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

Part 2 out of 9

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"The Savage Boar"? In "A Narrow Escape"? In "How the Baron Saved
Gibraltar"? 2. Which of the incidents mentioned do you think is the
most ridiculous? 3. What do you think of the proof given by the author
to prove the truthfulness of the last story? 4. Which of the sources
of humor mentioned on page 58 does this story illustrate? 5. Find
in the Glossary the meaning of: boar; encounter; tusks; riveted;
gigantic; abyss; severed; whereupon; exaggerations; ramparts;
touchhole; recoil; repelling; dismounted; hold. 6. Pronounce:
Munchausen; projected; harrowing; Monsieur.

Phrases for Study

evident intention, age of doubt, horror of my situation, absurd
inventions, gave myself up for lost, operations of the enemy,
harrowing additions, Straits of Gibraltar.


John G. Saxe

It was six men of Indostan,
To learning much inclined
Who went to see the elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.

The first approached the elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
"God bless me! but the elephant
Is very like a wall!"

The second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, "Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me 'tis mighty clear
This wonder of an elephant
Is very like a spear!"

The third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands
Thus boldly up and spake:
"I see," quoth he, "the elephant
Is very like a snake!"

The fourth reached out his eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
"What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain," quoth he;
"'Tis clear enough the elephant
Is very like a tree!"

The fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: "E'en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an elephant
Is very like a fan!"

The sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Than, seizing on the swinging tail,
That fell within his scope,
"I see," quoth he, "the elephant
Is very like a rope!"

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!


Biography. John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887), an American poet, was born
in Vermont. He is best known by his humorous poems, of which "The
Blind Men and the Elephant" is most widely read.

Discussion. 1. How could blind men "see" the elephant? 2. To what did
each compare the elephant? 3. Explain the comparison each made. 4.
Why is comparison a common way of describing objects? 5. Point out
instances of its use by other authors in this book. 6. Why were these
blind men all "in the wrong"? 7. How far was each "in the right"? 8.
What makes this poem humorous? 9. What may we learn from this story?
10. Find in the Glossary the meaning of: learning; observation;
approached; bawl; wonder; resembles; marvel; grope; disputed; stiff.
11. Pronounce: sturdy; wondrous; scope.

Phrases for Study

much inclined, eager hand, satisfy his mind, within his scope.



If ever there lived a Yankee lad,
Wise or otherwise, good or bad,
Who, seeing the birds fly, didn't jump
With flapping arms from stake or stump,
Or, spreading the tail
Of his coat for a sail,
Take a soaring leap from post or rail,
And wonder why
He couldn't fly,
And flap and flutter and wish and try--
If ever you knew a country dunce
Who didn't try that as often as once,
All I can say is, that's a sign
He never would do for a hero of mine.

An aspiring genius was D. Green;
The son of a farmer--age fourteen.
His body was long and lank and lean--
Just right for flying, as will be seen;
He had two eyes, each bright as a bean,
And a freckled nose that grew between,
A little awry--for I must mention
That he had riveted his attention
Upon his wonderful invention,
Twisting his tongue as he twisted the strings,
Working his face as he worked the wings,
Arid with every turn of gimlet and screw
Turning and screwing his mouth round, too,
Till his nose seemed bent
To catch the scent,
Around some corner, of new-baked pies,
And his wrinkled cheeks and his squinting eyes
Grew puckered into a queer grimace,
That made him look very droll in the face,
And also very wise.

And wise he must have been, to do more
Than ever a genius did before,
Excepting Daedalus of yore
And his son Icarus, who wore
Upon their backs
Those wings of wax
He had read of in the old almanacs.
Darius was clearly of the opinion
That the air is also man's dominion,
And that, with paddle or fin or pinion,
We soon or late
Shall navigate
The azure as now we sail the sea.
The thing looks simple enough to me;
And if you doubt it,
Hear how Darius reasoned about it.

"Birds can fly,
An' why can't I?
Must we give in,"
Says he with a grin,
"'T the bluebird an' phoebe
Are smarter'n we be?
Jest fold our hands an' see the swaller
An' blackbird an' catbird beat us holler?
Does the leetle, chatterin', sassy wren,
No bigger'n my thumb, know more than men
Jest show me that!
Er prove't the bat
Has got more brains than's in my hat,
An' I'll back down, an' not till then!"

He argued further: "Ner I can't see
What's th' use o' wings to a bumblebee,
Fer to git a livin' with, more'n to me;
Ain't my business
Importanter'n his'n is?
That Icarus
Was a silly cuss--
Him an' his daddy, Daedalus.
They might 'a' knowed wings made o' wax
Wouldn't stan' sun-heat an' hard whacks;
I'll make mine o' luther,
Er suthin' er other."

And he said to himself, as he tinkered and planned:
"But I ain't goin' to show my hand
To mummies that never can understand
The fust idee that's big an' grand.
They'd 'a' laft an' made fun
O' Creation itself afore 'twas done!"
So he kept his secret from all the rest,
Safely buttoned within his vest;
And in the loft above the shed
Himself he locks, With thimble and thread
And wax and hammer and buckles and screws,
And all such things as geniuses use;
Two bats for patterns, curious fellows!
A charcoal-pot and a pair of bellows;
An old hoop-skirt or two, as Well as
Some wire and several old umbrellas;
A carriage-cover, for tail and wings;
A piece of harness; and straps and strings;
And a big strong box,
In which he locks
These and a hundred other things.

His grinning brothers, Reuben and Burke
And Nathan and Jotham and Solomon, lurk
Around the corner to see him work--
Sitting cross-legged, like a Turk,
Drawing the waxed end through with a jerk,
And boring the holes with a comical quirk
Of his wise old head, and a knowing smirk.
But vainly they mounted each other's backs,
And poked through knot-holes and pried through cracks;
With wood from the pile and straw from the stacks
He plugged the knot-holes and calked the cracks;
And a bucket of water, which one would think;
He had brought up into the loft to drink
When he chanced to be dry,
Stood always nigh,
For Darius was sly!
And whenever at work he happened to spy
At chink or crevice a blinking eye,
He let a dipper of water fly.
"Take that! an' ef ever ye get a peep,
Guess ye'll ketch a weasel asleep!"
And he sings as he locks
His big strong box:
"The weasel's head is small an' trim,
An' he is leetle an' long an' slim,
An' quick of motion an' nimble of limb,
An' ef yeou'll be
Advised by me,
Keep wide awake when ye're ketchin' him!"

So day after day
He stitched and tinkered and hammered
Till at last 'twas done--
The greatest invention under the sun!
"An' now," says Darius, "hooray fer some fun!"

'Twas the Fourth of July,
And the weather was dry,
And not a cloud was on all the sky
Save a few light fleeces, which here and there.
Half mist, half air,
Like foam on the ocean went floating by;
Just as lovely a morning as ever was seen
For a nice little trip in a flying-machine.

Thought cunning Darius: "Now I shan't go
Along 'ith the fellers to see the show.
I'll say I've got sich a terrible cough!
An' then, when the folks 'ave all gone off,
I'll hev full swing
For to try the thing,
An' practyse a leetle on the wing."

"Ain't goin' to see the celebration?"
Says Brother Nate. "No; botheration!
I've got sich a cold--a toothache--I--
My gracious!--feel's though I should fly!"

Said Jotham, "Sho!
Guess ye better go."
But Darius said, "No!
Shouldn't wonder 'f yeou might see me, though,
'Long 'bout noon, ef I git red
O' this jumpin', thumpin' pain 'n my head."

For all the while to himself he said:
"I'll tell ye what!
I'll fly a few times around the lot,
To see how 't seems; then soon's I've got
The hang o' the thing, ez likely's not,
I'll astonish the nation,
And all creation,
By flyin' over the celebration!
Over their heads I'll sail like an eagle;
I'll balance myself on my wings like a sea-gull;
I'll dance on the chimbleys; I'll stan' on the steeple;
I'll flop up to winders an' scare the people!

I'll light on the libbe'ty-pole, an' crow;
An' I'll say to the gawpin' fools below,
'What world's this 'ere
That I've come near?'
Fer I'll make 'em believe I'm a chap f'm the moon!
An' I'll try a race 'ith their ol' bulloon."
He crept from his bed;
And, seeing the others were gone, he said,
"I'm a gittin' over the cold 'n my head."
And away he sped
To open the wonderful box in the shed.

His brothers had walked but a little way
When Jotham to Nathan chanced to say,
"What on airth is he up to, hey?"
"Don'o'--the' 's suthin' er other to pay,
Er he wouldn't 'a' stayed to hum today."
Says Burke, "His toothache's all 'n his eye!
He never'd miss a Fo'th-o'-July
Ef he hedn't got some machine to try.
Le's hurry back an' hide in the barn,
An' pay him fer tellin' us that yarn!"
"Agreed!" Through the orchard they creep back,
Along by the fences, behind the stack,
And one by one, through a hole in the wall,
In under the dusty barn they crawl,
Dressed in their Sunday garments all;
And a very astonishing sight was that,
When each in his cobwebbed coat and hat
Came up through the floor like an ancient rat
And there they hid;
And Reuben slid
The fastenings back, and the door undid.
"Keep dark!" said he,
"While I squint an' see what the' is to see."

As knights of old put on their mail--
From head to foot
An iron suit,
Iron jacket and iron boot,
Iron breeches, and on the head
No hat, but an iron pot instead,
And under the chin the bail
(I believe they called the thing a helm);
And the lid they carried they called a shield;
And, thus accoutered, they took the field,
Sallying forth to overwhelm
The dragons and pagans that plagued the realm--
So this modern knight
Prepared for flight,
Put on his wings and strapped them tight;
Jointed and jaunty, strong and light;
Buckled them fast to shoulder and hip--
Ten feet they measured from tip to tip!
And a helm had he, but that he wore,
Not on his head like those of yore,
But more like the helm of a ship.

"Hush!" Reuben said,
"He's up in the shed!
He's opened the winder--I see his head!
He stretches it out,
An' pokes it about,
Lookin' to see 'f the coast is clear,
An' nobody near;
Guess he don'o' who's hid in here!
He's riggin' a spring-board over the sill!
Stop laffin', Solomon! Burke, keep still!
He's a climbin' out now--of all the things!
What's he got on? I van, it's wings!
An' that 'tother thing? I yum, it's a tail!
An' there he sets like a hawk on a rail!
Steppin' careful, he travels the length
Of his spring-board, and teeters to try its strength.
Now he stretches his wings, like a monstrous bat;
Peeks over his shoulder, this way an' that,
Fer to see 'f the' 's anyone passin' by;
But the' 's on'y a ca'f an' a goslin' nigh.
They turn up at him a wonderin' eye,
To see--the dragon! he's goin' to fly!
Away he goes! Jimminy! what a jump!
Flop--flop--an' plump
To the ground with a thump!
Flutt'rin' an' flound'rin', all in a lump!"

As a demon is hurled by an angel's spear,
Heels over head, to his proper sphere--
Heels over head, and head over heels,
Dizzily down the abyss he wheels--
So fell Darius. Upon his crown,
In the midst of the barnyard, he came down,
In a wonderful whirl of tangled strings,
Broken braces and broken springs,
Broken tail and broken wings,
Shooting-stars, and various things!
Away with a bellow fled the calf,
And what was that? Did the gosling laugh?
'Tis a merry roar
From the old barn-door,
And he hears the voice of Jotham crying,
"Say, D'rius! how de yeou like flyin'?"
Slowly, ruefully, where he lay,
Darius just turned and looked that way,
As he stanched his sorrowful nose with his cuff.
"Wal, I like flyin' well enough,"
He said; "but the' ain't sich a thunderin' sight
O' fun in 't when ye come to light."


I just have room for the moral here,
And this is the moral: Stick to your sphere.
Or if you insist, as you have the right,
On spreading your wings for a loftier flight,
The moral is: Take care how you light.


Biography. John Townsend Trowbridge (1827-1916), an American writer,
lived in Cambridge. He and Lucy Larcom were for a time editors of Our
Young Folks' Magazine. Trowbridge first saw a flying-machine sixty
years after he wrote "Darius Green and His Flying-Machine." He was
then eighty-three years old.

Discussion. 1. What did Darius Green believe that men would soon be
able to do? 2. What did Darius determine to use as material for his
machine? 3. Why did he not tell his brothers what he was trying to do?
4. When did he plan to try his machine? 5. Find the lines that tell
what he imagined he would do. 6. Find the lines that tell what he
really did. 7. What did he say was the unpleasant part of flying? 8.
Mention some inventions that people once thought were as impossible as
the boys thought this flying-machine was. 9. Mention some inventors at
whom people once laughed but who are now honored. 10. In what way does
the author make his story humorous? 11. Notice Darius's language on
pages 67 and 68. The writer shows by such words that Darius was not a
well-educated boy; are persons often judged by the way they talk? 12.
In Wildman's Famous Leaders of Industry, you will find interesting
facts about Orville and Wilbur Wright..You will enjoy reading The
Boys' Airplane Book, Collins. 13, Report any current news on airplane
development, airplane mail routes, etc., that you can find. 14. Find
in the Glossary the meaning of: soaring; lank; gimlet; yore; pinion;
tinkered; mummies; quirk; smirk; crevice; weasel; cunning; ancient;
helm; ruefully. 15. Pronounce: Darius; aspiring; genius; awry;
grimace; droll; Daedalus; Icarus; almanacs; phoebe; calked; breeches;
accoutered; pagans; jaunty; stanched.

Phrases for Study

aspiring genius, like a Turk, riveted his attention, knights of old,
Daedalus of yore, thus accoutered, man's dominion, plagued the realm,
navigate the azure, his proper sphere, beat us holler, stick to your

BIRTHDAY GREETINGS C. L. DODGSON ("Lewis Carroll") Christ Church,
Oxford October 13, 1875

My Dear Gertrude:

I never give birthday presents, but you see I do sometimes write a
birthday letter; so, as I've just arrived here, I am writing this to
wish you many and many a happy return of your birthday tomorrow. I
will drink your health, if only I can remember, and if you don't
mind--but perhaps you object? You see, if I were to sit by you at
breakfast, and to drink your tea, you wouldn't like that, would you?
You would say "Boo! hoo! Here's Mr. Dodgson's drunk all my tea, and I
haven't any left!" So I am very much afraid, next time Sybil looks for
you, she'll find you sitting by the sad sea-wave, and crying "Boo!
hoo! Here's Mr. Dodgson has drunk my health, and I haven't got any
left!" And how it will puzzle Dr. Maund, when he is sent for to see
you! "My dear Madam, I'm very sorry to say your little girl has got no
health at all! I never saw such a thing in my life!" "Oh, I can easily
explain it!" your mother will say. "You see she would go and make
friends with a strange gentleman, and yesterday he drank her health!"
"Well, Mrs. Chataway," he will say, "the only way to cure her is to
wait till his next birthday, and then for her to drink his health."

And then we shall have changed healths. I wonder how you'll like mine!
Oh, Gertrude, I wish you wouldn't talk such nonsense!

Your loving friend,



Biography. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832-1898), better known by his
pen name, "Lewis Carroll," was an English author. He was the son of
a clergyman. For four years he attended the famous school at Rugby,
after which he entered college at Oxford. He became an excellent
scholar and mathematician and was appointed a lecturer on mathematics
at Oxford University, a position that he held for many years. His keen
sympathy with the imagination of children and their sense of fun led
him to tell of the adventures of Alice, in a book called Alice's
Adventures in Wonderland. This book made Lewis Carroll's name famous.
His delightful humor is well illustrated in his letter of "Birthday
Greetings" to Gertrude Chataway.

Discussion. 1. What is usually meant by "drink your health"? 2. What
play on the meaning of these words gives a humorous turn to them? 3.
What remedy does the author suggest the doctor will prescribe for
Gertrude? 4. What does the author call this humor? 5. The author was
a serious man, yet he believed in the value of wholesome fun; of what
great poet did you read, on page 57, who also believed in the value of
a hearty laugh?

Phrases for Study

many a happy return, sad sea-wave.



Said the Wind to the Moon, "I will blow you out.
You stare in the air
Like a ghost in a chair,
Always looking what I am about.
I hate to be watched; I will blow you out."

The Wind blew hard, and out went the Moon.
So, deep on a heap
Of clouds, to sleep
Down lay the Wind, and slumbered soon--
Muttering low. "I've done for that Moon."

He turned in his bed; she was there again.
On high in the sky,
With her one ghost eye,
The Moon shone white and alive and plain.
Said the Wind, "I will blow you out again."

The Wind blew hard, and the Moon grew dim.
"With my sledge and my wedge
I have knocked off her edge.
If only I blow right fierce and grim,
The creature will soon be dimmer than dim."

He blew and he blew, and she thinned to a thread.
"One puff more's enough
To blow her to snuff!
One good puff more where the last was bred,
And glimmer, glimmer glum will go the thread."

He blew a great blast, and the thread was gone;
In the air nowhere
Was a moonbeam bare;
Far off and harmless the shy stars shone;
Sure and certain the Moon was gone!

The Wind he took to his revels once more:
On down, in town,
Like a merry-mad clown,
He leaped and hallooed with whistle and roar--
"What's that?" The glimmering thread once more.

He flew in a rage--he danced and blew;
But in vain was the pain
Of his bursting brain;
For still the broader the moon-scrap grew,
The broader he swelled his big cheeks and blew.

Slowly she grew--till she filled the night,
And shone on her throne
In the sky alone,
A matchless, wonderful, silvery light,
Radiant and lovely, the queen of the night.

Said the Wind: "What a marvel of power am I
With my breath, good faith,
I blew her to death--
First blew her away right out of the sky--
Then blew her in; what a strength am I!"

But the Moon she knew nothing about the affair,
For, high in the sky,
With her one white eye,
Motionless, miles above the air,
She had never heard the great Wind blare.


Biography. George Macdonald (1824-1905), a Scotch poet, wrote many
entertaining poems and stories for children. "The Wind and the Moon"
is a good illustration of the fact that he knew how to interest boys
and girls.

Discussion. 1. Why did the wind want to blow out the moon? 2. What
natural changes in the shape of the moon take place each month? 3.
What really caused it to disappear? 4. What did the wind do when he
thought he had succeeded? 5. Find the lines that tell how the wind
felt when he saw the moon grow broader and bigger. 6. Find the lines
which tell that the moon did not know that the wind was blowing. 7.
What qualities does this story give to the wind? 8. Do you know any
person who has these qualities? 9. The poet aims in this poem to
amuse us; by what means does he do this? 10. Find in the Glossary the
meaning of: muttering; sledge; wedge; grim; matchless; blare. 11.
Pronounce: revels; hallooed; radiant.

Phrases for Study

thinned to a thread, took to his revels, where the last was bred,
filled the night.



Why is it good for us, even in the midst of serious work, to read
humorous stories from time to time? An interesting anecdote is told of
Abraham Lincoln that shows how he would have answered this question.
One day when the Civil War was at its height, President Lincoln opened
his cabinet meeting by saying, "Gentlemen, I am going to read you
something that will make you laugh." He then read a chapter from a
humorous book, laughing heartily as he read. When he saw that none
of the members of his cabinet joined in the laughter, he said with a
sigh, "Gentlemen, why don't you laugh? With the fearful strain that is
put on me day and night, if I did not laugh once in a while I should
die; and you need this medicine as much as I do," What did you read
in the Forward Look on page 57 about another serious-minded man who
believed that wholesome humor is a "medicine"?

Which selection in this group gave you the heartiest laugh? Often
some sensible truth is taught through a little nonsense; of which
selections is this particularly true? It is interesting to stop for a
moment and think just why certain stories make us laugh. One story is
humorous because of its wild exaggeration; another because it makes us
see how ridiculous it is to be a boaster or to be conceited or to jump
at conclusions; and still another because it has an interesting little
play upon words. What is the source of humor in "The Savage Boar"; "A
Narrow Escape"; "How the Baron Saved Gibraltar"; "The Blind Men and
the Elephant"; "Birthday Greetings"; "The Wind and the Moon"?

How does the present-day newspaper furnish fun for its readers? Which
newspaper cartoons do you look at regularly, and which are your
favorites? Bring to class examples of cartoons, and then divide the
collection into three groups--those that you think drive home a truth;
those that you think are funny and clever; and those that you think
are merely silly. Prepare an exhibit for "Cartoon Day" in your school,
selecting the material from these examples. Clip and bring to class
newspaper jokes that you and your family particularly enjoyed.
Recommend to your classmates humorous stories that you have read in
The Junior Red Cross News, Life, St. Nicholas, The Youth's Companion,
or in some other magazine.

In previous pages you have found occasional suggestions for problems
similar to those of the preceding paragraph. Like suggestions will
be found later in the book. The working out of these problems and
reporting on them in class will add greatly to the value and pleasure
of your reading.

Some of these suggested problems are: (a) Silent Reading--Making a
report showing comparisons month by month of individual and class
progress in silent reading; (b) Books I Have Read--Reviewing a
favorite book, giving title, author, time and scene of story,
principal characters, and a brief outline of the story, with readings
of the selected passages that will give your classmates most pleasure;
(c) Magazine Reading--Reporting monthly on current numbers of
magazines, telling your classmates what you have found that is
interesting; in this way you will help each other to become acquainted
with a number of magazines; (d) Newspaper Reading--Reporting current
events, and showing in the newspapers that you read the place of
general news, of editorials, society news, sports, the joke column,
cartoons, advertisements, etc.; (e) Dramatizing--Planning and
presenting before your class some selection or some incident from
a selection that you think will make an interesting play; (f) Good
Citizenship--Making a list of the suggestions you find in this Reader
that help you to be a useful home-member and a good citizen, and
preparing a program from selections in this book for "Citizenship Day"
in your school.

Which of the problems that you have worked out did you find most


A Forward Look

One of the most famous stories in American literature tells about a
man who spoke of his country with sneers and insults and acted in such
a way that he was forbidden ever to set foot on American soil again.
So he became a wanderer. He saw how men from other countries looked
upon their homelands with pride and affection, and how his countrymen
loved America better even than their lives. He came to be known as
"the man without a country," and he lived a wretched and lonely life.
At last he came to the hour of death, and he wrote these words for all
Americans to think about if the temptation should ever come to speak
scornfully of their country:

"If you are ever tempted to say a word or to do a thing that shall put
a bar between you and your country, pray God in his mercy to take you
that instant home to his own heaven. Stick by your family, boy; forget
you have a self, while you do everything for them. Think of your home,
boy; write and send, and talk about it. Let it be nearer and nearer to
your thoughts, the farther you have to travel from it; and rush back
to it when you are free. And for your country, boy"--and the words
rattled in his throat--"and for that flag"--and he pointed to the
ship--"never dream a dream but of serving her as she bids you, though
the service carry you through a thousand hells. No matter what happens
to you, no matter who flatters you or who abuses you, never look to
another flag, never let a night pass but you pray God to bless that
flag. Remember, boy, that behind all these men you have to do with,
behind officers, and government, and people even, there is the Country
Herself, your Country, and that you belong to Her as you belong to
your mother. Stand by Her, boy, as you would stand by your mother."

Such was the dying message of "the man without a country" to the
Americans of his time; such is his message to us. When we were at
war, it was to be expected that all men would answer the call of
patriotism. But now that peace has come, it is not so easy to forget
self in a loyalty to our country and its flag. It is easy to be on
guard when we know that an armed enemy is close by; it is not easy
when the enemy is hidden, and the guns are silent. These hidden
enemies of our country do not fight in armies; they are the bad
citizens who are scattered about; often you do not realize who they

Generally these bad citizens, who are enemies of our country, possess
one or all of the following characteristics:

In the first place, they have no love for home and its festivals. Now,
our nation is a collection of homes. The government was formed to
protect these homes. The good citizen is a lover of his native soil,
a lover of his home, a lover of Thanksgiving and Independence Day and
Christmas. These festivals bind men more closely together, make them
one, join them to their native land. But there are many bad citizens,
enemies of America, who seek to destroy these influences that lead
men to work together to make the community a better place in which to

Second, the history of the United States, the stories of the founding
of our nation, the stories about our flag and its defenders, have no
interest for these bad citizens. You remember how mother used to tell
you stories about when she was a little girl, and how these stories
made you love her the more. It is the same with the stories about
the days when our country was young: how the young George Washington
showed the kind of man he was, or how the young Abraham Lincoln
struggled to fit himself to become a leader of men. Through these
stories we learn what the flag really means and what it has cost, and
we love our country as we love our mother. But the enemy, the bad
citizen, laughs at these things. He just thinks of himself. He thinks
he has a right to do as he likes because this is, he says, "a free
country." He doesn't think that he owes anything to Washington and
Jefferson and Lincoln, or to those who kept the flag at the masthead
when it was in peril.

And the third test of a man's loyalty to our country is met only if
he has the true feeling of democracy in his heart. This feeling of
democracy means service, willingness to help others. The man or woman
who thinks only of his own good time or his own fortune is a bad

You see, it is this way. In olden times men had no part in the
government unless they were born into a high place in society. The
ordinary man did as he was told, went to the wars at the king's
pleasure, and paid taxes that often took all he could save. He had
little opportunity to make money or collect property. If he did, very
probably the king would hear of it and would take away from him all
that he had saved. But America was founded with a different idea of
these matters. Here men got together and set up the kind of government
they wished. They taxed themselves in order to support this
government. They worked together to drive away hostile Indians, to
kill wild beasts, to conquer the forests, to plant their crops, to
make their lives safe and happy. In this cooperation, or working
together, in government and in all the ways of living we find the
spirit of democracy.

This spirit has made America what it is today. It has opened up farms,
built railways and ships and great industries, built also mighty
cities, and made laws for the protection of property and life. All
this men have done through the cooperation that means democracy.

If any man thinks that this freedom gives him the right to trample on
others, he is no better than one of the wicked kings of former times.
If he thinks that under this freedom he may devote himself wholly to
the selfish gain of wealth without giving a share of his money, his
time, and his skill to making his community a better place to live
in and his nation stronger and more secure, he cheats his fellows,
because he takes, without making any return, the blessings that the
founders and defenders of the Republic established with their lives.

In the old stories the youth who was ready to be made a knight had to
do certain things. He had to take the vow of knighthood, that he would
lead a pure and blameless life. He had to render a service to someone
in distress. And he had to watch, his arms beside him, through a

You boys and girls, lovers of America, her defenders if need be, her
guardians in the years to come, must also watch by your arms. These
arms are not guns and bayonets; they belong to your heart and mind.
They are three in number: the love of home, the inheritance of
freedom, and the will to work with others. The first is a foundation
to make strong your heart; the second is a bulwark to make safe your
life; the third is a sword wherewith to slay the enemies of the

This foundation in the love of home, this bulwark of our inheritance
of freedom, and this sword of unselfish service are subjects often
dealt with by great writers. In the pages that follow you will find
pieces selected in order to bring out these ideas. You should read
each of these selections not only for itself but also as a member of
the group to which it belongs; and you should try to get the central
idea that unites all the pieces that make up the group. Thus, little
by little, you will come to see how your joy in Thanksgiving, the
thrill that Old Glory can give you, and the service that you can
render to someone else, are all related to each other. To defend home
and country by being a good citizen is to be your mission in life. It
is more important than a successful career, or than great personal
happiness. For both your career and your happiness will depend upon
the way in which you, and the other boys and girls of America,
thousands upon thousands, keep watch by these arms, keep faith with
home and country.



John Howard Payne

'Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam
Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home!
A charm from the sky seems to hallow us there,
Which, seek through the world, is ne'er met with elsewhere.
Home, Home, sweet, sweet Home!
There's no place like Home! there's no place like Home!

An exile from home, splendor dazzles in vain;
Oh! give me my lonely thatched cottage again!
The birds, singing gayly, that came at my call--
Give me them--and the peace of mind dearer than all!
Home, Home, sweet, sweet Home!
There's no place like Home! there's no place like Home!

How sweet 'tis to sit 'neath a fond father's smile,
And the cares of a mother to soothe and beguile!
Let others delight mid new pleasures to roam,
But give me, oh, give me, the pleasures of home!
Home, Home, sweet, sweet Home!
There's no place like Home! there's no place like Home!

To thee I'll return, overburdened with care;
The heart's dearest solace will smile on me there;
No more from that cottage again will I roam;
Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home.
Home, Home, sweet, sweet Home!
There's no place like Home! there's no place like Home!


Biography. John Howard Payne (1792-1852) was born in New York City.
He became an actor and also a writer of plays and operas. He died
at Tunis, Africa, to which place he had been sent as United States
consul. When Jenny Lind, the celebrated Swedish singer, visited the
United States in 1850, she sang in Washington before a large audience.
John Howard Payne sat in one of the boxes, and at the close of her
wonderful concert the singer turned toward the box in which the poet
sat, and sang "Home, Sweet Home" with so much sweetness and power that
many of the audience cried like children.

Discussion. 1. What words in the first stanza are repeated in the
refrain, or chorus? 2. What is it that the poet says "hallows," or
blesses, us when we are in our homes? 3. With what word in the second
stanza is "cottage" contrasted? 4. What does the second stanza tell us
that the poet had at home and missed afterwards? 5. What is it that
really makes home beautiful? 6. What great service do our mothers
perform? 7. What does page 84 tell you of the value the love of home
is to a nation? 8. Explain the expression "splendor dazzles in vain".
9. Find in the Glossary the meaning of: humble; hallow; charm; fond;
soothe; beguile; roam. 10. Pronounce: exile; solace.



When I was a boy on the old plantation,
Down by the deep bayou--
The fairest spot of all creation
Under the arching blue--
When the wind came over the cotton and corn,
To the long, slim loop I'd spring
With brown feet bare, and a hat-brim torn,
And swing in the grapevine swing.

Swinging in the grapevine swing,
Laughing where the wild birds sing,
I dream and sigh
For the days gone by,
Swinging in the grapevine swing.

Out--o'er the water lilies bonny and bright
Back--to the moss-green trees;
I shouted and laughed with a heart as light
As a wild rose tossed by the breeze.
The mocking bird joined in my reckless glee;
I longed for no angel's wing;
I was just as near heaven as I wanted to be
Swinging in the grapevine swing.

Swinging in the grapevine swing,
Laughing where the wild birds sing--
Oh, to be a boy
With a heart full of joy,
Swinging in the grapevine swing!

I'm weary at noon, I'm weary at night,
I'm fretted and sore of heart,
And care is sowing my locks with white
As I wend through the fevered mart.
I'm tired of the world with its pride and pomp,
And fame seems a worthless thing.
I'd barter it all for one day's romp,
And a swing in the grapevine swing.

Swinging in the grapevine swing,
Laughing where the wild birds sing--
I would I were away
From the world today,
Swinging in the grapevine swing.


Biography. Samuel Minturn Peck (1854-1886) is a native of the South.
He was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and spent most of his early years
in that city. He was gifted in music and became an excellent amateur
pianist. His published works include Cap and Bells, Rhymes and Roses,
and Rings and Love-Knots, from which "The Grapevine Swing," one of his
most musical poems, is taken.

Discussion. 1. Why does the poet call the old plantation "The fairest
spot of all creation"? 2. What does he mean by "the long, slim loop"?
3. For what "days gone by" does the poet sigh? 4. What picture do
lines 6, 7, and 8, page 89, give you? 5. What tells you that the swing
was near the bayou? 6. What is compared to the wild rose? 7. Why do
you think the poet would "barter it all for one day's romp"? 8. Find
in the Glossary the meaning of: creation; bonny; reckless; fretted;
wend; pomp; fame. 9. Pronounce: bayou; arching; laughing.

Phrases for Study

arching blue, care is sowing, moss-green trees, fevered mart, sore of
heart, barter it all.



O hush thee, my babie! thy sire was a knight,
Thy mother a lady, both lovely and bright;
The woods and the glens, from the towers which we see,
They are all belonging, dear babie, to thee.

O fear not the bugle, though loudly it blows;
It calls but the warders that guard thy repose;
Their bows would be bended, their blades would be red,
Ere the step of a foeman draws near to thy bed.

O hush thee, my babie! the time soon will come
When thy sleep shall be broken by trumpet and drum;
Then hush thee, my darling, take rest while you may,
For strife comes with manhood, and waking with day.


Biography. Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) was born in Scotland. He was
a famous novelist and poet. When a child, he learned the Scottish
legends and ballads, and later he wove them into his writings.
Discussion. 1. What things mentioned in the first stanza show that the
baby has great possessions? 2. How would the warders protect the baby?
3. What word could be used instead of "blades"? 4. What will this baby
have to do when he becomes a man? 5. What will the trumpet and drum
mean to him then? 6. How could you tell that this baby lived a long
time ago? 7. Find in the Glossary the meaning of: sire; knight; lady;
glens; towers.

Phrases for Study

calls but the warders, sleep shall be broken, guard thy repose, strife
comes with manhood.



"And now," said the Governor, gazing abroad on the piled-up store Of
the sheaves that dotted the clearings and covered the meadows o'er,
"'Tis meet that we render praises because of this yield of grain; 'Tis
meet that the Lord of the harvest be thanked for his sun and rain.

"And, therefore, I, William Bradford (by the grace of God today, And
the franchise of this good people), Governor of Plymouth, say, Through
virtue of vested power--ye shall gather with one accord, And hold, in
the month of November, thanksgiving unto the Lord.

"He hath granted us peace and plenty, and the quiet we've sought so
long; He hath thwarted the wily savage, and kept him from wrack and
wrong; And unto our feast the Sachem shall be bidden, that he may know
We worship his own Great Spirit, who maketh the harvests grow.

"So shoulder your matchlocks, masters--there is hunting of all
degrees; And, fishermen, take your tackle, and scour for spoils the
seas; And, maidens and dames of Plymouth, your delicate crafts employ
To honor our First Thanksgiving, and make it a feast of joy!

"We fail of the fruits and dainties--we fail of the old home cheer;
Ah, these are the lightest losses, mayhap, that befall us here; But
see, in our open clearings, how golden the melons lie; Enrich them
with sweets and spices, and give us the pumpkin-pie!"

So, bravely the preparations went on for the autumn feast; The deer
and the bear were slaughtered; wild game from the greatest to least
Was heaped in the colony cabins; brown home-brew served for wine, And
the plum and the grape of the forest, for orange and peach and pine.

At length came the day appointed; the snow had begun to fall, But
the clang from the meeting-house belfry rang merrily over all, And
summoned the folk Of Plymouth, who hastened with glad accord To listen
to Elder Brewster as he fervently thanked the Lord.

In his seat sate Governor Bradford; men, matrons, and maidens fair,
Miles Standish and all his soldiers, with corselet and sword, were
there; And sobbing and tears and gladness had each in its turn
the sway, For the grave of the sweet Rose Standish o'ershadowed
Thanksgiving Day.

And when Massasoit, the Sachem, sate down with his hundred braves, And
ate of the varied riches of gardens and woods and waves, And looked on
the granaried harvest--with a blow on his brawny chest, He muttered,
"The good Great Spirit loves his white children best!"


Biographical and Historical Note. Margaret J. Preston (1820-1897)
was one of the leading poets of the South. She wrote many poems and
sketches. "The First Thanksgiving Day" gives a good picture of the
life in the old Pilgrim days.

The Pilgrims landed at Plymouth December 21, 1620. During the long,
hard winter fifty-one of the one hundred Pilgrims died, among them
being Rose Standish, wife of Captain Miles Standish. As soon as spring
came, the colonists planted their fields, and by the end of summer a
plentiful harvest was gathered in. When provisions and fuel had
been laid in for the winter, Governor Bradford appointed a day of
thanksgiving. Venison, wild fowl, and fish were easy to obtain. We
are told, "there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took
many." For three days a great feast was spread, and Massasoit, the
Indian Sachem, or chief, and many of his people enjoyed it with the

Discussion. 1. When did the events related in this story take place?
2. Who was the governor of Plymouth at this time? 3. What proclamation
did he make? 4. What did the governor say that God had done for the
colony? 5. Who did he say should be invited to the feast? 6. What meat
did the Pilgrims have at their first Thanksgiving dinner? 7. What
fruits did they have for the feast? 8. What fruit is meant by "pine"
in line 12, page 93? 9. What did the colonists do "with glad accord"
before they sat down to their feast? 10. Find the lines that tell what
Massasoit said when he ate of the feast. 11. Why is it a good thing
for America to have a day set apart each year for us to give thanks
for our blessings? 12. Find in the Glossary the meaning of: store;
sheaves; clearings; wrack; dames; mayhap; befall; slaughtered;
appointed; summoned; fervently; sate; braves; brawny. 13. Pronounce:
therefore; franchise; wily; Sachem, pumpkin; matrons; corselet;
Massasoit; granaried.

Phrases for Study

'tis meet, scour for spoils, franchise of this good people, delicate
crafts employ, virtue of vested power, fail of the fruits, with one
accord, home-brew served for wine, thwarted the wily savage, each
in its turn the sway, Great Spirit, o'ershadowed Thanksgiving Day,
shoulder your matchlocks, of all degrees, varied riches.



'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugarplums danced through their heads;
And mamma in her kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap--

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash;
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave a luster of midday to objects below;
When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!--
To the top of the porch, to the top of the wall,
Now, dash away, dash away, dash away, all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So, up to the housetop the coursers they flew,
With a sleigh full of toys--and St. Nicholas, too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound;
He was dressed all in fur from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes, how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry;
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face, and a little round belly
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.
He was chubby and plump--a right jolly old elf;
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere they drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night."


Biography. Clement C. Moore (1779-1863) was am American poet and
author. He lived in New York City, where for many years he was engaged
in educational work.

Discussion. 1. What picture do the first eight lines of this poem
give you? 2. Does this picture seem real to you? 3. Of what were the
children dreaming? 4. What word do you use instead of sugarplums? 5.
What picture do you find in lines 7-10, page 96? 6 What is the next
picture? Find the lines that make it. 7. To what is the swiftness of
the reindeer compared? 8. What words show how lightly the reindeer
flew through the air? 9. Find the lines that picture St. Nicholas
after he came down the chimney. 10. Which of all the pictures in the
entire poem can you see most distinctly? 11. Which do you like best?
12. What did you read in "A Forward Look," pages 83-86, about the
value of the home festivals? What does a love of these festivals do
for us? What should we lose if we did not celebrate them? 13. Find in
the Glossary the meaning of: clatter; coursers; hurricane; obstacle;
twinkling; tarnished; encircled; elf. 14. Pronounce: miniature; tiny;
chimney; droll.




I love my country's pine-clad hills,
Her thousand bright and gushing rills,
Her sunshine and her storms;
Her rough and rugged rocks, that rear
Their hoary heads high in the air
In wild, fantastic forms.

I love her rivers, deep and wide,
Those mighty streams that seaward glide
To seek the ocean's breast;
Her smiling fields, her pleasant vales,
Her shady dells, her flow'ry dales,
The haunts of peaceful rest.

I love her forests, dark and lone,
For there the wild bird's merry tone
I hear from morn till night;
And there are lovelier flowers, I ween,
Than e'er in Eastern lands were seen,
In varied colors bright.

Her forests and her valleys fair,
Her flowers that scent the morning air--
All have their charms for me;
But more I love my country's name,
Those words that echo deathless fame,
"The Land of Liberty."


Discussion. 1. What parts of our country are noted for pine forests?
2. What things about America call forth the love of the poet? 3. Does
he have all parts of America in mind, or some part that he knows well?
4. What name does he give America? Why does this "echo deathless
fame"? 5. Name one of the "mighty streams that seaward glide." 6. What
does the poet say makes the forests beautiful? 7. This poem is similar
in many ways to the national hymn, "America." Compare it with the
words of the hymn in as many ways as you can. 8. Commit to memory the
last three lines of the poem. 9. Why is our country called "The Land
of Liberty"? 10. Find in the Glossary the meaning of: gushing;
rills; rugged; rear; vales; dells; lone; ween. 11. Pronounce: hoary;
fantastic; haunts; echo.

Phrases for Study

pine-clad hills, smiling fields, fantastic forms, flow'ry dales,
seaward glide, Eastern lands, ocean's breast, deathless fame.


Charles Sumner

There is the national flag. He must be cold indeed who can look upon
its folds, rippling in the breeze, without pride of country. If he be
in a foreign land, the flag is companionship and country itself, with
all its endearments. Its highest beauty is in what it symbolizes. It
is because it represents all, that all gaze at it with delight and

It is a piece of bunting lifted in the air; but it speaks sublimely,
and every part has a voice. Its stripes of alternate red and white
proclaim the original union of thirteen states to maintain the
Declaration of Independence. Its stars of white on a field of blue
proclaim that union of states constituting our national constellation,
which receives a new star with every new state. The two together
signify union past and present.

The very colors have a language which was officially recognized by our
fathers. White is for purity, red for valor, blue for justice; and all
together, bunting, stripes, stars, and colors, blazing in the sky,
make the flag of our country to be cherished by all our hearts, to be
upheld by all our hands.


Biography. Charles Sumner (1811-1874), an American statesman and
orator, was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He became United States
senator in 1851. "The Flag of Our Country" is taken from an address
delivered in 1867 at Cooper Institute in New York.

Discussion. 1. Each paragraph in this selection has a separate
message. Does the first paragraph fit America only, or could an
Englishman say the same thing about his national flag, and a Frenchman
of his? What then is the thing that any flag represents to the citizen
of the country to which he belongs? 2. What facts peculiar to America
does the second paragraph give you? 3. How many stripes has the flag?
4. How many stars were in the first American flag? How many are there
now? 5. What is meant by "union past and present"? 6. "White is for
purity"--in what way does this express the ideals of the founders of
our country? 7. Do you know the rules for the raising and lowering of
the flag? 8. Find in the Glossary the meaning of: rippling; reverence;
bunting; proclaim; original; maintain; constituting; valor; cherished.
9. Pronounce: symbolizes; sublimely; alternate; constellation.

Phrases for Study

he must be cold, national constellation, all its endearments, signify
union, speaks sublimely, officially recognized, every part has a
voice, blazing in the sky.



James Whitcomb Riley


Old Glory! say, who,
By the ships and the crew,
And the long, blended ranks of the gray and the blue,--
Who gave you, Old Glory, the name that you bear
With such pride everywhere
As you cast yourself free to the rapturous air
And leap out full-length, as we're wanting you to?--
Who gave you that name, with the ring of the same,
And the honor and fame so becoming to you?--
Your stripes stroked in ripples of white and of red,
With your stars at their glittering best overhead--
By day or by night
Their delightfulest light
Laughing down from their little square heaven of blue!--
Who gave you the name of Old Glory?--say, who--
Who gave you the name of Old Glory?
The old banner lifted, and altering then
In vague lisps and whispers fell silent again.


Old Glory,--speak out!--we are asking about
How you happened to "favor" a name, so to say,
That sounds so familiar and careless and gay
As we cheer it and shout in our wild breezy way--
We--the crowd, every man of us, calling you that--
We--Tom, Dick, and Harry--each swinging his hat
And hurrahing "Old Glory!" like you were our kin,
When--Lord!--we all know we're as common as sin!
And yet it just seems like you humor us all
And waft us your thanks, as we hail you and fall
Into line, with you over us, waving us on
Where our glorified, sanctified betters have gone,--
And this is the reason we're wanting to know--
(And we're wanting it so!--
Where our own fathers went we are willing to go.)--
Who gave you the name of Old Glory--O-ho!--
Who gave you the name of Old Glory?
The old flag unfurled with a billowy thrill
For an instant, then wistfully sighed and was still.


Old Glory: the story we're wanting to hear
Is what the plain facts of your christening were,--
For your name--just to hear it.
Repeat it, and cheer it, 's a tang to the spirit
As salty as a tear;--
And seeing you fly, and the boys marching by,
There's a shout in the throat and a blur in the eye
And an aching to live for you always--or die,
If, dying, we still keep you waving on high.
And so, by our love
For you, floating above,
And the sears of all wars and the sorrows thereof,
Who gave you the name of Old Glory, and why
Are we thrilled at the name of Old Glory?
Then the old banner leaped, like a sail in the blast,
And fluttered an audible answer at last.--


And it spake, with a shake of the voice, and it said:--
By the driven snow-white and the living blood-red
Of my bars, and their heaven of stars overhead--
By the symbol conjoined of them all, skyward cast,
As I float from the steeple, or flap at the mast,
Or droop o'er the sod where the long grasses nod,--
My name is as old as the glory of God.
...So I came by the name of Old Glory.


Biography. James Whitcomb Riley (1852-1916) was a native of Indiana.
Most of his life was spent in Indianapolis, where he lived on the
quiet Lockerbie Street which he celebrated in one of his poems. He
is called "The Hoosier Poet." He wrote several volumes of poems, the
first being The Old Swimmin' Hole and 'Leven More Poems. The school
children of Indiana celebrated Riley's birthday on October 7, 1911,
and have each year since made this a festival day.

Discussion. Because of the many figurative expressions used in this
selection it should be read and studied in class.



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 fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched 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 that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
On that shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, now conceals, now discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam--
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream;
'Tis the Star-Spangled Banner; O long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where are the foes who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave;
And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war desolation;
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just,
And this be our motto, "In God is our trust";
And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!


Biographical and Historical Note. Francis Scott Key (1780-1843), a
native of Maryland, was a lawyer and poet. His patriotic poem, "The
Star-Spangled Banner," which has become a national song, made him

The incidents referred to in this poem occurred during the War of
1812. In August, 1814, a strong force of British entered Washington
and burned the Capitol, the White House, and many other public
buildings. On September 13, the British admiral moved his fleet into
position to attack Fort McHenry, near Baltimore. The bombardment of
the fort lasted all night, but the fort was so bravely defended that
the flag was still floating over it when morning came.

Just before the bombardment began, Francis Scott Key was sent to the
admiral's frigate to arrange for an exchange of prisoners, and was
told to wait until the bombardment was over. All night he watched
the fort, and by the first rays of morning light he saw he Stars
and Stripes still waving. Then, in his joy and pride, he wrote the
stirring words of the song which is now known and loved by all
Americans--"The Star-Spangled Banner."

Discussion. 1. What lines in the poem are explained by the historical
note above? 2. The poem expresses the love and reverence felt by
patriots when the flag is endangered by the attacks of armed men in
war. What is said on page 84 about the danger to our country in a
time of peace? From what people? Can you do anything to prevent this
danger? 3. Where was the reflection of the flag seen? 4. What is
the meaning of "thus" in line 1, page 105? 5. What land is the
"heav'n-rescued land"? 6. What does the poet mean when he speaks of
the "Power that hath made and preserved us a nation," line 4, page
105? 7. Find the words that must be our country's motto. 8. Do you
think this national song cheered the American soldiers in the recent
World War? 9. Explain why you think the picture on page 98 aptly
illustrates "Our Country and Its Flag." 10. Find in the Glossary
the meaning of: dawn; gleaming; host; discloses; beam; triumph. 11.
Pronounce: haughty; vauntingly; pollution; hireling; desolation.

Phrases for Study

proudly we hailed, fitfully blows, gallantly streaming, catches the
gleam, Star-Spangled, full glory reflected, mists of the deep, havoc
of war, dread silence reposes, foul footsteps' pollution.



The future president of the United States was eight years old when
he spent the winter with his father, mother, and sister in the
"half-faced camp" on Little Pigeon Creek. It was indeed rough living
in the Lincoln home on Little Pigeon Creek. When he was "good and
ready," the father, Thomas Lincoln, set about building a better
shelter for his family than the forlorn "half-faced camp." The new
building was not such a great improvement, but it was more like a
house. It was a rough cabin of logs, without door, window, or floor.
But it seemed so much better than the shanty in which they had been
living that Abraham felt quite princely.

His life was lonely enough in that wilderness; but, before many
months, he had company. His Uncle and Aunt Sparrow and his boy
cousin, Dennis Hanks came from Kentucky to try their luck in Indiana.
Abraham's father gave them the old "half-faced camp" as a home, and so
the Lincolns had near neighbors.

But before the winter set in, there came sad days to both houses. A
terrible sickness--what we call an epidemic--visited that section of
Indiana. Many people died from it, and among these were first, Uncle
and Aunt Sparrow, and then Mrs. Lincoln, the mother of Abraham.

It was a poor kind of housekeeping they had in that shiftless home on
Little Pigeon Creek after the mother of the home had been taken away.
Sarah, the eldest child, was only twelve; Abraham was but ten, and
little Dennis Hanks was eight. Sarah tried to keep house; and her
father, in his careless way, tried to help her. But about all they
could do was to keep from going hungry. Deer-meat broiled on the coals
of the wood-fire, ash-cakes made of cornmeal, with now and then a slab
of pork, was their only bill of fare. About all the pleasure Abraham
found when he was not trying to keep from being cold and hungry, was
in his books.

How many do you think he had? Just three: the Bible, Aesop's Fables,
and The Pilgrim's Progress. Think of that, you boys and girls who have
more books than you can read, and for whom the printing presses are
always hard at work. The boy knew these three books almost by heart.
He could repeat whole chapters of the Bible, many parts of The
Pilgrim's Progress, and every one of Aesop's Fables; and he never
forgot them.

Thomas Lincoln knew that the uncomfortable state of affairs in his log
cabin could not long continue, or his home, such as it was, would go
to ruin. So one day he bade the children good-by and told them he was
going back to Kentucky on a visit. He was away for three weeks; but
when he returned from his Kentucky visit in December, 1819, he
brought back a new wife to look after his home and be a mother to his
motherless children.

Mrs. Lincoln seemed to take an especial liking to the little
ten-year-old Abraham. She saw something in the boy that made her feel
sure that a little guidance would do wonders for him. Having first
made him clean and comfortable, she next made him intelligent, bright,
and good. She managed to send him to school for a few months. The
little log schoolhouse, close to the meeting-house, to which the
traveling schoolmaster would come to give four weeks' schooling, was
scarcely high enough for a man to stand straight in; it had holes for
windows and greased paper to take the place of glass. But in such a
place Abraham Lincoln "got his schooling" for a few weeks only in
"reading, writing, and ciphering"; here he was again and again head of
his class; and here he "spelled down" all the big boys and girls in
the exciting contests called "spelling matches."

He became a great reader. He read every book and newspaper he could
get hold of, and if he came across anything in his reading that he
wished to remember, he would copy it on a shingle, because writing
paper was scarce, and either learn it by heart or hide the shingle
away until he could get some paper to copy it on.

Lamps and candles were almost unknown in his home, and Abraham, flat
on his stomach, would often do his reading, writing, and ciphering in
the firelight, as it flashed and flickered on the big hearth of his
log-cabin home.

One day Abraham found that a man for whom he sometimes worked owned a
copy of Weems's Life of Washington. This was a famous book in its day.
Abraham borrowed it at once. When he was not reading it, he put it
away on a shelf--a clapboard resting on wooden pins. There was a big
crack between the log behind the shelf, and one rainy day the Life of
Washington fell into the crack and was soaked almost into pulp. Young
Abraham went at once to the owner of the book and, after telling him
of the accident promised to "work the book out."

The old farmer kept him so strictly to his promise that he made him
"pull fodder" for the cattle three days as payment for the book. And
that is the way that Abraham Lincoln bought his first book. For he
dried the Life of Washington and put it in his "library." What boy or
girl of today would like to buy books at such a price?


Biography. Elbridge S. Brooks (1846-1902) was a native of
Massachusetts. He was always interested in stories of history, for his
mother descended from the Monroes, who fought bravely at Lexington. He
was for a time one of the editors of St. Nicholas.

Discussion. 1. What were the hardships suffered by the young Lincoln
in the Indiana wilderness? 2. What do you learn about Lincoln's
reading? About his school life? 3. What was the first book Lincoln
owned, and how did he get it? 4. What do you suppose Lincoln learned
from the life of Washington? 5. How did Lincoln fix in his memory
things that he wished to remember? 6. What characteristics of the boy
help to explain why he afterwards became such a great man? 7. You will
enjoy reading The True Story of Lincoln, from which this selection
is taken. 8. Find in the Glossary the meaning of: forlorn; shanty;
princely; wilderness; epidemic; shiftless; ash-cakes; slab; guidance;
ciphering; clapboard; pulp. 9. Pronounce: Aesop; bade.

Phrases for Study

half-faced camp, spelled down, uncomfortable state, work the book out,
traveling schoolmaster, pull fodder.



The King of England and his advisers determined to make a stand in
America against the French. So they sent over two regiments of British
troops under command of a brave soldier whose name was Braddock, and
told him to get what help he could in Virginia and drive out the

General Braddock came to Virginia with his splendid-looking fighting
men. When he had studied the situation there, one of the first things
he did was to ask Colonel George Washington of Mount Vernon to come
with him as one of his chief assistants. Washington at once accepted.
He saw that now the King of England "meant business," and that if
General Braddock were as wise as he was brave, the trouble in the Ohio
country might be speedily ended and the French driven out.

But when he had joined General Braddock, he discovered that that brave
but obstinate leader thought that battles were to be fought in America
just the same as in Europe, and that soldiers could be marched against
such forest-fighters as the French and Indians as if they were going
on a parade. Washington did all he could to advise caution. It was of
no use, however. General Braddock said that he was a soldier and knew
how to fight, and that he did not wish for any advice from these
Americans who had never seen a real battle.

At last everything was ready, and in July, 1755, the army, led by
General Braddock, marched off to attack Fort Duquesne, which the
French had built at Pittsburgh.

Washington had worked so hard to get things ready that he was sick in
bed with fever when the soldiers started; but, without waiting to get
well, he hurried after them and caught up with them on the ninth of
July, at a ford on the Monongahela, fifteen miles from Fort Duquesne.

The British troops, in full uniform, and in regular order as if they
were to drill before the King, marched straight on in splendid array.
Washington thought it the most beautiful show he had ever seen; but
he said to the general: "Do not let the soldiers march into the woods
like that. The Frenchmen and the Indians may even now be hiding behind
the trees ready to shoot us down. Let me send some men ahead to
see where they are, and let some of our Virginians who are used to
fighting in the forest go before to clear them away." But General
Braddock told him to mind his own business, and marched on as
gallantly as ever.

Suddenly, just as they reached a narrow part of the road, where the
woods were all about them, the Frenchmen and Indians who were waiting
for them behind the great trees and underbrush opened fire upon the
British troops, and there came just such a dreadful time as Washington
had feared. But even now Braddock would not give in. His soldiers
must fight as they had been drilled to fight in Europe; and when
the Virginians who were with him tried to fight as they had been
accustomed to, he called them cowards and ordered them to form in

It was all over very soon. The British soldiers, fired upon from
all sides and scarcely able to see where their enemies were, became
frightened, huddled together, and made all the better marks for the
bullets of the French and Indians hiding among the trees and bushes.
Then General Braddock fell from his horse, mortally wounded; his
splendidly-drilled redcoats broke into panic, turned, and ran away;
and only the coolness of Washington and the Virginia forest-fighters
who were with him saved the entire army from being cut to pieces.

Washington fought like a hero. Two horses that he rode were killed
while he kept in the saddle; his coat was shot through and through,
and it seemed as if he would be killed any moment. But he kept on
fighting, caring nothing for danger. He tried to turn back the fleeing
British troops; he tried to bring back the cannon, and, when the
gunners ran away, he leaped from his horse and aimed and fired the
cannon himself. Then with his Virginians, that Braddock had so
despised as soldiers, he protected the rear of the retreating army,
carried off the dying general and, cool and collected in the midst of
all the terrible things that were happening, saved the British army
from slaughter, buried poor General Braddock in the Virginia woods,
and finally brought back to the settlements what was left of that
splendid army of the King. He was the only man in all that time of
disaster who came out of the fight with glory and renown.


Discussion. 1. Tell what you can of the contest for territory in
America between the French and the English. 2. Who was General
Braddock and for what was he sent to America? 3. Compare Washington
and General Braddock in as many ways as you can. 4. Why did Washington
do all he could to help General Braddock in spite of the fact that he
knew Braddock was not acting wisely? 5. How did Washington gain glory
from the engagement? 6. What are you told on page 84 about the value
to us of studying the lives of great Americans? What do you owe to
Washington and Lincoln? 7. Find in the Glossary the meaning of:
advisers; situation; caution; ford; array; gallantly; huddled;
collected; disaster; renown. 8. Pronounce: Duquesne; Monongahela;
mortally; wounded.




The woman was old and ragged and gray
And bent with the chill of the winter's day.
The street was wet with the recent snow,
And the woman's feet were aged and slow.

She stood at the crossing and waited long
Alone, uncared for, amid the throng
Of human beings who passed her by,
Nor heeded the glance of her anxious eye.

Down the street with laughter and shout.
Glad in the freedom of "school let out,"
Came the boys like a flock of sheep,
Hailing the snow piled white and deep.

Past the woman so old and gray
Hastened the children on their way,
Nor offered a helping hand to her,
So meek, so timid, afraid to stir,
Lest the carriage wheels or the horses' feet
Should crowd her down in the slippery street.

At last came one of the merry troop,
The gayest laddie of all the group;
He paused beside her and whispered low,
"I'll help you across if you wish to go."

Her aged hand on his strong young arm
She placed, and so, without hurt or harm,
He guided her trembling feet along,
Proud that his own were firm and strong.

Then back again to his friends he went,
His young heart happy and well content.
"She's somebody's mother, boys, you know,
For all she's aged and poor and slow;

"And I hope some fellow will lend a hand
To help my mother, you understand,
If ever she's poor and old and gray,
When her own dear boy is far away."

And "somebody's mother" bowed low her head
In her home that night, and the prayer she said
Was, "God be kind to the noble boy
Who is somebody's son and pride and joy."


Discussion. 1. Here is a story about a boy who saw a chance to do a
service and did it; how was he different from his companions? 2. What
were they interested in? 3. Wasn't he also eager to do what they did?
4. Why did he stop and help the old woman? 5. How did the woman feel
toward the boy? 6. How do you think his own mother would have felt
if she had seen him? 7. Why is this incident a splendid example of
service? How was this boy doing his part as a good citizen?



The good dame looked from her cottage
At the close of the pleasant day,
And cheerily called to her little son
Outside the door at play:
"Come, Peter, come! I want you to go,
While there is light to see,
To the hut of the blind old man who lives
Across the dike, for me;
And take these cakes I made for him--
They are hot and smoking yet;
You have time enough to go and come
Before the sun is set."

And Peter left the brother
With whom all day he had played,
And the sister who had watched their sports
In the willow's tender shade;
And told them they'd see him back before
They saw a star in sight,
Though he wouldn't be afraid to go
In the very darkest night!
For he was a brave, bright fellow
With eye and conscience clear;
He could do whatever a boy might do,
And he had not learned to fear.

And now with his face all glowing
And eyes as bright as the day
With the thoughts of his pleasant errand,
He trudged along the way;
And soon his joyous prattle
Made glad a lonesome place--
Alas! if only the blind old man
Could have seen that happy face!
Yet he somehow caught the brightness
Which his voice and presence lent;
And he felt the sunshine come and go
As Peter came and went.

And now as the day was sinking,
And the winds began to rise,
The mother looked from her door again,
Shading her anxious eyes,
And saw the shadows deepen
And birds to their homes come back,
But never a sign of Peter
Along the level track.
But she said: "He will come at morning,
So I need not fret or grieve--
Though it isn't like my boy at all
To stay without my leave."

But where was the child delaying?
On the homeward way was he;
And across the dike while the sun was up
An hour above the sea;
He was stopping now to gather flowers,
Now listening to the sound,
As the angry waters dashed themselves
Against their narrow bound.
"Ah! well for us," said Peter,
"That the gates are good and strong,
And my father tends them carefully,
Or they would not hold you long!
You're a wicked sea," said Peter;
"I know why you fret and chafe;
You would like to spoil our land and homes;
But our sluices keep you safe."

But hark! through the noise of waters
Comes a low, clear, trickling sound;
And the child's face pales with terror,
And his blossoms drop to the ground.
He is up the bank in a moment
And, stealing through the sand
He sees a stream not yet so large
As his slender childish hand.
'Tis a leak in the dike! He is but a boy,
Unused to fearful scenes;
But, young as he is, he has learned to know
The dreadful thing that means.

A leak in the dike! The stoutest heart
Grows faint that cry to hear.
And the bravest man in all the land
Turns white with mortal fear,
For he knows the smallest leak may grow
To a flood in a single night;
And he knows the strength of the cruel sea
When loosed in its angry might.

And the boy! he has seen the danger
And, shouting a wild alarm,
He forces back the weight of the sea
With the strength of his single arm!
He listens for the joyful sound
Of a footstep passing nigh;
And lays his ear to the ground, to catch
The answer to his cry.
And he hears the rough winds blowing,
And the waters rise and fall,
But never an answer comes to him
Save the echo of his call.

So, faintly calling and crying
Till the sun is under the sea,
Crying and moaning till the stars
Come out for company,
He thinks of his brother and sister,
Asleep in their safe warm bed;
He thinks of his father and mother,
Of himself as dying--and dead;
And of how, when the night is over,
They must come and find him at last;
But he never thinks he can leave the place
Where duty holds him fast.

The good dame in the cottage
Is up and astir with the light,
For the thought of her little Peter
Has been with her all the night.
And now she watches the pathway,
As yester eve she had done;
But what does she see so strange and black
Against the rising sun?
Her neighbors are bearing between them
Something straight to her door;
Her child is coming home, but not
As he ever came before!

"He is dead!" she cries; "thy darling!"
And the startled father hears,
And comes and looks the way she looks,
And fears the thing she fears;
Till a glad shout from the bearers
Thrills the stricken man and wife--
"Give thanks, for your son has saved our land,
And God has saved his life!"
So, there in the morning sunshine
They knelt about the boy;
And every head was bared and bent
In tearful, reverent joy.


Biography. Phoebe Cary (1824-1871) was an American poet. She was born
in Cincinnati and lived with her sister, Alice, in New York City. She
wrote many poems of beauty and charm, but none is more widely read
than "The Leak in the Dike." Note. A large part of Holland consists of
meadow-land so low and flat that the sea would overflow it during high
tide if it were not protected, partly by natural sand hills but more
by a wonderful system of diking. The dikes are long mounds, or thick
walls, of earth and stone, broad at the base and gradual in slope.

Discussion. 1. What purpose do the dikes of Holland serve? 2. There
were no Boy Scouts in those days, but here is a story of a boy who
would have been a good member of the Scouts. Why? 3. What service did
Peter's mother call him to render? 4. Had he done such things before?
5. How did the blind man think of Peter? 6. How did Peter find the
danger? 7. What would many boys have done? 8. How did he stop the leak
in the dike? 9. What would have happened if he had grown afraid, or
tired? 10. Peter saw a duty to be performed and was brave enough to
do it, though it was not easy, and might have cost him his life. What
were the results of his quick wit and courage? 11. How was Peter doing
his part as a good citizen? 12. Find in the Glossary the meaning of:
prattle; presence; anxious; trickling; stoutest; save; astir; yester;
stricken. 13. Pronounce: chafe; sluices; loosed.

Phrases for Study

narrow bound, sun is under the sea, mortal fear, duty holds him fast.



The boy stood on the burning deck
Whence all but him had fled;
The flame that lit the battle's wreck
Shone round him o'er the dead.

Yet, beautiful and bright he stood,
As born to rule the storm--
A creature of heroic blood,
A proud, though childlike, form.

The flames rolled on--he would not go
Without his father's word;
That father, faint in death below,
His voice no longer heard.

He called aloud: "Say, father, say
If yet my task is done!"
He knew not that the chieftain lay
Unconscious of his son.

"Speak, father!" once again he cried,
"If I may yet be gone!"
And but the booming shots replied,
And fast the flames rolled on.

Upon his brow he felt their breath,
And in his waving hair,
And looked from that lone post of death
In still, yet brave, despair;

And shouted but once more aloud,
"My father! must I stay?"
While o'er him fast, through sail and shroud,
The wreathing fires made way.

They wrapped the ship in splendor wild,
They caught the flag on high,
And streamed above the gallant child
Like banners in the sky.

There came a burst of thunder sound--
The boy--oh! where was he?
Ask of the winds that far around
With fragments strewed the sea--

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