How To Tell Stories To Children by Sara Cone BryantAnd Some Stories To Tell

Scanned by Charles Keller for Tina with OmniPage Professional OCR software donated by Caere Corporation, 1-800-535-7226. Contact Mike Lough SOME SUGGESTIONS FOR THE STORY-TELLER Concerning the fundamental points of method in telling a story, I have little to add to the principles which I have already stated as necessary, in my opinion, in the book
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Concerning the fundamental points of
method in telling a story, I have little to add to the principles which I have already stated as necessary, in my opinion, in the book of which this is, in a way, the
continuation. But in the two years which have passed since that book was written, I have had the happiness of working on
stories and the telling of them, among teachers and students all over this country, and in that experience certain secondary points of method have come to seem more
important, or at least more in need of emphasis, than they did before. As so
often happens, I had assumed that “those things are taken for granted;” whereas, to the beginner or the teacher not naturally a story-teller, the secondary or implied technique is often of greater difficulty than the mastery of underlying principles. The few suggestions which follow are of this practical, obvious kind.

Take your story seriously. No matter
how riotously absurd it is, or how full of inane repetition, remember, if it is good enough to tell, it is a real story, and must be treated with respect. If you cannot feel so toward it, do not tell it. Have faith in the story, and in the attitude of the children toward it and you. If you fail in this, the immediate result will be a touch of shame- facedness, affecting your manner unfavorably, and, probably, influencing your
accuracy and imaginative vividness.

Perhaps I can make the point clearer
by telling you about one of the girls in a class which was studying stories last
winter; I feel sure if she or any of her fellow students recognizes the incident, she will not resent being made to serve the good
cause, even in the unattractive guise of a warning example.

A few members of the class had prepared the story of “The Fisherman and
his Wife.” The first girl called on was evidently inclined to feel that it was rather a foolish story. She tried to tell it well, but there were parts of it which produced in her the touch of shamefacedness to
which I have referred.

When she came to the rhyme,–

“O man of the sea, come, listen to me, For Alice, my wife, the plague of my life, Has sent me to beg a boon of thee,”

she said it rather rapidly. At the first repetition she said it still more rapidly; the next time she came to the jingle she said it so fast and so low that it was unintelligible; and the next recurrence was too much for her. With a blush and a hesitating smile she said, “And he said that same thing,
you know!” Of course everybody laughed, and of course the thread of interest and illusion was hopelessly broken for everybody.

Now, any one who chanced to hear Miss Shedlock tell that same story will remember that the absurd rhyme gave great opportunity for expression, in its very repetition;
each time that the fisherman came to the water’s edge his chagrin and unwillingness was greater, and his summons to the magic fish mirrored his feeling. The jingle IS foolish; that is a part of the charm. But if the person who tells it FEELS foolish, there is no charm at all! It is the same principle which applies to any address to any
assemblage: if the speaker has the air of finding what he has to say absurd or
unworthy of effort, the audience naturally tends to follow his lead, and find it not worth listening to.

Let me urge, then, take your story

Next, “take your time.” This suggestion needs explaining, perhaps. It does
not mean license to dawdle. Nothing is much more annoying in a speaker than too great deliberateness, or than hesitation of speech. But it means a quiet realization of the fact that the floor is yours, everybody wants to hear you, there is time enough
for every point and shade of meaning and no one will think the story too long. This mental attitude must underlie proper control of speed. Never hurry. A business-like
leisure is the true attitude of the storyteller.

And the result is best attained by
concentrating one’s attention on the episodes of the story. Pass lightly, and comparatively swiftly, over the portions between
actual episodes, but take all the time you need for the elaboration of those. And
above all, do not FEEL hurried.

The next suggestion is eminently plain and practical, if not an all too obvious one. It is this: if all your preparation and
confidence fails you at the crucial moment, and memory plays the part of traitor in some particular, if, in short, you blunder on a detail of the story, NEVER ADMIT IT. If it was an unimportant detail which you misstated, pass right on, accepting whatever you said, and continuing with it; if you have been so unfortunate as to omit a fact which was a necessary link in the chain, put it in, later, as skillfully as you can, and with as
deceptive an appearance of its being in the intended order; but never take the children behind the scenes, and let them hear
the creaking of your mental machinery. You must be infallible. You must be in
the secret of the mystery, and admit your audience on somewhat unequal terms;
they should have no creeping doubts as to your complete initiation into the secrets of the happenings you relate.

Plainly, there can be lapses of memory so complete, so all-embracing, that frank failure is the only outcome, but these are so few as not to need consideration, when dealing with so simple material as that of children’s stories. There are times, too, before an adult audience, when a speaker can afford to let his hearers be amused with him over a chance mistake. But with children it is most unwise to break the spell of
the entertainment in that way. Consider, in the matter of a detail of action or
description, how absolutely unimportant the mere accuracy is, compared with the effect of smoothness and the enjoyment of the
hearers. They will not remember the detail, for good or evil, half so long as they
will remember the fact that you did not know it. So, for their sakes, as well as for the success of your story, cover your slips of memory, and let them be as if they were not.

And now I come to two points in method which have to do especially with humorous stories. The first is the power of initiating the appreciation of the joke. Every natural humorist does this by instinct and the
value of the power to story-teller can hardly be overestimated. To initiate
appreciation does not mean that one necessarily gives way to mirth, though even that is sometimes natural and effective; one
merely feels the approach of the humorous climax, and subtly suggests to the hearers that it will soon be “time to laugh.” The suggestion usually comes in the form of
facial expression, and in the tone. And children are so much simpler, and so much more accustomed to following another’s
lead than their elders, that the expression can be much more outright and unguarded
than would be permissible with a mature audience.

Children like to feel the joke coming, in this way; they love the anticipation of a laugh, and they will begin to dimple, often, at your first unconscious suggestion of
humor. If it is lacking, they are sometimes afraid to follow their own instincts.
Especially when you are facing an audience of grown people and children together, you will find that the latter are very hesitant about initiating their own expression of humor. It is more difficult to make them forget their surroundings then, and more desirable to give them a happy lead. Often at the funniest point you will see some
small listener in an agony of endeavor to cloak the mirth which he–poor mite–
fears to be indecorous. Let him see that it is “the thing” to laugh, and that everybody is going to.

Having so stimulated the appreciation of the humorous climax, it is important to give your hearers time for the full savor of the jest to permeate their consciousness. It is really robbing an audience of its rights, to pass so quickly from one point to
another that the mind must lose a new one if it lingers to take in the old. Every vital point in a tale must be given a certain
amount of time: by an anticipatory pause, by some form of vocal or repetitive
emphasis, and by actual time. But even more than other tales does the funny story demand this. It cannot be funny without it.

Every one who is familiar with the theatre must have noticed how careful all comedians are to give this pause for appreciation
and laughter. Often the opportunity is crudely given, or too liberally offered; and that offends. But in a reasonable degree the practice is undoubtedly necessary
to any form of humorous expression.

A remarkably good example of the type of humorous story to which these principles of method apply, is the story of “Epaminondas.” It will be plain to
any reader that all the several funny crises are of the perfectly unmistakable sort children like, and that, moreover, these funny
spots are not only easy to see; they are easy to foresee. The teller can hardly help sharing the joke in advance, and the tale is
an excellent one with which to practice for power in the points mentioned.

Epaminondas is a valuable little rascal from other points of view, and I mean to return to him, to point a moral. But just here I want space for a word or two about the matter of variety of subject and style in school stories.

There are two wholly different kinds of story which are equally necessary for
children, I believe, and which ought to be given in about the proportion of one to
three, in favor of the second kind; I make the ratio uneven because the first kind is more dominating in its effect.

The first kind is represented by such stories as the “Pig Brother,” which has now grown so familiar to teachers that it will serve for illustration without repetition here. It is the type of story which specifically teaches a certain ethical or conduct lesson, in the form of a fable or an allegory,–it passes on to the child the conclusions as to conduct and character, to which the race has, in general, attained through centuries of experience and moralizing. The story
becomes a part of the outfit of received ideas on manners and morals which is an
inescapable and necessary possession of the heir of civilization.

Children do not object to these stories in the least, if the stories are good ones. They accept them with the relish which
nature seems to maintain for all truly nourishing material. And the little tales are one of the media through which we
elders may transmit some very slight share of the benefit received by us, in turn, from actual or transmitted experience.

The second kind has no preconceived
moral to offer, makes no attempt to affect judgment or to pass on a standard. It
simply presents a picture of life, usually in fable or poetic image, and says to the hearer, “These things are.” The hearer,
then, consciously or otherwise, passes judgment on the facts. His mind says, “These
things are good;” or, “This was good, and that, bad;” or, “This thing is desirable,” or the contrary.

The story of “The Little Jackal and the Alligator” is a good illustration
of this type. It is a character-story. In the naive form of a folk tale, it doubtless
embodies the observations of a seeing eye, in a country and time when the little jackal and the great alligator were even more vivid images of certain human characters than
they now are. Again and again, surely, the author or authors of the tales must have seen the weak, small, clever being triumph over the bulky, well-accoutred, stupid
adversary. Again and again they had laughed at the discomfiture of the latter, perhaps rejoicing in it the more because it removed fear from their own houses. And probably never had they concerned themselves particularly with the basic ethics of the struggle.
It was simply one of the things they saw. It was life. So they made a picture of it.

The folk tale so made, and of such
character, comes to the child somewhat as an unprejudiced newspaper account of to-
day’s happenings comes to us. It pleads no cause, except through its contents; it exercises no intentioned influence on our moral judgment; it is there, as life is there, to be seen and judged. And only through
such seeing and judging can the individual perception attain to anything of power or originality. Just as a certain amount of received ideas is necessary to sane development, so is a definite opportunity for
first-hand judgments essential to power.

In this epoch of well-trained minds we run some risk of an inundation of accepted ethics. The mind which can make independent judgments, can look at new facts
with fresh vision, and reach conclusions with simplicity, is the perennial power in the world. And this is the mind we are
not noticeably successful in developing, in our system of schooling. Let us at least have its needs before our consciousness, in our attempts to supplement the regular studies of school by such side-activities as story-telling. Let us give the children a fair proportion of stories which stimulate independent moral and practical decisions.

And now for a brief return to our little black friend. “Epaminondas” belongs to
a very large, very ancient type of funny story: the tale in which the jest depends wholly on an abnormal degree of stupidity on the part of the hero. Every race which produces stories seems to have found this theme a natural outlet for its childlike laughter. The stupidity of Lazy Jack, of Big Claus, of the Good Man, of Clever
Alice, all have their counterparts in the folly of the small Epaminondas.

Evidently, such stories have served a purpose in the education of the race. While the exaggeration of familiar attributes
easily awakens mirth in a simple mind, it does more: it teaches practical lessons of wisdom and discretion. And possibly
the lesson was the original cause of the story.

Not long ago, I happened upon an
instance of the teaching power of these nonsense tales, so amusing and convincing that I cannot forbear to share it. A
primary teacher who heard me tell “Epaminondas” one evening, told it to her pupils
the next morning, with great effect. A young teacher who was observing in the
room at the time told me what befell. She said the children laughed very heartily over the story, and evidently liked it
much. About an hour later, one of them was sent to the board to do a little problem. It happened that the child made an
excessively foolish mistake, and did not notice it. As he glanced at the teacher for the familiar smile of encouragement, she simply raised her hands, and ejaculated
“`For the law’s sake!'”

It was sufficient. The child took the cue instantly. He looked hastily at his work, broke into an irrepressible giggle, rubbed the figures out, without a word, and began again. And the whole class entered into
the joke with the gusto of fellow-fools, for once wise.

It is safe to assume that the child in question will make fewer needless
mistakes for a long time because of the wholesome reminder of his likeness with one
who “ain’t got the sense he was born with.” And what occurred so visibly in his case goes on quietly in the hidden recesses of the mind in many cases. One “Epaminondas” is worth three lectures.

I wish there were more of such funny
little tales in the world’s literature, all ready, as this one is, for telling to the youngest of our listeners. But masterpieces are few in any line, and stories for
telling are no exception; it took generations, probably, to make this one. The
demand for new sources of supply comes steadily from teachers and mothers, and
is the more insistent because so often met by the disappointing recommendations of
books which prove to be for reading only, rather than for telling. It would be a
delight to print a list of fifty, twenty-five, even ten books which would be found
full of stories to tell without much adapting. But I am grateful to have found even
fewer than the ten, to which I am sure the teacher can turn with real profit. The
following names are, of course, additional to the list contained in “How to Tell Stories to Children.”

ALL ABOUT JOHNNIE JONES. By Carolyn Verhoeff. Milton Bradley Co., Springfield, Mass. Valuable for kindergartners as a supply of realistic stories with practical lessons in simplest form.

OLD DECCAN DAYS. By Mary Frere. Joseph McDonough, Albany, New York. A splendid collection of Hindu folk tales, adaptable for all ages.

THE SILVER CROWN. By Laura E. Richards. Little, Brown & Co., Boston. Poetic fables with beautiful suggestions of ethical truths.

THE CHILDREN’S HOUR. BY Eva March Tappan. Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Boston, New York, and Chicago. A classified collection, in ten volumes, of fairy, folk tales, fables, realistic, historical, and poetical stories.

FOR THE CHILDREN’S HOUR. BY Carolyn Bailey and Clara Lewis. Milton Bradley Co., Springfield. A general collection of popular stories, well told.

THE SONS OF CORMAC. By Aldis Dunbar. Longmans, Green & Co., London. Rather mature
but very fine Irish stories.

For the benefit of suggestion to teachers in schools where story-telling is newly
or not yet introduced in systematic form, I am glad to append the following list of stories which have been found, on several years’ trial, to be especially tellable and likable, in certain grades of the Providence schools, in Rhode Island. The list is not mine, although it embodies some of my
suggestions. I offer it merely as a practical result of the effort to equalize and extend the story-hour throughout the schools. Its makers would be the last to claim ideal
merit for it, and they are constantly improving and developing it. I am indebted for the privilege of using it to the primary teachers of Providence, and to their supervisor, Miss Ella L. Sweeney.


Chicken Little The Dog and his Shadow Barnyard Talk The Hare and the Hound Little Red Hen Five Little Rabbits Little Gingerbread Boy The Three Bears The Lion and the Mouse The Red-headed Wood- The Hungry Lion pecker
The Wind and the Sun Little Red Riding-Hood The Fox and the Crow Little Half-Chick The Duck and the Hen The Rabbit and the Turtle The Hare and the Tortoise The Shoemaker and the The Three Little Robins Fairies
The Wolf and the Kid The Wolf and the Crane The Crow and the Pitcher The Cat and the Mouse The Fox and the Grapes Snow-White and Rose-Red

The North Wind The Lark and her Little The Mouse Pie Ones
The Wonderful Traveler The Wolf and the Goslings The Wolf and the Fox The Ugly Duckling The Star Dollars The Country Mouse and the The Water-Lil City Mouse
The Three Goats The Three Little Pigs The Boy and the Nuts Diamonds and Toads The Honest Woodman The Thrifty Squirrel The Pied Piper How the Robin’s Breast King Midas became Red
The Town Musicians The Old Woman and her Raggylug Pig
Peter Rabbit The Sleeping Apple The Boy who cried “Wolf” The Cat and the Parrot

The Crane Express How the Mole became Little Black Sambo Blind
The Lantern and the Fan How Fire was brought to Why the Bear has a Short the Indians Tail Echo
Why the Fox has a White Piccola
Tip to his Tail The Story of the Morning- Why the Wren flies low Glory Seed
Jack and the Beanstalk The Discontented Pine The Talkative Tortoise Tree
Fleet Wing and Sweet Voice The Bag of Winds The Golden Fleece The Foolish Weather-Vane The Little Boy who wanted The Shut-up Posy the Moon Pandora’s Box
Benjy in Beastland The Little Match Girl Tomtit’s Peep at the World

Arachne The First Snowdrop The Porcelain Stove The Three Golden Apples Moufflou Androclus and the Lion Clytie The Old Man and his
The Legend of the Trailing Donkey Arbutus The Leak in the Dike Latona and the Frogs King Tawny Mane Dick Whittington and his The Little Lame Prince Cat Appleseed John
Dora, the Little Girl of the Narcissus Lighthouse Why the Sea is Salt Proserpine The Little Hero of Haarlem The Miraculous Pitcher
The Bell of Justice


I have to speak now of a phase of
elementary education which lies very close to my warmest interest, which, indeed, could easily become an active hobby if other
interests did not beneficently tug at my skirts when I am minded to mount and ride too
wildly. It is the hobby of many of you who are teachers, also, and I know you want to hear it discussed. I mean the growing
effort to teach English and English literature to children in the natural way: by speaking and hearing,–orally.

We are coming to a realization of the fact that our ability, as a people, to use English is pitifully inadequate and perverted. Those Americans who are not blinded by a limited horizon of cultured acquaintance, and who have given themselves opportunity to hear the natural speech of the younger generation in varying sections of the United States, must admit that it is no exaggeration to say that this country at large has no standard of English speech. There is no general
sense of responsibility to our mother tongue (indeed, it is in an overwhelming degree not our mother tongue) and no general
appreciation of its beauty or meaning. The average young person in every district save a half-dozen jealously guarded little
precincts of good taste, uses inexpressive, ill- bred words, spoken without regard to their just sound-effects, and in a voice which is an injury to the ear of the mind, as well as a torment to the physical ear.

The structure of the language and the choice of words are dark matters to most of our young Americans; this has long been
acknowledged and struggled against. But even darker, and quite equally destructive to English expression, is their state of mind regarding pronunciation, enunciation, and voice. It is the essential connection of these elements with English speech that we have been so slow to realize. We have felt that they were externals, desirable but not necessary adjuncts,–pretty tags of an exceptional gift or culture. Many an intelligent
school director to-day will say, “I don’t care much about HOW you say a thing; it is WHAT you say that counts.” He cannot see that voice and enunciation and pronunciation
are essentials. But they are. You can no more help affecting the meaning of your
words by the way you say them than you can prevent the expressions of your face from carrying a message; the message may be perverted by an uncouth habit, but it will no less surely insist on recognition.

The fact is that speech is a method
of carrying ideas from one human soul to another, by way of the ear. And these
ideas are very complex. They are not unmixed emanations of pure intellect,
transmitted to pure intellect: they are compounded of emotions, thoughts, fancies, and are enhanced or impeded in transmission
by the use of word-symbols which have acquired, by association, infinite complexities in themselves. The mood of the moment,
the especial weight of a turn of
thought, the desire of the speaker to share his exact soul-concept with you,–these
seek far more subtle means than the mere rendering of certain vocal signs; they
demand such variations and delicate adjustments of sound as will inevitably affect the listening mind with the response desired.

There is no “what” without the “how”
in speech. The same written sentence becomes two diametrically opposite ideas, given opposing inflection and accompanying voice-effect. “He stood in the front
rank of the battle” can be made praiseful affirmation, scornful skepticism, or simple question, by a simple varying of voice and inflection. This is the more unmistakable way in which the “how” affects the “what.” Just as true is the less obvious fact. The same written sentiment, spoken by Wendell Phillips and by a man from the Bowery
or an uneducated ranchman, is not the same to the listener. In one case the sentiment comes to the mind’s ear with certain
completing and enhancing qualities of sound which give it accuracy and poignancy. The words themselves retain all
their possible suggestiveness in the speaker’s just and clear enunciation, and have a
borrowed beauty, besides, from the
associations of fine habit betrayed in the voice and manner of speech. And, further, the
immense personal equation shows itself in the beauty and power of the vocal expressiveness, which carries shades of meaning,
unguessed delicacies of emotion, intimations of beauty, to every ear. In the other
case, the thought is clouded by unavoidable suggestions of ignorance and ugliness,
brought by the pronunciation and voice, even to an unanalytical ear; the meaning is obscured by inaccurate inflection and
uncertain or corrupt enunciation; but, worst of all, the personal atmosphere, the aroma, of the idea has been lost in transmission through a clumsy, ill-fitted medium.

The thing said may look the same on a printed page, but it is not the same when spoken. And it is the spoken sentence
which is the original and the usual mode of communication.

The widespread poverty of expression in English, which is thus a matter of “how,” and to which we are awakening, must be
corrected chiefly, at least at first, by the common schools. The home is the ideal
place for it, but the average home of the United States is no longer a possible place for it. The child of foreign parents, the child of parents little educated and bred in limited circumstances, the child of powerful provincial influences, must all depend
on the school for standards of English.

And it is the elementary school which must meet the need, if it is to be met at all. For the conception of English expression which I am talking of can find no mode of instruction adequate to its meaning, save in constant appeal to the ear, at an age so early that unconscious habit is formed. No rules, no analytical instruction in later development, can accomplish what is needed. Hearing and speaking; imitating, unwittingly and wittingly, a good model; it is to
this method we must look for redemption from present conditions.

I believe we are on the eve of a real revolution in English teaching,–only it is a revolution which will not break the peace. The new way will leave an overwhelming
preponderance of oral methods in use up to the fifth or sixth grade, and will introduce a larger proportion of oral work than has ever been contemplated in grammar and
high school work. It will recognize the fact that English is primarily something spoken with the mouth and heard with the ear.
And this recognition will have greatest weight in the systems of elementary teaching.

It is as an aid in oral teaching of English that story-telling in school finds its second value; ethics is the first ground of its usefulness, English the second,–and after these, the others. It is, too, for the oral uses that the secondary forms of story-telling are so available. By secondary I mean
those devices which I have tried to indicate, as used by many American teachers, in the chapter on “Specific Schoolroom Uses,”
in my earlier book. They are re-telling, dramatization, and forms of seat-work.
All of these are a great power in the hands of a wise teacher. If combined with much attention to voice and enunciation in the recital of poetry, and with much good reading aloud BY THE TEACHER, they will go far
toward setting a standard and developing good habit.

But their provinces must not be
confused or overestimated. I trust I may be pardoned for offering a caution or two
to the enthusiastic advocate of these methods,–cautions the need of which
has been forced upon me, in experience with schools.

A teacher who uses the oral story as an English feature with little children must never lose sight of the fact that it is an aid in unconscious development; not a factor in studied, conscious improvement. This
truth cannot be too strongly realized. Other exercises, in sufficiency, give the opportunity for regulated effort for definite results, but the story is one of the play- forces. Its use in English teaching is most valuable when the teacher has a keen
appreciation of the natural order of growth in the art of expression: that art requires, as the old rhetorics used often to put it, “a natural facility, succeeded by an acquired difficulty.” In other words, the power of expression depends, first, on something
more fundamental than the art-element; the basis of it is something to say,
ACCOMPANIED BY AN URGENT DESIRE TO SAY IT, and YIELDED TO WITH FREEDOM; only after this stage is reached can the art-phase be of any use. The “why” and “how,” the
analytical and constructive phases, have no natural place in this first vital epoch.

Precisely here, however, does the
dramatizing of stories and the paper-cutting, etc., become useful. A fine and thoughtful principal of a great school asked me, recently,
with real concern, about the growing use of such devices. He said, “Paper-cutting is good, but what has it to do with English?” And then he added: “The children use
abominable language when they play the stories; can that directly aid them to speak good English?” His observation was close and correct, and his conservatism more
valuable than the enthusiasm of some of his colleagues who have advocated sweeping use of the supplementary work. But
his point of view ignored the basis of expression, which is to my mind so important. Paper-cutting is external to English,
of course. Its only connection is in its power to correlate different forms of
expression, and to react on speech-expression through sense-stimulus. But playing the
story is a closer relative to English than this. It helps, amazingly, in giving the “something to say, the urgent desire to say it,” and the freedom in trying. Never mind the crudities,–at least, at the time; work only for joyous freedom, inventiveness,
and natural forms of reproduction of the ideas given. Look for very gradual changes in speech, through the permeating power
of imitation, but do not forget that this is the stage of expression which inevitably precedes art.

All this will mean that no corrections are made, except in flagrant cases of slang or grammar, though all bad slips are mentally noted, for introduction at a more favorable time. It will mean that the teacher
will respect the continuity of thought and interest as completely as she would wish an audience to respect her occasional prosy periods if she were reading a report. She will remember, of course that she is not training actors for amateur theatricals, however tempting her show-material may be; she is simply letting the children play with expression, just as a gymnasium teacher
introduces muscular play,–for power through relaxation.

When the time comes that the actors lose their unconsciousness it is the end of the story-play. Drilled work, the beginning of the art, is then the necessity.

I have indicated that the children may be left undisturbed in their crudities and
occasional absurdities. The teacher, on the other hand, must avoid, with great judgment, certain absurdities which can easily
be initiated by her. The first direful possibility is in the choice of material. It is very desirable that children should not be allowed to dramatize stories of a kind so poetic, so delicate, or so potentially valuable that the material is in danger of losing future beauty to the pupils through its present crude handling. Mother Goose is a
hardy old lady, and will not suffer from the grasp of the seven-year-old; and the familiar fables and tales of the “Goldilocks”
variety have a firmness of surface which does not let the glamour rub off; but
stories in which there is a hint of the beauty just beyond the palpable–or of a dignity suggestive of developed literature–are
sorely hurt in their metamorphosis, and should be protected from it. They are for telling only.

Another point on which it is necessary to exercise reserve is in the degree to which any story can be acted. In the justifiable desire to bring a large number of children into the action one must not lose sight of the sanity and propriety of the presentation. For example, one must not make a ridiculous caricature, where a picture, however
crude, is the intention. Personally represent only such things as are definitely and
dramatically personified in the story. If a natural force, the wind, for example, is represented as talking and acting like a human being in the story, it can be imaged by a person in the play; but if it remains a part of the picture in the story, performing only its natural motions, it is a caricature to enact it as a role. The most powerful
instance of a mistake of this kind which I have ever seen will doubtless make my meaning clear. In playing a pretty story about
animals and children, some children in a primary school were made by the teacher to take the part of the sea. In the story, the sea was said to “beat upon the shore,” as a sea would, without doubt. In the play, the children were allowed to thump the
floor lustily, as a presentation of their watery functions! It was unconscionably
funny. Fancy presenting even the crudest image of the mighty sea, surging up on the shore, by a row of infants squatted on the floor and pounding with their fists! Such pitfalls can be avoided by the simple rule of personifying only characters that actually behave like human beings.

A caution which directly concerns the art of story telling itself, must be added here. There is a definite distinction
between the arts of narration and dramatization which must never be overlooked. Do
not, yourself, half tell and half act the story; and do not let the children do it. It is done in very good schools, sometimes, because an enthusiasm for realistic and
lively presentation momentarily obscures the faculty of discrimination. A much
loved and respected teacher whom I
recently listened to, and who will laugh if she recognizes her blunder here, offers a good “bad example” in this particular. She said to an attentive audience of students that she had at last, with much difficulty, brought herself to the point where she could forget herself in her story: where she could,
for instance, hop, like the fox, when she told the story of the “sour grapes.” She said, “It was hard at first, but now it is a matter of course; AND THE CHILDREN DO IT TOO, WHEN THEY TELL THE STORY.” That was the pity! I saw the illustration myself a little later. The child who played fox began with a
story: he said, “Once there was an old fox, and he saw some grapes;” then the child
walked to the other side of the room, and looked up at an imaginary vine, and said, “He wanted some; he thought they would
taste good, so he jumped for them;” at this point the child did jump, like his role; then he continued with his story, “but he couldn’t get them.” And so he proceeded, with a constant alternation of narrative and dramatization which was enough to make
one dizzy.

The trouble in such work is, plainly, a lack of discriminating analysis. Telling a story necessarily implies non-identification of the teller with the event; he relates what occurs or occurred, outside of his circle of conciousness. Acting a play necessarily
implies identification of the actor with the event; he presents to you a picture of the thing, in himself. It is a difference wide and clear, and the least failure to recognize it confuses the audience and injures both arts.

In the preceding instances of secondary uses of story-telling I have come some
distance from the great point, the fundamental point, of the power of imitation in
breeding good habit. This power is less noticeably active in the dramatizing than in simple re-telling; in the listening and the re- telling, it is dominant for good. The child imitates what he hears you say and sees
you do, and the way you say and do it, far more closely in the story-hour than in any lesson-period. He is in a more absorbent state, as it were, because there is no
preoccupation of effort. Here is the great opportunity of the cultured teacher; here is the appalling opportunity of the careless or ignorant teacher. For the implications of the oral theory of teaching English are evident, concerning the immense importance
of the teacher’s habit. This is what it all comes to ultimately; the teacher of young children must be a person who can speak
English as it should be spoken,–purely, clearly, pleasantly, and with force.

It is a hard ideal to live up to, but it is a valuable ideal to try to live up to. And one of the best chances to work toward
attainment is in telling stories, for there you have definite material, which you can work into shape and practice on in private.
That practice ought to include conscious thought as to one’s general manner in the schoolroom, and intelligent effort to understand and improve one’s own voice. I hope
I shall not seem to assume the dignity of an authority which no personal taste can claim, if I beg a hearing for the following elements of manner and voice, which appeal to me as essential. They will, probably, appear self-evident to my readers, yet
they are often found wanting in the public school-teacher; it is so much easier to say “what were good to do” than to do it!

Three elements of manner seem to me
an essential adjunct to the personality of a teacher of little children: courtesy, repose vitality. Repose and vitality explain themselves; by courtesy I specifically do NOT
mean the habit of mind which contents itself with drilling children in “Good-
mornings” and in hat-liftings. I mean the attitude of mind which recognizes in the youngest, commonest child, the potential dignity, majesty, and mystery of the
developed human soul. Genuine reverence for the humanity of the “other fellow”
marks a definite degree of courtesy in the intercourse of adults, does it not? And
the same quality of respect, tempered by the demands of a wise control, is exactly what is needed among children. Again
and again, in dealing with young minds, the teacher who respects personality as
sacred, no matter how embryonic it be, wins the victories which count for true
education. Yet, all too often, we forget the claims of this reverence, in the presence of the annoyances and the needed corrections.

As for voice: work in schoolrooms brings two opposing mistakes constantly before
me: one is the repressed voice, and the other, the forced. The best way to avoid either extreme, is to keep in mind that
the ideal is development of one’s own natural voice, along its own natural lines. A “quiet, gentle voice” is conscientiously aimed at by many young teachers, with so great zeal that the tone becomes painfully repressed, “breathy,” and timid. This is quite as unpleasant as a loud voice, which is, in turn, a frequent result of early
admonitions to “speak up.” Neither is natural. It is wise to determine the natural volume and pitch of one’s speaking voice by a
number of tests, made when one is thoroughly rested, at ease, and alone. Find out
where your voice lies when it is left to itself, under favorable conditions, by reading something aloud or by listening to yourself as you talk to an intimate friend. Then
practise keeping it in that general range, unless it prove to have a distinct fault, such as a nervous sharpness, or hoarseness. A quiet voice is good; a hushed voice is
abnormal. A clear tone is restful, but a loud one is wearying.

Perhaps the common-sense way of setting a standard for one’s own voice is to
remember that the, purpose of a speaking voice is to communicate with others; their ears and minds are the receivers of our
tones. For this purpose, evidently, a voice should be, first of all, easy to hear; next, pleasant to hear; next, susceptible of
sufficient variation to express a wide range of meaning; and finally, indicative of personality.

Is it too quixotic to urge teachers who tell stories to little children to bear these thoughts, and better ones of their own,
in mind? Not, I think, if it be fully accepted that the story hour, as a play hour, is a time peculiarly open to influences
affecting the imitative faculty; that this faculty is especially valuable in forming fine habits of speech; and that an increasingly high and general standard of English
speech is one of our greatest needs and our most instant opportunities in the American schools of to-day.

And now we come to the stories!



[1] These riddles were taken from the Gaelic, and are charming examples of the naive beauty of the old Irish, and of Dr. Hyde’s accurate and sympathetic modern rendering. From “Beside the Fire” (David Nutt, London).

There’s a garden that I ken,
Full of little gentlemen;
Little caps of blue they wear,
And green ribbons, very fair.

From house to house he goes,
A messenger small and slight,
And whether it rains or snows,
He sleeps outside in the night.
(The path.)


Once there was a little pink Rosebud, and she lived down in a little dark house under the ground. One day she was sitting there, all by herself, and it was very
still. Suddenly, she heard a little TAP, TAP, TAP, at the door.

“Who is that?” she said.

“It’s the Rain, and I want to come in;” said a soft, sad, little voice.

“No, you can’t come in,” the little Rosebud said.

By and by she heard another little TAP, TAP, TAP on the window pane.

“Who is there?” she said.

The same soft little voice answered,
“It’s the Rain, and I want to come in!”

“No, you can’t come in,” said the little Rosebud.

Then it was very still for a long time. At last, there came a little rustling, whispering sound, all round the window: RUSTLE,

“Who is there?” said the little Rosebud.

“It’s the Sunshine,” said a little, soft, cheery voice, “and I want to come in!”

“N–no,” said the little pink rose, “you can’t come in.” And she sat still again.

Pretty soon she heard the sweet little rustling noise at the key-hole.

“Who is there?” she said.

“It’s the Sunshine,” said the cheery
little voice, “and I want to come in, I want to come in!”

“No, no,” said the little pink rose,
“you cannot come in.”

By and by, as she sat so still, she heard TAP, TAP, TAP, and RUSTLE, WHISPER, RUSTLE, all up and down the window pane, and
on the door, and at the key-hole.

“WHO IS THERE?” she said.

“It’s the Rain and the Sun, the Rain
and the Sun,” said two little voices, together, “and we want to come in! We
want to come in! We want to come in!”

“Dear, dear!” said the little Rosebud, “if there are two of you, I s’pose I shall have to let you in.”

So she opened the door a little wee
crack, and in they came. And one took one of her little hands, and the other
took her other little hand, and they ran, ran, ran with her, right up to the top of the ground. Then they said,–

“Poke your head through!”

So she poked her head through; and she was in the midst of a beautiful garden. It was springtime, and all the other flowers had their heads poked through; and
she was the prettiest little pink rose in the whole garden!


[1] From “The Ignominy of being Grown Up,” by Dr. Samuel M. Crothers, in the Atlantic Monthly for July, 1906.

A very little boy made this story up
“out of his head,” and told it to his papa I think you littlest ones will like it; I do.

Once upon a time there was a little boy, and he wanted to be a cock-a-doo-dle-doo So he was a cock-a-doo-dle-doo. And
he wanted to fly up into the sky. So he did fly up into the sky. And he wanted
to get wings and a tail. So he did get some wings and a tail.


[2] Adapted from the German of Robert Reinick’s Maarchen, Lieder-und Geschichtenbuch (Velhagen und Klasing, Bielefeld and Leipsic).

One hot summer morning a little Cloud rose out of the sea and floated lightly
and happily across the blue sky. Far below lay the earth, brown, dry, and
desolate, from drouth. The little Cloud could see the poor people of the earth
working and suffering in the hot fields, while she herself floated on the morning breeze, hither and thither, without a care.

“Oh, if I could only help the poor
people down there!” she thought. “If I could but make their work easier, or give the
hungry ones food, or the thirsty a drink!”

And as the day passed, and the Cloud
became larger, this wish to do something for the people of earth was ever greater in her heart.

On earth it grew hotter and hotter; the sun burned down so fiercely that the people were fainting in its rays; it seemed as if they must die of heat, and yet they were obliged to go on with their work, for they were very poor. Sometimes they stood and looked up at the Cloud, as if they were
praying, and saying, “Ah, if you could help us!”

“I will help you; I will!” said the Cloud. And she began to sink softly down toward the earth.

But suddenly, as she floated down, she remembered something which had been
told her when she was a tiny Cloud-child, in the lap of Mother Ocean: it had been
whispered that if the Clouds go too near the earth they die. When she remembered
this she held herself from sinking, and swayed here and there on the breeze,
thinking,–thinking. But at last she stood quite still, and spoke boldly and proudly. She said, “Men of earth, I will help you, come what may!”

The thought made her suddenly marvelously big and strong and powerful. Never
had she dreamed that she could be so big. Like a mighty angel of blessing she stood above the earth, and lifted her head and spread her wings far over the fields and woods. She was so great, so majestic, that men and animals were awe-struck at the
sight; the trees and the grasses bowed before her; yet all the earth-creatures felt that she meant them well.

“Yes, I will help you,” cried the Cloud once more. “Take me to yourselves; I will give my life for you!”

As she said the words a wonderful light glowed from her heart, the sound of thunder rolled through the sky, and a love greater than words can tell filled the Cloud; down, down, close to the earth she swept, and gave up her life in a blessed, healing shower of rain.

That rain was the Cloud’s great deed; it was her death, too; but it was also her glory. Over the whole country-side, as far as the rain fell, a lovely rainbow sprang its arch, and all the brightest rays of heaven made its colors; it was the last greeting of a love so great that it sacrificed itself.

Soon that, too, was gone, but long, long afterward the men and animals who were
saved by the Cloud kept her blessing in their hearts.


The little Red Hen was in the farmyard with her chickens, when she found a grain of wheat.

“Who will plant this wheat?” she said.

“Not I,” said the Goose.

“Not I,” said the Duck.

“I will, then,” said the little Red Hen, and she planted the grain of wheat.

When the wheat was ripe she said, “Who will take this wheat to the mill?”

“Not I,” said the Goose.

“Not I,” said the Duck.

“I will, then,” said the little Red Hen, and she took the wheat to the mill.

When she brought the flour home she
said, “Who will make some bread with this flour?”

“Not I,” said the Goose.

“Not I,” said the Duck.

“I will, then,” said the little Red Hen.

When the bread was baked, she said,
“Who will eat this bread?”

“I will,” said the Goose

“I will,” said the Duck

“No, you won’t,” said the little Red Hen. “I shall eat it myself. Cluck! cluck!” And she called her chickens to help her.


[1] I have tried to give this story in the most familiar form; it varies a good deal in the hands of different story-tellers, but this is substantially the version I was “brought up on.” The form of the ending was suggested to me by the story in Carolyn Bailey’s For the Children’s Hour (Milton Bradley Co.).

Once upon a time there was a little old woman and a little old man, and they
lived all alone in a little old house. They hadn’t any little girls or any little boys, at all. So one day, the little old woman made a boy out of gingerbread; she made
him a chocolate jacket, and put cinnamon seeds in it for buttons; his eyes were made of fine, fat currants; his mouth was made of rose-colored sugar; and he had a gay
little cap of orange sugar-candy. When the little old woman had rolled him out, and dressed him up, and pinched his
gingerbread shoes into shape, she put him in a pan; then she put the pan in the oven
and shut the door; and she thought, “Now I shall have a little boy of my own.”

When it was time for the Gingerbread
Boy to be done she opened the oven door and pulled out the pan. Out jumped the
little Gingerbread Boy on to the floor, and away he ran, out of the door and down the street! The little old woman and the little old man ran after him as fast as they could, but he just laughed, and shouted,–

“Run! run! as fast as you can!

“You can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man!”

And they couldn’t catch him.

The little Gingerbread Boy ran on and on, until he came to a cow, by the roadside. “Stop, little Gingerbread Boy,” said
the cow; “I want to eat you.” The little Gingerbread Boy laughed, and said,–

“I have run away from a little old woman,

“And a little old man,

“And I can run away from you, I can!”

And, as the cow chased him, he looked over his shoulder and cried,–

“Run! run! as fast as you can!

“You can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man!”

And the cow couldn’t catch him.

The little Gingerbread Boy ran on, and on, and on, till he came to a horse, in
the pasture. “Please stop, little Gingerbread Boy,” said the horse, “you look very
good to eat.” But the little Gingerbread Boy laughed out loud. “Oho! oho!” he

“I have run away from a little old woman,

“A little old man,

“A cow,

“And I can run away from you, I can!”

And, as the horse chased him, he looked over his shoulder and cried,–

“Run! run! as fast as you can!

“You can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man!”

And the horse couldn’t catch him.

By and by the little Gingerbread Boy
came to a barn full of threshers. When the threshers smelled the Gingerbread Boy, they tried to pick him up, and said, “Don’t run so fast, little Gingerbread Boy; you look very good to eat.” But the little
Gingerbread Boy ran harder than ever, and as he ran he cried out,–

“I have run away from a little old woman,

“A little old man,

“A cow,

“A horse,

“And I can run away from you, I can!”

And when he found that he was ahead
of the threshers, he turned and shouted back to them,–

“Run! run! as fast as you can!

“You can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man!”

And the threshers couldn’t catch him.

Then the little Gingerbread Boy ran
faster than ever. He ran and ran until he came to a field full of mowers. When the mowers saw how fine he looked, they ran
after him, calling out, “Wait a bit! wait a bit, little Gingerbread Boy, we wish to eat you!” But the little Gingerbread Boy
laughed harder than ever, and ran like the wind. “Oho! oho!” he said,–

“I have run away from a little old woman,

“A little old man,

“A cow,

“A horse,

“A barn full of threshers,

“And I can run away from you, I can!”

And when he found that he was ahead
of the mowers, he turned and shouted back to them,–

“Run! run! as fast as you can!

“You can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man!”

And the mowers couldn’t catch him.

By this time the little Gingerbread Boy was so proud that he didn’t think anybody could catch him. Pretty soon he saw a
fox coming across a field. The fox looked at him and began to run. But the little
Gingerbread Boy shouted across to him, “You can’t catch me!” The fox began to
run faster, and the little Gingerbread Boy ran faster, and as he ran he chuckled,–

“I have run away from a little old woman,

“A little old man,

“A cow,

“A horse,

“A barn full of threshers,

“A field full of mowers,

“And I can run away from you, I can!

“Run! run! as fast as you can!

“You can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man!”

“Why,” said the fox, “I would not catch you if I could. I would not think of
disturbing you.”

Just then, the little Gingerbread Boy came to a river. He could not swim across, and he wanted to keep running away from
the cow and the horse and the people.

“Jump on my tail, and I will take you across,” said the fox.

So the little Gingerbread Boy jumped on the fox’s tail, and the fox swam into the river. When he was a little way from shore he turned his head, and said, “You are too heavy on my tail, little Gingerbread Boy, I fear I shall let you get wet; jump on my back.”

The little Gingerbread Boy jumped on
his back.

A little farther out, the fox said, “I am afraid the water will cover you, there; jump on my shoulder.”

The little Gingerbread Boy jumped on
his shoulder.

In the middle of the stream the fox said, “Oh, dear! little Gingerbread Boy, my
shoulder is sinking; jump on my nose, and I can hold you out of water.”

So the little Gingerbread Boy jumped
on his nose.

The minute the fox got on shore he
threw back his head, and gave a snap!

“Dear me!” said the little Gingerbread Boy, “I am a quarter gone!” The next
minute he said, “Why, I am half gone!” The next minute he said, “My goodness
gracious, I am three quarters gone!”

And after that, the little Gingerbread Boy never said anything more at all.


[1] The four stories of the little Jackal, in this book, are adapted from stories in Old Deccan Days, a collection of orally transmitted Hindu folk tales, which every teacher would gain by knowing. In the Hindu animal legends the Jackal seems to play the role assigned in Germanic lore to Reynard the Fox, and to “Bre’r Rabbit” in the stories of our Southern negroes: he is the clever and humorous trickster who comes out of every encounter with a whole skin, and turns the laugh on every enemy, however mighty.

Once there was a great big jungle; and in the jungle there was a great big Lion; and the Lion was king of the jungle. Whenever he wanted anything to eat, all he had to do was to come up out of his cave in the stones and earth and ROAR. When he had
roared a few times all the little people of the jungle were so frightened that they
came out of their holes and hiding-places and ran, this way and that, to get away. Then, of course, the Lion could see where they were. And he pounced on them,
killed them, and gobbled them up.

He did this so often that at last there was not a single thing left alive in the jungle besides the Lion, except two little Jackals, –a little father Jackal and a little mother Jackal.

They had run away so many times that
they were quite thin and very tired, and they could not run so fast any more. And one day the Lion was so near that the little mother Jackal grew frightened; she said,–

“Oh, Father Jackal, Father Jackal! I
b’lieve our time has come! the Lion will surely catch us this time!”

“Pooh! nonsense, mother!” said the
little father Jackal. “Come, we’ll run on a bit!”

And they ran, ran, ran very fast, and the Lion did not catch them that time.

But at last a day came when the Lion
was nearer still and the little mother Jackal was frightened about to death.

“Oh, Father Jackal, Father Jackal!”
she cried; “I’m sure our time has come! The Lion’s going to eat us this time!”

“Now, mother, don’t you fret,” said the little father Jackal; “you do just as I tell you, and it will be all right.”

Then what did those cunning little Jackals do but take hold of hands and run up
towards the Lion, as if they had meant to come all the time. When he saw them
coming he stood up, and roared in a terrible voice,–

“You miserable little wretches, come
here and be eaten, at once! Why didn’t you come before?”

The father Jackal bowed very low.

“Indeed, Father Lion,” he said, “we
meant to come before; we knew we ought to come before; and we wanted to come
before; but every time we started to come, a dreadful great lion came out of the woods and roared at us, and frightened us so that we ran away.”

“What do you mean?” roared the Lion.
“There’s no other lion in this jungle, and you know it!”

“Indeed, indeed, Father Lion,” said the little Jackal, “I know that is what everybody thinks; but indeed and indeed there
is another lion! And he is as much bigger than you as you are bigger than I! His face is much more terrible, and his roar far, far more dreadful. Oh, he is far more fearful than you!”

At that the Lion stood up and roared so that the jungle shook.

“Take me to this lion,” he said; “I’ll eat him up and then I’ll eat you up.”

The little Jackals danced on ahead, and the Lion stalked behind. They led him to a place where there was a round, deep well of clear water. They went round on one
side of it, and the Lion stalked up to the other.

“He lives down there, Father Lion!”
said the little Jackal. “He lives down there!”

The Lion came close and looked down
into the water,–and a lion’s face looked back at him out of the water!

When he saw that, the Lion roared and shook his mane and showed his teeth. And the lion in the water shook his mane and showed his teeth. The Lion above shook
his mane again and growled again, and made a terrible face. But the lion in the water made just as terrible a one, back. The Lion above couldn’t stand that. He
leaped down into the well after the other lion.

But, of course, as you know very well, there wasn’t any other lion! It was only the reflection in the water!

So the poor old Lion floundered about and floundered about, and as he couldn’t get up the steep sides of the well, he was drowned dead. And when he was drowned
the little Jackals took hold of hands and danced round the well, and sang,–

“The Lion is dead! The Lion is dead!

“We have killed the great Lion who
would have killed us!

“The Lion is dead! The Lion is dead!

“Ao! Ao! Ao!”


[1] The following story of the two mice, with the similar fables of The Boy who cried Wolf, The Frog King, and The Sun and the Wind, are given here with the hope that they may be of use to the many teachers who find the over-familiar material of the fables difficult to adapt, and who are yet aware of the great usefulness of the stories to young minds. A certain degree of vividness and amplitude must be added to the compact statement of the famous collections, and yet it is not wise to change the style-effect of a fable, wholly. I venture to give these versions, not as perfect models, surely, but as renderings which have been acceptable to children, and which I believe retain the original point simply and strongly.

Once a little mouse who lived in the
country invited a little Mouse from the city to visit him. When the little City Mouse sat down to dinner he was surprised to find that the Country Mouse had nothing to eat except barley and grain.

“Really,” he said, “you do not live well at all; you should see how I live! I have all sorts of fine things to eat every day. You must come to visit me and see how nice it is to live in the city.”

The little Country Mouse was glad to do this, and after a while he went to the city to visit his friend.

The very first place that the City Mouse took the Country Mouse to see was the
kitchen cupboard of the house where he lived. There, on the lowest shelf, behind some stone jars, stood a big paper bag
of brown sugar. The little City Mouse gnawed a hole in the bag and invited his friend to nibble for himself.

The two little mice nibbled and nibbled, and the Country Mouse thought he
had never tasted anything so delicious in his life. He was just thinking how lucky the City Mouse was, when suddenly the
door opened with a bang, and in came the cook to get some flour.

“Run!” whispered the City Mouse.
And they ran as fast as they could to the little hole where they had come in. The
little Country Mouse was shaking all over when they got safely away, but the little City Mouse said, “That is nothing; she will soon go away and then we can go back.”

After the cook had gone away and shut the door they stole softly back, and this time the City Mouse had something new
to show: he took the little Country Mouse into a corner on the top shelf, where a
big jar of dried prunes stood open. After much tugging and pulling they got a large dried prune out of the jar on to the shelf and began to nibble at it. This was even better than the brown sugar. The little
Country Mouse liked the taste so much that he could hardly nibble fast enough. But all at once, in the midst of their eating, there came a scratching at the door and a sharp, loud MIAOUW!

“What is that?” said the Country
Mouse. The City Mouse just whispered, “Sh!” and ran as fast as he could to the hole. The Country Mouse ran after, you
may be sure, as fast as HE could. As soon as they were out of danger the City Mouse said, “That was the old Cat; she is the
best mouser in town,–if she once gets you, you are lost.”

“This is very terrible,” said the little Country Mouse; “let us not go back to the cupboard again.”

“No,” said the City Mouse, “I will take you to the cellar; there is something especial there.”

So the City Mouse took his little friend down the cellar stairs and into a big cupboard where there were many shelves. On
the shelves were jars of butter, and cheeses in bags and out of bags. Overhead hung
bunches of sausages, and there were spicy apples in barrels standing about. It
smelled so good that it went to the little Country Mouse’s head. He ran along the
shelf and nibbled at a cheese here, and a bit of butter there, until he saw an especially rich, very delicious-smelling piece of
cheese on a queer little stand in a corner. He was just on the point of putting his
teeth into the cheese when the City Mouse saw him.

“Stop! stop!” cried the City Mouse.
“That is a trap!”

The little Country Mouse stopped and
said, “What is a trap?”

“That thing is a trap,” said the little City Mouse. “The minute you touch the
cheese with your teeth something comes down on your head hard, and you’re dead.”

The little Country Mouse looked at the trap, and he looked at the cheese, and he looked at the little City Mouse. “If you’ll excuse me,” he said, “I think I will go
home. I’d rather have barley and grain to eat and eat it in peace and comfort, than have brown sugar and dried prunes and
cheese,–and be frightened to death all the time!”

So the little Country Mouse went back to his home, and there he stayed all the rest of his life.


[1] Based on Theodor Storm’s story of Der Kleine Hawelmanu (George Westermann, Braunschweig). Very freely adapted from the German story.

Once upon a time there was a wee little boy who slept in a tiny trundle-bed near his mother’s great bed. The trundle-bed
had castors on it so that it could be rolled about, and there was nothing in the world the little boy liked so much as to have
it rolled. When his mother came to bed he would cry, “Roll me around! roll me
around!” And his mother would put out her hand from the big bed and push the
little bed back and forth till she was tired. The little boy could never get enough; so for this he was called “Little Jack Rollaround.”

One night he had made his mother roll him about, till she fell asleep, and even then he kept crying, “Roll me around! roll me around!” His mother pushed him about
in her sleep, until she fell too soundly aslumbering; then she stopped. But Little Jack Rollaround kept on crying, “Roll
around! roll around!”

By and by the Moon peeped in at the
window. He saw a funny sight: Little Jack Rollaround was lying in his trundle- bed, and he had put up one little fat leg for a mast, and fastened the corner of his wee shirt to it for a sail, and he was blowing at it with all his might, and saying,
“Roll around! roll around!” Slowly, slowly, the little trundle-bed boat began to move; it sailed along the floor and up the wall and across the ceiling and down again!

“More! more!” cried Little Jack
Rollaround; and the little boat sailed faster up the wall, across the ceiling, down the wall, and over the floor. The Moon laughed at
the sight; but when Little Jack Rollaround saw the Moon, he called out, “Open the
door, old Moon! I want to roll through the town, so that the people can see me!”

The Moon could not open the door, but he shone in through the keyhole, in a broad band. And Little Jack Rollaround sailed
his trundle-bed boat up the beam, through the keyhole, and into the street.

“Make a light, old Moon,” he said; “I want the people to see me!”

So the good Moon made a light and
went along with him, and the little trundle- bed boat went sailing down the streets
into the main street of the village. They rolled past the town hall and the schoolhouse and the church; but nobody saw
little Jack Rollaround, because everybody was in bed, asleep.

“Why don’t the people come to see me?” he shouted.

High up on the church steeple, the
Weather-vane answered, “It is no time for people to be in the streets; decent folk are in their beds.”

“Then I’ll go to the woods, so that the animals may see me,” said Little Jack.
“Come along, old Moon, and make a

The good Moon went along and made
a light, and they came to the forest. “Roll! roll!” cried the little boy; and the trundle- bed went trundling among the trees in the great wood, scaring up the chipmunks and startling the little leaves on the trees. The poor old Moon began to have a bad time
of it, for the tree-trunks got in his way so that he could not go so fast as the bed, and every time he got behind, the little boy called, “Hurry up, old Moon, I want the
beasts to see me!”

But all the animals were asleep, and
nobody at all looked at Little Jack Rollaround except an old White Owl; and all
she said was, “Who are you?”

The little boy did not like her, so he blew harder, and the trundle-bed boat
went sailing through the forest till it came to the end of the world.

“I must go home now; it is late,” said the Moon.

“I will go with you; make a path!” said Little Jack Rollaround.

The kind Moon made a path up to the
sky, and up sailed the little bed into the midst of the sky. All the little bright Stars were there with their nice little lamps. And when he saw them, that naughty Little
Jack Rollaround began to tease. “Out of the way, there! I am coming!” he shouted, and sailed the trundle-bed boat straight at them. He bumped the little Stars right
and left, all over the sky, until every one of them put his little lamp out and left it dark.

“Do not treat the little Stars so,” said the good Moon.