Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Books, poems, drama…

GOOD STORIES FOR GREAT HOLIDAYS

Part 2 out of 8

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.7 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

These motherly words gave Psyche heart, and
she reverently took leave of the goddess and set
out for the temple of Venus. Most humbly she
offered up her prayer, but Venus could not look
at her earthly beauty without anger.

``Vain girl,'' said she, ``perhaps you have come
to make amends for the wound you dealt your
husband; you shall do so. Such clever people can
always find work!''

Then she led Psyche into a great chamber
heaped high with mingled grain, beans, and lentils
(the food of her doves), and bade her separate
them all and have them ready in seemly fashion
by night. Heracles would have been helpless before
such a vexatious task; and poor Psyche, left
alone in this desert of grain, had not courage to
begin. But even as she sat there, a moving thread
of black crawled across the floor from a crevice
in the wall; and bending nearer, she saw that a
great army of ants in columns had come to her
aid. The zealous little creatures worked in
swarms, with such industry over the work they
like best, that, when Venus came at night, she
found the task completed.

``Deceitful girl,'' she cried, shaking the roses
out of her hair with impatience, ``this is my son's
work, not yours. But he will soon forget you.
Eat this black bread if you are hungry, and refresh
your dull mind with sleep. To-morrow you
will need more wit.''

Psyche wondered what new misfortune could
be in store for her. But when morning came,
Venus led her to the brink of a river, and,
pointing to the wood across the water, said: ``Go now
to yonder grove where the sheep with the golden
fleece are wont to browse. Bring me a golden lock
from every one of them, or you must go your
ways and never come back again.''

This seemed not difficult, and Psyche
obediently bade the goddess farewell, and stepped into
the water, ready to wade across. But as Venus
disappeared, the reeds sang louder and the
nymphs of the river, looking up sweetly, blew
bubbles to the surface and murmured: ``Nay,
nay, have a care, Psyche. This flock has not the
gentle ways of sheep. While the sun burns aloft,
they are themselves as fierce as flame; but when
the shadows are long, they go to rest and sleep,
under the trees; and you may cross the river
without fear and pick the golden fleece off the briers
in the pasture.''

Thanking the water-creatures, Psyche sat
down to rest near them, and when the time came,
she crossed in safety and followed their counsel.
By twilight she returned to Venus with her arms
full of shining fleece.

``No mortal wit did this,'' said Venus angrily.
``But if you care to prove your readiness, go now,
with this little box, down to Proserpina and ask
her to enclose in it some of her beauty, for I have
grown pale in caring for my wounded son.''

It needed not the last taunt to sadden Psyche.
She knew that it was not for mortals to go into
Hades and return alive; and feeling that Love had
forsaken her, she was minded to accept her doom
as soon as might be.

But even as she hastened towards the descent,
another friendly voice detained her. ``Stay,
Psyche, I know your grief. Only give ear and
you shall learn a safe way through all these trials.''
And the voice went on to tell her how one might
avoid all the dangers of Hades and come out unscathed.
(But such a secret could not pass from
mouth to mouth, with the rest of the story.)

``And be sure,'' added the voice, ``when
Proserpina has returned the box, not to open it,
ever much you may long to do so.''

Psyche gave heed, and by this device, whatever
it was, she found her way into Hades safely, and
made her errand known to Proserpina, and was
soon in the upper world again, wearied but hopeful.

``Surely Love has not forgotten me,'' she said.
``But humbled as I am and worn with toil, how
shall I ever please him? Venus can never need all
the beauty in this casket; and since I use it for
Love's sake, it must be right to take some.'' So
saying, she opened the box, heedless as Pandora!
The spells and potions of Hades are not for mortal
maids, and no sooner had she inhaled the strange
aroma than she fell down like one dead, quite
overcome.

But it happened that Love himself was recovered
from his wound, and he had secretly fled
from his chamber to seek out and rescue Psyche.
He found her lying by the wayside; he gathered
into the casket what remained of the philter, and
awoke his beloved.

``Take comfort,'' he said, smiling. ``Return to
our mother and do her bidding till I come again.''

Away he flew; and while Psyche went cheerily
homeward, he hastened up to Olympus, where all
the gods sat feasting, and begged them to intercede
for him with his angry mother.

They heard his story and their hearts were
touched. Zeus himself coaxed Venus with kind
words till at last she relented, and remembered
that anger hurt her beauty, and smiled once
more. All the younger gods were for welcoming
Psyche at once, and Hermes was sent to bring
her hither. The maiden came, a shy newcomer
among those bright creatures. She took the cup
that Hebe held out to her, drank the divine
ambrosia, and became immortal.

Light came to her face like moonrise, two
radiant wings sprang from her shoulders; and even
as a butterfly bursts from its dull cocoon, so the
human Psyche blossomed into immortality.

Love took her by the hand, and they were
never parted any more.

WASHINGTON'S BIRTHDAY

(FEBRUARY 22)

THREE OLD TALES

BY M. L. WEEMS (ADAPTED)

I. THE CHERRY TREE

When George was about six years old, he was
made the wealthy master of a hatchet of which,
like most little boys, he was extremely fond. He
went about chopping everything that came his
way.

One day, as he wandered about the garden
amusing himself by hacking his mother's pea-
sticks, he found a beautiful, young English cherry
tree, of which his father was most proud. He
tried the edge of his hatchet on the trunk of the
tree and barked it so that it died.

Some time after this, his father discovered what
had happened to his favorite tree. He came into
the house in great anger, and demanded to know
who the mischievous person was who had cut
away the bark. Nobody could tell him anything
about it.

Just then George, with his little hatchet, came
into the room.

``George,'' said his father, ``do you know who
has killed my beautiful little cherry tree yonder
in the garden? I would not have taken five
guineas for it!''

This was a hard question to answer, and for a
moment George was staggered by it, but quickly
recovering himself he cried:--

``I cannot tell a lie, father, you know I cannot
tell a lie! I did cut it with my little hatchet.''

The anger died out of his father's face, and
taking the boy tenderly in his arms, he said:--

``My son, that you should not be afraid to tell
the truth is more to me than a thousand trees!
yes, though they were blossomed with silver and
had leaves of the purest gold!''

II. THE APPLE ORCHARD

One fine morning in the autumn Mr. Washington,
taking little George by the hand, walked
with him to the apple orchard, promising that he
would show him a fine sight.

On arriving at the orchard they saw a fine sight,
indeed! The green grass under the trees was
strewn with red-cheeked apples, and yet the
trees were bending under the weight of fruit that
hung thick among the leaves.

``Now, George,'' said his father, ``look, my
son, see all this rich harvest of fruit! Do you
remember when your good cousin brought you a
fine, large apple last spring, how you refused to
divide it with your brothers? And yet I told you
then that, if you would be generous, God would
give you plenty of apples this autumn.''

Poor George could not answer, but hanging
down his head looked quite confused, while with
his little, naked, bare feet he scratched in the soft
ground.

``Now, look up, my son,'' continued his father,
``and see how the blessed God has richly provided
us with these trees loaded with the finest fruit.
See how abundant is the harvest. Some of the
trees are bending beneath their burdens, while the
ground is covered with mellow apples, more than
you could eat, my son, in all your lifetime.''

George looked in silence on the orchard, he
marked the busy, humming bees, and heard the
gay notes of the birds fluttering from tree to tree.
His eyes filled with tears and he answered softly:--

``Truly, father, I never will be selfish any
more.''

III. THE GARDEN-BED

One day Mr. Washington went into the garden
and dug a little bed of earth and prepared it for
seed. He then took a stick and traced on the bed
George's name in full. After this he strewed the
tracing thickly with seeds, and smoothed all over
nicely with his roller.

This garden-bed he purposely prepared close
to a gooseberry-walk. The bushes were hung with
the ripe fruit, and he knew that George would
visit them every morning.

Not many days had passed away when one
morning George came running into the house,
breathless with excitement, and his eyes shining
with happiness.

``Come here! father, come here!'' he cried.

``What's the matter, my son?'' asked his
father.

``O come, father,'' answered George, ``and I'll
show you such a sight as you have never seen in
all your lifetime.''

Mr. Washington gave the boy his hand, which
he seized with great eagerness. He led his father
straight to the garden-bed, whereon in large
letters, in lines of soft green, was written:--

GEORGE WASHINGTON

YOUNG GEORGE AND THE COLT

BY HORACE E. SCUDDER

There is a story told of George Washington's
boyhood,--unfortunately there are not many
stories,--which is to the point. His father had
taken a great deal of pride in his blooded horses,
and his mother afterward took pains to keep the
stock pure. She had several young horses that
had not yet been broken, and one of them in
particular, a sorrel, was extremely spirited. No
one had been able to do anything with it, and it
was pronounced thoroughly vicious as people are
apt to pronounce horses which they have not
learned to master.

George was determined to ride this colt, and
told his companions that if they would help him
catch it, he would ride and tame it.

Early in the morning they set out for the
pasture, where the boys managed to surround the
sorrel, and then to put a bit into its mouth.
Washington sprang upon its back, the boys
dropped the bridle, and away flew the angry
animal.

Its rider at once began to command. The horse
resisted, backing about the field, rearing and
plunging. The boys became thoroughly alarmed,
but Washington kept his seat, never once losing
his self-control or his mastery of the colt.

The struggle was a sharp one; when suddenly,
as if determined to rid itself of its rider, the
creature leaped into the air with a tremendous bound.
It was its last. The violence burst a blood-vessel,
and the noble horse fell dead.

Before the boys could sufficiently recover to
consider how they should extricate themselves
from the scrape, they were called to breakfast;
and the mistress of the house, knowing that they
had been in the fields, began to ask after her
stock.

``Pray, young gentlemen,'' said she, ``have you
seen my blooded colts in your rambles? I hope
they are well taken care of. My favorite, I am
told, is as large as his sire.''

The boys looked at one another, and no one
liked to speak. Of course the mother repeated
her question.

``The sorrel is dead, madam,'' said her son, ``I
killed him.''

And then he told the whole story. They say
that his mother flushed with anger, as her son
often used to, and then, like him, controlled
herself, and presently said, quietly:--

``It is well; but while I regret the loss of my
favorite, I rejoice in my son who always speaks
the truth.''

WASHINGTON THE ATHLETE

BY ALBERT F. BLAISDELL AND FRANCIS E. BALL

Many stories are told of the mighty power of
Washington's right arm. It is said that he once
threw a stone from the bed of the stream to the
top of the Natural Bridge, in Virginia.

Again, we are told that once upon a time he
rounded a piece of slate to the size of a silver
dollar, and threw it across the Rappahannock at
Fredericksburg, the slate falling at least thirty
feet on the other side. Many strong men have
since tried the same feat, but have never cleared
the water.

Peale, who was called the soldier-artist, was
once visiting Washington at Mount Vernon. One
day, he tells us, some athletic young men were
pitching the iron bar in the presence of their host.
Suddenly, without taking off his coat, Washington
grasped the bar and hurled it, with little effort,
much farther than any of them had done.

``We were, indeed, amazed,'' said one of the
young men, ``as we stood round, all stripped to
the buff, and having thought ourselves very
clever fellows, while the Colonel, on retiring,
pleasantly said:--

`` `When you beat my pitch, young gentlemen,
I'll try again.' ''

At another time, Washington witnessed a
wrestling-match. The champion of the day
challenged him, in sport, to wrestle. Washington did
not stop to take off his coat, but grasped the
``strong man of Virginia.'' It was all over in a
moment, for, said the wrestler, ``In Washington's
lionlike grasp I became powerless, and was hurled
to the ground with a force that seemed to jar the
very marrow in my bones.''

In the days of the Revolution, some of the
riflemen and the backwoodsmen were men of
gigantic strength, but it was generally believed
by good judges that their commander-in-chief
was the strongest man in the army.

WASHINGTON'S MODESTY

BY HENRY CABOT LODGE (ADAPTED)

Washington as soon as Fort Duquesne had fallen
hurried home, resigned his commission, and was
married. The sunshine and glitter of the wedding
day must have appeared to Washington deeply
appropriate, for he certainly seemed to have all
that heart of man could desire. Just twenty-
seven, in the first flush of young manhood, keen
of sense and yet wise in experience, life must have
looked very fair and smiling. He had left the
army with a well-earned fame, and had come
home to take the wife of his choice, and enjoy the
good will and respect of all men.

While away on his last campaign he had been
elected a member of the House of Burgesses, and
when he took his seat, on removing to Williamsburg,
three months after his marriage, Mr. Robinson,
the Speaker, thanked him publicly in eloquent
words for his services to the country.

Washington rose to reply, but he was so utterly
unable to talk about himself that he stood before
the House stammering and blushing until the
Speaker said:--

``Sit down, Mr. Washington, your modesty
equals your valor, and that surpasses the power
of any language I possess.''

WASHINGTON AT YORKTOWN

BY HENRY CABOT LODGE

During the assault Washington stood in an
embrasure of the grand battery, watching the
advance of the men. He was always given to
exposing himself recklessly when there was
fighting to be done, but not when he was only an
observer.

This night, however, he was much exposed to
the enemy's fire. One of his aides, anxious and
disturbed for his safety, told him that the place
was perilous.

``If you think so,'' was the quiet answer, ``you
are at liberty to step back.''

The moment was too exciting, too fraught with
meaning, to think of peril. The old fighting spirit
of Braddock's field was unchained for the last
time. He would have liked to head the American
assault, sword in hand, and as he could not do
that, he stood as near his troops as he could,
utterly regardless of the bullets whistling in the
air about him. Who can wonder at his intense
excitement at that moment?

Others saw a brilliant storming of two out-
works, but to Washington the whole Revolution
and all the labor and thought and conflict of six
years were culminating in the smoke and din on
those redoubts, while out of the dust and heat of
the sharp, quick fight success was coming.

He had waited long, and worked hard, and his
whole soul went out as he watched the troops
cross the abatis and scale the works. He could
have no thought of danger then, and when all was
over, he turned to Knox and said:--

``The work is done, and well done. Bring me
my horse.''

RESURRECTION DAY (EASTER)

(MARCH OR APRIL)

A LESSON OF FAITH

BY MRS. ALFRED GATTY (ADAPTED)

``Let me hire you as a nurse for my poor children,''
said a butterfly to a quiet caterpillar, who
was strolling along a cabbage-leaf in her odd,
lumbering fashion.

``See these little eggs,'' continued the
butterfly; ``I do not know how long it will be before they
come to life, and I feel very sick. If I should die,
who will take care of my baby butterflies when
I am gone? Will you, kind, mild, green caterpillar?
They cannot, of course, live on your
rough food. You must give them early dew, and
honey from the flowers, and you must let them
fly about only a little way at first. Dear me! it is
a sad pity that you cannot fly yourself. Dear,
dear! I cannot think what made me come and
lay my eggs on a cabbage-leaf! What a place for
young butterflies to be bore upon! Here, take
this gold-dust from my wings as a reward. Oh,
how dizzy I am! Caterpillar! you will remember
about the food--''

And with these words the butterfiy drooped
her wings and died. The green caterpillar, who
had not had the opportunity of even saying
``yes'' or ``no'' to the request, was left standing
alone by the side of the butterfly's eggs.

``A pretty nurse she has chosen, indeed, poor
lady!'' exclaimed she, ``and a pretty business I
have in hand. Why did she ever ask a poor crawling
creature like me to bring up her dainty little
ones! Much they'll mind me, truly, when they
feel the gay wings on their backs, and can fly
away.''

However, the poor butterfly was dead, and
there lay the eggs on the cabbage-leaf, and the
green caterpillar had a kind heart, so she resolved
to do her best.

``But two heads are better than one,'' said she;
``I will consult some wise animal on the matter.''

Then she thought and thought till at last she
thought of the lark, and she fancied that because
he went up so high, and nobody knew where he
went to, he must be very clever and know a great
deal.

Now in the neighboring cornfield there lived
a lark, and the caterpillar sent a message to him,
begging him to come and talk to her. When he
came she told him all her difficulties, and asked
him how she was to feed and rear the little butterfly
creatures.

``Perhaps you will be able to inquire and learn
something about it the next time you go up high,''
said the caterpillar timidly.

``Perhaps I can,'' answered the lark; and then
he went singing upwards into the bright, blue
sky, till the green caterpillar could not hear a
sound, nor could she see him any more. So she
began to walk round the butterfly's eggs, nibbling
a bit of the cabbage-leaf now and then as she
moved along.

``What a time the lark has been gone!'' she
cried at last. ``I wonder where he is just now. He
must have flown higher than usual this time. How
I should like to know where he goes, and what he
hears in that curious blue sky! He always sings
going up and coming down, but he never lets any
secret out.''

And the green caterpillar took another turn
round the butterfly's eggs.

At last the lark's voice began to be heard again.
The caterpillar almost jumped for joy, and it was
not long before she saw her friend descend with
hushed note to the cabbage bed.

``News, news, glorious news, friend caterpillar!''
sang the lark, ``but the worst of it is, you won't
believe me!''

``I believe anything I am told,'' said the
caterpillar hastily.

``Well, then, first of all, I will tell you what
those little creatures are to eat''--and the lark
nodded his head toward the eggs. ``What do you
think it is to be? Guess!''

``Dew and honey out of the flowers, I am
afraid!'' sighed the caterpillar.

``No such thing, my good friend,'' cried the
lark exultantly; ``you are to feed them with
cabbage-leaves!''

``Never!'' said the caterpillar indignantly.

``It was their mother's last request that I should
feed them on dew and honey.''

``Their mother knew nothing about the matter,''
answered the lark; ``but why do you ask
me, and then disbelieve what I say? You have
neither faith nor trust.''

``Oh, I believe everything I am told,'' said the
caterpillar.

``Nay, but you do not,'' replied the lark.

``Why, caterpillar, what do you think those
little eggs will turn out to be?''

``Butterflies, to be sure,'' said the caterpillar.

``CATERPILLARS!'' sang the lark; ``and you'll find
it out in time.'' And the lark flew away.

``I thought the lark was wise and kind,''
said the mild, green caterpillar to herself, once
more beginning to walk round the eggs, ``but
I find that he is foolish and saucy instead.
Perhaps he went up TOO high this time. How
I wonder what he sees, and what he does up
yonder!''

``I would tell you if you would believe me,''
sang the lark, descending once more.

``I believe everything I am told,'' answered
the caterpillar.

``Then I'll tell you something else,'' cried the
lark. ``YOU WILL ONE DAY BE A BUTTERFLY YOURSELF!''

``Wretched bird,'' exclaimed the caterpillar,
``you are making fun of me. You are now cruel
as well as foolish! Go away! I will ask your advice
no more.''

``I told you you would not believe me,'' cried
the lark.

``I believe everything I am told,'' persisted the
caterpillar,--``everything that it is REASONABLE to
believe. But to tell me that butterflies' eggs are
caterpillars, and that caterpillars leave off crawling
and get wings and become butterflies!--
Lark! you do not believe such nonsense yourself!
You know it is impossible!''

``I know no such thing,'' said the lark. ``When
I hover over the cornfields, or go up into the
depths of the sky, I see so many wonderful things
that I know there must be more. O caterpillar!
it is because you CRAWL, and never get beyond
your cabbage-leaf, that you call anything IMPOSSIBLE.''

``Nonsense,'' shouted the caterpillar, ``I know
what's possible and what's impossible. Look at
my long, green body, and many legs, and then
talk to me about having wings! Fool!''

``More foolish you!'' cried the indignant lark,
``to attempt to reason about what you cannot
understand. Do you not hear how my song
swells with rejoicing as I soar upwards to the
mysterious wonder-world above? Oh, caterpillar,
what comes from thence, receive as I do,--on
trust.''

``What do you mean by that?'' asked the caterpillar.

``ON FAITH,'' answered the lark.

``How am I to learn faith?'' asked the caterpillar.

At that moment she felt something at her side.
She looked round,--eight or ten little green
caterpillars were moving about, and had already
made a hole in the cabbage-leaf. They had
broken from the butterfly's eggs!

Shame and amazement filled the green caterpillar's
heart, but joy soon followed. For as the
first wonder was possible, the second might be so
too.

``Teach me your lesson, lark,'' she cried.

And the lark sang to her of the wonders of
the earth below and of the heaven above. And the
caterpillar talked all the rest of her life of the
time when she should become a butterfly.

But no one believed her. She nevertheless had
learned the lark's lesson of faith, and when she
was going into her chrysalis, she said:--

``I shall be a butterfly some day!''

But her relations thought her head was wandering,
and they said, ``Poor thing!''

And when she was a butterfly, and was going
to die she said:--

``I have known many wonders,--I HAVE FAITH,
--I can trust even now for the wonder that shall
come next.''

A CHILD'S DREAM OF A STAR

BY CHARLES DICKENS

There was once a child, and he strolled about a
good deal, and thought of a number of things. He
had a sister, who was a child, too, and his constant
companion. These two used to wonder all
day long. They wondered at the beauty of the
flowers; they wondered at the height and blueness
of the sky; they wondered at the depth of the
bright water; they wondered at the goodness and
the power of God who made the lovely world.

They used to say to one another, sometimes:
``Supposing all the children upon earth were to
die, would the flowers, and the water, and the sky
be sorry?'' They believed they would be sorry.
``For,''said they, ``the buds are the children of the
flowers, and the little playful streams that gambol
down the hillsides are the children of the water;
and the smallest, bright specks playing at hide
and seek in the sky all night, must surely be the
children of the stars; and they would all be
grieved to see their playmates, the children of
men, no more.''

There was one clear, shining star that used to
come out in the sky before the rest, near the
church spire, above the graves. It was larger and
more beautiful, they thought, than all the others,
and every night they watched for it, standing
hand in hand at a window. Whoever saw it first
cried out: ``I see the star!'' And often they cried
out both together, knowing so well when it would
rise, and where. So they grew to be such friends
with it, that, before lying down in their beds, they
always looked out once again, to bid it good-night;
and when they were turning round to sleep, they
used to say: ``God bless the star!''

But while she was still very young, oh, very,
very young, the sister drooped, and came to be so
weak that she could no longer stand in the window
at night; and then the child looked sadly
out by himself, and when he saw the star turned
round and said to the patient, pale face on the
bed: ``I see the star!'' and then a smile would
come upon the face, and a little weak voice used
to say: ``God bless my brother and the star!''

And so the time came all too soon, when the
child looked out alone, and when there was no
face on the bed; and when there was a little grave
among the graves, not there before; and when the
star made long rays down towards him, as he saw
it through his tears.

Now, these rays were so bright, and they
seemed to make such a shining way from earth to
heaven, that when the child went to his solitary
bed he dreamed about the star; and dreamed
that, lying where he was, he saw a train of people
taken up that sparkling road by angels. And the
star, opening, showed him a great world of light,
where many more such angels waited to receive
them.

All these angels, who were waiting, turned their
beaming eyes upon the people who were carried
up into the star; and some came out from the
long rows in which they stood, and fell upon the
people's necks, and kissed them tenderly, and
went away with them down avenues of light, and
were so happy in their company, that lying in his
bed he wept for joy.

But there were many angels who did not go
with them, and among them one he knew. The
patient face, that once had lain upon the bed,
was glorified and radiant, but his heart found out
his sister among all the host.

His sister's angel lingered near the entrance of
the star, and said to the leader among those who
had brought the people thither:--

``Is my brother come?''

And he said: ``No.''

She was turning hopefully away, when the
child stretched out his arms, and cried: ``O sister,
I am here! Take me!'' And then she turned her
beaming eyes upon him, and it was night; and
the star was shining into the room, making long
rays down towards him, as he saw it through his
tears.

From that hour forth, the child looked out
upon the star as on the home he was to go to
when his time should come; and he thought that
he did not belong to the earth alone, but to
the star, too, because of his sister's angel gone
before.

There was a baby born to be a brother to the
child; and while he was so little that he never yet
had spoken word, he stretched his tiny form out
on his bed, and died.

Again the child dreamed of the open star, and
of the company of angels, and the train of people,
and the rows of angels with their beaming eyes
all turned upon those people's faces.

Said his sister's angel to the leader:--

``Is my brother come?''

And he said: ``Not that one, but another.''

As the child beheld his brother's angel in her
arms, he cried: ``O sister, I am here! Take me!''
And she turned and smiled upon him, and the
star was shining.

He grew to be a young man, and was busy at
his books, when an old servant came to him and
said:--

``Thy mother is no more. I bring her blessing
on her darling son.''

Again at night he saw the star, and all that
former company. Said his sister's angel to the
leader:--

``Is my brother come?''

And he said: ``Thy mother!''

A mighty cry of joy went forth through all the
star, because the mother was reunited to her two
children. And he stretched out his arms and
cried: ``O mother, sister, and brother, I am here!
Take me!'' And they answered him: ``Not yet.''
And the star was shining.

He grew to be a man, whose hair was turning
gray, and he was sitting in his chair by the fireside,
heavy with grief, and with his face bedewed
with tears, when the star opened once again.

Said his sister's angel to the leader:--

``Is my brother come?''

And he said: ``Nay, but his maiden daughter.''

And the man, who had been the child, saw his
daughter, newly lost to him, a celestial creature
among those three, and he said: ``My daughter's
head is on my sister's bosom, and her arm is
around my mother's neck, and at her feet there
is the baby of old time, and I can bear the parting
from her, God be praised!''

And the star was shining.

Thus the child came to be an old man, and his
once smooth face was wrinkled, and his steps were
slow and feeble, and his back was bent. And one
night as he lay upon his bed, his children standing
round, he cried, as he had cried so long ago:--

``I see the star!''

They whispered one to another: ``He is dying.''

And he said: ``I am. My age is falling from me
like a garment, and I move towards the star as a
child. And, O my Father, now I thank Thee that
it has so often opened to receive those dear ones
who await me!''

And the star was shining; and it shines upon
his grave.

THE LOVELIEST ROSE IN THE WORLD

BY HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN (ADAPTED)

Once there reigned a queen, in whose garden were
found the most glorious flowers at all seasons and
from all the lands of the world. But more than all
others she loved the roses, and she had many
kinds of this flower, from the wild dog-rose with
its apple-scented green leaves to the most splendid,
large, crimson roses. They grew against the
garden walls, wound themselves around the pillars
and wind-frames, and crept through the
windows into the rooms, and all along the ceilings
in the halls. And the roses were of many colors,
and of every fragrance and form.

But care and sorrow dwelt in those halls. The
queen lay upon a sick-bed, and the doctors said
she must die.

``There is still one thing that can save her,''
said the wise man. ``Bring her the loveliest rose
in the world, the rose that is the symbol of the
purest, the brightest love. If that is held before
her eyes ere they close, she will not die.''

Then old and young came from every side with
roses, the loveliest that bloomed in each garden,
but they were not of the right sort. The flower
was to be plucked from the Garden of Love. But
what rose in all that garden expressed the highest
and purest love?

And the poets sang of the loveliest rose in the
world,--of the love of maid and youth, and of
the love of dying heroes.

``But they have not named the right flower,''
said the wise man. ``They have not pointed out
the place where it blooms in its splendor. It is
not the rose that springs from the hearts of youthful
lovers, though this rose will ever be fragrant
in song. It is not the bloom that sprouts from the
blood flowing from the breast of the hero who
dies for his country, though few deaths are
sweeter than his, and no rose is redder than the
blood that flows then. Nor is it the wondrous
flower to which man devotes many a sleepless
night and much of his fresh life,--the magic
flower of science.''
``But I know where it blooms,'' said a happy
mother, who came with her pretty child to the
bedside of the dying queen. ``I know where the
loveliest rose of love may be found. It springs in
the blooming cheeks of my sweet child, when,
waking from sleep, it opens its eyes and smiles
tenderly at me.''
``Lovely is this rose, but there is a lovelier still,''
said the wise man.
``I have seen the loveliest, purest rose that
blooms,'' said a woman. ``I saw it on the cheeks
of the queen. She had taken off her golden crown.
And in the long, dreary night she carried her sick
child in her arms. She wept, kissed it, and prayed
for her child.''
``Holy and wonderful is the white rose of a
mother's grief,'' answered the wise man, ``but it
is not the one we seek.''
``The loveliest rose in the world I saw at the
altar of the Lord,'' said the good Bishop, ``the
young maidens went to the Lord's Table. Roses
were blushing and pale roses shining on their fresh
cheeks. A young girl stood there. She looked
with all the love and purity of her spirit up to
heaven. That was the expression of the highest
and purest love.''
``May she be blessed,'' said the wise man, ``but
not one of you has yet named the loveliest rose
in the world.''
Then there came into the room a child, the
queen's little son.
``Mother,'' cried the boy, ``only hear what I
have read.''
And the child sat by the bedside and read from
the Book of Him who suffered death upon the
cross to save men, and even those who were not
yet born. ``Greater love there is not.''
And a rosy glow spread over the cheeks of the
queen, and her eyes gleamed, for she saw that
from the leaves of the Book there bloomed the
loveliest rose, that sprang from the blood of
Christ shed on the cross.
``I see it!'' she said, ``he who beholds this, the
loveliest rose on earth, shall never die.''

MAY DAY

(MAY 1)

THE SNOWDROP [1]

BY HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN (ADAPTED)

[1] From For the Children's Hour, by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey and
Clara M. Lewis. Copyright by the Milton Bradley Company.

The snow lay deep, for it was winter-time. The
winter winds blew cold, but there was one house
where all was snug and warm. And in the house
lay a little flower; in its bulb it lay, under the
earth and the snow.

One day the rain fell and it trickled through the
ice and snow down into the ground. And presently
a sunbeam, pointed and slender, pierced
down through the earth, and tapped on the bulb.

``Come in,'' said the flower.

``I can't do that,'' said the sunbeam; ``I'm not
strong enough to lift the latch. I shall be stronger
when springtime comes.''

``When will it be spring?'' asked the flower of
every little sunbeam that rapped on its door. But
for a long time it was winter. The ground was still
covered with snow, and every night there was ice in
the water. The flower grew quite tired of waiting.

``How long it is!'' it said. ``I feel quite cramped.
I must stretch myself and rise up a little. I must
lift the latch, and look out, and say `good-morning'
to the spring.''

So the flower pushed and pushed. The walls
were softened by the rain and warmed by the
little sunbeams, so the flower shot up from under
the snow, with a pale green bud on its stalk and
some long narrow leaves on either side. It was
biting cold.

``You are a little too early,'' said the wind and
the weather; but every sunbeam sang: ``Welcome,''
and the flower raised its head from the
snow and unfolded itself--pure and white, and
decked with green stripes.

It was weather to freeze it to pieces,--such
a delicate little flower,--but it was stronger than
any one knew. It stood in its white dress in the
white snow, bowing its head when the snow-
flakes fell, and raising it again to smile at the
sunbeams, and every day it grew sweeter.

``Oh!'' shouted the children, as they ran into
the garden, ``see the snowdrop! There it stands
so pretty, so beautiful,--the first, the only one!''

THE THREE LITTLE BUTTERFLY
BROTHERS

(FROM THE GERMAN)[2]

[2] From Deutsches Drittes Lesebuch, by W. H. Weick and C.
Grebner. Copyright, 1886, by Van Antwerp, Bragg & Co. American
Book Company, publishers.

There were once three little butterfly brothers,
one white, one red, and one yellow. They played
in the sunshine, and danced among the flowers
in the garden, and they never grew tired because
they were so happy.

One day there came a heavy rain, and it wet
their wings. They flew away home, but when
they got there they found the door locked and the
key gone. So they had to stay out of doors in the
rain, and they grew wetter and wetter.

By and by they flew to the red and yellow
striped tulip, and said: ``Friend Tulip, will you
open your flower-cup and let us in till the storm
is over?''

The tulip answered: ``The red and yellow
butterflies may enter, because they are like me, but
the white one may not come in.''

But the red and yellow butterflies said: ``If our
white brother may not find shelter in your flowercup,
why, then, we'll stay outside in the rain with
him.''

It rained harder and harder, and the poor little
butterflies grew wetter and wetter, so they flew
to the white lily and said: ``Good Lily, will you
open your bud a little so we may creep in out of
the rain?''

The lily answered: ``The white butterfly may
come in, because he is like me, but the red and
yellow ones must stay outside in the storm.''

Then the little white butterfly said: ``If you
won't receive my red and yellow brothers, why,
then, I'll stay out in the rain with them. We
would rather be wet than be parted.''

So the three little butterfiies flew away.

But the sun, who was behind a cloud, heard it
all, and he knew what good little brothers the
butterflies were, and how they had held together
in spite of the wet. So he pushed his face through
the clouds, and chased away the rain, and shone
brightly on the garden.

He dried the wings of the three little
butterflies, and warmed their bodies. They ceased to
sorrow, and danced among the flowers till evening,
then they flew away home, and found the
door wide open.

THE WATER-DROP

BY FRIEDRICH WILHELM CAROVE'

(ADAPTED FROM THE TRANSLATION BY SARAH AUSTIN)

There was once a child who lived in a little hut,
and in the hut there was nothing but a little bed
and a looking-glass; but as soon as the first
sunbeam glided softly through the casement and
kissed his sweet eyelids, and the finch and the
linnet waked him merrily with their morning
songs, he arose and went out into the green
meadow.

And he begged flour of the primrose, and sugar
of the violet, and butter of the buttercup. He
shook dewdrops from the cowslip into the cup of
the harebell, spread out a large lime-leaf, set his
breakfast upon it, and feasted daintily. And he
invited a humming-bee and a gay butterfly to
partake of his feast, but his favorite guest was
a blue dragon-fly.

The bee murmured a good deal about his riches,
and the butterfly told his adventures. Such talk
delighted the child, and his breakfast was the
sweeter to him, and the sunshine on leaf and
flower seemed more bright and cheering.

But when the bee had flown off to beg from
flower to flower, and the butterfly had fluttered
away to his play-fellows, the dragon-fly still
remained, poised on a blade of grass. Her slender
and burnished body, more brightly and deeply
blue than the deep blue sky, glistened in the
sunbeam. Her net-like wings laughed at the flowers
because they could not fly, but must stand still
and abide the wind and rain.

The dragon-fly sipped a little of the child's clear
dewdrops and blue violet honey, and then whispered
her winged words. Such stories as the
dragon-fly did tell! And as the child sat
motionless with his blue eyes shut, and his head rested
on his hands, she thought he had fallen asleep;
so she poised her double wings and flew into the
rustling wood.

But the child had only sunk into a dream of
delight and was wishing he were a sunbeam or a
moonbeam; and he would have been glad to hear
more and more, and forever.

But at last as all was still, he opened his eyes
and looked around for his dear guest, but she was
flown far away. He could not bear to sit there
any longer alone, and he rose and went to the
gurgling brook. It gushed and rolled so merrily,
and tumbled so wildly along as it hurried to
throw itself head-over-heels into the river, just
as if the great massy rock out of which it sprang
were close behind it, and could only be escaped
by a breakneck leap.

Then the child began to talk to the little waves
and asked them whence they came. They would
not stay to give him an answer, but danced away
one over another; till at last, that the sweet child
might not be grieved, a water-drop stopped behind
a piece of rock.

``A long time ago,'' said the water-drop, ``I
lived with my countless sisters in the great Ocean,
in peace and unity. We had all sorts of pastimes.
Sometimes we mounted up high into the air, and
peeped at the stars. Then we sank plump down
deep below, and looked how the coral builders
work till they are tired, that they may reach the
light of day at last.

``But I was conceited, and thought myself
much better than my sisters. And so, one day,
when the sun rose out of the sea, I clung fast to
one of his hot beams and thought how I should
reach the stars and become one of them.

``But I had not ascended far when the sunbeam
shook me off, and, in spite of all I could say or do,
let me fall into a dark cloud. And soon a flash of
fire darted through the cloud, and now I thought
I must surely die; but the cloud laid itself down
softly upon the top of a mountain, and so I
escaped.

``Now I thought I should remain hidden, when,
all on a sudden, I slipped over a round pebble,
fell from one stone to another, down into the
depths of the mountain. At last it was pitch dark
and I could neither see nor hear anything.

``Then I found, indeed, that `pride goeth
before a fall,' for, though I had already laid aside
all my unhappy pride in the cloud, my punishment
was to remain for some time in the heart of
the mountain. After undergoing many purifications
from the hidden virtues of metals and
minerals, I was at length permitted to come up once
more into the free and cheerful air, and to gush
from this rock and journey with this happy
stream. Now will I run back to my sisters in the
Ocean, and there wait patiently till I am called
to something better.''

So said the water-drop to the child, but scarcely
had she finished her story, when the root of a
For-Get-Me-Not caught the drop and sucked her
in, that she might become a floweret, and twinkle
brightly as a blue star on the green firmament of
earth.

THE SPRING BEAUTY

AN OJIBBEWAY LEGEND

BY HENRY R. SCHOOLCRAFT (ADAPTED)

An old man was sitting in his lodge, by the side
of a frozen stream. It was the end of winter, the
air was not so cold, and his fire was nearly out.
He was old and alone. His locks were white with
age, and he trembled in every joint. Day after
day passed, and he heard nothing but the sound
of the storm sweeping before it the new-fallen
snow.

One day while his fire was dying, a handsome
young man approached and entered the lodge.
His cheeks were red, his eyes sparkled. He
walked with a quick, light step. His forehead was
bound with a wreath of sweet-grass, and he
carried a bunch of fragrant flowers in his hand.

``Ah, my son,'' said the old man, ``I am happy
to see you. Come in! Tell me your adventures,
and what strange lands you have seen. I will tell
you of my wonderful deeds, and what I can
perform. You shall do the same, and we will amuse
each other.''

The old man then drew from a bag a curiously
wrought pipe. He filled it with mild tobacco, and
handed it to his guest. They each smoked from
the pipe and then began their stories.

``I am Peboan, the Spirit of Winter,'' said the
old man. ``I blow my breath, and the streams
stand still. The water becomes stiff and hard as
clear stone.''

``I am Seegwun, the Spirit of Spring,'' answered
the youth. ``I breathe, and flowers spring up in
the meadows and woods.''

``I shake my locks,'' said the old man, ``and
snow covers the land. The leaves fall from the
trees, and my breath blows them away. The
birds fly to a distant land, and the animals hide
themselves from the cold.''

``I shake my ringlets,'' said the young man,
``and warm showers of soft rain fall upon the
earth. The flowers lift their heads from the
ground, the grass grows thick and green. My
voice recalls the birds, and they come flying
joyfully from the Southland. The warmth of my
breath unbinds the streams, and they sing the
songs of summer. Music fills the groves where-
ever I walk, and all nature rejoices.''

And while they were talking thus a wonderful
change took place. The sun began to rise. A gentle
warmth stole over the place. Peboan, the
Spirit of Winter, became silent. His head drooped,
and the snow outside the lodge melted away.
Seegwun, the Spirit of Spring, grew more radiant,
and rose joyfully to his feet. The robin and
the bluebird began to sing on the top of the lodge.
The stream began to murmur at the door, and
the fragrance of opening flowers came softly on
the breeze.

The lodge faded away, and Peboan sank down
and dissolved into tiny streams of water, that
vanished under the brown leaves of the forest.
Thus the Spirit of Winter departed, and where
he had melted away, there the Indian children
gathered the first blossoms, fragrant and
delicately pink,--the modest Spring Beauty.

THE FAIRY TULIPS

ENGLISH FOLK-TALE

Once upon a time there was a good old woman
who lived in a little house. She had in her garden
a bed of beautiful striped tulips.

One night she was wakened by the sounds
of sweet singing and of babies laughing. She
looked out at the window. The sounds seemed
to come from the tulip bed, but she could see
nothing.

The next morning she walked among her
flowers, but there were no signs of any one having
been there the night before.

On the following night she was again wakened
by sweet singing and babies laughing. She rose
and stole softly through her garden. The moon
was shining brightly on the tulip bed, and the
flowers were swaying to and fro. The old woman
looked closely and she saw, standing by each
tulip, a little Fairy mother who was crooning and
rocking the flower like a cradle, while in each
tulip-cup lay a little Fairy baby laughing and
playing.

The good old woman stole quietly back to her
house, and from that time on she never picked
a tulip, nor did she allow her neighbors to touch
the flowers.

The tulips grew daily brighter in color and
larger in size, and they gave out a delicious
perfume like that of roses. They began, too, to
bloom all the year round. And every night the
little Fairy mothers caressed their babies and
rocked them to sleep in the flower-cups.

The day came when the good old woman died,
and the tulip-bed was torn up by folks who did
not know about the Fairies, and parsley was
planted there instead of the flowers. But the
parsley withered, and so did all the other plants
in the garden, and from that time nothing would
grow there.

But the good old woman's grave grew beautiful,
for the Fairies sang above it, and kept it
green; while on the grave and all around it there
sprang up tulips, daffodils, and violets, and other
lovely flowers of spring.

THE STREAM THAT RAN AWAY

BY MARY AUSTIN (ADAPTED)

In a short and shallow canyon running eastward
toward the sun, one may find a clear, brown
stream called the Creek of Pinon Pines; that is
not because it is unusual to find pinon trees in
that country, but because there are so few of
them in the canyon of the stream. There are all
sorts higher up on the slopes,--long-leaved yellow
pines, thimble cones, tamarack, silver fir,
and Douglas spruce; but in the canyon there is
only a group of the low-headed, gray nut pines
which the earliest inhabitants of that country
called pinons.

The Canyon of Pinon Pines has a pleasant
outlook and lies open to the sun. At the upper end
there is no more room by the stream border than
will serve for a cattle trail; willows grow in it,
choking the path of the water; there are brown
birches here and ropes of white clematis tangled
over thickets of brier rose.

Low down, the ravine broadens out to inclose
a meadow the width of a lark's flight, blossomy
and wet and good. Here the stream ran once in
a maze of soddy banks and watered all the
ground, and afterward ran out at the canyon's
mouth across the mesa in a wash of bone-white
boulders as far as it could. That was not very
far, for it was a slender stream. It had its source
on the high crests and hollows of the near-by
mountain, in the snow banks that melted and
seeped downward through the rocks. But the
stream did not know any more of that than you
know of what happened to you before you were
born, and could give no account of itself except
that it crept out from under a great heap of
rubble far up in the Canyon of the Pinon Pines.

And because it had no pools in it deep enough
for trout, and no trees on its borders but gray nut
pines; because, try as it might, it could never get
across the mesa to the town, the stream had fully
made up its mind to run away.

``Pray, what good will that do you?'' said the
pines. ``If you get to the town, they will turn
you into an irrigating ditch, and set you to watering crops.''

``As to that,'' said the stream, ``if I once get
started I will not stop at the town.''

Then it would fret between its banks until the
spangled frills of the mimulus were all tattered
with its spray. Often at the end of the summer
it was worn quite thin and small with running,
and not able to do more than reach the meadow.

``But some day,'' it whispered to the stones,
``I shall run quite away.''

If the stream had been inclined for it, there
was no lack of good company on its own borders.
Birds nested in the willows, rabbits came to
drink; one summer a bobcat made its lair up the
bank opposite the brown birches, and often the
deer fed in the meadow.

In the spring of one year two old men came up
into the Canyon of Pinon Pines. They had been
miners and partners together for many years.
They had grown rich and grown poor, and had
seen many hard places and strange times. It was
a day when the creek ran clear and the south
wind smelled of the earth. Wild bees began to
whine among the willows, and the meadow
bloomed over with poppy-breasted larks.

Then said one of the old men: ``Here is good
meadow and water enough; let us build a house
and grow trees. We are too old to dig in the
mines.''

``Let us set about it,'' said the other; for that
is the way with two who have been a long time
together,--what one thinks of, the other is for
doing.

So they brought their possessions, and they
built a house by the water border and planted
trees. One of the men was all for an orchard but
the other preferred vegetables. So they did each
what he liked, and were never so happy as when
walking in the garden in the cool of the day,
touching the growing things as they walked, and
praising each other's work.

They were very happy for three years. By
this time the stream had become so interested it
had almost forgotten about running away. But
every year it noted that a larger bit of the
meadow was turned under and planted, and more
and more the men made dams and ditches by
which to turn the water into their gardens.

``In fact,'' said the stream, ``I am being made
into an irrigating ditch before I have had my
fling in the world. I really must make a start.''

That very winter, by the help of a great storm,
the stream went roaring down the meadow, over
the mesa, and so clean away, with only a track
of muddy sand to show the way it had gone.

All that winter the two men brought water for
drinking from a spring, and looked for the stream
to come back. In the spring they hoped still, for
that was the season they looked for the orchard
to bear. But no fruit grew on the trees, and the
seeds they planted shriveled in the earth. So by
the end of summer, when they understood that
the water would not come back at all, they went
sadly away.

Now the Creek of Pinon Pines did not have
a happy time. It went out in the world on the
wings of the storm, and was very much tossed
about and mixed up with other waters, lost and
bewildered.

Everywhere it saw water at work, turning
mills, watering fields, carrying trade, falling as
hail, rain, and snow; and at the last, after many
journeys it found itself creeping out from under
the rocks of the same old mountain, in the Canyon
of Pinon Pines.

``After all, home is best,'' said the little stream
to itself, and ran about in its choked channels
looking for old friends.

The willows were there, but grown shabby and
dying at the top; the birches were quite dead, and
there was only rubbish where the white clematis
had been. Even the rabbits had gone away.

The little stream ran whimpering in the meadow,
fumbling at the ruined ditches to comfort the
fruit trees which were not quite dead. It was
very dull in those days living in the Canyon of
Pinon Pines.

``But it is really my own fault,'' said the
stream. So it went on repairing the borders as
best it could.

About the time the white clematis had come
back to hide the ruin of the brown birches, a
young man came and camped with his wife and
child in the meadow. They were looking for a
place to make a home.

``What a charming place!'' said the young
wife; ``just the right distance from town, and a
stream all to ourselves. And look, there are fruit
trees already planted. Do let us decide to stay!''

Then she took off the child's shoes and stockings
to let it play in the stream. The water curled
all about the bare feet and gurgled delightedly.

``Ah, do stay,'' begged the happy water. ``I
can be such a help to you, for I know how a garden
should be irrigated in the best manner.''

The child laughed, and stamped the water up
to his bare knees. The young wife watched anxiously
while her husband walked up and down the
stream border and examined the fruit trees.

``It is a delightful place,'' he said, ``and the soil
is rich, but I am afraid the water cannot be depended
upon. There are signs of a great drought
within the last two or three years. Look, there
is a clump of birches in the very path of the
stream, but all dead; and the largest limbs of the
fruit trees have died. In this country one must
be able to make sure of the water-supply. I suppose
the people who planted them must have
abandoned the place when the stream went dry.
We must go on farther.''

So they took their goods and the child and went
on farther.

``Ah, well,'' said the stream, ``that is what is to
be expected when has a reputation for neglecting
one's duty. But I wish they had stayed.
That baby and I understood each other.''

It had made up its mind not to run away again,
though it could not be expected to be quite
cheerful after all that had happened. If you go
to the Canyon of Pinon Pines you will notice that
the stream, where it goes brokenly about the
meadow, has a mournful sound.

THE ELVES

AN IROQUOIS LEGEND

BY HARRIET MAXWELL CONVERSE (ADAPTED)

The little Elves of Darkness, so says the old
Iroquois grandmother, were wise and mysterious.
They dwelt under the earth, where were deep
forests and broad plains. There they kept
captive all the evil things that wished to injure
human beings,--the venomous reptiles, the wicked
spiders, and the fearful monsters. Sometimes one
of these evil creatures escaped and rushed upward
to the bright, pure air, and spread its poisonous
breath over the living things of the upper-world.
But such happenings were rare, for the Elves of
Darkness were faithful and strong, and did not
willingly allow the wicked beasts and reptiles to
harm human beings and the growing things.

When the night was lighted by the moon's
soft rays, and the woods of the upper-world were
sweet with the odor of the spring-flowers, then
the Elves of Darkness left the under-world, and
creeping from their holes, held a festival in
the woods. And under many a tree, where the
blades of grass had refused to grow, the Little
People danced until rings of green sprang up
beneath their feet. And to the festival came the
Elves of Light,--among whom were Tree-Elves,
Flower-Elves, and Fruit-Elves. They too danced
and made merry.

But when the moonlight faded away, and day
began to break, then the Elves of Darkness
scampered back to their holes, and returned once
more to the under-world; while the Elves of Light
began their daily tasks.

For in the springtime these Little People of the
Light hid in sheltered places. They listened to
the complaints of the seeds that lay covered in
the ground, and they whispered to the earth until
the seeds burst their pods and sent their shoots
upward to the light. Then the little Elves
wandered over the fields and through the woods,
bidding all growing things to look upon the sun.

The Tree-Elves tended the trees, unfolding
their leaves, and feeding their roots with sap
from the earth. The Flower-Elves unwrapped
the baby buds, and tinted the petals of the
opening flowers, and played with the bees and the
butterflies.

But the busiest of all were the Fruit-Elves.
Their greatest care in the spring was the strawberry
plant. When the ground softened from the
frost, the Fruit-Elves loosened the earth around
each strawberry root, that its shoots might push
through to the light. They shaped the plant's
leaves, and turned its blossoms toward the warm
rays of the sun. They trained its runners, and
assisted the timid fruit to form. They painted
the luscious berry, and bade it ripen. And when
the first strawberries blushed on the vines, these
guardian Elves protected them from the evil
insects that had escaped from the world of darkness
underground.

And the old Iroquois grandmother tells, how
once, when the fruit first came to earth, the Evil
Spirit, Hahgwehdaetgah, stole the strawberry
plant, and carried it to his gloomy cave, where
he hid it away. And there it lay until a tiny
sunbeam pierced the damp mould, and finding
the little vine carried it back to its sunny fields.
And ever since then the strawberry plant has
lived and thrived in the fields and woods. But
the Fruit-Elves, fearing lest the Evil One should
one day steal the vine again, watch day and
night over their favorite. And when the
strawberries ripen they give the juicy, fragrant fruit
to the Iroquois children as they gather the spring
flowers in the woods.

THE CANYON FLOWERS

BY RALPH CONNOR (ADAPTED)

At first there were no canyons, but only the broad,
open prairie. One day the Master of the Prairie,
walking out over his great lawns, where were only
grasses, asked the Prairie: ``Where are your
flowers?''

And the Prairie said: ``Master, I have no seeds.''

Then he spoke to the birds, and they carried
seeds of every kind of flower and strewed them
far and wide, and soon the Prairie bloomed with
crocuses and roses and buffalo beans and the
yellow crowfoot and the wild sunflowers and the
red lilies, all the summer long.

Then the Master came and was well pleased;
but he missed the flowers he loved best of all,
and he said to the Prairie: ``Where are the
clematis and the columbine, the sweet violets
and wind-flowers, and all the ferns and flowering
shrubs?''

And again the Prairie answered: ``Master, I
have no seeds.''

And again he spoke to the birds and again they
carried all the seeds and strewed them far and wide.

But when next the Master came, he could not
find the flowers he loved best of all, and he said:
``Where are those, my sweetest flowers?''

And the Prairie cried sorrowfully: ``O Master,
I cannot keep the flowers, for the winds sweep
fiercely, and the sun beats upon my breast, and
they wither up and fly away.''

Then the Master spoke to the Lightning, and
with one swift blow the Lightning cleft the
Prairie to the heart. And the Prairie rocked and
groaned in agony, and for many a day moaned
bitterly over its black, jagged, gaping wound.

But a little river poured its waters through the
cleft, and carried down deep, black mould, and
once more the birds carried seeds and strewed
them in the canyon. And after a long time the
rough rocks were decked out with soft mosses
and trailing vines, and all the nooks were hung
with clematis and columbine, and great elms
lifted their huge tops high up into the sunlight,
and down about their feet clustered the low
cedars and balsams, and everywhere the violets
and wind-flowers and maiden-hair grew and
bloomed till the canyon became the Master's
place for rest and peace and joy.

CLYTIE, THE HELIOTROPE

BY OVID (ADAPTED)

There was once a Nymph named Clytie, who
gazed ever at Apollo as he drove his sun-chariot
through the heavens. She watched him as he
rose in the east attended by the rosy-fingered
Dawn and the dancing Hours. She gazed as he
ascended the heavens, urging his steeds still
higher in the fierce heat of the noonday. She
looked with wonder as at evening he guided his
steeds downward to their many-colored pastures
under the western sky, where they fed all night on
ambrosia.

Apollo saw not Clytie. He had no thought for
her, but he shed his brightest beams upon her
sister the white Nymph Leucothoe. And when
Clytie perceived this she was filled with envy
and grief.

Night and day she sat on the bare ground
weeping. For nine days and nine nights she
never raised herself from the earth, nor did she
take food or drink; but ever she turned her
weeping eyes toward the sun-god as he moved through
the sky.

And her limbs became rooted to the ground.
Green leaves enfolded her body. Her beautiful
face was concealed by tiny flowers, violet-colored
and sweet with perfume. Thus was she changed
into a flower and her roots held her fast to the
ground; but ever she turned her blossom-covered
face toward the sun, following with eager gaze
his daily flight. In vain were her sorrow and
tears, for Apollo regarded her not.

And so through the ages has the Nymph turned
her dew-washed face toward the heavens, and
men no longer call her Clytie, but the sun-flower,
heliotrope.

HYACINTHUS

BY OVID (ADAPTED)

Once when the golden-beamed Apollo roamed
the earth, he made a companion of Hyacinthus,
the son of King Amyclas of Lacedaemon; and him
he loved with an exceeding great love, for the lad
was beautiful beyond compare.

The sun-god threw aside his lyre, and became
the daily comrade of Hyacinthus. Often they
played games, or climbed the rugged mountain
ridges. Together they followed the chase or
fished in the quiet and shadowy pools; and the
sun-god, unmindful of his dignity, carried the
lad's nets and held his dogs.

It happened on a day that the two friends
stripped off their garments, rubbed the juice of
the olive upon their bodies, and engaged in throwing
the quoit. First Apollo poised it and tossed
it far. It cleaved the air with its weight and fell
heavily to earth. At that moment Hyacinthus
ran forwards and hastened to take up the disc,
but the hard earth sent it rebounding straight
into his face, so that he fell wounded to the
ground.

Ah! then, pale and fearful, the sun-god
hastened to the side of his fallen friend. He bore up
the lad's sinking limbs and strove to stanch his
wound with healing herbs. All in vain! Alas! the
wound would not close. And as violets and lilies,
when their stems are crushed, hang their languid
blossoms on their stalks and wither away,
so did Hyacinthus droop his beautiful head and
die.

Then the sun-god, full of grief, cried aloud in
his anguish: ``O Beloved! thou fallest in thy
early youth, and I alone am the cause of thy
destruction! Oh, that I could give my life for thee
or with thee! but since Fate will not permit this,
thou shalt ever be with me, and thy praise shall
dwell on my lips. My lyre struck with my hand,
my songs, too, shall celebrate thee! And thou,
dear lad, shalt become a new flower, and on thy
leaves will I write my lamentations.''

And even as the sun-god spoke, behold! the
blood that had flowed from Hyacinthus's wound
stained the grass, and a flower, like a lily in shape,
sprang up, more bright than Tyrian purple. On
its leaves did Apollo inscribe the mournful
characters: ``ai, ai,'' which mean ``alas! alas!''

And as oft as the spring drives away the winter,
so oft does Hyacinthus blossom in the fresh,
green grass.

ECHO AND NARCISSUS

BY OVID (ADAPTED)

Long ago, in the ancient world, there was born
to the blue-eyed Nymph Liriope, a beautiful boy,
whom she called Narcissus. An oracle foretold at
his birth that he should be happy and live to a
good old age if he ``never saw himself.'' As this
prophecy seemed ridiculous his mother soon forgot
all about it.

Narcissus grew to be a stately, handsome
youth. His limbs were firm and straight. Curls
clustered about his white brow, and his eyes
shone like two stars. He loved to wander among
the meadow flowers and in the pathless woodland.
But he disdained his playmates, and would not
listen to their entreaties to join in their games.
His heart was cold, and in it was neither hate nor
love. He lived indifferent to youth or maid, to
friend or foe.

Now, in the forest near by dwelt a Nymph
named Echo. She had been a handmaiden of
the goddess Juno. But though the Nymph was
beautiful of face, she was not loved. She had
a noisy tongue. She told lies and whispered
slanders, and encouraged the other Nymphs in
many misdoings. So when Juno perceived all
this, she ordered the troublesome Nymph away
from her court, and banished her to the wildwood,
bidding her never speak again except in
imitation of other peoples' words. So Echo dwelt
in the woods, and forever mocked the words of
youths and maidens.

One day as Narcissus was wandering alone in
the pathless forest, Echo, peeping from behind
a tree, saw his beauty, and as she gazed her heart
was filled with love. Stealthily she followed his
footsteps, and often she tried to call to him with
endearing words, but she could not speak, for she
no longer had a voice of her own.

At last Narcissus heard the sound of breaking
branches, and he cried out: ``Is there any one
here?''

And Echo answered softly: ``Here!''

Narcissus, amazed, looking about on all sides
and seeing no one, cried: ``Come!''

And Echo answered: ``Come!''

Narcissus cried again: ``Who art thou? Whom
seekest thou?''

And Echo answered: ``Thou!''

Then rushing from among the trees she tried
to throw her arms about his neck, but Narcissus
fled through the forest, crying: ``Away! away!
I will die before I love thee!''

And Echo answered mournfully: ``I love
thee!''

And thus rejected, she hid among the trees, and
buried her blushing face in the green leaves. And
she pined, and pined, until her body wasted quite
away, and nothing but her voice was left. And
some say that even to this day her voice lives in
lonely caves and answers men's words from afar.

Now, when Narcissus fled from Echo, he came
to a clear spring, like silver. Its waters were
unsullied, for neither goats feeding upon the
mountains nor any other cattle had drunk from it,
nor had wild beasts or birds disturbed it, nor had
branch or leaf fallen into its calm waters. The
trees bent above and shaded it from the hot sun,
and the soft, green grass grew on its margin.

Here Narcissus, fatigued and thirsty after his
flight, laid himself down beside the spring to
drink. He gazed into the mirror-like water, and
saw himself reflected in its tide. He knew not
that it was his own image, but thought that he
saw a youth living in the spring.

He gazed on two eyes like stars, on graceful
slender fingers, on clustering curls worthy of
Apollo, on a mouth arched like Cupid's bow, on
blushing cheeks and ivory neck. And as he gazed
his cold heart grew warm, and love for this beautiful
reflection rose up and filled his soul.

He rained kisses on the deceitful stream. He
thrust his arms into the water, and strove to
grasp the image by the neck, but it fled away.
Again he kissed the stream, but the image mocked
his love. And all day and all night, lying there
without food or drink, he continued to gaze into
the water. Then raising himself, he stretched
out his arms to the trees about him, and cried:--

``Did ever, O ye woods, one love as much as I!
Have ye ever seen a lover thus pine for the sake
of unrequited affection?''

Then turning once more, Narcissus addressed
his reflection in the limpid stream:--

``Why, dear youth, dost thou flee away from
me? Neither a vast sea, nor a long way, nor a
great mountain separates us! only a little water
keeps us apart! Why, dear lad, dost thou deceive
me, and whither dost thou go when I try
to grasp thee? Thou encouragest me with
friendly looks. When I extend my arms, thou
extendest thine; when I smile, thou smilest in
return; when I weep, thou weepest; but when
I try to clasp thee beneath the stream, thou
shunnest me and fleest away! Grief is taking
my strength, and my life will soon be over! In
my early days am I cut off, nor is Death grievous
to me, now that he is about to remove my
sorrows!''

Thus mourned Narcissus, lying beside the
woodland spring. He disturbed the water with
his tears, and made the woods to resound with
his sighs. And as the yellow wax is melted by the
fire, or the hoar frost is consumed by the heat of
the sun, so did Narcissus pine away, his body
wasting by degrees.

And often as he sighed: ``Alas!'' the grieving
Echo from the wood answered: ``Alas!''

With his last breath he looked into the water
and sighed: ``Ah, youth beloved, farewell!'' and
Echo sighed: ``Farewell!''

And Narcissus, laying his weary head upon the

Book of the day: