TiaHSIAf 11 tV IDA DAILES
HERMINIA ZUR MUHLEN
TRANSLATED FROM THE GERMAN BY IDA DAILES
COVER DRAWINGS AND COLOR PLATES BY LYDIA GIBSON
PUBLISHED BY THE
DAILY WORKER PUBLISHING CO.
1113 West Washington Boulevard
FEB 5 1959 J
Copyright by the
DAILY WORKER PUBLISHING CO.
Printed in the United States of America by the Daily Worker Publishing Co.
The Little Grey Dog
Dear Little Comrades:
The work of translating this little book of fairy tales for
workers' children is very small in comparison to the joy I get from
the knowledge that you, my beloved young comrades, are going to
You have read many fairy tales, some of them very beautiful
and some that frightened you with their horrible giants and goblins.
But never, I am sure, have you read such lovely stories about real
everyday things. You see poor people suffering around you every
day; some of you have yourselves felt how hard it is to be poor. You
know that there are rich people in the world, that they do not work
and have all the good things of life. You also know that your
fathers work hard and then worry about what will happen if they
lose their jobs.
Comrade zur Miihlen, who wrote these fairy tales, tells us in
a beautiful way how these things can be stopped. All of us who
work must learn that we can make the world a better place for
workers and their children to live in if we will help one another.
She shows us that the rich people who do not work but keep us en-
slaved are our enemies; we must join together, we workers of the
world, and stop these wrongs.
Even the pretty, delicate Rose-bush knew how to use her thorns
when the rich lady came near her. The little Sparrow died while seek-
ing a better land for the Sparrow brothers, but he did not die in vain.
The faithful little grey dog gave his life for the Negro boy who had
saved him from being drowned; and the Crocodile proved that even
an ugly, hungry beast can be more kind than a rich slave-owner.
And our little lonely friend Paul learned that he must not stop ask-
ing why things were wrong in the world, but that he must make com-
rades of all the workers and teach them also to ask why, until mil-
lions would be asking that question and seeking to find the answer
When you read these stories, I am sure you will want to lend
the book to all your friends, so that they too may spend some hap-
py hours with the new friends you have found in the book.
Your loving comrade,
"She Will Get Well"
The Rose-bush did not know where she was born and where
she spent her early days — it is a well known fact that flowers have a
bad memory, but to make up for that they can see into the future.
When she first became conscious of herself, she stood in the middle
of a magnificent green lawn. To one side of her she saw a great
white stone house, that gleamed thru the branches of linden trees, to
the other side stood a high trellised gate thru which she could see
A thin tall man carefully tended the Rose-bush; he brought
manure, bound the drooping twigs of the Rose-bush together with
bark, brought water for the thirsty roots of the Rose-bush to drink.
The Rose-bush was grateful to the man, and as the buds she was
covered with opened into dainty red roses, she said to her friend,
14 You have taken care of me, it is because of you that I have be-
come so beautiful. Take some of my loveliest blossoms in re-
The man shook his head* 'You mean well, dear Rose-bush, and
I would gladly take some of your beautiful blossoms for my sick
wife. But I dare not do it. You don't belong to me/'
"I don't belong to you!" exclaimed the Rose-bush. "Don't I
belong to the person who has taken care of me and troubled himself
about me? Then to whom do I belong?"
The man pointed with his hand to the gleaming white house
among the trees and replied, "To the gracious lady who lives
"That can't be, " replied the Rose-bush. " 'I have never seen this
lady. It is not she who has sprinkled water on me, loosened the
earth at my roots, bound together my twigs. Then how can I
belong to her?"
"She has bought you."
"That is something different. Then the poor woman must have
worked hard to save so much money. Good! Half of my blossoms
shall belong to her.**
The man laughed a little sadly, saying, "Oh, beloved Rose-bush,
you don't yet know the world, I can see that. The lady did not lift
a finger to earn the money.* *
"Then how did she get it?**
"She owns a great factory in which countless workers drudge;
from there comes her wealth/'
The Rose-bush became angry, lifted a bough up high, threat-
ened the man with her thorn-claws, shouting, "I see you enjoy your-
self at my expense because I am still young and inexperienced, tell-
ing me untruths about the world of men. Still I am not so stupid,
I have observed ants and bees, and know that to each belongs the
things for which he has worked."
"That may be so among bees and ants,'* the man sighed deep-
ly, "yet among men it is different. There the people receive just
enough to keep them from starving — all else belongs to the master.
The master builds splendid mansions, plants lovely gardens, buys
"Is that really true?"
The man went back to his work and the Rose-bush began to
meditate. Yet the longer she thought, the worse her temper grew.
Yes, even tho she usually had very fine manners, she spoke roughly to
a bee who wished to visit her. The bee was still young and timid,
and flew off in fright as fast as his wings could carry him. Then
the Rose-bush was sorry for her rough behavior, because she was
naturally friendly, and also because she might have asked the bee
whether the man had spoken the truth.
While she was so engrossed in thought, suddenly some one
shook her and a mischievous voice asked, "Well, my friend, what
are you dreaming about?**
The Rose-bush looked up with her countless eyes and recog-
nized the Wind, that stood laughing before her shaking his head
so that his long hair flew about.
"Wind, beloved Wind!" joyfully exclaimed the Rose-bush,
"You come as tho you had been called. Tell me whether the man
has spoken the truth. And she reported everything the man had
said to her.
The Wind suddenly became serious and whistled thru his teeth
so violently that the branches of the Bose-bush began to tremble.
"Yes/* declared he, "all this is true, and even worse. I come here
from all over the whole world and see everything. Often I am sc
seized with anger that I begin to rave; then the stupid people say,
*My ! what a storm!' "
"And the rich people can really buy everything?"
"Yes," growled the wind. Then suddenly he laughed. "Not
me. They can't capture and imprison me. I am the friend of the
poor. I fly to all lands. In big cities, I station myself before ill-
smelling cellars and roar into them 'Freedom 1 Justice!' To tired,
overworked people I sing a lullaby, 'Be courageous, keep together,
fight, you will conquer!' Then they feel new strength, they know
a comrade has spoken to them." He tittered, and all the leaves in the
garden stirred. "The rich would like to imprison me, because I carry
the message, but I whistle at them. At night I rattle their windows
so that they become frightened in their soft beds, and then I cry,
'Ho ho, you idlers, your time is coming. Make room for the work-
ers of the world!* At that they are very frightened, draw the silken
covers over their ears, try to comfort themselves: 'It was only the
The Wind lifted one of his legs high and pushed it with all his
weight against the magnificent white house. The windows clattered,
many things in the house were broken, a woman's voice shrieked. The
Wind laughed, then drew his leg back and said to the Rose-bush:
"You also can do something, you flowers. Do not bloom for the rich
idlers, and the fruit trees should not bear fruit. But you are pleas-
ure-loving and lazy creatures. Look at the Tulips that stand up so
sturdily all day, always saying nothing but 'How lovely we are!*
They have no other interests."
The petals of the Rose-bush became a deeper red, so ashamed
was she of her sister-flower.
The Wind noticed this and tried to comfort her. "You appear
to be a sensible, kind-hearted bush. I shall visit you more often.
Give me one of your petals as a parting gift/* He took a deep red
petal from a full blown rose. "Be happy — now I must leave/'
At that moment two poorly-dressed pale children came along
the street. They stopped before the gate and cried as tho with one
voice, "Oh, the beautiful roses!" The little girl stretched her hands
longingly toward the blossoms.
"Wind, beloved Wind," called the Rose-bush, as loud as she
could. "Before you fly away, break off two of my loveliest roses and
throw them to the children. But be careful that the petals do not drop
"Do you think I am so clumsy?" grumbled the insulted Wind,
breaking off two handsome roses, and blew them lightly, gently to
The children shouted joyfully, the Wind flew away, and the
Rose-bush enjoyed the happiness of the children. Her enjoyment did
not last long. An angry voice scolded the children. "What impu-
dence is this, to steal the flowers out of my garden!"
The Rose-bush saw a silk-clad lady with fingers that were cov-
ered with rings threatening the children. Her smooth face was red
with anger. The children were frightened and ran off crying.
The Rose-bush breathed deep with indignation and her breath
blew sweeter perfume towards the lady's face. She stepped closer*
"Ah, the beautiful roses. I had better pick them, otherwise the rab-
ble from the streets will steal them. And they are such an expen-
At this the Rose-bush became enraged, so that her blossoms
blazed a fiery red. "If I were only strong as the wind/* thought she,
"I would get hold of this evil woman and shake her so that she would
become deaf and blind- Such a common creature has a whole garden
full of the most gorgeous flowers and begrudges the children for
two paltry roses. But you shall not have even one of my blossoms,
you bad woman, just wait/*
And as the woman bent down to pick the flowers, the Rose-
bush hit her in the face with a twig, stretching out all her thorns like
a cat stretches out its claws, and scratched up the woman's face.
aloud. The wo-
man did not want
to cease from her
taak, but the
Rose-bush was as
willful as she;
hand of the wo-
man reached, a
sprang out and
scratched her till
At last the woman, with torn clothes, with scratched, dirty
hands, had to turn back home.
The Rose-bush was completely tired from the heated struggle.
Her many green arms hung limply, her flowers were paler, she sighed
softly. Yet she thought more deeply and arrived at a mighty reso-
Late in the evening the Wind came flying to bid the Rose-bush
good-night, and the Rose-bush said to him solemnly, "Listen to me,
Brother Wind, I will follow your advice, I will no longer bloom for
The Wind carressed the leaves and flowers of the Rose-bush
with gentle hands, saying earnestly, "Poor little Rose-bush, will you
have the strength for that? You will have to suffer a great deal."
"Yes," replied the Rose-bush, "I know it. But I will have the
strength. Only you must come every day and sing your song of
freedom, so as always to renew my courage."
The Wind promised to do this.
Then followed bad days for the Rose-bush, for she had decided
not to drink any water, that she might cease blooming. When her
friend came with the water pot she drew her little roots close to her-
self, that no drops might touch them. Ah, how she suffered! she
thought she would faint. In the day-time the sun shone, and she be-
came more thirsty every hour, always longing more for water. And
at last, at evening came the longed for drink, but she dared not sip
the full draught, she had to turn away from the cool precious liquid,
to thirst again. After a while she thought she could not endure it.
But the wind came flying, fanning her, singing softly and gently,
"Be brave, be brave! You will conquer!"
Day after day the Rose-bush gazed at the gleaming white
house in which lived people who had everything they wanted and
then looked at the street where others passed by with thin, pale faces
that were tired and sad, and this brought new strength to her heart.
She became constantly more sick and more weak; her arms
hung down feebly, her blossoms dropped their petals, her leaves be-
came wrinkled and yellow. The man who tended her watched her
sadly and asked* "What is wrong, my poor Rose-bush?*' and he
tried every remedy he knew of to help her. But all in vain. One
morning, instead of a handsome, blooming Rose-bush, be found a
miserable, withered, dead bush.
That could not remain there, the withered branches and flow-
ers spoiled the handsome garden, The gracious lady commanded
that the Rose-bush be thrown out. As the man dug her up, the
Rose-bush gathered her remaining strength and whispered beseech-
ingly, "Take me home! Please, please take me home!"
The man fulfilled her wish. He planted the Rose-bush in a
flower pot and took her to the poor, small room where he lived. His
sick wife sat up in bed and said, "Ah, the poor Rose-bush, she is as
sick as I am, but you will nurse us both back to health."
The withered leaves and twigs moaned, "Water! Water!" And
the man understood them and brought in a jar of water. The Rose-
bush drank. Oh ! what delight this was ! Eagerly her roots sucked
up the water, the delicious moisture passing thru all her branches
gave her new life. The next morning she could lift up her branches;
the sick woman was as happy as a child and cried, "She will get
And the Rose-bush really got well. In a short while she again
became so beautiful that the poor little room was as fragrant as a
garden. The pale cheeks of the woman became rosier every day,
her strength was returning. "The Rose-bush has made me well,"
said she, and all the flowers on the Rose-bush glowed deep red with
joy when she heard these words.
The man and his wife were kind people, they gladly shared the
little they had, and carefully broke off some roses to bring joy to
tired people in other lonely rooms. „*-« "***«$*£,
The roses had other magic powers; the Rose-bush, in her days
of struggle and suffering, had learned the songs of the Wind. Now
her flowers sang them very softly for their friends, "Keep together!
Fight! You will conquer!" Then the people said, "How strange!
The perfume of the flowers brings us new strength. We will fight
together for a better world."
But to the little chidren the roses sang in a tender, loving voice:
"Little children, when you are grown up, you will no longer stand
sadly before the gate. The whole world will belong to those who
work, the whole world!"
"So People Get Tired Too/* Thought the Sparrow
Quarrel and disagreement ruled in the Sparrow family. Mother
Sparrow squatted unhappily in her nest all day and Father Sparrow
swore and grumbled and found fault with everything. The family
that had once been so gay and happy was completely changed. And
for all this misery the youngest Sparrow was to blame. One eve-
ning at supper he had declared, briefly and boldly, "I'm not going to
school any more. I've had enough of being insulted by those aristo-
crats. Above all, I'm tired of all this life. I want to go out into the
world." He stuck up his bill and looked at his parents defiantly.
Mother Sparrow was so shocked that all her feathers stood up.
She started helplessly at her naughty son, and all she could do was to
say weakly, "Peep, peep."
But Father Sparrow opened his mouth so wide in anger that the
worm he had meant to eat slid quickly away. He was a person of
action, did not believe in talking much, and proceeded to beat his son
in the face with his sharp beak.
The young Sparrow screamed more defiantly than ever, "I
won't stay here any longer. I've had enough. I'm going out into the
Then Mother Sparrow found her voice again and said tearfully,
"You wicked child! That's how you thank your parents for their
love. Haven't we brought you up well? You are the first sparrow
in our village to attend Professor Swallow's school of architecture
and learn to build artistic nests. You belong to the best society and
mingle with Swallows, Starlings and Yellow-bills. And this is how
you repay us.
"I don't care a pin about fine society," replied the excited
young Sparrow. And he whistled defiantly, "Tweet, tweet!"
"No other Sparrow is studying such a respectable profession,"
despairingly piped Mother Sparrow.
Then the young Sparrow began to make such a fuss that the
whole nest shook. "A respectable profession, truly a beautiful pro-
fession. To build nests in which others live. To slave in the heat of
the sun, carrying straws from all over, to weave them together, to
see that everything is just perfect — and then the fine ladies and gen-
tlemen move in, and throw me a little worm for my wages, hardly
enough for a decent meal. Above all, these fine people. The swal-
lows, always dressed up in their frock-coats; the Yellow-bills, always
showing off their fine jewelry. And how they treat our own people,
full of pride and scorn. Common laborer, they call me. I've had
enough of it, I'm as good as they are, and maybe better."
Mother Sparrow shrank in horror, but Father Sparrow blew up
until he nearly burst and shouted, "Be silent, you lost soul, you whip-
per-snapper. You talk like a Bolshevik. You forget that I am
chairman of the Council of Jesters. My son must not rebel against
law and order."
"Yes," exclaimed Mother Sparrow, "and suppose the neighbors
should hear you I How dreadful!"
The young Sparrow laughed shamelessly, seated himself on the
edge of the nest and whistled a revolutionary song.
Father Sparrow rose hastily and grumbled in an undertone to
his wife, "See to that young fool and make him behave. I must go to
the meeting of the Singing Society." He flew away without one look
at his naughty son.
Mother Sparrow sighed deeply and asked in a complaining
voice, "Now what is it you really want?"
The young Sparrow came closer, nestled against his mother, and
said with a sweet smile, "I want to go away little mother, far away.
To foreign lands where it is always summer."
"But son of my heart, you know that even the stupid children
of men learn in their schools that the Sparrow is not a migratory
"What is that to me? I can't stand it here any longer. Always
seeing the same things; in the distance the old church steeple, here
before our noses the farm-house, and the dung-hill. No, I want to go
away, far away."
At that he spread out his wings and pushed himself head first
out of the nest into space. It seemed very dangerous, but his wings
carried him safely thru the air.
But the young Sparrow was by no means as joyous and light-
hearted as he seemed to be. The words of his parents had aroused
all sorts of doubts in his mind. "Mother was really right," he said
to himself. "The Sparrow is not a migratory bird. No one has ever
heard of a Sparrow that has flown across the great ocean and gone to
foreign lands. But why shouldn't I be the first one to do this?" he
asked himself, with defiant courage. "Some one must always be
the first one. If my venture succeeds, I will have proven to all the
Sparrow folk that they need not freeze and starve in the winter-time,
but can move to the warm countries and live happily. Certainly, the
ocean. . ." The young Sparrow's heart lost courage, he thought of
what his teacher, the Swallow had once told him about the great,
wild water that never seemed to end, about the angry frothy waves
over which one had to fly daily. If one's wings lost their strength,
one fell down and was lost. One was swallowed by the waves.
At these thoughts the Sparrow almost wanted to give up the
idea. He shrank together and began shivering. Then suddenly he
thought how in past hard winters many wretched Sparrows had died
of hunger and cold.
"No, no," said he to himself. "I must not be so cowardly. This
matter does not concern only myself, but all my brother Sparrows, all
the Sparrows of future generations, who will live when I have been
long dead. It will be worth every danger and every sacrifice if I can
help them to a happier life."
And the brave young Sparrow decided to leave the next day.
He spent that ^&8SL ^ him t0 leave *
night in his par- O^^^X Father returned
ento' nest, nestled Q^'ffiu vi\ late ' and he Was
i i. \t \liv\.\ft quite drunk, threw
close to his gk ^WmK k' u k« u A
^fj^r VwMOS* nimselr on his bed
mother, wept a ^teL ^^W^^\ mx. i j
little secretly be- <||f and fell asleep
cause it was hard ^ immediately.
The grey-white sky began to turn rosy, morning came flying on
the wings of the wind and brought light to the world. The young
Sparrow awoke, looked for the last time at his sleeping parents, and
flew forth. He knew in which direction he must fly, for he remem-
bered the stories of the Swallows. Now he flew exactly that way.
The sun climbed higher into the heavens, it became hotter and
hotter, the poor Sparrow could hardly breathe. His wings were so
tired and sore that he could hardly lift them. Still he flew further.
He had resolved not to rest until the shadows would fall upon the
Never had he lived thru so long a day. Vainly his bright little
eyes explored the heavens, but the great golden sphere of the sun
shone brightly, would not go down.
"I was a fool," thought the Sparrow. "Now I might be sitting
at home in our nest, or be bathing in the puddle by the cherry-tree.
Ah, how pleasant it would be to bathe; at this moment even the
ocean would not be too large."
Still he flew steadily on. But now he flew slowly, every beat of
his wings caused him dreadful pain. He began to hate the sun, this
merciless glowing red sphere that would not go down. To give him-
self courage, he made up a little song, singing it very softly and
moving his tired wings in time to its rhythm.
"My cause is the cause of my brothers,
My strength must save them all;
If I fail I do wrong to the others,
And their chains will never fall/*
At last, at last, great black shadows fell upon the earth, A
refreshing breeze came flying, coolly fanning the weary Sparrow,
carrying him gently along on its mighty wings.
As the sun went down behind a blue hill, the tired Sparrow
alighted on a large meadow. He lay panting in the tall grass. The
soft chirping of the crickets lulled him to sleep; his eyes closed.
Rough, loud voices of men awakened him. Under a knotty old
nut tree he saw two ragged, dust- covered men seated. One of them
pulled his torn boots off, looked woefully at his blistered feet and
said, "I can't run any more, I must rest a day/*
"Just another half hour," the other man said comfortingly.
"Just to the next railroad station. There we will hide in a freight car
and ride until morning. Then it will not be far to the sea."
The Sparrow had listened carefully to their conversation. "So
people get tired, too," thot he, "and then they ride. I don't know
what that means, but I know that one does not tire oneself that way*
If people ride, why shouldn't Sparrows also ride?" He decided to
follow the men, and since they left in a short time he flew after them.
They arrived at a house in front of which two shining bands
were stretched on the ground. Now night had really come, All was
hidden in darkness, only the stars shone faintly in the sky. The
Sparrow stayed near the two men and waited.
Suddenly something dreadful appeared. Thru the darkness a
gigantic black beast came rattling, its red eyes shining so brightly
that one could see them from a great distance, it puffed and panted,
the earth shook after it. It shrieked frightfully as it came near,
Then suddenly it stopped. It let out clouds of smoke from its long
The Sparrow was astonished that neither of the two men, nor
the rest of the people, seemed to be afraid of the monster. On the con-
trary, they ran up to it, disappearing in its smoke. Then the Sparrow
saw that the monster pulled some black houses behind it. He saw
the two men sneak into one of these houses and flew on to the roof
of the same house. Scarcely had he settled himself when the mon-
ster again began to puff and pant and started on its journey.
The poor Sparrow thought he would die of fright. The mon-
ster rushed with such speed that the little bird could not hear or see.
At home he had often flown with the wind for the sport of it and had
enjoyed the swift motion. But this was altogether different. He
made himself very small, settled himself firmly, and believed his last
hour had come. If men called this rest they surely are strange
creatures. Perhaps it wasn't so terrible where the people were. He
was a clever Sparrow and when the monster stopped again to take
breath, he flew down from the roof of the house and examined it.
The door was not quite closed. The Sparrow squeezed thru the
crack, entered a dark room where many boxes were piled. He
squatted on one of the chests and waited to see what would hap-
The monster began to run again. The Sparrow laughed with
joy; now he had guessed right. He sat here quietly, comfortably,
and the monster had to slave to carry him further. So this is what
people call **to ride/* Truly, people are not so stupid as he had
The countless feet of the monster pounded over the earth sing-
ing a rattling, rumbling, monotonous song. The Sparrow under-
stood the words to mean "Into the distance! Into the distance!" For
a while he listened to the song, then he fell asleep.
He must have slept a long time. When he awoke the sun was
high in the sky and its rays came into the dark room thru narrow
cracks in the door. The Sparrow saw that his two acquaintances
had hidden themselves between two tall boxes. They seemed to be
in good humor, chatting with one another and laughing,
"We have traveled a good part of our journey without trouble,"
said the older one. "Now we only have to walk another day and
ride another night. Then we will reach the ocean/*
"How long will we have to swim?"
"About five days/*
The Sparrow was frightened. Five days he would have to swim
over the endless waters, five long days he could not rest or cease if he
wished to save himself from sinking into the waves. How could
he endure it? He began to reflect carefully. Could men swim so
long in water? He had seen boys bathing in the village pond, yet
they would come out of the water in a short time and none of them
ever remained in the water all day long. But perhaps there were
also tame monsters which carried men over the water. Again he de-
cided not to leave the two men and to do everything they did.
When the two men jumped, unnoticed, off the freight train at
a railway station, the Sparrow followed them. He flew very close
to them. He felt that they were both his friends and so long as
he would not leave them nothing would happen to him.
All day long the men journeyed, walking thru fields and mead-
ows, thru little villages with queer pointed church steeples. The
younger of the two men limped, he could only walk slowly. This
was very pleasing to the Sparrow, because he did not have to move
fast, he could fly comfortably. When the men stopped, the Sparrow
followed their example, meantime seeking his food, as the long jour-
ney made him unusually hungry. He also chatted with a few strange
birds, all of whom advised him not to continue his dangerous jour-
nev. The migratory birds looked him over scornfully, saying with a
sneer, "Do you believe you can do the same as we distinguished
people? To travel, to see the world, to spend the winter in warm
countries— that is not for common people/*
An old blackbird minister, black-frocked and solemn, delivered
a sermon to him from a branch, **We must obey God's command-
ments. God has ordained that Sparrows must spend the winter in
"If God has decreed that all our people shall freeze and starve
and that only the aristocrats, the Capitalists, like the Swallows and
Starlings, shall fly away to the warm places, I don't want to know
anything about him!*' cried the Sparrow and his feathers bristled up
The old blackbird minister primped his shining feathers with
his bill and growled senselessly. But the Sparrow was sad. "How
cruel the birds are to one another," he thot to himself, "I want to
do something that will help all and am just laughed at. Can't any-
body understand me?"
"Hark, hark!" called a soft voice from a great height, and a
young Lark shot downward as swift as lightning to the side of the
sad Sparrow. "I understand you. Everybody jeers at me too, be-
cause I don't fly close to the earth like they do, but always seek to
fly higher and higher, into the blue sky. Do not be downcast, beloved
brother, you will reach your goal/*
The young Lark flew quite close to the Sparrow, looked at him
and said, "Fly a little for me, brother, so I can see how strong your
The Sparrow flew up, hovering over the Lark.
As he returned she looked at him sadly and said earnestly,
11 Your wings cannot carry you over the great ocean, my poor
friend. But you must not give up on account of that, you must do
as men do, who cannot fly and yet travel all over the world. They
have invented a sort of house that swims over the water. They call
it a ship. You must. . . . "
The Sparrow did not wait to hear the end. The two men had
left during the conversation, and now the Sparrow saw them in the
distance looking like two dark spots. Frightened, he cried. "My
two men have left me/* and he flew after them as fast as he could.
When it grew dark, the men once again sneaked into a freight
train. The Sparrow followed them and slept all night, while the
black monster again took him over hills and mountains, past rivers
As dawn came, the two men crept out of the train and the Spar-
row flew after them. They walked for a little while, then the Spar-
row saw an immense body of water lying before him. Endless, ex-
tending beyond his vision, this blue-gray body of water extended,
and on its surface stormed wild, white-capped, monstrously high
So this was the ocean ! Never had the Sparrow felt so small and
helpless as at the sight of this dreadful water. What was he in com-
parison to this? A poor, helpless little bird, a tiny something. Deep
sighs lifted his little breast, from his bright eyes the tears fell. "If I
were only at home, in the safe little nest," cried he to himself. "I
could creep under mother's wings as I did when I was little."
The waves roared dismally, threateningly ; the white froth squirt-
ed upwards. The two men walked unconcernedly on the damp,
sandy ground. With beating heart the Sparrow followed them.
And then he saw something surprising. In a great bay some strange
things tossed. They were something like a house, but had few win-
dows and tall chimneys from which streamed heavy grey smoke;
some things that looked like a forest; bare trees without branches
seemed to grow in it. Altho these trees bore neither fruit not leaves,
the Sparrow was delighted to see them. They gave him confidence.
He began to feel at home. But how strange it was that these houses
with trees on them were tossed up and down by the waves. Suddenly
the Sparrow remembered the words of the Lark. "Men call these
houses that swim on the water 'ships 1 /' So these were ships! On one
of these tossing, swimming houses he would journey to warm lands.
But which should he choose?
It occurred to him that at home the largest trees could best
withstand the wind. Evidently the same was true of ships, and so
he must choose the largest.
His two friends went to a small ship, and the Sparrow piped,
"Good luck! Good luck!" but they did not hear him.
The Sparrow flew on to an immense ship from whose chim-
neys streamed great clouds of grey smoke, and hid himself high up
at the top of one of the leafless trees/
What noise and excitement there was below. Countless people
ran hither and thither, calling and shouting to one another; some-
thing rattled, something clattered, the great chimneys shrieked
loudly. A bridge that attached the boat to the land flew up into the
air, then fell into the boat with a bang. The boat started on its jour-
ney. Slowly, solemnly it cut thru the water that bubbled on either
side. The large house with the leafless trees, the little bird's new
home, swam away from the land.
The Sparrow's mind was quite confused with the noise and
hurry. And now another great fright came to him. Suddenly a
young fellow climbed up his tree. The Sparrow believed that he
wanted to capture him, but the fellow didn't seem to notice him and
after a little while climbed back. As it grew dark, the boat became
quiet and one could only hear the noise of the waves. The Sparrow
flew down from his tree and sat down on the roof, where he soon
When he awoke in the morning, he thot he would die of fear.
The land had disappeared. Wherever he looked he saw only water;
great grey waves rolled against the ship, shaking it gently as a soft
wind shakes the nests in the trees. Nowhere a tree, a shrub, a flower.
The boat swam all alone on the great ocean, that would not end.
The poor Sparrow felt quite lonesome and deserted, **If I could
just find any bird," sighed he. "Even if it were a haughty Swallow
or a strange Blackbird. At least I could speak with some one who
knows my world, who speaks my language.** Finally he lost all his
courage and began to weep bitterly.
"Who are you?" suddenly asked a thin, piping voice, and the
Sparrow beheld a little mouse standing before him, who stared at him
with large round eyes.
The Sparrow He bent down and
was happy, for ^ ie ^^^ > % ^£V t ^T^T\ ^~*^ hopefully an-
was acquainted ^p|^ ^%^^^/M^^^ swered the ques-
with mice at home. tions of the mouse*
* You are a brave Sparrow," she said, after she had heard his
story. "I bid you welcome to my ship/*
"To your ship?" exclaimed the Sparrow. "I thot that the ship
belongs to the people."
"The people also believe that," replied the Mouse sharply.
"But don't you know that people believe that everything belongs
"That is true. The farmer at home believed that the church-
steeple was his, and yet it is quite clear that the church-steeple "was
made for us Sparrows."
While they were speaking thus, a very old mouse came over
and began to speak. "Not all people believe that everything belongs
to them," said she learnedly. "There are also people who do not
possess anything. You can observe that on the ship. Above live
people in large, beautiful rooms, and eat all day long. My mouth
waters when I smell the rich foods that are set before them."
"But down below the people are crowded together, so that they
can hardly find place to lie down at night, and many have only dry
bread along with them to eat on the whole journey. This stupid
phrase 'my boat* you have also learned from men," she said scold-
ing the mouse. 'You know that the common things are ours. Don't
let me hear false words from you."
"Excuse me, grandmother," begged the young Mouse.
"You are a stranger here," said the Grandmother Mouse to the
Sparrow. "We will be helpful to you, so that you can endure the
long journey. I advise you not to fly to the rich people, they will
play with you a day or two, and then forget you. Indeed, it is only
among the poor people, on the lower deck, that you will find a few
breadcrumbs, and these people will be good to you because they
know how a poor, unfortunate creature feels/*
The Sparrow followed the advice of the wise Grandmother
Mouse and soon realized that she had spoken truthfully. The chil-
dren were delighted with him, and they spared him breadcrumbs
from the few that were provided for their own little mouths. And
because they were children, they understood the language of the
Sparrow, and chatted with him. In this way the Sparrow heard
many sad stories. The children told of poverty and distress, how
hard parents had to work and how often there was nothing to eat at
home. The honest Sparrow felt very sad to hear this, "There must
also be a beautiful land for men, where conditions are good and
they do not have to hunger and freeze/* said he to his little friend.
"Perhaps," said a pale little girl. "But we have not yet found
the road to it."
"When I am big," declared a little boy dressed in black, "then
I will go out to search for that land. When I find it I will lead all
the poor people to it."
The two mice also visited the Sparrow often, they always came
towards evening, when all was quiet.
So passed a long time, and one day the Sparrow saw land in
the distance, saw houses and trees and knew that now his goal was
The grey ocean had become quite blue and gleamed in the sun-
shine. It was very hot, and Grandmother Mouse said that in this
land there was no winter.
When the ship landed, the Sparrow flew after his friends for a
while and then contemplated his new home.
AH the people had brown faces and wore strange clothes.
The faces of the women were covered so that one could only see their
large black eyes. He also saw queer animals that walked on four
legs and had great humps on their backs. Even the trees were differ-
ent than those at home, there were some with long pointed leaves and
brown fruit that the Sparrow relished. There was plenty to eat;
here no Sparrow had to suffer hunger, and there was no snow or cold.
"Isn't this also the right country for the poor people?" the
Sparrow asked himself. But then he saw that in this sunny land
there were also rich and poor, that some were richly dressed and
others wore rags, that some lazy ones rode in handsome carriages
and some dragged heavy burdens. And he thot, "It is much easier to
find a Sparrow paradise than a land in which people may enjoy hap-
piness/* This pained him, because on his journey he had learned
to love the poor people. "But how strange this is. People can tame
wild animals to carry them thru all lands, they know how to build
houses that swim on the water and yet they are so poor and des-
titute and let a few evil wretches take everything for themselves."
Now that he had reached the warm country, the Sparrow
rested from his long and wearisome journey, flew about lazily, and
spent each night in a different tree.
One day he came to a beautiful green stream and flew along its
course. He came to a great, large plain. At first he thought he had
reached the ocean again, but as far as he could see lay fine yellow
sand. In the distance he saw something rising out of the sand which
looked like a monstrous animaL He flew closer to it and saw that
it really was a gigantic creature with the head of a human being
and two large paws. It was made of grey -brown stone and was part-
ly covered with sand.
The ugly animal lay quite still and grinned angrily. The Spar*
row curtseyed carefully: would the beast wish to eat him? But no,
it graciously acknowledged his greeting and said: "I have been ly-
ing here thousands of years, yet I have never seen a bird like you.
Who are you? What are you doing here?"
The Sparrow related his story and the great beast listened
patiently. Then the little bird inquired, ''Will you tell me who you
are? We have no animals like you at home."
The great beast laughed and replied, "People call me the
Sphinx. I am so old that I have lost count of my years; have seen
everything, know everything."
"In my country the Owls say that, too," was the Sparrow's pert
The Sphinx looked at him angrily. "The Owl is a conceited
boaster!" he cried excitedly.
"Excuse me!" stammered the Sparrow, frightened, "I did not
wish to insult you. You look much older than the Owl."
"Indeed I am, I count my years by the thousands."
"How much you must have seen!" cried the Sparrow,
The Sphinx opened her gigantic mouth and yawned so hugely
that the sand flew about her as tho a whirlwind had hit it.
"Since the year 1 000/* said she, "I always see the same; I see
people who have riches and joy, forcing their starving slaves to
drudge. At first the slaves were driven with whips which the over-
seer used to beat them with when they became tired from the heat of
the sun. Often these slaves were kept at work with chains on their
feet so that they should not run away. Later the whips disap-
peared, the masters bragged of their kindness, saying, 'In these
progressive times, no man is a slave/ But secretly they concealed a
dreadful whip, Hunger, and this drove the people to slavery as sure-
ly as the whip they had used previously. I see people pass here,
rich strangers who visit this country out of curiosity, and see the
poor Arabs, who work as muleteers and drag heavy stones, and are
barely kept alive with a few dates and a little corn, just like their
ancestors thousands of years ago."
The Sphinx became silent, gazing gloomily at the desert.
Then she spoke again, "For thousands of years there were gorge-
ously dressed, jeweled priests here, who belonged in the same class
as the rich people. They preached to the people, threatening them
with the anger of the gods if they became dissatisfied with their fate.
Today these priests are dressed in black, but they also lie and stand
by the rich ones, they also worship a God who was a bad mechanic.
It has always been the same, for thousands of years/* And again
the Sphinx yawned.
"Can't you also see into the future, wise Beast?" bashfully
questioned the Sparrow.
14 Yes, I can also see that Listen to my words, little bird. A
day will come when all slaves will arise in a dreadful struggle
against their oppressors, After long bloody battles they will conquer
and then there will be a new world, where everything belongs to all
the people and all people are free- Even today the earth trembles in
happy expectation, and in the quiet night I feel its trembling. For
thousands of years I have not spoken to any being, I will only speak
again when the day of freedom dawns. Then my voice will join
in the jubilations of the freed people/*
The Sparrow flew out of the desert where he could find noth-
ing to eat, back to the green stream, and enjoyed many pleasant
One day he was sitting on a stone on the bank of the stream,
when he heard familiar voices, * Tweet! Tweet!"
He looked up and saw three Swallows who flew slowly toward
"Are you here already?" the Sparrow asked in surprise,
"Certainly, certainly," twittered the Swallows. "At home
rough winds are blowing, the frost is in the meadows at night,
winter is coming."
How frightened the Sparrow was at that. Here in this beautiful
land where he had plenty of fat worms and warm sunshine, he had
forgotten about his Sparrow brothers. And in the meantime the dead-
ly winter had come! He must rush home to teach them how to
reach the sunny land. Would he reach there in time? How selfish
he had been; if Sparrows were freezing and starving at home, it was
Even while he was thinking this he spread out his little wings
and flew toward the ocean.
In the harbor many silvery-white Seagulls flew about, crying
with shill voices, "A storm is coming! A storm is coming!"
"Which ship is going north?" he asked hastily.
"None," answered a Seagull; but this was not true, they were
disagreeable birds and wanted to frighten the Sparrow.
But he believed them. "Then I must fly over the ocean,"
thought he, fearfully. "I must do it, for on me depends the life or.
death of my Sparrow brothers. I must make good."
Sadly he looked back once more on the wonderland; then flew
out on the great waters.
Wild waves dashed up, the storm howled and rain fell. In a
few hours, the Sparrow was so tired that he could no longer fly
high. The billows made his feathers wet, they were heavy with the
water and drew him deeper and deeper down. A monstrous wave
reached out for him with white arms and the Sparrow fell into the
ocean and was swallowed by the waves.
For that reason the Sparrows must still freeze and starve every
winter, for there has not been another courageous Sparrow to show
them the way to the sunny country.
But had the Sparrow suffered so much and died in vain?
No, the little black-haired boy on the ship had paid special
attention to the story which the Sparrow had told him and had
listened to what the Sparrow wanted to do for his Sparrow brothers,
and this the little boy wanted to do for his fellow-humans. He grew
up, and wherever oppressed workers struggled against their op-
pressors, he was the leader. But the story of the black-haired boy,
of his life and his death, is another tale and does not belong here.
LITTLE GREY DOG
"The Little Grey Dog*
He was an ugly grey dog with long silken-soft ears and a
bushy tail. He was born in a splendid stable that belonged to a rich
man. This rich man lived on a large estate in which were fields and
meadows. And in these fields grew sugarcane, in great quantities,
great, round, smooth canes that contained the sweet sugar. On the
sugar plantations worked hundreds of Negroes, men and women,
and the Negroes belonged to the rich man who had bought
them in the market as he would buy cattle, for this story happened
long ago, in those days when slavery existed in America. The rich
man could do anything he wished with his slaves* If he was in a bad
mood he would permit them to be whipped; if they dared to protest
against this cruel treatment they were more cruelly punished —
they were stripped naked, smeared with honey, and tied to a tree* The
smell of the honey attracted the bees that came in large swarms, set-
tled on the body of the slave, sucked the honey and stung the bound
man till he collapsed with pain. Also, the master could sell his
slave, did this frequently, without the least consideration, tearing
mother from child, separating man and wife, sister and brother. The
poor Negroes were completely helpless, they had to work all day
long in the hot sun, received very poor food, lived in wretched huts,
separated from the house of the rich man by a mighty river. Here
lived the Negroes, crowded together; the children played about in
front of these huts, played happily, because they did not yet know
that they were slaves and that a hard, difficult life awaited them.
In one of the Negro huts arrived the little grey dog who had
been born in the splendid stable, and this is how it happened.
when the rich
stable, h et*
dog who was
playing in the
straw. He ex-
amined t h e
and said an-
grily to the
"What is this
ugly little crea-
ture doing here
in my beautiful
stable? Take it
out, drown it in
The coachman promised to do this; indeed he pitied the lively
little animal, but the master was strict and he did not dare to disobey
the command. He called the little dog, who came running joyously,
and started toward the river. As he came near the homes of the
slaves, a little black boy ran out of one of the huts and cried, "O, the
lovely little animal! Where are you taking it?" And he ran quite
close to them and patted the dog, who mischievously jumped at him,
"I must drown the dog," answered the coachman.
At that the eyes of the little boy filled with tears, he took the
dog in his arms, held him close, and begged, "Don't do it, just see
how darling he is!"
"I must do it, Benjamin. The master has commanded me. If I
don't obey him he will punish me severely."
The little grey dog licked Benjamin's face, looked at him with
his large eyes that seemed to implore him, "Save me, save me!'
"Give me the dog," pleaded Benjamin. "I will hide him well
so that the master will not see him."
The coachman thought for a moment, then replied, "Good,
you may hide him. But," he said warningly, "you must not betray
the fact that I have given him to you. If the master should ever see
him, you must say that you saved him from the river. Then he will
give you a bad beating. . . .
"That doesn't matter," cried Benjamin eagerly. "As long as the
little dog is allowed to live."
The coachman laughed, removed the string from the neck of
the dog, and Benjamin ran to the hut with him, patting him, kissing
him, full of joy. At evening when Benjamin's parents came home,
he showed them the dog, and the parents also were happy because
they had to be away from home all day and always feared that the
little boy might go to the river, fall in and be drowned. But now he
would stay near the huts with his playfellow, so that he might hide
himself quickly in case the rich man might pass by.
It was as tho the little grey dog knew that Benjamin had saved
his life. He did not leave the side of the little boy, obeyed him, and
showed himself to be quite intelligent. Benjamin spoke to him like
to a person, and the dog looked at him as wisely as tho he understood
Benjamin's parents were young and strong, the best workers on
the sugar plantation. Therefore the severe overseer was satisfied
with them and beat them less often than he did the other slaves. On
that account they were both, in spite of their hard life, satisfied, and
in the evenings when they returned to their hut and their little Ben-
jamin, all three of them were gay and happy*
Benjamin's mother Hannah was also an excellent seamstress,
she knew how to weave pretty baskets from reeds and rushes, and
was a very good cook.
One day the eldest daughter of the rich man, who lived with her
husband in the north, come to visit her father. She was glad to see
her old home again and everything seemed to her more beautiful than
in the north. She complained of the trouble she had in getting serv-
ants in the city, "These whites are not nearly as desirable as the
blacks/* said she. "They cannot be driven to work with whips.
You should present me with a good slave, father, so that it will be
more comfortable for me. My husband will be quite angry about it,
for the people in the north are crazy, they claim that the blacks are
also human beings, and that slavery must be abolished. But he loves
me dearly, and will be glad if he sees me happy."
The rich man thought a while and said, "The young slaves that
I own are all clumsy, incapable; the old ones of course could not be-
come accustomed to living in a large city and would be more trouble
than help to you. Whom can I give you?**
He considered for a moment, then cried happily, "Now I know,
Hannah is just the right one for you. How could I forget her? Of
course, she has a little boy, . ."
"I don't want him," the daughter interrupted. "My dear little
son must not play with a dirty Negro child. You can keep Hannah's
"You are a good mother, my beloved child," said the rich man,
moved. M You always think of your son. Good, Benjamin shall re-
main here and when you go back to the city tomorrow, I will give
you Hannah to take along. I will immediately tell the overseer, so
that he may tell her to be ready."
And the rich man called a servant and bade him bring the over-
Ah, what a sad night that was in the little hut of the Negroes.
Poor Hannah hugged her little son close in her arms and cried as
though her heart would break. Her husband Tom gazed at her with
worried eyes and was so miserable that he could not say a wolxL
Hannah kept looking anxiously toward the little window, trembling
with the fear of seeing the first ray of light that meant that day was
near, when she would leave her loved ones.
The little grey dog seemed to understand the grief of his friends,
he nestled quite close to Hannah's coat, looking up at them with lov-
ing, clever eyes. Then Hannah cried loudly, "If they sell you, too,
Tom, what will become of our poor child?** The little dog laid his
paw on little Benjamin as though to say, "Don't fear, poor mother, I
will take care of him/*
Hannah noticed this, sobbingly patted the shaggy head of the
dog, and said to him, "Guard my little boy, you good dog. We are
all as helpless and deserted as you."
The following morning, poor Hannah, weeping bitterly, rode
off with the young woman. Her family was not allowed to see her
off, for Tom had to work in the field and Benjamin, like all the
slaves, was forbidden to come near the house of the rich man.
Little Benjamin lived thru many sad days. His father was so
unhappy that he no longer wanted to work, and many evenings he
would return home with his back all bloody. Instead of the caress-
ing and joy to which Benjamin was accustomed there was an unac-
customed silence in the house. Tom sat sadly on the ground, some-
times stroking sadly the wooly head of his little son, but never speak-
ing. Only once in a while he would cry out, "Hannah!*' and sigh
deeply, while great tears rolled down his black face. And some-
times he would clench his fist, looking so angry that Benjamin took
the little dog and crawled into a corner with him.
The overseer was always unsatisfied with Tom, he complained
to the master of the laziness and obstinacy of the slave. Had poor
Tom known the results of his disobedience, he would have worked
as industriously as he used to, in spite of his anger and unhappiness.
The rich man celebrated his birthday. There was a great feast,
chickens and calves and Iambs were roasted, rich foods could be
smelled all thru the house, the servants brought countless bottles
from the wine-cellar. After supper the young guests danced in the
large hall, the older men seated themselves at a table and began to
The rich man had no luck, he lost again and again, until at last
his purse was empty. "One more game," said he to his friend who
had won all the money, "We will gamble for my strongest and best
slave," And he thought to himself, "If I lose Tom, that will not be
a misfortune, for lately he is lazy and obstinate, anyhow."
His friend agreed. The whole life and fate of a human being
depended upon a few cards, a bundle of paper. The rich man drew
a card, his friend did the same. They threw the cards on the table.
The rich man had lost.
When Tom came to work the following morning, the overseer
told him to go to the house of the rich man, the master had sold him
and his new master would take him to his estate at once.
That evening Benjamin waited in vain for the return of his
father. Night came, it was quite dark, and his father did not come.
Benjamin sat huddled on the threshold, peering anxiously into the
darkness. The little grey dog lay near him. He was sad and quiet,
he seemed to feel that something was wrong. At last Benjamin
could stand it no longer, ran crying to the hut of a neighbor, and
asked about his father. The stout negress informed him that a
strange master had taken Tom with him that morning; he was sold
and would not return.
Benjamin went home crying, afraid of the dark, holding the
little dog, his only friend, tight in his arms. And now something
strange happened. When Benjamin, sobbing, started to tell the little
dog of this sorrow, the dog began to bark softly. But it was not an
ordinary bark, but speech, and Benjamin understood very well the
words, "Don't cry, little friend, I will take care of you and guard
you. And some day we will go to search for your parents."
Benjamin was so astonished at this, that he stopped crying.
"What!" cried he, surprised, "you can speak, like a human being?
The dog shook his shaggy head. "Yes, when the rich people
act like wild beasts against the poor people, we animals must help
them. When a human being is very unhappy and forsaken, he
understands our language and knows that we wish him welL I have
not forgotten, little Benjamin, that you saved my life. I want to
thank you. Lie down on the straw, sleep, I will watch over you,"
A little comforted, the little boy obeyed, and the dog sat down
near him, guarding him all night, licking Benjamin's hand with his
warm tongue occasionally.
Then came hard times for little Benjamin. The stout lady who
was his neighbor took him to her hut, but she was not good to him.
She forced him to carry water from the river in a heavy bucket, and
made him do all kinds of hard work. And the worst was yet to come.
One day the rich man passed by the huts of the Negroes and saw Ben-
jamin. "A strong boy," he said. "He can work in the fields al-
ready." And from then on the little boy had to work in the fields in
the heat of the sun till he thought he would die of weariness.
At evening, tired, he would crawl into the hut, bury his head in
the hide of the grey dog, cry, and draw comfort from his only friend.
One evening, his back all bloody and his face swollen, Benja-
min came home. The overseer had been in a bad temper, had beaten
the little boy with a whip and hit him in the face with his fist.
**I want to die," cried Benjamin, while the dog softly and gently
licked his wounds. "I can't stand it any longer. My parents are
gone, 1 am entirely deserted, everyone is unkind to me. Dog, dear
dog, what shall I do?"
M Run away," replied the dog.
4 * Where to? They will catch me and beat me again."
The dog thought hard for a while.
"We must go north/* said he at last. "There people are better
than they are here. They do not want the Negroes to be slaves. We
must run away there/*
"I don't know the way," complained Benjamin.
"I will lead you. Morning and night, when everybody is asleep,
we will go."
And so it hap-
pened. The moon was
a small white sickle in
the sky, the great trees
tossed wierd, black
shadows on the earth,
all was deathly quiet
only once in a while
the leaves rustled
sleepily, Benjamin and
the dog ran softly on
their tiptoes, out of the
hut, and went toward
the great river. All
night they wandered
along the side of the
river, and when morn-
ing came the dog
looked for a safe hid-
ing place, for the short
legs of little Benjamin
had not carried him
very far, and there was
still the danger that the servants of the rich man might trace him.
While the dog was running restlessly back and forth to find a
safe place, Benjamin sat on the bank of the river, letting his tired,
burning feet hang in the water. Suddenly he was dreadfully fright-
ened and drew his feet back hastily. A large pointed head thrust it-
self thru the water, a gigantic mouth opened, showing two rows of
dreadful teeth, and a deep voice growled, "A fine morsel, just right
Benjamin screamed aloud and the dog came running quickly to
him. Tho he was himself a little frightened, he whispered to Benja-
min, "That is an alligator. Step back and let me speak to him."
The little boy obeyed and the dog addressed himself with cajol-
ing courtesy to the alligator, saying, "Excuse us for having come to
your kingdom, mighty lord of the river, but we are fleeing from evil
people and know that you with your power will be good enough to
The alligator felt flattered, drew his gigantic mouth into a
friendly grin, and replied politely, "You are a clever animal. I am
truly more mighty than people, and," he agreed pensively, "neither
are we as bad as they. But this creature that sat with his feet hang-
ing in the water is also a human being. Then why is he running away
from his brothers?" And the shiny, greenish eyes of the alligator
looked distrustfully at the dog.
"You surely know, wise and mighty animal, that the rich people
are merciless to the poor, as tho they were the wildest beasts. That
is because there is no more greedy animal than this man. He is never
satisfied, he always wants more: food and drink and houses, but
above all, gold. That makes him so mean, IVIy little friend is a poor
child who must work for a rich man. He was torn away from his par-
ents, and beaten until the blood flowed. I advised him to run away.
And now we beg that you help us, for any moment the servants of
the rich man may appear and capture my little friend/*
The alligator shook his pointed head thoughtfully and said:
"People are peculiar creatures. No alligator would torment a little
alligator, neither do we know the difference between rich and poor,
and still it is said that we are evil animals. It is true that I would like
to eat your little friend for breakfast, yet I will be merciful to him.
I will also show you a safe hiding place. Do you see that little island?
The servants of the rich man will not find you there."
"We thank you, mighty animal; but how can we reach the
island? The water is rough and deep, and my little friend can't
"I will carry you over on my back," answered the alligator.
Benjamin and the dog seated themselves on the scaly back of
the animal, and it began to swim. What a strange journey that was!
The waves played over the back of the alligator and the dog was
afraid that the alligator might change his mind and eat both of them
for breakfast* For that reason he spoke continuously to the alliga-
tor, flattered him, praised his goodness and declared solemnly that
the alligators are the noblest animals in the world. This trick did
not fail in its purpose. When they landed on the island, the alligator
called twelve of the strongest alligators to him, instructing them that
they must not harm a hair on the boy or the dog, that they were his
guests. He also commanded them to swim along the bank of the riv-
er and stand guard, keeping the people from coming to the island.
This was well done, for when the sun was high in the heavens, five
men appeared, sent by the rich man to look for Benjamin. One
pointed to the island, started to go into the water, when an immense
alligator pushed his head out of the water and the man crept back.
"He can t be there/' said the man to his companions. "The alliga-
tors here must have eaten him,
Benjamin and the dog rested all day on the island. The little
boy ate the sweet berries that grew there, drank from a well, and at
evening the alligator carried them back again to the bank and bade
them a friendly farewell.
Today traveling was more difficult than it had been yesterday,
for Benjamin's feet were blistered, he groaned and complained at
every step. The dog comforted him, encouraged him, let him ride
on his back a little while tho the boy was too heavy and after a few
minutes the dog's bones would crack and he would have to lie down.
Deep sorrow tormented the dog, surely the servants of the rich man
were somewhere in the neighborhood, determined not to return home
without the boy. And even if they were not found, how far was it
to the north? How will we get there if Benjamin is already too tired
to go further?
Toward midnight they suddenly saw a fire burning on a
meadow. People must be there. The dog dragged the boy into
some thick bushes, told him to keep still, crept softly toward the
fire. A pot hung over the fire, and a blond man sat before it. Close
by stood a wagon with large wheels, to which a brown horse was har-
nessed. The dog looked at the man very searchingly. He looked
different from the people at home, had a very light skin, kind blue
eyes; surely he was a northerner. But was he a good man? Then
the dog remembered that only very good people understand the lan-
guage of animals, and the dog decided to tell him the story of
little Benjamin. Carefully he came closer to the fire and said softly,
"Good evening, man. Are you a northerner?**
The man looked at him in surprise, but, oh joy, he had under-
stood the words and answered, "Good evening, my friend. Yes, I
am a northerner. Do you want to eat something? My supper will
soon be ready.**
"I am not hungry,** replied the dog, "But I want some help/*
And then he told the story of little Benjamin,
The blond man became red with anger and his eyes sparkled.
This made the dog happy. "He is really a good man,** thot he, "for
only good people are angered by the sufferings of other people/*
When he was thru speaking, the man said, "Bring your little
friend here quickly. My horse has rested enough. We will
ride off immediately so that no one can capture Benjamin."
How happy the little grey dog was! In spite of his weariness,
he danced with joy, wagging his tail, and started toward the bushes
where Benjamin was hidden. Then he saw something dreadful. A
man came over the meadow with a dog, which ran straight towards
the bushes. The grey dog howled with fright. The blond man looked
up, jumped forward and called to the dog, "Keep the man back just
a moment, and all will yet be well" At that the dog ran toward the
man. The man had reached the bush, with one bound the dog
leaped at his throat, bit it hard, did not loosen his hold in spite of cuts
In the meantime the northerner had taken little Benjamin in his
arms, ran hastily toward the wagon, jumped in, and called to the
dog, "Follow us, we will wait for you in a safe place." Then he
cracked his whip, started on the road, the brown horse galloped ahead
for it knew everything that was going on.
The grey dog still gripped the man s throat, thinking every
moment that if he could detain the man, it would be an advantage to
the good man and little boy, and would save his friend. But the man,
tired of wrestling, took a large knife from his pocket and plunged
it deep into the breast of the faithful dog. The dog whimpered pite-
ously and fell heavily to the ground. His clouded eyes still saw, far
off in the distance, a tiny spot that kept growing smaller and smaller;
that was the wagon which was carrying little Benjamin to freedom.
Great joy filled the dog's heart. He wagged his bushy tail once
more. Then he died.
The blond man and little Benjamin waited a long time in vain
for the grey dog. Benjamin wept bitterly, and his new friend com-
forted him: "The brave dog will come running back. All is well
But tho Benjamin was safe, he was always sad when he
thought of his friend. But he did not know that the little grey dog
had died for him, paying his debt of gratitude to Benjamin with his
^ fi'f & t /
'Why Didn't I Ever Get An Egg," Asked Paul
Once upon a time there was a little boy, who had neither father
nor mother, who lived in the poorhouse in a little village. He was the
only child in the whole house; all the others were broken-down old
people who were always gloomy and cranky, who liked best to sit
quietly in the sun, and who would become angry whenever the little
boy, while at play, would bump against them or make too much
A sad life it was for little Paul. He never heard a kind word, no
one loved him, and no one petted or comforted him whenever he was
unhappy. Instead of that he was scolded every day and often he was
even spanked. One peculiarity of his particularly irritated the super-
visors of the poorhouse: at every occasion he used to ask, "Why?"
always wanting to know the cause for everything,
'You mustn't always ask why,'* angrily declared the stout Ma-
tron who was in charge of the poorhouse. "Everything is as it is, and
therefore it is right/*
"But why have I no parents like the other children of the village
have?" insisted little Paul.
"Because they are dead/*
"Why did they die?**
"Because the good Lord willed it so/*
"Why did the Lord will it so?"
"Keep quiet, you good-for-nothing! Leave me alone with your
eternal questions," The fat woman was quite red with anger, be-
cause she knew no answer to Paul's questions, and nothing angers
ignorant persons more than to be forced to say, "I don't know/*
But no one was able to keep little Paul quiet. He looked right
up into the angry red face and asked further, "Why are you so impa-
tient with me?"
Slap! and he got a box on the ears- He began to cry, ran away,
and while running asked, "Why do you hit me?"
He came to the chicken yard. There stood a big hen with many-
colored feathers, cackling aloud, proudly strutting. "I have laid an
egg! I have laid an egg!" And from all sides of the yard there
sounded in chorus: **I have laid an egg! I have laid an egg!" The
rooster, however, was angry because the hens were so proud of hav-
ing done something which he could not do, and cried scornfully, **I
am the rooster, you are only hens!** Along came Mary, the little
blond servant of the poorhouse, gathered the eggs carefully into her
blue apron, and carried them into the house.
"Where do all your eggs go to?" Paul asked the speckled Hen.
"To the city,** she cackled*
"Who eats them there?"
"The rich people, the rich people." Thus spoke the hen proud-
ly, as though it were a special honor for her.
"Why don't I ever have an egg?" complained Paul. "1 am al-
ways so hungry, you know."
"Because you are a poor Have-nothing." And the hen spread
her plumage with dignity, and cocked her eye defiantly at Paul over
her crooked beak*
"But why am I a poor Have-nothing?"
Now the hen became angry as had the stout Matron, and raged:
"Get off with you! You make me tired with your questions."
Disappointed, Paul slipped quietly away. The garden door
stood open, and he stepped out onto the road, strolling along aim-
lessly until he came to the entrance of a cowshed. The shed belonged
to a rich farmer.
Many sleek cows, white and reddish brown, stood in a row and
gazed before them with large, soft eyes. Paul, feeling very hungry,
stepped up to the most friendly looking cow, and begged, "Dear
Cow, will you give me some of your milk to drink?"
"I dare not do that," replied the Cow. "The milk belongs to
The little boy looked with astonishment at the Cow, then over
the entire shed, slowly counting the animals: "One, two, three.
Upon reaching twelve he stopped, for although there were many
more cows, he stopped because the counting was too hard for him.
In the poorhouse he was taught to be gentle and obedient, but noth-
ing else. "Twelve cows," he said thoughtfully. "Is it possible that
the farmer can drink the milk of twelve cows?"
"Oh no," the friendly Cow informed him. "He sells the milk
in the city/*
Paul remembered the words of the speckled hen, and he asked,
"Do the poor children there get any of the milk?"
"Good gracious, Paul," sighed the Cow, "how stupid and inex-
perienced you still are! From the milk they make delicious whipped
cream, which then goes on cakes and puddings, and these are bought
by rich people."
"Why not by the poor — don't they like to eat good cakes?"
"You shouldn't ask me so many questions, little boy," replied
the Cow. "I am only a dumb Cow, and do not know what to answer
you. Besides, you had better go away. This is the time when the
farmer comes to the barn, and should he see you it might mean a
good beating for you."
Paul stroked the shining hide of the friendly Cow, and pursued
his way. On and on he went, until he reached a great big wheat field
thru which the wind was blowing. It looked like softly moving golden
waves. The ears sang with soft voices, sounding very sad, and Paul
distinguished the words: "Soon the reapers will be here with their
scythes, z-z, and will cut us down, z~z-z. Then the people will bake
us into fine white bread, z~z-z."
"Who eats the white bread?" asked Paul, who had never in his
life tasted a piece of white bread.
"The rich people, the rich people," sang the ears of wheat, sway-
ing to the rhythm of the wind. i
"Ah, again the rich people!" exclaimed Paul. "Does every-
thing in this world belong to the rich people?"
"Everything, everything," buzzed the ears.
This question seemed to amuse the ears very much and almost
doubling with laughter, they sang, "How silly, how stupid you are!"
However, they failed to answer Paul's question. Paul was near to
tears; he stamped angrily on the ground with his foot, and cried
loudly, "I demand an answer to my questions. Is there no one to
give me an answer?**
Just then a Porcupine crept slowly across the road and said,
"The wisest creature 1 know of is the Owl who lives in the great oak
forest. Why don't you go to her, you question mark/*
"Can't you tell me why , - .?**
The Porcupine did not permit Paul to finish; impatiently he
drew in his head, shot out his quills, until he looked like a ball cov-
ered with spikes.
"I do not associate with people," he said, and his voice became
as sharp as his quills. 'They are too stupid for me. Go to the Owl,
but be sure not to irritate her or she will gouge her eyes at you/*
Night fell, sending out its black shadows, and covered all the
land. It was dark in the forest and Paul became somewhat uneasy,
yet this mysterious forest seemed more pleasant to him than the ter-
rible poorhouse, and he walked on further.
The further he went the thicker and closer were the trees.
Soon there was no longer a path; but Paul pushed on over the soft
carpet of green moss. The fragrance of the forest was pleasant.
Beneath the tall trees grew delicious strawberries and the little boy
picked them and refreshed himself as he went along.
At last he came to a great oak, and saw the owl perched on
one of the branchs. The Owl wore a large pair of spectacles and
studied attentively a green sheet which she held in her claws.
Paul halted beneath the tree and shouted, "Mrs. Owl! Mrs.
But the Owl was so deeply absorbed in her studies, that she
did not hear, and only after he had repeated his call several times did
she look down. Uttering an angry cry, she glared down at Paul
with fierce round eyes.
"Well, what is it you want?** she asked, "How dare you dis-
turb me in my studies?'*
"Excuse me, Mrs. Owl,** begged Paul "The Porcupine sent
me to you. He told me that you are the wisest creature he knows
of. Surely, you will be able to answer my questions/*
"What matter the opinions of the Porcupine to me? What have
I to do with your questions?" growled the Owl. "Why should I
-waste my precious time on such a stupid child as you? You know
very well that I can see only at night and the summer nights are so
short that I have hardly time enough for my studies. I, too, think
over all kinds of questions. One in particular has bothered me for
countless years; I have grown old and grey over it, and yet no
science in the world has helped me to solve it" The Owl sighed
deeply and her countenance became sorrowful.
"And just what is this question of yours?** Paul inquired anx-
"Do you think, perhaps, that YOU can answer it, you young
saucebox?** sneered the Owl. Around this question hang all the
other questions of the world; it is: Why are all people so stupid?**
"Are all people really so stupid?** asked Paul, astonished,
"Yes, and if you don't know that, why do you disturb me? Is
it because you have never seen anything that you are so idiotic?"
"Very little,** replied the little boy shamefacedly. "You ought
to know, dear Mrs. Owl, that I live in a poorhouse, where there are
only old folks, and naturally they are all wise/*
"Ha, ha, ha,*** laughed the owl. It sounded most awful in the
dark forest. "Ha, ha, ha! You are certainly another splendid ex-
ample of the stupidity of mankind. So it is in the poorhouse that all
people are wiae? Well, we will see if you are right. Who is it that
you like best in the poorhouse?"
"Who is Mary?"
"What does she do?*'
"She works all day
long. She gets up at
five o'clock in the morn-
ing, and is the last one
to go to bed."
"Then she most like-
ly earns lots of money,
wears beautiful clothes,
and eats good food?"
"Oh no, she's as poor as a beggar, she patches her clothes over
and over, and eats what other people leave,"
"H-m-m. Well, why then does she work so hard if she gets
nothing out of it?*"
Little Paul thought a while, finally he said, "I don't know."
"But I know — it is because she is stupid, Mary knows, too, that
there are fashionable ladies who don't move a hand, who wear gor-
geous clothes, eat costly food, live in luxury. Hasn't Mary ever asked
herself: How is it that I, who work all day long have nothing, and
they, who do nothing have everything?"
"I believe not,"
"Well then, your Mary is stupid, very stupid. Whom do you
still consider wise, you little sheep?"
"Who is this Old Jacob?"
"He is an old laborer, he is eighty years old. He worked until
his seventieth year. Now he can't do anything more, and has his
hands and feet and legs crippled by rheumatism/*
"He worked sixty years for others! A pretty long time. I sup-
pose that Old Jacob is treated like a prince, everybody is terribly
anxious to serve him? He has a wonderful soft bed for his tired
limbs, gets special kind of food every day, lives well and happily?**
"Oh no, the old matron always curses at him when he com-
plains that the bread is too hard for his old teeth. And if he asks for
a little tobacco, she gets angry and cries that he is unreasonable.**
"Why then did Old Jacob work until he was seventy years old,
if now when he's old he doesn't even live well?"
"I don*t know."
"Because he is stupid. He knows also, just like Mary, that
there are fine young gentlemen who do nothing at all and yet live
like kings. Do you see now, little imp, that people are stupid?"
"Yes,** said Paul sadly. "But I would like to ask you some-
thing, dear Mrs. Owl, Why are there rich people in the world?"
"You really ought to be able to answer this question yourself
after our talk, little stupid head: Because the poor people are
"But why are they stupid?"
But now the owl became an-
gry, the same as the fat matron
and the brightly speckled hen.
"Didn*t I tell you, little imp,
you stupid little person, that I have
been thinking about this question
for years and years? Come back
again eighty years from now, per-
haps I will answer you then."
"But why ... ?"
"Quiet!" the owl command-
ed little Paul. "You have stolen
enough valuable time from me al-
ready. Go to the Cuckoo!**
"Where does she live?*' asked the frightened little boy.
But already the Owl had adjusted her spectacles, become ab-
sorbed in the green leaf, and gave no answer.
"Oh, poor me!" little Paul thought sadly. "Now I am to go
to the Cuckoo, and I don't even know where he lives. Will the
Cuckoo know more than the Owl? And I am already so tired, my feet
He sank down upon the soft green moss at the foot of a slender
young birch, Little by little he became very depressed. He was
thinking how he was altogether abandoned and alone, how nobody
was good to him, and all at once he began to weep bitterly. There-
upon he became aware of a thin small voice coming from some-
where high up; it sounded like little bells of pure silver.
"Why are you crying, little child?" the silvery voice asked.
Paul looked upward and he saw the most wonderful little crea-
ture he had ever beheld in his life. Upon a branch of the birch sat a
fairy. She had long golden-blond hair, which reached down to her
feet, her little face was pale and delicate as moonlight, and her big
eyes shone green like the leaves of the birch. She fluttered down to-
ward Paul very lightly, alighted on his shoulder, it was as tho a
light leaf touched him, and stroked his face with her tiny white
hands, Paul's heart warmed. How good it was to be touched by
tender hands ! His tears stopped, he stared at the little creature, and
asked at last, "Who are you?"
"I am a Dryad, I am the soul of the birchtree," declared the
little creature. "All day long I must sit in my tree, but when night
comes I am free, I walk about on the earth, play with the other
Dryads, my sisters. But tell me, for what reason are you sad?"
Paul told the Dryad of his unhappiness, saying at the end, **I
must always ask why. The question burns in my heart, hurts me,
and I believe if I ever receive an answer I will be happy. But now
this qustion stands between me and all other people who do not ask
the question like a big wall and this makes me so lonesome/*
The little Dryad laughed and her pretty face became sweeter
and more tender than before.
"You are mistaken, little Paul," she said softly. 4 You are not
alone. Hundreds and thousands ask the same question, sad and
troubled, Put your ear down to the earth and tell me what you
Paul obeyed. At first he heard only an indistinct sighing and
whispering, then he thought he heard a terrible weeping and cry-
ing, and at last he heard words.
"Mother, I am hungry, why is there nothing to eat?" cried a
"I am stifling in this hot city, why can't I go to the country
like my rich schoolmates?" murmured a boy's voice,
"1 work all day, why are wages so low that I scarcely have
enough to live on?" sobbed a woman's voice.
"Why have the idlers everything and the workers nothing?"
said a man's voice threateningly.
And than all the voices rang together, crying, murmuring, sob-
bing, threatening, "Why? Why?"
Paul sat up, looked at the little Dryad who sat very quietly
near him and asked, "Who are these people whom I heard?"
"They are your people," replied the little Dryad. "That is
your family. You have heard all the languages in the world, you will
hear questions from all mouths, angrily, anxiously, threateningly.
Every day new voices join the chorus, and when the thousands of
voices become millions and billions, then there will be an end to the
misery and poverty and to those lazy parasites."
"When will that be?" asked Paul eagerly.
"That I cannot tell you, I know only this — every time I put
my ear to the earth, I find new voices added and that is how I
know that the day is not far distant/*
"And can nothing be done to make the day come sooner?"
"Of course. There are many, many people who do not know
yet how good it is for other people and how bad their lives are ; who
work like beasts and never ask why their honest labor brings a star-
vation wage. These poor blind people must be shown the truth, and
this is not at all easy, because the poor are so tired from the day's
work that they can hardly think; and the rich do everything not to
awaken questions in the minds of the workers. That is why they
punish every one who asks, 'Why?' You have already learned
from your own experience, little Paul/ *
"Then I must continue asking questions?'*
"Yes, little Paul, but do not ask the rich, they will not answer
you because if they did they would have to say, 'The world is such
a bad place for poor people because we, the rich, are greedy, selfish,
vile,* and no person likes to say that about himself. But go to the
poor people, ask them, 'Why do you eat dry bread tho you work
hard, while the idle rich eat cake? Why are your children pale, thin
and ill while the rich children are rosy, fat and healthy? Why does
your long life of toil end in the poorhouse, whereas the lazy grafters
are well taken care of in their old age, resting luxuriously from
their lives of idleness?" Ask the poor people these questions so long
and so often that they will fall on the structure of injustice like a
hammer and smash it. Will you do it, little Paul?"
"Yes," replied the boy with eyes alight,
The little Dryad kissed his forehead and said earnestly, "Your
life will be hard, little Paul, The rich, who are afraid of losing what
they have robbed, will punish you. They will try to choke the ques-
tion in your throat, they will throw you into jail, that no one may
hear your voice. But you must not lose courage, for the question was
not born in you in vain, you are destined to speak before many thou-?
sands who are today still dumb. And you will find comrades,
friends— you will not be alone/*
The little Dryad nodded laughingly to Paul, swept lightly up-
wards, and sat on a branch of the birch.
"Are you going already," asked little Paul, worried.
"You must go home, little Paul. But you must always come
back and I will comfort you and help you, *
"Wait a little," begged Paul. "The Owl said in eighty years,
not until eighty years from now, she will be able to answer my ques-
tion* That is a long time. Did the Owl speak truly?"
"That depends on you people," replied the light, silvery voice
of the tiny Dryad. "Perhaps it will take you eighty years to be-
come wise, perhaps if you, you and your comrades, do not stop ask-
ing questions, it may only take fifty years. The great day of free-
dom may come in twenty, in ten years. Yes, perhaps even tomor-
The tiny Dryad disappeared into the tree, but all the tree called
in light, joyous voices to little Paul:
"Tomorrow! Tomorrow! Tomorrow!"
:"-'*"' ■"". "