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


Part 3 out of 8

Adobe PDF icon
Download GOOD STORIES FOR GREAT HOLIDAYS - Full Text Free Book (Part 3/8) 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.

grass, closed his eyes forever. The Water-Nymphs
wept for him, and the Wood-Dryads lamented
him, and Echo resounded their mourning. But
when they sought his body it had vanished away,
and in its stead had grown up by the brink of the
stream a little flower, with silver leaves and
golden heart,--and thus was born to earth the
woodland flower, Narcissus.






A child went up to a lark and said: ``Good lark,
have you any young ones?''

``Yes, child, I have,'' said the mother lark, ``and
they are very pretty ones, indeed.'' Then she
pointed to the little birds and said: ``This is Fair
Wing, that is Tiny Bill, and that other is Bright

``At home, we are three,'' said the child,
``myself and two sisters. Mother says that we are
pretty children, and she loves us.''

To this the little larks replied: ``Oh, yes, OUR
mother is fond of us, too.''

``Good mother lark,'' said the child, ``will you
let Tiny Bill go home with me and play?''

Before the mother lark could reply, Bright
Eyes said: ``Yes, if you will send your little sister
to play with us in our nest.''

``Oh, she will be so sorry to leave home,''
said the child; ``she could not come away from
our mother.''

``Tiny Bill will be so sorry to leave our nest,''
answered Bright Eyes, ``and he will not go away
from OUR mother.''

Then the child ran away to her mother, saying:
``Ah, every one is fond of home!''



[3] From Fifty Famous Stories Retold. Copyright, 1896, by
American Book Company.

It was a bright morning in the old city of Rome
many hundred years ago. In a vine-covered summer-
house in a beautiful garden, two boys were
standing. They were looking at their mother and
her friend, who were walking among the flowers
and trees.

``Did you ever see so handsome a lady as our
mother's friend?'' asked the younger boy, holding
his tall brother's hand. ``She looks like a

``Yet she is not so beautiful as our mother,''
said the elder boy. ``She has a fine dress, it is
true; but her face is not noble and kind. It is our
mother who is like a queen.''

``That is true,'' said the other. ``There is no
woman in Rome so much like a queen as our own
dear mother.''

Soon Cornelia, their mother, came down the
walk to speak with them. She was simply dressed
in a plain, white robe. Her arms and feet were
bare, as was the custom in those days; and no
rings or chains glittered about her hands and
neck. For her only crown, long braids of soft
brown hair were coiled about her head; and a
tender smile lit up her noble face as she looked
into her sons' proud eyes.

``Boys,'' she said, ``I have something to tell

They bowed before her, as Roman lads were
taught to do, and said: ``What is it, mother?''

``You are to dine with us to-day, here in the
garden; and then our friend is going to show us
that wonderful casket of jewels of which you have
heard so much.''

The brothers looked shyly at their mother's
friend. Was it possible that she had still other
rings besides those on her fingers? Could she
have other gems besides those which sparkled in
the chains about her neck?

When the simple outdoor meal was over, a
servant brought the casket from the house. The
lady opened it. Ah, how those jewels dazzled the
eyes of the wondering boys! There were ropes of
pearls, white as milk, and smooth as satin; heaps
of shining rubies, red as the glowing coals;
sapphires as blue as the sky that summer day; and
diamonds that flashed and sparkled like the sunlight.

The brothers looked long at the gems. ``Ah!''
whispered the younger; ``if our mother could only
have such beautiful things!''

At last, however, the casket was closed and
carried carefully away.

``Is it true, Cornelia, that you have no jewels?''
asked her friend. ``Is it true, as I have heard it
whispered, that you are poor?''

``No, I am not poor,'' answered Cornelia, and
as she spoke she drew her two boys to her side;
``for here are my jewels. They are worth more
than all your gems.''

The boys never forgot their mother's pride and
love and care; and in after years, when they had
become great men in Rome, they often thought
of this scene in the garden. And the world still
likes to hear the story of Cornelia's jewels.



One day when roses were in bloom, two noblemen
came to angry words in the Temple Gardens, by
the side of the river Thames. In the midst of
their quarrel one of them plucked a white rose
from a bush, and, turning to those who were
near him, said:--

``He who will stand by me in this quarrel, let
him pluck a white rose with me, and wear it in
his hat.''

Then the other gentleman tore a red rose from
another bush, and said:--

``Let him who will stand by me pluck a red
rose, and wear it as his badge.''

Now this quarrel led to a great civil war, which
was called ``The War of the Roses,'' for every
soldier wore a white or red rose in his helmet to
show to which side he belonged.

The leaders of the ``Red Rose'' sided with
King Henry the Sixth and his wife, Queen Margaret,
who were fighting for the English throne.
Many great battles were fought, and wicked
deeds were done in those dreadful times.

In a battle at a place called Hexham, the king's
party was beaten, and Queen Margaret and her
little son, the Prince of Wales, had to flee for
their lives. They had not gone far before they
met a band of robbers, who stopped the queen
and stole all her rich jewels, and, holding a drawn
sword over her head, threatened to take her life
and that of her child.

The poor queen, overcome by terror, fell upon
her knees and begged them to spare her only son,
the little prince. But the robbers, turning from
her, began to fight among themselves as to how
they should divide the plunder, and, drawing
their weapons, they attacked one another. When
the queen saw what was happening she sprang
to her feet, and, taking the prince by the hand,
made haste to escape.

There was a thick wood close by, and the
queen plunged into it, but she was sorely afraid
and trembled in every limb, for she knew that
this wood was the hiding-place of robbers and
outlaws. Every tree seemed to her excited fancy
to be an armed man waiting to kill her and her
little son.

On and on she went through the dark wood,
this way and that, seeking some place of shelter,
but not knowing where she was going. At last
she saw by the light of the moon a tall, fierce-
looking man step out from behind a tree. He
came directly toward her, and she knew by his
dress that he was an outlaw. But thinking that
he might have children of his own, she determined
to throw herself and her son upon his

When he came near she addressed him in a
calm voice and with a stately manner.

``Friend,'' said she, ``I am the queen. Kill me
if thou wilt, but spare my son, thy prince. Take
him, I will trust him to thee. Keep him safe from
those that seek his life, and God will have pity
on thee for all thy sins.''

The words of the queen moved the heart of the
outlaw. He told her that he had once fought on
her side, and was now hiding from the soldiers of
the ``White Rose.'' He then lifted the little prince
in his arms, and, bidding the queen follow, led the
way to a cave in the rocks. There he gave them
food and shelter, and kept them safe for two days,
when the queen's friends and attendants, discovering
their hiding-place, came and took them far

If you ever go to Hexham Forest, you may see
this robber's cave. It is on the bank of a little
stream that flows at the foot of a hill, and to this
day the people call it ``Queen Margaret's Cave.''



Caius Marcius was a noble Roman youth, who
fought valiantly, when but seventeen years of
age, in the battle of Lake Regillus, and was there
crowned with an oaken wreath, the Roman reward
for saving the life of a fellow soldier. This
he showed with joy to his mother, Volumnia,
whom he loved exceedingly, it being his greatest
pleasure to receive praise from her lips.

He afterward won many more crowns in battle,
and became one of the most famous of Roman
soldiers. One of his memorable exploits took
place during a war with the Volscians, in which
the Romans attacked the city of Corioli. Through
Caius's bravery the place was taken, and the
Roman general said: ``Henceforth, let him be
called after the name of this city.'' So ever after
he was known as Caius Marcius Coriolanus.

Courage was not the only marked quality of
Coriolanus. His pride was equally great. He was
a noble of the nobles, so haughty in demeanor and
so disdainful of the commons that they grew to
hate him bitterly.

At length came a time of great scarcity of food.
The people were on the verge of famine, to relieve
which shiploads of corn were sent from Sicily to
Rome. The Senate resolved to distribute this
corn among the suffering people, but Coriolanus
opposed this, saying: ``If they want corn, let
them promise to obey the Patricians, as their
fathers did. Let them give up their tribunes. If
they do this we will let them have corn, and take
care of them.''

When the people heard of what the proud
noble had said, they broke into a fury, and a mob
gathered around the doors of the Senate house,
prepared to seize and tear him in pieces when
he came out. But the tribunes prevented this,
and Coriolanus fled from Rome, exiled from his
native land by his pride and disdain of the

The exile made his way to the land of the
Volscians and became the friend of Rome's great
enemy, whom he had formerly helped to conquer.
He aroused the Volscians' ire against Rome, to
a greater degree than before, and placing himself
at the head of a Volscian army greater than
the Roman forces, marched against his native
city. The army swept victoriously onward,
taking city after city, and finally encamping within
five miles of Rome.

The approach of this powerful host threw the
Romans into dismay. They had been assailed so
suddenly that they had made no preparations for
defense, and the city seemed to lie at the mercy
of its foes. The women ran to the temples to
pray for the favor of the gods. The people
demanded that the Senate should send deputies
to the invading army to treat for peace.

The Senate, no less frightened than the people,
obeyed, sending five leading Patricians to the
Volscian camp. These deputies were haughtily
received by Coriolanus, who offered them such
severe terms that they were unable to accept
them. They returned and reported the matter,
and the Senate was thrown into confusion. The
deputies were sent again, instructed to ask for
gentler terms, but now Coriolanus refused even
to let them enter his camp. This harsh repulse
plunged Rome into mortal terror.

All else having failed, the noble women of
Rome, with Volumnia, the mother of Coriolanus,
at their head, went in procession from the city to
the Volscian camp to pray for mercy.

It was a sad and solemn spectacle, as this train
of noble ladies, clad in their habiliments of woe,
and with bent heads and sorrowful faces, wound
through the hostile camp, from which they were
not excluded as the deputies had been. Even the
Volscian soldiers watched them with pitying eyes,
and spoke no scornful word as they moved slowly

On reaching the midst of the camp, they saw
Coriolanus on the general's seat, with the Volscian
chiefs gathered around him. At first he wondered
who these women could be; but when they came
near, and he saw his mother at the head of the
train, his deep love for her welled up so strongly
in his heart that he could not restrain himself,
but sprang up and ran to meet and kiss her.

The Roman matron stopped him with a dignified
gesture. ``Ere you kiss me,'' she said, ``let
me know whether I speak to an enemy or to my
son; whether I stand here as your prisoner or
your mother.''

He stood before her in silence, with bent head,
and unable to answer.

``Must it, then, be that if I had never borne a
son, Rome would have never seen the camp of
an enemy?'' said Volumnia, in sorrowful tones.

``But I am too old to endure much longer your
shame and my misery. Think not of me, but of
your wife and children, whom you would doom
to death or to life in bondage.''

Then Virgilia, his wife, and his children, came
forward and kissed him, and all the noble ladies
in the train burst into tears and bemoaned the
peril of their country.

Coriolanus still stood silent, his face working
with contending thoughts. At length he cried
out in heart-rending accents: ``O mother! What
have you done to me?''

Then clasping her hand he wrung it vehemently,
saying: ``Mother, the victory is yours!
A happy victory for you and Rome! but shame
and ruin for your son.''

Thereupon he embraced her with yearning
heart, and afterward clasped his wife and children
to his breast, bidding them return with their
tale of conquest to Rome. As for himself, he said,
only exile and shame remained.

Before the women reached home, the army of
the Volscians was on its homeward march. Coriolanus
never led it against Rome again. He lived
and died in exile, far from his wife and children.

The Romans, to honor Volumnia, and those
who had gone with her to the Volscian camp,
built a temple to ``Woman's Fortune,'' on the
spot where Coriolanus had yielded to his mother's



One day a poor woman approached Mr. Lincoln
for an interview. She was somewhat advanced
in years and plainly clad, wearing a faded shawl
and worn hood.

``Well, my good woman,'' said Mr. Lincoln,
``what can I do for you this morning?''

``Mr. President,'' answered she, ``my husband
and three sons all went into the army. My husband
was killed in the battle of----. I get along
very badly since then living all alone, and I
thought that I would come and ask you to release
to me my eldest son.''

Mr. Lincoln looked in her face for a moment,
and then replied kindly:--

``Certainly! Certainly! If you have given us
ALL, and your prop has been taken away, you are
justly entitled to one of your boys.''

He then made out an order discharging the
young man, which the woman took away, thanking
him gratefully.

She went to the front herself with the
President's order, and found that her son had been
mortally wounded in a recent battle, and taken
to the hospital.

She hastened to the hospital. But she was too
late, the boy died, and she saw him laid in a
soldier's grave.

She then returned to the President with his
order, on the back of which the attendant surgeon
had stated the sad facts concerning the
young man it was intended to discharge.

Mr. Lincoln was much moved by her story, and
said: ``I know what you wish me to do now, and
I shall do it without your asking. I shall release
to you your second son.''

Taking up his pen he began to write the order,
while the grief-stricken woman stood at his side
and passed her hand softly over his head, and
stroked his rough hair as she would have stroked
her boy's.

When he had finished he handed her the paper,
saying tenderly, his eyes full of tears:--

``Now you have one of the two left, and I have
one, that is no more than right.''

She took the order and reverently placing her
hand upon his head, said:--

``The Lord bless you, Mr. President. May you
live a thousand years, and may you always be the
head of this great nation.''




(JUNE 14)



On the 14th day of June, 1777, the Continental
Congress passed the following resolution:
``RESOLVED, That the flag of the thirteen United States
be thirteen stripes alternate red and white; that
the Union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field,
representing a new constellation.''

We are told that previous to this, in 1776, a
committee was appointed to look after the matter,
and together with General Washington they
called at the house of Betsy Ross, 239 Arch
Street, Philadelphia.

Betsy Ross was a young widow of twenty-four
heroically supporting herself by continuing the
upholstery business of her late husband, young
John Ross, a patriot who had died in the service
of his country. Betsy was noted for her exquisite
needlework, and was engaged in the flag-making

The committee asked her if she thought she
could make a flag from a design, a rough drawing
of which General Washington showed her. She
replied, with diffidence, that she did not know
whether she could or not, but would try. She
noticed, however, that the star as drawn had
six points, and informed the committee that the
correct star had but five. They answered that
as a great number of stars would be required, the
more regular form with six points could be more
easily made than one with five.

She responded in a practical way by deftly
folding a scrap of paper; then with a single clip
of her scissors she displayed a true, symmetrical,
five-pointed star.

This decided the committee in her favor. A
rough design was left for her use, but she was
permitted to make a sample flag according to her
own ideas of the arrangement of the stars and the
proportions of the stripes and the general form
of the whole.

Sometime after its completion it was presented
to Congress, and the committee had the pleasure
of informing Betsy Ross that her flag was
accepted as the Nation's standard.



In 1814, while the War of 1812 was still going
on, the people of Maryland were in great trouble,
for a British fleet began to attack Baltimore. The
enemy bombarded the forts, including Fort McHenry.
For twenty-four hours the terrific bombardment went on.

``If Fort McHenry only stands, the city is safe,''
said Francis Scott Key to a friend, and they gazed
anxiously through the smoke to see if the flag was
still flying.

These two men were in the strangest place that
could be imagined. They were in a little American
vessel fast moored to the side of the British
admiral's flagship. A Maryland doctor had been
seized as a prisoner by the British, and the
President had given permission for them to go out under
a flag of truce, to ask for his release. The British
commander finally decided that the prisoner might
be set free; but he had no idea of allowing the two
men to go back to the city and carry any
information. ``Until the attack on Baltimore is ended,
you and your boat must remain here,'' he said.

The firing went on. As long as daylight lasted
they could catch glimpses of the Stars and Stripes
whenever the wind swayed the clouds of smoke.
When night came they could still see the banner
now and then by the blaze of the cannon. A little
after midnight the firing stopped. The two men
paced up and down the deck, straining their eyes
to see if the flag was still flying. ``Can the fort
have surrendered?'' they questioned. ``Oh, if
snorning would only come!''

At last the faint gray of dawn appeared. They
could see that some flag was flying, but it was too
dark to tell which. More and more eagerly they
gazed. It grew lighter, a sudden breath of wind
caught the flag, and it floated out on the breeze.
It was no English flag, it was their own Stars and
Stripes. The fort had stood, the city was safe.
Then it was that Key took from his pocket an old
letter and on the back of it he wrote the poem,
``The Star-Spangled Banner.''

The British departed, and the little American
boat went back to the city. Mr. Key gave a copy
of the poem to his uncle, who had been helping to
defend the fort. The uncle sent it to the printer,
and had it struck off on some handbills. Before
the ink was dry the printer caught up one and
hurried away to a restaurant, where many patriots
were assembled. Waving the paper, he
cried, ``Listen to this!'' and he read:--

``O say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous
O'er the ramparts we watch'd were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does the star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?''

``Sing it! sing it!'' cried the whole company.
Charles Durang mounted a chair and then for the
first time ``The Star-Spangled Banner'' was sung.
The tune was ``To Anacreon in Heaven,'' an air
which had long been a favorite. Halls, theaters,
and private houses rang with its strains.

The fleet was out of sight even before the poem
was printed. In the middle of the night the admiral
had sent to the British soldiers this message,
``I can do nothing more,'' and they hurried on
board the vessels. It was not long before they left
Chesapeake Bay altogether,--perhaps with the
new song ringing in their ears as they went.



A few days before a certain regiment received
orders to join General Lyon, on his march to
Wilson's Creek, the drummer-boy of the regiment
was taken sick, and carried to the hospital.

Shortly after this there appeared before the
captain's quarters, during the beating of the
reveille, a good-looking, middle-aged woman,
dressed in deep mourning, leading by the hand
a sharp, sprightly looking boy, apparently about
twelve or thirteen years of age.

Her story was soon told. She was from East
Tennessee, where her husband had been killed
by the Confederates, and all her property
destroyed. Being destitute, she thought that if she
could procure a situation for her boy as drummer,
she could find employment for herself.

While she told her story, the little fellow kept
his eyes intently fixed upon the countenance of
the captain. And just as the latter was about to
say that he could not take so small a boy, the lad
spoke out:--

``Don't be afraid, Captain,'' said he, ``I can

This was spoken with so much confidence that
the captain smiled and said to the sergeant:--

``Well, well, bring the drum, and order our
fifer to come here.''

In a few moments a drum was produced and
the fifer, a round-shouldered, good-natured fellow,
who stood six feet tall, made his appearance.
Upon being introduced to the lad, he stooped
down, resting his hands on his knees, and, after
peering into the little fellow's face for a moment,

``My little man, can you drum?''

``Yes, sir,'' answered the boy promptly. ``I
drummed for Captain Hill in Tennessee.''

The fifer immediately straightened himself,
and, placing his fife to his lips, played the ``Flowers
of Edinburgh,'' one of the most difficult things to
follow with the drum. And nobly did the little
fellow follow him, showing himself to be master of
the drum.

When the music ceased the captain turned to
the mother and observed:--

``Madam, I will take the boy. What is his

``Edward Lee,'' she replied. Then placing her
hand upon the captain's arm, she continued in a
choking voice, ``If he is not killed!--Captain,
--you will bring him back to me?''

``Yes, yes,'' he replied, ``we shall be certain to
bring him back to you. We shall be discharged
in six weeks.''

An hour after, the company led the regiment
out of camp, the drum and fife playing ``The Girl
I left behind me.''

Eddie, as the soldiers called him, soon became
a great favorite with all the men of the company.
When any of the boys returned from foraging,
Eddie's share of the peaches, melons, and other
good things was meted out first. During the
heavy and fatiguing marches, the long-legged
fifer often waded through the mud with the little
drummer mounted on his back, and in the same
fashion he carried Eddie when fording streams.

During the fight at Wilson's Creek, a part
of the company was stationed on the right of
Totten's battery, while the balance of the company
was ordered down into a deep ravine, at the
left, in which it was known a party of Confederates
was concealed.

An engagement took place. The contest in the
ravine continued some time. Totten suddenly
wheeled his battery upon the enemy in that
quarter, and they soon retreated to high ground
behind their lines.

In less than twenty minutes after Totten had
driven the Confederates from the ravine, the
word passed from man to man throughout the
army, ``Lyon is killed!'' And soon after, hostilities
having ceased upon both sides, the order
came for the main part of the Federal force to
fall back upon Springfield, while the lesser part
was to camp upon the ground, and cover the

That night a corporal was detailed for guard
duty. His post was upon a high eminence that
overlooked the deep ravine in which the men had
engaged the enemy. It was a dreary, lonesome
beat. The hours passed slowly away, and at
length the morning light began to streak along the
western sky, making surrounding objects visible.

Presently the corporal heard a drum beating
up the morning call. At first he thought it came
from the camp of the Confederates across the
creek, but as he listened he found that it came
from the deep ravine. For a few moments the
sound stopped, then began again. The corporal
listened closely. The notes of the drum were
familiar to him,--and then he knew that it was
the drummer-boy from Tennessee playing the
morning call.

Just then the corporal was relieved from guard
duty, and, asking permission, went at once to
Eddie's assistance. He started down the hill,
through the thick underbrush, and upon reaching
the bottom of the ravine, he followed the sound
of the drum, and soon found the lad seated upon
the ground, his back leaning against a fallen tree,
while his drum hung upon a bush in front of him.

As soon as the boy saw his rescuer he dropped
his drumsticks, and exclaimed:--

``O Corporal! I am so glad to see you! Give
me a drink.''

The soldier took his empty canteen, and
immediately turned to bring some water from the
brook that he could hear rippling through the
bushes near by, when, Eddie, thinking that he
was about to leave him, cried out:--

``Don't leave me, Corporal, I can't walk.''

The corporal was soon back with the water,
when he discovered that both the lad's feet had
been shot away by a cannon-ball.

After satisfying his thirst, Eddie looked up
into the corporal's face and said:--

``You don't think I shall die, do you? This
man said I should not,--he said the surgeon
could cure my feet.''

The corporal now looked about him and
discovered a man lying in the grass near by. By his
dress he knew him to belong to the Confederate
army. It appeared that he had been shot and
had fallen near Eddie. Knowing that he could
not live, and seeing the condition of the drummer-
boy, he had crawled to him, taken off his buckskin
suspenders, and had corded the little fellow's
legs below the knees, and then he had laid
himself down and died.

While Eddie was telling the corporal these
particulars, they heard the tramp of cavalry
coming down the ravine, and in a moment a scout
of the enemy was upon them, and took them both

The corporal requested the officer in charge to
take Eddie up in front of him, and he did so,
carrying the lad with great tenderness and care.
When they reached the Confederate camp the
little fellow was dead.



When marching to Chattanooga the corps had
reached a little wooded valley between the
mountains. The colonel, with others, rode ahead, and,
striking into a bypath, suddenly came upon a
secluded little cabin surrounded by a patch of
cultivated ground.

At the door an old woman, eighty years of age,
was supporting herself on a crutch. As they rode
up she asked if they were ``Yankees,'' and upon
their replying that they were, she said: ``Have
you got the Stars and Stripes with you? My
father fought the Tories in the Revolution, and
my old eyes ache for a sight of the true flag before
I die.''

To gratify her the colonel sent to have the
colors brought that way. When they were unfurled
and planted before her door, she passed
her trembling hands over them and held them
close to her eyes that she might view the stars
once more. When the band gave her ``Yankee
Doodle,'' and the ```Star-Spangled Banner,'' she
sobbed like a child, as did her daughter, a woman
of fifty, while her three little grandchildren gazed
in wonder.

They were Eastern people, who had gone to
New Orleans to try to improve their condition.
Not being successful, they had moved from place
to place to better themselves, until finally they
had settled on this spot, the husband having taken
several acres of land here for a debt.

Then the war burst upon them. The man fled
to the mountains to avoid the conscription, and
they knew not whether he was alive or dead.
They had managed to support life, but were so
retired that they saw very few people.

Leaving them food and supplies, the colonel
and the corps passed on.




In a rifle-pit, on the brow of a hill near Fredericksburg,
were a number of Confederate soldiers who
had exhausted their ammunition in the vain attempt
to check the advancing column of Hooker's
finely equipped and disciplined army which was
crossing the river. To the relief of these few came
the brigade in double-quick time. But no sooner
were the soldiers intrenched than the firing on
the opposite side of the river became terrific.

A heavy mist obscured the scene. The Federal
soldiers poured a merciless fire into the trenches.
Soon many Confederates fell, and the agonized
cries of the wounded who lay there calling for
water, smote the hearts of their helpless comrades.

``Water! Water!'' But there was none to give,
the canteens were-empty.

``Boys,'' exclaimed Nathan Cunningham, a
lad of eighteen, the color-bearer for his regiment,
``I can't stand this any more. They want water,
and water they must have. So let me have a few
canteens and I'll go for some.''

Carefully laying the colors, which he had borne
on many a field, in a trench, he seized some
canteens, and, leaping into the mist, was soon out
of sight.

Shortly after this the firing ceased for a while,
and an order came for the men to fall back to the
main line.

As the Confederates were retreating they met
Nathan Cunningham, his canteens full of water,
hurrying to relieve the thirst of the wounded men
in the trenches. He glanced over the passing
column and saw that the faded flag, which he had
carried so long, was not there. The men in their
haste to obey orders HAD FORGOTTEN OR OVERLOOKED

Quickly the lad sped to the trenches, intent
now not only on giving water to his comrades, but
on rescuing the flag and so to save the honor of
his regiment.

His mission of mercy was soon accomplished.
The wounded men drank freely. The lad then
found and seized his colors, and turned to rejoin
his regiment. Scarcely had he gone three paces
when a company of Federal soldiers appeared
ascending the hill.

``Halt and surrender,'' came the stern command,
and a hundred rifles were leveled at the
boy's breast.

``NEVER! while I hold the colors,'' was his firm

The morning sun, piercing with a lurid glare
the dense mist, showed the lad proudly standing
with his head thrown back and his flag grasped
in his hand, while his unprotected breast was
exposed to the fire of his foe.

A moment's pause. Then the Federal officer
gave his command:--

``Back with your pieces, men, don't shoot that
brave boy.''

And Nathan Cunningham, with colors flying
over his head, passed on and joined his regiment.

His comrades in arms still tell with pride of his
brave deed and of the generous act of a foe.


Richard Kirtland was a sergeant in the Second
Regiment of South Carolina Volunteers. The
day after the great battle of Fredericksburg,
Kershaw's brigade occupied the road at the foot
of Marye's Hill.

One hundred and fifty yards in front of the
road, on the other side of a stone wall, lay Sykes's
division of the United States Army. Between
these troops and Kershaw's command a skirmish
fight was continued through the entire day. The
ground between the lines was literally covered
with dead and dying Federal soldiers.

All day long the wounded were calling, ``Water!
water! water!''

In the afternoon, Sergeant Kirtland, a
Confederate soldier, went to the headquarters of
General Kershaw, and said with deep emotion:
``General, all through last night and to-day; I
have been hearing those poor wounded Federal
soldiers out there cry for water. Let me go and
give them some.''

``Don't you know,'' replied the general, ``that
you would get a bullet through you the moment
you stepped over the wall?''

``Yes, sir,'' said the sergeant; ``but if you will
let me go I am willing to try it.''

The general reflected a minute, then answered:
``Kirtland, I ought not to allow you to take this
risk, but the spirit that moves you is so noble I
cannot refuse. Go, and may God protect you!''

In the face of almost certain death the sergeant
climbed the wall, watched with anxiety by the
soldiers of his army. Under the curious gaze of
his foes, and exposed to their fire, he dropped to
the ground and hastened on his errand of mercy.
Unharmed, untouched, he reached the nearest
sufferer. He knelt beside him, tenderly raised his
drooping head, rested it gently on his breast, and
poured the cooling life-giving water down the
parched throat. This done he laid him carefully
down, placed the soldier's knapsack under his
head, straightened his broken limbs, spread his
coat over him, replaced the empty canteen with
a full one, then turned to another sufferer.

By this time his conduct was understood by
friend and foe alike and the firing ceased on both

For an hour and a half did he pursue his noble
mission, until he had relieved the wounded on all
parts of the battlefield. Then he returned to his
post uninjured.

Surely such a noble deed is worthy of the
admiration of men and angels.



In the summer of 1862, a young man belonging
to a Vermont regiment was found sleeping at his
post. He was tried and sentenced to be shot. The
day was fixed for the execution, and the young
soldier calmly prepared to meet his fate.

Friends who knew of the case brought the
matter to Mr. Lincoln's attention. It seemed that
the boy had been on duty one night, and on the
following night he had taken the place of a comrade
too ill to stand guard. The third night he
had been again called out, and, being utterly
exhausted, had fallen asleep at his post.

As soon as Mr. Lincoln understood the case, he
signed a pardon, and sent it to the camp. The
morning before the execution arrived, and the
President had not heard whether the pardon had
reached the officers in charge of the matter. He
began to feel uneasy. He ordered a telegram to be
sent to the camp, but received no answer. State
papers could not fix his mind, nor could he banish
the condemned soldier boy from his thoughts.

At last, feeling that he MUST KNOW that the lad
was safe, he ordered the carriage and rode rapidly
ten miles over a dusty road and beneath a scorching
sun. When he reached the camp he found that
the pardon had been received and the execution

The sentinel was released, and his heart was
filled with lasting gratitude. When the campaign
opened in the spring, the young man was with his
regiment near Yorktown, Virginia. They were
ordered to attack a fort, and he fell at the first
volley of the enemy.

His comrades caught him up and carried him
bleeding and dying from the field. ``Bear witness,''
he said, ``that I have proved myself not
a coward, and I am not afraid to die.'' Then,
making a last effort, with his dying breath he
prayed for Abraham Lincoln.



Among those who accompanied Mr. Lincoln, the
President-elect, on his journey from Illinois to
the national capital, was Elmer E. Ellsworth, a
young man who had been employed in the law
office of Lincoln and Herndon, Springfield.

He was a brave, handsome, and impetuous
youth, and was among the first to offer his services
to the President in defense of the Union, as
soon as the mutterings of war were heard.

Before the war he had organized a company of
Zouaves from the Chicago firemen, and had
delighted and astonished many people by the
exhibitions of their skill in the evolutions through
which they were put while visiting some chief
cities of the Republic.

Now, being commissioned a second lieutenant in
the United States Army, he went to New York and
organized from the firemen of that city a similar
regiment, known as the Eleventh New York.

Colonel Ellsworth's Zouaves, on the evening
of May 23, were sent with a considerable force
to occupy the heights overlooking Washington
and Alexandria, on the banks of the Potomac,
opposite the national capital.

Next day, seeing a Confederate flag flying from
the Marshall House, a tavern in Alexandria
kept by a secessionist, he went up through the
building to the roof and pulled it down. While
on his way down the stairs, wilh the flag in his
arms, he was met by the tavern-keeper, who shot
and killed him instantly. Ellsworth fell, dyeing the
Confederate flag with the blood that gushed from
his heart. The tavern-keeper was instantly killed
by a shot from Private Brownell, of the Ellsworth
Zouaves, who was at hand when his commander fell.

The death of Ellsworth, needless though it may
have been, caused a profound sensation throughout
the country, where he was well known. He
was among the very first martyrs of the war, as
he had been one of the first volunteers.

Lincoln was overwhelmed with sorrow. He
had the body of the lamented young officer taken
to the White House, where it lay in state until
the burial took place, and, even in the midst of
his increasing cares, he found time to sit alone
and in grief-stricken meditation by the bier of
the dead young soldier of whose career he had
cherished so great hopes.

The life-blood from Ellsworth's heart had
stained not only the Confederate flag, but a gold
medal found under his uniform, bearing the
legend: ``Non solum nobis, sed pro patria''; ``Not
for ourselves alone, but for the country.''



One day, as the general was sitting at his table
in the office, the messenger announced that a
person desired to see him a moment in order to
present a gift.

A German was introduced, who said that he
was commissioned by a house in New York to
present General Scott with a small silk banner.
It was very handsome, of the size of a regimental
flag, and was made of a single piece of silk
stamped with the Stars and Stripes of the proper

The German said that the manufacturers who
had sent the banner, wished to express thus the
great respect they felt for General Scott, and their
sense of his importance to the country in that
perilous time.

The general was highly pleased, and, in accepting
the gift, assured the donors that the flag
should hang in his room wherever he went, and
enshroud him when he died.

As soon as the man was gone, the general
desired that the stars might be counted to see if
ALL the States were represented. They were ALL

The flag was then draped between the windows
over the couch where the general frequently
reclined for rest during the day. It went with him
in his berth when he sailed for Europe, after his
retirement, and enveloped his coffin when he
was interred at West Point.


(JULY 4)



While danger was gathering round New York,
and its inhabitants were in mute suspense and
fearful anticipations, the General Congress at
Philadelphia was discussing, with closed doors,
what John Adams pronounced: ``The greatest
question ever debated in America, and as great
as ever was or will be debated among men.'' The
result was, a resolution passed unanimously on
the 2d of July; ``that these United Colonies are,
and of right ought to be, free and independent

``The 2d of July,'' adds the same patriot
statesman, ``will be the most memorable epoch in the
history of America. I am apt to believe that it
will be celebrated by succeeding generations as
the great anniversary festival. It ought to be
commemorated as the day of deliverance, by
solemn acts of devotion to Almighty God. It
ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade,
with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires,
and illuminations, from one end of this continent
to the other, from this time forth forevermore.''

The glorious event has, indeed, given rise to an
annual jubilee; but not on the day designated by
Adams. The FOURTH of July is the day of national
rejoicing, for on that day the ``Declaration of
Independence,'' that solemn and sublime document,
was adopted.

Tradition gives a dramatic effect to its
announcement. It was known to be under
discussion, but the closed doors of Congress excluded
the populace. They awaited, in throngs, an
appointed signal. In the steeple of the State House
was a bell, imported twenty-three years previously
from London by the Provincial Assembly
of Pennsylvania. It bore the portentous text from
Scripture: ``Proclaim Liberty throughout all the
land, unto all the inhabitants thereof.'' A joyous
peal from that bell gave notice that the bill
had been passed. It was the knell of British domination.



[4] From The Story of the Thirteen Colonies. Copyright, 1898, by
H. A. Guerber. American Book Company, publishers.

John Hancock, President of Congress, was the
first to sign the Declaration of Independence,
writing his name in large, plain letters, and saying:--

``There! John Bull can read my name without
spectacles. Now let him double the price on my
head, for this is my defiance.''

Then he turned to the other members, and
solemnly declared:--

``We must be unanimous. There must be no
pulling different ways. We must all hang together.''

``Yes,'' said Franklin, quaintly: ``we must all
hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang

We are told that Charles Carroll, thinking that
his writing looked shaky, added the words, ``of
Carrollton,'' so that the king should not be able
to make any mistake as to whose name stood



[5] From Stories of Heroic Deeds. Copyright, 1887, by D. Appleton
and Company. American Book Company, publishers.

In the year 1781 the war was chiefly carried on
in the South, but the North was constantly
troubled by bands of Tories and Indians, who
would swoop down on small settlements and make
off with whatever they could lay their hands on.

During this time General Schuyler was staying
at his house, which stood just outside the stockade
or walls of Albany. The British commander
sent out a party of Tories and Indians to capture
the general.

When they reached the outskirts of the city
they learned from a Dutch laborer that the
general's house was guarded by six soldiers, three
watching by night and three by day. They let
the Dutchman go, and as soon as the band was
out of sight he hastened to Albany and warned
the general of their approach.

Schuyler gathered his family in one of the
upper rooms of his house, and giving orders that
the doors and windows should be barred, fired a
pistol from a top-story window, to alarm the

The soldiers on guard, who had been lounging
in the shade of a tree, started to their feet at
the sound of the pistol; but, alas! too late, for
they found themselves surrounded by a crowd
of dusky forms, who bound them hand and foot,
before they had time to resist.

In the room upstairs was the sturdy general,
standing resolutely at the door, with gun in hand,
while his black slaves were gathered about him,
each with a weapon. At the other end of the room
the women were huddled together, some weeping
and some praying.

Suddenly a deafening crash was heard. The
Indian band had broken into the house. With
loud shouts they began to pillage and to destroy
everything in sight. While they were yet busy
downstairs, Mrs. Schuyler sprang to her feet and
rushed to the door; for she had suddenly remembered
that the baby, who was only a few months old,
was asleep in its cradle in a room on the first floor.

The general caught his wife in his arms, and
implored her not to go to certain death, saying
that if any one was to go he would. While this
generous struggle between husband and wife was
going on, their young daughter, who had been
standing near the door, glided by them, and
descended the stairs.

All was dark in the hall, excepting where the
light shone from the dining-room in which the
Indians were pillaging the shelves and fighting over
their booty. How to get past the dining-room
door was the question, but the brave girl did not
hesitate. Reaching the lower hall, she walked
very deliberately forward, softly but quickly passing
the door, and unobserved reached the room
in which was the cradle.

She caught up the baby, crept back past the
open door, and was just mounting the stairs,
when one of the savages happened to see her.

``WHIZ''--and his sharp tomahawk struck the
stair rail within a few inches of the baby's head.
But the frightened girl hurried on, and in a few
seconds was safe in her father's arms.

As for the Indians, fearing an attack from
the near-by garrison, they hastened away with
the booty they had collected, and left General
Schuyler and his family unharmed.



[5] From a letter written to a friend in 1773.

On November 29, 1773, there arrived in Boston
Harbor a ship carrying an hundred and odd chests
of the detested tea. The people in the country
roundabout, as well as the town's folk, were
unanimous against allowing the landing of it; but
the agents in charge of the consignment persisted
in their refusal to take the tea back to London.
The town bells were rung, for a general muster of
the citizens. Handbills were stuck up calling on
``Friends! Citizens! Countrymen!''

Mr. Rotch, the owner of the ship, found himself
exposed not only to the loss of his ship, but
to the loss of the money-value of the tea itself,
if he should attempt to send her back without
clearance papers from the custom-house; for the
admiral kept a vessel in readiness to seize any
ship which might leave without those papers.
Therefore, Mr. Rotch declared that his ship
should not carry back the tea without either the
proper clearance or the promise of full indemnity
for any losses he might incur.

Matters continued thus for some days, when
a general muster was called of the people of Boston
and of all the neighboring towns. They met,
to the number of five or six thousand, at ten
o'clock in the morning, in the Old South Meeting-
House; where they passed a unanimous vote THAT THE

A committee, with Mr. Rotch, was sent to the
custom-house to demand a clearance. This the
collector said he could not give without the duties
first being paid. Mr. Rotch was then sent to ask
for a pass from the governor, who returned answer
that ``consistent with the rules of government
and his duty to the king he could not grant
one without they produced a previous clearance
from the office.''

By the time Mr. Rotch returned to the Old
South Meeting-House with this message, the
candles were lighted and the house still crowded
with people. When the governor's message was
read a prodigious shout was raised, and soon afterward
the moderator declared the meeting dissolved.
This caused another general shout, outdoors
and in, and what with the noise of breaking
up the meeting, one might have thought that the
inhabitants of the infernal regions had been let

That night there mustered upon Fort Hill
about two hundred strange figures, SAID TO BE
in blankets, with heads muffled, and had copper-
colored countenances. Each was armed with a
hatchet or axe, and a pair of pistols. They spoke
a strange, unintelligible jargon.

They proceeded two by two to Griffin's Wharf,
where three tea-ships lay, each with one hundred
and fourteen chests of the ill-fated article on
board. And before nine o'clock in the evening
every chest was knocked into pieces and flung
over the sides.

Not the least insult was offered to any one,
save one Captain Conner, who had ripped up the
linings of his coat and waistcoat, and, watching
his opportunity, had filled them with tea. But,
being detected, he was handled pretty roughly.
They not only stripped him of his clothes, but
gave him a coat of mud, with a severe bruising
into the bargain. Nothing but their desire not to
make a disturbance prevented his being tarred
and feathered.

The tea being thrown overboard, all the
Indians disappeared in a most marvelous fashion.

The next day, if a stranger had walked through
the streets of Boston, and had observed the calm
composure of the people, he would hardly have
thought that ten thousand pounds sterling of
East India Company's tea had been destroyed
the night before.



[6] From Stories of the Old Dominion. Used by permission of the
American Book Company, publishers.

In the autumn of 1777 the English decided to
attack Fort Henry, at Wheeling, in northwestern
Virginia. This was an important border fort
named in honor of Patrick Henry, and around
which had grown up a small village of about
twenty-five log houses.

A band of Indians, under the leadership of one
Simon Girty, was supplied by the English with
muskets and ammunition, and sent against the
fort. This Girty was a white man, who, when a
boy, had been captured by Indians, and brought
up by them. He had joined their tribes, and was
a ferocious and bloodthirsty leader of savage

When the settlers at Wheeling heard that
Simon Girty and his Indians were advancing on the
town, they left their homes and hastened into the
fort. Scarcely had they done so when the savages
made their appearance.

The defenders of the fort knew that a desperate
fight must now take place, and there seemed little
probability that they would be able to hold out
against their assailants. They had only forty
two fighting men, including old men and boys,
while the Indian force numbered about five

What was worse they had but a small amount
of gunpowder. A keg containing the main supply
had been left by accident in one of the village
houses. This misfortune, as you will soon
see, brought about the brave action of a young

After several encounters with the savages,
which took place in the village, the defenders
withdrew to the fort. Then a number of Indians
advanced with loud yells, firing as they came. The
fire was returned by the defenders, each of whom
had picked out his man, and taken deadly aim.
Most of the attacking party were killed, and the
whole body of Indians fell back into the near-by
woods, and there awaited a more favorable
opportunity to renew hostilities.

The men in the fort now discovered, to their
great dismay, that their gunpowder was nearly
gone. What was to be done? Unless they could
get another supply, they would not be able to
hold the fort, and they and their women and children
would either be massacred or carried into

Colonel Shepherd, who was in command,
explained to the settlers exactly how matters stood.
He also told them of the forgotten keg of powder
which was in a house standing about sixty yards
from the gate of the fort.

It was plain to all that if any man should
attempt to procure the keg, he would almost surely
be shot by the lurking Indians. In spite of this
three or four young men volunteered to go on the
dangerous mission.

Colonel Shepherd replied that he could not
spare three or four strong men, as there were
already too few for the defense. Only one man
should make the attempt and they might decide
who was to go. This caused a dispute.

Just then a young girl stepped forward and
said that SHE was ready to go. Her name was
Elizabeth Zane, and she had just returned from
a boarding-school in Philadelphia. This made
her brave offer all the more remarkable, since she
had not been bred up to the fearless life of the

At first the men would not hear of her running
such a risk. She was told that it meant certain
death. But she urged that they could not spare
a man from the defense, and that the loss of one
girl would not be an important matter. So after
some discussion the settlers agreed that she should
go for the powder.

The house, as has already been stated, stood
about sixty yards from the fort, and Elizabeth
hoped to run thither and bring back the powder
in a few minutes. The gate was opened, and she
passed through, running like a deer.

A few straggling Indians were dodging about
the log houses of the town; they saw the fleeing
girl, but for some reason they did not fire upon
her. They may have supposed that she was
returning to her home to rescue her clothes. Possibly
they thought it a waste of good ammunition
to fire at a woman, when they were so sure of
taking the fort before long. So they looked on
quietly while, with flying skirts, Elizabeth ran
across the open, and entered the house.

She found the keg of powder, which was not
large. She lifted it with both arms, and, holding the
precious burden close to her breast, she darted out
of the house and ran in the direction of the fort.

When the Indians saw what she was carrying
they uttered fierce yells and fired. The bullets
fell like hail about her, but not one so much as
touched her garments. With the keg hugged to
her bosom, she ran on, and reached the fort in
safety. The gate closed upon her just as the
bullets of the Indians buried themselves in its
thick panels.

The rescued gunpowder enabled the little
garrison to hold out until help arrived from the other
settlements near Wheeling. And Girty, seeing
that there were no further hopes of taking Fort
Henry, withdrew his band.

Thus a weak but brave girl was the means of
saving strong men with their wives and children.
It was a heroic act, and Americans should never
forget to honor the name of Elizabeth Zane.



Some bold spirits in Connecticut conceived the
project of surprising the old forts of Ticonderoga
and Crown Point, already famous in the French
War. Their situation on Lake Champlain gave
them the command of the main route into Canada
so that the possession of them would be all-
important in case of hostilities. They were feebly
garrisoned and negligently guarded, and abundantly
furnished with artillery and military stores
so needed by the patriot army.

At this juncture Ethan Allen stepped forward,
a patriot, and volunteered with his ``Green
Mountain Boys.'' He was well fitted for the
enterprise. During the border warfare over the New
Hampshire Grants, he and his lieutenants had
been outlawed by the Legislature of New York
and rewards offered for their apprehension. He
and his associates had armed themselves, set New
York at defiance, and had sworn they would be
the death of any one who should try to arrest

Thus Ethan Allen had become a kind of Robin
Hood among the mountains. His experience as
a frontier champion, his robustness of mind and
body, and his fearless spirit made him a most
desirable leader in the expedition against Fort
Ticonderoga. Therefore he was appointed at the
head of the attacking force.

Accompanied by Benjamin Arnold and two
other officers, Allen and his party of soldiers who
had been enlisted from several States, set out and
arrived at Shoreham, opposite Fort Ticonderoga
on the shore of Lake Champlain. They reached
the place at night-time. There were only a few
boats on hand, but the transfer of men began
immediately. It was slow work. The night wore
away; day was about to break, and but eighty-
three men, with Allen and Arnold, had crossed.
Should they wait for the rest to cross over, day
would dawn, the garrison wake, and their enterprise
might fail.

Allen drew up his men, addressed them in his
own emphatic style, and announced his intention
of making a dash at the fort without waiting for
more force.

``It is a desperate attempt,'' said he, ``and I
ask no man to go against his will. I will take the
lead, and be the first to advance. You that are
willing to follow, poise your firelocks!''

Not a firelock but was poised!

They mounted the hill briskly but in silence,
guided by a boy from the neighborhood.

The day dawned as Allen arrived at a sally-
port. A sentry pulled trigger on him, but his
piece missed fire. He retreated through a covered
way. Allen and his men followed. Another
sentry thrust at an officer with his bayonet, but
was struck down by Allen, and begged for quarter.
It was granted on condition of his leading the
way instantly to the quarters of the commandant,
Captain Delaplace, who was yet in bed.

Being arrived there, Allen thundered at the
door, and demanded a surrender of the fort. By
this time his followers had formed into two lines
on the parade-ground, and given three hearty

The commandant appeared at the door half-
dressed, the frightened face of his pretty wife
peering over his shoulder. He gazed at Allen in
bewildered astonishment.

``By whose authority do you act?'' exclaimed

``In the name of the Continental Congress!''
replied Allen, with a flourish of his sword, and an
oath which we do not care to subjoin.

There was no disputing the point. The garrison,
like the commandant, had been startled from
sleep, and made prisoners as they rushed forth
in their confusion. A surrender accordingly took
place. The captain and forty-eight men who
composed his garrison were sent prisoners to Hartford,
in Connecticut.

And thus without the loss of a single man, one
of the important forts, commanding the main
route into Canada, fell into the hands of the



During the evacuation of New York by Washington,
two divisions of the enemy, encamped on
Long Island, one British under Sir Henry Clinton,
the other Hessian under Colonel Donop, emerged
in boats from the deep wooded recesses of Newtown
Inlet, and under cover of the fire from the
ships began to land at two points between Turtle
and Kip's Bays.

The breastworks were manned by patriot
militia who had recently served in Brooklyn.
Disheartened by their late defeat, they fled at
the first advance of the enemy. Two brigades
of Putnam's Connecticut troops, which had been
sent that morning to support them, caught the
panic, and, regardless of the commands and
entreaties of their officers, joined in the general

At this moment Washington, who had mounted
his horse at the first sound of the cannonade,
came galloping to the scene of confusion. Riding
in among the fugitives he endeavored to rally and
restore them to order. All in vain. At the first
appearance of sixty or seventy redcoats, they
broke again without firing a shot, and fled in
headlong terror.

Losing all self-command at the sight of such
dastardly conduct, Washington dashed his hat
upon the ground in a transport of rage.

``Are these the men,'' exclaimed he, ``with
whom I am to defend America!''

In a paroxysm of passion and despair he
snapped his pistols at some of them, threatened
others with his sword, and was so heedless of his
own danger that he might have fallen into the
hands of the enemy, who were not eighty yards
distant, had not an aide-de-camp seized the
bridle of his horse, and absolutely hurried him

It was one of the rare moments of his life when
the vehement element of his nature was stirred
up from its deep recesses. He soon recovered his
self-possession, and took measures against the
general peril.






Once words ran high in a smithy.

The furnace said: ``If I cease to burn, the
smithy must close.''

The bellows said: ``If I cease to blow, no fire,
no smithy.''

The hammer and anvil, also, each claimed the
sole credit for keeping up the smithy.

The ploughshare that had been shaped by the
furnace, the bellows, the hammer and the anvil,
cried: ``It is not each of you alone, that keeps up
the smithy, but ALL TOGETHER.''



[7] From the Riverside Fourth Reader.

A merchant had done good business at the fair;
he had sold his wares, and filled his bag with gold
and silver. Then he set out at once on his journey
home, for he wished to be in his own house before

At noon he rested in a town. When he wanted
to go on, the stable-boy brought his horse, saying:

``A nail is wanting, sir, in the shoe of his left
hind foot.''

``Let it be wanting,'' answered the merchant;
``the shoe will stay on for the six miles I have still
to go. I am in a hurry.''

In the afternoon he got down at an inn and had
his horse fed. The stable-boy came into the room
to him and said: ``Sir, a shoe is wanting from your
horse's left hind foot. Shall I take him to the

``Let it still be wanting,'' said the man; ``the
horse can very well hold out for a couple of miles
more. I am in a hurry.''

So the merchant rode forth, but before long the
horse began to limp. He had not limped long
before he began to stumble, and he had not
stumbled long before he fell down and broke his
leg. The merchant had to leave the horse where
he fell, and unstrap the bag, take it on his back,
and go home on foot.

``That unlucky nail,'' said he to himself, ``has
made all this trouble.''



There was once a shoemaker who worked very
hard and was honest. Still, he could not earn
enough to live on. At last, all he had in the world
was gone except just leather enough to make one
pair of shoes. He cut these out at night, and
meant to rise early the next morning to make
them up.

His heart was light in spite of his troubles, for
his conscience was clear. So he went quietly to
bed, left all his cares to God, and fell asleep. In
the morning he said his prayers, and sat down to
work, when, to his great wonder, there stood the
shoes, already made, upon the table.

The good man knew not what to say or think.
He looked at the work. There was not one false
stitch in the whole job. All was neat and true.

That same day a customer came in, and the
shoes pleased him so well that he readily paid a
price higher than usual for them. The shoemaker
took the money and bought leather enough to
make two pairs more. He cut out the work in the
evening, and went to bed early. He wished to
be up with the sun and get to work.

He was saved all trouble, for when he got up
in the morning, the work was done. Pretty soon
buyers came in, who paid him well for his goods.
So he bought leather enough for four pairs more.

He cut out the work again overnight, and found
it finished in the morning as before. So it went
on for some time. What was got ready at night
was always done by daybreak, and the good man
soon was well-to-do.

One evening, at Christmas-time, he and his
wife sat over the fire, chatting, and he said: ``I
should like to sit up and watch to-night, that we
may see who it is that comes and does my work
for me.'' So they left the light burning, and hid
themselves behind a curtain to see what would

As soon as it was midnight, there came two
little Elves. They sat upon the shoemaker's
bench, took up all the work that was cut out, and
began to ply their little fingers. They stitched
and rapped and tapped at such a rate that the
shoemaker was amazed, and could not take his
eyes off them for a moment.

On they went till the job was done, and the
shoes stood, ready for use, upon the table. This
was long before daybreak. Then they ran away
as quick as lightning.

The next day the wife said to the shoemaker:
``These little Elves have made us rich, and we
ought to be thankful to them, and do them some
good in return. I am vexed to see them run about
as they do. They have nothing upon their backs
to keep off the cold. I'll tell you what we must
do. I will make each of them a shirt, and a coat
and waistcoat, and a pair of pantaloons into the
bargain. Do you make each of them a little pair
of shoes.''

The good shoemaker liked the thought very
well. One evening he and his wife had the clothes
ready, and laid them on the table instead of the
work they used to cut out. Then they went and
hid behind the curtain to watch what the little
Elves would do.

At midnight the Elves came in and were going
to sit down at their work as usual. But when they
saw the clothes lying there for them, they laughed
and were in high glee. They dressed themselves in
the twinkling of an eye, and danced and capered
and sprang about as merry as could be, till at
last they danced out of the door, and over the

The shoemaker saw them no more, but everything
went well with him as long as he lived.



It is well known that the Fairy People cannot
abide meanness. They like to be liberally dealt
with when they beg or borrow of the human race;
and, on the other hand, to those who come to
them in need, they are invariably generous.

Now there once lived a certain housewife who
had a sharp eye to her own interests, and gave
alms of what she had no use for, hoping to get
some reward in return. One day a Hillman
knocked at her door.

``Can you lend us a saucepan, good mother?''
said he. ``There's a wedding in the hill, and all
the pots are in use.''

``Is he to have one?'' asked the servant lass
who had opened the door.

``Aye, to be sure,'' answered the housewife;
``one must be neighborly.''

But when the maid was taking a saucepan from
the shelf, the housewife pinched her arm and
whispered sharply: ``Not that, you good-for-
nothing! Get the old one out of the cupboard.
It leaks, and the Hillmen are so neat, and such
nimble workers, that they are sure to mend it
before they send it home. So one obliges the
Fairy People, and saves sixpence in tinkering!''

Thus bidden the maid fetched the saucepan,
which had been laid by until the tinker's next
visit, and gave it to the Hillman, who thanked
her and went away.

In due time the saucepan was returned, and,
as the housewife had foreseen, it was neatly
mended and ready for use.

At supper-time the maid filled the pan with
milk, and set it on the fire for the children's
supper. But in a few minutes the milk was so burnt
and smoked that no one could touch it, and even
the pigs refused to drink it.

``Ah, good-for-nothing hussy!'' cried the
housewife, as she refilled the pan herself, ``you would
ruin the richest with your carelessness! There's
a whole quart of good milk wasted at once!''

``AND THAT'S TWOPENCE!'' cried a voice that
seemed to come from the chimney, in a whining
tone, like some discontented old body going over
her grievances.

The housewife had not left the saucepan for two
minutes, when the milk boiled over, and it was
all burnt and smoked as before.

``The pan must be dirty,'' muttered the good
woman in vexation, ``and there are two full
quarts of milk as good as thrown to the dogs.''

``AND THAT'S FOURPENCE!'' added the voice in
the chimney.

After a thorough cleaning the saucepan was
once more filled and set on the fire, but with no
better success. The milk boiled over again, and
was hopelessly spoiled. The housewife shed tears
of anger at the waste and cried: ``Never before
did such a thing befall me since I kept house!
Three quarts of new milk burnt for one meal.''

``AND THAT'S SIXPENCE!'' cried the voice in the
chimney. ``You didn't save the tinkering after
all, mother!''

Facebook Google Reddit Twitter Pinterest