with her pets. So brother Ned had promised that on her birthday he would take her picture with all of her pets—if they would only keep still. This day was Polly's birthday, and, as the weather was fine, her brother had told her to follow him out to the orchard.
Ned fastened his camera on its three sprawling legs, while Polly tried to gather her pets around her. But by this time Blackie, the cat, was chasing a squirrel (though he did not catch him), and Banty, the hen, was away off scratching for worms; and Gyp, the dog, was barking at a bossy calf down by the brook, for, of course, Polly's pets did not know it was her birthday and that they were to have their pictures taken with her.
Polly called, as loud as she could, "Here, Blackie, Blackie; here, Banty, Banty; here, Gyp, Gyp," and as quick as a wink the animals came running up to her.
At first she sat down, but all three of her pets got in her lap until you could scarcely see Polly behind them. That would not do, of course, because it was Polly's picture that was the most important.
Finally, she stood up and made her pets stand up, too. Then she had more trouble, for Gyp wanted to stand next to her, and so did Banty, and so did Blackie, but she told them if they were not good and did not stand just where she put them, they could not have their pictures taken at all. She even said she would get the little pig that could not find his way home, and would have her picture taken with him. They did not like that, so they promised to be good. She stood Banty on one side of her, and Gyp on the other side, and then she put Blackie on one end next to Banty. But Gyp and Blackie jumped around so lively that Brother Ned ran into the house and brought out Polly's toy cow, and stood her next to Blackie, and that kept him quiet, because he was afraid the cow would hook him with her horns—he did not know it was not a real cow. Then Ned brought out Polly's toy lion and put him next to Gyp, and that kept him quiet, because he thought the lion would eat him up,—he did not know it was not a real lion.
So, after they were all nice and quiet, Ned called out:
"Ready! Look pleasant! One, two, three—all over!"
And here is the way they looked in the picture that Ned took that morning:
Idle Ben was a naughty boy (If you please, this story's true), He caused his teachers great annoy, And his worthy parents, too.
Idle Ben, in a boastful way To his anxious parents told That while he was young he thought he'd play, And he'd learn when he grew old.
"Ah, Ben," said his mother, and dropped a tear, "You'll be sorry for this, by-and-by" Says Ben, "To me that's not very clear, But at any rate I'll try."
So idle Ben, he refused to learn, Thinking that he could wait; But when he had his living to earn, He found it was just too late.
Little girls, little boys, don't delay your work, Some day you'll be women and men. Whenever your task you're inclined to shirk, Take warning by idle Ben.
THE HOLE IN THE CANNA-BED
BY ISABEL GORDON CURTIS
One evening in May, Chuckie Wuckie's papa finished setting out the plants in the front yard. Into one large bed he put a dozen fine cannas. They looked like fresh young shoots of corn. He told Chuckie Wuckie that when summer came they would grow tall, with great spreading leaves and beautiful red-and-yellow blossoms.
"Taller than me, papa?" asked the little girl, trying to imagine what they would look like.
"Much taller; as tall as I am."
Chuckie Wuckie listened gravely while papa told her she must be very careful about the canna-bed. She must not throw her ball into it, or dig there, or set a foot in the black, smooth earth. She nodded her head solemnly, and made a faithful promise. Then she gathered up her tiny rake and hoe and spade, and carried them to the vine-covered shed to put beside her father's tools.
Next morning, when papa went to look at the canna-bed, he discovered close beside one of the largest plants a snug, round hole. It looked like a little nest. He found Chuckie Wuckie digging with an iron spoon in the ground beside the fence.
"Dearie," he said, "do you remember I told you, last night, that you must not dig in the canna-bed?"
"Yes," said the little girl.
"Come and see the hole I found there."
So Chuckie Wuckie trotted along at her father's heels. She stood watching him as he filled in the hole and smoothed down the earth.
"I did not dig it," said Chuckie Wuckie. "I just came and looked to see if the canna had grown any through the night, but I did not dig it."
"Really?" asked her papa, very gravely.
"Really and truly, I did not put my foot on there," said Chuckie Wuckie.
Papa did not say another word. But he could not help thinking that the hole looked as if the iron spoon had neatly scooped it out.
Next morning he found the hole dug there again, and Chuckie Wuckie was still busy in her corner by the fence. He did not speak of it, however. There were prints of small feet on the edge. He only smoothed down the earth and raked the bed. He did this for three mornings, then he led Chuckie Wuckie again to the canna-bed.
"Papa," she said earnestly, "I did not dig there. Truly, I didn't. The hole is there every morning. I found it to-day before you came out, but I did not dig it." There were tears in her brown eyes.