Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

The Junior Classics, Volume 1

Part 2 out of 8

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

is very precious."

The old man, looking half amused and half angry, pushed back the knife,
muttering something to the effect that his friend was either a fool
himself or else tying to play the fool with him. The young man
pretended not to notice his reply, and remained almost silent till they
reached the city, a short distance outside which was the old farmer's

They walked about the bazaar and went to the mosque, but nobody saluted
them or invited them to come in and rest.

"What a large cemetery!" exclaimed the young man.

"What does the man mean," thought the old farmer, "calling this largely
populated city a cemetery?"

On leaving the city their way led through a cemetery where a few people
were praying beside a grave and distributing chupatties and kulchas to
Passers-by, in the name of their beloved dead. They beckoned to the
two travelers and gave them as much as they would.

"What a splendid city this is!" said the young man.

"Now, the man must surely be demented!" thought the old farmer. "I
wonder what he will do next? He will be calling the land water, and
the water land; and be speaking of light where there is darkness, and
of darkness where it is light." However, he kept his thoughts to

Presently they had to wade through a stream that ran along the edge of
the cemetery. The water was rather deep, so the old farmer took off
his shoes and pajamas and crossed over; but the young man waded through
it with his shoes and pajamas on.

"Well! I never did see such a perfect fool, both in word and in deed,
said the old man to himself.

However, he liked the fellow; and thinking that he would amuse his wife
and daughter, he invited him to come and stay at his house as long as
he had occasion to remain in the village.

"Thank you very much," the young man replied; "but let me first
inquire, if you please, whether the beam of your house is strong. "

The old farmer left him in despair, and entered his house laughing.

"There is a man in yonder field," he said, after returning their
greetings. "He 'has come the greater part of the way with me, and I
wanted him to put up here as long as he had to stay in this village.
But the fellow is such a fool that I cannot make anything out of him.
He wants to know if the beam of this house is all right. The man must
be mad!" and saying this he burst into a fit of laughter.

"Father," said the farmer's daughter, who was a very sharp and wise
girl, "this man, whosoever he is, is no fool, as you deem him. He only
wishes to know if you can afford to entertain him."

"Oh! of course," replied the farmer. "I see. Well perhaps you can
help me to solve some of his other mysteries. While we were walking
together he asked whether he should carry me or I should carry him, as
he thought that would be a pleasanter mode of proceeding."

"Most assuredly," said the girl. "He meant that one of you should tell
a story to beguile the time."

"Oh, yes. Well, we were passing through a cornfield, when he asked me
whether it was eaten or not."

"And didn't you know the meaning of this, father? He simply wished to
know if the man was in debt or not; because if the owner of the field
was in debt, then the produce of the field was as good as eaten to him;
that is, it would have to go to his creditors."

"Yes, yes, yes; of course! Then, on entering a certain village, he
bade me take his clasp knife and get two horses with it, and bring back
the knife again to him."

"Are not two stout sticks as good as two horses for helping one along
on the road? He only asked you to cut a couple of sticks and be
careful not to lose his knife."

"I see," said time farmer. "While we were walking over the city we did
not see anybody that we knew, and not a soul gave us a scrap of
anything to eat, till we were passing the cemetery; but there some
people called to us and put into our hands some chupatties and kulchas;
so my companion called the city a cemetery, and the cemetery a city."

"This also is to be understood, father, if one thinks of the city as
the place where everything is to be obtained, and of inhospitable
people as worse than the dead. The city, though crowded with people,
was as if dead, as far as you were concerned; while, in the cemetery,
which is crowded with time dead, you were saluted by kind friends and
provided with bread."

"True, true!" said the astonished farmer. "Then, just now, when we
were crossing the stream, he waded through it without taking off his
shoes and pajamas.''

"I admire his wisdom," replied time girl. "I have often thought how
stupid people were to venture into that swiftly flowing stream and over
those sharp stones with bare feet. The slightest stumble and they
would fall, and be wetted from head to foot. This friend of yours is a
most wise man. I should like to see him and speak to him."

"Very well," said time farmer; "I will go and find him, and bring him

"Tell him, father, that our beams are strong enough, and then he will
come in. I'll send on ahead a present to the man, to show him that we
can afford to have him for our guest."

Accordingly she called a servant and sent him to the young man with a
present of a basin of ghee, twelve chupatties, and a jar of milk, and
the following message: "O friend, time moon is full; twelve months make
a year, and the sea is overflowing with water."

Half-way the bearer of this present and message met his little son,
who, seeing what was in the basket, begged his father to give him some
of the food. His father foolishly complied. Presently he saw the
young man, and gave him the rest of the present and the message.

"Give your mistress my salaam," he replied, "and tell her that the moon
is new, and that I can only find eleven mouths in the year, and the sea
is by no means full."

Not understanding the meaning of these words, the servant repeated them
word for word, as he had heard them, to his mistress; and thus his
theft was discovered, and he was severely punished. After a little
while the young man appeared with the old farmer. Great attention was
shown to him, and he was treated in every way as it he were the son of
a great man, although his humble host knew nothing of his origin. At
length be told them everything-about the laughing of the fish, his
father's threatened execution, and his own banishment-and asked their
advice as to what he should do.

"The laughing of the fish,'' said the girl "which seems to have been
the cause of all this trouble, indicates that there is a man in the
palace who is plotting against the king's life."

"Joy, joy!" exclaimed the vizier's son. "There is yet time for me to
return and save my father from an ignominious and unjust death, and the
king from danger."

The following day he hastened back to his own country, taking with him
the farmer's daughter. Immediately on arrival he ran to the palace and
informed his father of what he had heard. The poor vizier, now almost
dead from the expectation of death, was at once carried to the king, to
whom he repeated the news that his son had just brought.

"Never!" said the king.

"But it must be so, Your Majesty," replied the vizier; "and in order to
prove the truth of what I have heard, I pray you call together all the
maids in your palace, and order them to jump over a pit, which must be
dug. We'll soon find out whether there is any man there."

The king had time pit dug, and commanded all the maids belonging to the
palace to try to jump it. All of them tried, but only one succeeded.
That one was found to be a man!

Thus was the queen satisfied, and the faithful old vizier saved.

Afterward, as soon as could be, the vizier's son married the old
farmer's daughter; and a most happy marriage it was.


By Joseph Jacobs

THERE was ounce a farmer who suffered much at time hands of the money
lender. Good harvests, or bad, the farmer was always poor, the money
lender rich. At the last, when he hadn't a farthing left, the farmer
went to the money lender's house, and said, "You can't squeeze water
from a stone, and as you have nothing to get by me now, you might tell
me the secret of becoming rich."

"My friend," returned the money lender, piously, "riches come from Ram-
ask him."

"Thank you, I will!" replied the simple farmer; so he prepared three
griddle cakes to last him on the journey, and set out to find Ram.

First he met a Brahman, and to him he gave a cake asking him to point
out the road to Ram; but the Brahman only took the cake and went on his
way without a word. Next the farmer met a Jogi or devotee, and to him
he gave a cake, without receiving any help in return. At last, he came
upon a poor man sitting under a tree, and finding out he was hungry,
the kindly farmer gave him his last cake, and sitting clown to rest
beside him, entered into conversation.

"And where are you going?" asked the poor man, at length.

"Oh, I have a long journey before me, for I am going to find Ram!"
replied the farmer. "I don't suppose you could tell me which way to

"Perhaps I can," said the poor man, smiling, "for I am Ram! What do you
want of me?"

Then the farmer told the whole story, and Rain, taking pity on him,
gave him a conch shell, and showed him how to blow it in a particular
way, saying, "Remember! whatever you wish for, you have only to blow
the conch that way, and your wish will be fulfilled. Only have a care
of that money lender, for even magic is not proof against their wiles!"

The farmer went back to his village rejoicing. In fact the money
lender noticed his high spirits at once, and said to himself, "Some
good fortune must have befallen the stupid fellow, to make him hold his
head so jauntily." Therefore he went over to the simple farmer's
house, and congratulated him on his good fortune, in such cunning
words, pretending to have heard all about it, that before long the
farmer found himself telling the whole story-all except the secret of
blowing the conch, for, with all his simplicity, the farmer was not
quite such a fool as to tell that.

Nevertheless, the money lender determined to have the conch by hook or
by crook, and as he was villain enough not to stick at trifles, he
waited for a favorable opportunity and stole the conch.

But, after nearly bursting himself with blowing the conch in every
conceivable way, he was obliged to give up the secret as a bad job.
However, being determined to succeed he went back to the farmer and
said, coolly, "Look here; I've got your conch, but I can't use it; you
haven't got it, So it's clear you can't use it either. Business is at
a standstill unless we make a bargain. Now, I promise to give you back
your conch, and never to interfere with your using it, on one
condition, which is this-Whatever you get from it, I am to get double."

"Never!" cried the farmer; "that would be the old business all over

"Not at all!" replied time wily money lender; "you will have your
share! Now, don't be a dog in the manger, for if you get all you want,
what can it matter to you if I am rich or poor?"

At last, though it went sorely against the grain to be of any benefit
to a money lender, the farmer was forced to yield, and from that time,
no matter what he gained by the power of the couch, time money lender
gained double. And the knowledge that this was so preyed upon the
farmer's mind day and night, so that he had no satisfaction out of

At last, there came a very dry season-so dry that the farmer's crops
withered for want of rain. Then he blew his conch, and wished for a
well to water them, and lo! there was the well, but the money lender
had two!-two beautiful new wells! This was too much for any farmer to
stand: and our friend brooded over it, and brooded over it, till at
last a bright idea came into his head. He seized the conch, blew it
loudly, and cried out, "Oh Ram! I wish to be blind of one eye!" And
so he was in a twinkling, but the money lender of course was blind of
both, and in trying to steer his way between the two new wells, he fell
into one and was drowned.

Now this true story shows that a farmer once got time better of a money
lender-but only by losing one of his eyes.


By Joseph Jacobs

IN a certain village there lived ten cloth merchants who always went
about together. Once upon a time they had traveled far afield, and
were returning home with a great deal of money which they had obtained
by selling their wares. Now there happened to be a dense forest near
their village, and this they reached early one morning. In it there
lived three notorious robbers, of whose existence the traders had never
heard, and while they were still in the middle of it the robbers stood
before them, with swords and cudgels in their hands, and ordered them
to lay down all they had. The traders had no weapons with them, and
so, though they were many more in number, they had to submit themselves
to the robbers, who took away everything from them, even the very
clothes they wore, and gave to each only a small loin cloth a span in
breadth and a cubit in length.

The idea that they had conquered ten men and plundered all their
property now took possession of the robbers' minds. They seated
themselves like three monarchs before the men they had plundered, and
ordered them to dance to them before returning home. The merchants now
mourned their fate.

They had lost all they had, except their loin cloth, and still the
robbers were not satisfied, but ordered them to dance.

There was, among the ten merchants, one who was very clever. He
pondered over the calamity that had come upon him and his friends, the
dance they would have to perform, and the magnificent manner in which
the three robbers had seated themselves on the grass. At the same time
he observed that these last had placed their weapons on the ground, in
the assurance of having thoroughly cowed the traders, who were now
commencing to dance. So he took the lead in the dance, and, as a song
is always sung by the leader on such occasions, to which the rest keep
time with hands and feet, he thus began to sing:

We are enty men,

They are erith men:

If each erith man

Surround eno men,

Eno man remains.

Ta, tai, tom, tadingana.

The robbers were all uneducated, and thought that the leader was merely
singing a song as usual. So it was in one sense: for the leader
commenced from a distance, and had sung the song over twice before he
and his companions commenced to approach the robbers. They had
understood his meaning, because they had been trained in trade.

When two traders discuss the price of an article in the presence of a
purchaser, they use a riddling sort of language.

"What is the price of this cloth?" one trader will ask another.

"Enty rupees," another will reply, meaning "ten rupees."

Thus, there is no possibility of the purchaser knowing what is meant
unless he be acquainted with trade language. By the rules of this
secret language erith means "three," enty means "ten," and eno means
"one." So the leader by his song meant to hint to his fellow-traders
that they were ten men, the robbers only three, that if three pounced
upon each of the robbers, nine of them could hold them down, while the
remaining one bound the robbers' hands and feet.

The three thieves, glorying in their victory, and little understanding
the meaning of the song and the intentions of the dancers, were proudly
seated chewing betel and tobacco. Meanwhile the song was sung a third
time. Ta, tai, tom had left the lips of the singer; and, before
tadingana was out of them, the traders separated into parties of three,
and each party pounced upon a thief. The remaining one-the leader
himself-tore up into long narrow strips a large piece of cloth, six
cubits long, and tied the hands and feet of the robbers. These were
entirely humbled now, and rolled on the ground like three bags of rice!

The ten traders now took back all their property, and armed themselves
with the swords and cudgels of their enemies; and when they reached
their village, they often amused their friends and relatives by
relating their adventure.


By Joseph Jacobs

A VERY wealthy old man, imagining that he was on the point of death,
sent for his sons and divided his property among them. However, he did
not die for several years afterward, and miserable years many of them
were. Besides the weariness of old age, the old fellow had to bear
with much abuse and cruelty from his sons. Wretched, selfish ingrates!
Previously they vied with one another in trying to please their father,
hoping thus to receive more money, but now they had received their
patrimony, they cared not how soon he left them-nay, the sooner the
better, because he was only a needless trouble and expense. And they
let the poor old man know what they felt.

One day he met a friend and related to him all his troubles. The
friend sympathized very much with him, and promised to think over the
matter, and call in a little while and tell him what to do. He did so;
in a few days he visited the old man and put down four bags full of
stones and gravel before him.

"Look here, friend," said he. "Your sons will get to know of my coming
here to-day, and will inquire about it. You must pretend that I came
to discharge a long-standing debt with you, and that you are several
thousands of rupees richer than you thought you were. Keep these bags
in your own hands, and on no account let your sons get to them as long
as you are alive. You will soon find them change their conduct toward
you. Salaam, I will come again soon to see how you are getting on."

When the young men got to hear of this further increase of wealth they
began to be more attentive and pleasing to their father than ever
before. And thus they continued to the day of the old man's demise,
when the bags were greedily opened, and found to contain only stones
and gravel!


By Flora Annie Steel

ONCE upon a time a Tiger was caught in a trap. He tried in vain to get
out through the bars, and rolled and bit with rage and grief when he

By chance a poor Brahman came by.

"Let me out of this cage, oh pious one!" cried the Tiger.

"Nay, my friend," replied the Brahman mildly, you would probably eat me
if I did."

"Not at all!" swore the Tiger with many oaths; "on the contrary, I
should be forever grateful, and serve you as a slave!"

Now when the Tiger sobbed and sighed and wept and swore, the pious
Brahman's heart softened, and at last he consented to open the door of
the cage. Out popped the Tiger, and, seizing the poor man, cried,
"What a fool you are! What is to prevent my eating you now, for after
being cooped up so long I am terribly hungry!"

In vain the Brahman Pleaded for his life; the most he could gain was a
promise to abide by the decision of the first three things he chose to
question as to the justice of the Tiger's action.

So the Brahman first asked a Pipal Tree what it thought of the matter,
but the Pipal Tree replied coldly, "What have you to complain about?
Don't I give shade and shelter to everyone who passes by, and don't
they in return tear down my branches to feed their cattle? Don't
whimper-be a. man! "

Then the Brahman sad at heart, went farther afield till he saw a
Buffalo turning a well wheel; but he fared no better from it, for it
answered, "You are a fool to expect gratitude! Look at me! While I
gave milk they fed me on cottonseed and oil cake, but now I am dry they
yoke me here, and give me refuse as fodder!"

The Brahman, still more sad, asked the Road to give him its opinion.

"My dear sir,'' said the Road, "how foolish you are to expect anything
else! Here am I, useful to everybody, yet all, rich and poor, great
and small, trample on me as they go past, giving me nothing but the
ashes of their pipes and the husks of their grain!"

On this the Brahman turned back sorrowfully, and on the way he met a
Jackal, who called out, "Why, what's the matter, Mr. Brahman? You look
as miserable as a fish out of water!"

The Brahman told him all that had occurred.

"How very confusing!" said the Jackal, when the recital was ended;
"would you mind telling me over again, for everything has got so mixed

The Brahman told it all over again, but the Jackal shook his head in a
distracted sort of way, and still could not understand.

"It's very odd," said he, sadly, "but it all seems to go in at one ear
and out at the other! I will go to the place where it all happened,
and then perhaps I shall be able to give a judgment. "

So they returned to the cage, by which the Tiger was waiting for the
Brahman, and sharpening his teeth and claws.

"You've been away a long time!" growled the savage beast, "but now let
us begin our dinner."

"Our dinner!" thought the wretched Brahman, as his knees knocked
together with fright; "what a remarkably delicate way of putting it!"

"Give mime five minutes, my lord!" he pleaded, "in order that I may
explain matters to the Jackal here, who is somewhat slow in his wits."

The Tiger consented, and the Brahman began the whole story over again,
not missing a single detail, and spinning as long a yarn as possible.

''Oh, my poor brain! oh, my poor brain!" cried the Jackal, wringing its
paws. "Let me see! how did it all begin? You were in the cage, and
the Tiger came walking by-"

"Pooh!" interrupted the Tiger, "what a fool you are! I was in the

"Of course!" cried the Jackal, pretending to tremble with fright; "yes
I was in the cage-no I wasn't-dear! dear, where are my wits? Let me
see-the Tiger was in the Brahman, and the cage came walking by-no,
that's not it, either! Well, don't mind me, but begin your dinner, for
I shall never understand!"

"Yes, you shall!" returned the Tiger, in a rage at the Jackal's
stupidity; "I'll make you understand! Look here-I am the Tiger-"

"Yes, my lord!"

"And that is the Brahman-"

"Yes, my lord!"

"And that is the cage-"

"Yes, my lord!"

"And I was in the cage-do you understand?"

"Yes-no- Please, my lord-"

"Well?" cried the Tiger impatiently.

"Please, my lord !-how did you get in?"

"How?-why, in the usual way, of course! "

"Oh, dear me!-My head is beginning to whirl again! Please don't get
angry, my lord, but what is the usual way?"

At this the Tiger lost patience, and, jumping into the cage, cried,
"This way! Now do you understand how it was?"

"Perfectly!" grinned the Jackal, as he dexterously shut the door. "And
if you will permit me to say so, I think matters will remain as they


By Flora Annie Steel

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

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 who 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, arid 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 tender.

"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 lie 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 replied:

"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

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, arid 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.


By Flora Annie Steel

ONCE upon a time a fat, sleek Rat was caught in a shower of rain, and
being far from shelter he set to work and soon dug a nice hole in the
ground, in which he sat as dry as a bone while the raindrops splashed
outside, making little puddles on the road.

Now in the course of digging, he came upon a fine bit of root, quite
dry and fit for fuel, which he set aside carefully-for the Rat is an
economical creature--in order to take it home with him. So when the
shower was over, he set off with the dry root in his mouth. As he went
along, daintily picking his way through the puddles, he Saw a Poor Man
vainly trying to light a fire, while a little circle of children stood
by, and cried piteously.

"Goodness gracious!" exclaimed the Rat, who was both soft-hearted and
curious, "What a dreadful noise to make! What is the matter?"

"The children are hungry," answered the Man; "they are crying for their
breakfast, but the sticks are damp, the fire won't burn, and so I can't
bake the cakes."

"If that is all your trouble, perhaps I can help you," said the good-
natured Rat, "you are welcome to this dry root and I'll warrant it will
soon make a fine blaze."

The Poor Man, with a thousand thanks, took the dry root, and in his
turn presented the Rat with a morsel of dough, as a reward for his
kindness and generosity.

"What a remarkably lucky fellow I am!" thought the Rat, as he trotted
off gayly with his prize, "and clever, too! Fancy making a bargain
like that-food enough to last me five days in return for a rotten old
stick! Wah! Wah! Wah! What it is to have brains!"

Going along, hugging his good fortune in this way, he came presently to
a Potter's yard, where the Potter, leaving his wheel to spin round by
itself, was trying to pacify his three little children, who were
screaming arid crying as if they would burst.

"My gracious!" cried the Rat, stopping his ears, "what a noise! do
tell me what it is all about."

"I suppose they are hungry," replied the Potter ruefully; "their mother
has gone to get flour in the bazaar, for there is none in the house.
In the meantime I can neither work nor rest because of them."

"Is that all?" answered the officious Rat; then I can help you. Take
this dough, cook it quickly, and stop their mouths with food."

The Potter overwhelmed the Rat with thanks for his obliging kindness,
and choosing out a nice well-burned pipkin, insisted on his accepting
it as a remembrance.

The Rat was delighted at the exchange, and though the pipkin was just a
trifle awkward for him to manage, he succeeded, after infinite trouble,
in balancing it on his head and went away gingerly, tink-a-tink, tin k-
a-tink, down the road, with his tail over his arm for fear he should
trip on it. And all the time he kept saying to himself, "What a lucky
fellow I am! and clever, too! Such a hand at a bargain!"

By and by he came to where some cowherds were herding their cattle.
One of them was milking a buffalo, and having no pail, he used his
shoes instead.

"Oh fie! oh fie!" cried the cleanly Rat, quite shocked at the sight.
"What a nasty, dirty trick! Why don't you use a pail?"

"For the best of all reasons-we haven't got one!" growled the Cowherd,
who did not see why the Rat should put his finger in the pie.

"If that is all," replied the dainty Rat, "oblige me by using this
pipkin, for I cannot bear dirt!"

The Cowherd, nothing loath, took the pipkin and milked away until it
was brimming over; then turning to the Rat, who stood looking on, said,
"Here, little fellow, You may have a drink, in payment."

But if the Rat was good-natured he was also shrewd. "No, no, my
friend," said he, "that will not do! As if I could drink the worth of
any pipkin at a draft! My dear sir, I couldn't hold it! Besides, I
never make a bad bargain, so I expect you, at least to give me the
buffalo that gave the milk."

"Nonsense!" cried the Cowherd; "a buffalo for a pipkin! Whoever heard
of such a price? And what on earth could you do with a buffalo when
you got it? Why, the pipkin was about as much as you could manage."

At this the Rat drew himself up with dignity, for he did not like
allusions to his size. "That is my affair, not yours," he retorted;
"your business is to hand over the buffalo."

So just for the fun of the thing, and to amuse themselves at the Rat's
expense, the cowherds loosened the buffalo's halter and began to tie it
to the little animal's tail.

"No! no!' he called, in a great hurry. "If the beast pulled, the skin
of my tail would come off, and then where should I be? Tie it around
my neck, if you please."

So with much laughter the cowherds tied the halter round the Rat's
neck, and he, after a polite leave-taking, set off gayly toward home
with his prize; that is to say, he set off with the rope, for no sooner
did he come to the end of the tether than be was brought up with a
round turn; the buffalo, nose down, grazing away, would not budge until
it had finished its tuft of grass, and then seeing another in a
different direction marched off toward it, while the Rat, to avoid
being dragged, had to trot humbly behind, willy-nilly. He was too
proud to confess the truth, of course, and, nodding his head knowingly
to the cowherds, said: "Ta-ta, good people! I am going home this way.
It may be a little longer, but it's much shadier."

And when the cowherds roared with laughter he took no notice, but
trotted on, looking as dignified as possible. "After all," he reasoned
to himself, "when one keeps a buffalo one has to look after its
grazing. A beast must get a good bellyful of grass if it is to give
any milk, and I have plenty of time at my disposal." So all day long
he trotted about after the buffalo, making believe; but by evening he
was dead tired, and felt truly thankful when the great big beast,
having eaten enough, lay down under a tree to chew the cud.

Just then a bridal party came by. The Bridegroom and his friends had
evidently gone on to the next village, leaving the Bride's palanquin to
follow; so the palanquin bearers, being lazy fellows and seeing a nice
shady tree, put down their burden, and began to cook some food.

"What detestable meanness!" grumbled one; "a grand wedding, and nothing
but plain rice to eat! Not a scrap of meat in it, neither sweet nor
salt! It would serve the skinflints right if we upset the Bride into a

"Dear me!" cried the Rat at once, seeing a way out of his difficulty,
"that is a shame! I sympathize with your feelings so entirely that if
you will allow me, I'll give you my buffalo. You can kill it, and cook

"Your buffalo!" returned the discontented bearers. "What rubbish!
Whoever heard of a rat owning a buffalo?"

"Not often, I admit," replied the Rat with conscious pride; "but look
for yourselves. Can you not see that I am leading the beast by a

"Oh, never mind the string!" cried a great big hungry bearer; master or
no master, I mean to have meat for my dinner!" Whereupon they killed
the buffalo, and cooking its flesh, ate their dinner with a relish;
then, offering the remains to the Rat, said carelessly, "Here, little
Rat-skin, that is for you!"

"Now look here!" cried the Rat hotly; "I'll have none of your pottage,
or your sauce, either. You don't suppose I am going to give my best
buffalo, that gave quarts and quarts of milk-the buffalo I have been
feeding all day-for a wee bit of rice? No! I got a loaf for a bit of
stick; I got a pipkin for a little loaf; I got a buffalo for a pipkin;
and now I'll have the Bride for my buffalo-the Bride, and nothing

By this time the servants, having satisfied their hunger, began to
reflect on what they had done, and becoming alarmed at the
consequences, arrived at the conclusion it would be wisest to make
their escape while they could. So, leaving the Bride in her palanquin,
they took to their heels in various directions.

The Rat, being as it were left in possession, advanced to the
palanquin, and drawing aside the curtain, with the sweetest of voices
and best of bows begged the Bride to descend. She hardly knew whether
to laugh or to cry, but as any company, even a Rat's, was better than
being quite alone in the wilderness, she did what she was bidden, and
followed the lead of her guide, who set off as fast as be could for his

As he trotted along beside the lovely young Bride, who, by her rich
dress and glittering jewels, seemed to be some king's daughter, he kept
saying to himself, "How clever I am! What bargains I do make, to be

When they arrived at his hole, the Rat stepped forward with the
greatest politeness, and said, "Welcome, madam, to my humble abode!
Pray step in, or if you will allow me, and as the passage is somewhat
dark, I will show you the way."

Whereupon he ran in first, but after a time, finding the Bride did not
follow, he put his nose out again, saying testily, "Well, madam, why
don't you follow? Don't you know it's rude to keep your husband

"My good sir," laughed the handsome young Bride, "I can't squeeze into
that little hole!"

The Rat coughed; then after a moment's thought he replied, "There is
some truth in your remark- you are overgrown, and I suppose I shall
have to build you a thatch somewhere, For to-night you can rest under
that wild plum tree."

"But I am so hungry!" said the Bride ruefully.

"Dear, dear! everybody seems hungry to-day!" returned the Rat
pettishly; "however, that's easily settled-I'll fetch you Some supper
in a trice."

So he ran into his hole, returning immediately with an ear of millet
and a dry pea. "There!" said he, triumphantly, "isn't that a fine

"I can't eat that!" whimpered the Bride; "it isn't a mouthful; and I
want rice pottage, and cakes, and sweet eggs, and sugar drops. I shall
die if I don't get them!"

"Oh, dear me!" cried the Rat in a rage, "what a nuisance a bride is, to
be sure! Why don't you eat the wild plums?"

"I can't live on wild plums!" retorted the weeping Bride; "nobody
could; besides, they are only half ripe, and I can't reach them."

"Rubbish!" cried the Rat; "ripe or unripe, they must do you for to-
night, and to-morrow you can gather a basketful, sell them in the city,
and buy sugar drops and sweet eggs to your heart's content!"

So the next morning the Rat climbed up into the plum tree, and nibbled
away at the stalks till the fruit fell down into the Bride's veil.
Then, unripe as they were, she carried them into the city, calling out
through the streets-

"Green plums I sell! green plums I sell!

Princess am I, Rat's bride as well!"

As she passed by the palace, her mother, the Queen, heard her voice,
and running out, recognized her daughter. Great were the rejoicings,
for everyone thought the poor Bride had been eaten by wild beasts.

In the midst of the feasting and merriment, the Rat, who had followed
the Princess at a distance, and had become alarmed at her long absence,
arrived at the door, against which he beat with a big knobby stick,
calling out fiercely, "Give me my wife! Give me my wife! She is mine
by a fair bargain. I gave a stick and I got a loaf; I gave a loaf and
I got a pipkin; I gave a pipkin and I got a buffalo; I gave a buffalo
and I got a bride. Give me my wife! Give me my wife!"

"La! son-in-law! What a fuss you do make," said the wily old Queen
through the door, "and all about nothing! Who wants to run away with
your wife? On the contrary, we are proud to see you, and I only keep
you waiting at the door till we can spread the carpets, and receive you
in style."

Hearing this, the Rat was mollified, and waited patiently outside while
the cunning old Queen prepared for his reception, which she did by
cutting a hole in the very middle of a stool, putting a red hot stone
underneath, covering it over with a stew-pan lid, and then spreading a
beautiful embroidered cloth over all. Then she went to the door, and
receiving the Rat with the greatest respect, led him to the stool,
praying him to be seated.

"Dear! dear! how clever I am! What bargains I do make, to be sure!"
said he to himself as he climbed on to the stool. "Here I am, son-in-
law to a real live Queen! What will the neighbors say?"

At first he sat down on the edge of the stool, but even there it was
warm, and after a while he began to fidget, saying, "Dear me, mother-
in-law, how hot your house is! Everything I touch seems burning!"

"You are out of the wind there, my son," replied the cunning old Queen;
"sit more in the middle of the stool, and then you will feel the breeze
and get cooler."

But he didn't! for the stewpan lid by this time had become so hot that
the Rat fairly frizzled when he sat down on it; and it was not until he
had left all his tail, half his hair, and a large piece of his skin
behind him, that he managed to escape, howling with pain, and vowing
that never, never, never again would he make a bargain!


By Flora Annie Steel

A JACKAL and a partridge swore eternal friendship; but the Jackal was
very exacting and jealous. "You don't do half as much for me as I do
for you," he used to say, "and yet you talk a great deal of your
friendship. Now my idea of a friend is one who is able to make me
laugh or cry, give me a good meal, or save my life if need be. You
couldn't do that!"

"Let us see," answered the Partridge; "follow me at a little distance,
and if I don't make you laugh soon you may eat me!"

So she flew on till she met two travelers trudging along, one behind
the other. They were both foot-sore and weary, and the first carried
his bundle on a stick over his shoulder, while the second had his shoes
in his hand.

Lightly as a feather the Partridge settled on the first traveler's
stick. He, none the wiser, trudged on, but the second traveler, seeing
the bird sitting so tamely just in front of his nose, said to himself,
"What a chance for a supper!" and immediately flung his shoes at it,
they being ready to hand. Whereupon the Partridge flew away, and the
shoes knocked off the first traveler's turban.

"What a plague do you mean?" cried he, angrily turning on his
companion. "Why did you throw your shoes at my head?"

"Brother," replied the other mildly, "do not be vexed. I didn't throw
them at you, but at a Partridge that was sitting on your stick."

"On my stick! Do you take me for a fool?" shouted the injured man, in
a great rage. "Don't tell me such cock-and-bull stories. First you
insult me, and then you lie like a coward; but I'll teach you manners!"

Then he fell upon his fellow traveler without more ado, and they fought
until they could not see out of their eyes, till their noses were
bleeding, their clothes in rags, and the Jackal had nearly died of

"Are you satisfied?" asked the Partridge of her friend.

"Well," answered the Jackal, "you have certainly made nine laugh, but I
doubt if you could make me cry. It is easy enough to be a buffoon; it
is more difficult to excite the highest emotions."

"Let us see," retorted the Partridge, somewhat piqued; "there is a
huntsman with his dogs coming along the road. Just creep into that
hollow tree and watch me; if you don't weep scalding tears, you must
have no feeling in you!"

The Jackal did as he was bid, and watched the Partridge, who began
fluttering about the bushes till the dogs caught sight of her, when she
flew to the hollow tree where the Jackal was hidden. Of course the
dogs smelt him at once, and set up such a yelping and scratching that
the huntsman came up, and seeing what it was, dragged the Jackal out by
the tail. Whereupon the dogs worried him to their heart's content, and
finally left him for dead.

By and by he opened his eyes-for he was only foxing-and saw the
Partridge sitting on a branch above him.

"Did you cry?" she asked anxiously. "Did I rouse your high emo---"

"Be quiet, will you!" snarled the Jackal; half dead with fear!"

So there the Jackal lay for some time, getting the better of his
bruises, and meanwhile he became hungry.

"Now is the time for friendship!" said he to the Partridge. "Get me a
good dinner, and I will acknowledge you a true friend."

"Very well!" replied the Partridge; "only watch me, and help yourself
when the time comes."

Just then a troop of women came by, carrying their husbands dinners to
the harvest field. The Partridge gave a little plaintive cry, and
began fluttering along from bush to bush as if she were wounded.

"A wounded bird! a wounded bird!" cried the women; "we can easily
catch it." Whereupon they set off in pursuit, but the cunning
Partridge played a thousand tricks, till they became so excited over
the chase that they put their bundles on the ground in order to pursue
it more nimbly. The Jackal, meanwhile, seizing his opportunity, crept
up, and made off with a good dinner.

"Are you satisfied now?" asked the Partridge.

"Well," returned the Jackal, "I confess you have given me a very good
dinner; you have also made me laugh-and cry-ahem! But, after all, the
great test of friendship is beyond you-you couldn't save my life!"

"Perhaps not," acquiesced the Partridge mournfully, "I am so small and
weak. But it grows late-we should be getting home; and as it is a long
way round by the ford, let us go across the river. My friend the
Crocodile will carry us over."

Accordingly they set off for the river, and the Crocodile kindly
consented to carry them across, so they sat on his broad back and he
ferried them over. But just as they were in the middle of the stream
the Partridge remarked. "I believe the Crocodile intends to play us a
trick. How awkward if he were to drop you into the water!"

"Awkward for you, too!" replied the Jackal, turning pale.

"Not at all! not at all! I have wings, you haven't."

On this the Jackal shivered and shook with fear, and when the
Crocodile, in a gruesome growl, remarked that he was hungry and wanted
a good meal, the wretched creature hadn't a word to say.

"Pooh!" cried the Partridge airily, "don't try tricks on us-I should
fly away, and as for my friend, the Jackal, you couldn't hurt him. He
is not such a fool as to take his life with him on these little
excursions; he leaves it at home, locked up in the cupboard."

"Is that a fact?" asked the Crocodile, surprised. "Certainly!" retorted
the Partridge. Try to eat him if you like, but you will only tire
yourself to no purpose.

"Dear me! how very odd!" gasped time Crocodile; and he was so taken
aback that he carried the Jackal safe to shore.

"Well, are you satisfied now?" asked the Partridge.

"My dear madam!" quoth the Jackal, "you have made me laugh, you have
made me cry, you have given me a good dinner, and you have saved my
life; but, upon my honor, I think you are too clever for a friend so

And the Jackal never went near the Partridge again.


By Flora Annie Steel

ONCE upon a time Mr. Jackal was trotting along gayly, when lie caught
sight of a wild plum tree laden with fruit on the other side of a
broad, deep stream. I could not get across anyhow, so he just sat down
on the bank and looked at the ripe, luscious fruit until his mouth
watered with desire.

Now it so happened that, just then, Miss Crocodile came floating down
stream with her nose in the air.

"Good morning, my dear!" said Mr. Jackal politely; "how beautiful you
look to-day, and how charmingly you swim! Now, if I could only swim
too, what a fine feast of plums we two friends might have over there
together!" And Mr. Jackal laid his paw on his heart, and sighed.

Now Miss Crocodile had a very inflammable heart, and when Mr. Jackal
looked at her so admiringly, and spoke so sentimentally, she simpered
and blushed, saying, "Oh! Mr. Jackal! how can you talk so? I could
never dream of going out to dinner with you, unless-unless-"

"Unless what?" asked the Jackal persuasively.

"Unless we were going to be married!" simpered Miss Crocodile.

"And why shouldn't we be married, my charmer?" returned the Jackal
eagerly. "I would go and fetch the barber to begin the betrothal at
once, but I am so faint with hunger just at present that I should never
reach the village. Now, if the most adorable of her sex would only
take pity on her slave, and carry me over the stream, I might refresh
myself with those plums, and so gain strength to accomplish the ardent
desire of my heart!"

Here the Jackal sighed so piteously, and cast such sheep's eyes at Miss
Crocodile, that she was unable to withstand him. So she carried him
across to the plum tree, and then sat on the water's edge to think over
her wedding dress, while Mr. Jackal feasted on the plums and enjoyed

"Now for the barber, my beauty!" cried the gay Jackal, when he had
eaten as much as he could. Then the blushing Miss Crocodile carried
him back again, and bade him be quick about his business, like a dear
good creature, for really she felt so flustered at the very idea that
she didn't know what might happen.

"Now don't distress yourself, my dear!" quoth the deceitful Mr. Jackal,
springing to the bank, "because it's not impossible that I may not find
the barber, and then, you know, you may have to wait some time, a
considerable time in fact, before I return. So don't injure your
health for my sake, if you please." With that he blew her a kiss, and
trotted away with his tail up.

Of course he never came back, though trusting Miss Crocodile waited
patiently for him; at last she understood what a gay, deceitful fellow
he was, and determined to have her revenge on him one way or another.

So she hid herself in the water, under the roots of a tree, close to a
ford where the Jackal always came to drink. By and by, sure enough,
he came lilting along in a self-satisfied way, and went right into the
water for a good long draft. Whereupon Miss Crocodile seized him by
the right legs and held on. He guessed at once what had happened, and
called out, "Oh! my heart's adored! I'm drowning! I'm drowning! If
you love me, leave hold of that old root and get a good grip of my leg-
it is just next door!"

Hearing this, Miss Crocodile thought she must have made a mistake, and,
letting go the Jackal's leg in a hurry, seized an old root close by,
and held on. Whereupon Mr. Jackal jumped nimbly to shore, and ran off
with his tail up, calling out, "Have a little patience, my beauty! The
barber will come some day!"

But this time Miss Crocodile knew better than to wait, and being now
dreadfully angry, she crawled away to the Jackal's hole, and, slipping
inside, lay quiet.

By and by Mr. Jackal came lilting along with his tail up. "Ho! ho!
That is your game, is it?" said he to himself, when he saw the trail of
the Crocodile in the sandy soil. So he stood outside, and said aloud,
"Bless my stars! What has happened? I don't half like to go in, for
whenever I come home my wife always calls out,

'Oh, dearest hubby hub!

What have you brought for grub

to me and the darling cub?'

and to-day she doesn't say anything!"

Hearing this, Miss Crocodile sang out from inside,

"Oh, dearest hubby hub!

What have you brought for grub

To me and the darling cub?"

The Jackal winked a very big wink, and, stealing in softly, stood at
the doorway. Meanwhile Miss Crocodile, hearing him coming, held her
breath, and lay, shamming dead, like a big log.

"Bless my stars!" cried Mr. Jackal, taking out his pocket handkerchief,
"how very sad! Here's poor Miss Crocodile stone dead, and all for love
of me! Dear! dear! Yet it is very odd, and I don't think she can be
quite dead, you know-for dead folks always wag their tails!"

On this, Miss Crocodile began to wag her tail very gently, and Mr.
Jackal ran off, roaring with laughter, and saying. "Oho! oho! so
dead folks always wag their tails!"


By Flora Annie Steel

ONE moonlight night a miserable, half-starved Jackal, skulking through
the village, found a worn-out pair of shoes in the gutter. They were
too tough for him to eat, so, determined to make some use of them, he
strung them to his ears like earrings, and, going down to the edge of
the pond, gathered all the old bones he could find together and built a
platform of them, plastering it over with mud.

On this he sat in a dignified attitude, and when any animal came to the
pond to drink, he cried out in a loud voice, "Hi! stop! You must not
taste a drop till you have done homage to me. So repeat these verses
which I have composed in honor of the occasion:

'Silver is his dais, plastered o'er with gold;

In his ears are jewels,-some prince I must behold!'"

Now, as most of the animals were very thirsty, and in a great hurry to
drink, they did not care to dispute the matter, but gabbled off the
words without a second thought. Even the royal tiger, treating it as a
jest, repeated the Jackal's rime, in consequence of which the latter
became quite a cock-a-hoop, and really began to believe he was a
personage of great importance.

By and by an Iguana, or big lizard, came waddling down to the water,
looking for all the world like a baby alligator.

"Hi! you there!" sang out the Jackal; "you mustn't drink until you
have said-

'Silver is his dais, plastered o'er with gold;

In his ears are jewels,-some prince I must behold!'"

"Pouf! pouf! pouf!" gasped the Iguana. "Mercy on us, how dry my
throat is! Mightn't I have just a wee sip of water first? and then I
could do justice to your admirable lines; at present I am as hoarse as
a crow!"

"By all means," replied the Jackal, with a gratified smirk. "I flatter
myself the verses are good, especially when well recited."

So the Iguana, nose down in the water, drank away until the Jackal
began to think he would never leave off, and was quite taken aback when
he finally came to an end of his draft, and began to move away.

"Hi! hi!" cried the Jackal, recovering his presence of mind, "stop a
bit, and say---

'Silver is his dais, plastered o'er with gold;

In his ears are jewels,-some prince I must behold!'"

"Dear me!" replied the Iguana, politely, "I was very near forgetting!
Let me see-I must try my Voice first-do, re, me, fa, sol, la, si-that
is right! Now, how does it run?"

"Silver is his dais, plastered o'er with gold;

In his ears are jewels,-some prince I must behold!"

repeated the Jackal, not observing that the Lizard Was carefully edging
farther and farther away.

"Exactly so," returned the Iguana; "I think I could say that!"
Whereupon he sang out at the top of his voice-

"Bones made up his dais, with mud it's plastered o'er,

Old shoes are his eardrops; a jackal, nothing more!"

And turning round, he bolted for his hole as hard as he could.

The Jackal could scarcely believe his ears, and sat dumb with
astonishment. Then, rage lending him wings, he flew after the Lizard,
who, despite his short legs and scanty breath, put his best foot
foremost, and scuttled away at a great rate.

It was a near race, however, for just as he popped into his hole, the
Jackal caught him by the tail, and held on. Then it was a case of
"pull, butcher; pull, baker," until the Lizard made certain his tail
must come off, and he felt as if his front teeth would come out. Still
not an inch did either budge, one way or the other, and there they
might have remained till the present day, had not the Iguana called
out, in his sweetest tones, "Friend, I give in! Just leave hold of my
tail, will you? then I can turn round and come out."

Whereupon the Jackal let go, and the tail disappeared up the hole in a
twinkling; while all the reward the Jackal got for digging away until
his nails were nearly worn out was hearing the Iguana sing softly-

"Bones made up his dais, with mud it's plastered o'er,

Old shoes are his eardrops; a jackal, nothing more


By Flora Annie Steel

ONCE upon a time a very old Woodman lived with his very old Wife in a
tiny hut close to the orchard of a very rich man, so close that the
boughs of a pear tree hung right over the cottage yard. Now it was
agreed between the rich man and the Woodman that if any of the fruit
fell into the yard, the old couple were to be allowed to eat it; so you
may imagine with what hungry eyes they watched the pears ripening, and
prayed for a storm of wind, or a flock of flying foxes, or anything
which would cause the fruit to fall. But nothing came, and the old
Wife, who was a grumbling, scolding old thing, declared they would
infallibly become beggars. So she took to giving her husband nothing
but dry bread to eat, and insisted on his working harder than ever,
till the poor soul got quite thin; and all because the pears would not
fall down!

At last the Woodman turned round and declared he would not work more
unless his Wife gave him Khichri for his dinner; so with a very bad
grace the old woman took some rice and pulse, some butter and spices,
and began to cook a savory Khichri. What an appetizing smell it had,
to be sure! The Woodman was for gobbling it up as soon as ever it was
ready. "No, no," cried the greedy old Wife, not till you have brought
me in another load of Wood; and mind it is a good one. You must work
for your dinner."

So the old man set off to the forest and began to hack and to hew with
such a will that he soon had quite a large bundle, and with every
faggot he cut he seemed to smell the savory Khichri and think of the
feast that was coming.

Just then a Bear came swinging by, with its great black nose tilted in
the air, and its little keen eyes peering about; for bears, though good
enough fellows on the whole, are just dreadfully inquisitive.

"Peace be with you, friend," said the Bear, "and what may you be going
to do with that remarkably large bundle of wood?"

"It is for my Wife," returned the Woodman. "The fact is," he added
confidentially, smacking his lips, "she has made such a Khichri for
dinner! and if I bring in a good bundle of wood she is pretty sure to
give me a plentiful portion. Oh, my dear fellow, you should just smell
that Khichri."

At this the Bear's mouth began to water, for, like all bears, he was a
dreadful glutton.

"Do you think your Wife would give mite some, too, if I brought her a
bundle of wood?" he asked anxiously.

"Perhaps; if it is a very big load," answered the Woodman craftily.

"Would-would four hundredweight be enough?" asked the Bear.

"I'm afraid not," returned the 'Woodman, shaking his head; "you see
Khichri is an expensive dish to make-there is rice in it, and plenty of
butter, and pulse, and-"

"Would-would eight hundredweight do?"

"Say half a ton, and it's a bargain!" quoth the Woodman.

"Half a ton is a large quantity!" sighed the Bear.

"There is saffron in the Khichri," remarked the Woodman, casually.

The Bear licked his lips, and his little eyes twinkled with greed and

"Well it's a bargain! Go home sharp and tell your Wife to keep the
Khichri hot; I'll be with you in a trice."

Away went the Woodman in great glee to tell his Wife how the Bear had
agreed to bring half a ton of wood in return for a share of the

Now the wife could not help allowing that her husband had made a good
bargain, but being by nature a grumbler, she was determined not to be
pleased, so she began to scold the old man for not having settled
exactly the share the Bear was to have. "For," said she, "he will
gobble up the potful before we have finished our first helping."

On this the Woodman became quite pale. "In that case," he said, "we
had better begin now, and have a fair start." So without more ado they
squatted down on the floor, with the brass pot full of Khichri between
them, and began to eat as fast as they could.

"Remember to leave some for the Bear, Wife," said the Woodman, speaking
with his mouth crammed full.

"Certainly, certainly," she replied, helping herself to another

"My dear," cried the old woman in her turn, with her mouth so full she
could hardly speak, "remember the poor Bear!"

"Certainly, certainly, my love!" returned the old man, taking another

So it went on, till there was not a single grain left in the pot.

"What's to be done now?" said the Woodman; "it is all your fault, Wife,
for eating so much."

"My fault!" retorted his Wife scornfully, "why, you ate twice as much
as I did!"

"No, I didn't!"

"Yes, you did! Men always eat more than women.

"No, they don't!"

"Yes, they do!"

"Well, it's no use quarreling about it now," said the Woodman, "the
Khichri's gone, and the Bear will be furious."

"That wouldn't matter much if we could get the wood," said the greedy
old woman. "I'll tell you what we must do-we must lock up everything
there is to eat in the house, leave the Khichri pot by the fire, and
hide in the garret. When the Bear comes he will think we have gone out
and left his dinner for him. Then he will throw down his bundle and
come in. Of course he will rampage a little when he finds the pot is
empty, but he can't do much mischief, and I don't think he will take
the trouble of carrying the wood away."

So they made haste to lock up all the food and hide themselves in the

Meanwhile the Bear had been toiling and moiling away at his bundle of
wood, which took him much longer to collect than he expected; however,
at last he arrived quite exhausted at the woodcutter's cottage. Seeing
the brass Khichri pot by the fire, he threw down his load and went in.
And then-mercy! wasn't he angry when he found nothing in it-not even a
grain of rice, nor a tiny wee bit of pulse, but only a smell that was
so uncommonly nice that he actually cried with rage and disappointment.
He flew into the most dreadful temper, but though he turned the house
topsy-turvy, he could not find a morsel of food. Finally, he declared
he would take the wood away again, but, as the crafty old woman had
imagined, when he came to the task, he did not care, even for the sake
of revenge, to carry so heavy a burden.

"I won't go away empty-handed," said he to himself, seizing the Khichri
pot; "if I can't get the taste I'll have the smell!"

Now, as he left the cottage, he caught sight of the beautiful golden
pears hanging over into the yard. His mouth began to water at once,
for he was desperately hungry, and the pears were the best of the
season. In a trice he was on the wall, up the tree, and gathering the
biggest and ripest one he could find, was just putting it into his
mouth when a thought struck him.

"If I take these pears home I shall be able to sell them for ever so
much to the other bears, and then with the money I shall be able to buy
some Khichri. Ha, ha! I shall have the best of the bargain after

So saying, he began to gather the ripe pears as fast as he could and
put them in the Khichri pot, but whenever he came to an unripe one he
would shake his head and say, "No one would buy that, yet it is a pity
to waste it." So he would pop it into his mouth and eat it, making wry
faces if it was very sour.

Now all this time the Woodman's Wife had been watching the Bear through
a crevice, and holding her breath for fear of discovery; but, at last,
what with being asthmatic, and having a cold in her head, she could
hold it no longer, and just as the Khichri pot was quite full of golden
ripe pears, out she came with the most tremendous sneeze you ever
heard-"A-h-che-u !"

The Bear, thinking some one had fired a gun at him, dropped the Khichri
pot into the cottage yard, and fled into the forest as fast as his legs
would carry him.

So the Woodrnan and his Wife got the Khichri, the wood, and the coveted
pears, but the poor bear got nothing but a very bad stomachache from
eating unripe fruit.


By Ramaswarni Raju

A MAN tied his horse to a tree and went into an inn. A Thief hid the
horse in a wood, and stood near the tree as if he had not done it.

"Did you see my horse?" said the man.

"Yes," said the Thief, "I saw the tree eat up your horse.''

"How could the tree eat up my horse?" said the man.

"Why it did so," said the Thief.

The two went to a Fox and told him of the case. The Fox said. "I am
dull. All last night the sea was on fire; I had to throw a great deal
of hay into it to quench the flames; so come to-morrow, and I shall
hear your case.

"Oh, you lie," said the Thief. "How could the sea burn? How could hay
quench the flames?"

"Oh, you lie," said the Fox, with a loud laugh; "how could a tree eat
up a horse?"

The Thief saw his lie had no legs, and gave the man his horse.


By Ramaswami Raju

A FARMER was returning from a fair which he had attended the previous
day at a neighboring market town. He had a quantity of poultry which
he had purchased. A Fox observed this, and approaching the Farmer,
said, "Good morning, my friend."

"What cheer, old fellow?" said the Farmer.

"I am just coming from the wood, through which you mean to go with your
poultry. A band of highwaymen has been tarrying there since daybreak."

"Then what shall I do?" said the Farmer.

"Why," said the Fox, "if I were you I should stay here a while, and
after breakfast enter the wood, for by that time the robbers will have
left the place."

"So be it," said the Farmer, and had a hearty breakfast, with Reynard
for his guest.

They kept drinking for a long time. Reynard appeared to have lost his
wits; he stood up and played the drunkard to perfection. The Farmer,
who highly admired the pranks of his guest, roared with laughter, and
gradually fell into a deep slumber. It was some time after noon when
he awoke. To his dismay he found that the Fox was gone, and that the
poultry had all disappeared!

"Alas!" said the Farmer, as he trudged on his way home with a heavy
heart, "I thought the old rogue was quite drowned in liquor, but I now
see it was all a pretense. One must indeed be very sober to play the
drunkard to perfection."


By Ramaswami Raju

TWO FOOLS heard a Drum sounding, and said to themselves, There is some
one inside it who makes the noise."

So, watching a moment, when the drummer was out, they pierced a hole in
each side of it, and pushed their hands in. Each felt the hand of the
other within the Drum, and exclaimed, "I have caught him!"

Then one said to the other, "Brother, the fellow seems to be a stubborn
knave; come what will, we should not give in."

"Not an inch, brother," said the other.

So they kept pulling each other's hand, fancying it was the man in the
Drum. The drummer came up, and finding them in such an awkward plight
showed them with his fist who the man in the Drum really was. But as
his fine Drum was ruined, he said, with a sigh, "Alas! Fools have
fancies with a triple wing!"


By Ramaswami Raju

A LION was eating up one after another the animals of a certain
country. One day an old Goat said, "We must put a stop to this. I
have a plan by which he may be sent away from this part of the

"Pray act up to it at once," said the other animals.

The old Goat laid himself down in a cave on the roadside, with his
flowing beard and long curved horns. The Lion, on his way to the
village, saw him, and stopped at the mouth of the cave.

"So you have come, after all," said the Goat.

"What do you mean?" said the Lion.

"Why, I have long been lying in this cave. I have eaten up one hundred
elephants, a hundred tigers, a thousand wolves, and ninety-nine lions.
One more lion has been wanting. I have waited long and patiently.
Heaven has, after all, been kind to me," said the Goat, and shook his
horns and his beard, and made a start as if he were about to spring
upon the Lion.

The latter said to himself, "This animal looks like a Goat, but it does
not talk like one. So it is very likely some wicked spirit in this
shape. Prudence often serves us better than valor, so for the present
I shall return to the wood," and he turned back.

The Goat rose up, and, advancing to the mouth of the cave, said, "Will
you come back tomorrow?"

"Never again," said the Lion.

"Do you think I shall be able to see you, at least, in the wood to-

"Neither in the wood nor in this neighborhood any more," said the Lion,
and running to the forest, soon left it with his kindred.

The animals in the country, not hearing him roar any more, gathered
round the Goat, and said, "The wisdom of one doth save a host."


By Ramaswami Raju

JACKDAW once ran up to a Glowworm and was about to seize him. "Wait a
moment, good friend," said the Worm, "and you shall hear something to
your advantage."

"Ah! what is it?" said the Daw.

"I am but one of the many glowworms that live in this forest. If you
wish to have them all, follow me," said the Glowworm.

"Certainly!" said the Daw.

Then the Glowworm led him to a place in the wood where a fire had been
kindled by some woodmen, and pointing to the sparks flying about, said,
"There you find the glowworms warming themselves round a fire. When
you have done with them I shall show you some more, at a distance from
this place."

The Daw darted at the sparks and tried to swallow some of them, but his
mouth being burned by the attempt, he ran away exclaiming, "Ah, the
Glowworm is a dangerous little creature!"


By Ramaswami Raju

A CAMEL said, "Nothing like being tall! Look how tall I am!"

A Pig, who heard these words, said, "Nothing like being short! Look
how short I am!"

The Camel said, "Well, if I fail to prove the truth of what I said. I
shall give up my hump."

The Pig said, "If I fail to prove the truth of what I have said, I
shall give up my snout."

"Agreed!" said the Camel.

"Just so!" said the Pig.

They came to a garden, inclosed by a low wall without any opening. The
Camel stood on this side of the wall, and reaching the plants within by
means of his long neck, made a breakfast on them. Then he turned,
jeeringly to the Pig, who had been standing at the bottom of the wall,
without even having a look at the good things in the garden, and said,
"Now, would you be tall or short?"

Next they came to a garden, inclosed by a high wall, with a wicket gate
at one end. The Pig entered by the gate, and, after having eaten his
fill of the vegetables within, came out, laughing at the poor Camel,
who had had to stay outside because he was too tall to enter the garden
by the gate, and said, "Now, would you be tall or short?"

Then they thought the matter over and came to the conclusion that the
Camel should keep his hump and the Pig his snout, observing, "Tall is
good, where tall would do; of short, again, 'tis also true!"


By Ramaswami Raju

A DOG was standing by the cottage of a peasant. A man who dealt in
dogs passed by the way. The Dog said, "Will you buy me?"

The man said, "Oh, you ugly little thing! I would not give a quarter
of a penny for you!"

Then the Dog went to the palace of the king and stood by the portal.
The sentinel caressed it, and said, "You are a charming little

Just then the Dog Dealer came by. The Dog said, "Will you buy me?"

"Oh," said the man, "you guard the palace of the king, who must have
paid a high price for you. I cannot afford to pay the amount, else I
would willingly take you."

"Ah!" said the Dog, "how place and position affect people!"


By Ramaswami Raju

A FOX was once caught in a trap. A hungry Tiger saw him and said, "So
you are here!"

"Only on your account," said the Fox in a whisper.

"How so?" said the Tiger.

"Why, you were complaining you could not get men to eat, so I got into
this net to-day, that you may have the men when they come to take me,"
said the Fox, and gave a hint that if he would wait a while in a
thicket close by he would point out the men to him.

"May I depend upon your word?" said the Tiger.

"Certainly," said the Fox.

The Hunters came, and seeing the Fox in the net, said, "So you are

"Only on your account," said the Fox, in a whisper.

"How so?" said the men.

"Why, you were complaining you could not get at the Tiger that has been
devouring your cattle; I got into this net to-day that you may have
him. As I expected, he came to eat me up, and is in yonder thicket, "
said the Fox, and gave a hint that if they would take him out of the
trap he would point out the Tiger.

"May we depend upon your word?" said the men.

"Certainly," said the Fox, while the men went with him in a circle to
see that he did not escape.

Then the Fox said to the Tiger and the men, "Sir Tiger, here are the
men; gentlemen, here is the Tiger."

The men left the Fox and turned to the Tiger. The former beat a hasty
retreat to the wood, saying, "I have kept my promise to both; now you
may settle it between yourselves."

The Tiger exclaimed, when it was too late, "Alas! what art for a
double part!"


By Ramaswami Raju

A FOX that lived by the seashore once met a 'Wolf that had never seen
the Sea. The Wolf said, "What is the Sea?"

"It is a great piece of water by my dwelling," said the Fox.

"Is it under your control?" said the Wolf.

"Certainly," said the Fox.

"Will you show me the Sea, then?" said the Wolf.

"With pleasure," said the Fox. So the Fox led the Wolf to the Sea and
said to the waves, "Now go back"-they went back! "Now come up"- and
they came up! Then the Fox said to the waves, "My friend, the Wolf,
has come to see you, so you will come up and go back till I bid you
stop; and the Wolf saw with wonder the waves coming up and going back.

He said to the Fox, "May I go into the Sea?"

"As far as you like. Don't be afraid, for at a word, the Sea would go
or come as I bid, and as you have already seen."

The Wolf believed the Fox, and followed the waves rather far from the
shore. A great wave soon upset him, and threw his carcass on the
shore. The Fox made a hearty breakfast on it.


By Ramaswami Raju

A FOX fell into a well and was holding hard to some roots at the side
of it, just above the water. A Wolf, who was passing by, saw him, and
said, "Hello, Reynard, after all you have fallen into a well!"

"But not without a purpose, and not without the means of getting out of
it," said the Fox.

"What do you mean?" said the Wolf.

"Why," said the Fox, "there is a drought all over the country now, and
the water in this well is the only means of appeasing the thirst of the
thousands that live in this neighborhood. They held a meeting, and
requested me to keep the water from going down lower; so I am holding
it up for the public good."

"What will be your reward?" said the 'Wolf.

"They will give me a pension, and save me the trouble of going about
every day in quest of food, not to speak of innumerable other
privileges that will be granted me. Further, I am not to stay here all
day. I have asked a kinsman of mine, to whom I have communicated the
secret of holding up the water, to relieve me from time to time. Of
course he will also get a pension, and have other privileges. I expect
him here shortly."

"Ah, Reynard, may I relieve you, then? May I hope to get a pension and
other privileges? You know what a sad lot is mine, especially in

"Certainly," said the Fox; "but you must get a long rope, that I may
come up and let you in.

So the Wolf got a rope. Up came the Fox and down went the wo1f, when
the former observed, with a laugh, "My dear sir, you may remain there
till doomsday, or till the owner of the well throws up your carcass,"
and left the place.


By P. C. Asbjörnsen

ONCE upon a time there was a king, and this king had heard about a ship
which went just as fast by land as by water; and as he wished to have
one like it, he promised his daughter and half the kingdom to anyone
who could build one for him. And this was given out at every church
all over the country. There were many who tried, as you can imagine;
for they thought it would be a nice thing to have half the kingdom, and
the princess wouldn't be a bad thing into the bargain. But they all
fared badly.

Now there were three brothers, who lived far away on the borders of a
forest; the eldest was called Peter, the second Paul, and the youngest
Espen Ashiepattle, because he always sat in the hearth, raking and
digging in the ashes.

It so happened that Ashiepattle was at church on the Sunday when the
proclamation about the ship, which the king wanted, was read. When he
came home amid told his family, Peter, the eldest, asked his mother to
get some food ready for him, for now he was going away to try if he
could build the ship and win the princess and half the kingdom. When
the bag was ready lie set out. On the way he met an old man who was
very crooked and decrepit.

"Where are you going?" said the man.

"I'm going into the forest to make a trough for my father. He doesn't
like to eat at table in our company," said Peter.

"Trough it shall he!" said the man. "What have you got in that bag of
yours?" he added.

"Stones," said Peter.

"Stones it shall be," said the man. Peter then went into the forest
and began to cut and chop away at the trees and work away as hard as he
could, but in spite of all his cutting and chopping he could only turn
out troughs. Toward dinner time he wanted something to eat and opened
his bag. But there was not a crumb of food in it. As he had nothing
to live upon, and as he did not turn out anything but troughs, he
became tired of the work, took his ax and bag on his shoulder, and went
home to his mother.

Paul then wanted to set out to try his luck at building the ship and
winning the princess and half the kingdom. He asked his mother for
provisions, and when the bag was ready he threw it over his shoulder
and went on his way to the forest. On the road he met the old man, who
was very crooked and decrepit.

"Where are you going?" said the man.

"Oh, I am going into the forest to make a trough for our sucking pig,"
said Paul.

"Pig trough it shall be," said the man. "What have you got in that bag
of yours?" added the man.

"Stones," said Paul.

"Stones it shall be," said the man.

Paul then began felling trees and working away as hard as he could, but
no matter how he cut and how he worked he could only turn out pig
troughs. He did not give in, however, but worked away till far into
the afternoon before he thought of taking any food; then all at once he
became hungry and opened his bag, but not a crumb could he find. Paul
became so angry he turned the bag inside out and struck it against the
stump of a tree; then lie took his ax, went out of the forest, and set
off homeward.

As soon as Paul returned, Ashiepattle wanted to set out and asked his
mother for a bag of food.

"Perhaps I can manage to build the ship and win the princess and half
the kingdom," said he.

"Well, I never heard the like," said his mother. "Are you likely to
win the princess, you, who never do anything but root and dig in the
ashes? No, you shan't have any bag with food!"

Ashiepattle did not give in, however, but he prayed and begged till he
got leave to go. He did not get any food, not he; but he stole a
couple of oatmeal cakes and some flat beer and set out.

When he had walked a while he met the same old man, who was so crooked
and tattered and decrepit.

"'Where are you going?" said the man.

"Oh, I was going into the forest to try if it were possible to build a
ship which can go as fast by land as by water," said Ashiepattle, "for
the king has given out that anyone who can build such a ship shall have
the princess and half the kingdom."

"What have you got in that bag of yours?" said the man.

"Not much worth talking about; there ought to be a little food in it,"
answered Ashiepattle.

"If you'll give me a little of it I'll help you, said the man.

"With all my heart," said Ashiepattle, "but there is nothing but some
oatmeal cakes and a drop of flat beer."

It didn't matter what it was, the man said; if he only got some of it
he would be sure to help Ashiepattle.

When they came up to an old oak in the wood the man said to the lad,
"Now you must cut off a chip and then put it back again in exactly the
same place, and when you have done that you can lie down and go to

Ashiepattle did as he was told and then lay down to sleep, and in his
sleep lie thought he heard somebody cutting and hammering and sawing
and carpentering, but he could not wake up till the man called him;
then the ship stood quite finished by the side of the oak.

"Now you must go on board and everyone you meet you must take with
you," said the man. Espen Ashiepattle thanked him for the ship, said
he would do so, and then sailed away.

When he had sailed some distance he came to a long, thin tramp, who was
lying near some rocks, eating stones.

"What sort of a fellow are you, that you lie there eating stones?"
asked Ashiepattle. The tramp said he was so fond of meat he could
never get enough, therefore he was obliged to eat stones. And then he
asked if he might go with him in the ship.

"If you want to go with us, you must make haste and get on board," said

Yes, that he would, but he must take with him some large stones for

When they had sailed some distance they met one who was lying on the
side of a sunny hill, sucking at a bung.

"Who are you," said Ashiepattle, "and what is the good of lying there
sucking that bung?"

"Oh, when one hasn't got the barrel, one must be satisfied with the
bung," said the man. "I'm always so thirsty, I can never get enough
beer and wine." And then he asked for leave to go with him in the

"If you want to go with me you must make haste and get on board," said

Yes, that he would. And so he went on board and took the bung with him
to allay his thirst.

When they had sailed a while again they met one who was lying with his
ear to the ground, listening.

"Who are you, and what is the good of lying there on the ground
listening?" said Ashiepattle.

"I'm listening to the grass, for I have such good ears that I can hear
the grass growing," said the man. And then he asked leave to go with
him in the ship. Ashiepattle could not say nay to that, so he said:

"If you want to go with me, you must make haste and get on board."

Yes, the man would. And he also went on board.

When they had sailed some distance they came to one who was standing
taking aim with a gun.

"Who are you, and what is the good of standing there aiming like that?"
asked Ashiepattle.

So the man said: "I have such good eyes that I can hit anything, right
to the end of the world." And then he asked for leave to go with him in
the ship.

"If you want to go with me, you must make haste and get on board," said

Yes, that he would. And he went on board.

When they had sailed some distance again they came to one who was
hopping and limping about on one leg, and on the other he had seven ton

"Who are you, said Ashiepattle, "and what is the good of hopping and
limping about on one leg with seven ton weights on the other?"

"I am so light," said the man, "that if I walked on both my legs I
should get to the end of the world in less than five minutes." And then
he asked for leave to go with him in the ship.

"If you want to go with us, you must make haste and get on board," said

Yes, that he would. And so he joined Ashiepattle and his crew on the

When they had sailed on some distance they met one who was standing
holding his hand to his mouth.

"Who are you?" said Ashiepattle, "and what is the good of standing
there, holding your mouth like that?"

"Oh, I have seven summers and fifteen winters in my body," said the
man; "so I think I ought to keep my mouth shut, for if they get out all
at the same time they would finish off the world altogether." And then
he asked for leave to go with him in the ship.

"If you want to go with us you must make haste and get on board," said

Yes, that he would, and then he joined the others on the ship.

When they had sailed a long time they came to the king's palace.

Ashiepattle went straight in to the king and said the ship stood ready
in the courtyard outside; and now he wanted the princess, as the king
had promised.

The king did not like this very much, for Ashiepattle did not cut a
very fine figure; he was black and sooty, and the king did not care to
give his daughter to such a tramp, so he told Ashiepattle that he would
have to wait a little.

"But you can have her all the same, if by this time to-morrow you can
empty my storehouse of three hundred barrels of meat," said the king.

"I suppose I must try," said Ashiepattle; "but perhaps you don't mind
my taking one of my crew with me?"

"Yes, you can do that, and take all six if you like," said the king,
for he was quite sure that even if Ashiepattle took six hundred with
him, it would be impossible. So Ashiepattle took with him the one who
ate stones and always hungered after meat.

When they came next morning and opened the storehouse they found he had
eaten all the meat, except six small legs of mutton, one for each of
his companions. Ashiepattle then went to the king and said the
storehouse was empty, and he supposed he could now have the princess.

The king went into the storehouse and, sure enough, it was quite empty;
but Ashiepattle was still black and sooty, and the king thought it was
really too bad that such a tramp should have his daughter. So he said

Book of the day: