FOR GREAT HOLIDAYS
STORY-TELLING AND READING ALOUD
THE CHILDREN'S OWN READING
FRANCES JENKINS OLCOTT
Index according to reading level is appended.
TO THE STORY-TELLER
This volume, though intended also for the children's
own reading and for reading aloud, is especially
planned for story-telling. The latter is
a delightful way of arousing a gladsome holiday
spirit, and of showing the inner meanings of
different holidays. As stories used for this purpose
are scattered through many volumes, and as they
are not always in the concrete form required for
story-telling, I have endeavored to bring together
myths, legends, tales, and historical stories
suitable to holiday occasions.
There are here collected one hundred and
twenty stories for seventeen holidays--stories
grave, gay, humorous, or fanciful; also some that
are spiritual in feeling, and others that give the
delicious thrill of horror so craved by boys and
girls at Halloween time. The range of selection
is wide, and touches all sides of wholesome boy
and girl nature, and the tales have the power to
arouse an appropriate holiday spirit.
As far as possible the stories are presented in
their original form. When, however, they are too
long for inclusion, or too loose in structure for
story-telling purposes, they are adapted.
Adapted stories are of two sorts. Condensed:
in which case a piece of literature is shortened,
scarcely any changes being made in the original
language. Rewritten: here the plot, imagery,
language, and style of the original are retained as
far as possible, while the whole is moulded into
form suitable for story-telling. Some few stories
are built up on a slight framework of original
Thus it may be seen that the tales in this
volume have not been reduced to the necessarily
limited vocabulary and uniform style of one editor,
but that they are varied in treatment and
language, and are the products of many minds.
A glance at the table of contents will show that
not only have selections been made from modern
authors and from the folklore of different races,
but that some quaint old literary sources have
been drawn on. Among the men and books contributing
to these pages are the Gesta Romanorum,
Il Libro d'Oro, Xenophon, Ovid, Lucian, the
Venerable Bede, William of Malmesbury. John of
Hildesheim, William Caxton, and the more modern
Washington Irving, Hugh Miller, Charles Dickens,
and Henry Cabot Lodge; also those immortals,
Hans Andersen, the Brothers Grimm, Horace E.
Scudder, and others.
The stories are arranged to meet the needs of
story-telling in the graded schools. Reading-
lists, showing where to find additional material
for story-telling and collateral reading, are added.
Grades in which the recommended stories are
useful are indicated.
The number of selections in the volume, as
well as the references to other books, is limited
by the amount and character of available material.
For instance, there is little to be found for
Saint Valentine's Day, while there is an
overwhelming abundance of fine stories for the
Christmas season. Stories like Dickens's ``Christmas
Carol,'' Ouida's ``Dog of Flanders,'' and
Hawthorne's tales, which are too long for inclusion
and would lose their literary beauty if
condensed, are referred to in the lists. Volumes
containing these stories may be procured at the
A subject index is appended. This indicates
the ethical, historical, and other subject-matter
of interest to the teacher, thus making the volume
serviceable for other occasions besides holidays.
In learning her tale the story-teller is advised
not to commit it to memory. Such a method is
apt to produce a wooden or glib manner of presentation.
It is better for her to read the story
over and over again until its plot, imagery, style,
and vocabulary become her own, and then to retell
it, as Miss Bryant says, ``simply, vitally, joyously.''
NEW YEAR'S DAY (January 1)
THE FAIRY'S NEW YEAR GIFT: Emilie Poulsson, In the Child's World
THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL: Hans Christian Andersen, Stories and Tales
THE TWELVE MONTHS: Alexander Chodsvko, Slav Fairy Tales
THE MAIL-COACH PASSENGERS: Hans Christian Andersen, Fairy Tales
LINCOLN'S BIRTHDAY (February 10)
HE RESCUES THE BIRDS: Noah Brooks, Abraham Lincoln
LINCOLN AND THE LITTLE GIRL: Charles W. Moores,
Life of Abraham Lincoln for Boys and Girls
TRAINING FOR THE PRESIDENCY: Orison Swett Matden, Winning Out
WHY LINCOLN WAS CALLED ``HONEST ABE'': Noah Brooks, Abraham Lincoln
A STRANGER AT FIVE-POINTS: Adapted
A SOLOMON COME TO JUDGMENT: Charles W. Moores,
Life of Abraham Lincoln for Boys and Girls
GEORGE PICKETT'S FRIEND: Charles W. Moores,
Life of Abraham Lincoln for Boys and Girls
LINCOLN THE LAWYER: Z. A. Mudge, The Forest Boy
THE COURAGE OF HIS CONVICTIONS: Adapted
MR. LINCOLN AND THE BIBLE: Z. A. Mudge, The Forest Boy
HIS SPRINGFIELD FAREWELL ADDRESS [Lincoln]
SAINT VALENTINE'S DAY (February 14)
SAINT VALENTINE: Millicent Olmsted
A GIRL'S VALENTINE CHARM: The Connoisseur, 1775
MR. PEPYS HIS VALENTINE: Samuel Pepys, Diary
CUPID AND PSYCHE: Josephine Preston Peabody,
Old Greek Folk Stories
WASHINGTON'S BIRTHDAY (February 22)
THREE OLD TALES: M. L. Weems, Life of
George Washington, with Curious Anecdotes
YOUNG GEORGE AND THE COLT: Horace E. Scudder,
WASHINGTON THE ATHLETE: Albert F. Blaisdell and Francis R. Ball,
Hero Stories from American History
WASHINGTON'S MODESTY: Henry Cabot Lodge, George Washington
WASHINGTON AT YORKTOWN: Henry Cabot lodge, George Washington
RESURRECTION DAY (Easter Sunday) (March or April)
A LESSON OF FAITH: Mrs. Alfred Gatty, Parables from Nature
A CHILD'S DREAM OF A STAR: Charles Dickens
THE LOVELIEST ROSE IN THE WORLD:
Hans Christian Andersen, Stories and Tales
MAY DAY (May 1)
THE SNOWDROP: Hans Christian Andersen;
Adapted by Bailey and Lewis
THE THREE LITTLE BUTTERFLY BROTHERS: From the German
THE WATER DROP: Friedrich Wilhelm Carove,
Story without an End, translated by Sarah Austin
THE SPRING BEAUTY: Henry R. Schoolcraft, The Myth of Hiawatha
THE FAIRY TULIPS: English Folk-Tale
THE STREAM THAT RAN AWAY: Mary Austin, The Basket Woman
THE ELVES: Harriet Mazwell Converse,
Myths and legends of the New York State Iroquois
THE CANYON FLOWERS: Ralph Connor, The Sky Pilot
CLYTIE, THE HELIOTROPE: Ovid, Metamorphoses
HYACINTHUS: Ovid, Metamorphoses
ECHO AND NARCISSUS: Ovid, Metamorphoses
MOTHERS' DAY (Second Sunday in May)
THE LARK AND ITS YOUNG ONES: P. V. Ramuswami Raju, Indian Fables
CORNELIA S JEWELS: James Baldwin, Fifty Famous Stories Retold
QUEEN MARGARET AND THE ROBBERS: Albert F. Blaisdell,
Stories from Enylish History
THE REVENGE OF CORIOLANUS: Charles Morris, Historical Tales
THE WIDOW AND HER THREE SONS
MEMORIAL DAY (May 30) AND FLAG DAY (June 14)
Confederate Memorial Day is celebrated in some States on
April 26 and in others on May 10.
BETSY ROSS AND THE FLAG: Harry Pringle Ford
THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER: Eva March Tappan,
Hero Stories from American History
THE LITTLE DRUMMER-BOY: Aloert Bushnell Hart,
The Romance of the Civil War
A FLAG INCIDENT: M. M. Thomas, Captain Phil
TWO HERO-STORIES OF THE CIVIL WAR: Ben La Bree,
Camp Fires of the Confederacy
THE YOUNG SENTINEL: Z. A. Mudge, The Forest Boy
THE COLONEL OF THE ZOUAVES: Noah Brooks, Abraham Lincoln
GENERAL SCOTT AND THE STARS AND STRIPES: E. D. Townsend,
Anecdotes of the Civil War
lNDEPENDENCE DAY (July 4)
THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE: Washington Irving, Life of Washington
THE SIGNING OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE:
H. A. Guerber, The Story of the Thirteen Colonies
A BRAVE GIRL: James Johonnot, Stories of Heroic Deeds
THE BOSTON TEA-PARTY: John Andrews, Letter to a friend written in 1773
A GUNPOWDER STORY: John Esten Cooke, Stories of the Old Dominion
THE CAPTURE OF FORT TICONDEROGA: Washington Irving, Life of Washington
WASHINGTON AND THE COWARDS: Washington Irving, Life of Washington
LABOR DAY (First Monday in September)
THE SMITHY: P. V. Ramaswami Raju, Indian Fables
THE NAIL: The Brothers Grimm, German Household Tales
THE ELVES AND THE SHOEMAKER: Horace E. Scudder,
Book of Fables and Folk Stories
THE HILLMAN AND THE HOUSEWIFE: Juliana Horatia Ewing,
Old Fashioned Fairy Tales
HOFUS THE STONE CUTTER, A JAPANESE LEGEND:
The Riserside Third Reader
ARACHNE: Josephine Preston Peabody, Old Greek Folk Stories
THE METAL KING: A German Folk-Tale
THE CHOICE OF HERCULES: Xenophon, Memorabilia of Socrates
THE SPEAKING STATUE: Gesta Romanorum
THE CHAMPION STONE CUTTER: Hugh Miller
BILL BROWN'S TEST: Cleveland Moffett, Careers of Danger and Daring
COLUMBUS DAY (October 12)
COLUMBUS AND THE EGG: James Baldwin, Thirty More Famous Stories Retold
COLUMBUS AT LA RABIDA: Washington Irving, Life of Christopher Columbus
THE MUTINY: A. de Lamartine, Life of Columbus
THE FIRST LANDING OF COLUMBUS IN THE NEW WORLD:
Washington Irving, Life of Christopher Columbus
HALLOWEEN (October 31)
THE OLD WITCH: The Brothers Grimm, German Household Tales
SHIPPEITARO: Mary F. Nixon-Roulet, Japanese Folk Stories and Fairy Tales
HANSEL AND GRETHEL: The Brothers Grimm, German Household Tales
BURG HILL'S ON FIRE: Elizabeth W. Grierson,
Children's Book of Celtic Stories
THE KING OF THE CATS: Ernest Rhys, Fairy-Gold
THE STRANGE VISITOR: Joseph Jacobs, English Fairy Tales
THE BENEVOLENT GOBLIN: Gesta Romanorum
THE PHANTOM KNIGHT OF THE VANDAL CAMP: Gesta Romanorum
THANKSGIVING DAY (Last Thursday in November)
THE FIRST HARVEST-HOME IN PLYMOUTH: W. De Loss Lore, Jr.,
The Fast and Thanksgiving Days of New England
THE MASTER OF THE HARVEST: Mrs. Alfred Gatty, Parables from Nature
SAINT CUTHBERT'S EAGLE: The Venerable Bede,
Life and Miracles of Saint Cuthbert
THE EARS OF WHEAT: The Brothers Grimm, German Household Tales
HOW INDIAN CORN CAME INTO THE WORLD: Henry R. Schoolcraft,
The Myth of Hiawatha
THE NUTCRACKER DWARF: Count Franz Pocci, Fur Frohliche Kinder
THE PUMPKIN PIRATES, A TALE FROM LUCIAN: Alfred J. Church, The Greek Gulliver
THE SPIRIT OF THE CORN: Harriet Mazwell Converse,
Myths and Legends of the New York State Iroquois
THE HORN OF PLENTY: Ovid, Metamorphoses
CHRISTMAS DAY (December 25)
LITTLE PICCOLA: Celia Thazter, Stories and Poems for Children
THE STRANGER CHILD, A LEGEND: Count Franz Pocci, Fur Frohliche Kinder
SAINT CHRISTOPHER: William Caxton, Golden Legend
THE CHRISTMAS ROSE, AN OLD LEGEND: Lizzie Deas, Flower Favourites
THE WOODEN SHOES OF LITTLE WOLFF: Francois Coppee
THE PINE TREE: Hans Christian Andersen, Wonder Stories
THE CHRISTMAS CUCKOO: Frances Browne, Granny's Wonderful Chair
THE CHRISTMAS FAIRY OF STRASBURG, A GERMAN FOLK-TALE:
J. Stirling Coyne, Illustrated London News
THE THREE PURSES, A LEGEND: William S. Walsh, Story of Santa Klaus
THE THUNDER OAK, A SCANDINAVIAN LEGEND: William S. Walsh and Others
THE CHRISTMAS THORN OF GLASTONBURY, A LEGEND OF ANCIENT BRITAIN:
William of Malmesbury and Others
THE THREE KINGS OF COLOGNE, A LEGEND OF THE MIDDLE AGES:
John of Hildesheim, Modernized by H. S. Morris
THE LITTLE TREE THAT LONGED FOR OTHER LEAVES: Friedrieh Ruckert
WHY THE EVERGREEN TREES NEVER LOSE THEIR LEAVES:
Florence Holbrook, Book of Nature Myths
WHY THE ASPEN QUIVERS: Old legend
THE WONDER TREE: Friedrich Adolph Krummacher, Parables
THE PROUD OAK TREE: Old Fable
BAUCIS AND PHILEMON: H. P. Maskell, Francis Storr,
Half-a-Hundred Hero Tales
THE UNFRUITFUL TREE: Friedrich Adolph Krummacher, Parables
THE DRYAD OF THE OLD OAK: James Russell Lowell, Rhoecus (a poem)
DAPHNE: OVID, Metamorphoses BIRD DAY
THE OLD WOMAN WHO BECAME A WOODPECKER:
Phoebe Cary, A Legend of the Northland (poem)
THE BOY WHO BECAME A ROBIN: Henry R. Schoolcraft,
The Myth of Hiawatha
THE TONGUE-CUT SPARROW: A. B. Mitford, Tales of Old Japan
THE QUAILS, A LEGEND OF THE JATAKA: Riverside Fourth Reader
THE MAGPIE'S NEST: Joseph Jacobs, English Fairy Tales
THE GREEDY GEESE: Il Libro d'Oro
THE KING OF THE BIRDS: The Brothers Grimm, German Household Tales
THE DOVE WHO SPOKE TRUTH: Abbie Farwell Brown, The Curious Book of Birds
THE BUSY BLUE JAY: Olive Thorne Miller, True Bird Stories
BABES IN THE WOODS: John Burroughs, Bird Stories from Burroughs
THE PRIDE OF THE REGIMENT: Harry M. Rieffer,
The Recollections of a Drummer Boy
THE MOTHER MURRE: Dallas Lore Sharp, Summer
REFERENCE LISTS FOR STORY-TELLING AND COLLATERAL READING
FOR GREAT HOLIDAYS
THE FAIRY'S NEW YEAR GIFT
BY EMILIE POULSSON (ADAPTED)
Two little boys were at play one day when a
Fairy suddenly appeared before them and said: ``I
have been sent to give you New Year presents.''
She handed to each child a package, and in an
instant was gone.
Carl and Philip opened the packages and found
in them two beautiful books, with pages as pure
and white as the snow when it first falls.
Many months passed and the Fairy came again
to the boys. ``I have brought you each another
book?'' said she, ``and will take the first ones back
to Father Time who sent them to you.''
``May I not keep mine a little longer?'' asked
Philip. ``I have hardly thought about it lately.
I'd like to paint something on the last leaf that
``No,'' said the Fairy; ``I must take it just as it
``I wish that I could look through mine just
once,'' said Carl; ``I have only seen one page at a
time, for when the leaf turns over it sticks fast,
and I can never open the book at more than one
place each day.''
``You shall look at your book,'' said the Fairy,
``and Philip, at his.'' And she lit for them two
little silver lamps, by the light of which they saw
the pages as she turned them.
The boys looked in wonder. Could it be that
these were the same fair books she had given
them a year ago? Where were the clean, white
pages, as pure and beautiful as the snow when it
first falls? Here was a page with ugly, black spots
and scratches upon it; while the very next page
showed a lovely little picture. Some pages were
decorated with gold and silver and gorgeous
colors, others with beautiful flowers, and still
others with a rainbow of softest, most delicate
brightness. Yet even on the most beautiful of the
pages there were ugly blots and scratches.
Carl and Philip looked up at the Fairy at last.
``Who did this?'' they asked. ``Every page was
white and fair as we opened to it; yet now there is
not a single blank place in the whole book!''
``Shall I explain some of the pictures to you?''
said the Fairy, smiling at the two little boys.
``See, Philip, the spray of roses blossomed on this
page when you let the baby have your playthings;
and this pretty bird, that looks as if it were singing
with all its might, would never have been on
this page if you had not tried to be kind and
pleasant the other day, instead of quarreling.''
``But what makes this blot?'' asked Philip.
``That,'' said the Fairy sadly; ``that came when
you told an untruth one day, and this when you
did not mind mamma. All these blots and
scratches that look so ugly, both in your book
and in Carl's, were made when you were naughty.
Each pretty thing in your books came on its page
when you were good.''
``Oh, if we could only have the books again!''
said Carl and Philip.
``That cannot be,'' said the Fairy. ``See! they
are dated for this year, and they must now go back
into Father Time's bookcase, but I have brought
you each a new one. Perhaps you can make these
more beautiful than the others.''
So saying, she vanished, and the boys were left
alone, but each held in his hand a new book open
at the first page.
And on the back of this book was written in
letters of gold, ``For the New Year.''
THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL
BY HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN (TRANSLATED)
It was very, very cold; it snowed and it grew
dark; it was the last evening of the year, New
Year's Eve. In the cold and dark a poor little
girl, with bare head and bare feet, was walking
through the streets. When she left her own house
she certainly had had slippers on; but what could
they do? They were very big slippers, and her
mother had used them till then, so big were they.
The little maid lost them as she slipped across the
road, where two carriages were rattling by terribly
fast. One slipper was not to be found again, and
a boy ran away with the other. He said he could
use it for a cradle when he had children of his own.
So now the little girl went with her little naked
feet, which were quite red and blue with the cold.
In an old apron she carried a number of matches,
and a bundle of them in her hand. No one had
bought anything of her all day; no one had given
her a copper. Hungry and cold she went, and
drew herself together, poor little thing! The
snowflakes fell on her long yellow hair, which
curled prettily over her neck; but she did not
think of that now. In all the windows lights were
shining, and there was a glorious smell of roast
goose out there in the street; it was no doubt New
Year's Eve. Yes, she thought of that!
In a corner formed by two houses, one of which
was a little farther from the street than the other,
she sat down and crept close. She had drawn up
her little feet, but she was still colder, and she did
not dare to go home, for she had sold no matches,
and she had not a single cent; her father would
beat her; and besides, it was cold at home, for
they had nothing over the them but a roof through
which the wind whistled, though straw and rags
stopped the largest holes.
Her small hands were quite numb with the cold.
Ah! a little match might do her good if she only
dared draw one from the bundle, and strike it
against the wall, and warm her fingers at it. She
drew one out. R-r-atch! how it spluttered and
burned! It was a warm bright flame, like a little
candle, when she held her hands over it; it was a
wonderful little light! It really seemed to the
little girl as if she sat before a great polished
stove, with bright brass feet and a brass cover.
The fire burned so nicely; it warmed her so well,
--the little girl was just putting out her feet to
warm these, too,--when out went the flame; the
stove was gone;--she sat with only the end of the
burned match in her hand.
She struck another; it burned; it gave a light;
and where it shone on the wall, the wall became
thin like a veil, and she could see through it into
the room where a table stood, spread with a white
cloth, and with china on it; and the roast goose
smoked gloriously, stuffed with apples and dried
plums. And what was still more splendid to behold,
the goose hopped down from the dish, and
waddled along the floor, with a knife and fork in
its breast; straight to the little girl he came. Then
the match went out, and only the thick, damp,
cold wall was before her.
She lighted another. Then she was sitting
under a beautiful Christmas tree; it was greater and
finer than the one she had seen through the glass
door at the rich merchant's. Thousands of candles
burned upon the green branches, and colored pictures
like those in the shop windows looked down
upon them. The little girl stretched forth both
hands toward them; then the match went out.
The Christmas lights went higher and higher.
She saw that now they were stars in the sky: one
of them fell and made a long line of fire.
``Now some one is dying,'' said the little girl,
for her old grandmother, the only person who had
been good to her, but who was now dead, had said:
``When a star falls a soul mounts up to God.''
She rubbed another match against the wall; it
became bright again, and in the light there stood
the old grandmother clear and shining, mild and
``Grandmother!'' cried the child. ``Oh, take
me with you! I know you will go when the match
is burned out. You will go away like the warm
stove, the nice roast goose, and the great glorious
And she hastily rubbed the whole bundle of
matches, for she wished to hold her grandmother
fast. And the matches burned with such a glow
that it became brighter than in the middle of the
day; grandmother had never been so large or so
beautiful. She took the little girl up in her arms,
and both flew in the light and the joy so high, so
high! and up there was no cold, nor hunger, nor
care--they were with God.
But in the corner by the house sat the little
girl, with red cheeks and smiling mouth, frozen to
death on the last evening of the Old Year. The
New Year's sun rose upon the little body, that sat
there with the matches, of which one bundle was
burned. She wanted to warm herself, the people
said. No one knew what fine things she had seen,
and in what glory she had gone in with her
grandmother to the New Year's Day.
THE TWELVE MONTHS
A SLAV LEGEND
BY ALEXANDER CHODZKO (ADAPTED)
There was once a widow who had two daughters,
Helen, her own child by her dead husband, and
Marouckla, his daughter by his first wife. She
loved Helen, but hated the poor orphan because
she was far prettier than her own daughter.
Marouckla did not think about her good looks,
and could not understand why her stepmother
should be angry at the sight of her. The hardest
work fell to her share. She cleaned out the rooms,
cooked, washed, sewed, spun, wove, brought in
the hay, milked the cow, and all this without any
Helen, meanwhile, did nothing but dress herself
in her best clothes and go to one amusement after
But Marouckla never complained. She bore
the scoldings and bad temper of mother and sister
with a smile on her lips, and the patience of a
lamb. But this angelic behavior did not soften
them. They became even more tyrannical and
grumpy, for Marouckla grew daily more beautiful,
while Helen's ugliness increased. So the stepmother
determined to get rid of Marouckla, for
she knew that while she remained, her own daughter
would have no suitors. Hunger, every kind of
privation, abuse, every means was used to make
the girl's life miserable. But in spite of it all
Marouckla grew ever sweeter and more charming.
One day in the middle of winter Helen wanted
``Listen,'' cried she to Marouckla, ``you must
go up the mountain and find me violets. I want
some to put in my gown. They must be fresh
and sweet-scented-do you hear?''
``But, my dear sister, whoever heard of violets
blooming in the snow?'' said the poor orphan.
``You wretched creature! Do you dare to disobey
me?'' said Helen. ``Not another word. Off
with you! If you do not bring me some violets
from the mountain forest I will kill you.''
The stepmother also added her threats to those
of Helen, and with vigorous blows they pushed
Marouckla outside and shut the door upon her.
The weeping girl made her way to the mountain.
The snow lay deep, and there was no trace of any
human being. Long she wandered hither and
thither, and lost herself in the wood. She was
hungry, and shivered with cold, and prayed to die.
Suddenly she saw a light in the distance, and
climbed toward it till she reached the top of the
mountain. Upon the highest peak burned a large
fire, surrounded by twelve blocks of stone on
which sat twelve strange beings. Of these the
first three had white hair, three were not quite
so old, three were young and handsome, and the
rest still younger.
There they all sat silently looking at the fire.
They were the Twelve Months of the Year. The
great January was placed higher than the others.
His hair and mustache were white as snow, and in
his hand he held a wand. At first Marouckla was
afraid, but after a while her courage returned, and
drawing near, she said:--
``Men of God, may I warm myself at your
fire? I am chilled by the winter cold.''
The great January raised his head and answered:
``What brings thee here, my daughter?
What dost thou seek?''
``I am looking for violets,'' replied the maiden.
``This is not the season for violets. Dost thou
not see the snow everywhere?'' said January.
``I know well, but my sister Helen and my
stepmother have ordered me to bring them violets
from your mountain. If I return without them
they will kill me. I pray you, good shepherds, tell
me where they may be found.''
Here the great January arose and went over to
the youngest of the Months, and, placing his wand
in his hand, said:--
``Brother March, do thou take the highest place.''
March obeyed, at the same time waving his wand
over the fire. Immediately the flames rose toward
the sky, the snow began to melt and the trees and
shrubs to bud. The grass became green, and from
between its blades peeped the pale primrose. It was
spring, and the meadows were blue with violets.
``Gather them quickly, Marouckla,'' said March.
Joyfully she hastened to pick the flowers, and
having soon a large bunch she thanked them
and ran home. Helen and the stepmother were
amazed at the sight of the flowers, the scent of
which filled the house.
``Where did you find them?'' asked Helen.
``Under the trees on the mountain-side,'' said
Helen kept the flowers for herself and her
mother. She did not even thank her stepsister for
the trouble she had taken. The next day she
desired Marouckla to fetch her strawberries.
``Run,'' said she, ``and fetch me strawberries
from the mountain. They must be very sweet and
``But whoever heard of strawberries ripening in
the snow?'' exclaimed Marouckla.
``Hold your tongue, worm; don't answer me.
If I don't have my strawberries I will kill you,''
Then the stepmother pushed Marouckla into
the yard and bolted the door. The unhappy girl
made her way toward the mountain and to the
large fire round which sat the Twelve Months.
The great January occupied the highest place.
``Men of God, may I warm myself at your fire?
The winter cold chills me,'' said she, drawing near.
The great January raised his head and asked:
``Why comest thou here? What dost thou seek?''
``I am looking for strawberries,'' said she.
``We are in the midst of winter,'' replied
January, ``strawberries do not grow in the snow.''
``I know,'' said the girl sadly, ``but my sister
and stepmother have ordered me to bring them
strawberries. If I do not they will kill me. Pray,
good shepherds, tell me where to find them.''
The great January arose, crossed over to the
Month opposite him, and putting the wand in his
hand, said: ``Brother June, do thou take the
June obeyed, and as he waved his wand over
the fire the flames leaped toward the sky. Instantly
the snow melted, the earth was covered
with verdure, trees were clothed with leaves, birds
began to sing, and various flowers blossomed in
the forest. It was summer. Under the bushes
masses of star-shaped flowers changed into ripening
strawberries, and instantly they covered the
glade, making it look like a sea of blood.
``Gather them quickly, Marouckla,'' said June.
Joyfully she thanked the Months, and having
filled her apron ran happily home.
Helen and her mother wondered at seeing the
strawberries, which filled the house with their
``Wherever did you find them?'' asked Helen
``Right up among the mountains. Those from
under the beech trees are not bad,'' answered
Helen gave a few to her mother and ate the rest
herself. Not one did she offer to her stepsister.
Being tired of strawberries, on the third day she
took a fancy for some fresh, red apples.
``Run, Marouckla,'' said she, ``and fetch me
fresh, red apples from the mountain.''
``Apples in winter, sister? Why, the trees have
neither leaves nor fruit!''
``Idle thing, go this minute,'' said Helen;
``unless you bring back apples we will kill you.''
As before, the stepmother seized her roughly
and turned her out of the house. The poor girl
went weeping up the mountain, across the deep
snow, and on toward the fire round which were
the Twelve Months. Motionless they sat there,
and on the highest stone was the great January.
``Men of God, may I warm myself at your fire?
The winter cold chills me,'' said she, drawing
The great January raised his head. ``Why comest
thou here? What does thou seek?'' asked he.
``I am come to look for red apples,'' replied
``But this is winter, and not the season for red
apples,'' observed the great January.
``I know,'' answered the girl, ``but my sister
and stepmother sent me to fetch red apples from
the mountain. If I return without them they will
Thereupon the great January arose and went
over to one of the elderly Months, to whom he
handed the wand saying:--
``Brother September, do thou take the highest
September moved to the highest stone, and
waved his wand over the fire. There was a flare
of red flames, the snow disappeared, but the fading
leaves which trembled on the trees were sent
by a cold northeast wind in yellow masses to the
glade. Only a few flowers of autumn were visible.
At first Marouckla looked in vain for red apples.
Then she espied a tree which grew at a great
height, and from the branches of this hung the
bright, red fruit. September ordered her to
gather some quickly. The girl was delighted and
shook the tree. First one apple fell, then another.
``That is enough,'' said September; ``hurry
Thanking the Months she returned joyfully.
Helen and the stepmother wondered at seeing the
``Where did you gather them?'' asked the
``There are more on the mountain-top,''
``Then, why did you not bring more?'' said
Helen angrily. ``You must have eaten them on
your way back, you wicked girl.''
``No, dear sister, I have not even tasted them,''
said Marouckla. ``I shook the tree twice. One
apple fell each time. Some shepherds would not
allow me to shake it again, but told me to return
``Listen, mother,'' said Helen. ``Give me my
cloak. I will fetch some more apples myself. I
shall be able to find the mountain and the tree.
The shepherds may cry `Stop!' but I will not
leave go till I have shaken down all the apples.''
In spite of her mother's advice she wrapped
herself in her pelisse, put on a warm hood, and
took the road to the mountain. Snow covered
everything. Helen lost herself and wandered
hither and thither. After a while she saw a light
above her, and, following in its direction, reached
There was the flaming fire, the twelve blocks
of stone, and the Twelve Months. At first she
was frightened and hesitated; then she came
nearer and warmed her hands. She did not ask
permission, nor did she speak one polite word.
``What hath brought thee here? What dost
thou seek?'' said the great January severely.
``I am not obliged to tell you, old graybeard.
What business is it of yours?'' she replied
disdainfully, turning her back on the fire and going
toward the forest.
The great January frowned, and waved his
wand over his head. Instantly the sky became
covered with clouds, the fire went down, snow
fell in large flakes, an icy wind howled round the
mountain. Amid the fury of the storm Helen
stumbled about. The pelisse failed to warm her
The mother kept on waiting for her. She looked
from the window, she watched from the doorstep,
but her daughter came not. The hours passed
slowly, but Helen did not return.
``Can it be that the apples have charmed her
from her home?'' thought the mother. Then she
clad herself in hood and pelisse, and went in
search of her daughter. Snow fell in huge masses.
It covered all things. For long she wandered
hither and thither, the icy northeast wind
whistled in the mountain, but no voice answered
Day after day Marouckla worked, and prayed,
and waited, but neither stepmother nor sister
returned. They had been frozen to death on the
The inheritance of a small house, a field, and
a cow fell to Marouckla. In course of time an
honest farmer came to share them with her, and
their lives were happy and peaceful.
THE MAIL-COACH PASSENGERS
BY HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN (ADAPTED)
It was bitterly cold. The sky glittered with stars,
and not a breeze stirred. ``Bump,''--an old pot
was thrown at a neighbor's door; and, ``Bang!
Bang!'' went the guns, for they were greeting the
It was New Year's Eve, and the church clock
was striking twelve. ``Tan-ta-ra-ra, tan-ta-ra-
ra!'' sounded the horn, and the mail-coach came
lumbering up. The clumsy vehicle stopped at the
gate of the town; all the places had been taken,
for there were twelve passengers in the coach.
``Hurrah! Hurrah!'' cried the people in the
town; for in every house the New Year was being
welcomed; and, as the clock struck, they stood
up, the full glasses in their hands, to drink
success to the newcomer. ``A happy New Year,''
was the cry; ``a pretty wife, plenty of money, and
no sorrow or care!''
The wish passed round, and the glasses clashed
together till they rang again; while before the
town-gate the mail-coach stopped with the
twelve strange passengers. And who were these
strangers? Each of them had his passport and
his luggage with him; they even brought presents
for me, and for you, and for all the people in the
town. Who were they? What did they want?
And what did they bring with them?
``Good-morning!'' they cried to the sentry at
``Good-morning,'' replied the sentry, for the
clock had struck twelve.
``Your name and profession?'' asked the sentry
of the one who alighted first from the carriage.
``See for yourself in the passport,'' he replied.
``I am myself!''--and a famous fellow he looked,
arrayed in bearskin and fur boots. ``Come to me
to-morrow, and I will give you a New Year's
present. I throw shillings and pence among the
people. I give balls every night, no less than
thirty-one; indeed, that is the highest number
I can spare for balls. My ships are often frozen
in, but in my offices it is warm and comfortable.
MY NAME IS JANUARY. I am a merchant, and I
generally bring my accounts with me.''
Then the second alighted. He seemed a merry
fellow. He was a director of a theater, a manager
of masked balls, and a leader of all the amusements
we can imagine. His luggage consisted of
a great cask.
``We'll dance the bung out of the cask at
carnival-time,'' said he. ``I'll prepare a merry tune
for you and for myself, too. Unfortunately I
have not long to live,--the shortest time, in fact,
of my whole family,--only twenty-eight days.
Sometimes they pop me in a day extra; but I
trouble myself very little about that. Hurrah!''
``You must not shout so,'' said the sentry.
``Certainly I may shout,'' retorted the man.
``I'm Prince Carnival, traveling under THE NAME OF FEBRUARY.''
The third now got out. He looked the
personification of fasting; but he carried his nose very
high, for he was a weather prophet. In his buttonhole
he wore a little bunch of violets, but they
were very small.
``MARCH, MARCH!'' the fourth passenger called
after him, slapping him on the shoulder, ``don't
you smell something good? Make haste into the
guard-room, they are feasting in there. I can
smell it already! FORWARD, MASTER MARCH!''
But it was not true. The speaker only wanted
to make an APRIL FOOL of him, for with that fun
the fourth stranger generally began his career. He
looked very jovial, and did little work.
``If the world were only more settled!'' said
he; ``but sometimes I'm obliged to be in a good
humor, and sometimes a bad one. I can laugh or
cry according to circumstances. I have my summer
wardrobe in this box here, but it would be
very foolish to put it on now!''
After him a lady stepped out of the coach. SHE
CALLED HERSELF MISS MAY. She wore a summer dress
and overshoes. Her dress was light green, and there
were anemones in her hair. She was so scented
with wild thyme that it made the sentry sneeze.
``Your health, and God bless you!'' was her
How pretty she was! and such a singer! Not
a theater singer nor a ballad-singer; no, but a
singer of the woods. For she wandered through
the gay, green forest, and had a concert there for
her own amusement.
``Now comes the young lady,'' said those in the
coach; and out stepped a young dame, delicate,
proud, and pretty. IT WAS MISTRESS JUNE. In her
service people become lazy and fond of sleeping
for hours. She gives a feast on the longest day
of the year, that there may be time for her guests
to partake of the numerous dishes at her table.
Indeed, she keeps her own carriage, but still she
travels by the mail-coach with the rest because
she wishes to show that she is not proud.
But she was not without a protector; her
younger brother, JULY, was with her. He was a
plump, young fellow, clad in summer garments,
and wearing a straw hat. He had very little
luggage because it was so cumbersome in the
great heat. He had, however, swimming-trousers
with him, which are nothing to carry.
Then came the mother herself, MADAME AUGUST,
a wholesale dealer in fruit, proprietress of
a large number of fish-ponds, and a land-cultivator.
She was fat and warm, yet she could use
her hands well, and would herself carry out food
to the laborers in the field. After work, came the
recreations, dancing and playing in the greenwood,
and the ``harvest home.'' She was a thorough housewife.
After her a man stepped out of the coach. He
is a painter, a master of colors, and is NAMED SEPTEMBER.
The forest on his arrival has to change
its colors, and how beautiful are those he chooses!
The woods glow with red, and gold, and brown.
This great master painter can whistle like a
blackbird. There he stood with his color-pot in
his hand, and that was the whole of his luggage.
A landowner followed, who in the month for
sowing seed attends to his ploughing and is fond
of field sports. SQUIRE OCTOBER brought his dog and
his gun with him, and had nuts in his game-bag.
``Crack! Crack!'' He had a great deal of luggage,
even a plough. He spoke of farming, but what
he said could scarcely be heard for the coughing
and sneezing of his neighbor.
It WAS NOVEMBER, who coughed violently as he
got out. He had a cold, but he said he thought
it would leave him when he went out woodcutting,
for he had to supply wood to the whole parish.
He spent his evenings making skates, for he knew,
he said, that in a few weeks they would be needed.
At length the last passenger made her appearance,--
OLD MOTHER DECEMBER! The dame was
very aged, but her eyes glistened like two stars.
She carried on her arm a flower-pot, in which a
little fir tree was growing. ``This tree I shall
guard and cherish,'' she said, ``that it may grow
large by Christmas Eve, and reach from the floor
to the ceiling, to be adorned with lighted candles,
golden apples, and toys. I shall sit by the fireplace,
and bring a story-book out of my pocket,
and read aloud to all the little children. Then the
toys on the tree will become alive, and the little
waxen Angel at the top will spread out his wings
of gold leaf, and fly down from his green perch.
He will kiss every child in the room, yes, and all
the little children who stand out in the street
singing a carol about the `Star of Bethlehem.' ''
``Well, now the coach may drive away,'' said
the sentry; ``we will keep all the twelve months
here with us.''
``First let the twelve come to me,'' said the
Captain on duty, ``one after another. The passports
I will keep here, each of them for one
month. When that has passed, I shall write the
behavior of each stranger on his passport. MR. JANUARY,
have the goodness to come here.''
And MR. JANUARY stepped forward.
When a year has passed, I think I shall be able
to tell you what the twelve passengers have
brought to you, to me, and to all of us. Just now
I do not know, and probably even they do not
know themselves, for we live in strange times.
HE RESCUES THE BIRDS
BY NOAH BROOKS (ADAPTED)
Once, while riding through the country with
some other lawyers, Lincoln was missed from the
party, and was seen loitering near a thicket of
wild plum trees where the men had stopped a
short time before to water their horses.
``Where is Lincoln?'' asked one of the lawyers.
``When I saw him last,'' answered another,
``he had caught two young birds that the wind
had blown out of their nest, and was hunting for
the nest to put them back again.''
As Lincoln joined them, the lawyers rallied
him on his tender-heartedness, and he said:--
``I could not have slept unless I had restored
those little birds to their mother.''
LINCOLN AND THE LITTLE GIRL
BY CHARLES W. MOORES
In the old days, when Lincoln was one of the
leading lawyers of the State, he noticed a little
girl of ten who stood beside a trunk in front of her
home crying bitterly. He stopped to learn what
was wrong, and was told that she was about to
miss a long-promised visit to Decatur because the
wagon had not come for her.
``You needn't let that trouble you,'' was his
cheering reply. ``Just come along with me and we
shall make it all right.''
Lifting the trunk upon his shoulder, and taking
the little girl by the hand, he went through the
streets of Springfield, a half-mile to the railway
station, put her and her trunk on the train, and
sent her away with a happiness in her heart that
is still there.
TRAINING FOR THE PRESIDENCY
BY ORISON SWETT MARDEN
``I meant to take good care of your book, Mr.
Crawford,'' said the boy, ``but I've damaged it a
good deal without intending to, and now I want
to make it right with you. What shall I do to
make it good?''
``Why, what happened to it, Abe?'' asked the
rich farmer, as he took the copy of Weems's
``Life of Washington'' which he had lent young
Lincoln, and looked at the stained leaves and
warped binding. ``It looks as if it had been out
through all last night's storm. How came you
to forget, and leave it out to soak?''
``It was this way, Mr. Crawford,'' replied Abe.
``I sat up late to read it, and when I went to bed,
I put it away carefully in my bookcase, as I call
it, a little opening between two logs in the wall of
our cabin. I dreamed about General Washington
all night. When I woke up I took it out to read
a page or two before I did the chores, and you
can't imagine how I felt when I found it in this
shape. It seems that the mud-daubing had got
out of the weather side of that crack, and the
rain must have dripped on it three or four hours
before I took it out. I'm sorry, Mr. Crawford,
and want to fix it up with you, if you can
tell me how, for I have not got money to pay
``Well,'' said Mr. Crawford, ``come and shuck
corn three days, and the book 's yours.''
Had Mr. Crawford told young Abraham Lincoln
that he had fallen heir to a fortune the boy
could hardly have felt more elated. Shuck corn
only three days, and earn the book that told all
about his greatest hero!
``I don't intend to shuck corn, split rails, and
the like always,'' he told Mrs. Crawford, after he
had read the volume. ``I'm going to fit myself
for a profession.''
``Why, what do you want to be, now?'' asked
Mrs. Crawford in surprise.
``Oh, I'll be President!'' said Abe with a smile.
``You'd make a pretty President with all your
tricks and jokes, now, wouldn't you?'' said the
``Oh, I'll study and get ready,'' replied the
boy, ``and then maybe the chance will come.''
WHY LINCOLN WAS CALLED
BY NOAH BROOKS
In managing the country store, as in everything
that he undertook for others, Lincoln did his very
best. He was honest, civil, ready to do anything
that should encourage customers to come to the
place, full of pleasantries, patient, and alert.
On one occasion, finding late at night, when he
counted over his cash, that he had taken a few
cents from a customer more than was due, he
closed the store, and walked a long distance to
make good the deficiency.
At another time, discovering on the scales in
the morning a weight with which he had weighed
out a package of tea for a woman the night before,
he saw that he had given her too little for
her money. He weighed out what was due, and
carried it to her, much to the surprise of the
woman, who had not known that she was short
in the amount of her purchase.
Innumerable incidents of this sort are related
of Lincoln, and we should not have space to tell
of the alertness with which he sprang to protect
defenseless women from insult, or feeble children
from tyranny; for in the rude community in
which he lived, the rights of the defenseless were
not always respected as they should have been.
There were bullies then, as now.
A STRANGER AT FIVE-POINTS
One afternoon in February, 1860, when the Sunday
School of the Five-Point House of Industry
in New York was assembled, the teacher saw a
most remarkable man enter the room and take
his place among the others. This stranger was
tall, his frame was gaunt and sinewy, his head
powerful, with determined features overcast by
a gentle melancholy.
He listened with fixed attention to the
exercises. His face expressed such genuine interest
that the teacher, approaching him, suggested that
he might have something to say to the children.
The stranger accepted the invitation with
evident pleasure. Coming forward, he began to
speak and at once fascinated every child in the
room. His language was beautiful yet simple,
his tones were musical, and he spoke with deep
The faces of the boys and girls drooped sadly
as he uttered warnings, and then brightened with
joy as he spoke cheerful words of promise. Once
or twice he tried to close his remarks, but the
children shouted: ``Go on! Oh! do go on!'' and
he was forced to continue.
At last he finished his talk and was leaving the
room quietly when the teacher begged to know
``Abra'm Lincoln, of Illinois,'' was the modest
A SOLOMON COME TO JUDGMENT
BY CHARLES W. MOORES
Lincoln's practical sense and his understanding
of human nature enabled him to save the life of
the son of his old Clary's Grove friend, Jack
Armstrong, who was on trial for murder. Lincoln,
learning of it, went to the old mother who had
been kind to him in the days of his boyhood
poverty, and promised her that he would get her
The witnesses were sure that Armstrong was
guilty, and one of them declared that he had seen
the fatal blow struck. It was late at night, he
said, and the light of the full moon had made it
possible for him to see the crime committed.
Lincoln, on cross-examination, asked him only
questions enough to make the jury see that it was the
full moon that made it possible for the witness to
see what occurred; got him to say two or three
times that he was sure of it, and seemed to give
up any further effort to save the boy.
But when the evidence was finished, and
Lincoln's time came to make his argument, he called
for an almanac, which the clerk of the court had
ready for him, and handed it to the jury. They
saw at once that on the night of the murder there
was no moon at all. They were satisfied that the
witness had told what was not true. Lincoln's
case was won.
GEORGE PICKETT'S FRIEND
BY CHARLES W. MOORES
George Pickett, who had known Lincoln in
Illinois, years before, joined the Southern army,
and by his conspicuous bravery and ability had
become one of the great generals of the
Confederacy. Toward the close of the war, when a
large part of Virginia had fallen into the
possession of the Union army, the President called at
General Pickett's Virginia home.
The general's wife, with her baby on her arm,
met him at the door. She herself has told the
story for us.
`` `Is this George Pickett's home?' he asked.
``With all the courage and dignity I could
muster, I replied: `Yes, and I am his wife, and
this is his baby.'
`` `I am Abraham Lincoln.'
`` `The President!' I gasped. I had never seen
him, but I knew the intense love and reverence
with which my soldier always spoke of him.
``The stranger shook his head and replied:
`No; Abraham Lincoln, George's old friend.'
``The baby pushed away from me and reached
out his hands to Mr. Lincoln, who took him in his
arms. As he did so an expression of rapt, almost
divine tenderness and love lighted up the sad
face. It was a look that I have never seen on any
other face. The baby opened his mouth wide and
insisted upon giving his father's friend a dewy
``As Mr. Lincoln gave the little one back to me
he said: `Tell your father, the rascal, that I forgive
him for the sake of your bright eyes.' ''
LINCOLN THE LAWYER
BY Z. A. MUDGE (ADAPTED)
He delighted to advocate the cases of those whom
he knew to be wronged, but he would not defend
the cause of the guilty. If he discovered in the
course of a trial that he was on the wrong side,
he lost all interest, and ceased to make any
Once, while engaged in a prosecution, he
discovered that his client's cause was not a good one,
and he refused to make the plea. His associate,
who was less scrupulous, made the plea and obtained
a decision in their favor. The fee was nine
hundred dollars, half of which was tendered to
Mr. Lincoln, but he refused to accept a single
cent of it.
His honesty was strongly illustrated by the way
he kept his accounts with his law-partner. When
he had taken a fee in the latter's absence, he put
one half of it into his own pocket, and laid the
other half carefully away, labeling it ``Billy,''
the name by which he familiarly addressed his
partner. When asked why he did not make a
record of the amount and, for the time being, use
the whole, Mr. Lincoln answered: ``Because I
promised my mother never to use money belonging
to another person.''
THE COURAGE OF HIS CONVICTIONS
Mr. Lincoln made the great speech of his famous
senatorial campaign at Springfield, Illinois. The
convention before which he spoke consisted of a
thousand delegates together with the crowd that
had gathered with them.
His speech was carefully prepared. Every
sentence was guarded and emphatic. It has since
become famous as ``The Divided House'' speech.
Before entering the hall where it was to be
delivered, he stepped into the office of his law-
partner, Mr. Herndon, and, locking the door, so
that their interview might be private, took his
manuscript from his pocket, and read one of the
opening sentences: ``I believe this government
cannot endure permanently, half slave and half
Mr. Herndon remarked that the sentiment was
true, but suggested that it might not be GOOD POLICY
to utter it at that time.
Mr. Lincoln replied with great firmness: ``No
matter about the POLICY. It is TRUE, and the
nation is entitled to it. The proposition has been
true for six thousand years, and I will deliver it
as it is written.''
MR. LINCOLN AND THE BIBLE
BY Z. A. MUDGE (ADAPTED)
A visitor in Washington once had an appointment
to see Mr. Lincoln at five o'clock in the
morning. The gentleman made a hasty toilet
and presented himself at a quarter of five in the
waiting-room of the President. He asked the
usher if he could see Mr. Lincoln.
``No,'' he replied.
``But I have an engagement to meet him this
morning,'' answered the visitor.
``At what hour?'' asked the usher.
``At five o'clock.''
``Well, sir, he will see you at five.''
The visitor waited patiently, walking to and
fro for a few minutes, when he heard a voice as
if in grave conversation.
``Who is talking in the next room?'' he asked.
``It is the President, sir,'' said the usher, who
then explained that it was Mr. Lincoln's custom
to spend every morning from four to five reading
the Scriptures, and praying.
HIS SPRINGFIELD FAREWELL
It was on the morning of February 11, 1861, that
the President-elect, together with his family and
a small party of friends, bade adieu to the city
of Springfield, which, alas! he was never to see
A large throng of Springfield citizens assembled
at the railway station to see the departure, and
before the train left Mr. Lincoln addressed them
in the following words:--
``MY FRIENDS: No one, not in my position, can
appreciate the sadness I feel at this parting. To
this people I owe all that I am. Here I have lived
more than a quarter of a century; here my
children were born, and here one of them lies buried.
I know not how soon I shall see you again. A
duty devolves upon me which is, perhaps, greater
than that which has devolved upon any other
man since the days of Washington. He never
would have succeeded except by the aid of Divine
Providence, upon which he at all times relied.
I feel that I cannot succeed without the same
Divine aid which sustained him, and on the same
Almighty Being I place my reliance for support;
and I hope you, my friends, will all pray that
I may receive that Divine assistance, without
which I cannot succeed, but with which success
is certain. Again I bid you an affectionate farewell.''
SAINT VALENTINE'S DAY
The good Saint Valentine was a priest at Rome
in the days of Claudius II. He and Saint Marius
aided the Christian martyrs, and for this kind
deed Saint Valentine was apprehended and
dragged before the Prefect of Rome, who condemned
him to be beaten to death with clubs and
to have his head cut off. He suffered martyrdom
on the 14th day of February, about the year 270.
At that time it was the custom in Rome, a very
ancient custom, indeed, to celebrate in the month
of February the Lupercalia, feasts in honor of a
On these occasions, amidst a variety of pagan
ceremonies, the names of young women were
placed in a box, from which they were drawn by
the men as chance directed.
The pastors of the early Christian Church in
Rome endeavored to do away with the pagan
element in these feasts by substituting the names
of saints for those of maidens. And as the
Lupercalia began about the middle of February, the
pastors appear to have chosen Saint Valentine's
Day for the celebration of this new feast.
So it seems that the custom of young men
choosing maidens for valentines, or saints as patrons
for the coming year, arose in this wise.
A PRISONER'S VALENTINE
BY MILLICENT OLMSTED (ADAPTED)
Charles, Duke of Orleans, who was taken
prisoner at the battle of Agincourt in 1415, and
detained in England twenty-five years, was the
author of the earliest known written valentines.
He left about sixty of them. They were written
during his confinement in the Tower of London,
and are still to be seen among the royal papers
in the British Museum.
One of his valentines reads as follows:--
``Wilt thou be mine? dear Love, reply--
Sweetly consent or else deny.
Whisper softly, none shall know,
Wilt thou be mine, Love?--aye or no?
``Spite of Fortune, we may be
Happy by one word from thee.
Life flies swiftly--ere it go
Wilt thou be mine, Love?--aye or no?''
A GIRL'S VALENTINE CHARM
AS TOLD BY HERSELF
(FROM THE CONNOISSEUR, 1775)
Last Friday was Valentine's Day, and I'll tell
you what I did the night before. I got five bay
leaves, and pinned four of them to the four corners
of my pillow, and the fifth to the middle; and then
if I dreamt of my sweetheart, Betty said we would
be married before the year was out.
But to make it more sure, I boiled an egg hard,
and took out the yolk, and filled it with salt, and
when I went to bed ate it, shell and all, without
speaking or drinking after it.
We also wrote our lovers' names upon bits of
paper, and rolled them up in clay and put them
into water; and the first that rose up was to be
our valentine. Would you think it? Mr. Blossom
was my man, and I lay abed and shut my eyes
all the morning, till he came to our house, for I
would not have seen another man before him for
all the world.
MR. PEPYS HIS VALENTINE
AS RELATED BY HIMSELF IN 1666
This morning, came up to my wife's bedside, I
being up dressing myself, little Will Mercer, to
be her valentine; and brought her name writ upon
blue paper in gold letters, done by himself, very
pretty; and we were both well pleased with it.
But I am also this year my wife's valentine;
and it will cost me five pounds; but that I must
have laid out if we had not been valentines.
I find also that Mrs. Pierce's little girl is my
valentine, she having drawn me; which I am not
sorry for, it easing me of something more that I
must have given to others.
But here I do first observe the fashion of
drawing of mottoes as well as names; so that Pierce,
who drew my wife, did draw also a motto, and
this girl drew another for me. What mine was I
have forgot, but my wife's was: ``Most virtuous
and most fair,'' which, as it may be used, or an
anagram made upon each name, might be; very
CUPID AND PSYCHE
BY JOSEPHINE PRESTON PEABODY
THE ENCHANTED PALACE
Once upon a time, through that Destiny that
overrules the gods, Love himself gave up his
immortal heart to a mortal maiden. And thus it
came to pass:--
There was a certain king who had three beautiful
daughters. The two elder married princes of
great renown; but Psyche, the youngest, was so
radiantly fair that no suitor seemed worthy of
her. People thronged to see her pass through the
city, and sang hymns in her praise, while strangers
took her for the very goddess of beauty herself.
This angered Venus, and she resolved to cast
down her earthly rival. One day, therefore, she
called hither her son, Love (Cupid, some name
him), and bade him sharpen his weapons. He is
an archer more to be dreaded than Apollo, for
Apollo's arrows take life, but Love's bring joy
or sorrow for a whole life long.
``Come, Love,'' said Venus. ``There is a mortal
maid who robs me of my honors in yonder city.
Avenge your mother. Wound this precious
Psyche, and let her fall in love with some churlish
creature mean in the eyes of all men.''
Cupid made ready his weapons, and flew down
to earth invisibly. At that moment Psyche was
asleep in her chamber; but he touched her heart
with his golden arrow of love, and she opened her
eyes so suddenly that he started (forgetting that
he was invisible), and wounded himself with his
own shaft. Heedless of the hurt, moved only by
the loveliness of the maiden, he hastened to pour
over her locks the healing joy that he ever kept
by him, undoing all his work. Back to her dream
the princess went, unshadowed by any thought of
love. But Cupid, not so light of heart, returned
to the heavens, saying not a word of what had
Venus waited long; then, seeing that Psyche's
heart had somehow escaped love, she sent a spell
upon the maiden. From that time, lovely as she
was, not a suitor came to woo; and her parents,
who desired to see her a queen at least, made a
journey to the Oracle, and asked counsel.
Said the voice: ``The Princess Psyche shall
never wed a mortal. She shall be given to one
who waits for her on yonder mountain; he overcomes
gods and men.''
At this terrible sentence the poor parents were
half-distraught, and the people gave themselves
up to grief at the fate in store for their beloved
princess. Psyche alone bowed to her destiny.
``We have angered Venus unwittingly,'' she said,
``and all for sake of me, heedless maiden that
I am! Give me up, therefore, dear father and
mother. If I atone, it may be that the city will
prosper once more.''
So she besought them, until, after many
unavailing denials, the parents consented; and with
a great company of people they led Psyche up
the mountain,--as an offering to the monster
of whom the Oracle had spoken,--and left her
Full of courage, yet in a secret agony of grief,
she watched her kindred and her people wind
down the mountain-path, too sad to look back,
until they were lost to sight. Then, indeed, she
wept, but a sudden breeze drew near, dried her
tears, and caressed her hair, seeming to murmur
comfort. In truth, it was Zephyr, the kindly
West Wind, come to befriend her; and as she took
heart, feeling some benignant presence, he lifted
her in his arms, and carried her on wings as even
as a sea-gull's, over the crest of the fateful
mountain and into a valley below. There he left her,
resting on a bank of hospitable grass, and there
the princess fell asleep.
When she awoke, it was near sunset. She
looked about her for some sign of the monster's
approach; she wondered, then, if her grievous
trial had been but a dream. Near by she saw a
sheltering forest, whose young trees seemed to
beckon as one maid beckons to another; and
eager for the protection of the dryads, she went
The call of running waters drew her farther
and farther, till she came out upon an open
place, where there was a wide pool. A fountain
fluttered gladly in the midst of it, and beyond
there stretched a white palace wonderful to see.
Coaxed by the bright promise of the place, she
drew near, and, seeing no one, entered softly. It
was all kinglier than her father's home, and as
she stood in wonder and awe, soft airs stirred
about her. Little by little the silence grew
murmurous like the woods, and one voice, sweeter
than the rest, took words. ``All that you see is
yours, gentle high princess,'' it said. ``Fear
nothing; only command us, for we are here to serve
Full of amazement and delight, Psyche
followed the voice from hall to hall, and through
the lordly rooms, beautiful with everything that
could delight a young princess. No pleasant
thing was lacking. There was even a pool, brightly
tiled and fed with running waters, where she
bathed her weary limbs; and after she had put on
the new and beautiful raiment that lay ready for
her, she sat down to break her fast, waited upon
and sung to by the unseen spirits.
Surely he whom the Oracle had called her
husband was no monster, but some beneficent power,
invisible like all the rest. When daylight waned
he came, and his voice, the beautiful voice of a
god, inspired her to trust her strange destiny and
to look and long for his return. Often she begged
him to stay with her through the day, that she
might see his face; but this he would not grant.
``Never doubt me, dearest Psyche,'' said he.
``Perhaps you would fear if you saw me, and love
is all I ask. There is a necessity that keeps me
hidden now. Only believe.''
So for many days Psyche was content; but
when she grew used to happiness, she thought
once more of her parents mourning her as lost,
and of her sisters who shared the lot of mortals
while she lived as a goddess. One night she told
her husband of these regrets, and begged that
her sisters at least might come to see her. He
sighed, but did not refuse.
``Zephyr shall bring them hither,'' said he.
And on the following morning, swift as a bird,
the West Wind came over the crest of the high
mountain and down into the enchanted valley,
bearing her two sisters.
They greeted Psyche with joy and amazement,
hardly knowing how they had come hither. But
when this fairest of the sisters led them through
her palace and showed them all the treasures that
were hers, envy grew in their hearts and choked
their old love. Even while they sat at feast with
her, they grew more and more bitter; and hoping
to find some little flaw in her good fortune, they
asked a thousand questions.
``Where is your husband?'' said they. ``And
why is he not here with you?''
``Ah,'' stammered Psyche. ``All the day long
--he is gone, hunting upon the mountains.''
``But what does he look like?'' they asked; and
Psyche could find no answer.
When they learned that she had never seen
him, they laughed her faith to scorn.
``Poor Psyche,'' they said. ``You are walking
in a dream. Wake, before it is too late. Have you
forgotten what the Oracle decreed,--that you
were destined for a dreadful creature, the fear of
gods and men? And are you deceived by this
show of kindliness? We have come to warn you.
The people told us, as we came over the mountain,
that your husband is a dragon, who feeds
you well for the present, that he may feast the
better, some day soon. What is it that you trust?
Good words! But only take a dagger some night,
and when the monster is asleep go, light a lamp,
and look at him. You can put him to death easily,
and all his riches will be yours--and ours.''
Psyche heard this wicked plan with horror.
Nevertheless, after her sisters were gone, she
brooded over what they had said, not seeing their
evil intent; and she came to find some wisdom
in their words. Little by little, suspicion ate, like
a moth, into her lovely mind; and at nightfall, in
shame and fear, she hid a lamp and a dagger in
her chamber. Towards midnight, when her husband
was fast asleep, up she rose, hardly daring
to breathe; and coming softly to his side, she
uncovered the lamp to see some horror.
But there the youngest of the gods lay
sleeping,--most beautiful, most irresistible of all
immortals. His hair shone golden as the sun, his
face was radiant as dear Springtime, and from
his shoulders sprang two rainbow wings.
Poor Psyche was overcome with self-reproach.
As she leaned towards him, filled with worship,
her trembling hands held the lamp ill, and some
burning oil fell upon Love's shoulder and awakened him.
He opened his eyes, to see at once his bride and
the dark suspicion in her heart.
``O doubting Psyche!'' he exclaimed with
sudden grief,--and then he flew away, out of the
Wild with sorrow, Psyche tried to follow, but
she fell to the ground instead. When she recovered
her senses, she stared about her. She was
alone, and the place was beautiful no longer.
Garden and palace had vanished with Love.
THE TRIAL OF PSYCHE:
Over mountains and valleys Psyche journeyed
alone until she came to the city where her two
envious sisters lived with the princes whom they
had married. She stayed with them only long
enough to tell the story of her unbelief and its
penalty. Then she set out again to search for
As she wandered one day, travel-worn but not
hopeless, she saw a lofty palace on a hill near by,
and she turned her steps thither. The place
seemed deserted. Within the hall she saw no
human being,--only heaps of grain, loose ears of
corn half torn from the husk, wheat and barley,
alike scattered in confusion on the floor. Without
delay, she set to work binding the sheaves together
and gathering the scattered ears of corn
in seemly wise, as a princess would wish to see
them. While she was in the midst of her task, a
voice startled her, and she looked up to behold
Demeter herself, the goddess of the harvest,
smiling upon her with good will.
``Dear Psyche,'' said Demeter, ``you are
worthy of happiness, and you may find it yet.
But since you have displeased Venus, go to her
and ask her favor. Perhaps your patience will win