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

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Such sounds of gladness filled all the air,
'T was plain St. Nicholas had been there!

In rushed Piccola sweet, half wild:
Never was seen such a joyful child.
"See what the good saint brought!" she cried,
And mother and father must peep inside.

Now such a story who ever heard?
There was a little shivering bird!
A sparrow, that in at the window flew,
Had crept into Piccola's tiny shoe!

"How good poor Piccola must have been!"
She cried, as happy as any queen,
While the starving sparrow she fed and
And danced with rapture, she was so

Children, this story I tell to you,
Of Piccola sweet and her bird, is true.
In the far-off land of France, they say,
Still do they live to this very day.


[When I was a very little girl some one,
probably my mother, read to me Hans
Christian Andersen's story of the Little Fir
Tree. It happened that I did not read it
for myself or hear it again during my
childhood. One Christmas day, when I was
grown up, I found myself at a loss for the
"one more" story called for by some little
children with whom I was spending the holiday.
In the mental search for buried treasure
which ensued, I came upon one or
two word-impressions of the experiences
of the Little Fir Tree, and forthwith wove
them into what I supposed to be something
of a reproduction of the original. The latter
part of the story had wholly faded from my
memory, so that I "made up" to suit the
tastes of my audience. Afterward I told the
story to a good many children, at one time
or another, and it gradually took the shape
it has here. It was not until several years
later that, in re-reading Andersen for other
purposes, I came upon the real story of
the Little Fir Tree, and read it for
myself. Then indeed I was amused, and
somewhat distressed, to find how far I had
wandered from the text.

I give this explanation that the reader
may know I do not presume to offer the
little tale which follows as an "adaptation"
of Andersen's famous story. I offer it
plainly as a story which children have
liked, and which grew out of my early
memories of Andersen's "The Little Fir

Once there was a Little Fir Tree, slim
and pointed, and shiny, which stood in the
great forest in the midst of some big fir
trees, broad, and tall, and shadowy green.
The Little Fir Tree was very unhappy
because he was not big like the others. When
the birds came flying into the woods and
lit on the branches of the big trees and
built their nests there, he used to call up
to them,--

"Come down, come down, rest in my
branches!" But they always said,--
"Oh, no, no; you are too little!"

And when the splendid wind came blowing
and singing through the forest, it bent
and rocked and swung the tops of the big
trees, and murmured to them. Then the
Little Fir Tree looked up, and called,--

"Oh, please, dear wind, come down and
play with me!" But he always said,--

"Oh, no; you are too little, you are too

And in the winter the white snow fell
softly, softly, and covered the great trees
all over with wonderful caps and coats of
white. The Little Fir Tree, close down in
the cover of the others, would call up,--

"Oh, please, dear snow, give me a cap,
too! I want to play, too!" But the snow
always said,--

"Oh no, no, no; you are too little, you
are too little!"

The worst of all was when men came
into the wood, with sledges and teams of
horses. They came to cut the big trees
down and carry them away. And when one
had been cut down and carried away the
others talked about it, and nodded their
heads. And the Little Fir Tree listened,
and heard them say that when you were
carried away so, you might become the
mast of a mighty ship, and go far away over
the ocean, and see many wonderful things;
or you might be part of a fine house in a
great city, and see much of life. The Little
Fir Tree wanted greatly to see life, but he
was always too little; the men passed him by.

But by and by, one cold winter's morning,
men came with a sledge and horses,
and after they had cut here and there they
came to the circle of trees round the Little
Fir Tree, and looked all about.

"There are none little enough," they

Oh! how the Little Fir Tree pricked
up his needles!

"Here is one," said one of the men,
"it is just little enough." And he touched
the Little Fir Tree.

The Little Fir Tree was happy as a bird,
because he knew they were about to cut
him down. And when he was being carried
away on the sledge he lay wondering,
SO contentedly, whether he should be the
mast of a ship or part of a fine city house.
But when they came to the town he was
taken out and set upright in a tub and
placed on the edge of a sidewalk in a row
of other fir trees, all small, but none so little
as he. And then the Little Fir Tree began
to see life.

People kept coming to look at the trees
and to take them away. But always when
they saw the Little Fir Tree they shook
their heads and said,--

"It is too little, too little."

Until, finally, two children came along,
hand in hand, looking carefully at all the
small trees. When they saw the Little Fir
Tree they cried out,--

"We'll take this one; it is just little

They took him out of his tub and carried
him away, between them. And the
happy Little Fir Tree spent all his time
wondering what it could be that he was just
little enough for; he knew it could hardly
be a mast or a house, since he was going
away with children.

He kept wondering, while they took him
in through some big doors, and set him up
in another tub, on the table, in a bare little
room. Pretty soon they went away, and
came back again with a big basket, carried
between them. Then some pretty ladies,
with white caps on their heads and white
aprons over their blue dresses, came bringing
little parcels. The children took things
out of the basket and began to play with
the Little Fir Tree, just as he had often
begged the wind and the snow and the
birds to do. He felt their soft little touches
on his head and his twigs and his branches.
And when he looked down at himself, as
far as he could look, he saw that he was
all hung with gold and silver chains! There
were strings of white fluffy stuff drooping
around him; his twigs held little gold nuts
and pink, rosy balls and silver stars; he
had pretty little pink and white candles in
his arms; but last, and most wonderful of
all, the children hung a beautiful white,
floating doll-angel over his head! The
Little Fir Tree could not breathe, for joy
and wonder. What was it that he was,
now? Why was this glory for him?

After a time every one went away and
left him. It grew dusk, and the Little Fir
Tree began to hear strange sounds through
the closed doors. Sometimes he heard a
child crying. He was beginning to be lonely.
It grew more and more shadowy.

All at once, the doors opened and the
two children came in. Two of the pretty
ladies were with them. They came up to
the Little Fir Tree and quickly lighted all
the little pink and white candles. Then
the two pretty ladies took hold of the table
with the Little Fir Tree on it and pushed
it, very smoothly and quickly, out of the
doors, across a hall, and in at another door.

The Little Fir Tree had a sudden sight
of a long room with many little white beds
in it, of children propped up on pillows in the
beds, and of other children in great wheeled
chairs, and others hobbling about or sitting
in little chairs. He wondered why all the
little children looked so white and tired;
he did not know that he was in a hospital.
But before he could wonder any more his
breath was quite taken away by the shout
those little white children gave.

"Oh! oh! m-m! m-m!" they cried.

"How pretty! How beautiful! Oh,
isn't it lovely!"

He knew they must mean him, for all
their shining eyes were looking straight at
him. He stood as straight as a mast, and
quivered in every needle, for joy. Presently
one little weak child-voice called out,--

"It's the nicest Christmas tree I ever

And then, at last, the Little Fir Tree
knew what he was; he was a Christmas
tree! And from his shiny head to his feet
he was glad, through and through, because
he was just little enough to be the nicest
kind of tree in the world!


Thousands of years ago, many years
before David lived, there was a very wise
and good man of his people who was a
friend and adviser of the king of Egypt.
And for love of this friend, the king of
Egypt had let numbers of the Israelites
settle in his land. But after the king and
his Israelitish friend were dead, there was a
new king, who hated the Israelites. When
he saw how strong they were, and how
many there were of them, he began to be
afraid that some day they might number
more than the Egyptians, and might take
his land from him.

Then he and his rulers did a wicked
thing. They made the Israelites slaves.
And they gave them terrible tasks to do,
without proper rest, or food, or clothes.
For they hoped that the hardship would
kill off the Israelites. They thought the
old men would die and the young men
be so ill and weary that they could not
bring up families, and so the race would
vanish away.

But in spite of the work and suffering,
the Israelites remained strong, and more
and more boys grew up, to make the king

Then he did the wickedest thing of all.
He ordered his soldiers to kill every boy
baby that should be born in an Israelitish
family; he did not care about the girls,
because they could not grow up to fight.

Very soon after this evil order, a boy
baby was born in a certain Israelitish
family. When his mother first looked at
him her heart was nearly broken, for he
was even more beautiful than most babies
are,--so strong and fair and sweet. But
he was a boy! How could she save him
from death?

Somehow, she contrived to keep him
hidden for three whole months. But at
the end of that time, she saw that it was
not going to be possible to keep him safe
any longer. She had been thinking all this
time about what she should do, and now
she carried out her plan.

First, she took a basket made of
bulrushes and daubed it all over with pitch
so that it was water-tight, and then she laid
the baby in it; then she carried it to the
edge of the river and laid it in the flags by
the river's brink. It did not show at all,
unless one were quite near it. Then she
kissed her little son and left him there.
But his sister stood far off, not seeming to
watch, but really watching carefully to see
what would happen to the baby.

Soon there was the sound of talk and
laughter, and a train of beautiful women
came down to the water's edge. It was the
king's daughter, come down to bathe in
the river, with her maidens. The maidens
walked along by the river's side.

As the king's daughter came near to the
water, she saw the strange little basket
lying in the flags, and she sent her maid to
bring it to her. And when she had opened
it, she saw the child; the poor baby was
crying. When she saw him, so helpless
and so beautiful, crying for his mother,
the king's daughter pitied him and loved
him. She knew the cruel order of her
father, and she said at once, "This is one
of the Hebrews' children."

At that moment the baby's sister came
to the princess and said, "Shall I go and
find thee a nurse from the Hebrew women,
so that she may nurse the child for thee?"
Not a word did she say about whose child
it was, but perhaps the princess guessed;
I don't know. At all events, she told the
little girl to go.

So the maiden went, and brought her

Then the king's daughter said to the
baby's mother, "Take this child away and
nurse it for me, and I will give thee wages."

Was not that a strange thing? And can
you think how happy the baby's mother
was? For now the baby would be known
only as the princess's adopted child, and
would be safe.

And it was so. The mother kept him
until he was old enough to be taken to the
princess's palace. Then he was brought
and given to the king's daughter, and he
became her son. And she named him Moses.

But the strangest part of the whole story
is, that when Moses grew to be a man he
became so strong and wise that it was he
who at last saved his people from the king
and conquered the Egyptians. The one
child saved by the king's own daughter
was the very one the king would most have
wanted to kill, if he had known.


[1] Adapted from the facts given in the German of Die Zehn
{Feeen?}, by H. A. Guerber.

Once upon a time there was a dear little
girl, whose name was Elsa. Elsa's father
and mother worked very hard and became
rich. But they loved Elsa so much that
they did not like to have her do any work;
very foolishly, they let her play all the
time. So when Elsa grew up, she did not
know how to do anything; she could not
make bread, she could not sweep a room,
she could not sew a seam; she could only
laugh and sing. But she was so sweet and
merry that everybody loved her. And by
and by, she married one of the people who
loved her, and had a house of her own to
take care of.

Then, then, my dears, came hard times
for Elsa! There were so many things to
be done in the house, and she did not know
how to do any of them! And because she
had never worked at all it made her very
tired even to try; she was tired before
the morning was over, every day. The
maid would come and say, "How shall I
do this?" or "How shall I do that?"
And Elsa would have to say, "I don't
know." Then the maid would pretend
that she did not know, either; and when
she saw her mistress sitting about doing
nothing, she, too, sat about, idle.

Elsa's husband had a hard time of it;
he did not have good things to eat, and they
were not ready at the right time, and the
house looked all in a clutter. It made him
sad, and that made Elsa sad, for she wanted
to do everything just right.

At last, one day, Elsa's husband went
away quite cross; he said to her, as he
went out the door, "It is no wonder that
the house looks so, when you sit all day
with your hands in your lap!"

Little Elsa cried bitterly when he was
gone, for she did not want to make her
husband unhappy and cross, and she
wanted the house to look nice. "Oh, dear,"
she sobbed, "I wish I could do things
right! I wish I could work! I wish--I
wish I had ten good fairies to work for me!
Then I could keep the house!"

As she said the words, a great gray man
stood before her; he was wrapped in a
strange gray cloak that covered him from
head to foot; and he smiled at Elsa.
"What is the matter, dear?" he said. "Why
do you cry?"

"Oh, I am crying because I do not know
how to keep the house," said Elsa. "I
cannot make bread, I cannot sweep, I
cannot sew a seam; when I was a little
girl I never learned to work, and now I
cannot do anything right. I wish I had
ten good fairies to help me!"

"You shall have them, dear," said the
gray man, and he shook his strange gray
cloak. Pouf! Out hopped ten tiny fairies,
no bigger than that!

"These shall be your servants, Elsa,"
said the gray man; "they are faithful
and clever, and they will do everything
you want them to, just right. But the
neighbors might stare and ask questions if
they saw these little chaps running about
your house, so I will hide them away for
you. Give me your little useless hands."

Wondering, Elsa stretched out her pretty,
little, white hands.

"Now stretch out your little useless
fingers, dear!"

Elsa stretched out her pretty pink fingers.

The gray man touched each one of the
ten little fingers, and as he touched them
he said their names: "Little Thumb; Fore-
finger; Thimble-finger; Ring-finger;
Little Finger; Little Thumb; Forefinger;
Thimble-finger; Ring-finger; Little Finger!"
And as he named the fingers, one
after another, the tiny fairies bowed their
tiny heads; there was a fairy for every

"Hop! hide yourselves away!" said the
gray man.

Hop, hop! The fairies sprang to Elsa's
knee, then to the palms of her hands, and
then-whisk! they were all hidden away
in her little pink fingers, a fairy in every
finger! And the gray man was gone.

Elsa sat and looked with wonder at her
little white hands and the ten useless
fingers. But suddenly the little fingers
began to stir. The tiny fairies who were
hidden away there weren't used to staying
still, and they were getting restless.
They stirred so that Elsa jumped up and
ran to the cooking table, and took hold
of the bread board. No sooner had she
touched the bread board than the little
fairies began to work: they measured the
flour, mixed the bread, kneaded the loaves,
and set them to rise, quicker than you
could wink; and when the bread was done,
it was the nicest you could wish. Then the
little fairy-fingers seized the broom, and in
a twinkling they were making the house
clean. And so it went, all day. Elsa flew
about from one thing to another, and the
ten fairies did it all, just right.

When the maid saw her mistress working,
she began to work, too; and when she
saw how beautifully everything was done,
she was ashamed to do anything badly
herself. In a little while the housework was
going smoothly, and Elsa could laugh and
sing again.

There was no more crossness in that
house. Elsa's husband grew so proud of
her that he went about saying to everybody,
"My grandmother was a fine housekeeper,
and my mother was a fine housekeeper, but
neither of them could hold a candle to my
wife. She has only one maid, but, to see
the work done, you would think she had
as many servants as she has fingers on her

When Elsa heard that, she used to laugh,
but she never, never told.


Once upon a time there was an honest
shoemaker, who was very poor. He worked
as hard as he could, and still he could not
earn enough to keep himself and his wife.
At last there came a day when he had
nothing left but one piece of leather, big
enough to make one pair of shoes. He
cut out the shoes, ready to stitch, and left
them on the bench; then he said his prayers
and went to bed, trusting that he could
finish the shoes on the next day and sell

Bright and early the next morning, he
rose and went to his work-bench. There
lay a pair of shoes, beautifully made, and
the leather was gone! There was no sign
of any one's having been there. The shoemaker
and his wife did not know what to
make of it. But the first customer who
came was so pleased with the beautiful
shoes that he bought them, and paid so
much that the shoemaker was able to buy
leather enough for two pairs.

Happily, he cut them out, and then, as
it was late, he left the pieces on the bench,
ready to sew in the morning. But when
morning came, two pairs of shoes lay on the
bench, most beautifully made, and no sign
of any one who had been there. The shoemaker
and his wife were quite at a loss.

That day a customer came and bought
both pairs, and paid so much for them that
the shoemaker bought leather for four
pairs, with the money.

Once more he cut out the shoes and left
them on the bench. And in the morning
all four pairs were made.

It went on like this until the shoemaker
and his wife were prosperous people. But
they could not be satisfied to have so much
done for them and not know to whom they
should be grateful. So one night, after the
shoemaker had left the pieces of leather
on the bench, he and his wife hid themselves
behind a curtain, and left a light in
the room.

Just as the clock struck twelve the door
opened softly, and two tiny elves came
dancing into the room, hopped on to the
bench, and began to put the pieces
together. They were quite naked, but they
had wee little scissors and hammers and
thread. Tap! tap! went the little hammers;
stitch, stitch, went the thread, and
the little elves were hard at work. No one
ever worked so fast as they. In almost no
time all the shoes were stitched and
finished. Then the tiny elves took hold of
each other's hands and danced round the
shoes on the bench, till the shoemaker and
his wife had hard work not to laugh aloud.
But as the clock struck two, the little
creatures whisked away out of the window,
and left the room all as it was before.

The shoemaker and his wife looked at
each other, and said, "How can we thank
the little elves who have made us happy
and prosperous?"

"I should like to make them some pretty
clothes," said the wife, "they are quite

"I will make the shoes if you will make
the coats," said her husband.

That very day they set about it. The
wife cut out two tiny, tiny coats of green,
two weeny, weeny waistcoats of yellow,
two little pairs of trousers, of white, two
bits of caps, bright red (for every one
knows the elves love bright colors), and
her husband made two little pairs of shoes
with long, pointed toes. They made the
wee clothes as dainty as could be, with
nice little stitches and pretty buttons; and
by Christmas time, they were finished.

On Christmas eve, the shoemaker cleaned
his bench, and on it, instead of leather,
he laid the two sets of gay little fairy-
clothes. Then he and his wife hid away
as before, to watch.

Promptly at midnight, the little naked
elves came in. They hopped upon the
bench; but when they saw the little clothes
there, they laughed and danced for joy.
Each one caught up his little coat and
things and began to put them on. Then
they looked at each other and made all
kinds of funny motions in their delight.
At last they began to dance, and when
the clock struck two, they danced quite
away, out of the window.

They never came back any more, but
from that day they gave the shoemaker
and his wife good luck, so that they never
needed any more help.


[1] Adapted from the story as told in Fables and Folk Tales
From an Eastern Forest, by Walter Skeat.

Once the Otter came to the Mouse-deer
and said, "Friend Mouse-deer, will you
please take care of my babies while I go
to the river, to catch fish?"

"Certainly," said the Mouse-deer, "go

But when the Otter came back from the
river, with a string of fish, he found his
babies crushed flat.

"What does this mean, Friend Mouse-
deer?" he said. "Who killed my children
while you were taking care of them?"

"I am very sorry," said the Mouse-deer,
"but you know I am Chief Dancer of the
War-dance, and the Woodpecker came
and sounded the war-gong, so I danced.
I forgot your children, and trod on them."

"I shall go to King Solomon," said the
Otter, "and you shall be punished."

Soon the Mouse-deer was called before
King Solomon.

"Did you kill the Otter's babies?" said
the king.

"Yes, your Majesty," said the Mouse-
deer, "but I did not mean to."

"How did it happen?" said the king.

"Your Majesty knows," said the Mouse-
deer, "that I am Chief Dancer of the
War-dance. The Woodpecker came and
sounded the war-gong, and I had to dance;
and as I danced I trod on the Otter's

"Send for the Woodpecker," said King
Solomon. And when the Woodpecker
came, he said to him, "Was it you who
sounded the war-gong?"

"Yes, your Majesty," said the Woodpecker,
"but I had to."

"Why?" said the king.

"Your Majesty knows," said the Woodpecker,
"that I am Chief Beater of the
War-gong, and I sounded the gong because
I saw the Great Lizard wearing his

"Send for the Great Lizard," said King
Solomon. When the Great Lizard came,
he asked him, "Was it you who were wearing
your sword?"

"Yes, your Majesty," said the Great
Lizard; "but I had to."

"Why?" said the king.

"Your Majesty knows," said the Great
Lizard, "that I am Chief Protector of the
Sword. I wore my sword because the
Tortoise came wearing his coat of mail."

So the Tortoise was sent for.

"Why did you wear your coat of mail?"
said the king.

"I put it on, your Majesty," said the
Tortoise, "because I saw the King-crab
trailing his three-edged pike."

Then the King-crab was sent for.

"Why were you trailing your three-
edged pike?" said King Solomon.

"Because, your Majesty," said the
Kingerab, "I saw that the Crayfish had
shouldered his lance."

Immediately the Crayfish was sent for.

"Why did you shoulder your lance?"
said the king.

"Because, your Majesty," said the
Crayfish, "I saw the Otter coming down to the
river to kill my children."

"Oh," said King Solomon, "if that is
the case, the Otter killed the Otter's children.
And the Mouse-deer cannot be
held, by the law of the land!"


[1] From The singing Leaves, by Josephine Preston Peabody
(Houghton, Mifflin and Co.).

I like to lie and wait to see
My mother braid her hair.
It is as long as it can be,
And yet she doesn't care.
I love my mother's hair.

And then the way her fingers go;
They look so quick and white,--
In and out, and to and fro,
And braiding in the light,
And it is always right.

So then she winds it, shiny brown,
Around her head into a crown,
Just like the day before.
And then she looks and pats it down,
And looks a minute more;
While I stay here all still and cool.
Oh, isn't morning beautiful?


Do you know what a Brahmin is? A
Brahmin is a very good and gentle kind of
man who lives in India, and who treats all
the beasts as if they were his brothers.
There is a great deal more to know about
Brahmins, but that is enough for the story.

One day a Brahmin was walking along
a country road when he came upon a
Tiger, shut up in a strong iron cage. The
villagers had caught him and shut him up
there for his wickedness.

"Oh, Brother Brahmin, Brother Brahmin,"
said the Tiger, "please let me out,
to get a little drink! I am so thirsty, and
there is no water here."

"But Brother Tiger," said the Brahmin,
"you know if I should let you out, you
would spring on me and eat me up."

"Never, Brother Brahmin!" said the
Tiger. "Never in the world would I do
such an ungrateful thing! Just let me out
a little minute, to get a little, little drink
of water, Brother Brahmin!"

So the Brahmin unlocked the door and
let the Tiger out. The moment he was
out he sprang on the Brahmin, and was
about to eat him up.

"But, Brother Tiger," said the Brahmin,
"you promised you would not. It is not
fair or just that you should eat me, when
I set you free."

"It is perfectly right and just," said the
Tiger, "and I shall eat you up."

However, the Brahmin argued so hard
that at last the Tiger agreed to wait and
ask the first five whom they should meet,
whether it was fair for him to eat the
Brahmin, and to abide by their decision.

The first thing they came to, to ask,
was an old Banyan Tree, by the wayside.
(A banyan tree is a kind of fruit tree.)

"Brother Banyan," said the Brahmin,
eagerly, "does it seem to you right or just
that this Tiger should eat me, when I set
him free from his cage?"

The Banyan Tree looked down at them
and spoke in a tired voice.

"In the summer," he said, "when the
sun is hot, men come and sit in the cool of
my shade and refresh themselves with the
fruit of my branches. But when evening
falls, and they are rested, they break my
twigs and scatter my leaves, and stone
my boughs for more fruit. Men are an
ungrateful race. Let the Tiger eat the

The Tiger sprang to eat the Brahmin,
but the Brahmin said,--

"Wait, wait; we have asked only one.
We have still four to ask."

Presently they came to a place where an
old Bullock was lying by the road. The
Brahmin went up to him and said,--

"Brother Bullock, oh, Brother Bullock,
does it seem to you a fair thing that this
Tiger should eat me up, after I have just
freed him from a cage?"

The Bullock looked up, and answered
in a deep, grumbling voice,--

"When I was young and strong my
master used me hard, and I served him
well. I carried heavy loads and carried
them far. Now that I am old and weak
and cannot work, he leaves me without
food or water, to die by the wayside. Men
are a thankless lot. Let the Tiger eat the

The Tiger sprang, but the Brahmin
spoke very quickly:--

"Oh, but this is only the second, Brother
Tiger; you promised to ask five."

The Tiger grumbled a good deal, but at
last he went on again with the Brahmin.
And after a time they saw an Eagle, high
overhead. The Brahmin called up to him

"Oh, Brother Eagle, Brother Eagle!
Tell us if it seems to you fair that this
Tiger should eat me up, when I have just
saved him from a frightful cage?"

The Eagle soared slowly overhead a
moment, then he came lower, and spoke
in a thin, clear voice.

"I live high in the air," he said, "and I
do no man any harm. Yet as often as they
find my eyrie, men stone my young and rob
my nest and shoot at me with arrows.
Men are a cruel breed. Let the Tiger eat
the Brahmin!"

The Tiger sprang upon the Brahmin,
to eat him up; and this time the Brahmin
had very hard work to persuade him to
wait. At last he did persuade him,
however, and they walked on together. And
in a little while they saw an old Alligator,
lying half buried in mud and slime, at the
river's edge.

"Brother Alligator, oh, Brother Alligator!"
said the Brahmin, "does it seem
at all right or fair to you that this Tiger
should eat me up, when I have just now
let him out of a cage?"

The old Alligator turned in the mud,
and grunted, and snorted; then he said,

"I lie here in the mud all day, as
harmless as a pigeon; I hunt no man, yet every
time a man sees me, he throws stones at
me, and pokes me with sharp sticks, and
jeers at me. Men are a worthless lot. Let
the Tiger eat the Brahmin!"

At this the Tiger was bound to eat the
Brahmin at once. The poor Brahmin
had to remind him, again and again, that
they had asked only four.

"Wait till we've asked one more! Wait
until we see a fifth!" he begged.

Finally, the Tiger walked on with him.

After a time, they met the little Jackal,
coming gayly down the road toward them.

"Oh, Brother Jackal, dear Brother
Jackal," said the Brahmin, "give us your
opinion! Do you think it right or fair that
this Tiger should eat me, when I set him
free from a terrible cage?"

"Beg pardon?" said the little Jackal.

"I said," said the Brahmin, raising his
voice, "do you think it is fair that the
Tiger should eat me, when I set him free
from his cage?"

"Cage?" said the little Jackal, vacantly.

"Yes, yes, his cage," said the Brahmin.
"We want your opinion. Do you think--"

"Oh," said the little Jackal, "you want
my opinion? Then may I beg you to speak
a little more loudly, and make the matter
quite clear? I am a little slow of
understanding. Now what was it?"

"Do you think," said the Brahmin, "it
is right for this Tiger to eat me, when I
set him free from his cage?"

"What cage?" said the little Jackal.

"Why, the cage he was in," said the
Brahmin. "You see--"

"But I don't altogether understand,"
said the little Jackal, "You `set him free,'
you say?"

"Yes, yes, yes!" said the Brahmin.

"It was this way: I was walking along,
and I saw the Tiger--"

"Oh, dear, dear!" interrupted the little
Jackal; "I never can see through it, if you
go on like that, with a long story. If you
really want my opinion you must make the
matter clear. What sort of cage was it?"

"Why, a big, ordinary cage, an iron
cage," said the Brahmin.

"That gives me no idea at all," said the
little Jackal. "See here, my friends, if we
are to get on with this matter you'd best
show me the spot. Then I can understand
in a jiffy. Show me the cage."

So the Brahmin, the Tiger, and the little
Jackal walked back together to the spot
where the cage was.

"Now, let us understand the situation,"
said the little Jackal. "Brahmin, where
were you?"

"I stood here by the roadside," said the

"Tiger, where were you?" said the little

"Why, in the cage, of course," roared
the Tiger.

"Oh, I beg your pardon, Father Tiger,"
said the little Jackal, "I really am SO stupid;
I cannot QUITE understand what happened.
If you will have a little patience,--HOW
were you in the cage? What position
were you in?"

"I stood here," said the Tiger, leaping
into the cage, "with my head over my
shoulder, so."

"Oh, thank you, thank you," said the
little Jackal, "that makes it MUCH clearer;
but I still don't QUITE understand--forgive
my slow mind--why did you not come
out, by yourself?"

"Can't you see that the door shut me
in?" said the Tiger.

"Oh, I do beg your pardon," said the
little Jackal. "I know I am very slow; I
can never understand things well unless I
see just how they were if you could show
me now exactly how that door works I am
sure I could understand. How does it

"It shuts like this," said the Brahmin,
pushing it to.

"Yes; but I don't see any lock," said
the little Jackal, "does it lock on the

"It locks like this," said the Brahmin.
And he shut and bolted the door!

"Oh, does it, indeed?" said the little
Jackal. "Does it, INDEED! Well, Brother
Brahmin, now that it is locked, I should
advise you to let it stay locked! As for
you, my friend," he said to the Tiger, "I
think you will wait a good while before
you'll find any one to let you out again!

Then he made a very low bow to the Brahmin.

"Good-by, Brother," he said. "Your
way lies that way, and mine lies this;


All these stories about the little Jackal
that I have told you, show how clever the
little Jackal was. But you know--if you
don't, you will when you are grown up--
that no matter how clever you are, sooner
or later you surely meet some one who is
cleverer. It is always so in life. And it
was so with the little Jackal. This is what

The little Jackal was, as you know,
exceedingly fond of shell-fish, especially of
river crabs. Now there came a time when
he had eaten all the crabs to be found on
his own side of the river. He knew there
must be plenty on the other side, if he
could only get to them, but he could not

One day he thought of a plan. He went
to his friend the Camel, and said,--

"Friend Camel, I know a spot where the
sugar-cane grows thick; I'll show you the
way, if you will take me there."

"Indeed I will," said the Camel, who
was very fond of sugar-cane. "Where is

"It is on the other side of the river,"
said the little Jackal; "but we can manage
it nicely, if you will take me on your back
and swim over."

The Camel was perfectly willing, so the
little Jackal jumped on his back, and the
Camel swam across the river, carrying him.
When they were safely over, the little Jackal
jumped down and showed the Camel the
sugar-cane field; then he ran swiftly
along the river bank, to hunt for crabs;
the Camel began to eat sugar-cane. He ate
happily, and noticed nothing around him.

Now, you know, a Camel is very big,
and a Jackal is very little. Consequently,
the little Jackal had eaten his fill by the
time the Camel had barely taken a mouthful.
The little Jackal had no mind to wait
for his slow friend; he wanted to be off
home again, about his business. So he ran
round and round the sugar-cane field, and
as he ran he sang and shouted, and made
a great hullabaloo.

Of course, the villagers heard him at

"There is a Jackal in the sugar-cane,"
they said; "he will dig holes and destroy
the roots; we must go down and drive him
out." So they came down, with sticks and
stones. When they got there, there was no
Jackal to be seen; but they saw the great
Camel, eating away at the juicy sugar-
cane. They ran at him and beat him, and
stoned him, and drove him away half

When they had gone, leaving the poor
Camel half killed, the little Jackal came
dancing back from somewhere or other.

"I think it's time to go home, now," he
said; "don't you?"

"Well, you ARE a pretty friend!" said the
Camel. "The idea of your making such
a noise, with your shouting and singing!
You brought this upon me. What in the
world made you do it? Why did you shout
and sing?"

"Oh, I don't know WHY," said the little
Jackal,--"I always sing after dinner!"

"So?" said the Camel, "Ah, very well,
let us go home now."

He took the little Jackal kindly on his
back and started into the water. When
he began to swim he swam out to where
the river was the very deepest. There he
stopped, and said,--

"Oh, Jackal!"

"Yes," said the little Jackal.

"I have the strangest feeling," said the
Camel,--"I feel as if I must roll over."

"`Roll over'!" cried the Jackal. "My
goodness, don't do that! If you do that,
you'll drown me! What in the world makes
you want to do such a crazy thing? Why
should you want to roll over?"

"Oh, I don't know WHY," said the Camel
slowly, "but I always roll over after dinner!"

So he rolled over.

And the little Jackal was drowned, for
his sins, but the Camel came safely home.


The story I am going to tell you is about
something that really happened, many
years ago, when most of the mothers and
fathers of the children here were not born,
themselves. At that time, nearly all the
people in the United States lived between
the Atlantic Ocean and the Mississippi
River. Beyond were plains, reaching to the
foot of the mighty Rocky Mountains, where
Indians and wild beasts roamed. The only
white men there were a few hunters and

One year a brave little company of people
traveled across the plains in big covered
wagons with many horses, and finally
succeeded in climbing to the top of the
great Rockies and down again into a valley
in the very midst of the mountains. It
was a valley of brown, bare, desert soil,
in a climate where almost no rain falls;
but the snows on the mountain-tops sent
down little streams of pure water, the winds
were gentle, and lying like a blue jewel at
the foot of the western hills was a marvelous
lake of salt water,--an inland sea.
So the pioneers settled there and built them
huts and cabins for the first winter.

It had taken them many months to make
the terrible journey; many had died of
weariness and illness on the way; many
died of hardship during the winter; and the
provisions they had brought in their wagons
were so nearly gone that, by spring, they
were living partly on roots, dug from the
ground. All their lives now depended on
the crops of grain and vegetables which
they could raise in the valley. They made
the barren land good by spreading water
from the little streams over it,--what we
call "irrigating;" and they planted enough
corn and grain and vegetables for all the
people. Every one helped, and every one
watched for the sprouting, with hopes, and
prayers, and careful eyes.

In good time the seeds sprouted, and
the dry, brown earth was covered with a
carpet of tender, green, growing things.
No farmer's garden at home in the East
could have looked better than the great
garden of the desert valley. And from day
to day the little shoots grew and flourished
till they were all well above the ground.

Then a terrible thing happened. One
day the men who were watering the crops
saw a great number of crickets swarming
over the ground at the edge of the gardens
nearest the mountains. They were hopping
from the barren places into the young,
green crops, and as they settled down they
ate the tiny shoots and leaves to the ground.
More came, and more, and ever more, and
as they came they spread out till they
covered a big corner of the grain field. And
still more and more, till it was like an
army of black, hopping, crawling crickets,
streaming down the side of the mountain
to kill the crops.

The men tried to kill the crickets by
beating the ground, but the numbers were
so great that it was like beating at the sea.
Then they ran and told the terrible news,
and all the village came to help. They
started fires; they dug trenches and filled
them with water; they ran wildly about in
the fields, killing what they could. But
while they fought in one place new armies
of crickets marched down the mountain-
sides and attacked the fields in other places.
And at last the people fell on their knees
and wept and cried in despair, for they saw
starvation and death in the fields.

A few knelt to pray. Others gathered
round and joined them, weeping. More
left their useless struggles and knelt
beside their neighbors. At last nearly all the
people were kneeling on the desolate fields
praying for deliverance from the plague of

Suddenly, from far off in the air toward
the great salt lake, there was the sound
of flapping wings. It grew louder. Some
of the people looked up, startled. They
saw, like a white cloud rising from the lake,
a flock of sea gulls flying toward them.
Snow-white in the sun, with great wings
beating and soaring, in hundreds and
hundreds, they rose and circled and came on.

"The gulls! the gulls!" was the cry.
"What does it mean?"

The gulls flew overhead, with a shrill
chorus of whimpering cries, and then, in
a marvelous white cloud of spread wings
and hovering breasts, they settled down
over the seeded ground.

"Oh! woe! woe!" cried the people.
"The gulls are eating what the crickets
have left! they will strip root and branch!"

But all at once, some one called out,--

"No, no! See! they are eating the
crickets! They are eating only the crickets!"

It was true. The gulls devoured the
crickets in dozens, in hundreds, in swarms.
They ate until they were gorged, and then
they flew heavily back to the lake, only to
come again with new appetite. And when
at last they finished, they had stripped the
fields of the cricket army; and the people
were saved.

To this day, in the beautiful city of Salt
Lake, which grew out of that pioneer village,
the little children are taught to love
the sea gulls. And when they learn drawing
and weaving in the schools, their first
design is often a picture of a cricket and a


[1] Adapted from Hans Christian Andersen.

A long, long time ago, as long ago as when
there were fairies, there lived an emperor
in China, who had a most beautiful palace,
all made of crystal. Outside the palace
was the loveliest garden in the whole world,
and farther away was a forest where the
trees were taller than any other trees in the
world, and farther away, still, was a deep
wood. And in this wood lived a little
Nightingale. The Nightingale sang so
beautifully that everybody who heard her
remembered her song better than anything
else that he heard or saw. People came
from all over the world to see the crystal
palace and the wonderful garden and the
great forest; but when they went home
and wrote books about these things they
always wrote, "But the Nightingale is the
best of all."

At last it happened that the Emperor
came upon a book which said this, and he
at once sent for his Chamberlain.

"Who is this Nightingale?" said the
Emperor. "Why have I never heard him

The Chamberlain, who was a very
important person, said, "There cannot be
any such person; I have never heard his

"The book says there is a Nightingale,"
said the Emperor. "I command that the
Nightingale be brought here to sing for me
this evening."

The Chamberlain went out and asked
all the great lords and ladies and pages
where the Nightingale could be found, but
not one of them had ever heard of him.
So the Chamberlain went back to the Emperor
and said, "There is no such person."

"The book says there is a Nightingale,"
said the Emperor; "if the Nightingale is
not here to sing for me this evening I will
have the court trampled upon, immediately
after supper."

The Chamberlain did not want to be
trampled upon, so he ran out and asked
everybody in the palace about the Nightingale.
At last, a little girl who worked in
the kitchen to help the cook's helper, said,
"Oh, yes, I know the Nightingale very
well. Every night, when I go to carry
scraps from the kitchen to my mother,
who lives in the wood beyond the forest,
I hear the Nightingale sing."

The Chamberlain asked the little cook-
maid to take him to the Nightingale's
home, and many of the lords and ladies
followed after. When they had gone a
little way, they heard a cow moo.

"Ah!" said the lords and ladies, "that
must be the Nightingale; what a large
voice for so small a creature!"

"Oh, no," said the little girl, "that is
just a cow, mooing."

A little farther on they heard some bull-
frogs, in a swamp. "Surely that is the
Nightingale," said the courtiers; "it really
sounds like church-bells!"

"Oh, no," said the little girl, "those are
bullfrogs, croaking."

At last they came to the wood where the
Nightingale was. "Hush!" said the little
girl, "she is going to sing." And, sure
enough, the little Nightingale began to
sing. She sang so beautifully that you
have never in all your life heard anything
like it.

"Dear, dear," said the courtiers, "that
is very pleasant; does that little gray bird
really make all that noise? She is so pale
that I think she has lost her color for fear
of us."

The Chamberlain asked the little Nightingale
to come and sing for the Emperor.
The little Nightingale said she could sing
better in her own greenwood, but she was
so sweet and kind that she came with them.

That evening the palace was all trimmed
with the most beautiful flowers you can
imagine, and rows and rows of little silver
bells, that tinkled when the wind blew
in, and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds
of wax candles, that shone like tiny
stars. In the great hall there was a gold
perch for the Nightingale, beside the
Emperor's throne.

When all the people were there, the
Emperor asked the Nightingale to sing. Then
the little gray Nightingale filled her throat
full, and sang. And, my dears, she sang
so beautifully that the Emperor's eyes
filled up with tears! And, you know,
emperors do not cry at all easily. So he asked
her to sing again, and this time she sang
so marvelously that the tears came out of
his eyes and ran down his cheeks. That
was a great success. They asked the little
Nightingale to sing, over and over again,
and when they had listened enough the
Emperor said that she should be made
"Singer in Chief to the Court." She was
to have a golden perch near the Emperor's
bed, and a little gold cage, and was
to be allowed to go out twice every day.
But there were twelve servants appointed
to wait on her, and those twelve servants
went with her every time she went out, and
each of the twelve had hold of the end
of a silken string which was tied to the
little Nightingale's leg! It was not so very
much fun to go out that way!

For a long, long time the Nightingale
sang every evening to the Emperor and his
court, and they liked her so much that
the ladies all tried to sound like her; they
used to put water in their mouths and then
make little sounds like this: glu-glu-glug.
And when the courtiers met each other in
the halls, one would say "Night," and
the other would say "ingale," and that
was conversation.

At last, one day, there came a little package
to the Emperor, on the outside of which
was written, "The Nightingale." Inside
was an artificial bird, something like a
Nightingale, only it was made of gold, and
silver, and rubies, and emeralds, and
diamonds. When it was wound up it played
a waltz tune, and as it played it moved its
little tail up and down. Everybody in the
court was filled with delight at the music
of the new nightingale. They made it sing
that same tune thirty-three times, and still
they had not had enough. They would
have made it sing the tune thirty-four times,
but the Emperor said, "I should like to
hear the real Nightingale sing, now."

But when they looked about for the real
little Nightingale, they could not find her
anywhere! She had taken the chance,
while everybody was listening to the waltz
tunes, to fly away through the window to
her own greenwood.

"What a very ungrateful bird!" said the
lords and ladies. "But it does not matter;
the new nightingale is just as good."

So the artificial nightingale was given
the real Nightingale's little gold perch, and
every night the Emperor wound her up,
and she sang waltz tunes to him. The
people in the court liked her even better
than the old Nightingale, because they
could all whistle her tunes,--which you
can't do with real nightingales.

About a year after the artificial nightingale
came, the Emperor was listening to
her waltz-tune, when there was a SNAP
and WHIR-R-R inside the bird, and the music
stopped. The Emperor ran to his doctor
but he could not do anything. Then he
ran to his clock-maker, but he could not
do much. Nobody could do much. The
best they could do was to patch the gold
nightingale up so that it could sing once
a year; even that was almost too much,
and the tune was pretty shaky. Still, the
Emperor kept the gold nightingale on the
perch in his own room.

A long time went by, and then, at last,
the Emperor grew very ill, and was about
to die. When it was sure that he could
not live much longer, the people chose a
new emperor and waited for the old one
to die. The poor Emperor lay, quite cold
and pale, in his great big bed, with velvet
curtains, and tall candlesticks all about.
He was quite alone, for all the courtiers
had gone to congratulate the new emperor,
and all the servants had gone to talk it

When the Emperor woke up, he felt a
terrible weight on his chest. He opened
his eyes, and there was Death, sitting on
his heart. Death had put on the Emperor's
gold crown, and he had the gold sceptre in
one hand, and the silken banner in the
other; and he looked at the Emperor with
his great hollow eyes. The room was full
of shadows, and the shadows were full of
faces. Everywhere the Emperor looked,
there were faces. Some were very, very
ugly, and some were sweet and lovely;
they were all the things the Emperor had
done in his life, good and bad. And as he
looked at them they began to whisper.
They whispered, "DO YOU REMEMBER THIS?"
remembered so much that he cried out loud,
"Oh, bring the great drum! Make music,
so that I may not hear these dreadful
whispers!" But there was nobody there
to bring the drum.

Then the Emperor cried, "You little
gold nightingale, can you not sing something
for me? I have given you gifts of
gold and jewels, and kept you always by
my side; will you not help me now?" But
there was nobody to wind the little gold
nightingale up, and of course it could not

The Emperor's heart grew colder and
colder where Death crouched upon it,
and the dreadful whispers grew louder and
louder, and the Emperor's life was almost
gone. Suddenly, through the open window,
there came a most lovely song. It was so
sweet and so loud that the whispers died
quite away. Presently the Emperor felt
his heart grow warm, then he felt the blood
flow through his limbs again; he listened
to the song until the tears ran down his
cheeks; he knew that it was the little real
Nightingale who had flown away from him
when the gold nightingale came.

Death was listening to the song, too;
and when it was done and the Emperor
begged for more, Death, too, said, "Please
sing again, little Nightingale!"

"Will you give me the Emperor's gold
crown for a song?" said the little Nightingale.

"Yes," said Death; and the little Nightingale
bought the Emperor's crown for a song.

"Oh, sing again, little Nightingale,"
begged Death.

"Will you give me the Emperor's sceptre
for another song?" said the little gray

"Yes," said Death; and the little Nightingale
bought the Emperor's sceptre for
another song.

Once more Death begged for a song,
and this time the little Nightingale got the
banner for her singing. Then she sang one
more song, so sweet and so sad that it
made Death think of his garden in the
churchyard, where he always liked best
to be. And he rose from the Emperor's
heart and floated away through the window.

When Death was gone, the Emperor
said to the little Nightingale, "Oh, dear
little Nightingale, you have saved me from
Death! Do not leave me again. Stay with
me on this little gold perch, and sing to me

"No, dear Emperor," said the little
Nightingale, "I sing best when I am free;
I cannot live in a palace. But every night
when you are quite alone, I will come
and sit in the window and sing to you, and
tell you everything that goes on in your
kingdom: I will tell you where the poor
people are who ought to be helped, and
where the wicked people are who ought
to be punished. Only, dear Emperor, be
sure that you never let anybody know that
you have a little bird who tells you everything."

After the little Nightingale had flown
away, the Emperor felt so well and strong
that he dressed himself in his royal robes
and took his gold sceptre in his hand.
And when the courtiers came in to see if he
were dead, there stood the Emperor with
his sword in one hand and his sceptre in
the other, and said, "Good-morning!"


[1] I have always been inclined to avoid, in my work among
children, the "how to make" and "how to do" kind of story;
it is too likely to trespass on the ground belonging by right to
its more artistic and less intentional kinsfolk. Nevertheless,
there is a legitimate place for the instruction-story. Within
its own limits, and especially in a school use, it has a real
purpose to serve, and a real desire to meet. Children have a
genuine taste for such morsels of practical information, if the
bites aren't made too big and too solid. And to the teacher of
the first grades, from whom so much is demanded in the way of
practical instruction, I know that these stories are a boon.
They must be chosen with care, and used with discretion, but they
need never be ignored.

I venture to give some little stories of this type, which I hope
may be of use in the schools where country life and country
work is an unknown experience to the children.

There was once a little girl named Margery,
who had always lived in the city.
The flat where her mother and father lived
was at the top of a big apartment-house,
and you couldn't see a great deal from the
windows, except clothes-lines on other people's
roofs. Margery did not know much
about trees and flowers, but she loved
them dearly; whenever it was a pleasant
Sunday she used to go with her mother
and father to the park and look at the
lovely flower-beds. They seemed always
to be finished, though, and Margery
was always wishing she could see them

One spring, when Margery was nine,
her father's work changed so that he could
move into the country, and he took a little
house a short distance outside the town
where his new position was. Margery was
delighted. And the very first thing she
said, when her father told her about it,
was, "Oh, may I have a garden? MAY
I have a garden?"

Margery's mother was almost as eager
for a garden as she was, and Margery's
father said he expected to live on their
vegetables all the rest of his life! So it was
soon agreed that the garden should be the
first thing attended to.

Behind the little house were apple trees,
a plum tree, and two or three pear trees;
then came a stretch of rough grass, and
then a stone wall, with a gate leading into
the pasture. It was in the grassy land that
the garden was to be. A big piece was to be
used for corn and peas and beans, and a
little piece at the end was to be saved for

"What shall we have in it?" asked her

"Flowers," said Margery, with shining
eyes,--"blue, and white, and yellow, and
pink,--every kind of flower!"

"Surely, flowers," said her mother,
"and shall we not have a little salad garden
in the midst, as they do in England?"

"What is a salad garden?" Margery asked.

"It is a garden where you have all the
things that make nice salad," said her
mother, laughing, for Margery was fond of
salads; "you have lettuce, and endive, and
romaine, and parsley, and radishes, and
cucumbers, and perhaps little beets and
young onions."

"Oh! how good it sounds!" said
Margery. "I vote for the salad garden."

That very evening, Margery's father took
pencil and paper, and drew out a plan for
her garden; first, they talked it all over,
then he drew what they decided on; it
looked like the diagram on the next page.

"The outside strip is for flowers," said
Margery's father, "and the next marks
mean a footpath, all the way round the
beds; that is so you can get at the flowers
to weed and to pick; there is a wider path
through the middle, and the rest is all for
rows of salad vegetables."

"Papa, it is glorious!" said Margery.

Papa laughed. "I hope you will still
think it glorious when the weeding time
comes," he said, "for you know, you and
mother have promised to take care of this
garden, while I take care of the big one."

"I wouldn't NOT take care of it for
anything!" said Margery. "I want to feel that
it is my very own."

Her father kissed her, and said it was
certainly her "very own."

Two evenings after that, when Margery
was called in from her first ramble in a
"really, truly pasture," she found the
expressman at the door of the little house.

"Something for you, Margery," said
her mother, with the look she had when
something nice was happening.

It was a box, quite a big box, with a
label on it that said:--


From Seeds and Plants Company, Boston.

Margery could hardly wait to open it.
It was filled with little packages, all with
printed labels; and in the packages, of
course, were seeds. It made Margery
dance, just to read the names,--nasturtium,
giant helianthus, coreopsis, calendula,
Canterbury bells: more names than
I can tell you, and other packages,
bigger, that said, "Peas: Dwarf Telephone,"
and "Sweet Corn," and such things! Margery
could almost smell the posies, she
was so excited. Only, she had seen so
little of flowers that she did not always
know what the names meant. She did not
know that a helianthus was a sunflower
till her mother told her, and she had never
seen the dear, blue, bell-shaped flowers
that always grow in old-fashioned gardens,
and are called Canterbury bells. She
thought the calendula must be a strange,
grand flower, by its name; but her mother
told her it was the gay, sturdy, every-dayish
little posy called a marigold. There was
a great deal for a little city girl to be
surprised about, and it did seem as if morning
was a long way off!

"Did you think you could plant them in
the morning?" asked her mother. "You
know, dear, the ground has to be made
ready first; it takes a little time,--it may
be several days before you can plant."

That was another surprise. Margery
had thought she could begin to sow the
seed right off.

But this was what was done. Early the
next morning, a man came driving into
the yard, with two strong white horses; in
his wagon was a plough. I suppose you
have seen ploughs, but Margery never had,
and she watched with great interest, while
the man and her father took the plough from
the cart and harnessed the horses to it.
It was a great, three-cornered piece of
sharp steel, with long handles coming up
from it, so that a man could hold it in
place. It looked like this:--

"I brought a two-horse plough because
it's green land," the man said. Margery
wondered what in the world he meant; it
was green grass, of course, but what had
that to do with the kind of plough? "What
does he mean, father?" she whispered,
when she got a chance. "He means that
this land has not been ploughed before, or
not for many years; it will be hard to turn
the soil, and one horse could not pull the
plough," said her father. So Margery had
learned what "green land" was.

The man was for two hours ploughing
the little strip of land. He drove the sharp
end of the plough into the soil, and held it
firmly so, while the horses dragged it along
in a straight line. Margery found it
fascinating to see the long line of dark earth
and green grass come rolling up and turn
over, as the knife passed it. She could see
that it took real skill and strength to keep
the line even, and to avoid the stones.
Sometimes the plough struck a hidden stone,
and then the man was jerked almost off
his feet. But he only laughed, and said,
"Tough piece of land; be a lot better the
second year."

When he had ploughed, the man went
back to his cart and unloaded another
farm implement. This one was like a
three-cornered platform of wood, with a
long, curved, strong rake under it. It was
called a harrow, and it looked like this:--

The man harnessed the horses to it, and
then he stood on the platform and drove all
over the strip of land. It was fun to watch,
but perhaps it was a little hard to do. The
man's weight kept the harrow steady, and
let the teeth of the rake scratch and cut
the ground up, so that it did not stay in

"He scrambles the ground, father!"
said Margery.

"It needs scrambling," laughed her
father. "We are going to get more weeds
than we want on this green land, and the
more the ground is broken, the fewer there
will be."

After the ploughing and harrowing, the
man drove off, and Margery's father said
he would do the rest of the work in the
late afternoons, when he came home from
business; they could not afford too much
help, he said, and he had learned to take
care of a garden when he was a boy. So
Margery did not see any more done until
the next day.

But the next day there was hard work
for Margery's father! Every bit of that
"scrambled" turf had to be broken up
still more with a mattock and a spade,
and then the pieces which were full of
grass-roots had to be taken on a fork and
shaken, till the earth fell out; then the
grass was thrown to one side. That would
not have had to be done if the land had
been ploughed in the fall; the grass would
have rotted in the ground, and would have
made fertilizer for the plants. Now,
Margery's father put the fertilizer on the top,
and then raked it into the earth.

At last, it was time to make the place for
the seeds. Margery and her mother helped.
Father tied one end of a cord to a little
stake, and drove the stake in the ground
at one end of the garden. Then he took
the cord to the other end of the garden
and pulled it tight, tied it to another stake,
and drove that down. That made a straight
line for him to see. Then he hoed a trench,
a few inches deep, the whole length of the
cord, and scattered fertilizer in it. Pretty
soon the whole garden was in lines of
little trenches.

"Now for the corn," said father.

Margery ran and brought the seed
box, and found the package of corn. It
looked like kernels of gold, when it was

"May I help?" Margery asked, when
she saw how pretty it was.

"If you watch me sow one row, I think
you can do the next," said her father.

So Margery watched. Her father took a
handful of kernels, and, stooping, walked
slowly along the line, letting the kernels
fall, five or six at a time, in spots about a
foot apart; he swung his arm with a gentle,
throwing motion, and the golden seeds
trickled out like little showers, very
exactly. It was pretty to watch; it made
Margery think of a photograph her teacher
had, a photograph of a famous picture

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