Just then the good old minister came by. "Yes, Nahum," he said, "you must stay at home. Who knows but that you will find a greater work to do for your country right here?"
And lame Nahum dropped out of the line.
Then the volunteers marched off, every man and boy in the village except Nahum Prince. Poor Nahum! His heart was heavy.
"What can I do for my country in this small village?" he said to himself. "Oh, I wish I could be a soldier!"
He walked toward his home slowly and sadly. Just as he passed the blacksmith shop, three horseman galloped up to the door.
"Where is the blacksmith?" asked one.
"He and all the men and boys have gone to join the army," said Nahum. "There isn't a man or a boy in town except me. I wouldn't be here if I were not lame."
"We cannot have this horse shod," said the rider to the others. "We shall not reach there in time."
"Why, I can set a shoe," said Nahum.
"Then it is lucky you are left behind," said the man. "Light up the forge and set the shoe."
Nahum lighted the fire, blew the coals with the bellows, and soon put on the shoe.
"You have done a great deed to-day, my boy," said the rider as he thanked Nahum and rode away.
The next week the boys came home and told of a great battle. They told how the Americans were about to lose the fight when Colonel Seth Warner, leading a band of soldiers, rode up just in time to save the day.
Nahum said nothing, but he knew that Colonel Warner would not have arrived in time if he had not set that shoe. And it was really Nahum Prince and Colonel Seth Warner who won the victory of Bennington.
THE LITTLE COOK'S REWARD
Betty lived a long, long time ago on a farm in North Carolina. She knew how to clean up the house, to wash the dishes, to sew, and to cook. She knew how to knit, and to spin and weave, too.
One day Betty's father said, "Let us go to town to-morrow. President Washington is passing through the South, and a man told me to-day that he will be in Salisbury to-morrow."
"Yes," said Betty's brother Robert, "and our company has been asked to march in the parade. One of the boys is going to make a speech of welcome."
"I should like to go," said their mother, "but I can't leave home."
"Oh, yes, you can, mother," said Betty. "I have stayed here by myself many times, and I can stay to-morrow. You go with father, and I will take care of things."
The next morning every one on the place was up before the sun. Robert was so impatient to start to town that he could scarcely eat any breakfast. Mother was so excited that she forgot to put coffee in the coffee pot.
At last every one had left, and Betty was alone. "I wish I could see the President," she said, "and I do wish I could see his great coach. Father says that it is finer than the Governor's. Four men ride in front of it, and four behind it. The servants are dressed in white and gold. How I wish I could see it all!"
While Betty was talking to herself, she was not idle. She washed the dishes and she cleaned the house. Then, as it was not time to get dinner, she sat down on the shady porch.
"I wonder whether General Washington looks like his picture," she said. "Oh, if I could only see him!"
But what sound was that? Betty stood up, and shading her eyes with her hands, looked down the road. Four horsemen came along at a gallop. Then there followed a great white coach, trimmed with gold and drawn by four white horses. There were four horsemen behind the coach, and last of all came several black servants.
All stopped at the gate. A tall handsome man stepped from the coach and came up the walk. Betty felt as if she could neither move nor speak. She remembered, however, all that her mother had taught her, and she made a low curtsy as the gentleman reached the steps.
"Good morning, my little maid," he said. "I know it is late, but would you give an old man some breakfast?"
Betty's cheeks grew as pink as the rose by the porch. She made another curtsy and said, "Indeed, I will. I am the only one at home, for father, mother, and Robert have gone to Salisbury to see the great Washington. But I am sure I can give you some breakfast. Father says that I am a good cook."
"I know you are, and that you are as brisk as you are pretty. Just give me a breakfast, and I promise you that you shall see Washington before your father, mother, or brother Robert does."
"I will do the best I can, sir," Betty said.
The other men came in, and all sat on the porch and talked while Betty worked. Getting her mother's whitest cloth and the silver that came from England, she quickly set the table. She brought out a loaf of new bread and a jar of fresh honey. Then she ran to the spring house and got yellow butter and rich milk. She had some fresh eggs that had been laid by her own hens. These she dropped into boiling water. Last of all she cut thin slices of delicious ham.
When everything was ready, Betty went to the porch and invited the strangers in. Her cheeks were now the color of the red rose by the gate.
The visitors ate heartily of all the good things Betty had prepared. As the tall, handsome gentleman rose to go, he leaned over and kissed her. "My pretty little cook," he said, "you may tell your brother Robert that you saw Washington before he did, and that he kissed you, too."
You may believe that Betty did tell it. She told it to her children, and they told it to their children, and I am telling it to you to-day.
—MRS. L.A. McCORKLE.
ROCK-A-BY, HUSH-A-BY, LITTLE PAPOOSE
Rock-a-by, hush-a-by, little papoose, The stars come into the sky, The whip-poor-will's crying, the daylight is dying, The river runs murmuring by.
The pine trees are slumbering, little papoose, The squirrel has gone to his nest, The robins are sleeping, the mother bird's keeping The little ones warm with her breast.
The roebuck is dreaming, my little papoose, His mate lies asleep at his side, The breezes are pining, the moonbeams are shining All over the prairie wide.
Then hush-a-by, rock-a-by, little papoose, You sail on the river of dreams; Dear Manitou loves you and watches above you Till time when the morning light gleams.
THE TAR WOLF
Many hundreds of moons ago, there was a great drought. The streams and lakes were drying up. Water was so scarce that the animals held a council to decide what they should do.
"I hope it will rain soon and fill the streams and lakes," Great Bear said. "If it does not, all the animals will have to go to a land where there is more water."
"I know where there is plenty of water," said Wild Goose.
"I do, too," said Wild Duck.
Most of the animals did not wish to go away. "It is well enough for the ducks and geese to go," said Wild Cat; "they like to move about. It is well enough for Great Bear to go; he can sleep through the winter in one hollow tree as soundly as in another. But we do not wish to leave our hunting grounds."
"If we go to a new country," said Gray Wolf, "we shall have to make new trails."
"And we shall have to clear new land," said Big Beaver, who had to cut down the trees when land was cleared.
All this time the Rabbit said nothing. "Brother Rabbit," Great Bear asked, "what do you think about this matter?"
Brother Rabbit did not answer. His eyes were shut, and he seemed too sleepy to think about anything.
Great Bear asked again, "What do you think about it, Brother Rabbit? Shall we go to the place the ducks and geese have found, where there is plenty of water?"
"Oh," answered Brother Rabbit, "I do not mind the drought. I drink the dew on the grass in the early morning; I do not need to go where there is more water."
And he shut his eyes again.
"Well," said Red Deer, "if there is dew enough for Brother Rabbit every morning, there is dew enough for us. We need not go to another country."
"Those are wise words, my brother," said Brown Terrapin.
All the others said, "Those are wise words, my brother," and the council was over. The animals were happy because they thought they need not go away from their homes.
Days passed, and still it did not rain. The animals found that the dew did not keep them from suffering from thirst. They were afraid that, after all, they would have to go to another country.
Still the Rabbit looked sleek and fat. He declared that he got all the water he needed from the dew on the grass in the early morning.
"You sleep too late," he said. "By the time you get up, the sun has dried the dew."
After that, the animals came out earlier than before, but they could not get water enough from the morning dew. They did not understand why the Rabbit looked so well.
One day Gray Wolf said to Wild Cat, "Let us watch the Rabbit and see where he gets so much dew that he is never thirsty."
That night they stayed in the woods near Rabbit's wigwam, so as to follow him on the trail. They kept awake all night for fear that they might sleep too late.
Very early in the morning, Brother Rabbit came out of his wigwam and ran swiftly down the hill. Wild Cat and Gray Wolf followed as fast and as quietly as they could.
The dew was on the grass and leaves, but Brother Rabbit did not stop to get it. Instead, he ran down the hill and pushed away a heap of brush. Wild Cat and Gray Wolf hid behind some bushes and watched him.
Brother Rabbit drank from a little spring. Then he filled a jar with clear, fresh water, piled the brush over the spring again, and went up the hill to his wigwam.
Ah! now Gray Wolf and Wild Cat knew why Brother Rabbit did not mind the drought; and they made a plan to punish him for being so selfish.
They got tar and resin from the pine trees, and out of these they made a great wolf. After placing it close to the spring, they hid again in the bushes, to see what would happen.
Early the next morning, Brother Rabbit came running down the hill for more water. He stopped when he saw the tar wolf by his spring.
"What are you doing here, Gray Wolf?" he asked. Of course there was no answer.
"Has my brother no ears?" asked Brother Rabbit.
As the wolf was still silent, Brother Rabbit became angry. "Answer me, Gray Wolf," he cried. But there was no answer.
Then Brother Rabbit slapped the tar wolf with his right front paw. It stuck fast, and Brother Rabbit could not pull it away.
"Let me go," he cried, "or I will slap you with the other paw."
He slapped the tar wolf with the left front paw. That too, stuck fast.
Now Brother Rabbit was very angry. "Let me go, Gray Wolf," he cried. "Let me go, I say!"
As Grey Wolf did not let him go, Brother Rabbit kicked the tar wolf, first with one of his hind paws and then with the other. Both stuck fast, and so he was held by all four paws.
Just then Gray Wolf and Wild Cat came from their hiding place.
"We have caught you, Brother Rabbit," they said. "Now we are going to take you to the council and tell how you tried to keep all the water for yourself."
They took Brother Rabbit to the council house, and sent for Great Bear and all the other animals. Soon all came, and the council began. Gray Wolf told that he had seen Brother Rabbit go to the spring, uncover it, get water, and cover the spring up again.
The animals said that Brother Rabbit must be punished, but how they could not decide.
"Burn him alive," said Gray Wolf.
"I am quite willing," Brother Rabbit said, smiling. "Fire is my friend and will not hurt me."
"We might cut off his head," said Brown Terrapin.
"Very well," said the Rabbit, quietly. "Try that. It will not hurt me, for a better head will grow back."
He said he was not afraid of each thing that was mentioned.
"Is there nothing of which you are afraid?" asked Great Bear, at last. "Is there nothing that can hurt you?"
"Of only one thing am I afraid," answered Brother Rabbit, in a low voice. "I am afraid you will turn me loose in the brier patch. Please do not throw me in the brier patch."
"Turn him loose in the brier patch!" cried all the animals.
How frightened Brother Rabbit looked now!
"Oh, Gray Wolf," he begged, "burn me; cut off my head. Do anything else with me, but please don't throw me in the brier patch."
The more he begged, the faster Gray Wolf hurried to the brier patch. The other animals followed close behind. They were all talking about the tricks Brother Rabbit had played on them and how they had never before been able to get even with him.
When they came to the edge of the brier patch, Brother Rabbit begged harder than ever.
"Good Wolf," he cried, "do anything else with me, but don't throw me in the brier patch!"
Gray Wolf laughed and threw Brother Rabbit far into the patch.
Brother Rabbit landed on his feet, and off he ran through the briers. He called back, "Thank you, good Wolf! You threw me right on my trail! I was born and bred in the brier patch. I was born and bred in the brier patch!"
He was running so fast that by the time he said this, he was out of sight.
—THE INDIAN TAR-BABY STORY.
THE RABBIT AND THE WOLF
The rabbit liked to play tricks on the other animals. Best of all, he liked to play tricks on the wolf. At last the wolf grew angry and said that he was going to get even with the rabbit.
One day he caught the rabbit coming through a field.
"Now," said the wolf, "I am going to pay you for all the tricks you have played on me. I will cut off your ears and use them for spoons to stir my hominy pot. As soon as I sharpen this stone, off your ears go!"
While the wolf sharpened the stone, he sang in his harsh voice a song somewhat like this:
"Watch me sharpen, Watch me sharpen; Soon I am going to cut off your ears. Sicum, sicum, sicum, sicum, Sicum, se mi su!"
When he sang,
"Sicum, sicum, sicum, sicum, Sicum, se mi su!"
the rabbit could almost feel the sharp stone cutting his ears. But he was a brave little rabbit and said nothing.
At last the wolf stopped singing for a moment.
Then the rabbit said, "Brother Wolf, I know a new dance. Don't you wish me to teach it to you?"
"Yes, when I have cut off your ears," said the wolf.
Then he went on singing,
"Sicum, sicum, sicum, sicum, Sicum, se mi su!"
"After my ears are cut off," said the rabbit, "I can never dance any more."
Now the wolf knew that the rabbit could sing and dance better than any other animal, and he wished very much to learn the new dance. He went on sharpening the stone, but he did not sing while he worked.
After a while he asked, "Is the new dance as pretty as the Snake Dance?"
"Oh, a great deal prettier," answered the rabbit.
"Is it as pretty as the Turkey Dance?"
"Oh, a great deal prettier than the Turkey Dance."
"Is it as pretty as the Eagle Dance?"
"Oh, a great deal prettier than the Eagle Dance."
The wolf asked if the new dance was as pretty as other dances he had seen, and the rabbit said that it was much prettier.
This pleased the wolf, as he wished to have a new dance for the green corn festival.
"You may teach me the dance now," he said. "I can cut off your ears afterward."
"Very well," said the rabbit; "pat your foot to keep time, and watch me while I dance."
So the wolf stood in the middle of the field, patting his foot and shaking a rattle while the rabbit danced around him and sang,
"Watch me dance around the field, Watch me dance around the field, Hi, la, hi, la, hi!"
Then the rabbit made a ring in the middle of the field. He said to the wolf, "Now, you dance around this ring, and sing just as I do."
He made a larger ring for himself and danced around just beyond the wolf. The wolf thought that this was the finest dance he had ever seen. He and the rabbit danced faster and faster, and sang louder and louder.
As the rabbit danced, he moved nearer and nearer to the edge of the field. The wolf was dancing so fast and singing so loud that he did not notice this.
The rabbit kept on singing,
"Now I dance on the edge of the field, Now I dance on the edge of the field, Hi, la, hi, la, hi!"
At last, Brother Rabbit reached the edge of the field; then he jumped into the blackberry bushes and ran away. The wolf tried to give chase, but he was so dizzy that he could not run. And the rabbit got away without having his ears cut off.
—SOUTHERN INDIAN TALE.
What are you able to build with your blocks? Castles and palaces, temples and docks. Rain may keep raining, and others go roam, But I can be happy and building at home.
Let the sofa be mountains, the carpet be sea, There I'll establish a city for me: A kirk and a mill and a palace beside, And a harbor as well where my vessels may ride.
Great is the palace with pillar and wall, A sort of a tower on the top of it all, And steps coming down in an orderly way To where my toy vessels lie safe in the bay.
This one is sailing and that one is moored: Hark to the song of the sailors on board! And see on the steps of my palace, the kings Coming and going with presents and things!
Now I have done with it, down let it go. All in a moment the town is laid low, Block upon block lying scattered and free, What is there left of my town by the sea?
—ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON.
A GOOD PLAY
We built a ship upon the stairs All made of the back-bedroom chairs, And filled it full of sofa pillows To go a-sailing on the billows.
We took a saw and several nails, And water in the nursery pails; And Tom said, "Let us also take An apple and a slice of cake;"— Which was enough for Tom and me To go a-sailing on, till tea.
We sailed along for days and days, And had the very best of plays; But Tom fell out and hurt his knee, So there was no one left but me.
—ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON.
THE MONKEY'S FIDDLE
Once upon a time there was a great famine in the land, and Monkey could find no food. There were no bulbs, no beans, no insects, nor anything else to eat.
At last Monkey said to himself, "Why should I perish here with hunger? My uncle Orang-outang has enough and to spare; I shall go to him, and he will give me food and shelter."
So he set out and soon came to the place where Orang-outang lived. For a long time Monkey was happy in his new home, but by and by he heard that there was no longer a famine in his own land. Then he decided to go back.
Before he started, Orang-outang made him a present of a fiddle and of a bow and arrow,
"With this bow and arrow you can kill any animal," he said. "With this fiddle you can make anything dance until you bid it stop."
Thanking his uncle for the presents, Monkey set out on his homeward journey. On the way he met Brother Wolf.
"What news, Brother Wolf?" asked Monkey.
When Wolf had told him the news, Monkey asked, "What have you been doing to-day?"
"Oh," said Wolf, "I have been following a deer all the morning, but I have been unable to get near enough to kill him. Now I am faint with hunger."
"I can help you," said Monkey. "I have a magic bow and arrow. Show me the deer, and I will bring him down."
When Wolf showed him the deer, Monkey fitted an arrow to the bow and took aim. Hardly had the arrow left the bow when the deer fell dead.
Monkey and Wolf sat down and had a good feast. As Wolf ate, he thought of the magic bow and arrow, and he planned to get them away from Monkey.
"First I will ask for them," he said to himself. "If Monkey will not give them to me, I will use force."
When Wolf had finished eating, he said to Monkey, "Please give me the bow and arrow."
"I will not," said Monkey. "They were a present from my dear uncle; why should I give them to you?"
"Very well," said Wolf. "I am stronger than you, and I will take them by force."
Wolf was just about to snatch the bow and arrow from Monkey when Jackal came along. Then Wolf thought of a new plan.
He called out to Jackal, "Help! help! Monkey has stolen my magic bow and arrow."
Jackal came running to them. Wolf told his side of the story, and Monkey told his.
"I cannot believe either of you," said Jackal. "Let us lay the question before the court. There Lion, Tiger, and the other animals will hear you both; perhaps they will be able to decide to whom the magic bow and arrow belong. But to keep you two from quarreling, I had better take care of the bow and arrow."
Monkey gave them to Jackal, and all three started off to court. When they arrived, there sat Lion on the throne. Seated around were the other animals of the jungle.
Monkey told his story first. Standing in front of the throne, he made a low bow and said, "The great famine, my lord, drove me out of my country, and I had to take refuge with my uncle. When I started back home, he gave me this bow and arrow. Finding Wolf almost starving, I shot a deer for him. Instead of being grateful for the food, he tried to rob me of the bow and arrow. I am here to ask that you restore them to me."
"He does not tell the truth," cried Wolf.
Then Jackal said, "I believe that the bow and arrow belong to Wolf; he and Monkey were quarreling about them when I came along. They agreed to leave the question to you, King Lion. I know you will see that justice is done."
Wolf looked very innocent and said nothing.
King Lion rose and asked, "What say you? To whom do the bow and arrow belong?"
"To Wolf," they all cried.
"Stealing is a crime that must be punished," said King Lion. "What shall be done?"
"Let Monkey be hanged," they all cried.
Monkey still had his magic fiddle. Holding it in his hand, he made a deep bow and said: "Give me leave to play a tune on my fiddle before I hang, O King."
Now, the beasts all loved a merry tune, and knowing that Monkey was a master player they called out, "Let him play."
Monkey placed the fiddle under his chin, drew the bow across the strings, and struck up "Cockcrow." This was a favorite tune with the court. At the first notes all nodded their heads in time to the music. As Monkey played on, the entire court began to dance.
Round and round they went like a whirlwind. Over and over, quicker and quicker sounded the tune of "Cockcrow." Faster and faster flew the dancers, until one after another fell to the ground worn out.
Monkey saw nothing of all this. With eyes closed and his head placed lovingly against the fiddle, he played on and on, keeping time with his foot.
Wolf was the first one to cry out, "Please stop, Cousin Monkey. For pity's sake, stop."
But Monkey did not seem to hear him. Again and again sounded the magic notes of "Cockcrow."
King Lion had gone round and round with his young wife so many times that both were ready to drop. At last, as he passed Monkey, he roared, "Stop, ape! My whole kingdom is yours if you will only stop playing."
"I do not want it," said Monkey. "Make Wolf confess that he tried to steal my bow and arrow. Then I will stop playing."
"I confess! I confess!" panted Wolf, who was ready to fall to the ground.
"Good," cried King Lion, as the music stopped. "Monkey is innocent. Let him have his bow and arrow."
"Punish Wolf!" cried the animals.
So Wolf was soundly beaten and driven from the court. Then Monkey went off rejoicing, carrying with him his magic gifts.
THE THREE TASKS
There were once two brothers who set out to seek their fortune. They wasted their time and their money in all sorts of foolish ways, and before long they were nearly penniless.
After the two brothers had been gone some time, their younger brother, who had always been thought the simpleton of the family, set out to seek his fortune.
One day as he was passing through a village far away from home, he found his two brothers.
"Where are you going?" they asked.
"I am going to seek my fortune," he replied.
"Ha, ha! how foolish you are!" they cried. "With all our wit and wisdom we have been unable to make our fortune. It is silly of you even to try." And they laughed and made fun of him.
Nevertheless, the three brothers decided to travel on together. As they journeyed on, they saw a large ant hill by the side of the road. The two elder brothers were about to destroy it, when the simpleton said, "Leave the poor ants alone. I will not let you disturb them."
They went on their way until they came to a pond upon which two ducks were swimming. The two older brothers were about to kill them, when the simpleton said, "Leave them alone. I will not let you kill them."
Soon the three came to a tree, in the trunk of which was a wild bee's nest. The two older brothers wished to steal the honey. They started to make a fire under the tree and smoke out the bees. The simpleton said, "Leave the poor bees alone. I will not let you rob them."
At last the three brothers came to a castle where everything looked as if it had been turned to stone. There was not a single human being to be seen. They walked along the great wide hall, but still they saw no one.
"The castle must be enchanted," the brothers said to one another.
After passing through many rooms, they came to a door in which there were three locks. In the middle of the door was a little grating through which they could look into the room beyond.
They saw a little man, dressed in gray, seated at a table. Twice they called to him, but he did not answer. They called a third time. Then he rose, opened the three locks, and came out.
He said not a word, but led them to a table on which a feast was spread. When they had eaten and drunk as much as they wished, the old man showed each of them to a bedroom. There they rested well all night.
The next morning the little gray man came to the eldest brother and beckoned him to follow. He led him to a room in which there was a stone table, and on the table there lay three stone tablets.
On the table near the tablets was written:
"This castle is enchanted. Before the enchantment can be broken, there are three tasks to be performed. The one who performs these three tasks shall marry the youngest and dearest of the three princesses who now lie asleep in the castle."
When the eldest brother had read this, the old man gave him the first tablet. On it was written:
"In the forest, hidden beneath the thick moss, are the pearls which belonged to the princesses. They are a thousand in number. These must be collected by sunset. If one single pearl is missing, then he who has sought them shall be turned to stone."
The eldest brother searched the whole day long, but by sunset he had found only a hundred pearls. So he was turned to stone.
The following day the second brother tried his luck, but by sunset he had found but two hundred pearls. So he, too, was turned to stone.
Then it came the simpleton's turn. He searched all day amidst the moss, but he fared little better than his brothers. At last he sat down upon a stone and burst into tears.
As he sat there, the king of the ants, whose life he had once saved, came with five thousand ants. Before long the little creatures had found every one of the pearls and piled them up in a heap.
The little gray man then gave the simpleton the second tablet. Upon it was written the second task:
"The key that opens the chamber in which the princesses are sleeping lies in the bottom of the lake. He who has performed the first task must find the key."
When the simpleton came to the lake, the ducks which he had saved were swimming upon it. At once they dived down into the depths below and brought up the key.
The simpleton showed the key to the little gray man, who then gave him the third tablet. On it was written the third task:
"The one who has gathered the pearls and found the key to the chamber may now marry the youngest and dearest princess. He must, however, first tell which is she. The princesses are exactly alike, but there is one difference. Before they went to sleep, the eldest ate sugar, the second ate syrup, and the youngest ate honey."
The simpleton laid down the tablet with a sigh. "How can I find out which princess ate the honey?" he asked himself.
However, he put the key he had found in the lock and opened the door. In the chamber the three princesses were lying. Ah, which was the youngest?
Just then the queen of the bees flew in through the window and tasted the lips of all three. When she came to the lips that had sipped the honey, she remained there. Then the young man knew that this was the youngest and dearest princess.
So the enchantment came to an end. The sleepers awoke, and those who had been turned to stone became alive again. The simpleton married the youngest and dearest princess, and was made king after her father's death. His two brothers, who were now sorry for what they had done, married the other two princesses, and lived happily ever after.
THE WORLD'S MUSIC
The world's a very happy place, Where every child should dance and sing, And always have a smiling face, And never sulk for anything.
I waken when the morning's come, And feel the air and light alive With strange sweet music like the hum Of bees about their busy hive.
The linnets play among the leaves At hide-and-seek, and chirp and sing; While, flashing to and from the eaves, The swallows twitter on the wing.
From dawn to dark the old mill-wheel Makes music, going round and round; And dusty-white with flour and meal, The miller whistles to its sound.
The brook that flows beside the mill, As happy as a brook can be, Goes singing its old song until It learns the singing of the sea.
For every wave upon the sands Sings songs you never tire to hear, Of laden ships from sunny lands Where it is summer all the year.
The world is such a happy place That children, whether big or small, Should always have a smiling face And never, never sulk at all.
THE SLEEPING BEAUTY
Once upon a time there lived a king and queen who were very unhappy because they had no children. But at last a little daughter was born, and their sorrow was turned to joy. All the bells in the land were rung to tell the glad tidings.
The king gave a christening feast so grand that the like of it had never been known. He invited all the fairies he could find in the kingdom—there were seven of them—to come to the christening as godmothers. He hoped that each would give the princess a good gift.
When the christening was over, the feast came. Before each of the fairies was placed a plate with a spoon, a knife, and a fork—all pure gold. But alas! as the fairies were about to seat themselves at the table, there came into the hall a very old fairy who had not been invited. She had left the kingdom fifty years before and had not been seen or heard of until this day.
The king at once ordered that a plate should be brought for her, but he could not furnish a gold one such as the others had. This made the old fairy angry, and she sat there muttering to herself.
Her angry threats were overheard by a young fairy who sat near. This good godmother, fearing the old fairy might give the child an unlucky gift, hid herself behind a curtain. She did this because she wished to speak last and perhaps be able to change the old fairy's gift.
At the end of the feast, the youngest fairy stepped forward and said, "The princess shall be the most beautiful woman in the world."
The second said,
"She shall have a temper as sweet as an angel."
The third said,
"She shall have a wonderful grace in all she does or says."
The fourth said,
"She shall sing like a nightingale."
The fifth said,
"She shall dance like a flower in the wind."
The sixth said,
"She shall play such music as was never heard on earth."
Then the old fairy's turn came. Shaking her head spitefully, she said,
"When the princess is seventeen years old, she shall prick her finger with a spindle, and—she—shall—die!"
At this all the guests trembled, and many of them began to weep. The king and queen wept loudest of all.
Just then the wise young fairy came from behind the curtain and said: "Do not grieve, O King and Queen. Your daughter shall not die. I cannot undo what my elder sister has done; the princess shall indeed prick her finger with the spindle, but she shall not die. She shall fall into sleep that will last a hundred years. At the end of that time, a king's son will find her and awaken her."
Immediately all the fairies vanished.
The king, hoping to save his child even from this misfortune, commanded that all spindles should be burned. This was done, but it was all in vain.
One day when the princess was seventeen years of age, the king and queen left her alone in the castle. She wandered about the palace and at last came to a little room in the top of a tower. There an old woman—so old and deaf that she had never heard of the king's command—sat spinning.
"What are you doing, good old woman?" asked the princess.
"I am spinning, my pretty child."
"Ah," said the princess. "How do you do it? Let me see if I can spin also."
She had just taken the spindle in her hand when, in some way, it pricked her finger. The princess dropped down on the floor. The old woman called for help, and people came from all sides, but nothing could be done.
When the good young fairy heard the news, she came quickly to the castle. She knew that the princess must sleep a hundred years and would be frightened if she found herself alone when she awoke. So the fairy touched with her magic wand all in the palace except the king and the queen. Ladies, gentlemen, pages, waiting maids, footmen, grooms in the stable, and even the horses—she touched them all. They all went to sleep just where they were when the wand touched them. Some of the gentlemen were bowing to the ladies, the ladies were embroidering, the grooms stood currying their horses, and the cook was slapping the kitchen boy.
The king and queen departed from the castle, giving orders that no one was to go near it. This command, however, was not needed. In a little while there sprang around the castle a wood so thick that neither man nor beast could pass through.
A great many changes take place in a hundred years. The king had no other child, and when he died, his throne passed to another royal family. Even the story of the sleeping princess was almost forgotten.
One day the son of the king who was then reigning was out hunting, and he saw towers rising above a thick wood. He asked what they were, but no one could answer him.
At last an old peasant was found who said, "Your highness, fifty years ago my father told me that there is a castle in the woods where a princess sleeps—the most beautiful princess that ever lived. It was said that she must sleep there a hundred years, when she would be awakened by a king's son."
At this the young prince determined to find out the truth for himself. He leaped from his horse and began to force his way through the wood. To his astonishment, the stiff branches gave way, then closed again, allowing none of his companions to follow.
A beautiful palace rose before him. In the courtyard the prince saw horses and men who looked as if they were dead. But he was not afraid and boldly entered the palace. There were guards motionless as stone, gentlemen and ladies, pages and footmen, some standing, some sitting, but all like statues.
At last the prince came to a chamber of gold, where he saw upon a bed the fairest sight one ever beheld—a princess of about seventeen years who looked as if she had just fallen asleep. Trembling, the prince knelt beside her, and awakened her with a kiss. And now the enchantment was broken.
The princess looked at him with wondering eyes and said: "Is it you, my prince? I have waited for you long."
So happy were the two that they talked hour after hour. In the meantime all in the palace awaked and each began to do what he was doing when he fell asleep. The gentlemen went on bowing to the ladies, the ladies went on with their embroidery. The grooms went on currying their horses, the cook went on slapping the kitchen boy, and the servants began to serve the supper. Then the chief lady in waiting, who was ready to die of hunger, told the princess aloud that supper was ready.
The prince gave the princess his hand, and they all went into the great hall for supper. That very evening the prince and princess were married. The next day the prince took his bride to his father's palace, and there they lived happily ever afterward.
THE UGLY DUCKLING
It was summer. The country was lovely just then. The cornfields were waving yellow, the wheat was golden, the oats were still green, and the hay was stacked in the meadows. Beyond the fields great forests and ponds of water might be seen.
In the sunniest spot of all stood an old farmhouse, with deep canals around it. At the water's edge grew great burdocks. It was just as wild there as in the deepest wood, and in this snug place sat a duck upon her nest. She was waiting for her brood to hatch.
At last one eggshell after another began to crack. From each little egg came "Cheep! cheep!" and then a little duckling's head.
"Quack! quack!" said the duck; and all the babies quacked too. Then they looked all around. The mother let them look as much as they liked, for green is good for the eyes.
"How big the world is!" said all the little ducklings.
"Do you think this is all the world?" asked the mother. "It stretches a long way on the other side of the garden and on to the parson's field, but I have never been so far as that. I hope you are all out. No, not all; that large egg is still unbroken. I am really tired of sitting so long." Then the duck sat down again.
"Well, how goes it?" asked an old duck who had come to pay her a visit.
"There is one large egg that is taking a long time to hatch," replied the mother. "But you must look at the ducklings. They are the finest I have ever seen; they are all just like their father."
"Let me look at the egg which will not hatch," said the old duck. "You may be sure that it is a turkey's egg. I was once cheated in that way. Oh, you will have a great deal of trouble, for a turkey will not go into the water. Yes, that's a turkey's egg. Leave it alone and teach the other children to swim."
"No, I will sit on it a little longer," said the mother duck.
"Just as you please," said the old duck, and she went away.
At last the large egg cracked. "Cheep! cheep!" said the young one, and tumbled out. How large it was! How ugly it was!
"I wonder if it can be a turkey chick," said the mother. "Well, we shall see when we go to the pond. It must go into the water, even if I have to push it in myself."
Next day the mother duck and all her little ones went down to the water. Splash! she jumped in, and all the ducklings went in, too. They swam about very easily, and the ugly duckling swam with them.
"No, it is not a turkey," said the mother duck. "See how well he can use his legs. He is my own child! And he is not so very ugly either."
Then she took her family into the duck yard. As they went along, she told the ducklings how to act.
"Keep close to me, so that no one can step on you," she said. "Come; now, don't turn your toes in. A well-brought-up duck turns its toes out, just like father and mother. Bow your heads before that old duck yonder. She is the grandest duck here. One can tell that by the red rag around her leg. That's a great honor, the greatest honor a duck can have. It shows that the mistress doesn't want to lose her. Now bend your necks and say 'Quack!'"
They did so, but the other ducks did not seem glad to see them.
"Look!" they cried. "Here comes another brood, as if there were not enough of us already. And oh, dear, how ugly that large one is! We won't stand him."
Then one of the ducks flew at the ugly duckling and bit him in the neck.
"Let him alone," said the mother; "he is doing no harm."
"Perhaps not," said the duck who had bitten the poor duckling, "but he is too ugly to stay here. He must be driven out."
"Those are pretty children that the mother has," said the old duck with the rag around her leg. "They are all pretty but that one. What a pity!"
"Yes," replied the mother duck, "he is not handsome, but he is good-tempered, and he swims as well as any of the others. I think he will grow to be pretty. Perhaps he stayed too long in the egg."
"Well, make yourselves at home," said the old duck. "If you find an eel's head, you may bring it to me."
And they did make themselves at home—all but the poor ugly duckling. His life was made quite miserable. The ducks bit him, and the hens pecked him. So it went on the first day, and each day it grew worse.
The poor duckling was very unhappy. At last he could stand it no longer, and he ran away. As he flew over the fence, he frightened the little birds on the bushes.
"That is because I am so ugly," thought the duckling.
He flew on until he came to a moor where some wild ducks lived. They laughed at him and swam away from him.
Some wild geese came by, and they laughed at the duckling, too. Just then some guns went bang! bang! The hunters were all around. The hunting dogs came splash! into the swamp, and one dashed close to the duckling. The dog looked at him and went on.
"Well, I can be thankful for that," sighed he. "I am so ugly that even the dog will not bite me."
When all was quiet, the duckling started out again. A storm was raging, and he found shelter in a poor hut. Here lived an old woman with her cat and her hen. The old woman could not see well, and she thought he was a fat duck. She kept him three weeks, hoping that she would get some duck eggs, but the duckling did not lay.
After a while the fresh air and sunshine streamed in at the open door, and the duckling longed to be out on the water. The cat and the hen laughed when he told them of his wish.
"You must be crazy," said the hen. "I do not wish to swim. The cat does not; and I am sure our mistress does not."
"You do not understand me," said the duckling. "I will go out into the wide world."
"Yes, do go," said the hen.
And the duckling went away. He swam on the water and dived, but still all the animals passed him by because he was so ugly; and the poor duckling was lonesome.
Now the winter came, and soon it was very cold. Snow and sleet fell, and the ugly duckling had a very unhappy time.
One evening a whole flock of handsome white birds rose out of the bushes. They were swans. They gave a strange cry, and spreading their great wings, flew away to warmer lands and open lakes.
The ugly duckling felt quite strange, and he gave such a loud cry that he frightened himself. He could not forget those beautiful happy birds. He knew not where they had gone, but he wished he could have gone with them.
The winter grew cold—very cold. The duckling swam about in the water to keep from freezing, but every night the hole in which he swam became smaller and smaller. At last he was frozen fast in the ice.
Early the next morning a farmer found the duckling and took him to the farmhouse. There in a warm room the duckling came to himself again. The children wished to play with him, but he was afraid of them.
In his terror he fluttered into the milk pan and splashed the milk about the room. The woman clapped her hands at him, and that frightened him still more. He flew into the butter tub and then into the meal barrel.
How he did look then! The children laughed and screamed. The woman chased him with the fire tongs. The door stood open, and the duckling slipped out into the snow.
It was a cruel, hard winter, and he nearly froze. At last the warm sun began to shine, and the larks to sing. The duckling flapped his wings and found that they were strong. Away he flew over the meadows and fields.
Soon he found himself in a beautiful garden where the apple trees were in full bloom, and the long branches of the willow trees hung over the shores of the lake. Just in front of him he saw three beautiful white swans swimming lightly over the water.
"I will fly to those beautiful birds," he said. "They will kill me because I am so ugly; but it is all the same. It is better to be killed by them than to be bitten by the ducks and pecked by the hens."
So he flew into the water and swam towards the beautiful birds. They saw the duckling and came sailing down toward him. He bowed his head saying, "Kill me, oh, kill me."
But what was this he saw in the clear water? It was his own image, and lo! he was no longer a clumsy dark-gray bird, but a—swan, a beautiful white swan. It matters not if one was born in a duck yard, if one has only lain in a swan's egg. The other swans swam around him to welcome him.
Some little children came into the garden with corn and other grains which they threw into the water. The smallest one cried, "Oh, see! there is a new swan, and it is more beautiful than any of the others."
The ugly duckling was shy and at first hid his head under his wing. Then he felt so happy that he raised his neck and said, "I never dreamed of so much happiness when I was an ugly duckling."
—HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN.
THE WHITE BLACKBIRD
I was born a blackbird in a bushy thicket near a meadow. My father took good care of his family and would peck about all day for insects. These he brought home to my mother, holding them by the tail so as not to mash them. He had a sweet voice, too, and every evening sang beautiful songs.
I should have been happy, but I was not. I ate little and was weak; and from the first, I was different from my brothers and sisters. They had glossy, black feathers, while mine were dirty gray. These made my father angry whenever he looked at them.
When I moulted for the first time, he watched me closely. While the feathers were falling out and while I was naked, he was kind; but my new feathers drove him wild with anger. I did not wonder. I was no longer even gray; I had become snow white. I was a white blackbird! Did such a thing ever happen in a blackbird family before?
It made me very sad to see my father so vexed over me. But it is hard to stay sad forever, and one sunshiny spring day I opened my bill and began to sing. At the first note my father flew up into the air like a sky-rocket.
"What do I hear?" he cried. "Is that the way a blackbird whistles? Do I whistle that way?"
"I whistle the best I can," I replied.
"That is not the way we whistle in my family," my father said. "We have whistled for many, many years and know how to do it. It is not enough for you to be white; you must make that horrible noise. The truth is you are not a blackbird."
"I will leave home," I answered with a sob. "I will go far away where I can pick up a living on earthworms and spiders."
"Do as you please," my father said. "You are not a blackbird."
I flew away early the next morning, and was lucky enough to find shelter under an old gutter. It rained hard that night. I was just about to go to bed, when a very wet bird came in and sat down beside me. His feathers were grayish like mine, but he was much larger than myself.
"Who are you?" he asked.
"I don't know," I replied. "I pass for a blackbird but I am white."
"I am the finest bird in the world," he said. "I am a carrier pigeon and carry messages."
Then I saw that a traveling bag hung from his neck.
"Maybe I am a pigeon," I said, "since I am not a blackbird."
"No," he answered, "a runt like you could not be a pigeon."
The next morning the pigeon sprang from the gutter and flew away as fast as the wind. As I was lonely, I followed him. He flew faster and faster, but I kept up for a good while. At last my strength gave out and I fell down into a meadow.
I was stunned by the fall. When I came to my senses, two birds stood near by looking at me. One was a dainty little magpie; the other a soft-eyed turtle dove. The magpie kindly offered me some berries she had gathered.
"Who are you?" she asked.
"A blackbird or a pigeon," I said sadly. "I don't know which."
"Are you joking?" she cried. "You are a magpie."
"But magpies are not white," I said.
"Russian magpies are," she answered; "perhaps you belong to that family."
My joy was great for a moment at finding out what I was. Still I was not sure that I was a magpie and thought I might settle the matter by singing. I burst into song and warbled and whistled, and whistled and warbled.
The magpie looked at me in surprise. Then her face grew sad and she backed off from me. At last she flew away without another word. Whatever I might be, I was not a magpie—not even a Russian magpie.
I made up my mind not to rest until I found out what bird I was. So I flew off to a place where birds of all kinds met to talk and enjoy themselves. There were robins and sparrows and crows and wrens and martins and every sort of bird. But I was not like any of them and whenever I began to sing, they all laughed.
"You are not one of us," they said; "you are a white blackbird. That is what you are."
I had now seen all the birds, but none of them were as fine as the blackbirds. I did not want to be like any of these birds; I longed to be a blackbird, a real blackbird. That was not possible. So I made up my mind to be content with my lot, as I had the heart of a blackbird even if I were not black.
A great flock of blackbirds lived on the edge of a cornfield. I went to them and asked them to let me be their helper.
"I am only a white blackbird," I said, "but I have the heart of a true blackbird."
They let me stay. I waited on them early and late, bringing straw to make nests and tender little worms for the baby blackbirds. The old birds were kind to me, and I began to be happy.
Hard work did me good. I soon grew strong, and when the crows tried to drive us away, I led the blackbirds to victory. My sight was keen, and I was the first to find out that the scarecrow was not a man. I caught more worms, too, than any of the blackbirds.
By and by a strange thing happened. I saw one day that my white feathers were speckled with brown dots. They grew larger and larger until the dots covered me all over; I was no longer white but brown. And now, little by little, my brown coat turned darker and darker until one morning it was black—a rich, glossy black! I was a blackbird at last.
Then the other blackbirds hopped around me with joy, crying, "He is the largest and bravest of the blackbirds. Let him be king! Long live the king of the blackbirds!"
—ALFRED DE MUSSET (Adapted).
THE BROWN THRUSH
There's a merry brown thrush sitting up in the tree, He's singing to me! He's singing to me! And what does he say, little girl, little boy? "Oh, the world's running over with joy! Don't you hear? don't you see? Hush! look! in my tree, I'm as happy as happy can be!"
And the brown thrush keeps singing, "A nest do you see, And five eggs hid by me in the juniper tree? Don't meddle! don't touch! little girl, little boy, Or the world will lose some of its joy! Now I'm glad! now I'm free! And I always shall be, If you never bring sorrow to me."
So the merry brown thrush sings away in the tree, To you and to me, to you and to me.
THE KING AND THE GOOSEHERD
(King in plain clothes had gone out for a walk in the park. He sat under a tree to read a book and fell asleep. When he waked up he walked on, forgetting his book. He sees a lad looking after a flock of geese and calls him.)
KING: Boy, I left a book lying under a tree in the park. Will you please get it for me? If you do, I will give you a gold piece.
BOY: Give me a gold piece to go to the park, indeed! You must have a pocketful of gold pieces. Or you must think me more stupid than I am.
KING: Stupid! Who thinks you stupid?
BOY: Why, who would be so foolish as to give me a gold piece just for running half a mile for a book? No, no, you are joking. You couldn't make me believe that.
KING: Well, you know "seeing is believing." Look! here is the gold piece for you.
BOY: But it is in your hand. If I saw it in my own hand, that would be a different matter.
KING (laughing): You are certainly not stupid, my boy; but you may have it in your own hand. Here it is.
(Boy stands still, looking worried,)
KING: Well, why don't you go?
BOY: I only wish I could. But what would become of the geese while I am away? If they strayed into the meadow over yonder, I should have to pay trespass-money—more than the gold piece—and lose my place besides.
KING: I'll tell you what we'll do. You go for the book, and I'll herd the geese.
BOY (laughing): You herd the geese—a pretty gooseherd you would make! You are too fat and too old.
KING (to himself, shaking with laughter): Well, Well, "fat and old." What next, I wonder!
BOY: Why, you couldn't mind the geese. Just look at the "court gander" there—the one with the black head and wings. He is the ringleader whenever there is any mischief. He would lead you a pretty dance.
KING: Never mind the geese. I'll answer for them, and I promise to pay all damages if they get away.
BOY (handing the king his whip): Well, then, be careful. Watch the "court gander."
(Boy walks on a few feet, then hurries back.)
KING: What's the matter now?
BOY: Crack the whip!
(King tries but fails.)
BOY: Just as I thought. Here, this way! Can't you see? You are stupid!
KING: Just let me try once more.
BOY: Well, that did pretty well.
(Moves off muttering.)
He is as big a goose as any in the flock.
KING (lying on the ground and laughing so that the tears run down his cheeks): Oh, but this is fine! First I was fat and old. Now I am as big a goose as any in the flock. What would my courtiers say?
(Springing up suddenly.)
Look at that "court gander"! There he goes with the whole flock.
(He dashes wildly after the geese and tries to crack the whip, but cannot.)
Now they are in the meadow; what will the boy say?
(Boy returns and sees the geese in the meadow; the king looks ashamed.)
BOY: Just as I expected. I have found the book, but you have lost the geese. What a time I shall have trying to find them!
KING: Never mind; I will help you get them together again.
BOY: Humph! Much help you'll be. But go there by that stump and don't let the geese pass you. Wave your arms at them and shout at them. Surely you can do that!
KING: I'll try.
Boy: Well, they are back again! Thanks to goodness, but none to you. What can you do?
KING: Pray excuse me for not doing any better, but you see, I am not used to work. I am the king.
BOY: I was a simpleton to trust you with the geese; but I am not such a simpleton as to believe that you are the king.
KING: Just as you will. You are a good lad. Here is another gold coin as a peace offering. Good-day.
BOY (as king walks away): He is a kind gentleman, whoever he may be; but take my word for it, he will never make a gooseherd.
DONAL AND CONAL
There was once in old Ireland a very fine lad by the name of Donal. He was not only a very fine lad, but a very gay lad. He would go for miles to a party or a wedding; and he was always welcome, for Donal knew where to wear his smile. He wore it on his face instead of keeping it in his pocket.
The dearest wish of Donal's heart no one knew but himself. His soul was full of music, and he longed to have a violin.
One night Donal was going home through a dark forest when a storm came up. He found an old hollow tree and got inside of it to keep dry. Soon he fell asleep.
After a while Donal was awakened by a strange noise. He peeped out, and he saw a queer sight. The storm had passed, and the moon was shining. Many elves were dancing to strange music played by an old, old elf.
Such queer dancing it was! Donal crept out of the tree and drew nearer and nearer. Suddenly he laughed out loud and said, "Well, that's the worst dancing I have ever seen!"
The fairies were astonished and angry, and they all began to talk at the same time.
"We have a man among us!" cried one.
"Let us hang him!" cried another.
"Cut his head off!" cried a third.
But the queen stepped out among them and said, "Leave him to me."
Then she called Donal to her. Now Donal was a wee bit frightened, but he knew where to wear his smile, you remember. So he went up to the queen, smiling and bowing.
"You say our dancing is the worst you have ever seen," she said. "Now, show us that you can do better."
Donal smiled again and bowed low. Then he began to dance. Such dancing the elves had never seen! They clapped their hands and made him dance again and again. Finally, Donal was exhausted, and after making a low bow to the queen, sat down on the ground.
The fairies crowded around him.
"Give him our silver!" cried one.
"Make it gold!" cried another.
"Diamonds!" cried a third.
But the queen said, "Leave it to me."
She went up to the old, old elf who had been playing for the dance. Taking his violin from him, she gave it to Donal. You see, the queen knew the dearest wish of his heart.
Then Donal was a happy lad, indeed! He thanked the queen and went home playing on his new violin.
There lived near Donal's home a lad named Conal. He was not such a fine lad as Donal, nor such a gay one. He was a greedy lad, and the dearest wish of his heart was to be rich. And he did not know where to wear his smile. If he had one, he kept it in his pocket.
When Conal heard what had happened to Donal, he wished to know all about it. So he went to him and said, "Donal, man, how did you get that beautiful violin?"
Donal told the story backward and forward, and forward and backward, from beginning to end, until Conal knew it by heart.
Then Conal said to himself, "I will go to the hollow tree and dance for the elves; but I shall not be so foolish as Donal. I will take their gold and silver, and their diamonds, too."
That night Conal went to the hollow tree and waited until the elves appeared. Then he crept out and watched them dance. And he said, just as Donal had, "Well, that's the worst dancing I have ever seen!"
The fairies were astonished and angry again, and again they all began to talk at once.
"Another man among us!" cried one.
"Let us hang him!" cried another.
"Cut off his head!" cried a third.
But the queen said, "Leave it to me."
Then she called Conal to her. Now Conal did not know where to wear his smile, you remember; he always kept it in his pocket. So he went up to the queen with a very sour face.
The queen said to him, as she had to Donal, "You say our dancing is the worst you have ever seen. Now, show us that you can do better."
Conal began to dance, and he could dance well. The elves were delighted. They clapped their hands and asked him to dance again, but he said roughly, "No, that is enough. Do you expect me to dance all night?"
The elves were silent then, and the queen's face was stern. But she was a just queen, and she said, "You have danced well. Will you have some of our silver?"
"Yes," said Conal, without a word of thanks; and he filled his coat pockets.
"Will you have gold?" asked the queen.
"Yes," said Conal greedily, as he filled the pockets in his trousers.
"Will you have some of our diamonds?" the queen asked, and her face was dark with anger.
"Yes, yes," cried Conal.
"You shall not have them, you greedy lad!" cried the queen; "you shall have nothing."
Just then a cloud passed across the moon, and the elves vanished.
"Oh, well," said Conal, "I have the gold and silver."
He plunged his hands into his pockets and lo! the gold and silver had turned to stones. Then Conal went home a sadder and a wiser lad.
WHO TOLD THE NEWS?
Oh, the sunshine told the bluebird, And the bluebird told the brook, That the dandelions were peeping From the woodland's sheltered nook.
Then the brook was blithe and happy, And it babbled all the way, As it ran to tell the river Of the coming of the May.
Soon the river told the meadow, And the meadow told the bee, That the tender buds were swelling On the old horse-chestnut tree.
And the bee shook off its torpor, And it spread each gauzy wing, As it flew to tell the flowers Of the coming of the spring.
THE BIRDS OF KILLINGWORTH
It was spring. The apple trees and the cherry trees were pink and white with blossoms. They filled the air with fragrance. The maples were red, and on the oak and poplar the buds were swelling. The brooklets were rushing and leaping on toward the sea.
It was spring everywhere. The robin and the bluebird were piping sweetly in the blossoming orchard. The sparrows were chirping, and hungry crows were calling loudly for food. The farmers of Killingworth were plowing the fields, and the broken clods, too, told of spring.
A farmer heard the cawing of the crows and the song of the birds.
He said, "Did one ever see so many birds? Why, when we plant our seeds, these birds will take them all. When the fruit ripens, they will destroy it. I, for one, wish there were no birds, and I say kill them all."
Another farmer said, "Yes, let us call a meeting of the people of the village and decide what is to be done with the pests."
The meeting was called, and all came: the squire, the preacher, the teacher, and the farmers from the country round about.
Up rose the farmer who had said he wished there were no birds.
"Friends," he said, "the crows are about to take my field of corn. I put up scarecrows, but the birds fly by them and seem to laugh at them. The robins are as saucy as they can be. Soon they will eat all the cherries we have. I say kill all birds; they are a pest."
"So say I," said another farmer.
"And I," said another.
"And I," "And I," came from voices in every part of the hall.
The teacher arose and timidly said:
"My friends, you know not what you do. You would put to death the birds that make sweet music for us in our dark hours: the thrush, the oriole, the noisy jay, the bluebird, the meadow lark.
"You slay them all, and why? Because they scratch up a little handful of wheat or corn, while searching for worms or weevils.
"Do you never think who made them and who taught them their songs of love? Think of your woods and orchards without birds!
"And, friends, would you rather have insects in the hay? You call the birds thieves, but they guard your farms. They drive the enemy from your cornfields and from your harvests.
"Even the blackest of them, the crow, does good. He crushes the beetle and wages war on the slug and the snail.
"And, what is more, how can I teach your children gentleness and mercy when you contradict the very thing I teach?"
But the farmers only shook their heads and laughed. "What does the teacher know of such things?" they asked. And they passed a law to have the birds killed.
So the dreadful war on birds began. They fell down dead, with bloodstains on their breasts. Some fluttered, wounded, away from the sight of man, while the young died of starvation in the nests.
The summer came, and all the birds were dead. The days were like hot coals. In the orchards hundreds of caterpillars fed. In the fields and gardens hundreds of insects of every kind crawled, finding no foe to check them. At last the whole land was like a desert.
From the trees caterpillars dropped down upon the women's bonnets, and they screamed and ran. At every door, the women gathered and talked.
"What will become of us?" asked one. "The men were wrong,—something must be done."
"The teacher was right," said another.
At last, the farmers grew ashamed of having killed the birds. They met and did away with the wicked law, but it was too late.
Harvest time came, but there was no harvest. In many a home there was want and sorrow.
The next spring a strange sight was seen—a sight never seen before or since. Through the streets there went a wagon filled with great branches of trees. Upon them were hung cages of birds that were making sweet music.
From all the country round these birds had been brought by order of the farmers. The cages were opened, and once more the woods and fields were filled with the beautiful birds, who flew about singing their songs of joy. And again the harvests grew in the fields and filled to overflowing the farmers' barns.
—Adapted from LONGFELLOW.
THE TRAILING ARBUTUS
Many, many moons ago, in a lodge in a forest, there lived an old man. His hair was white as the snowdrift. All the world was winter; snow and ice were everywhere, and the old man wore heavy furs.
The winds went wildly through the forest searching every bush and tree for birds to chill. The old man looked in vain in the deep snow for pieces of wood to keep up the fire in his lodge. Then he sat down by his dull and low fire.
Shaking and trembling he sat there, hearing nothing but the tempest as it roared through the forest, seeing nothing but the snowstorm as it whirled and hissed and drifted.
All the coals became white with ashes, and the fire was slowly dying. Suddenly the wind blew aside the door of the lodge, and there came in a most beautiful maiden.
Her cheeks were like the wild rose, her eyes were soft and glowed like the stars in springtime; and her hair was as brown as October's nuts.
Her dress was of ferns and sweet grasses, her moccasins were of white lilies, on her head was a wreath of wild flowers, and in her hands were beautiful blossoms. When she breathed, the air became warm and fragrant.
"Ah, my daughter," exclaimed the old man. "Happy are my eyes to see you. Sit here on the mat beside me; sit here by the dying embers. Tell me of your strange adventures, and I will tell you of my deeds of wonder."
From his pouch he drew his peace pipe, very old and strangely fashioned. He filled the pipe with bark of willow, and placed a burning coal upon it.
Then he said, "I am Manito, the Mighty. When I blow my breath about me, the rivers become motionless and the waters hard as stone."
The maiden smiling said, "When I blow my breath about me, flowers spring up over all the meadows. And all the rivers rush onward, singing songs of joy."
"When I shake my hoary tresses," said the old man, darkly frowning, "all the ground is covered with snow. All the leaves fade and wither."
"When I shake my flowing ringlets," said the maiden, "the warm rains fall over all the land."
Then proudly the old man replied, "When I walk through the forest, everything flees before me. The animals hide in their holes. The birds rise from the lakes and the marshes, and fly to distant regions."
Softly the maiden answered, "When I walk through the forest, all is bright and joyous. The animals come from their holes. The birds return to the lakes and marshes. The leaves come back to the trees. The plants lift up their heads to kiss the breezes. And where-ever my footsteps wander, all the meadows wave their blossoms, all the woodlands ring with music."
While they talked, the night departed. From his shining lodge of silver came the sun. The air was warm and pleasant; the streams began to murmur; the birds began to sing. And a scent of growing grasses was wafted through the lodge.
The old man's face dropped upon his breast, and he slept. Then the maiden saw more clearly the icy face before her—saw the icy face of winter.
Slowly she passed her hands above his head. Streams of water ran from his eyes, and his body shrunk and dwindled till it faded into the air—vanished into the earth—and his clothing turned to green leaves.
The maiden took from her bosom the most precious flowers. Kneeling upon the ground, she hid them all about among the leaves.
"I give you my most precious flowers and my sweetest breath," she said, "but all who would pluck you must do so upon bended knee."
Then the maiden moved away—through the forest and over the waking fields; and wherever she stepped, and nowhere else in all the land, grows the trailing arbutus.
Once upon a time there was an old farmer named John Jacobs. He had heard that treasures were found in odd places. He thought and thought about such treasures until he could think of nothing else; and he spent all his time hunting for them. How he wished he could find a pot of gold!
One morning he arose with a bright face and said to his wife, "At last, Mary, I've found the treasure."
"No, I cannot believe it," she said.
"Yes," he answered; "at least it is as good as found. I am only waiting until I have my breakfast. Then I will go out and bring it in."
"Oh, how did you find it?" asked the wife.
"I was told about it in a dream," said he.
"Where is it?"
"Under a tree in our orchard," said John.
"Oh, John, let us hurry and get it."
So they went out together into the orchard.
"Which tree is it under?" asked the wife.
John scratched his head and looked silly.
"I really do not know," he said.
"Oh, you foolish man," said the wife. "Why didn't you take the trouble to notice?"
"I did notice," said he. "I saw the exact tree in my dream, but there are so many trees, here that I am confused. There is only one thing to do now. I must begin with the first tree and keep on digging until I come to the one with the treasure under it."
This made the wife lose all hope. There were eighty apple trees and a score of peach trees.
She sighed and said, "I suppose if you must, you must, but be careful not to cut any of the roots."
By this time John was in a very bad humor. He went to work saying, "What difference does it make if I cut all the roots? The whole orchard will not bear one bushel of good apples or peaches. I don't know why, for in father's time it bore wagonloads of choice fruit."
"Well, John," said his wife, "you know father used to give the trees a great deal of attention."
But John grumbled to himself as he went on with his digging. He dug three feet deep around the first tree, but no treasure was there. He went to the next tree, but found nothing; then to the next and the next, until he had dug around every tree in the orchard. He dug and dug, but no pot of gold did he find.
The neighbors thought that John was acting queerly. They told other people, who came to see what he was doing.
They would sit on the fence and make sly jokes about digging for hidden treasure. They called the orchard "Jacobs' folly."
Soon John did not like to be seen in the orchard. He did not like to meet his neighbors. They would laugh and say, "Well, John, how much money did you get from the holes?"
This made John angry. At last he said, "I will sell the place and move away."
"Oh, no," said the wife, "this has always been our home, and I cannot think of leaving it. Go and fill the holes; then the neighbors will stop laughing. Perhaps we shall have a little fruit this year, too. The heaps of earth have stood in wind and frost for months, and that will help the trees."
John did as his wife told him. He filled the holes with earth and smoothed it over as level as before. By and by everybody forgot "Jacobs' folly."
Soon the spring came. April was warm, and the trees burst into bloom.
"Mary," said John one bright spring day, "don't you think the blossoms are finer than usual this year?"
"Yes, they look as they did when your father was alive," said his wife.
By and by, the blooms fell, leaving a million little green apples and peaches. Summer passed and autumn followed. The branches of the old trees could hardly hold up all the fine fruit on them.
Now the neighbors came, not to make fun, but to praise. "How did you do it?" they asked.
"The trees were old and needed attention," said John. "By turning the soil and letting in the air, I gave them strength to bear fruit. I have found the treasure after all, and I have learned a lesson. Tilling the soil well is the way to get treasure from it."
THE LITTLE BROWN BROTHER
Little brown brother, oh! little brown brother, Are you awake in the dark? Here we lie cozily, close to each other; Hark to the song of the lark—
"Waken!" the lark says, "waken and dress you; Put on your green coats and gay, Blue sky will shine on you, sunshine caress you— Waken! 'tis morning—'tis May!"
Little brown brother, oh! little brown brother, What kind of flower will you be? I'll be a poppy—all white, like my mother; Do be a poppy like me.
What! you're a sunflower? How I shall miss you When you're grown golden and high! But I shall send all the bees up to kiss you; Little brown brother, good-by!
HOW THE FLOWERS GROW
This is how the flowers grow; I have watched them and I know:
First, above the ground is seen A tiny blade of purest green, Reaching up and peeping forth East and west, and south and north.
Then the sunbeams find their way To the sleeping bud and say, "We are children of the sun Sent to wake thee, little one."
And the leaflet opening wide Shows the tiny bud inside, Peeping with half-opened eye On the bright and sunny sky.
Breezes from the west and south Lay their kisses on its mouth; Till the petals all are grown, And the bud's a flower blown.
WISE MEN OF GOTHAM
Once upon a time there were some wise men who lived in Gotham. Listen and you will hear how wise they were.
Twelve of these wise men went fishing one day. Some went into the stream and some stayed on dry ground. They caught many fish and had a good time.
As they came home, one of the men said, "We have risked much wading in that stream. I pray God no one of us is drowned."
"Why, one of us might be! Who knows?" cried another. "Let's see about it. Twelve of us went fishing this morning. We must count and see if twelve are returning."
So one man counted, "One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven." And he did not count himself!
"Alas! One of us is drowned!" he cried.
"Woe be unto us! Let me count," said another. And he did not count himself.
"Alas! alas!" he wailed; "truly one of us is drowned!"
Then every man counted, and each one failed to count himself.
"Alas! alas!" they all cried; "one of us is drowned! Which one is it?"
They went back to the shore, and they looked up and down for him that was drowned. All the time they were lamenting loudly.
A courtier came riding by. "What are you seeking?" he asked, "and why are you so sorrowful?"
"Oh," said they, "this day we came to fish in the stream. There were twelve of us, but one is drowned."
"Why," said the courtier, "count yourselves and see how many there be."
Again they counted, and again each man failed to count himself.
"Well, this is sad," said the courtier, who saw how the mistake had been made. "What will you give me if I find the twelfth man?"
"Sir," cried all together, "you may have all the money we own."
"Give me the money," said the courtier.
Then he began to count. He gave the first man a whack over the shoulders and said, "There is one."
He gave the next a whack and said, "There is two." And so he counted until he came to the last man. He gave this one a sounding blow, saying, "And here is the twelfth."
"God bless you!" cried all the company. "You have found our neighbor."
—OLD ENGLISH STORY.
THE MILLER'S GUEST
A hunter who had ridden ahead in the chase was lost. The sun went down, and darkness fell upon the forest. The hunter blew his horn, but no answer came. What should he do?
At last he heard the sound of horse's hoofs. Some one was coming. Was it friend or foe? The hunter stood still, and soon a miller rode out into the moonlight.
"Pray, good fellow, be so kind as to tell me the way to Nottingham," said the hunter.
"Nottingham? Why should you be going to Nottingham? The king and his court are there. It is not a place for the like of you," replied the miller.
"Well, well, perhaps you are right, good miller," said the hunter. "And yet who knows? I'll wager that the king is no better man than I am. However, it is getting late, and lodging I must have. Will you give me shelter for the night?"
"Nay, nay, not so fast," said the miller. "Stand forth and let me see if you are a true man. Many thieves wear fine clothes these days."
The hunter stepped forward. "Well, and what do you think of me?" he asked gayly. "Will you not give a stranger lodging?"
"How do I know that you have one penny in your purse?" asked the miller. "You may carry your all on your back, for aught I know. I've heard of lords who are like that."
"True, good miller, but I have gold. If it be forty pence, I will pay it," said the hunter.
"If you are a true man, and have the pence, then lodging you may have. My good wife may not like it, but we'll see," said the miller.
"Good!" cried the hunter. "And here's my hand on it."
"Nay, nay, not so fast," replied the miller. "I must know you better before I shake hands. None but an honest man's hand will I take."
"Some day, my good miller," replied the hunter, "I hope to have you take my hand in yours. Proud will I be when the day comes."
And so to the miller's house they went. The miller again looked at the stranger and said, "I like his face well. He may stay with us, may he not, good wife?"
"Yes, he is a handsome youth, but it's best not to go too fast," said the good wife. "He may be a runaway servant. Let him show his passport, and all shall be well."
The hunter bowed low, and said, "I have no passport, good dame, and I never was any man's servant. I am but a poor courtier who has lost his way. Pray give me lodging for the night. Your kindness I will surely repay."
Then the wife whispered to the miller, "The youth is of good manners and to turn him out would be sin."
"Yea, a well-mannered youth—and one who knows his betters when he sees them," the miller replied. "Let the lad stay."
"Well, young man," said the wife, "you are welcome here; and well lodged you shall be, though I do say it myself. You shall have a fresh bed with good brown sheets."
"Aye," said the miller, "and you shall sleep with our own son Richard."
Then they all sat down to supper—such a supper: pudding, apple pie, and good things of all kinds. Then at a wink from the miller, the wife brought out a venison pasty.
"Eat!" said the miller. "This is dainty food."
"Faith!" cried the hunter, "I never before ate such meat."
"Pshaw!" said Richard. "We eat this every day."
"Every day? Where do you buy it?"
"Oh, never a penny pay we. In merry Sherwood Forest we find it. Now and then, you see, we make bold with the king's deer."
"Then I think that it is venison," said the hunter.
"To be sure. Any fool would know that," replied Richard; "but say nothing about it. We would not have the king hear of it."
"I'll keep your secret," said the hunter. "Don't fear. The king shall never know more than he knows now."
And so the evening passed merrily. It was late when the guest sought his bed, but right soundly did he sleep.
The next morning the miller, the good wife, and Richard came out to see the hunter on his way. Just then a party of nobles rode up.
"There's the king!" cried one.
"Pardon, your majesty!" cried another, and all fell upon their knees before the hunter.
The miller stood shaking and quaking, and for once his wife could not speak. The king, with a grave face, drew his sword, but not a word did he say.
The terrified miller threw himself at his ruler's feet, crying out for mercy. Again the sword was raised, and down it fell, but lightly, upon the miller's shoulder, and the king said:
"Your kind courtesy I will repay; so I here dub thee Knight. Rise, Sir John of Mansfield."
For many a day the miller and his wife told of the night the king spent with them. And for many a day the king told of the time he was taken for a thief and ate of his own deer in the miller's house.
—ENGLISH BALLAD (Adapted).
SADDLE TO RAGS
This story I'm going to sing, I hope it will give you content, Concerning a silly old man That was going to pay his rent, With a till-a-dill, till-a-dill-dill, Till-a-dill, dill-a-dill, dee, Sing fol-de-dill, dill-de-dill, dill, Fol-de-dill, dill-de-dill, dee.
A silly old man said to his wife one day, "Well, 'tis time I paid my rent. The landlord has been away for a year and a day, but now he is back, and I must pay for twelve months."
"Yes, it's twice forty pounds that is due, and it should be paid," said the good wife. "So much money in the house keeps me from sleeping at night."
"Well, I'll bridle old Tib, and away we shall go," said the old man. "Right glad I'll be, too, to be rid of the gold."
The silly old man bridled old Tib and saddled her too. And away they started. As he was jogging along, a stranger came riding up on a fine horse with fine saddle bags.
"Good morning, old man," said the stranger.
"Good morning," said the old man.
"How far are you going?"
"To tell the truth, kind sir, I am going just two miles," said the old man.
"And where are you going?" asked the stranger.
"I am going to pay my rent, kind sir," said the old man. "I am but a silly old man who farms a piece of ground. My rent for a half year is forty pounds; but my landlord has been away for a year, and now I owe him eighty pounds. Right glad I am to pay it."
"Eighty pounds! That is indeed a large sum," cried the stranger, "and you ought not to tell anybody you carry so much. There are many thieves about, and you might be robbed."
"Oh, never mind!" said the old man. "I do not fear thieves. My money is safe in my saddle bags, on which I ride."
So they rode along most pleasantly.
When they came to a thick wood, the stranger pulled out a pistol and said, "Stand still, and give me your money."
"Nay," said the old man. "The money is for my landlord. I will not give it to you."
"Your money or your life!"
"Well, if you will have it, you can go for it," cried the old man, as he threw his old saddle bags over a hedge.
The thief dismounted and said, "Stand here and hold my horse while I go over the hedge. You are silly, but surely you can do that."
The thief climbed through the hedge. When he was on the other side, the old man got on the thief's horse, and away he galloped.
"Stop, stop!" cried the thief. "And half of my share you shall have."
"Nay," cried the man. "I think I'll go on. I'd rather have what's in your bag."
And away he galloped, riding as he never rode before.
The thief thought there must be something in the old man's bags; so with his big rusty knife he chopped them into rags. But no money did he find, for the silly old man was not so silly as he seemed. His money was in his pocket.
The old man rode on to his landlord's home and paid his rent. Then he opened the thief's bag, which was glorious to behold. There were five hundred pounds in gold and silver.
"Where did you get the silver?" asked the landlord. "And where did you get the gold?"
"I met a proud fool on the way," said the old man with a laugh. "I swapped horses with him, and he gave me this to boot."
"Well, well! But you're too old to go about with so much money," said the landlord.
"Oh, I think no one would harm a silly old man like me," said the farmer, as he rode away.
The old man went home by a narrow lane, and there he spied Tib tied to a tree.
"The stranger did not like his trade, I fear," said he. "So I think I'll take Tib home."
The old man went home much richer than when he left. When she heard the story, the wife danced and sang for glee. "'Tis hard to fool my old man," said she.
—ENGLISH BALLAD (Adapted).
THE ROCK-A-BY LADY
The Rock-a-By Lady from Hushaby street Comes stealing; comes creeping; The poppies they hang from her head to her feet, And each hath a dream that is tiny and fleet— She bringeth her poppies to you, my sweet, When she findeth you sleeping!
There is one little dream of a beautiful drum— "Rub-a-dub!" it goeth; There is one little dream of a big sugar-plum, And lo! thick and fast the other dreams come Of pop-guns that bang, and tin tops that hum, And a trumpet that bloweth!
And dollies peep out of those wee little dreams With laughter and singing; And boats go a-floating on silvery streams, And the stars peek-a-boo with their own misty gleams, And up, up, and up, where the Mother Moon beams, The fairies go winging!
Would you dream all these dreams that are tiny and fleet? They'll come to you sleeping; So shut the two eyes that are weary, my sweet, For the Rock-a-By Lady from Hushaby street With poppies that hang from her head to her feet, Comes stealing; comes creeping.
The rosy clouds float overhead, The sun is going down; And now the sandman's gentle tread Comes stealing through the town. "White sand, white sand," he softly cries, And as he shakes his hand, Straightway there lies on babies' eyes His gift of shining sand. Blue eyes, gray eyes, black eyes, and brown, As shuts the rose, they softly close, When he goes through the town.
From sunny beaches far away— Yes, in another land— He gathers up at break of day His store of shining sand. No tempests beat that shore remote, No ships may sail that way; His little boat alone may float Within that lovely bay. Blue eyes, gray eyes, black eyes, and brown, As shuts the rose, they softly close, When he goes through the town.
He smiles to see the eyelids close Above the happy eyes; And every child right well he knows, Oh, he is very wise! But, if as he goes through the land, A naughty baby cries, His other hand takes dull gray sand To close the wakeful eyes. Blue eyes, gray eyes, black eyes, and brown, As shuts the rose, they softly close, When he goes through the town.
So when you hear the sandman's song Sound through the twilight sweet, Be sure you do not keep him long A-waiting on the street. Lie softly down, dear little head, Rest quiet, busy hands, Till, by your bed his good-night said, He strews the shining sands. Blue eyes, gray eyes, black eyes, and brown, As shuts the rose, they softly close, When he goes through the town.
To the Children: Below you will find the words in the Third Reader that you may not know the meaning of, or how to pronounce. Some words have more than one meaning. In looking for the meaning of a word, choose the meaning that best fits the sentence in which the word occurs.
ad ven ture: a bold undertaking. af fec tion: love. a gree ment: a bargain. al mond: a nut. am ber: of the color of amber-yellow. ap plaud ed: praised. ar bu tus: a trailing plant with small pinkish-white blossoms. A tri (Ah tree): a town in Italy. aught: anything.
Bau cis (Bor sis): a Greek woman. bel lows (lus): an instrument for blowing a fire, used by blacksmiths. bil low: a great wave. blithe (bl=ithe): joyous, glad. bred: brought up. bur dock: a coarse plant with bur-like heads. card: an instrument for combing cotton, wool, or flax. chase: hunt; pursuit. chris ten ing: naming a child at baptism. cliff: a high, steep face of rock. com rade (kom rad): a mate, a companion. Con al (C~on' al): an Irish lad. con ceit ed: proud, vain. con fess: to own; to admit. coun cil: a small body called together for a trial, or to decide a matter. court ier (court' yer): an attendant at the court of a prince. crime: a wicked act punishable by law. crouch: to stoop low.
dan ger: risk. de li cious: pleasing to the taste. de nied: disowned. depths: deep part of sea. de stroy: break up; kill. dis tress: suffering of mind. dock: a place between piers where vessels may anchor. Don al (D~on' al): an Irish lad. dor mouse (dor mous'): a small animal that looks like a squirrel. drought (drout): want of water. dub: call. dumps: low spirits.
eaves: overhanging lower edges of a roof. em bers: smouldering ashes. em per or: ruler of an empire. em press: wife of an emperor; a female ruler. en chant ed: bewitched. en e my: foe. es tab lish: to found. ex act ly: completely. ex haust ed: tired, worn out. ex tend ing: reaching.
fam ine: scarcity of food. fes ti val: a time of feasting. flax: a slender plant with blue flowers, used to make thread and cloth. fol ly: foolishness. foot man: a man servant. forge: a place with its furnace where metal is heated and hammered into different shapes. fra grance: sweetness. free dom: independence, liberty.
gauz y: like gauze, thin. Got ham (Got am): a village in Old England, commonly called G=o tham. grate ful: thankful. groom: a servant in charge of horses. guard: one that guards; a watch.
hail ing: calling. har bor: a protected body of water where vessels may anchor safely. haught y: proud. her ald: a messenger. Ho ang ti (H=o ~ang tee): an emperor of China. hoar y: white. horse-chest nut: a tree. hu man: like men. hu mor: mood, disposition.
in no cent: guiltless. in spect: examine. in stant ly: at once. in vent ed: made.
jest: joke. ju ni per: an evergreen, tree. jus tice: right treatment.
king dom: country belonging to king or queen. kirk: church. knight: a mounted man-at-arms.
lad en: loaded. la ment ed: wailed, wept. lin en: thread or cloth made of flax. lodge: dwelling place; wigwam. loom: a machine for weaving threads into cloth. lus cious: delicious.
Man i tou (too): a name given by the Indians to the "Great Spirit," or God. marsh es: swamps. mer cy: pity, kindness. min is ter: a pastor, a clergyman. mis for tune: bad fortune. moc ca sin: Indian shoes. moor: to secure in place, as a vessel: a great tract of waste land. moult ed: shed feathers.
no bles: lords. nurs er y: play room for children.
o blige: do a favor. o rang ou tang: a kind of ape. or der ly: regular; in order.
page: a youth training for knighthood. pas try (p=as): article of food made with crust of paste (or dough) as a pie. peas ant (p~es): a tiller of the soil. pe can: a kind of nut. Pe kin duck: a large, creamy white duck. pest: a nuisance. Phi le mon (F=i l=e' mon): a Greek peasant. pil lar: a support. pin ing: drooping; longing. pound: a piece of English money, equal to about $5.00 in United States money. prai rie: an extensive tract of level or rolling land.
rag ing: furious, violent. rec og nized: known. re flec tion: image. ref uge: shelter. re fused: declined to do. reign ing (rain): ruling. re mote: distant. rest less: eager for change, discontented; unquiet. re store: to return, to give back. roe buck: male deer. runt: an animal unusually small of its kind.
sad dle bags: a pair of pouches attached to a saddle, used to carry small articles. Salis bur y (Sauls): a town in North Carolina. sav age: wild, untamed. scare crow: an object set up to scare crows and other birds away from crops. score: the number twenty. serv ice: benefit, favor. shek el: ancient coin. shreds: strips, fragments. Si ling (Se): a Chinese empress. sim ple ton: a foolish person. six pence: six pennies—about twelve cents in United States money. squire: a justice of the peace. state ly: dignified, majestic. stat ues: likeness of a human being cut out of stone. steeped: soaked. striv ing: laboring, endeavoring. stub ble: stumps of grain left in ground, as after reaping.
tab lets: a flat piece on which to write. tasks: work, undertaking. tem pest: storm. tem ple: a kind of church. thriv ing: prospering, succeeding. tid ings: news. till ing: cultivating. tim id ly: shyly. tink er ing: mending. tithing man (t=ith): officer who enforced good behavior. tor por: numbness, dullness. tread: step. tri als: efforts, attempts. troop: an armed force.
u su al: ordinary, common.
vain: proud, conceited; to no purpose. van ished: disappeared. ven i son (ven' z'n): flesh of deer. vic to ry: triumph. vol un teer: one who offers himself for a service.
wa ger (wa jer): bet. wages: carries on. wand: a small stick. width: breadth. wig wam: Indian tent. wis dom: learning, knowledge.
Zeus (Z=us): a Greek god.
This list contains the words in the Child's World Third Reader, except those already used in the earlier books of this series, and a few that present no difficulty in spelling, pronunciation or meaning.
9 Greece Philemon Baucis unhappy hives
10 gathered couple Zeus beggars
11 attend footsore herbs although pitcher
13 disappeared homeward
14 feeble linden
15 treasure lucky Iris precious
16 messenger swift-footed Mercury awakened
17 hereafter honest upright
18 blossoms luscious harsh
19 hues frolic glistened wrestled scurried
21 fluttered speckled tender
22 parents moment remained praised
25 zigzag remote comrade blithe amber billows stubble bracing
26 plantation spindle
28 woven loom ruffles
29 England buttonholes
30 shepherd shearers
33 colored plaid
34 Hoangti emperor China Si-ling empress suddenly
37 dainty linen
38 frightful steeped
39 suffered aprons
40 shreds pulp glorious surprise verses
41 isles thousands prayers
42 Hillmen housewife bargains
43 saucepan aye sixpence tinkering
44 refused muttered vexed chimney
45 scoured spoiled exclaimed
46 shelter Dormouse lest
47 gracious lamented invented
48 Atri heralds ye complaint message
50 arousing justice
51 steed undertone jest
54 dragged judge prison
55 denied wisdom
56 labor honeycomb
57 artists extending poets affection well-deserved
59 dreadful worry horrid notice
65 perfectly breath
67 Epaminondas granny
76 obliged gently
77 tremendous marvelous
78 forbid allow
81 caramels almond pecan taffy
82 except Christ
84 Pedro altar distress
86 stately haughty
90 family scare pantry
95 whiskers danger
101 huddled wailed usual faint
102 cheerful pardon
104 chorus shriller chubby bundled
106 furniture mirror reflection
110 satisfied oiling
111 bow-legged conceited
112 remarked width
113 clattering astonished
114 fault recognized
116 impossible caliph
117 courtier presence refused
120 razors agreement
122 cozy drowsy
124 Puritans Sabbath
125 Indians worship
126 sermon minister
127 tithingman peppermint
130 freedom regular Vermont able-bodied Americans volunteers
134 president Salisbury
135 impatient governor
138 delicious heartily
139 murmuring papoose prairie Manitou
140 drought council
142 declared sleek
144 resin selfish
147 mentioned loose
149 hominy sharpened
154 establish harbor moored orderly
155 nursery scattered
156 famine Orang-outang
157 journey magic
160 refuge grateful restore innocent
161 favorite whirlwind
162 kingdom confess rejoicing
163 penniless simpleton nevertheless
164 destroy human
165 enchanted tablets
166 performs princesses
167 collected pearls
168 depths exactly syrup
172 christening godmothers
174 nightingale spitefully
175 grieve vanished misfortune
177 embroidering departed royal
178 reigning peasant determined guards motionless
181 canals burdocks
182 parson cheated
186 miserable moor
189 terror cruel
190 clumsy matters
192 glossy moulted naked
193 horrible sky-rocket
195 strength turtle dove
202 mischief damages ringleader
205 gooseherd excuse
208 exhausted diamonds
211 trousers greedily
212 torpor gauzy
213 fragrance Killing-worth
214 squire timidly
215 oriole weevils enemy contradict
216 starvation caterpillars foe
218 arbutus tempest
219 moccasins embers adventures
220 hoary joyous marshes ringlets
221 shrunk bosom scent
224 confused humor score
225 attention folly
227 million tilling
229 leaflet petals
230 Gotham woe
223 Nottingham wager
234 aught lodging
235 passport youth servant
236 venison pasty Sherwood
237 majesty terrified
246 straightway beaches
248 twilight strews