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How To Tell Stories To Children And Some Stories To Tell by Sara Cone Bryant

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But Jack Rollaround only behaved the
worse: "Get out of the way, old Moon!"
he shouted, "I am coming!"

And he steered the little trundle-bed
boat straight into the old Moon's face,
and bumped his nose!

This was too much for the good Moon;
he put out his big light, all at once, and
left the sky pitch-black.

"Make a light, old Moon! Make a
light!" shouted the little boy. But the
Moon answered never a word, and Jack
Rollaround could not see where to steer.
He went rolling criss-cross, up and down,
all over the sky, knocking into the planets
and stumbling into the clouds, till he did
not know where he was.

Suddenly he saw a big yellow light at
the very edge of the sky. He thought it
was the Moon. "Look out, I am coming!"
he cried, and steered for the light.

But it was not the kind old Moon at all;
it was the great mother Sun, just coming
up out of her home in the sea, to begin her
day's work.

"Aha, youngster, what are you doing
in my sky?" she said. And she picked
Little Jack Rollaround up and threw him,
trundle-bed boat and all, into the middle
of the sea!

And I suppose he is there yet, unless
somebody picked him out again.


[1] Adapted from two tales included in the records of the
American Folk-Lore Society.

One day little Brother Rabbit was running
along on the sand, lippety, lippety,
when he saw the Whale and the Elephant
talking together. Little Brother Rabbit
crouched down and listened to what they
were saying. This was what they were saying:--

"You are the biggest thing on the land,
Brother Elephant," said the Whale, "and
I am the biggest thing in the sea; if we join
together we can rule all the animals in the
world, and have our way about everything."

"Very good, very good," trumpeted the
Elephant; "that suits me; we will do it."

Little Brother Rabbit snickered to
himself. "They won't rule me," he said. He
ran away and got a very long, very strong
rope, and he got his big drum, and hid the
drum a long way off in the bushes. Then
he went along the beach till he came to the

"Oh, please, dear, strong Mr. Whale,"
he said, "will you have the great kindness
to do me a favor? My cow is stuck in the
mud, a quarter of a mile from here. And
I can't pull her out. But you are so strong
and so obliging, that I venture to trust you
will help me out."

The Whale was so pleased with the compliment
that he said, "Yes," at once.

"Then," said the Rabbit, "I will tie this
end of my long rope to you, and I will run
away and tie the other end round my cow,
and when I am ready I will beat my big
drum. When you hear that, pull very, very
hard, for the cow is stuck very deep in the

"Huh!" grunted the Whale, "I'll pull
her out, if she is stuck to the horns."

Little Brother Rabbit tied the rope-end
to the whale, and ran off, lippety, lippety,
till he came to the place where the Elephant was.

"Oh, please, mighty and kindly Elephant,"
he said, making a very low bow
"will you do me a favor?"

"What is it?" asked the Elephant.

"My cow is stuck in the mud, about a
quarter of a mile from here," said little
Brother Rabbit, "and I cannot pull her
out. Of course you could. If you will be
so very obliging as to help me--"

"Certainly," said the Elephant grandly,

"Then," said little Brother Rabbit, "I
will tie one end of this long rope to your
trunk, and the other to my cow, and as
soon as I have tied her tightly I will beat
my big drum. When you hear that, pull;
pull as hard as you can, for my cow is very

"Never fear," said the Elephant, "I
could pull twenty cows."

"I am sure you could," said the Rabbit,
politely, "only be sure to begin gently, and
pull harder and harder till you get her."

Then he tied the end of the rope tightly
round the Elephant's trunk, and ran away
into the bushes. There he sat down and
beat the big drum.

The Whale began to pull, and the Elephant
began to pull, and in a jiffy the rope
tightened till it was stretched as hard as
could be.

"This is a remarkably heavy cow," said
the Elephant; "but I'll fetch her!" And
he braced his forefeet in the earth, and gave
a tremendous pull.

"Dear me!" said the Whale. "That
cow must be stuck mighty tight;" and he
drove his tail deep in the water, and gave
a marvelous pull.

He pulled harder; the Elephant pulled
harder. Pretty soon the Whale found
himself sliding toward the land. The
reason was, of course, that the Elephant
had something solid to brace against,
and, too, as fast as he pulled the rope in
a little, he took a turn with it round his

But when the Whale found himself
sliding toward the land he was so provoked
with the cow that he dove head first,
down to the bottom of the sea. That was
a pull! The Elephant was jerked off his
feet, and came slipping and sliding to the
beach, and into the surf. He was terribly
angry. He braced himself with all his
might, and pulled his best. At the jerk, up
came the Whale out of the water.

"Who is pulling me?" spouted the Whale.

"Who is pulling me?" trumpeted the Elephant.

And then each saw the rope in the other's hold.

"I'll teach you to play cow!" roared the Elephant.

"I'll show you how to fool me!" fumed
the Whale. And they began to pull again.
But this time the rope broke, the Whale
turned a somersault, and the Elephant fell
over backwards.

At that, they were both so ashamed that
neither would speak to the other. So that
broke up the bargain between them.

And little Brother Rabbit sat in the bushes
and laughed, and laughed, and laughed.


There was once upon a time a Spanish
Hen, who hatched out some nice little
chickens. She was much pleased with their
looks as they came from the shell. One,
two, three, came out plump and fluffy; but
when the fourth shell broke, out came a little
half-chick! It had only one leg and one
wing and one eye! It was just half a chicken.

The Hen-mother did not know what in
the world to do with the queer little Half-
Chick. She was afraid something would
happen to it, and she tried hard to protect
it and keep it from harm. But as soon as
it could walk the little Half-Chick showed
a most headstrong spirit, worse than any
of its brothers. It would not mind, and it
would go wherever it wanted to; it walked
with a funny little hoppity-kick, hoppity-
kick, and got along pretty fast.

One day the little Half-Chick said,
"Mother, I am off to Madrid, to see the
King! Good-by."

The poor Hen-mother did everything
she could think of, to keep him from doing
so foolish a thing, but the little Half-Chick
laughed at her naughtily. "I'm for seeing
the King," he said; "this life is too quiet
for me." And away he went, hoppity-kick,
hoppity-kick, over the fields.

When he had gone some distance the
little Half-Chick came to a little brook
that was caught in the weeds and in much

"Little Half-Chick," whispered the
Water, "I am so choked with these weeds
that I cannot move; I am almost lost,
for want of room; please push the sticks
and weeds away with your bill and help

"The idea!" said the little Half-Chick.
"I cannot be bothered with you; I am off
for Madrid, to see the King!" And in spite
of the brook's begging he went away,
hoppity-kick, hoppity-kick.

A bit farther on, the Half-Chick came
to a Fire, which was smothered in damp
sticks and in great distress.

"Oh, little Half-Chick," said the Fire,
"you are just in time to save me. I am
almost dead for want of air. Fan me a
little with your wing, I beg."

"The idea!" said the little Half-Chick.
"I cannot be bothered with you; I am off
to Madrid, to see the King!" And he
went laughing off, hoppity-kick, hoppity-kick.

When he had hoppity-kicked a good way,
and was near Madrid, he came to a clump
of bushes, where the Wind was caught
fast. The Wind was whimpering, and begging
to be set free.

"Little Half-Chick," said the Wind, "you
are just in time to help me; if you will brush
aside these twigs and leaves, I can get my
breath; help me, quickly!"

"Ho! the idea!" said the little Half-
Chick. "I have no time to bother with you.
I am going to Madrid, to see the King."
And he went off, hoppity-kick, hoppity-
kick, leaving the Wind to smother.

After a while he came to Madrid and
to the palace of the King. Hoppity-kick,
hoppity-kick, the little Half-Chick skipped
past the sentry at the gate, and hoppity-
kick, hoppity-kick, he crossed the court.
But as he was passing the windows of the
kitchen the Cook looked out and saw him.

"The very thing for the King's dinner!"
she said. "I was needing a chicken!" And
she seized the little Half-Chick by his one
wing and threw him into a kettle of water
on the fire.

The Water came over the little Half-
Chick's feathers, over his head, into his
eye; It was terribly uncomfortable. The
little Half-Chick cried out,--

"Water, don't drown me! Stay down,
don't come so high!"

But the Water said, "Little Half-Chick,
little Half-Chick, when I was in trouble
you would not help me," and came higher
than ever.

Now the Water grew warm, hot, hotter,
frightfully hot; the little Half-Chick cried
out, "Do not burn so hot, Fire! You are
burning me to death! Stop!"

But the Fire said, "Little Half-Chick,
little Half-Chick, when I was in trouble
you would not help me," and burned hotter
than ever.

Just as the little Half-Chick thought he
must suffocate, the Cook took the cover
off, to look at the dinner. "Dear me,"
she said, "this chicken is no good; it is
burned to a cinder." And she picked the
little Half-Chick up by one leg and threw
him out of the window.

In the air he was caught by a breeze
and taken up higher than the trees. Round
and round he was twirled till he was so
dizzy he thought he must perish. "Don't
blow me so? Wind," he cried, "let me

"Little Half-Chick, little Half-Chick,"
said the Wind, "when I was in trouble
you would not help me!" And the Wind
blew him straight up to the top of the
church steeple, and stuck him there, fast!

There he stands to this day, with his one
eye, his one wing, and his one leg. He
cannot hoppity-kick any more, but he turns
slowly round when the wind blows, and
keeps his head toward it, to hear what it


[1] From Indian Fairy Tales. By Joseph Jacobs (David Nutt).

Once upon a time there was a wee, wee
Lambikin, who frolicked about on his
little tottery legs, and enjoyed himself

Now one day he set off to visit his
Granny, and was jumping with joy to
think of all the good things he should get
from her, when whom should he meet but
a Jackal, who looked at the tender young
morsel and said, "Lambikin! Lambikin!
I'll EAT YOU!"

But Lambikin only gave a little frisk
and said,--

"To Granny's house I go,
Where I shall fatter grow;
Then you can eat me so."

The Jackal thought this reasonable,
and let Lambikin pass.

By and by he met a Vulture, and the
Vulture, looking hungrily at the tender
morsel before him, said, "Lambikin!
Lambikin! I'll EAT YOU!"

But Lambikin only gave a little frisk,
and said,--

"To Granny's house I go,
Where I shall fatter grow;
Then you can eat me so."

The Vulture thought this reasonable,
and let Lambikin pass.

And by and by he met a Tiger, and
then a Wolf and a Dog and an Eagle,
and all these, when they saw the tender
little morsel, said, "Lambikin! Lambikin!
I'll EAT YOU!"

But to all of them Lambikin replied,
with a little frisk,--

"To Granny's house I go,
Where I shall fatter grow;
Then you can eat me so."

At last he reached his Granny's house,
and said, all in a great hurry, "Granny,
dear, I've promised to get very fat; so, as
people ought to keep their promises, please
put me into the corn-bin AT ONCE."

So his Granny said he was a good boy,
and put him into the corn-bin, and there
the greedy little Lambikin stayed for seven
days, and ate, and ate, and ate, until he
could scarcely waddle, and his Granny
said he was fat enough for anything,
and must go home. But cunning little
Lambikin said that would never do, for
some animal would be sure to eat him
on the way back, he was so plump and

"I'll tell you what you must do," said
Master Lambikin; "you must make a little
drumikin out of the skin of my little brother
who died, and then I can sit inside and
trundle along nicely, for I'm as tight as a
drum myself."

So his Granny made a nice little drumikin
out of his brother's skin, with the wool
inside, and Lambikin curled himself up
snug and warm in the middle and trundled
away gayly. Soon he met with the
Eagle, who called out,--

"Drumikin! Drumikin!
Have you seen Lambikin?"

And Mr. Lambikin, curled up in his soft,
warm nest, replied,--

"Fallen into the fire, and so will you
On little Drumikin! Tum-pa, tum-too!"

"How very annoying!" sighed the Eagle,
thinking regretfully of the tender morsel
he had let slip.

Meanwhile Lambikin trundled along,
laughing to himself, and singing,--

"Tum-pa, tum-too;
Tum-pa, tum-too!"

Every animal and bird he met asked him
the same question,--

"Drumikin! Drumikin!
Have you seen Lambikin?"

And to each of them the little slyboots

"Fallen into the fire, and so will you
On little Drumikin! Tum-pa, tum-too!"
Tum-pa, tum-too! tum-pa, tum-too!"

Then they all sighed to think of the tender
little morsel they had let slip.

At last the Jackal came limping along,
for all his sorry looks as sharp as a needle,
and he, too, called out,--

"Drumikin! Drumikin!
Have you seen Lambikin?"

And Lambikin, curled up in his snug
little nest, replied gayly,--

"Fallen into the fire, and so will you
On little Drumikin! Tum-pa--"

But he never got any further, for the
Jackal recognized his voice at once, and
cried, "Hullo! you've turned yourself
inside out, have you? Just you come out
of that!"

Whereupon he tore open Drumikin and
gobbled up Lambikin.


[1] From Celia Thaxter's Stories and Poems for Children.

A little boy sat at his mother's knees, by
the long western window, looking out into
the garden. It was autumn, and the wind
was sad; and the golden elm leaves lay
scattered about among the grass, and on
the gravel path. The mother was knitting
a little stocking; her fingers moved the
bright needles; but her eyes were fixed on
the clear evening sky.

As the darkness gathered, the wee boy
laid his head on her lap and kept so still
that, at last, she leaned forward to look
into his dear round face. He was not
asleep, but was watching very earnestly a
blackberry-bush, that waved its one tall,
dark-red spray in the wind outside the

"What are you thinking about, my
darling?" she said, smoothing his soft,
honey-colored hair.

"The blackberry-bush, mamma; what
does it say? It keeps nodding, nodding to
me behind the fence; what does it say,

"It says," she answered, `I see a happy
little boy in the warm, fire-lighted room.
The wind blows cold, and here it is dark
and lonely; but that little boy is warm
and happy and safe at his mother's knees.
I nod to him, and he looks at me. I
wonder if he knows how happy he is!

"`See, all my leaves are dark crimson.
Every day they dry and wither more and
more; by and by they will be so weak they
can scarcely cling to my branches, and the
north wind will tear them all away, and
nobody will remember them any more.
Then the snow will sink down and wrap
me close. Then the snow will melt again
and icy rain will clothe me, and the bitter
wind will rattle my bare twigs up and

"`I nod my head to all who pass, and
dreary nights and dreary days go by; but
in the happy house, so warm and bright,
the little boy plays all day with books and
toys. His mother and his father cherish
him; he nestles on their knees in the red
firelight at night, while they read to him
lovely stories, or sing sweet old songs to
him,--the happy little boy! And outside
I peep over the snow and see a stream of
ruddy light from a crack in the window-
shutter, and I nod out here alone in the
dark, thinking how beautiful it is.

"`And here I wait patiently. I take the
snow and the rain and the cold, and I am
not sorry, but glad; for in my roots I feel
warmth and life, and I know that a store
of greenness and beauty is shut up safe in
my small brown buds. Day and night go
again and again; little by little the snow
melts all away; the ground grows soft;
the sky is blue; the little birds fly over
crying, "It is spring! it is spring!" Ah!
then through all my twigs I feel the slow
sap stirring.

"`Warmer grow the sunbeams, and
softer the air. The small blades of grass
creep thick about my feet; the sweet rain
helps swell my shining buds. More and
more I push forth my leaves, till out I burst
in a gay green dress, and nod in joy and
pride. The little boy comes running to
look at me, and cries, "Oh, mamma! the
little blackberry-bush is alive and beautiful
and green. Oh, come and see!" And
I hear; and I bow my head in the summer
wind; and every day they watch me grow
more beautiful, till at last I shake out
blossoms, fair and fragrant.

"`A few days more, and I drop the white
petals down among the grass, and, lo! the
green tiny berries! Carefully I hold them
up to the sun; carefully I gather the dew
in the summer nights; slowly they ripen;
they grow larger and redder and darker,
and at last they are black, shining,
delicious. I hold them as high as I can for
the little boy, who comes dancing out. He
shouts with joy, and gathers them in his
dear hand; and he runs to share them with
his mother, saying, "Here is what the
patient blackberry-bush bore for us: see how
nice, mamma!"

"`Ah! then indeed I am glad, and would
say, if I could, "Yes, take them, dear little
boy; I kept them for you, held them long
up to sun and rain to make them sweet and
ripe for you;" and I nod and nod in full
content, for my work is done. From the
window he watches me and thinks, "There
is the little blackberry-bush that was so
kind to me. I see it and I love it. I know
it is safe out there nodding all alone, and
next summer it will hold ripe berries up
for me to gather again." '"

Then the wee boy smiled, and liked the
little story. His mother took him up in her
arms, and they went out to supper and left
the blackberry-bush nodding up and down
in the wind; and there it is nodding yet.


[1] By William Allingham.

Up the airy mountain,
Down the rushy glen,
We daren't go a-hunting
For fear of little men.
Wee folk, good folk,
Trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap,
And white owl's feather!

Down along the rocky shore
Some make their home--
They live on crispy pancakes
Of yellow tide-foam;
Some in the reeds
Of the black mountain-lake,
With frogs for their watch-dogs,
All night awake.

High on the hilltop
The old King sits;
He is now so old and gray,
He's nigh lost his wits.
With a bridge of white mist
Columbkill he crosses,
On his stately journeys
From Slieveleague to Rosses;
Or going up with music
On cold starry nights,
To sup with the Queen
Of the gay Northern Lights.

They stole little Bridget
For seven years long;
When she came down again
Her friends were all gone.
They took her lightly back,
Between the night and morrow;
They thought that she was fast
But she was dead with sorrow.
They have kept her ever since
Deep within the lake,
On a bed of flag-leaves,
Watching till she wake.

By the craggy hillside,
Through the mosses bare,
They have planted thorn-trees,
For pleasure here and there.
Is any man so daring
As dig them up in spite,
He shall find their sharpest thorns
In his bed at night.

Up the airy mountain,
Down the rushy glen,
We daren't go a-hunting
For fear of little men.
Wee folk, good folk,
Trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap,
And white owl's feather!


Once upon a time, there was a little brown
Field Mouse; and one day he was out in
the fields to see what he could see. He was
running along in the grass, poking his nose
into everything and looking with his two
eyes all about, when he saw a smooth,
shiny acorn, lying in the grass. It was such
a fine shiny little acorn that he thought
he would take it home with him; so he put
out his paw to touch it, but the little acorn
rolled away from him. He ran after it, but
it kept rolling on, just ahead of him, till it
came to a place where a big oak-tree had
its roots spread all over the ground. Then
it rolled under a big round root.

Little Mr. Field Mouse ran to the root
and poked his nose under after the acorn,
and there he saw a small round hole in
the ground. He slipped through and saw
some stairs going down into the earth.
The acorn was rolling down, with a soft
tapping sound, ahead of him, so down he
went too. Down, down, down, rolled the
acorn, and down, down, down, went the
Field Mouse, until suddenly he saw a tiny
door at the foot of the stairs.

The shiny acorn rolled to the door and
struck against it with a tap. Quickly the
little door opened and the acorn rolled
inside. The Field Mouse hurried as fast as
he could down the last stairs, and pushed
through just as the door was closing. It
shut behind him, and he was in a little
room. And there, before him, stood a
queer little Red Man! He had a little red
cap, and a little red jacket, and odd little
red shoes with points at the toes.

"You are my prisoner," he said to the
Field Mouse.

"What for?" said the Field Mouse.

"Because you tried to steal my acorn,"
said the little Red Man.

"It is my acorn," said the Field Mouse;
"I found it."

"No, it isn't," said the little Red Man,
"I have it; you will never see it again."

The little Field Mouse looked all about
the room as fast as he could, but he could
not see any acorn. Then he thought he
would go back up the tiny stairs to his own
home. But the little door was locked, and
the little Red Man had the key. And he
said to the poor mouse,--

"You shall be my servant; you shall
make my bed and sweep my room and
cook my broth."

So the little brown Mouse was the little
Red Man's servant, and every day he made
the little Red Man's bed and swept the
little Red Man's room and cooked the little
Red Man's broth. And every day the
little Red Man went away through the tiny
door, and did not come back till afternoon.
But he always locked the door after him,
and carried away the key.

At last, one day he was in such a hurry
that he turned the key before the door was
quite latched, which, of course, didn't lock
it at all. He went away without noticing,
--he was in such a hurry.

The little Field Mouse knew that his
chance had come to run away home. But
he didn't want to go without the pretty,
shiny acorn. Where it was he didn't know,
so he looked everywhere. He opened every
little drawer and looked in, but it wasn't
in any of the drawers; he peeped on every
shelf, but it wasn't on a shelf; he hunted
in every closet, but it wasn't in there.
Finally, he climbed up on a chair and
opened a wee, wee door in the chimney-
piece,--and there it was!

He took it quickly in his forepaws, and
then he took it in his mouth, and then he
ran away. He pushed open the little door;
he climbed up, up, up the little stairs; he
came out through the hole under the root;
he ran and ran through the fields; and at
last he came to his own house.

When he was in his own house he set
the shiny acorn on the table. I guess he
set it down hard, for all at once, with a little
snap, it opened!--exactly like a little box.

And what do you think! There was a
tiny necklace inside! It was a most beautiful
tiny necklace, all made of jewels, and
it was just big enough for a lady mouse.
So the little Field Mouse gave the tiny
necklace to his little Mouse-sister. She
thought it was perfectly lovely. And when
she wasn't wearing it she kept it in the
shiny acorn box.

And the little Red Man never knew what
had become of it, because he didn't know
where the little Field Mouse lived.


[1] Adapted from the verse version, which is given here as an

Once upon a time there was a little Red
Hen, who lived on a farm all by herself.
An old Fox, crafty and sly, had a den in the
rocks, on a hill near her house. Many and
many a night this old Fox used to lie awake
and think to himself how good that little
Red Hen would taste if he could once get
her in his big kettle and boil her for dinner.
But he couldn't catch the little Red Hen,
because she was too wise for him. Every
time she went out to market she locked the
door of the house behind her, and as soon
as she came in again she locked the door
behind her and put the key in her apron
pocket, where she kept her scissors and a
sugar cooky.

At last the old Fox thought up a way
to catch the little Red Hen. Early in the
morning he said to his old mother, "Have
the kettle boiling when I come home to-
night, for I'll be bringing the little Red
Hen for supper." Then he took a big bag
and slung it over his shoulder, and walked
till he came to the little Red Hen's house.
The little Red Hen was just coming out of
her door to pick up a few sticks for kindling
wood. So the old Fox hid behind the wood-
pile, and as soon as she bent down to get a
stick, into the house he slipped, and scurried
behind the door.

In a minute the little Red Hen came
quickly in, and shut the door and locked
it. "I'm glad I'm safely in," she said.
Just as she said it, she turned round, and
there stood the ugly old Fox, with his big
bag over his shoulder. Whiff! how scared
the little Red Hen was! She dropped her
apronful of sticks, and flew up to the big
beam across the ceiling. There she perched,
and she said to the old Fox, down below,
"You may as well go home, for you can't
get me."

"Can't I, though!" said the Fox. And
what do you think he did? He stood on
the floor underneath the little Red Hen
and twirled round in a circle after his own
tail. And as he spun, and spun, and spun,
faster, and faster, and faster, the poor little
Red Hen got so dizzy watching him that
she couldn't hold on to the perch. She
dropped off, and the old Fox picked her up
and put her in his bag, slung the bag over
his shoulder, and started for home, where
the kettle was boiling.

He had a very long way to go, up hill,
and the little Red Hen was still so dizzy
that she didn't know where she was. But
when the dizziness began to go off, she
whisked her little scissors out of her apron
pocket, and snip! she cut a little hole in the
bag; then she poked her head out and saw
where she was, and as soon as they came
to a good spot she cut the hole bigger and
jumped out herself. There was a great big
stone lying there, and the little Red Hen
picked it up and put it in the bag as quick
as a wink. Then she ran as fast as she
could till she came to her own little farm-
house, and she went in and locked the door
with the big key.

The old Fox went on carrying the stone
and never knew the difference. My, but it
bumped him well! He was pretty tired
when he got home. But he was so pleased
to think of the supper he was going to have
that he did not mind that at all. As soon
as his mother opened the door he said, "Is
the kettle boiling?"

"Yes," said his mother; "have you got
the little Red Hen?"

"I have," said the old Fox. "When I
open the bag you hold the cover off the kettle
and I'll shake the bag so that the Hen
will fall in, and then you pop the cover on,
before she can jump out."

"All right," said his mean old mother;
and she stood close by the boiling kettle,
ready to put the cover on.

The Fox lifted the big, heavy bag up
till it was over the open kettle, and gave
it a shake. Splash! thump! splash! In
went the stone and out came the boiling
water, all over the old Fox and the old
Fox's mother!

And they were scalded to death.

But the little Red Hen lived happily ever
after, in her own little farmhouse.


[1] From Horace E. Scudder's Doings of the Bodley Family in
Town and Country (Houghton, Mifflin & Co.).

There was once't upon a time
A little small Rid Hin,
Off in the good ould country
Where yees ha' nivir bin.

Nice and quiet shure she was,
And nivir did any harrum;
She lived alane all be herself,
And worked upon her farrum.

There lived out o'er the hill,
In a great din o' rocks,
A crafty, shly, and wicked
Ould folly iv a Fox.

This rashkill iv a Fox,
He tuk it in his head
He'd have the little Rid Hin:
So, whin he wint to bed,

He laid awake and thaught
What a foine thing 'twad be
To fetch her home and bile her up
For his ould marm and he.

And so he thaught and thaught,
Until he grew so thin
That there was nothin' left of him
But jist his bones and shkin.

But the small Rid Hin was wise,
She always locked her door,
And in her pocket pit the key,
To keep the Fox out shure.

But at last there came a schame
Intil his wicked head,
And he tuk a great big bag
And to his mither said,--

"Now have the pot all bilin'
Agin the time I come;
We'll ate the small Rid Hin to-night,
For shure I'll bring her home."

And so away he wint
Wid the bag upon his back,
An' up the hill and through the woods
Saftly he made his track.

An' thin he came alang,
Craping as shtill's a mouse,
To where the little small Rid Hin
Lived in her shnug ould house.

An' out she comes hersel',
Jist as he got in sight,
To pick up shticks to make her fire:
"Aha!" says Fox, "all right.

"Begorra, now, I'll have yees
Widout much throuble more;"
An' in he shlips quite unbeknownst,
An' hides be'ind the door.

An' thin, a minute afther,
In comes the small Rid Hin,
An' shuts the door, and locks it, too,
An' thinks, "I'm safely in."

An' thin she tarns around
An' looks be'ind the door;
There shtands the Fox wid his big tail
Shpread out upon the floor.

Dear me! she was so schared
Wid such a wondrous sight,
She dropped her apronful of shticks,
An' flew up in a fright,

An' lighted on the bame
Across on top the room;
"Aha!" says she, "ye don't have me;
Ye may as well go home."

"Aha!" says Fox, "we'll see;
I'll bring yees down from that."
So out he marched upon the floor
Right under where she sat.

An' thin he whiruled around,
An' round an' round an' round,
Fashter an' fashter an' fashter,
Afther his tail on the ground.

Until the small Rid Hin
She got so dizzy, shure,
Wid lookin' at the Fox's tail,
She jist dropped on the floor.

An' Fox he whipped her up,
An' pit her in his bag,
An' off he started all alone,
Him and his little dag.

All day he tracked the wood
Up hill an' down again;
An' wid him, shmotherin' in the bag,
The little small Rid Hin.

Sorra a know she knowed
Awhere she was that day;
Says she, "I'm biled an' ate up, shure,
An' what'll be to pay?"

Thin she betho't hersel',
An' tuk her schissors out,
An' shnipped a big hole in the bag,
So she could look about.

An' 'fore ould Fox could think
She lept right out--she did,
An' thin picked up a great big shtone,
An' popped it in instid.

An' thin she rins off home,
Her outside door she locks;
Thinks she, "You see you don't have me,
You crafty, shly ould Fox."

An' Fox, he tugged away
Wid the great big hivy shtone,
Thimpin' his shoulders very bad
As he wint in alone.

An' whin he came in sight
O' his great din o' rocks,
Jist watchin' for him at the door
He shpied ould mither Fox.

"Have ye the pot a-bilin'?"
Says he to ould Fox thin;
"Shure an' it is, me child," says she;
"Have ye the small Rid Hin?"

"Yes, jist here in me bag,
As shure as I shtand here;
Open the lid till I pit her in:
Open it--niver fear."

So the rashkill cut the sthring,
An' hild the big bag over;
"Now when I shake it in," says he,
"Do ye pit on the cover."

"Yis, that I will;" an' thin
The shtone wint in wid a dash,
An' the pot oy bilin' wather
Came over them ker-splash.

An' schalted 'em both to death,
So they couldn't brathe no more;
An' the little small Rid Hin lived safe,
Jist where she lived before.


[1] A Southern nonsense tale.

Epaminondas used to go to see his Auntie
'most every day, and she nearly always
gave him something to take home to his

One day she gave him a big piece of cake;
nice, yellow, rich gold-cake.

Epaminondas took it in his fist and held
it all scrunched up tight, like this, and
came along home. By the time he got home
there wasn't anything left but a fistful of
crumbs. His Mammy said,--

"What you got there, Epaminondas?"

"Cake, Mammy," said Epaminondas.

"Cake!" said his Mammy. "Epaminondas,
you ain't got the sense you was born
with! That's no way to carry cake. The
way to carry cake is to wrap it all up nice
in some leaves and put it in your hat, and
put your hat on your head, and come along
home. You hear me, Epaminondas?"

"Yes, Mammy," said Epaminondas.

Next day Epaminondas went to see his
Auntie, and she gave him a pound of
butter for his Mammy; fine, fresh, sweet

Epaminondas wrapped it up in leaves
and put it in his hat, and put his hat on his
head, and came along home. It was a very
hot day. Pretty soon the butter began to
melt. It melted, and melted, and as it
melted it ran down Epaminondas' forehead;
then it ran over his face, and in his
ears, and down his neck. When he got
home, all the butter Epaminondas had was
ON HIM. His Mammy looked at him, and
then she said,--

"Law's sake! Epaminondas, what you
got in your hat?"

"Butter, Mammy," said Epaminondas;
"Auntie gave it to me."

"Butter!" said his Mammy. "Epaminondas,
you ain't got the sense you was
born with! Don't you know that's no way
to carry butter? The way to carry butter
is to wrap it up in some leaves and take
it down to the brook, and cool it in the
water, and cool it in the water, and cool
it in the water, and then take it on
your hands, careful, and bring it along

"Yes, Mammy," said Epaminondas.

By and by, another day, Epaminondas
went to see his Auntie again, and this time
she gave him a little new puppy-dog to
take home.

Epaminondas put it in some leaves and
took it down to the brook; and there he
cooled it in the water, and cooled it in the
water, and cooled it in the water; then he
took it in his hands and came along home.
When he got home, the puppy-dog was
dead. His Mammy looked at it, and she

"Law's sake! Epaminondas, what you
got there?"

"A puppy-dog, Mammy," said Epaminondas.

"A PUPPY-DOG!" said his Mammy. "My
gracious sakes alive, Epaminondas, you
ain't got the sense you was born with!
That ain't the way to carry a puppy-dog!
The way to carry a puppy-dog is to take a
long piece of string and tie one end of it
round the puppy-dog's neck and put the
puppy-dog on the ground, and take hold
of the other end of the string and come
along home, like this."

"All right, Mammy," said Epaminondas.

Next day, Epaminondas went to see his
Auntie again, and when he came to go
home she gave him a loaf of bread to carry
to his Mammy; a brown, fresh, crusty loaf
of bread.

So Epaminondas tied a string around the
end of the loaf and took hold of the end of
the string and came along home, like this.
(Imitate dragging something along the
ground.) When he got home his Mammy
looked at the thing on the end of the string,
and she said,--

"My laws a-massy! Epaminondas, what
you got on the end of that string?"

"Bread, Mammy," said Epaminondas;
"Auntie gave it to me."

"Bread!!!" said his Mammy. "O
Epaminondas, Epaminondas, you ain't got the
sense you was born with; you never did
have the sense you was born with; you
never will have the sense you was born
with! Now I ain't gwine tell you any more
ways to bring truck home. And don't you
go see your Auntie, neither. I'll go see
her my own self. But I'll just tell you one
thing, Epaminondas! You see these here
six mince pies I done make? You see how
I done set 'em on the doorstep to cool?
Well, now, you hear me, Epaminondas,

"Yes, Mammy," said Epaminondas.

Then Epaminondas' Mammy put on
her bonnet and her shawl and took a basket
in her hand and went away to see
Auntie. The six mince pies sat cooling in
a row on the doorstep.

And then,--and then,--Epaminondas
WAS careful how he stepped on those

He stepped (imitate)--right--in--
. . . . . . . .
And, do you know, children, nobody knows
what happened next! The person who told
me the story didn't know; nobody knows.
But you can guess.


There was once a shepherd-boy who
kept his flock at a little distance from the
village. Once he thought he would play a
trick on the villagers and have some fun
at their expense. So he ran toward the
village crying out, with all his might,--

"Wolf! Wolf! Come and help! The
wolves are at my lambs!"

The kind villagers left their work and
ran to the field to help him. But when
they got there the boy laughed at them
for their pains; there was no wolf there.

Still another day the boy tried the same
trick, and the villagers came running to
help and got laughed at again.
Then one day a wolf did break into the
fold and began killing the lambs. In great
fright, the boy ran for help. "Wolf! Wolf!"
he screamed. "There is a wolf in the flock!

The villagers heard him, but they thought
it was another mean trick; no one paid the
least attention, or went near him. And the
shepherd-boy lost all his sheep.

That is the kind of thing that happens
to people who lie: even when they tell the
truth no one believes them.


Did you ever hear the old story about
the foolish Frogs? The Frogs in a certain
swamp decided that they needed a king;
they had always got along perfectly well
without one, but they suddenly made up
their minds that a king they must have.
They sent a messenger to Jove and begged
him to send a king to rule over them.

Jove saw how stupid they were, and sent
a king who could not harm them: he tossed
a big log into the middle of the pond.

At the splash the Frogs were terribly
frightened, and dove into their holes to
hide from King Log. But after a while,
when they saw that the king never moved,
they got over their fright and went and
sat on him. And as soon as they found he
really could not hurt them they began to
despise him; and finally they sent another
messenger to Jove to ask for a new king.

Jove sent an eel.

The Frogs were much pleased and a
good deal frightened when King Eel came
wriggling and swimming among them. But
as the days went on, and the eel was
perfectly harmless, they stopped being afraid;
and as soon as they stopped fearing King
Eel they stopped respecting him.

Soon they sent a third messenger to
Jove, and begged that they might have a
better king,--a king who was worth

It was too much; Jove was angry at their
stupidity at last. "I will give you a king
such as you deserve!" he said; and he
sent them a Stork.

As soon as the Frogs came to the surface
to greet the new king, King Stork caught
them in his long bill and gobbled them up.
One after another they came bobbing up,
and one after another the stork ate them.
He was indeed a king worthy of them!


The Sun and the Wind once had a quarrel
as to which was the stronger. Each
believed himself to be the more powerful.
While they were arguing they saw a traveler
walking along the country highway,
wearing a great cloak.

"Here is a chance to test our strength,"
said the Wind; "let us see which of us is
strong enough to make that traveler take
off his cloak; the one who can do that shall
be acknowledged the more powerful."

"Agreed," said the Sun.

Instantly the Wind began to blow; he
puffed and tugged at the man's cloak, and
raised a storm of hail and rain, to beat at
it. But the colder it grew and the more it
stormed, the tighter the traveler held his
cloak around him. The Wind could not
get it off.

Now it was the Sun's turn. He shone
with all his beams on the man's shoulders.
As it grew hotter and hotter, the man
unfastened his cloak; then he threw it back;
at last he took it off! The Sun had won.


The little Jackal was very fond of shell-
fish. He used to go down by the river and
hunt along the edges for crabs and such
things. And once, when he was hunting
for crabs, he was so hungry that he put his
paw into the water after a crab without
looking first,--which you never should
do! The minute he put in his paw, SNAP!
--the big Alligator who lives in the mud
down there had it in his jaws.

"Oh, dear!" thought the little Jackal;
"the big Alligator has my paw in his
mouth! In another minute he will pull me
down and gobble me up! What shall I
do? what shall I do?" Then he thought,
suddenly, "I'll deceive him!"

So he put on a very cheerful voice, as if
nothing at all were the matter, and he

"Ho! ho! Clever Mr. Alligator! Smart
Mr. Alligator, to take that old bulrush
root for my paw! I'll hope you'll find it
very tender!"

The old Alligator was hidden away
beneath the mud and bulrush leaves, and
he couldn't see anything. He thought,
"Pshaw! I've made a mistake." So he
opened his mouth and let the little Jackal

The little Jackal ran away as fast as he
could, and as he ran he called out,--

"Thank you, Mr. Alligator! Kind Mr.
Alligator! SO kind of you to let me go!"

The old Alligator lashed with his tail
and snapped with his jaws, but it was
too late; the little Jackal was out of

After this the little Jackal kept away
from the river, out of danger. But after
about a week he got such an appetite for
crabs that nothing else would do at all;
he felt that he must have a crab. So he
went down by the river and looked all
around, very carefully. He didn't see the
old Alligator, but he thought to himself,
"I think I'll not take any chances." So
he stood still and began to talk out loud
to himself. He said,--

"When I don't see any little crabs on
the land I most generally see them sticking
out of the water, and then I put my
paw in and catch them. I wonder if there
are any fat little crabs in the water today?"

The old Alligator was hidden down in
the mud at the bottom of the river, and
when he heard what the little Jackal said,
he thought, "Aha! I'll pretend to be a
little crab, and when he puts his paw in,
I'll make my dinner of him." So he stuck
the black end of his snout above the water
and waited.

The little Jackal took one look, and
then he said,--

"Thank you, Mr. Alligator! Kind Mr.
Alligator! You are EXCEEDINGLY kind to
show me where you are! I will have dinner
elsewhere." And he ran away like the

The old Alligator foamed at the mouth,
he was so angry, but the little Jackal was

For two whole weeks the little Jackal
kept away from the river. Then, one day
he got a feeling inside him that nothing
but crabs could satisfy; he felt that he
must have at least one crab. Very
cautiously, he went down to the river and
looked all around. He saw no sign of the
old Alligator. Still, he did not mean to
take any chances. So he stood quite still
and began to talk to himself,--it was
a little way he had. He said,--

"When I don't see any little crabs on
the shore, or sticking up out of the water,
I usually see them blowing bubbles from
under the water; the little bubbles go PUFF,
PUFF, PUFF, and then they go POP, POP, POP,
and they show me where the little juicy
crabs are, so I can put my paw in and
catch them. I wonder if I shall see any
little bubbles to-day?"

The old Alligator, lying low in the mud
and weeds, heard this, and he thought,
"Pooh! THAT'S easy enough; I'll just
blow some little crab-bubbles, and then
he will put his paw in where I can get it."

So he blew, and he blew, a mighty blast,
and the bubbles rose in a perfect whirlpool,
fizzing and swirling.

The little Jackal didn't have to be told
who was underneath those bubbles: he
took one quick look, and off he ran. But
as he went, he sang,--

"Thank you, Mr. Alligator! Kind Mr.
Alligator! You are the kindest Alligator
in the world, to show me where you are, so
nicely! I'll breakfast at another part of
the river."

The old Alligator was so furious that he
crawled up on the bank and went after
the little Jackal; but, dear, dear, he
couldn't catch the little Jackal; he ran
far too fast.

After this, the little Jackal did not like to
risk going near the water, so he ate no more
crabs. But he found a garden of wild figs,
which were so good that he went there every
day, and ate them instead of shell-fish.

Now the old Alligator found this out,
and he made up his mind to have the little
Jackal for supper, or to die trying. So
he crept, and crawled, and dragged himself
over the ground to the garden of wild figs.
There he made a huge pile of figs under
the biggest of the wild fig trees, and hid
himself in the pile.

After a while the little Jackal came
dancing into the garden, very happy and
care-free,--BUT looking all around. He
saw the huge pile of figs under the big fig

"H-m," he thought, "that looks
singularly like my friend, the Alligator. I'll
investigate a bit."

He stood quite still and began to talk
to himself,--it was a little way he had. He

"The little figs I like best are the fat,
ripe, juicy ones that drop off when the
breeze blows; and then the wind blows
them about on the ground, this way and
that; the great heap of figs over there is
so still that I think they must be all bad

The old Alligator, underneath his fig
pile, thought,--

"Bother the suspicious little Jackal,
I shall have to make these figs roll about,
so that he will think the wind moves
them." And straightway he humped himself
up and moved, and sent the little figs
flying,--and his back showed through.

The little Jackal did not wait for a
second look. He ran out of the garden
like the wind. But as he ran he called

"Thank you, again, Mr. Alligator; very
sweet of you to show me where you are; I
can't stay to thank you as I should like:

At this the old Alligator was beside
himself with rage. He vowed that he
would have the little Jackal for supper
this time, come what might. So he crept
and crawled over the ground till he came
to the little Jackal's house. Then he crept
and crawled inside, and hid himself there
in the house, to wait till the little Jackal
should come home.

By and by the little Jackal came dancing
home, happy and care-free,--BUT
looking all around. Presently, as he came
along, he saw that the ground was all
scratched up as if something very heavy
had been dragged over it. The little Jackal
stopped and looked.

"What's this? what's this?" he said.

Then he saw that the door of his house
was crushed at the sides and broken, as
if something very big had gone through it.

"What's this? What's this?" the little
Jackal said. "I think I'll investigate a

So he stood quite still and began to talk
to himself (you remember, it was a little
way he had), but loudly. He said,--

"How strange that my little House
doesn't speak to me! Why don't you
speak to me, little House? You always
speak to me, if everything is all right,
when I come home. I wonder if anything
is wrong with my little House?"

The old Alligator thought to himself
that he must certainly pretend to be the
little House, or the little Jackal would
never come in. So he put on as pleasant
a voice as he could (which is not saying
much) and said,--

"Hullo, little Jackal!"

Oh! when the little Jackal heard that,
he was frightened enough, for once.

"It's the old Alligator," he said, "and
if I don't make an end of him this time he
will certainly make an end of me. What
shall I do?"

He thought very fast. Then he spoke
out pleasantly.

"Thank you, little House," he said,
"it's good to hear your pretty voice, dear
little House, and I will be in with you in a
minute; only first I must gather some
firewood for dinner."

Then he went and gathered firewood,
and more firewood, and more firewood;
and he piled it all up solid against the door
and round the house; and then he set fire
to it!

And it smoked and burned till it smoked
that old Alligator to smoked herring!


There was once a family of little Larks
who lived with their mother in a nest in a
cornfield. When the corn was ripe the
mother Lark watched very carefully to see
if there were any sign of the reapers'
coming, for she knew that when they came
their sharp knives would cut down the
nest and hurt the baby Larks. So every
day, when she went out for food, she told
the little Larks to look and listen very
closely to everything that went on, and to
tell her all they saw and heard when she
came home.

One day when she came home the little
Larks were much frightened.

"Oh, Mother, dear Mother," they said,
"you must move us away to-night! The
farmer was in the field to-day, and he said,
`The corn is ready to cut; we must call in
the neighbors to help.' And then he told his
son to go out to-night and ask all the neighbors
to come and reap the corn to-morrow."

The mother Lark laughed. "Don't be
frightened," she said; "if he waits for his
neighbors to reap the corn we shall have
plenty of time to move; tell me what he
says to-morrow."

The next night the little Larks were quite
trembling with fear; the moment their
mother got home they cried out, "Mother,
you must surely move us to-night! The
farmer came to-day and said, `The corn
is getting too ripe; we cannot wait for our
neighbors; we must ask our relatives to
help us.' And then he called his son and
told him to ask all the uncles and cousins
to come to-morrow and cut the corn. Shall
we not move to-night?"

"Don't worry," said the mother Lark;
"the uncles and cousins have plenty of
reaping to do for themselves; we'll not
move yet."

The third night, when the mother Lark
came home, the baby Larks said, "Mother,
dear, the farmer came to the field to-day,
and when he looked at the corn he was
quite angry; he said, `This will never do!
The corn is getting too ripe; it's no use to
wait for our relatives, we shall have to cut
this corn ourselves.' And then he called
his son and said, `Go out to-night and
hire reapers, and to-morrow we will begin
to cut.'"

"Well," said the mother, "that is
another story; when a man begins to do his
own business, instead of asking somebody
else to do it, things get done. I will
move you out to-night."


Once there were four little girls who
lived in a big, bare house, in the country.
They were very poor, but they had the
happiest times you ever heard of, because they
were very rich in everything except just
money. They had a wonderful, wise father,
who knew stories to tell, and who taught
them their lessons in such a beautiful way
that it was better than play; they had a
lovely, merry, kind mother, who was never
too tired to help them work or watch them
play; and they had all the great green
country to play in. There were dark,
shadowy woods, and fields of flowers, and
a river. And there was a big barn.

One of the little girls was named Louisa.
She was very pretty, and ever so strong;
she could run for miles through the woods
and not get tired. And she had a splendid
brain in her little head; it liked study, and
it thought interesting thoughts all day long.

Louisa liked to sit in a corner by herself,
sometimes, and write thoughts in her
diary; all the little girls kept diaries. She
liked to make up stories out of her own
head, and sometimes she made verses.

When the four little sisters had finished
their lessons, and had helped their mother
sew and clean, they used to go to the big
barn to play; and the best play of all was
theatricals. Louisa liked theatricals better
than anything.

They made the barn into a theatre, and
the grown people came to see the plays they
acted. They used to climb up on the hay-
mow for a stage, and the grown people
sat in chairs on the floor. It was great fun.
One of the plays they acted was Jack and
the Bean-Stalk. They had a ladder from
the floor to the loft, and on the ladder they
tied a squash vine all the way up to the
loft, to look like the wonderful bean-stalk.
One of the little girls was dressed up to
look like Jack, and she acted that part.
When it came to the place in the story
where the giant tried to follow Jack, the
little girl cut down the bean-stalk, and
down came the giant tumbling from the
loft. The giant was made out of pillows,
with a great, fierce head of paper, and
funny clothes.

Another story that they acted was
Cinderella. They made a wonderful big pumpkin
out of the wheelbarrow, trimmed with
yellow paper, and Cinderella rolled away
in it, when the fairy godmother waved her

One other beautiful story they used to
play. It was the story of Pilgrim's Progress;
if you have never heard it, you must
be sure to read it as soon as you can read
well enough to understand the old-fashioned
words. The little girls used to put
shells in their hats for a sign they were on
a pilgrimage, as the old pilgrims used to
do; then they made journeys over the hill
behind the house, and through the woods,
and down the lanes; and when the pilgrimage
was over they had apples and nuts to
eat, in the happy land of home.

Louisa loved all these plays, and she
made some of her own and wrote them
down so that the children could act them.

But better than fun or writing Louisa
loved her mother, and by and by, as the
little girl began to grow into a big girl, she
felt very sad to see her dear mother work
so hard. She helped all she could with the
housework, but nothing could really help
the tired mother except money; she needed
money for food and clothes, and some one
grown up, to help in the house. But there
never was enough money for these things,
and Louisa's mother grew more and more
weary, and sometimes ill. I cannot tell you
how much Louisa suffered over this.

At last, as Louisa thought about it,
she came to care more about helping her
mother and her father and her sisters
than about anything else in all the world.
And she began to work very hard to earn
money. She sewed for people, and when
she was a little older she taught some
little girls their lessons, and then she wrote
stories for the papers. Every bit of money
she earned, except what she had to use,
she gave to her dear family. It helped very
much, but it was so little that Louisa never
felt as if she were doing anything.

Every year she grew more unselfish, and
every year she worked harder. She liked
writing stories best of all her work, but
she did not get much money for them, and
some people told her she was wasting her

At last, one day, a publisher asked
Louisa, who was now a woman, to write
a book for girls. Louisa was not very well,
and she was very tired, but she always
said, "I'll try," when she had a chance to
work; so she said, "I'll try," to the
publisher. When she thought about the book
she remembered the good times she used
to have with her sisters in the big, bare
house in the country. And so she wrote a
story and put all that in it; she put her
dear mother and her wise father in it, and
all the little sisters, and besides the jolly
times and the plays, she put the sad, hard
times in,--the work and worry and going
without things.

When the book was written, she called
it "Little Women," and sent it to the publisher.

And, children, the little book made
Louisa famous. It was so sweet and
funny and sad and real,--like our own
lives,--that everybody wanted to read it.
Everybody bought it, and much money
came from it. After so many years, little
Louisa's wish came true: she bought a
nice house for her family; she sent one
of her sisters to Europe, to study; she
gave her father books; but best of all, she
was able to see to it that the beloved
mother, so tired and so ill, could have rest
and happiness. Never again did the dear
mother have to do any hard work, and
she had pretty things about her all the rest
of her life.

Louisa Alcott, for that was Louisa's
name, wrote many beautiful books after
this, and she became one of the most
famous women of America. But I think the
most beautiful thing about her is what I
have been telling you: that she loved her
mother so well that she gave her whole
life to make her happy.


The little Louisa I told you about, who
wrote verses and stories in her diary, used
to like to play that she was a princess, and
that her kingdom was her own mind.
When she had unkind or dissatisfied
thoughts, she tried to get rid of them by
playing they were enemies of the kingdom;
and she drove them out with soldiers;
the soldiers were patience, duty, and love.
It used to help Louisa to be good to play
this, and I think it may have helped make
her the splendid woman she was afterward.
Maybe you would like to hear a
poem she wrote about it, when she was
only fourteen years old.[1] It will help you,
too, to think the same thoughts.

[1] From Louisa M. Alcott's Life, Letters, and Journals (Little,
Brown & Co.). Copyright, 1878, by Louisa M. Alcott. Copyright,
1906, by J. S. P. Alcott.

A little kingdom I possess,
Where thoughts and feelings dwell,
And very hard I find the task
Of governing it well;
For passion tempts and troubles me,
A wayward will misleads,
And selfishness its shadow casts
On all my words and deeds.

How can I learn to rule myself,
To be the child I should,
Honest and brave, nor ever tire
Of trying to be good?
How can I keep a sunny soul
To shine along life's way?
How can I tune my little heart
To sweetly sing all day?

Dear Father, help me with the love
That casteth out my fear,
Teach me to lean on thee, and feel
That thou art very near,

That no temptation is unseen,
No childish grief too small,
Since thou, with patience infinite,
Doth soothe and comfort all.

I do not ask for any crown
But that which all may win,
Nor seek to conquer any world,
Except the one within.
Be thou my guide until I find,
Led by a tender hand,
Thy happy kingdom in MYSELF,
And dare to take command.


[1] From Celia Thaxter's Stories and Poems for Children
Houghton, Mifflin & Co.).

Poor, sweet Piccola! Did you hear
What happened to Piccola, children dear?
'T is seldom Fortune such favor grants
As fell to this little maid of France.

'Twas Christmas-time, and her parents poor
Could hardly drive the wolf from the door,
Striving with poverty's patient pain
Only to live till summer again.

No gifts for Piccola! Sad were they
When dawned the morning of Christmas-day;
Their little darling no joy might stir,
St. Nicholas nothing would bring to her!

But Piccola never doubted at all
That something beautiful must befall
Every child upon Christmas-day,
And so she slept till the dawn was gray.

And full of faith, when at last she woke,
She stole to her shoe as the morning broke;

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