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The Elson Readers, Book 5 by William H. Elson and Christine M. Keck

Part 7 out of 9

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you must be kind enough not to ask any questions about it. The box
was left here to be kept safely, and I do not myself know what it

"But who gave it to you?" asked Pandora. "And where did it come from?"
"That is a secret, too," replied Epimetheus.

"How provoking!" exclaimed Pandora, pouting her lip. "I wish the great
ugly box were out of the way!"

"O come, don't think of it any more," cried Epimetheus. "Let us run
out of doors, and have some nice play with the other children."

It is thousands of years since Epimetheus and Pandora were alive; and
the world nowadays is a very different sort of thing from what it was
in their time. Then, everybody was a child. They needed no fathers and
mothers to take care of the children; because there was no danger or
trouble of any kind, and there were no clothes to be mended, and there
was always plenty to eat and drink.

Whenever a child wanted his dinner, he found it growing on a tree; and
if he looked at the tree in the morning, he could see the blossom
of that night's supper; or at eventide he saw the tender bud of
tomorrow's breakfast. It was a very pleasant life indeed. No labor to
be done, no tasks to s be studied; nothing but sports and dances and
sweet voices of children talking, or caroling like birds, or gushing
out in merry laughter, throughout the livelong day.

What was most wonderful of all, the children never quarreled among
themselves; neither had they any crying fits; nor since time first
began had a single one of these little mortals ever gone apart into
a corner and sulked. O what a good time was that to be alive in! The
truth is, those ugly little winged monsters called Troubles, which are
now almost as numerous as mosquitoes, had never yet been seen on the
earth. It is probable that the very greatest disquietude which a child
had ever felt was Pandora's vexation at not being able to discover the
secret of the mysterious box.

This was at first only the faint shadow of a Trouble; but every day
it grew more and-more real, until before a great while the cottage
of Epimetheus and Pandora was less sunshiny than those of the other

"Whence can the box have come?" Pandora continually kept saying to
herself and to Epimetheus. "And can be inside of it?"

"Always talking about this box!" said Epimetheus at last; for he had
grown extremely tired of the subject. "I wish, dear Pandora, you would
try to talk of something else. Come, let us go and gather some ripe
figs, and eat them under the trees for our supper. And I know a vine
that has the sweetest and juiciest grapes you ever tasted." "Always
talking about grapes and figs!" cried Pandora, pettishly.

"Well, then," said Epimetheus, who was a very good-tempered child,
like many children in those days, "let us run out and have a merry
time with our playmates."

"I am tired of merry times, and don't care if I never have any more!"
answered our pettish little Pandora. "And, besides, I never do have
any. This ugly box! I am so taken up with thinking about it all the
time. I insist upon your telling me what is inside of it."

"As I have already said fifty times over, I do not know!" replied
Epimetheus, getting a little vexed. "How, then, can I tell you what is

"You might open it," said Pandora, looking sideways at Epimetheus,
"and then we could see for ourselves!"

"Pandora, what are you thinking of?" exclaimed Epimetheus.

And his face expressed so much horror at the idea of looking into a
box which had been given to him on the condition of his never opening
it, that Pandora thought it best not to suggest it any more. Still,
however, she could not help thinking and talking about the box.

"At least," said she, "you can tell me how it came here."

"It was left at the door," replied Epimetheus, "just before you came,
by a person who looked very smiling and intelligent, and who could
hardly forbear laughing as he put it down. He was dressed in an odd
kind of cloak, and had on a cap that seemed to be made partly of
feathers, so that it looked almost as if it had wings."

"What sort of staff had he?" asked Pandora.

"Oh, the most curious staff you ever saw!" cried Epimetheus. "It was
like two serpents twisting around a stick, and was carved so naturally
that I at first thought the serpents were alive."

"I know him," said Pandora thoughtfully. "Nobody else has such a
staff. It was Quicksilver; and he brought me hither, as well as the
box. No doubt he intended it for me; and most probably it contains
pretty dresses for me to wear, or toys for you and me to play with, or
something very 5 nice for us both to eat!"

"Perhaps so," answered Epimetheus, turning away. "But, until
Quicksilver comes back and tells us so, we have neither of us any
right to lift the lid of the box."

"What a dull boy he is!" muttered Pandora, as Epimetheus left the
cottage. "I do wish he had a little more enterprise!"


For the first time since her arrival Epimetheus had gone out without
asking Pandora to accompany him. He went to gather figs and grapes for
himself, or to seek whatever amusement he could find in other society
than his little playfellow's. He was tired to death of hearing about
the box, and heartily wished that Quicksilver, or whatever was the
messenger's name, had left it at some other child's door where Pandora
would never have set eyes on it.

So perseveringly as she did babble about this one thing! The box, the
box, and nothing but the box! It seemed as if the box were bewitched,
and as if the cottage were not big enough to hold it without Pandora's
continually stumbling over it and making Epimetheus stumble over it
likewise, and bruising all four of their shins.

Well, it was really hard that poor Epimetheus should have a box in his
ears from morning till night; especially as the little people of the
earth were so unaccustomed to vexations in those happy days that they
knew not how to deal with them. Thus a small vexation made as much
disturbance then as a far bigger one would in our own times.

After Epimetheus was gone, Pandora stood gazing at the box. She had
called it ugly above a hundred times; but in spite of all that she
had said against it, it was positively a very handsome article of
furniture, and would have been quite an ornament to any room in which
it should be placed. It was made of a beautiful kind of wood with
dark and rich veins spreading over its surface, which was so highly
polished that little Pandora could see her face in it. As the child
had no other looking-glass, it is odd that she did not value the box
merely on this account.

The edges and corners of the box were carved with most wonderful
skill. Around the margin there were figures of graceful men and women,
and the prettiest children ever seen, reclining or sporting amid a
profusion of flowers and foliage; and these various objects were so
finely represented, and were wrought together in such harmony, that
flowers, foliage, and human beings seemed to combine into a wreath
of mingled beauty. But here and there, peeping forth from behind the
carved foliage, Pandora once or twice fancied she saw a face not so
lovely, or something or other that was disagreeable, and which stole
the beauty out of all, the rest. Nevertheless, on looking more closely
and touching the spot with her finger, she could discover nothing of
the kind. Some face that was really beautiful had been made to look
ugly by her catching a sideways glimpse at it.

The most beautiful face of all was done in what is called high relief,
in the center of the lid. There was nothing else save the dark, smooth
richness of the polished wood, and this one face in the center, with a
garland of flowers about its brow. Pandora had looked at this face a
great many times, and imagined that the mouth could smile if it liked,
or be grave when it chose, the same as any living mouth. The features,
indeed, all wore a very lively and rather mischievous expression,
which looked almost as if it needs must burst out of the carved lips
and utter itself in words.

Had the mouth spoken, it would probably have been something like this:

"Do not be afraid, Pandora! What harm can there be in opening the box?
Never mind that poor, simple Epimetheus! You are wiser than he, and
have ten times as much spirit. Open the box, and see if you do not
find something very pretty!" The box, I had almost forgotten to say,
was fastened, not by a lock or by any other such contrivance, but by a
very fine knot of gold cord. There appeared to be no end to this knot,
and no beginning. Never was a knot so cunningly twisted, nor with so
many ins and outs, which roguishly defied the skillfulest fingers to
disentangle them. And yet, by the very difficulty that there was in
it, Pandora was the more tempted to examine the knot, and just see how
it was made. Two or three times already she had stooped over the box,
and taken the knot between her thumb and forefinger, but without
positively trying to undo it.

"I really believe," said she to herself, that I begin to see how it
was done. Nay, perhaps I could tie it up again after undoing it. There
could be no harm in that, surely. Even Epimetheus would not blame me
for that. I need not open the box, and should not, of course, without
the foolish boy's consent, even if the knot were untied." It might
have been better for Pandora if she had had a little work to do,
or anything to employ her mind upon, so as not to be so constantly
thinking of this one subject. But children led so easy a life before
any Troubles came into the world that they find really a great deal
too much leisure. They could not be forever playing at hide-and-seek
among the flower-shrubs, or at blind-man's buff with garlands over
their eyes, or at whatever other games has been found out while Mother
Earth was in her babyhood.

When life is all sport, toil is the real play. There was absolutely
nothing to do. A little sweeping and dusting about the cottage, I
suppose, and the gathering of fresh flowers (which were only too
abundant everywhere), and arranging them in vases--and poor little
Pandora's day's work was over. And then, for the rest of the day,
there was the box!

After all, I am not quite sure that the box was not a blessing to her
in its way. It supplied her with so many ideas to think of, and to
talk about, whenever she had anybody to listen! When she was in good
humor, she could admire the bright polish of its sides and the rich
border of beautiful faces and foliage that ran all around it. Or, if
she chanced to be ill-tempered, she could give it a push, or kick it
with her naughty little foot. And many a kick did the box (but it was
a mischievous box, as we shall see, and deserved all it got) many a
kick did it receive. But certain it is, if it had not been for the
box, our active-minded little Pandora would not have known half so
well how to spend her time as she now did.


For it was really an endless employment to guess what was inside. What
could it be, indeed? Just imagine, my little hearers, how busy your
wits would be if there were a great box in the house, which, as you
might have reason to suppose, contained something new and pretty for
your Christmas or New Year's gifts. Do you think that you should be
less curious than Pandora? If you were left alone with the box, might
you not feel a little tempted to lift the lid? But you would not do
it. Oh, fie! No, no! Only, if you thought there were toys in it, it
would be so very hard to let slip an opportunity of taking just one

I know not whether Pandora expected any toys; for none had yet begun
to be made, probably, in those days, when the world itself was one
great plaything for the children that dwelt upon it. But Pandora was
convinced that there was something very beautiful and valuable in the
box; and therefore she felt just as anxious to take a peep as any of
these little girls here around me would have felt. And, possibly,
a little more so; but of that I am not quite so certain. On this
particular day, however, which we have so long been talking about, her
curiosity grew so much greater than it usually was that at last she
approached the box. She was more than half determined to open, it, if
she could. Ah, naughty Pandora! First, however, she tried to lift it.
It was heavy; much too heavy for the slender strength of a child like
Pandora. She raised one end of the box a few inches from the floor,
and let it fall again with a pretty loud thump. A moment afterwards
she almost fancied that she heard something stir inside the box. She
applied her ear as closely as possible and listened. Positively, there
did seem to be a kind of stifled murmur within. Or was it merely the
singing in Pandora's ear's. Or could it be the beating of her heart?
The child could not quite satisfy herself whether she had heard
anything or no. But, at all events, her curiosity was stronger than
ever, As she drew back her head, her eyes fell upon the knot of gold

"It must have been a very ingenious person who tied this knot," said
Pandora to herself. "But I think 1 could untie it, nevertheless. I am
resolved, at least, to find the two ends of the cord."

So she took the golden knot in her fingers and pried into it as
sharply as she could. Almost without intending it, or quite knowing
what she was about, she was soon busily engaged in attempting to undo
it. Meanwhile, the bright sunshine came through the open window; as
did likewise the merry voices of the children, playing at a distance,
and perhaps the voice of Epimetheus among them.

Pandora stopped to listen. What a beautiful day it was! Would it not
be wise if she were to let the trouble some knot alone and think no
more about the box, but run and join her little playfellows and be

All this time, however, her fingers were busy with the knot; and
happening to glance at the face on the lid of the enchanted box, she
seemed to see it slyly grinning at her.

"That face looks very mischievous," thought Pandora. "I wonder whether
it smiles because I am doing wrong! I have the greatest mind in the
world to run away!"

But just then, by the merest accident, she gave the knot a kind of
twist, which produced a wonderful result. The gold cord united itself,
as if by magic, arid left the box without a fastening.

"This is the strangest thing I ever knew!" said Pandora. "What will
Epimetheus say? And how can I possibly tie it up again?" She made one
or two attempts to restore the knot, but soon found it quite beyond
her skill. It had untied itself so suddenly that she could not in the
least remember how the strings had been doubled onto one another; and
when she tried to recollect the shape and appearance of the knot, it
seemed to have gone entirely out of her mind. Nothing was to be done
therefore, but to let the box remain as it was until Epimetheus should
come in.

"But," said Pandora, "when he finds the knot untied, he will know that
I have done it. How shall I make him believe that I have not looked
into the box?"

And then the thought came into her naughty little heart, that, since
she would be suspected of having looked into the box, she might just
as well do so at once. O very naughty and very foolish Pandora! You
should have thought only of doing what was right and of leaving undone
what was wrong, and not of what your playfellow Epimetheus would have
said or believed. And so perhaps she might if the enchanted face on
the lid of the box had not looked so bewitchingly persuasive at her,
and if she had not seemed to hear, more distinctly than before, the
murmur of small voices within. She could not tell whether it was fancy
or no; but there was quite a little tumult of whispers in her
ear--or else it was her curiosity that whispered: "Let us out, dear
Pandora--pray let us out! We will be such nice, pretty playfellows for
you! Only let us out!"

"What can it be?" thought Pandora, "Is there something alive in the
box? Well!--yes!--I am resolved to take just one peep! Only one peep;
and then lid shall be shut down as safely as ever. There cannot
possibly be any harm in just one little peep!"


But it is now time for us to see what Epimetheus was doing.

This was the first time since his little Playmate had come to dwell
with him that he had attempted to enjoy any pleasure in which she did
not partake. But nothing went right; nor was he nearly so happy as
on other days. He could not find a sweat grape or a ripe fig (if
Epimetheus had a fault, it was a little too much fondness for figs);
or, if ripe at all, they were overripe, and so sweet as to be
distasteful. There was no mirth in his heart, such as usually made
his voice gush out, of Its own accord, and swell the merriment of his
companions. In short, he grew so uneasy and discontented that other
children could not imagine what was the matter with Epimetheus.
Neither did he himself know what ailed him, any better then they did.

For you must recollect that, at the time we are speaking of, it was
everybody's nature and common habit to be happy. The world had not
yet learned to be otherwise. Not a single soul or body, since these
children were first sent to enjoy it themselves on the beautiful
earth, had ever been sick or out-of-sorts.

At length, discovering that, somehow or other, he put a stop to all
the play, Epimetheus judged it best to go back to Pandora, who was
in a humor better suited to his own. But, with a hope of giving her
pleasure, he gathered flowers and made them into a wreath, which he
meant to put upon her head. The flowers were very lovely--roses and
lilies and orange-blossoms, and a great many more, which left a trail
of fragrance behind, as Epimetheus carried them along, and wreath was
put together with as much skill as could be expected of a boy. The
fingers of little girls, it has always appeared to me, are the fittest
to twine flower-wreaths; but boys could de it in those days rather
better than they can now.

And here I must mention that a great black cloud had been gathering
in the sky for some time past, although it had not yet overspread the
sun. But, just as Epimetheus reached the cottage-door, this cloud
began to cut off the sunshine, and thus to make a sudden and sad

He entered softly; for he meant, if possible, to steal behind Pandora
and fling a wreath of flowers over her head before she should be
aware of his approach. But, as it happened, there was no need of his
treading so very lightly. He might have trod as heavily as he pleased,
as heavily as a grown man--as heavily, I was going to say, as an
elephant--without much probability of Pandora's hearing his footsteps.
She was too intent upon her purpose. At the moment of this entering
the cottage the naughty box, I had almost forgotten to say, was
fastened, not by a lock or by any other such contrivance, but by a
very fine knot of gold cord. There appeared to be no end to this knot,
and no beginning. Never was a knot so cunningly twisted, nor with so
many ins and outs, which roguishly defied the skillfulest fingers to
disentangle them. And yet, by the very difficulty that there was in
it, Pandora was the more tempted to examine the knot, and just see how
it was made. Two or three times already she had stooped over the box,
and taken the knot between her thumb and forefinger, but without
positively trying to undo it.

"I really believe," said she to herself, that I begin to see how it
was done. Nay, perhaps I could tie it up again after undoing it. There
could be no harm in that, surely. Even Epimetheus would not blame me
for that. I need not open the box, and should not, of course, without
the foolish boy's consent, even if the knot were untied."

It might have been better for Pandora if she had had a little work to
do, or anything to employ her mind upon, so as not to be so constantly
thinking of this one subject. But children led so easy a life before
any Troubles came into the world that they find really a great deal
too much leisure. They could not be forever playing at hide-and-seek
among the flower-shrubs, or at blind-man's buff with garlands over
their eyes, or at whatever other games has been found out while Mother
Earth was in her babyhood.

When life is all sport, toil is the real play. There was absolutely
nothing to do. A little sweeping and dusting about the cottage, I
suppose, and the gathering of fresh flowers (which were only too
abundant everywhere), and arranging them in vases--and poor little
Pandora's day's work was over. And then, for the rest of the day,
there was the box!

After all. I am not quite sure that the box was not a blessing to her
in its way. It supplied her with so many ideas to think of, and to
talk about, whenever she had anybody to listen! When she was in good
humor, she could admire the bright polish of its sides and the rich
border of beautiful faces and foliage that ran all around it. Or, if
she chanced to be ill-tempered, she could give it a push, or kick it
with her naughty little foot. And many a kick did the box (but it was
a mischievous box, as we shall see, and deserved all it got) many a
kick did it receive. But certain it is, if it had not been for the
box, our active-minded little Pandora would not have known half so
well how to spend her time as she now did.


For it was really an endless employment to guess what was inside. What
could it be, indeed? Just imagine, my little hearers, how busy your
wits would be if there were a great box in the house, which, as you
might have reason to suppose, contained something new and pretty for
your Christmas or New Year's gifts. Do you think that you should be
less curious than Pandora? If you were left alone with the box, might
you not feel a little tempted to lift the lid? But you would not do
it. Oh, fie! No, no! Only, if you thought there were toys in it, it
would be so very hard to let slip an opportunity of taking just one

I know not whether Pandora expected any toys; for none had yet begun
to be made, probably, in those days, when the world itself was one
great plaything for the children that dwelt upon it. But Pandora was
convinced that there was something very beautiful and valuable in the
box; and therefore she felt just as anxious to take a peep as any
of these little girls here around me would have felt. For it was
impossible, as you will easily guess, that the two children should
keep the ugly swarm in their own little cottage. On the contrary, the
first thing that they did was to fling open the doors and windows in
hope of getting rid of them; and, sure enough, away flew the winged
Troubles all abroad, and so pestered and tormented the small people,
everywhere about, that none of them so much as smiled for many days

And, what was very singular, all the flowers and dewy blossoms on
earth, not one of which had hitherto faded, now began to droop and
shed their leaves, after a day or two. The children, moreover, who
before seemed immortal in their childhood, now grew older, day by day,
and came soon to be youths and maidens, and men and women by-and-by,
and aged people, before they dreamed of such a thing.


Meanwhile, the naughty Pandora and hardly less naughty Epimetheus
remained in their cottage. Both of them had been grievously stung,
and were in a good deal of pain, which, seemed the more adorable
intolerable to them, because it was the very first pain that had
ever been felt since the world began. Of course they were entirely
unaccustomed to it, and could have no idea what it meant. Besides all
this, they were in exceedingly bad humor, both with themselves and
with one another. In order to indulge it to the utmost, Epimetheus sat
down sullenly in a corner with his back toward Pandora; while Pandora
flung herself upon the floor and rested her head on the fatal box. She
was crying bitterly, and sobbing as if her heart would break.

Suddenly there was gentle little tap on the inside of the lid.

"What can that be?" cried Pandora, lifting her head.

But either Epimetheus had not heard the tap, or was too much out of
humor to notice it. At any rate, he made no answer.

"You are very unkind," said Pandora, sobbing anew, "not to speak to

Again the tap! It sounded like the tiny knuckles of a fairy's hand,
knocking lightly and playfully on the inside of the box.

"Who are you?" asked Pandora, with a little of her former curiosity.
"Who are you, inside of this naughty box?"

A sweet little voice spoke from within: "Only lift the lid, and you
shall see."

"No, no," answered Pandora, again beginning to sob, "I have had enough
of lifting the lid! You are inside of the box, naughty creature, and
there you shall stay! There are plenty of your ugly brothers and
sisters already flying about the world. You need never think that I
shall be so foolish as to let you out!"

She looked toward Epimetheus as she spoke, perhaps expecting that he
would commend her for her wisdom. But the sullen boy only muttered
that she was wise a little too late.

"Ah," said the sweet little voice again. "You had much better let me
out. I am not like those naughty creatures that have stings in their
tails. They are no brothers and sisters of mine, as you would see at
once, if you were only to get a glimpse of me. Come, come, my pretty
Pandora! I am sure you will let me out!"

And, indeed, there was a kind of cheerful witchery in the tone that
made it almost impossible to refuse anything which this little voice
asked. Pandora's heart had grown lighter at every word that came from
within the box. Epimetheus, too, though still in the corner, had
turned half round, and seemed to be in rather better spirits than

"My dear Epimetheus," cried Pandora, "have you heard this little

"Yes, to be sure I have," answered he, but in no very good humor as
yes. "And what of it?"

"Shall I lift the lid again?" asked Pandora.

"Just as you please," said Epimetheus. "You have done so much mischief
already that perhaps you may as well do a little more. One other
Trouble, in such a swarm as you have set adrift about the world, can
make no very great difference."

"You might speak a little more kindly!" murmured Pandora, wiping her

"Ah, naughty boy!" cried the little voice within the box, in an arch
and laughing tone. "He knows he is longing to see me. Come, my dear
Pandora, lift up the lid. I am in a great hurry to comfort you. Only
let me have some fresh air, and you shall soon see that matters are
not quite so dismal as you think them!"

"Epimetheus," exclaimed Pandora, "come what may, I am resolved to open
the box!"

"And, as the lid seems very heavy," cried Epimetheus, running across
the room, "I will help you!"

So, with one consent, the children again lifted the lid. Out flew
a sunny and smiling little personage, and hovered about the room,
throwing a light wherever she went. Have you never made the sunshine
dance into dark corners by reflecting it from a bit of looking-glass?
Well, so looked the winged cheerfulness of this fairy-like stranger
amid the gloom of the cottage. She flew to Epimetheus and laid the
least touch of her finger on the inflamed spot where the Trouble had
stung him, and immediately the anguish of it was gone. Then she kissed
Pandora on the forehead, and her hurt was cured likewise.

After performing these good offices, the bright stranger fluttered
sportively over the children's heads, and looked so sweetly at them
that they both began to think it not so very much amiss to have opened
the box, since, otherwise, their cheery guest must have been kept a
prisoner among those naughty imps with stings in their tails.

"Pray, who are you, beautiful creature?" inquired Pandora.

"I am to be called Hope!" answered the sunshiny figure. "And because
I am such a cheery little body, I was packed into the box, to make
amends to the human race for that swarm of ugly Troubles, which was
destined to be let loose among them. Never fear! We shall do pretty
well in spite of them all."

"Your wings are colored like the rainbow!" exclaimed Pandora. "How
very beautiful!"

"Yes, they are like the rainbow," said Hope, "because, glad as my
nature is, I am partly made of tears as well as smiles."

"And will you stay with us," asked Epimetheus, "for ever and ever?"

"As long as you need me," said Hope, with her pleasant smile, "and
that will be as long as you live in the world. I promise never to
leave you. There may be times and seasons, now and then, when you will
think that I have utterly vanished. But again, and again, and again,
when perhaps you least dream of it, you shall see the glimmer of my
wings on the ceiling of your cottage. Yes, my dear children, and
I know something very good and beautiful that is to be Given you

"Oh, tell us," they exclaimed; "tell us what it is!"

"Do not ask me," replied Hope, patting her finger on her rosy mouth.
"But do not despair, even if it should never happen while you live on
this earth. Trust in my promise, for it is true."

"We do trust you!" cried Epimetheus and Pandora, both in one breath.

And so they did; and not only they, but so has everybody trusted Hope,
that has since been alive. And, to tell You the truth, I cannot help
being glad (though to be sure It was an uncommonly naughty thing for
her to do) but I Cannot help being glad that our foolish Pandora
peeped into the box. No doubt--no doubt--the Troubles are still flying
about the world, and have increased in numbers, rather than lessened,
and are a very ugly set of imps, and carry most venomous stings in
their tails. I have felt them already, and expect to feel them more
as I grow older. But then that lovely and lightsome little figure of
Hope! What in the world could we do without her? Hope spiritualizes
the earth; Hope makes it always new; and, even in the earth's best and
brightest aspect, Hope shows it to be only the shadow of an infinite
bliss hereafter!


Discussion. 1. How long ago did Pandora and Epimetheus live? 2. Find
the lines that tell how different the world was then from what it is
now. 3. Where did the box come from? 4. On what conditions was it
given to Epimetheus? 5. Find lines that describe the box. 6. Why was
Pandora interested in it? 7. In what way was it a blessing to Pandora?
8. What led her to open the box? 9. Do you thing Epimetheus was at
fault? Why? 10. What happened when Pandora raised the lid of the box?
11. How did this affect the Paradise of Children? The flowers? The
children? 12. What happened when Pandora opened the box a second time?
13. Why was Hope put into the box with the Troubles? 14. Why are the
wings of Hope like the rainbows? 15. What does Hope do for us? 16.
What qualities in Epimetheus do you like? 17. What did Hope mean by
saying she was partly made of tears? 18. How does Hope "spiritualize"
the earth, i.e., make it purer? 19. Tell what you can about the
author. 20. On page 291 you were asked to notice the way in which
these authors tell their stories; you have no doubt noticed that
Hawthorne uses humor and fancy to add interest. 21. Point out examples
of his humor. 22. What quaint fancy has he about the way food was
provided when the world was young? 23. By what fancy does he increase
our interest in the mystery of the box? 24. Class readings: Select
passages to be read aloud in class. 25. Outline for testing silent
reading. Tell the story briefly in your own words, using the topic
headings given in the story. 26. You will enjoy seeing the pictures in
the edition of The Wonder-Book that is illustrated by the well known
artist, Maxfield Parrish. 27. Find in the Glossary the meaning of:
caroling; mysterious; whence; pettishly; intelligent; babble; combine;
pried; restore; constant; intent; pestered; witchery; personage;
glimmer; lightsome. 28 Pronounce: Epimetheus; either; Pandora;
threshold; livelong; disquietude; merry; forbear; accompany;
perseveringly; vexations; profusion; mischievous; contrivance;
ingenious; merest; lamentable; gigantic; molested; calamity;
grievously; intolerable; hovered; destined; venomous; spiritualizes;
aspect; infinite.

Phrases for Study

greatest disquietude, afflicted the souls, faint shadow of a Trouble,
obtained a foothold, more enterprise, immortal in their childhood,
unaccustomed to vexations, wrought together in such harmony, indulge
in to the utmost, with one consent, high relief, performing these good
offices, utter itself in words, roguishly defied, much amiss, toil is
the real play, make amends, bewitchingly persuasive, brightest aspect,
humor better suited, shadow of an infinite bliss. THE GOLDEN TOUCH


Once upon a time there lived a very rich man, and a King besides,
whose name was Midas; and he had a little daughter, whom nobody but
myself ever heard of, and whose name I either never knew, or have
entirely forgotten. So, because I love odd name for little girls, I
choose to call her Marygold.

This King Midas was fonder of gold than of anything else in the world.
He valued his royal crown chiefly because it was composed of that
precious metal. If he loved anything better, or half so well, it
was the one little maiden who played so merrily around her father's
footstool. But the more Midas loved his daughter, the more did he
desire and seek for wealth. He thought, foolish man, that the best
thing he could possibly do for his dear child would be to give her the
immensest pile of yellow, glistening coin that had ever been heaped
together since the world was make. Thus, he gave all his thoughts and
all his time to this one Purpose. If ever he happened to gaze for an
instant at the gold-tinted clouds of sunset, he wished that they were
real gold and that they could be squeezed safely into his strong box.
When little Marygold ran to meet him, with a bunch of buttercups and
dandelions, he used to say, "Pooh, pooh, child! If these flowers were
a golden as they look, they would be worth the plucking!"

And yet, in his earlier days, before he was so entirely possessed of
this insane desire for riches, King Midas had shown a great taste
for flowers. He had planted a garden, in which grew the biggest and
beautifulest and sweetest roses that any mortal ever saw or smelled.
These roses were still growing in the garden, as large, as lovely, and
as fragrant as when Midas used to pass whole hours in gazing at the
and inhaling their perfume. But now, if he looked at them at all, it
was only to calculate how much the garden would be worth if each of
the many rose-petals were a thin plate of gold.

At length (as people always grow more and more foolish, unless they
take care to grow wiser and wiser) Midas had got to be so exceedingly
unreasonable that he could scarcely bear to see or touch any object
that was not gold. He made it his custom, therefore, to pass a large
portion of every day in a dark and dreary apartment, underground, at
the basement of the palace. It was here that he kept his wealth. To
this dismal hole "for it was little better than a dungeon" Midas betook
himself whenever he wanted to be particularly happy. Here, after
carefully locking the door, he would take a bag of gold coin, or
a gold cup as big as a washbowl, or a heavy golden bar, or a
peck-measure of gold-dust, and bring them from the obscure corners of
the room into the one bright and narrow sunbeam that fell from the
dungeon-like window. He valued the sunbeam for no other reason but
that his treasure would not shine without its help. And then would he
reckon over the coins in the bag; toss up the bar, and catch it as it
came down; sift the gold-dust through his fingers; look at the funny
image of his own face, as reflected in the polished surface of the
cup; and whisper to himself, "O Midas, rich King Midas, what a happy
man art thou!"

Midas was enjoying himself in his treasure-room one Day as usual, when
he saw a shadow fall over the heaps of Gold; and, looking suddenly up,
what should he behold but The figure of a strange, standing in the
bright and narrow Sunbeam! It was a young man with a cheerful and
ruddy face. Whether it was that the imagination of King Midas threw a
yellow tinge over everything, or whatever the cause might be, he could
not help fancying that the smile with which the stranger regarded him
had a kind of golden radiance in it.

As Midas knew that he had carefully turned the key in The lock, and
that no mortal strength could possibly break Into his treasure-room,
he of course concluded that his Visitor must be something more than
mortal. It is no matter about telling you who he was. In those days,
when the earth was comparatively a new affair, it was supposed to be
often the resort of beings who had extraordinary powers, and who used
to interest themselves in the joys and sorrows of men, women, and
children, half playfully and half seriously, Midas had met such
beings before now, and was not sorry to meet one of them again. The
stranger's manner, indeed, was so good-humored and kindly that it
would have been unreasonable to suspect him of intending any mischief.
It was far more probable that he came to do Midas a favor. And what
could that favor be, unless to multiply his heaps of treasure?

The stranger gazed about the room; and when his bright smile had
glistened upon all the golden objects that were there, he turned again
to Midas.

"You are a wealthy man, friend Midas!" he observed. "I doubt whether
any other four walls on earth contain so much gold as you have piled
up in this room."

"I have done pretty well pretty well," answered Midas, in a
discontented tone. "But, after all, it is but a trifle, when you
consider that it has taken me my whole life to get it together. If one
could live a thousand years, he might have time to grow rich!"

"What!" exclaimed the stranger. "Then you are not satisfied?" Midas
shook his head.

"And pray what would satisfy you?" asked the stranger. "Merely for the
curiosity of the thing I should be glad to know."

Midas paused and meditated. He had a feeling that his stranger, with
such a golden luster in his good-humored smile, had come hither with
both the power and the purpose of gratifying his utmost wishes. Now,
therefore, was the fortunate moment when he had but to speak and
obtain whatever possible, or seemingly impossible, thing it might
come into his head to ask. So he thought and thought and thought,
and heaped up one golden mountain upon another in this imagination,
without being able to imagine them big enough. At last, a bright idea
occurred to King Midas. It seemed really as bright as the glistening
metal which he loved so much.

Raising his head, he looked the lustrous stranger in the face.

"Well, Midas," observed his visitor. "I see that you have at length
hit upon something that will satisfy you. Tell me your wish."

"It is only this," Replied Midas. "I am weary of collecting my
treasures with so much trouble, and beholding the heap so small after
I have done my best. I wish everything that I touch to be changed to

The stranger's smile grew so very broad that it seemed to fill the
room like an outburst of the sun gleaming into a shadowy dell where
the yellow autumnal leaves--for so looked the lumps and particles of
gold--lie strewn in the glow of light.

"The Golden Touch!" exclaimed he. "You certainly deserve credit,
friend Midas, for striking out so brilliant an idea. But are you quite
sure that this will satisfy you?"

"How could it fail?" said Midas.

"And will you never regret the possession of it?"

"What could induce me?" asked Midas. "I ask nothing else to render me
perfectly happy."

"Be it as you wish, then," replied the stranger, waving his hand in
token of farewell. "Tomorrow, at sunrise, you will find yourself
gifted with the Golden touch."

The figure of the stranger then became exceedingly bright, and Midas
was forced to close his eyes. On opening them again he beheld only one
yellow sunbeam in the room, and, all around him, the glistening of the
precious metal which he had spent his life in hoarding up.

Whether Midas slept as usual that night, the story does not say.
Asleep or awake, however, his mind was probably in the state of a
child's to whom a beautiful new plaything has been promised in the
morning. At any rate, day had hardly peeped over the hills when King
Midas was broad awake, and stretching his arms out of bed, began to
touch the objects that were within reach. He was anxious to prove
whether the Golden Touch had really come, according to the stranger's
promise. So he laid his finger on a chair by the bedside, and on
various other things, but was grievously disappointed to perceive that
they remained of exactly the same substance as before.


All this while, it was only the gray of the morning, with but a streak
of brightness along the edge of the sky, where Midas could not see it.
He lay in a very unhappy mood, regretting the downfall of his hopes,
and kept growing sadder and sadder, until the earliest sunbeam shone
through the window and gilded the ceiling over his head. It seemed
to Midas that this bright yellow sunbeam was reflected in rather a
singular way on the white covering of the bed. Looking more closely,
what was his astonishment and delight, when he found that this linen
fabric wad been changed to what seemed a woven texture of the purest
and brightest gold! The Golden Touch had come to him with the first

Midas started up, in a kind of joyful frenzy, and ran about the room
grasping at everything that happened to be in his way. He seized one
of the bed-posts, and it became immediately a fluted golden pillar. He
pulled aside a window-curtain in order to admit a clear spectacle of
the wonders which he was performing; and the tassel grew heavy in his
hand--a mass of gold. He took up a book from the table. At this first
touch, it assumed the appearance of such a splendidly-bound and
gilt-edged volume as one often meets with nowadays; but, on running
his fingers through the leaves, behold! It was a bundle of thin golden
plates, in which all the wisdom of the book had grown in distinct.
He hurriedly put on his clothes, and was delighted to ace himself in
magnificent suit of gold cloth, which retained its flexibility and
softness, although it burdened him a little with its weight.

Wise King Midas was so excited by his good fortune that the palace
seemed not sufficiently spacious to contain him. He therefore went
downstairs and smiled on observing that the balustrade of the
staircase became a bar of burnished gold as his hand passed over it in
the descent. He lifted the door latch (it was brass only a moment ago,
but golden when his fingers quitted it) and went into the garden.
Here, as it happened, he found a great number of beautiful roses in
full bloom, and others in all the stages of lovely bud and blossom.
Very delicious was their fragrance in the morning breeze. Their
delicate blush was one of the fairest sights in the world--so gentle,
so modest, and so full of erect composure did these roses seem to be.

But Midas knew a way to make them far more precious, according to his
way of thinking, than roses had ever been before. So he took great
pains in going from bush to bush, and exercised his magic touch most
freely; until every individual flower and bud, and even the worms at
the heart of some of them, were changed to gold. By the time this good
work was completed, King Midas was called to breakfast; and, as the
morning air had given him an excellent appetite, he made haste back to
the palace.

What was usually a king's breakfast, in the days of Midas, I really do
not know, and cannot stop now to find out. To the best of my belief,
however, on this particular morning, the breakfast consisted of hot
cakes, some nice little brook-trout, roasted potatoes, fresh boiled
eggs, and coffee, for King Midas himself, and a bowl of bread and milk
for his daughter Marygold. At all events, this is a breakfast fit to
be set before a king; and, whether he had it or not, King Midas could
not have had a better.

Little Marygold had not yet made her appearance. Her father ordered
her to be called, and, seating himself at table, awaited the child's
coming, in order to begin his own breakfast. To do Midas justice, he
really loved his daughter, and loved her so much the more this morning
on account of the good fortune which had befallen him. It was not
a great while before he heard her coming along the passage crying
bitterly. This circumstance surprised him, because Marygold was one of
the cheerfulest little people whom you would see in a summer day, and
hardly shed a thimbleful of tears in a twelvemonth. When Midas heard
her sobs, he determined to put little Marygold into better spirits by
an agreeable surprise; so, leaning across the table, he touched his
daughter's bowl (which was a china one, with pretty figures all around
it) and turned it to gleaming gold.

Meanwhile, Marygold slowly and sadly opened the door, and showed
herself with her apron at her eyes, still sobbing as if her heart
would break.

"How now, my little lady!" cried Midas. "Pray what is the matter with
you this bright morning?"

Marygold, without taking the apron from her eyes, held out her hand,
in which was one of the roses which Midas had so recently changed.

"Beautiful!" exclaimed her father. "And what is there in this
magnificent golden rose to make you cry?"

"Ah, dear father!" answered the child, as well as her sobs would let
her, "it is not beautiful, but the ugliest flower that ever grew! As
soon as I was dressed, I ran into the garden to gather some roses
for you, because I know you like them, and like them the better when
gathered by your little daughter. But, O dear, dear me! What do you
think has happened? Such a misfortune! All the beautiful roses, that
smelled so sweet and had so many lovely blushes, are blighted and
spoiled! They are grown quite yellow, as you see this one, and have no
longer any fragrance! What can have been the matter?"

"Pooh, my dear little girl, pray don't cry about it!" said Midas, who
was ashamed to confess that he himself had wrought the change which so
greatly afflicted her. "Sit down and eat your bread and milk! You will
find it easy enough to exchange a golden rose like that (which will
last hundreds of years) for an ordinary one, which would wither in a

"I don't care for such roses as this!" cried Marygold. "It has no
smell, and hard petals prick my nose!"


The child now sat down to table, but was so occupied with her grief
for the blighted roses that she did not even notice the wonderful
change of her china bowl. Perhaps this was all the better; for
Marygold was accustomed to take pleasure in looking at the queer
figures and strange trees and houses that were painted on the outside
of the bowl; and those ornaments were now entirely lost in the yellow
hue of the metal.

Midas, meanwhile, had poured out a cup of coffee; and, as a matter of
course, the coffee-pot, whatever metal it may have been when he took
it up, was gold when he set it down. He thought to himself that it
was rather an extravagant style of splendor, in a king of his simple
habits, to breakfast off a service of gold, and began to be puzzled
with the difficulty of keeping his treasures safe. The cupboard and
the kitchen would no longer be a safe place of deposit for articles so
valuable as golden bowls and coffee-pots.

Amid these thoughts, he lifted a spoonful of coffee to his lips, and
sipping it, was astonished to perceive that, the instant his lips
touched the liquid, it became molten gold, and, the next moment,
hardened into a lump!

"Ha!" exclaimed Midas, rather aghast.

"What is the matter, father?" asked little Marygold, gazing at him,
with tears still standing in her eyes.

"Nothing, child, nothing!" said Midas. "Eat your bread and milk before
it gets quite cold."

He took one of the nice little trout on his plate, and, by way of
experiment, touched its tail with his finger. To his horror, it was
immediately changed from an admirably-fried brook-trout into a gold
fish, though not one of those goldfish which people often keep in
glass globes, as ornaments for the parlor. No; but it was really a
metallic fish, and looked as if it had been very cunningly made by the
nicest goldsmith in the world. Its little bones were now golden wires;
its fins and tail were thin plates of gold; and there were the marks
of the fork in it, and all the delicate, frothy appearance of a nicely
fried fish, exactly imitated in metal. A very pretty piece of work, as
you may suppose; only King Midas just at the that moment would much
rather have had a real trout in his dish than his elaborate and
valuable imitation of one.

"I don't quite see," thought he to himself, "how I am to get any

He took one of the smoking hot cakes, and had scarcely broken it,
when, to his cruel mortification, though a moment before it had been
of the whitest wheat, it assumed the yellow hue of Indian meal. To say
the truth, if it had really been a hot Indian cake, Midas would have
prized it a good deal more than he now did, when its solidity and
increased weight made him know too well that it was old. Almost
in despair, he helped himself to a boiled egg, which immediately
underwent a change similar to that of the trout and the cake. The egg,
indeed, might have been mistaken for one of those which the famous
goose, in the story-book, was in the habit of laying; but King Midas
was the only goose that had had anything to do with the matter.

"Well, this is a puzzle!" thought he, leaning back in his chair, and
looking quite enviously at little Marygold, who was now eating her
bread and milk with great satisfaction. "Such a costly breakfast, and
nothing that can be eaten!"

Hoping that, by dint of great quickness, he might avoid what he now
felt to be a considerable inconvenience, King Midas next snatched a
hot potato, and attempted to cram It into his mouth and swallow it in
hurry. But the Golden Touch was too nimble for him. He found his mouth
full, not of mealy potato, but of solid metal, which so burned his tongue
that he roared aloud, and, jumping up from the table, began to dance
and stamp about the room, both with pain and affright.

"Father, dear father!" cried little Marygold, who was a very
affectionate child, "pray, what is the matter? Have you burned your

"Ah, dear child," groaned Midas, dolefully, "I don't know what is to
become of your poor father!"

And, truly, my dear little folks, did you ever hear of such a pitiable
case in all your lives? Here was literally the richest breakfast that
could be set before a king, and its very richness made it absolutely
good for nothing. The poorest laborer, sitting down to his crust of
bread and cup of water, was far better off than King Midas, whose
delicate food was really worth its weight in gold. And what was to be
done? Already, at breakfast, Midas was very hungry. Would he be less
so by dinner-time? And how ravenous would be his appetite for supper,
which must undoubtedly consist of the same sort of indigestible dishes
as those now before him! How many days, think you, would he survive
the fate of this rich fare?

These thoughts so troubled wise King Midas that he began to doubt
whether, after all, riches are the one desirable thing in the world;
or even the most desirable. But this was only a passing thought. So
pleased was Midas with the glitter of the yellow metal that he
would still have refused to give up the Golden Touch for so small a
consideration as a breakfast. Just imagine what a price for one meal's
victuals! It would have been the same as paying millions and millions
of money (and as many millions more as would take forever to reckon
up) for some fried trout, an egg, a potato, a hot cake, and a cup of

"It would be quite too dear," thought Midas.

Nevertheless, so great was his hunger and perplexity of this
situation, that he again groaned aloud, and very grievously too. Our
pretty Marygold could endure it no longer. She sat a moment gazing at
her father, and trying, with all the might of her little wits, to find
out what was the matter with him. Then, with a sweet and sorrowful
impulse to comfort him, she started from the chair, and running to
Midas, threw her arms affectionately about his knees. He bent down
and kissed her. He felt that his little daughter's love was worth a
thousand times more than he had gained by the Golden Touch.

"My precious, precious Marygold!" cried he.

But Marygold made no answer.

Alas, what had he done? How fatal was the gift which the stranger
gave! The moment the lips of Midas touched Marygold's forehead, a
change had taken place. Her sweet, rosy face, so full of affection as
it had been, assumed a glittering yellow color, with yellow tear-drops
hardening on her cheeks. Her beautiful brown ringlets took the same
tint. Her soft and tender little form grew hard and stiff within her
father's encircling arms. O terrible misfortune! The victim of his
great desire for wealth, little Marygold was human child no longer,
but a golden statue!

Yes, there she was, with the questioning look of love, grief, and
pity, hardened into her face. It was the prettiest and most woeful
sight that ever mortal saw. All the features and tokens of Marygold
were there; even the beloved little dimple remained in her golden
chin. But, the more perfect was the resemblance, the greater was the
father's agony at beholding this golden image, which was all that
was left him of a daughter. It had been a favorite phrase of Midas,
whenever he felt particularly fond of the child, to say that she was
worth her weight in gold. And how the phrase had become literally true.
And now, at last, when it was too late, he felt how infinitely a warm
and tender heart that loved him exceeded in value all the wealth that
could be piled up betwixt the earth and sky!

It would be too sad a story if I were to tell you how Midas, in the
fullness of all his gratified desires, began to Wring his hands and
bemoan himself; and how he could neither bear to look at Marygold, nor
yet to look away from her.


While he was in this despair, he suddenly beheld a stranger, standing
near the door. Midas bent down his head, without speaking; for he
recognized the same figure which had appeared to him the day before in
the treasure-room, and had bestowed on him this unlucky power of the
Golden Touch. The stranger's countenance still wore a smile, which
Seemed to shed a yellow luster all about the room, and Gleamed on
little Marygold's image, and on the other Objects that had been
changed by the touch of Midas.

"Well, friend Midas," said the stranger, "pray how do you succeed with
the Golden Touch?"

Midas shook his head.

"I am very miserable," said he.

"Very miserable, indeed!" exclaimed the stranger. "And how happens
that? Have I not faithfully kept my promise with you? Have you not
everything that your heart desired?"

"Gold is not everything," answered Midas. "And I have lost all that my
heart really cared for."

"Ah! So you have made a discovery since yesterday?" observed the
stranger. "Let us see, then. Which of these two things do you think
is really worth the more--the gift of the Golden Touch, or one cup of
clear cold water?"

"O blessed water!" exclaimed Midas. "It will never moisten my parched
throat again!"

"The Golden Touch," continued the stranger, "or a crust of bread?"

"A piece of bread," answered Midas, "is worth all the gold on earth!"

"The Golden Touch," asked the stranger, "or your own little Marygold,
warm, soft, and loving, as she was an hour ago?"

"Oh, my child, my dear child, my dear child!" cried poor Midas,
wringing his hands. "I would not have given that one small dimple in
her chin for the power of changing his whole big earth into a solid
lump of gold!"

"You are wiser than you were, King Midas!" said the stranger, looking
seriously at him. "Your own heart, I perceive, has not been entirely
changed from flesh to gold. Were it so, your ease would indeed be
desperate. But you appear to be still capable of understanding that
the commonest things, such as lie within everybody's grasp, are more
valuable than the riches which so many mortals sigh and struggle
after. Tell me, now, do you sincerely desire to rid yourself of this
Golden Touch?"

"It is hateful to me!" replied Midas.

A fly settled on his nose, but immediately fell to the Floor; for it,
to had become gold. Midas shuddered.

"Go, then," said the stranger, "and plunge into the river that glides
past the bottom of the your garden. Take likewise a vase of the same
water, and sprinkle it over any object that you may desire to change
back again from gold into its former substance. If you do this in
earnestness and sincerity, it may possibly repair the mischief which
your avarice has occasioned."

King Midas bowed low; and when he lifted his head, The lustrous
stranger had vanished.

You will easily believe that Midas lost no time in snatching up a
great earthen pitcher (but, alas! It was no longer earthen after he
touched it) and hastening to the riverside. As he scampered along, and
forced his way through the shrubbery, it was positively marvelous to
see how the foliage turned yellow behind him, as if the autumn had
been there, and nowhere else. On reaching the river's brink, he
plunged headlong in, without waiting so much as to pull off his shoes.

"Poof! Poof! Poof!" snorted King Midas, as his head emerged out of the
water. "Well, this is really a refreshing bath, and I think it must
have quite washed away the Golden Touch. And now for filling my

As he dipped the pitcher into the water, it gladdened his very heart
to see it change from gold into the same good, honest earthen vessel
which it had been before he touched it. He was conscious, also, of a
change within himself. A cold, hard, and heavy weight seemed to have
gone out of his bosom. No doubt his heart had been gradually losing
its human substance, and changing itself into dull metal, but had now
softened back again into flesh. Seeing a violet that grew on the bank
of the river, Midas touched it with his finger, and was overjoyed to
find that the delicate flower retained its purple hue, instead of
undergoing a yellow blight. The curse of the Golden Touch had,
therefore, really been removed from him.

King Midas hastened back to the palace; and, I suppose, the servants
knew not what to make of it when they saw their royal master so
carefully bringing home an earthen pitcher of water. But that water,
which was to undo all the mischief that his folly had wrought, was
more precious to Midas than an ocean of molten gold could have been.
The first thing he did, as you nee hardly be told, was to sprinkle it
by handfuls over the golden figure of little Marygold.

No sooner did it fall on her than you would have laughed to see how
the rosy color came back to the dear child's cheek!--and how she began
to sneeze and splutter!--and how astonished she was to find herself
dripping wet, and her father still throwing more water over her!

"Pray, do not, dear father!" cried she. "See how you have wet my nice
frock, which I put on only this morning!"

For Marygold did not know that she had been a little golden statue;
nor could she remember anything that had happened since the moment
when she ran, with outstretched arms, to comfort poor King Midas.

Her father did not think it necessary to tell his beloved child how
very foolish he had been, but contented himself with showing how much
wiser he had now grown. For this purpose he led little Marygold into
the garden, where he sprinkled all the remainder of the water over
the rosebushes recovered their beautiful bloom. There were two
circumstances, however, which, as long as he lived, used to put King
Midas in mind of the Golden Touch. One was that the sands of the river
sparkled like gold; the other that little Marygold's hair had now a
golden tinge, which he had never observed in it before she had been
changed by the effect of his kiss. This change of hue was really an
improvement, and made Marygold's hair richer than in her babyhood.

When King Midas had grown quite an old man, and used to trot
Marygold's children on his knee, he was fond of telling them this
marvelous story, pretty much as I have now told it to your. And then
would he stroke their glossy ringlets, and tell them that their hair,
likewise, had a rich shade of gold, which they had inherited from
their mother.

"And to tell you the truth, my precious little folks," quoth King
Midas, diligently trotting the children all the while, "ever since
that morning I have hated the very sight of all other gold save


Discussion. 1. How did Midas think he could best show his love for
this daughter? 2. What was his chief pleasure? 3. Describe the visitor
who appeared to Midas in his treasure-room. 4. What did the stranger
ask him? 5. Find the sentence that tells what Midas wished. 6. When
did he receive his new power? 7. What use did he make of it? 8. What
did Marygold think of the gold roses? 9. Why was not Midas's breakfast
a success? 10. When did Midas first doubt whether riches are the most
desirable thing in the world? 11. How did he drive this thought away?
12. What make him realize that his little daughter was dearer to him
than gold? 13. Find lines that tell what he realized when it was too
late. 14. What did the stranger ask when he came again? 15. What was
the discovery that Midas mad made since the stranger's first visit?
16. How was Midas cured of the Golden Touch? 17. What was he told to
do in order to restore Marygold to life? 18. What was the only gold
he cared about after he was saved from the Golden Touch? 19. Find
examples of human; of fanciful expressions, Such as "day had hardly
peeped over the hills," of descriptions that you like. 20. Close
readings: Select passages to be read aloud in class. 21. Outline for
testing silent reading. Tell the story briefly in your own words,
using the topic headings given in the story. 22. Find in the Glossary
the meaning of: purpose; mortal; inhaling; induce; flexibility;
balustrade; burnished; afflicted; affright; consideration; perplexity;
fatal; agony; infinitely; desperate; earthen; conscious; molten.
23. Pronounce: Midas; calculate; particularly; obscure; tinge;
extraordinary; mediate; composure; blighted; bath; cup; snarl; molten;
aghast; admirably; metallic; frothy; pitiable; ravenous; indigestible;
victuals; phrase; recognized; purebred; avarice.

Phrases for Study

comparatively a new affair, fairest goldsmith, woven texture, cruel
mortification, wisdom of the book, by dint of great quickness,
cunningly made, features and tokens.


A Backward Look

A wonderful power lies in the Crystal Glass of Reading--the power to
increase your circle of friends and to know intimately people who have
lived in distant times and places. Through its power the great
heroes of all ages--Joseph, Beowulf, Sigurd, Robin Hood, and our own
Washington, Lincoln, and Roosevelt--become your companions.

Someone has said that the pen is mightier than the sword, which is
another way of saying that great books have had more to do in shaping
the lives and fortunes of men than bloody battles. The group of
authors whose stories and poems you have just been reading is a
company of friends whose thoughts about Nature, or about life and its
meaning, have been a power in making America what it is today.

Acquaintance with these friends has been made easy for you; you have
had placed before you their pictures and interesting facts about their
lives, and best of all, you have been able to hear them tell their own
thoughts. What authors are in this group? Which of them did you learn
to know in Book IV and which were new to you in this book? Close
your eyes and see whether your "inward eye" can picture the faces of
Franklin, Bryant, Whittier, Irving, Longfellow, Hawthorne. Make one
interesting statement concerning each author and his works. Quote
lines from poems by Bryant, Whittier, and Longfellow. Make from memory
a list of title of stories or poems you have read from each of these
six American authors.

Benjamin Franklin founded the first public library in America; the
picture on page 18 shows you what a library must have been like in
the old Greek days, and page 288 pictures a view of the Congressional
Library at Washington, the home of the complete works of all our
American authors. The building is considered one of the most beautiful
in the world; report to the class some interesting facts about this
library that you have learned from someone who has seen it.

In the last paragraph of the Forward Look, you are asked to notice the
way in which authors tell what they have to say. When Franklin was a
young boy he was not at all satisfied with his way of writing, so
he sat himself the task of noticing carefully how a certain English
writer, whom he admired very much, expressed himself, and tried to
pattern after him. Notice how Franklin made the story "An Ax to Grind"
seem very real by using direct quotations; where else has he used
direct quotations with the same result?

Notice the way Hawthorne added interest to his stories: (a) by touches
of fancy; (b) by delicate humor; (c) by apt descriptions. Point out
examples of each of these qualities in "The Paradise of Children."
Make a similar showing for "The Golden Touch." Compare the two stories
in regard to each of These qualities.

Turn to the pictures on pages 282, 297, 302, 321, and 309, and see
whether you are able to tell what selection each panel-picture
illustrates. You have read many stories in this book that show how
fine a thing it is to serve, and so it seems fitting to have on the
cover at your reader a picture of Hiawatha, who

"Lived and toiled, so I suffered, That the tribes of men might
prosper, That he might advance his people!"

Make a list of the stories you have read in this book that tell about
service. Read the lines in "The White-man's foot" that describe "the
great canoe with pinions," which you see in the picture on the outside
cover of this book. Since you began to use this book what progress
have you hade in gaining ability to read silently with speed and

* * * * *


abashed (a-bashed'), ashamed

abbey (ab'i), the home of monks

abbot (ab'ut), head of an abbey

above his fortune (for'toon), more than he can afford

absolutely (ab'so-loot-ly), positively

absurd inventions (ab-surd' in-ven'shuns), made-up stories not

abyes (a-bis'), a space so deep as not to be easily measured

accompany (ac-com'pa-ny), go with

accosted (ac-cost'ed), spoken to

accoutered (ac-cout'ered), dressed

accumulating (ac-cu'mu-lat-ing), piling up

acquainted (ac-quaint'ed), friendly with each other

adage (ad'age), a saying

Adjidaumo (Ad-ji-dau'mo)

admirably (ad'mi-ra-bly), well

ado (a-do'), fuss

adorn (a-dorn'), decorate

advance (ad-vance') his people, help his tribe of Indians to be better

advisers (ad-viz'ers), men with whom he talked

adz (adz'), tool for trimming wood

aerie (i'ry), high nest

Aesop (Ae'sop), a Greek slave who wrote many little stories

afflicted (af-flict'ed), distressed

afflicted (af-flict'ed) the souls, made people do wrong

affliction (af-flic'shun), trouble

affright (af-fright'), alarm

aftermath (aft'er-math), second crop

against all comers, with anyone he meets

age of doubt, time when people are not ready to believe

aghast (a-ghast'), startled

agility (a-gil'i-ty), quickness

agony (ag'o-ny), grief

Ahmeek (Ah-meek')

Ahno (Ah'no)

Aladdin (A-lad'din)

alder (al'der), a kind of tree

alert (a-lert'), watchful

Ali Baba (A'li Bah'bah)

allied (al-lied'), joined

all in their best, dressed in their best clothes

all its endearments (en-dear'mentz), everything that makes it dear

allotted (al-lot'ted) time, time granted for doing anything

almanacs (al'ma-naks), small books containing a yearly calendar with
little stories

aloes (al'oes), a precious wood

alternate (al-ter'nate), first one, then the other

ambitious (am-bi'shus), eager for

ambush in the oak-tree, hiding-place in the oak

amethyst (am'e-thyst), a clear purple or bluish violet; a precious

ancient, old; of old time

anecdote (an'ek-dote), a story

anemones (a-nim'o-nez), wild flowers of pale, dainty colors

anew (a-nu'), again

animal spirits, loud, rough play

Annemeekee (An-ne-mee'kee)

Antoine (An-twan')

anxious (ang'shus), troubled

ape the ways of pride, try to copy the

actions of proud people

apothecary (a-poth'uh-ca-ry), druggist

appeared concerned (ap-peared' con-surned'), seemed anxious

apple from the pine, pineapple

appointed (ap-point'ed), chosen beforehand for the feast

approached (ap-proacht'), went near to

approach (ap-proach') the bounds, come near the edge

Arabic (Ar'a-bik), language of Arabs

arch and laughing tone, merry, teasing voice

archery, shooting with bow and arrow

arching, curving

arching blue, sky

arch of the sunlit bow, curve of the rainbow

archway of rock, meeting place overhead of two rock walls

array (ar-ray',) order

artificar (ar-tif'i-sur), skilled worker

ash-cakes, unsweetened cakes baked on a hot shovel laid on the ashes

aspect, outlook; state

aspen (as'pen) bower, thicket of trees the leaves of which are easily
moved by the wind

aspiring (as-pir'ing) genius, clever person who is trying to rise

assembled (as-sem'bld), collected

assumed (as-soomd') the ap-pear'ance of, looked like

asters (as'ters) in the brook, reflection of the asters in the water

astir (a-stur'), moving around

astonished (as-ton'isht), surprised

astride (a-stride') the traces, having one leg over one of the straps
which fastened the plow to the horses

asunder (a-sun'der), apart

attendance (at-ten'dans) on levees (lev- ees'), going to receptions

attend his pleasure (plezh'ur), do his bidding

at their glittering (glit'ter-ing) best, shining as bright as possible

audible (au'di-b'l), that can be heard

aught but tender, any way except kind

autumnal (au-tum'nal), of autumn

avarice (av'a-ris), greed

averted (a-vurt'ed), turned aside

awakening (a-wak'n-ing) of the woods, the budding of the forest trees

awry (a-ri'), crooked

ay (I), yes

azure (azh'ur), sky-blue; the air

azure space, blue air above

babble (bab'bl), chatter

bade, told; told to

balas (bal'as), a kind of ruby

balked, (bal'kt) stopped

balm (balm), sticky dried juice

balsam (bal'sam), same as balm

balustrade (bal'us-trad'), railing

bandages (ban'daj-ez), strips of cloth

banditti (ban-dit'ti), robbers

barter (bar'ter) it all, trade all that I have gained

basswood (bas'wood), wood of the linden tree

battlements (bat'tl-ments), irregular top of the high walls of a castle

bayou (bi'oo), inlet

bazaars (ba-zars'), shops; marketplace

beam, ray of light

beaming, shining

bear me ill-will, dislike me

bear no malice (mal'is), have no ill-will

beast of prey, flesh-eating animal

Beatte (Be'ti)

beat us holler, do things we cannot do

beauteous (bu'te-us) summer glow, lovely

brightness of summer time becalmed (be-kalmd'), prevented from sailing
because of lack of wind

beechen (bech'en), of the beech tree

befall (be-fol'), happen to

beguile (be-gil'), charm

beguiled (be-gild'), tricked

beheld it aforetime (a-for'tim), see it before it arrived

belated (be-lat'ed) thriftless vagrant (va'grant), tardy, lazy wanderer

belfry (bel'fri), tower for a bell

bemoan (be-mon') himself, groan softly

beneath (be-neth') benevolent (be-nev'o-lent) friendship, kind and
generous acts of a friend

benignant (be-nig'nant), kindly

beseems (be-semz') his quality (kwol'i'ti), fits his rank

beside himself with joy, so happy he did not know what to do

besmeared (be-smerd'), covered

best of cheer, things that make one most happy

betrayed (be-trayd'; be_tra'ed), given me to my enemy by a trick

bewinderment (be-wil'der-ment), perplexity

bewitchingly persuasive (be-wich'ing-li per-swa'siv), charmingly

Big-Sea-Water, Lake Superior

billowed like a russet ocean (bil'od; rus'et), reddish grass blew like

Bishop of Bingen (bish'up; bing'en), Hatto, who starved the poor and
was shut up in a tower, where mice devoured him

bison (bi'sun), American buffalo

blanc-mange (bla-maenzh'), a dessert of starchy substances and milk

blare (blar), blow harshly

blest (blast), hard wind; loud, long sound

blazing in the sky, showing bright against the sky

Blefuscu (ble-fus'ku)

blended ranks (blend'ed), mixed lines

blighted (blit'ed), withered

blithe (blith), happy; joyous

blossoming ground, earth covered with flowers

blue day, day when the sky is clear

blur in the eye, tear

boar (bor), wild hog

bonny (bon'i), gay

booming (boom'ing), hollow-sounding

boon (boon), favor

borne their part (born), done their share

born to rule the storm, naturally able to do anything

bosom (booz'um), front part

boundary (boun'da-ri), marking a division; separating

bound boy, boy hired out to work by the year for his board and a small

bound by a spell, charmed so that I could not move

bound'less space, the endless extent of the regions of the air

bound to him, made them love him

bounties (boun'tiz), generous gifts

bountiful traveler (boun'ti-fool trav'el-er) generous traveler

Bowdoin (bo'd'n)

bowers (bou'erz), lovely rooms

bowl'ders (bol'derz), large stones

brake (brayk), valley enclosed by hills

braves, Indian men ready to fight

brawny (bra'ni), strong

breakers (brayk'erz), big waves striking the shore

break my fast, eat my meal

breathed a song, sang a song softly

breeches (brich'ez), short trousers

bridled (bri'd'ld), put the headpiece on

brig (brig), sailing ship with two masts

brightened as he sped (brit'nd), grew brighter as he mounted up into
the sky

brightest aspect (as'pekt), look that is most attractive

brin'dled (brin'd'ld), having dark streaks or spots on a gray or
yellowish brown ground; streaked

bring the hunting homeward, carry home what I shoot

broadfaced sun, round, cheerful sun

brocades (bro-kadz'), heavy silk woven with a raised figure or flower

brooding (brood'ing), thinking sadly

broom, a shrub with yellow flowers

brought to bale (bal), made trouble for

buffet (buf'et), slap

bulge (bulj), place bent in

bullies (bool'iz), teases

bulwark (bool'wark), protection; defense

bunting (bun'ting), cloth for flags

buoy (boi) float

burial (ber'i-al), act of placing in a grave

burnished (bur'nisht), shining

Bussorah (bus'o-ra)

by dint of great quickness (dint), by acting very fast

by way of satisfying (sat'is-fi'ing), in order to quiet the prickings

calamity (ka-lam'i-ti), misfortune

calculate (kal'ku-lat), figure up

Caliph (ka'lif), an Eastern title

calked (kalkt), stopped up

calls but the warders (wor'derz), only calls the watchmen

calm (kaem), a period of quiet

came into the knowledge of, was told

came into the world, took part in the business, political, social; etc.,
activities of the world

canoe with pinions (ka-noo'; pin'yunz), sailboat

capital crime (kap'i-tal), a sin so bad that it is punished by death

care is sowing, worry and work are making grow

carnage (kar'naj), killing

caroling (kar'ul-ing), singing

carriages (kar'ij-ez), carts

Casabianca (ka'za-byan'ka)

cast yourself free, unroll

cataract's laughter (kat'a-rakts laf'ter), laughing sound made by
water falling from a height

catches the gleam, reflects the light

cathedral (ka-the'dral), large church

caution (kau'shun); carefulness

ceased their calling (sest), stopped singing because they have migrated

ceremony (ser'e-mo-ni), formal act

chafe (chaf) rub, trying to get through

chagrin (sha-grin'), annoyance

chalcedony (ka1-sed'o-ni), a beautiful, very hard stone

changeful April (chanj'fool), April has sudden changes of weather

channel (chan'el), bed of the stream

charger (char'jer), fine horse

charm, something with magic power

chastened (chas'nd), with a softer light

Cheemaun (che-mon')

cheering power of spring, how spring makes one glad

cherished (cher'isht), lovingly cared for

cherished possessions (cher'isht po-zesh'unz), dearest things he had

Chibiabos (chib-i-a'bos)

chieftain (chef'tin), one, who gave orders

chimney (chim'ni)

chore (chor), light task

christening (kris'n-ing), naming

ciphering (si'fer-ing), working examples

curcuit (sur'kit), round-about trip

circumference (ser-kum'fer-ens), distance around the edge of a circle

clamber (klam'ber), climb

clapboard (klap'bord), narrow board

clatter, rattling noise

clearings, ground where the trees have been cut

cleft the bark asunder (a-sun'der), split the bark

clogging (klog'ing), hindering

close couching (kouch'ing), crouching so as to be hidden

close the seams together, make the cracks tight

cloud-rack of a tempest, flying, broken clouds after a storm

coffers (kof'ers), treasure chests

Cogia Houssam (ko'gya hoo'sam)

collected (ko-lekt'ed), thoughtful

collected her thoughts (ko-lekt'ed), thought quickly

combine (kom-bin'), form themselves

come what may, no matter what happens

Commander of the Faithful (ko-man'der; fath'fool), leader of those
true to the Mohammedan religion. The title is given to the Caliphs

commanding lookout (ko-mand'ing look'out'), place from which the
surrounding neighborhood can be seen

commission (ko-mish'un), thing to be done

comparatively a new affair (kom-par'a-tiv-li; a-far'), a world that
had been made only a short time

composure (kom-po'zhur), calmness

comrades (kom'radz), mates

concealed (kon-seld'), hidden

confident mood (kon'fi-dent mood), feeling sure I could do it

confounded with astonishment (kon-found'ed; as-ton'ish-ment), so
surprised that they could not think

confused (kon-fuzd'), bothered

conjoined of them all (kon-joind'), made of all together

connected with himself (ko-nekt'ed), have reference to him

conscious (kon'shus), aware

consequence (kon'se-kwens), result

consideration (kon-sid'er-a'shun), reason constant (kon'stant), regular

constellation (kon'ste-la'shun), a group of stars

constituting (kon'sti-tut'ing), making up

consul (kon'sul), one who lives in a foreign country to look after the
business interests of his own country there

contemptible (kon-temp'ti-b'1), mean

contracts (kon-trakts'), makes

contrivance (kon-triv'ans), device

contrived (kon-trivd'), made

contrive to bury (kon-triv'; ber'i), manage to bury

conveyed (kon-vad'), given over

coppers (kop'erz), pennies

cord, string of the bow

cornice (kor'nis), high molding around the walls

corporeal sensations (kor-po're-al sen-sa'shunz), coarse pleasures

corpse (korps), dead body

corselet (kors'1et), armor for the body

council of war (koun'sil), meeting to make plans

counsels (koun'selz), advice

count all your boasts, even though you present your many charms

count like misers (mi'zerz), count as lovingly as do misers their money

county town, town where the business of the county (holding court,
paying taxes, etc.), is carried on

coursers (kor'serz), swift horses; here reindeer

courteous (kur'te-us), polite

court favor (kort fa'ver), good will of the ruler or other high

courtiers (kort'yerz), those in attendance at the court of a ruler

cover (kuv'er), underbrush large enough to hide behind

cowering (kou'er-ing), hovering

creation (kre-a'shun), the world

crestfallen (krest'fol'n), cast down

cresting the billows (krest'ing; bi1'oz), adorning the top of the waves

crevice (krev'is), crack

crew of gypsies, band of ragamuffins

cross-brace, the piece of wood between the plow handles

crown of his desire, thing he wanted most

cruel mortification (kroo'el mor'ti-fi-ka'shun), very great annoyance

cruise (krooz), trip in a boat

cunning (kun'ing), tricky

cunningly made, skillfully made

cupboard (kub'erd), a closet for dishes

curmudgeon (kur-muj'un), miser

curtsy (kurt'si), bow

cymbals (sim'balz), pair of brass half globes clashed together to
produce a ringing sound

Dacotahs (da-ko'taz), Sioux (Soo)

Daedalus of yore (ded'a-lus) Daedalus of olden time. The story is
that he escaped from prison by flying with wings he had made

dames, married women

Darius (da-ri'us)

daunted (dant'ed), frightened

dawn, daybreak

daybeds, resting places in daytime

deathless fame (deth'les), lasting glory

deck her bosom (booz'um), trim the front of the canoe

deems (demz), thinks

deer-skin dressed and whitened, skins of deer, which had been cleaned,
smoothed, and bleached

defile (de-fi1'), narrow pass

defunct tenant (de-funkt' ten'ant), man who formerly lived there but
is dead

dejected (de-jekt'ed), downhearted

delicate crafts employ (del'i-kat), use your skill in cooking

dell, small valley

deposited (de-poz'it-ed), put away

derision (de-rizh'un), mockery

desert (dez'ert), uninhabited by man

design (de-zin'), plan

desolation (des'o-la'shun), ruin

despair (de-spair'), hopelessness

desperate (des'per-at), hopeless

dessert (de-zurt'), fruit, pastry, etc., served at the close of a meal

destined to be let loose (des'tind), fated to be free

diamond (di'a-mund), precious stone

diminished (di-min'isht); made less

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