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


Part 5 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.

She pushed poor Grethel out to the oven, from
which the flames of fire were already darting.

``Creep in,'' said the witch, ``and see if it is
heated, so that we can shut the bread in.'' And
when once Grethel was inside, she meant to shut
the oven and let her bake in it, and then she would
eat her, too.

But Grethel saw what she had in her mind, and
said, ``I do not know how I am to do it; how do
you get in?''

``Silly goose,'' said the old woman. ``The door
is big enough; just look, I can get in myself!''
and she crept up and thrust her head into the
oven. Then Grethel gave her a push that drove
her far into it, and shut the iron door, tight.

Grethel ran as quick as lightning to Hansel,
opened his little stable, and cried, ``Hansel, we
are saved! The old witch is dead!''

Then Hansel sprang out like a bird from its
cage when the door is opened for it. How they did
dance about and kiss each other. And as they
had no longer any need to fear her, they went
into the witch's house, and in every corner there
stood chests full of pearls and jewels.

``These are far better than pebbles!'' said
Hansel, and filled his pockets, and Grethel said,
``I, too, will take something home with me,'' and
filled her pinafore.

``But now we will go away,'' said Hansel, ``that
we may get out of the witch's forest.'' When
they had walked for two hours, they came to a
great piece of water. ``We cannot get over,'' said
Hansel; ``I see no foot-plank and no bridge.''

``And no boat crosses, either,'' answered
Grethel, ``but a white duck is swimming there; if I
ask her, she will help us over.'' Then she cried,--

``Little duck, little duck, dost thou see,
Hansel and Grethel are waiting for thee?
There's never a plank or bridge in sight,
Take us across on thy back so white.''

The duck came to them, and Hansel sat on
its back, and told his sister to sit by him.

``No,'' replied Grethel, ``that will be too
heavy for the little duck; she shall take us across,
one after the other.''

The good little duck did so, and when they were
once safely across and had walked for a short time,
they knew where they were, and at last they saw
from afar their father's house.

Then they began to run, rushed in, and threw
themselves into their father's arms. The man
had not known one happy hour since he had left
the children in the forest; the woman, however,
was dead. Grethel emptied her pinafore until
pearls and precious stones rolled about the floor,
and Hansel threw one handful after another out
of his pocket to add to them. Then all care was
at an end, and they lived happily together ever

My tale is done; there runs a mouse; whosoever
catches it may make himself a big fur cap
out of it.




Once upon a time there was a rich farmer who had
a thrifty wife. She used to go out and gather all
the little bits of wool which she could find on the
hillsides, and bring them home. Then, after her
family had gone to bed, she would sit up and card
the wool and spin it into yarn, then she would
weave the yarn into cloth to make garments for
her children.

But all this work made her feel very tired, so
that one night, sitting at her loom, she laid down
her shuttle and cried:--

``Oh, that some one would come from far or
near, from land or sea, to help me!''

No sooner had the words left her lips than she
heard some one knocking at the door.

``Who is there?'' cried she.

``Tell Quary, good housewife,'' answered a
wee, wee voice. ``Open the door to me. As long
as I have you'll get.''

She opened the door and there on the threshold
stood a queer, little woman, dressed in a green
gown and wearing a white cap on her head.

The good housewife was so astonished that she
stood and stared at her strange visitor; but without
a word the little woman ran past her, and
seated herself at the spinning-wheel.

The good housewife shut the door, but just then
she heard another knock.

``Who is there?'' said she.

``Tell Quary, good housewife. Open the door
to me,'' said another wee, wee voice. ``As long as
I have you'll get.''

And when she opened the door there was another
queer, little woman, in a lilac frock and a green
cap, standing on the threshold.

She, too, ran into the house without waiting
to say, ``By your leave,'' and picking up the distaff,
began to put some wool on it.

Then before the housewife could get the door
shut, a funny little manikin, with green trousers
and a red cap, came running in, and followed the
tiny women into the kitchen, seized hold of a handful
of wool, and began to card it. Another wee,
wee woman followed him, and then another tiny
manikin, and another, and another, until it
seemed to the good housewife that all the fairies
and pixies in Scotland were coming into her

The kitchen was alive with them. Some of them
hung the great pot over the fire to boil water to
wash the wool that was dirty. Some teased the
clean wool, and some carded it. Some spun it
into yarn, and some wove the yarn into great webs
of cloth.

And the noise they made was like to make her
head run round. ``Splash! splash! Whirr! whirr!
Clack! clack!'' The water in the pot bubbled
over. The spinning-wheel whirred. The shuttle
in the loom flew backwards and forwards.

And the worst of it was that all the Fairies cried
out for something to eat, and although the good
housewife put on her griddle and baked bannocks
as fast as she could, the bannocks were
eaten up the moment they were taken off the
fire, and yet the Fairies shouted for more.

At last the poor woman was so troubled that
she went into the next room to wake her husband.
But although she shook him with all her might,
she could not wake him. It was very plain to see
that he was bewitched.

Frightened almost out of her senses, and leaving
the Fairies eating her last batch of bannocks, she
stole out of the house and ran as fast as she could
to the cottage of the Wise Man who lived a mile

She knocked at his door till he got up and put
his head out of the window, to see who was there;
then she told him the whole story.

``Thou foolish woman,'' said he, ``let this be a
lesson to thee never to pray for things thou dost
not need! Before thy husband can be loosed from
the spell the Fairies must be got out of the house
and the fulling-water, which they have boiled,
must be thrown over him. Hurry to the little hill
that lies behind thy cottage, climb to the top of
it, and set the bushes on fire; then thou must shout
three times: `BURG HILL'S ON FIRE!' Then will all the
little Fairies run out to see if this be true, for they
live under the hill. When they are all out of the
cottage, do thou slip in as quickly as thou canst,
and turn the kitchen upside down. Upset everything
the Fairies have worked with, else the things
their fingers have touched will open the door to
them, and let them in, in spite of thee.''

So the good housewife hurried away. She
climbed to the top of the little hill back of her
cottage, set the bushes on fire, and cried out three
times as loud as she was able: ``BURG HILL'S ON FIRE!''

And sure enough, the door of the cottage was
flung wide open, and all the little Fairies came
running out, knocking each other over in their
eagerness to be first at the hill.

In the confusion the good housewife slipped
away, and ran as fast as she could to her cottage;
and when she was once inside, it did not take her
long to bar the door, and turn everything upside

She took the band off the spinning-wheel, and
twisted the head of the distaff the wrong way. She
lifted the pot of fulling-water off the fire, and
turned the room topsy-turvy, and threw down the

Scarcely had she done so, when the Fairies
returned, and knocked at the door.

``Good housewife! let us in,'' they cried.

``The door is shut and bolted, and I will not
open it,'' answered she.

``Good spinning-wheel, get up and open the
door,'' they cried.

``How can I,'' answered the spinning-wheel,
``seeing that my band is undone?''

``Kind distaff, open the door for us,'' said they.

``That would I gladly do,'' said the distaff,
``but I cannot walk, for my head is turned the
wrong way.''

``Weaving-loom, have pity, and open the door.''

``I am all topsy-turvy, and cannot move,''
sighed the loom.

``Fulling-water, open the door,'' they implored.

``I am off the fire,'' growled the fulling-water,
``and all my strength is gone.''

``Oh! Is there nothing that will come to our
aid, and open the door?'' they cried.

``I will,'' said a little barley-bannock, that
had lain hidden, toasting on the hearth; and it
rose and trundled like a wheel quickly across the

But luckily the housewife saw it, and she nipped
it between her finger and thumb, and, because it
was only half-baked, it fell with a ``splatch'' on
the cold floor.

Then the Fairies gave up trying to get into the
kitchen, and instead they climbed up by the windows
into the room where the good housewife's
husband was sleeping, and they swarmed upon
his bed and tickled him until he tossed about
and muttered as if he had a fever.

Then all of a sudden the good housewife
remembered what the Wise Man had said about the
fulling-water. She ran to the kitchen and lifted a
cupful out of the pot, and carried it in, and threw
it over the bed where her husband was.

In an instant he woke up in his right senses.
Then he jumped out of bed, ran across the room
and opened the door, and the Fairies vanished.
And they have never been seen from that day to




Once upon a time there were two brothers who
lived in a lonely house in a very lonely part of
Scotland. An old woman used to do the cooking,
and there was no one else, unless we count her
cat and their own dogs, within miles of them.

One autumn afternoon the elder of the two,
whom we will call Elshender, said he would not
go out; so the younger one, Fergus, went alone to
follow the path where they had been shooting the
day before, far across the mountains.

He meant to return home before the early
sunset; however, he did not do so, and Elshender
became very uneasy as he watched and waited
in vain till long after their usual supper-time.
At last Fergus returned, wet and exhausted, nor
did he explain why he was so late.

But after supper when the two brothers were
seated before the fire, on which the peat crackled
cheerfully, the dogs lying at their feet, and the old
woman's black cat sitting gravely with half-shut
eyes on the hearth between them, Fergus recovered
himself and began to tell his adventures.

``You must be wondering,'' said he, ``what
made me so late. I have had a very, very strange
adventure to-day. I hardly know what to say
about it. I went, as I told you I should, along our
yesterday's track. A mountain fog came on just
as I was about to turn homewards, and I completely
lost my way. I wandered about for a long
time not knowing where I was, till at last I saw a
light, and made for it, hoping to get help.

``As I came near it, it disappeared, and I found
myself close to an old oak tree. I climbed into
the branches the better to look for the light, and,
behold! there it was right beneath me, inside the
hollow trunk of the tree. I seemed to be looking
down into a church, where a funeral was taking
place. I heard singing, and saw a coffin
surrounded by torches, all carried by--But I know
you won't believe me, Elshender, if I tell you!''

His brother eagerly begged him to go on, and
threw a dry peat on the fire to encourage him.
The dogs were sleeping quietly, but the cat was
sitting up, and seemed to be listening just as
carefully and cannily as Elshender himself. Both
brothers, indeed, turned their eyes on the cat as
Fergus took up his story.

``Yes,'' he continued, ``it is as true as I sit here.
The coffin and the torches were both carried by
CATS, and upon the coffin were marked a crown and
a scepter!''

He got no farther, for the black cat started up,

``My stars! old Peter's dead, and I'm the King
o' the Cats!''--Then rushed up the chimney,
and was seen no more.




A woman was sitting at her reel one night; and
still she sat, and still she reeled, and still she
wished for company.

In came a pair of broad, broad soles, and sat down
at the fireside!

And still she sat, and still she reeled, and still she
wished for company.

In came a pair of small, small legs, and sat down
on the broad, broad soles!

And still she sat, and still she reeled, and still she
wished for company.

In came a pair of thick, thick knees, and sat down
on the small, small legs!

And still she sat, and still she reeled, and still she
wished for company.

In came a pair of thin, thin thighs, and sat down
on the thick, thick knees!

And still she sat, and still she reeled, and still she
wished for company.

In came a pair of huge, huge hips, and sat down
on the thin, thin thighs!

And still she sat, and still she reeled, and still she
wished for company.

In came a wee, wee waist, and sat down on the
huge, huge hips!

And still she sat, and still she reeled, and still she
wished for company.

In came a pair of broad, broad shoulders, and sat
down on the wee, wee waist!

And still she sat, and still she reeled, and still she
wished for company.

In came a pair of small, small arms, and sat down
on the broad, broad shoulders!

And still she sat, and still she reeled, and still she
wished for company.

In came a pair of huge, huge hands, and sat down
on the small, small arms!

And still she sat, and still she reeled, and still she
wished for company.

In came a small, small neck, and sat down on the
broad, broad shoulders!

And still she sat, and still she reeled, and still she
wished for company.

In came a huge, huge head, and sat down on the
small, small neck!

. . . . . . . . .

``How did you get such broad, broad feet?''
quoth the Woman.
``Much tramping, much tramping!'' (GRUFFLY.)

``How did you get such small, small legs?''
``AIH-H-H!--late--and WEE-E-E-moul!'' (WHININGLY.)

``How did you get such thick, thick knees?''
``Much praying, much praying!'' (PIOUSLY.)

``How did you get such thin, thin thighs?''
``Aih-h-h!--late--and wee-e-e-moul!'' (WHININGLY.)

``How did you get such big, big hips?''
``Much sitting, much sitting!'' (GRUFFLY.)

``How did you get such a wee, wee waist?''
``Aih-h-h!--late--and wee-e-e-moul!'' (WHININGLY.)

``How did you get such broad, broad shoulders?''
``With carrying broom, with carrying broom!''

``How did you get such small arms?''
``Aih-h-h!--late--and wee-e-e-moul!'' (WHININGLY.)

``How did you get such huge, huge hands?''
``Threshing with an iron flail! Threshing with an
iron flail!'' (GRUFFLY.)

``How did you get such a small, small neck?''
``Aih-h-h!--late--and wee-e-e-moul!'' (PITIFULLY.)

``How did you get such a huge, huge head?''
``Much knowledge, much knowledge!'' (KEENLY.)

``What do you come for?''



In the kingdom of England there is a hillock in
the midst of a dense wood. Thither in old days
knights and their followers were wont to repair
when tired and thirsty after the chase. When one
of their number called out, ``I thirst!'' there
immediately started up a Goblin with a cheerful
countenance, clad in a crimson robe, and bearing
in his outstretched hand a large drinking-horn
richly ornamented with gold and precious jewels,
and full of the most delicious, unknown beverage.

The Goblin presented the horn to the thirsty
knight, who drank and instantly felt refreshed
and cool. After the drinker had emptied the horn,
the Goblin offered a silken napkin to wipe the
mouth. Then, without waiting to be thanked, the
strange creature vanished as suddenly as he had

Now once there was a knight of churlish nature,
who was hunting alone in those parts. Feeling
thirsty and fatigued, he visited the hillock and
cried out:--

``I thirst!''

Instantly the Goblin appeared and presented
the horn.

When the knight had drained it of its delicious
beverage, instead of returning the horn, he thrust
it into his bosom, and rode hastily away.

He boasted far and wide of his deed, and his
feudal lord hearing thereof caused him to be
bound and cast into prison; then fearing lest he,
too, might become partaker in the theft and
ingratitude of the knight, the lord presented the
jeweled horn to the King of England, who carefully
preserved it among the royal treasures. But
never again did the benevolent Goblin return to
the hillock in the wood.



There was once in Great Britain, a knight named
Albert, strong in arms and adorned with every
virtue. One day as he was seeking for adventure,
he chanced to wander into a castle where he was
hospitably entertained.

At night, after supper, as was usual in great
families during the winter, the household gathered
about the hearth and occupied the time in
relating divers tales.

At last they told how in the near-by plain of
Wandlesbury there was a haunted mound. There
in old days the Vandals, who laid waste the land
and slaughtered Christians, had pitched their
camp and built about it a great rampart. And it
was further related that in the hush of the night,
if any one crossed the plain, ascended the mound,
and called out in a loud voice, ``Let my adversary
appear!'' there immediately started up from the
ruined ramparts a huge, ghostly figure, armed
and mounted for battle. This phantom then
attacked the knight who had cried out and
speedily overcame him.

Now, when Albert heard this marvelous tale, he
greatly doubted its truth, and was determined to
put the matter to a test. As the moon was shining
brightly, and the night was quiet, he armed,
mounted, and immediately hastened to the plain
of Wandlesbury, accompanied by a squire of noble

He ascended the mound, dismissed his attendant,
and shouted:--

``Let my adversary appear!''

Instantly there sprang from the ruins a huge,
ghostly knight completely armed and mounted on
an enormous steed.

This phantom rushed upon Albert, who spurred
his horse, extended his shield, and drove at his
antagonist with his lance. Both knights were
shaken by the encounter. Albert, however, so
resolutely and with so strong an arm pressed his
adversary that the latter was thrown violently to
the ground. Seeing this Albert hastily seized the
steed of the fallen knight, and started to leave
the mound.

But the phantom, rising to his feet, and seeing
his horse led away, flung his lance and cruelly
wounded Albert in the thigh. This done he vanished
as suddenly as he had appeared.

Our knight, overjoyed at his victory, returned
in triumph to the castle, where the household
crowded around him and praised his bravery. But
when he put off his armor he found the cuish
from his right thigh filled with clots of blood
from an angry wound in his side. The family,
alarmed, hastened to apply healing herbs and

The captured horse was then brought forward.
He was prodigiously large, and black as jet. His
eyes were fierce and flashing, his neck proudly
arched, and he wore a glittering war-saddle upon
his back.

As the first streaks of dawn began to appear,
the animal reared wildly, snorted as if with pain
and anger, and struck the ground so furiously
with his hoofs that the sparks flew. The black
cock of the castle crew and the horse, uttering a
terrible cry, instantly disappeared.

And every year, on the selfsame night, at the
selfsame hour, the wounds of the knight Albert
broke out afresh, and tormented him with agony.
Thus till his dying day he bore in his body a
yearly reminder of his encounter with the Phantom
Knight of the Vandal Camp.





After prayer and fasting and a farewell feast,
the Pilgrim Fathers left the City of Leyden, and
sought the new and unknown land. ``So they lefte
y goodly & pleasante citie,'' writes their historian
Bradford, ``which had been ther resting place
near 12 years, but they knew they were pilgrimes
& looked not much on those things, but lift up
their eyes to y Heavens their dearest cuntrie, and
quieted their spirits.''

When, after many vexing days upon the deep,
the pilgrims first sighted the New World, they
were filled with praise and thanksgiving. Going
ashore they fell upon their knees and blessed the
God of Heaven. And after that, whenever they
were delivered from accidents or despair, they
gave God ``solemne thanks and praise.'' Such
were the Pilgrims and such their habit day by

The first winter in the New World was marked
by great suffering and want. Hunger and illness
thinned the little colony, and caused many
graves to be made on the near-by hillside.

The spring of 1621 opened. The seed was sown
in the fields. The colonists cared for it without
ceasing, and watched its growth with anxiety; for
well they knew that their lives depended upon a
full harvest.

The days of spring and summer flew by, and the
autumn came. Never in Holland or England had
the Pilgrims seen the like of the treasures bounteous
Nature now spread before them. The woodlands
were arrayed in gorgeous colors, brown,
crimson, and gold, and swarmed with game of all
kinds, that had been concealed during the summer.
The little farm-plots had been blessed by the
sunshine and showers, and now plentiful crops
stood ready for the gathering. The Pilgrims,
rejoicing, reaped the fruit of their labors, and
housed it carefully for the winter. Then, filled
with the spirit of thanksgiving, they held the first
harvest-home in New England.

For one whole week they rested from work,
feasted, exercised their arms, and enjoyed various
recreations. Many Indians visited the colony,
amongst these their greatest king, Massasoit, with
ninety of his braves. The Pilgrims entertained
them for three days. And the Indians went out
into the woods and killed fine deer, which they
brought to the colony and presented to the governor
and the captain and others. So all made
merry together.

And bountiful was the feast. Oysters, fish and
wild turkey, Indian maize and barley bread,
geese and ducks, venison and other savory meats,
decked the board. Kettles, skillets, and spits were
overworked, while knives and spoons, kindly
assisted by fingers, made merry music on pewter
plates. Wild grapes, ``very sweete and strong,''
added zest to the feast. As to the vegetables, why,
the good governor describes them thus:--

``All sorts of grain which our own land doth yield,
Was hither brought, and sown in every field;
As wheat and rye, barley, oats, beans, and pease
Here all thrive and they profit from them raise;
All sorts of roots and herbs in gardens grow,--
Parsnips, carrots, turnips, or what you'll sow,
Onions, melons, cucumbers, radishes,
Skirets, beets, coleworts and fair cabbages.''

Thus a royal feast it was the Pilgrims spread
that first golden autumn at Plymouth, a feast
worthy of their Indian guests.

All slumbering discontents they smothered with
common rejoicings. When the holiday was over,
they were surely better, braver men because they
had turned aside to rest awhile and be thankful
together. So the exiles of Leyden claimed the
harvests of New England.

This festival was the bursting into life of a new
conception of man's dependence on God's gifts in
Nature. It was the promise of autumnal
Thanksgivings to come.



The Master of the Harvest walked by the side of
his cornfields in the springtime. A frown was on
his face, for there had been no rain for several
weeks, and the earth was hard from the parching
of the east winds. The young wheat had not been
able to spring up.

So as he looked over the long ridges that
stretched in rows before him, he was vexed and
began to grumble and say:--

``The harvest will be backward, and all things
will go wrong.''

Then he frowned more and more, and uttered
complaints against Heaven because there was no
rain; against the earth because it was so dry;
against the corn because it had not sprung up.

And the Master's discontent was whispered all
over the field, and along the ridges where the
corn-seed lay. And the poor little seeds murmured:--

``How cruel to complain! Are we not doing our
best? Have we let one drop of moisture pass by
unused? Are we not striving every day to be
ready for the hour of breaking forth? Are we
idle? How cruel to complain!''

But of all this the Master of the Harvest heard
nothing, so the gloom did not pass from his face.
Going to his comfortable home he repeated to his
wife the dark words, that the drought would ruin
the harvest, for the corn was not yet sprung up.

Then his wife spoke cheering words, and taking
her Bible she wrote some texts upon the flyleaf,
and after them the date of the day.

And the words she wrote were these: ``The eyes
of all wait upon Thee; and Thou givest them their
meat in due season. Thou openest Thine hand
and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.
How excellent is Thy loving-kindness, O God!
therefore the children of men put their trust under
the shadow of Thy wings. Thou hast put gladness
in my heart, more than in the time that their corn
and their wine increased.''

And so a few days passed as before, and the
house was gloomy with the discontent of the Master.
But at last one evening there was rain all over
the land, and when the Master of the Harvest
went out the next morning for his early walk by
the cornfields, the corn had sprung up at last.

The young shoots burst out at once, and very
soon all along the ridges were to be seen rows of
tender blades, tinting the whole field with a
delicate green. And day by day the Master of the
Harvest saw them, and was satisfied, but he
spoke of other things and forgot to rejoice.

Then a murmur rose among the corn-blades.

``The Master was angry because we did not come
up; now that we have come forth why is he not
glad? Are we not doing our best? From morning
and evening dews, from the glow of the sun,
from the juices of the earth, from the freshening
breezes, even from clouds and rain, are we not
taking food and strength, warmth and life? Why
does he not rejoice?''

And when the Master's wife asked him if the
wheat was doing well he answered, ``Fairly well,''
and nothing more.

But the wife opened her Book, and wrote again
on the flyleaf: ``Who hath divided a watercourse
for the overflowing of waters, or a way for the
lightning of thunder, to cause it to rain on the
earth where no man is, on the wilderness wherein
there is no man, to satisfy the desolate and waste
ground, and to cause the bud of the tender herb
to spring forth? For He maketh small the drops
of water; they pour down rain according to the
vapor thereof, which the clouds do drop and distil
upon man abundantly. Also can any understand
the spreadings of the clouds, or the noise of his

Very peaceful were the next few weeks. All
nature seemed to rejoice in the fine weather. The
corn-blades shot up strong and tall. They burst
into flowers and gradually ripened into ears of
grain. But alas! the Master of the Harvest had
still some fault to find. He looked at the ears
and saw that they were small. He grumbled and

``The yield will be less than it ought to be. The
harvest will be bad.''

And the voice of his discontent was breathed
over the cornfield where the plants were growing
and growing. They shuddered and murmured:
``How thankless to complain! Are we not growing
as fast as we can? If we were idle would we
bear wheat-ears at all? How thankless to complain!''

Meanwhile a few weeks went by and a drought
settled on the land. Rain was needed, so that the
corn-ears might fill. And behold, while the wish
for rain was yet on the Master's lips, the sky
became full of heavy clouds, darkness spread over
the land, a wild wind arose, and the roaring of
thunder announced a storm. And such a storm!
Along the ridges of corn-plants drove the rain-
laden wind, and the plants bent down before it
and rose again like the waves of the sea. They
bowed down and they rose up. Only where the
whirlwind was the strongest they fell to the
ground and could not rise again.

And when the storm was over, the Master of
the Harvest saw here and there patches of over-
weighted corn, yet dripping from the thunder-
shower, and he grew angry with them, and forgot
to think of the long ridges where the corn-plants
were still standing tall and strong, and where the
corn-ears were swelling and rejoicing.

His face grew darker than ever. He railed
against the rain. He railed against the sun
because it did not shine. He blamed the wheat
because it might perish before the harvest.

``But why does he always complain?'' moaned
the corn-plants. ``Have we not done our best
from the first? Has not God's blessing been with
us? Are we not growing daily more beautiful in
strength and hope? Why does not the Master
trust, as we do, in the future richness of the

Of all this the Master of the Harvest heard
nothing. But his wife wrote on the flyleaf of her
Book: ``He watereth the hills from his chambers,
the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works.
He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle and
herb for the service of man, that he may bring
forth food out of the earth, and wine that maketh
glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face
to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man's

And day by day the hours of sunshine were
more in number. And by degrees the green corn-
ears ripened into yellow, and the yellow turned
into gold, and the abundant harvest was ready,
and the laborers were not wanting.

Then the bursting corn broke out into songs
of rejoicing. ``At least we have not labored and
watched in vain! Surely the earth hath yielded
her increase! Blessed be the Lord who daily
loadeth us with benefits! Where now is the Master
of the Harvest? Come, let him rejoice with us!''

And the Master's wife brought out her Book
and her husband read the texts she had written
even from the day when the corn-seeds were held
back by the first drought, and as he read a new
heart seemed to grow within him, a heart that was
thankful to the Lord of the Great Harvest. And
he read aloud from the Book:--

``Thou visitest the earth and waterest it; thou
greatly enrichest it with the river of God which
is full of water; thou preparest them corn, when
thou hast so provided for it. Thou waterest the
ridges thereof abundantly; thou settlest the furrows
thereof; thou makest it soft with showers;
thou blessest the springing thereof. Thou
crownest the year with thy goodness, and thy paths
drop fatness. They drop upon the pastures of the
wilderness, and the little hills rejoice on every
side. The pastures are clothed with flocks. The
valleys also are covered over with corn; they shout
for joy, they also sing.--O that men would praise
the Lord for His goodness, and for his wonderful
works to the children of men!''



Once upon a time, the good Saint Cuthbert of
Lindesfarne, went forth from his monastery to
preach to the poor. He took with him a young
lad as his only attendant. Together they walked
along the dusty way. The heat of the noonday
sun beat upon their heads, and fatigue overcame

``Son,'' said Saint Cuthbert, ``do you know
any one on the road, whom we may ask for food
and a place in which to rest?''

``I was just thinking the same thing,'' answered
the lad, ``but I know nobody on the road who will
entertain us. Alas! why did we not bring along
provisions? How can we proceed on our long
journey without them?''

``My son,'' answered the saint, ``learn to have
trust in God, who never will suffer those to perish
of hunger who believe in Him.''

Then looking up and seeing an eagle flying in
the air, he added, ``Do you see the eagle yonder?
It is possible for God to feed us by means of this

While they were talking thus, they came to a
river, and, lo! the eagle stood on the bank.

``Son,'' said Saint Cuthbert, ``run and see what
provision God has made for us by his handmaid
the bird.''

The lad ran, and found a good-sized fish that
the eagle had just caught. This he brought to the

``What have you done?'' exclaimed the good
man, ``why have you not given a part to God's
handmaid? Cut the fish in two pieces, and give
her one, as her service well deserves.''

The lad did as he was bidden, and the eagle,
taking the half fish in her beak, flew away.

Then entering a neighboring village, Saint
Cuthbert gave the other half to a peasant to cook,
and while the lad and the villagers feasted, the
good saint preached to them the Word of God



Ages upon ages ago, says the German grandmother,
when angels used to wander on earth, the
ground was more fruitful than it is now. Then the
stalks of wheat bore not fifty or sixty fold, but
four times five hundred fold. Then the wheat-
ears grew from the bottom to the top of the stalk.
But the men of the earth forgot that this blessing
came from God, and they became idle and selfish.

One day a woman went through a wheat-field,
and her little child, who accompanied her, fell
into a puddle and soiled her frock. The mother
tore off a handful of the wheat-ears and cleaned
the child's dress with them.

Just then an angel passed by and saw her.
Wrathfully he spoke:--

``Wasteful woman, no longer shall the wheat-
stalks produce ears. You mortals are not worthy
of the gifts of Heaven!''

Some peasants who were gathering wheat in
the fields heard this, and falling on their knees,
prayed and entreated the angel to leave the wheat
alone, not only on their account, but for the sake
of the little birds who otherwise must perish of

The angel pitied their distress, and granted a
part of the prayer. And from that day to this the
ears of wheat have grown as they do now.




Long, long ago, in a beautiful part of this country,
there lived an Indian with his wife and children.
He was poor and found it hard to provide food
enough for his family. But though needy he was
kind and contented, and always gave thanks to
the Great Spirit for everything that he received.
His eldest son, Wunzh, was likewise kind and
gentle and thankful of heart, and he longed
greatly to do something for his people.

The time came that Wunzh reached the age
when every Indian boy fasts so that he may see in
a vision the Spirit that is to be his guide through
life. Wunph's father built him a little lodge apart,
so that the boy might rest there undisturbed during
his days of fasting. Then Wunzh withdrew to
begin the solemn rite.

On the first day he walked alone in the woods
looking at the flowers and plants, and filling his
mind with the beautiful images of growing things
so that he might see them in his night-dreams. He
saw how the flowers and herbs and berries grew,
and he knew that some were good for food, and
that others healed wounds and cured sickness.
And his heart was filled with even a greater
longing to do something for his family and his

``Truly,'' thought he, ``the Great Spirit made
all things. To Him we owe our lives. But could
He not make it easier for us to get our food than
by hunting and catching fish? I must try to find
this out in my vision.''

So Wunzh returned to his lodge and fasted
and slept. On the third day he became weak and
faint. Soon he saw in a vision a young brave
coming down from the sky and approaching the
lodge. He was clad in rich garments of green and
yellow colors. On his head was a tuft of nodding
green plumes, and all his motions were graceful
and swaying.

``I am sent to you, O Wunzh,'' said the sky-
stranger, ``by that Great Spirit who made all
things in sky and earth. He has seen your fasting,
and knows how you wish to do good to your people,
and that you do not seek for strength in war
nor for the praise of warriors. I am sent to tell
you how you may do good to your kindred. Arise
and wrestle with me, for only by overcoming me
may you learn the secret.''

Wunzh, though he was weak from fasting, felt
courage grow in his heart, and he arose and
wrestled with the stranger. But soon he became
weaker and exhausted, and the stranger, seeing
this, smiled gently on him and said: ``My friend,
this is enough for once, I will come again
to-morrow.'' And he vanished as suddenly as he had

The next day the stranger came, and Wunzh felt
himself weaker than before; nevertheless he rose
and wrestled bravely. Then the stranger spoke a
second time. ``My friend,'' he said, ``have courage!
To-morrow will be your last trial.'' And he
disappeared from Wunzh's sight.

On the third day the stranger came as before,
and the struggle was renewed. And Wunzh,
though fainter in body, grew strong in mind and
will, and he determined to win or perish in the
attempt. He exerted all his powers, and, lo! in a
while, he prevailed and overcame the stranger.

``O Wunzh, my friend,'' said the conquered
one, ``you have wrestled manfully. You have met
your trial well. To-morrow I shall come again and
you must wrestle with me for the last time. You
will prevail. Do you then strip off my garments,
throw me down, clean the earth of roots and
weeds, and bury me in that spot. When you have
done so, leave my body in the ground. Come
often to the place and see whether I have come to
life, but be careful not to let weeds or grass grow
on my grave. If you do all this well, you will soon
discover how to benefit your fellow creatures.''
Having said this the stranger disappeared.

In the morning Wunzh's father came to him
with food. ``My son,'' he said, ``you have fasted
long. It is seven days since you have tasted food,
and you must not sacrifice your life. The Master
of Life does not require that.''

``My father,'' replied the boy, ``wait until the
sun goes down to-morrow. For a certain reason I
wish to fast until that hour.''

``Very well,'' said the old man, ``I shall wait
until the time arrives when you feel inclined to
eat.'' And he went away.

The next day, at the usual hour, the sky
stranger came again. And, though Wunzh had
fasted seven days, he felt a new power arise within
him. He grasped the stranger with superhuman
strength, and threw him down. He took from him
his beautiful garments, and, finding him dead,
buried him in the softened earth, and did all else
as he had been directed.

He then returned to his father's lodge, and
partook sparingly of food. There he abode for some
time. But he never forgot the grave of his friend.
Daily he visited it, and pulled up the weeds and
grass, and kept the earth soft and moist. Very
soon, to his great wonder, he saw the tops of green
plumes coming through the ground.

Weeks passed by, the summer was drawing to a
close. One day Wunzh asked his father to follow
him. He led him to a distant meadow. There, in
the place where the stranger had been buried,
stood a tall and graceful plant, with bright-
colored, silken hair, and crowned by nodding
green plumes. Its stalk was covered with waving
leaves, and there grew from its sides clusters of
milk-filled ears of corn, golden and sweet, each
ear closely wrapped in its green husks.

``It is my friend!'' shouted the boy joyously;
``it is Mondawmin, the Indian Corn! We need
no longer depend on hunting, so long as this gift
is planted and cared for. The Great Spirit has
heard my voice and has sent us this food.''

Then the whole family feasted on the ears of
corn and thanked the Great Spirit who gave it. So
Indian Corn came into the world.



Two boys gathered some hazelnuts in the woods.
They sat down under a tree and tried to eat them,
but they did not have their knives, and could not
bite open the nuts with their teeth.

``Oh,'' they complained, ``if only some one
would come and open the nuts for us!''

Hardly had they said this when a little man
came through the woods. And such a strange
little man! He had a great, great head, and from
the back of it a slender pigtail hung down to his
heels. He wore a golden cap, a red coat and yellow

As he came near he sang:--

``Hight! hight! Bite! bite!
Hans hight I! Nuts bite I!
I chase the squirrels through the trees,
I gather nuts just as I please,
I place them 'twixt my jaws so strong,
And crack and eat them all day long!''

The boys almost died of laughter when they
saw this funny little man, who they knew was a
Wood Dwarf.

They called out to him: ``If you know how to
crack nuts, why, come here and open ours.''

But the little man grumbled through his long
white beard:--

``If I crack the nuts for you
Promise that you'll give me two.''

``Yes, yes,'' cried the boys, ``you shall have all
the nuts you wish, only crack some for us, and be
quick about it!''

The little man stood before them, for he could
not sit down because of his long, stiff pigtail that
hung down behind, and he sang:--

``Lift my pigtail, long and thin,
Place your nuts my jaws within,
Pull the pigtail down, and then
I'll crack your nuts, my little men.''

The boys did as they were told, laughing hard
all the time. Whenever they pulled down the pigtail,
there was a sharp CRACK, and a broken nut
sprang out of the Nutcracker's mouth.

Soon all the hazelnuts were opened, and the
little man grumbled again:--

``Hight! hight! Bite! bite!
Your nuts are cracked, and now my pay
I'll take and then I'll go away.''

Now one of the boys wished to give the little
man his promised reward, but the other, who was
a bad boy, stopped him, saying:--

``Why do you give that old fellow our nuts?
There are only enough for us. As for you,
Nutcracker, go away from here and find some for

Then the little man grew angry, and he
grumbled horribly:--

``If you do not pay my fee,
Why, then, you've told a lie to me!
I am hungry, you're well fed,
Quick, or I'll bite off your head!''

But the bad boy only laughed and said: ``You 'll
bite off my head, will you! Go away from here
just as fast as you can, or you shall feel these nut-
shells,'' and he shook his fist at the little man.

The Nutcracker grew red with rage. He pulled
up his pigtail, snapping his jaws together,--CRACK,
--and the bad boy's head was off.




Once upon a time, one Lucian the Greek was
filled with a desire to see strange countries, and
especially to discover whether there was any
opposite shore to the ocean by which he lived.

So having purchased a vessel, he strengthened
it for a voyage, that he knew would without doubt
be long and stormy. Then he chose fifty stout
young fellows having the same love of adventure
as himself, and next he hired the best captain that
could be got for money, and put a store of provisions
and water on board.

All this being done, he set sail. For many days
he and his companions voyaged on deep waters
and in strange seas. At times the wind was fair
and gentle, and at others it blew so hard that the
sea rose in a terrible manner.

One day there came a violent whirlwind which
twisted the ship about, and, lifting it into the air,
carried it upward into the sky, until it reached
the Moon. There Lucian and his comrades disembarked
and visited the inhabitants of Moonland.
They took part in a fierce battle between the
Moon-Folk, the Sun-Folk, and an army of Vulture-
Horsemen; and, after many other wonderful
adventures, they departed from Moonland, and
sailing through the sky, visited the Morning Star.
Then the wind dropping, the ship settled once
more upon the sea, and they sailed on the water.

One morning the wind began to blow vehemently,
and they were driven by storm for days.
On the third day they fell in with the Pumpkin
Pirates. These were savages who were wont to
sally forth from the islands that lay in the seas
thereabouts, and plunder them that sailed by.

For ships they had large pumpkins, each being
not less than ninety feet in length. These pumpkins
they dried, and afterward dug out all the
inner part of them till they were quite hollow.
For masts they had reeds, and for sails, in the
place of canvas, pumpkin leaves.

These savages attacked Lucian's vessel with
two ships' or rather two pumpkins' crews, and
wounded many of his company. For stones they
used the pumpkin-seeds, which were about the
bigness of a large apple.

Lucian's company fought for some time,
without gaining the advantage, when about noon they
saw coming toward them, in the rear of the Pumpkin
Pirates, the Nut-Shell Sailors. These two
tribes were at war with each other.

As soon as the Pumpkin Pirates saw the others
approaching, they left off fighting Lucian's crew,
and prepared to give battle to the Nut-Shell Sailors.
When Lucian saw this he ordered the captain
to set all sails; and they departed with speed. But
looking back he could see that the Nut-Shell Sailors
had the best of the battle, being superior in
numbers, having five crews against two of the
Pumpkin Pirates, and also because their ships
were stronger. As for their ships, they were the
shells of nuts which had been split in half, each
measuring fifteen fathoms, or thereabouts.

As soon as the Pumpkin Pirates and the Nut-
Shell Sailors were out of sight, Lucian set himself
to dressing the wounds of his injured companions.
And from that time on both Lucian and his crew
wore their armor continually, not knowing when
another strange enemy might come upon them.




There was a time, says the Iroquois grandmother,
when it was not needful to plant the corn-
seed nor to hoe the fields, for the corn sprang up of
itself, and filled the broad meadows. Its stalks
grew strong and tall, and were covered with leaves
like waving banners, and filled with ears of pearly
grain wrapped in silken green husks.

In those days Onatah, the Spirit of the Corn,
walked upon the earth. The sun lovingly touched
her dusky face with the blush of the morning, and
her eyes grew soft as the gleam of the stars on
dark streams. Her night-black hair was spread
before the breeze like a wind-driven cloud.

As she walked through the fields, the corn, the
Indian maize, sprang up of itself from the earth
and filled the air with its fringed tassels and
whispering leaves. With Onatah walked her two
sisters, the Spirits of the Squash and the Bean. As
they passed by, squash-vines and bean-plants
grew from the corn-hills.

One day Onatah wandered away alone in search
of early dew. Then the Evil One of the earth,
Hahgwehdaetgah, followed swiftly after. He
grasped her by the hair and dragged her beneath
the ground down to his gloomy cave. Then, sending
out his fire-breathing monsters, he blighted
Onatah's grain. And when her sisters, the Spirits
of the Squash and the Bean, saw the flame-
monsters raging through the fields, they flew far
away in terror.

As for poor Onatah, she lay a trembling captive
in the dark prison-cave of the Evil One. She
mourned the blight of her cornfields, and sorrowed
over her runaway sisters.

``O warm, bright sun!'' she cried, ``if I may
walk once more upon the earth, never again will I
leave my corn!''

And the little birds of the air heard her cry, and
winging their way upward they carried her vow
and gave it to the sun as he wandered through the
blue heavens.

The sun, who loved Onatah, sent out many
searching beams of light. They pierced through
the damp earth, and entering the prison-cave,
guided her back again to her fields.

And ever after that she watched her fields alone,
for no more did her sisters, the Spirits of the
Squash and Bean, watch with her. If her fields
thirsted, no longer could she seek the early dew.
If the flame-monsters burned her corn, she could
not search the skies for cooling winds. And when
the great rains fell and injured her harvest, her
voice grew so faint that the friendly sun could not
hear it.

But ever Onatah tenderly watched her fields
and the little birds of the air flocked to her service.
They followed her through the rows of corn, and
made war on the tiny enemies that gnawed at the
roots of the grain.

And at harvest-time the grateful Onatah
scattered the first gathered corn over her broad lands,
and the little birds, fluttering and singing, joyfully
partook of the feast spread for them on the



Aeneus, King of Aetolia, had a daughter whose
name was Deianira. So beautiful was the maiden
that her fame spread throughout the world, and
many princes came to woo her. Among these were
two strangers, who drove all the other suitors from
the hall of King Aeneus.

One was Hercules, huge of limb and broad of
shoulder. He was clad in the skins of beasts, and
carried in his hand a knotted club. His tangled
hair hung down upon his brawny neck, and his
fierce eyes gleamed from behind his shaggy brows.

The other stranger was Achelous, god of the
Calydonian River. Slender and graceful was he,
and clad in flowing green raiment. In his hand he
carried a staff of plaited reeds, and on his head was
a crown of water-lilies. His voice was soft and
caressing, like the gentle murmur of summer brooks.

``O King Aeneus,'' said Achelous, standing
before the throne, ``behold I am the King of
Waters. If thou wilt receive me as thy son-in-law
I will make the beautiful Deianira queen of my
river kingdom.''

``King Aeneus,'' said the mighty Hercules,
stepping forward, ``Deianira is mine, and I will
not yield her to this river-god.''

``Impertinent stranger!'' cried Achelous,
turning toward the hero, while his voice rose till it
sounded like the thunder of distant cataracts, and
his green garment changed to the blackness of
night,--``impertinent stranger! how darest thou
claim this maiden,--thou who hast mortal blood
in thy veins! Behold me, the god Achelous, the
powerful King of the Waters! I wind with majesty
through the rich lands of my wide realms. I
make all fields through which I flow beautiful with
grass and flowers. By my right divine I claim this

But with scowling eye and rising wrath
Hercules made answer. ``Thou wouldst fight with
words, like a woman, while I would win by my
strength! My right hand is better than my tongue.
If thou wouldst have the maiden, then must thou
first overcome me in combat.''

Thereupon Achelous threw off his raiment and
began to prepare himself for the struggle. Hercules
took off his garment of beasts' skins, and
cast aside his club. The two then anointed their
bodies with oil, and threw yellow sand upon

They took their places, they attacked, they
retired, they rushed again to the conflict. They
stood firm, and they yielded not. Long they
bravely wrestled and fought; till at length
Hercules by his might overcame Achelous and bore
him to the ground. He pressed him down, and,
while the fallen river-god lay panting for breath,
the hero seized him by the neck.

Then did Achelous have recourse to his magic
arts. Transforming himself into a serpent he
escaped from the hero. He twisted his body into
winding folds, and darted out his forked tongue
with frightful hissings.

But Hercules laughed mockingly, and cried out:
``Ah, Achelous! While yet in my cradle I strangled
two serpents! And what art thou compared
to the Hydra whose hundred heads I cut off?
Every time I cut of I one head two others grew in
its place. Yet did I conquer that horror, in spite
of its branching serpents that darted from every
wound! Thinkest thou, then, that I fear thee,
thou mimic snake?'' And even as he spake he
gripped, as with a pair of pincers, the back of the
river-god's head.

And Achelous struggled in vain to escape.
Then, again having recourse to his magic, he
became a raging bull, and renewed the fight. But
Hercules, that mighty hero, threw his huge arms
over the brawny neck of the bull, and dragged
him about. Then seizing hold of his horns, he
bent his head to one side, and bearing down
fastened them into the ground. And that was not
enough, but with relentless hand he broke one of
the horns, and tore it from Achelous's forehead.

The river-god returned to his own shape. He
roared aloud with rage and pain, and hiding his
mutilated head in his mantle, rushed from the
hall and plunged into the swirling waters of his

Then the goddess of Plenty, and all the Wood-
Nymphs and Water-Nymphs came forward to
greet the conqueror with song and dance. They
took the huge horn of Achelous and heaped it high
with the rich and glowing fruits and flowers of
autumn. They wreathed it with vines and with
clustering grapes, and bearing it aloft presented it
to Hercules and his beautiful bride Deianira.

And ever since that day has the Horn of Plenty
gladdened men's hearts at Harvest-Time.





In the sunny land of France there lived many
years ago a sweet little maid named Piccola.

Her father had died when she was a baby, and
her mother was very poor and had to work hard
all day in the fields for a few sous.

Little Piccola had no dolls and toys, and she
was often hungry and cold, but she was never sad
nor lonely.

What if there were no children for her to play
with! What if she did not have fine clothes and
beautiful toys! In summer there were always the
birds in the forest, and the flowers in the fields and
meadows,--the birds sang so sweetly, and the
flowers were so bright and pretty!

In the winter when the ground was covered
with snow, Piccola helped her mother, and knit
long stockings of blue wool.

The snow-birds had to be fed with crumbs, if
she could find any, and then, there was Christmas

But one year her mother was ill and could not
earn any money. Piccola worked hard all the day
long, and sold the stockings which she knit, even
when her own little bare feet were blue with the

As Christmas Day drew near she said to her
mother, ``I wonder what the good Saint Nicholas
will bring me this year. I cannot hang my stocking
in the fireplace, but I shall put my wooden
shoe on the hearth for him. He will not forget
me, I am sure.''

``Do not think of it this year, my dear child,''
replied her mother. ``We must be glad if we have
bread enough to eat.''

But Piccola could not believe that the good
saint would forget her. On Christmas Eve she
put her little wooden patten on the hearth before
the fire, and went to sleep to dream of Saint

As the poor mother looked at the little shoe,
she thought how unhappy her dear child would be
to find it empty in the morning, and wished that
she had something, even if it were only a tiny
cake, for a Christmas gift. There was nothing in
the house but a few sous, and these must be saved
to buy bread.

When the morning dawned Piccola awoke and
ran to her shoe.

Saint Nicholas had come in the night. He had
not forgotten the little child who had thought of
him with such faith.

See what he had brought her. It lay in the
wooden patten, looking up at her with its two
bright eyes, and chirping contentedly as she
stroked its soft feathers.

A little swallow, cold and hungry, had flown
into the chimney and down to the room, and
had crept into the shoe for warmth.

Piccola danced for joy, and clasped the
shivering swallow to her breast.

She ran to her mother's bedside. ``Look,
look!'' she cried. ``A Christmas gift, a gift from
the good Saint Nicholas!'' And she danced again
in her little bare feet.

Then she fed and warmed the bird, and cared
for it tenderly all winter long; teaching it to take
crumbs from her hand and her lips, and to sit on
her shoulder while she was working.

In the spring she opened the window for it to
fly away, but it lived in the woods near by all
summer, and came often in the early morning to
sing its sweetest songs at her door.




There once lived a laborer who earned his daily
bread by cutting wood. His wife and two children,
a boy and girl, helped him with his work.
The boy's name was Valentine, and the girl's,
Marie. They were obedient and pious and the
joy and comfort of their poor parents.

One winter evening, this good family gathered
about the table to eat their small loaf of bread,
while the father read aloud from the Bible. Just
as they sat down there came a knock on the window,
and a sweet voice called:--

``O let me in! I am a little child, and I have
nothing to eat, and no place to sleep in. I am so
cold and hungry! Please, good people, let me in!''

Valentine and Marie sprang from the table and
ran to open the door, saying:--

``Come in, poor child, we have but very little
ourselves, not much more than thou hast, but
what we have we will share with thee.''

The stranger Child entered, and going to the
fire began to warm his cold hands.

The children gave him a portion of their bread,
and said:--

``Thou must be very tired; come, lie down in
our bed, and we will sleep on the bench here before
the fire.''

Then answered the stranger Child: ``May God
in Heaven reward you for your kindness.''

They led the little guest to their small room,
laid him in their bed, and covered him closely,
thinking to themselves:--

``Oh! how much we have to be thankful for!
We have our nice warm room and comfortable
bed, while this Child has nothing but the sky for a
roof, and the earth for a couch.''

When the parents went to their bed, Valentine
and Marie lay down on the bench before the fire,
and said one to the other:--

``The stranger Child is happy now, because he
is so warm! Good-night!''

Then they fell asleep.

They had not slept many hours, when little
Marie awoke, and touching her brother lightly,

``Valentine, Valentine, wake up! wake up!
Listen to the beautiful music at the window.''

Valentine rubbed his eyes and listened. He
heard the most wonderful singing and the sweet
notes of many harps.

``Blessed Child,
Thee we greet,
With sound of harp
And singing sweet.

``Sleep in peace,
Child so bright,
We have watched thee
All the night.

``Blest the home
That holdeth Thee,
Peace, and love,
Its guardians be.''

The children listened to the beautiful singing,
and it seemed to fill them with unspeakable happiness.
Then creeping to the window they looked

They saw a rosy light in the east, and, before
the house in the snow, stood a number of little
children holding golden harps and lutes in their
hands, and dressed in sparkling, silver robes.

Full of wonder at this sight, Valentine and
Marie continued to gaze out at the window, when
they heard a sound behind them, and turning saw
the stranger Child standing near. He was clad in
a golden garment, and wore a glistening, golden
crown upon his soft hair. Sweetly he spoke to the

``I am the Christ Child, who wanders about the
world seeking to bring joy and good things to loving
children. Because you have lodged me this
night I will leave with you my blessing.''

As the Christ Child spoke He stepped from the
door, and breaking off a bough from a fir tree that
grew near, planted it in the ground, saying:--

``This bough shall grow into a tree, and every
year it shall bear Christmas fruit for you.''

Having said this He vanished from their sight,
together with the silver-clad, singing children--
the angels.

And, as Valentine and Marie looked on in wonder,
the fir bough grew, and grew, and grew,
into a stately Christmas Tree laden with golden
apples, silver nuts, and lovely toys. And after
that, every year at Christmas time, the Tree bore
the same wonderful fruit.

And you, dear boys and girls, when you gather
around your richly decorated trees, think of the
two poor children who shared their bread with a
stranger child, and be thankful.




Christopher was a Canaanite, and he was of a
right great stature, twelve cubits in height, and
had a terrible countenance. And it is said that as
he served and dwelled with the King of Canaan,
it came in his mind that he would seek the
greatest prince that was in the world, and him would
he serve and obey.

So he went forth and came to a right great
king, whom fame said was the greatest of the
world. And when the king saw him he received
him into his service, and made him to dwell in
his court.

Upon a time a minstrel sang before him a song
in which he named oft the devil. And the king,
who was a Christian, when he heard him name
the devil, made anon the sign of the cross.

And when Christopher saw that he marveled,
and asked what the sign might mean. And because
the king would not say, he said: ``If thou
tell me not, I shall no longer dwell with thee.''

And then the King told him, saying: ``Alway
when I hear the devil named make I this sign lest
he grieve or annoy me.''

Then said Christopher to him: ``Fearest thou
the devil? Then is the devil more mighty and
greater than thou art. I am then deceived, for I
had supposed that I had found the most mighty
and the most greatest lord in all the world!
Fare thee well, for I will now go seek the devil
to be my lord and I his servant.''

So Christopher departed from this king and
hastened to seek the devil. And as he went by a
great desert he saw a company of knights, and one
of them, a knight cruel and horrible, came to him
and demanded whither he went.

And Christopher answered: ``I go to seek the
devil for to be my master.''

Then said the knight: ``I am he that thou

And then Christopher was glad and bound himself
to be the devil's servant, and took him for his
master and lord.

Now, as they went along the way they found
there a cross, erect and standing. And anon as the
devil saw the cross he was afeared and fled. And
when Christopher saw that he marveled and
demanded why he was afeared, and why he fled
away. And the devil would not tell him in no

Then Christopher said to him: ``If thou wilt not
tell me, I shall anon depart from thee and shall
serve thee no more.''

Wherefore the devil was forced to tell him and
said: ``There was a man called Christ, which was
hanged on the cross, and when I see his sign I am
sore afraid and flee from it.''

To whom Christopher said: ``Then he is greater
and more mightier than thou, since thou art
afraid of his sign,and I see well that I have labored
in vain, and have not founden the greatest lord of
the world. I will serve thee no longer, but I will
go seek Christ.''

And when Christopher had long sought where
he should find Christ, at last he came into a great
desert, to a hermit that dwelt there. And he
inquired of him where Christ was to be found.

Then answered the hermit: ``The king whom
thou desirest to serve, requireth that thou must
often fast.''

Christopher said: ``Require of me some other
thing and I shall do it, but fast I may not.''

And the hermit said: ``Thou must then wake
and make many prayers.''

And Christopher said: ``I do not know how to
pray, so this I may not do.''

And the hermit said: ``Seest thou yonder deep
and wide river, in which many people have
perished? Because thou art noble, and of high
stature and strong of limb, so shalt thou live by
the river and thou shalt bear over all people who
pass that way. And this thing will be pleasing
to our Lord Jesu Christ, whom thou desirest to
serve, and I hope he shall show himself to thee.''

Then said Christopher: ``Certes, this service
may I well do, and I promise Him to do it.''

Then went Christopher to this river, and built
himself there a hut. He carried a great pole in his
hand, to support himself in the water, and bore
over on his shoulders all manner of people to the
other side. And there he abode, thus doing many

And on a time, as he slept in his hut, he heard
the voice of a child which called him:--

``Christopher, Christopher, come out and bear
me over.''

Then he awoke and went out, but he found no
man. And when he was again in his house he
heard the same voice, crying:--

``Christopher, Christopher, come out and bear
me over.''

And he ran out and found nobody.

And the third time he was called and ran
thither, and he found a Child by the brink of the
river, which prayed him goodly to bear him over
the water.

And then Christopher lifted up the Child on his
shoulders, and took his staff, and entered into the
river for to pass over. And the water of the river
arose and swelled more and more; and the Child
was heavy as lead, and always as Christopher
went farther the water increased and grew more,
and the Child more and more waxed heavy, insomuch
that Christopher suffered great anguish and
was afeared to be drowned.

And when he was escaped with great pain, and
passed over the water, and set the Child aground,
he said:--

``Child, thou hast put me in great peril. Thou
weighest almost as I had all the world upon me.
I might bear no greater burden.''

And the Child answered: ``Christopher, marvel
thee nothing, for thou hast not only borne all the
world upon thee, but thou hast borne Him that
created and made all the world, upon thy
shoulders. I am Jesu Christ the King whom thou
servest. And that thou mayest know that I say
the truth, set thy staff in the earth by thy house,
and thou shalt see to-morn that it shall bear
flowers and fruit.''

And anon the Child vanished from his eyes.

And then Christopher set his staff in the earth,
and when he arose on the morn, he found his staff
bearing flowers, leaves, and dates.




When the Magi laid their rich offerings of myrrh,
frankincense, and gold, by the bed of the sleeping
Christ Child, legend says that a shepherd maiden
stood outside the door quietly weeping.

She, too, had sought the Christ Child. She, too,
desired to bring him gifts. But she had nothing to
offer, for she was very poor indeed. In vain she
had searched the countryside over for one little
flower to bring Him, but she could find neither
bloom nor leaf, for the winter had been cold.

And as she stood there weeping, an angel
passing saw her sorrow, and stooping he brushed
aside the snow at her feet. And there sprang up
on the spot a cluster of beautiful winter roses,--
waxen white with pink tipped petals.

``Nor myrrh, nor frankincense, nor gold,'' said
the angel, ``is offering more meet for the Christ
Child than these pure Christmas Roses.''

Joyfully the shepherd maiden gathered the
flowers and made her offering to the Holy Child.



Once upon a time,--so long ago that the world
has forgotten the date,--in a city of the North of
Europe,--the name of which is so hard to
pronounce that no one remembers it,--there was a
little boy, just seven years old, whose name was
Wolff. He was an orphan and lived with his aunt,
a hard-hearted, avaricious old woman, who never
kissed him but once a year, on New Year's Day;

Book of the day: