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Springfield, Mass. 


0^ *''^ 

Copyright 191 7 

The Home Correspondence School 

all rights reserved 



/ ^^7 






Foreword xiii 



Chapter I — The Story-Teller as Artist . . i 

Voice and Word 3 

Suggestions for Study and Discussion . . 5 

Chapter II — The Place of the Story in the 

Life of the Child 6 

Capability and Culture 6 

Literature the Keystone of the Educational 

Arch 9 

Importance of Cultivating the Imagination . 9 

Culture Should Begin in Childhood ... 11 

Suggestions for Study and Discussion . . 14 

Grist from Other Mills 14 

Chapter III — How Stories Develop the Per- 
sonality 16 

Stories Express the Hopes of Mankind . . 18 

Stories Lead to Moral Judgments .... 20 

Stories Stimulate Mental and Moral Processes 21 

Efects of Fiction on the Personality ... 21 

Efect of Fiction on the Story-Teller ... 24 

Suggestions for Study and Discussion . . 25 

Grist from Other Mills 26 



Chapter IV— The Basis of Selection of 

Children's Stories 28 

The Child Himself as a Basis 30 

Literary Quality as a Basis 34 

The Mood of the Story-Teller 37 

Suggestions for Study and Discussion . . 38 

Grist from Other Mills 40 

Chapter V — The Structure of the Story . 42 

The Beginning of the Story 43 

Examples of openings. 

The Body of the Story 47 

The tale; plot; the short-story; series of 
scenes; episodes; plausibility; motivation; 
crisis; suspense; climax. 

The End of the Story 52 

Examples of endings. 
Suggestions for Study and Discussion . . 55 

Grist from Other Mills 57 

Chapter VI — The Preparation of the Story 

FOR Telling 58 

The Subjective Appeal , 58 

Re-creating the Conditions of the Story . . 59 

The Intensive Analysis of the Story ... 61 

The central theme; details; incidents; series 
of scenes; the climax. 

Fitting Words to the Story 63 

Equivocal words; style; transitions. 
Suggestions for Study and Discussion . . 65 

Chapter VII — Methods of Story-Telling . 67 

The Mood of the Story-Teller 67 

Self-electrification; absorption; visuahzation. 

The Manner of the Story -Teller .... 70 

Attitude; personal appearance; poise. 

Methods in Delivery 72 



Memorizing; charm of voice; enunciation; 

articulation; change of pace; pause; change of 

pitch; position and posture; gesture and 

mimicry; drawing; gauging effects. 

Suggestions for Study and Discussion . . 79 

Grist from Other Mills 80 

Chapter VIII — Inventing Stories from Pic- 
tures 82 

Observation 83 

Reporting 83 

Coordination 85 

Fictionizing 86 

Narration 86 

Suggestions for Study and Discussion . . 88 

Chapter IX — Adapting Stories from Great 

Sources 90 

Analyze the Story 93 

Study the Situation to be Adapted .... 94 

Focus the Story 95 

Select a Single Chain of Scenes .... 97 
What is dramatic; danger and suspense; omis- 
sion; expansion; methods of alteration. 

Stories for Adaptation 103 

Cycles of stories. 

Suggestions for Study and Discussion . . 105 

Grist from Other Mills 107 

Chapter X — Telling Original Stories . . 108 

Why Tell Original Stories? 108 

Whereto Find Story Material 11 1 

Locality; family legends and anecdotes. 

Avoiding the Threadbare 112 

The Development of the Plot 113 

Suggestions FOR Study and Discussion . . 114 



Chapter XI — Helping Children to Invent 

Stories ii6 

Helps to the Child's Invention ii8 

Examples of original stories by children. 

Suggestions for Study and Discussion . . 123 

Grist from Other Mills 124 



Chapter XII — Stories for Very Little Folks 127 
Introduction; "Thumbelina;" *' The Goats in 
the Rye Field;" ''The Billy-Goats Gruff;'' 
"The Lion and the Mouse;" "The Little Half- 

Chapter XIII — Folk and Fairy Stories . . 144 
Introduction; "Tom Thumb;" "The Three 
Heads;" "Why the Sea is Salt;" "The 
Legend of the Dipper;" "Jack and Jill's 
Visit to the Moon;" *' Barney Noonan's Fairy 
Haymakers;" "The Discontented Chickens;" 
"The Ugly Duckling;" "The Golden Touch;" 
"The Woodman and the Goblins;" "The 

Chapter XIV — Animal Stories 192 

Introduction; "The Sheep and the Pig Who 
Set Up Housekeeping;" "The Fox and the 
Cock;" "Scrapefoot;" "The Clever Rat;'^ 
"Father Domino." 

Chapter XV — Bible Stories 214 

Introduction ; " In the Beginning ; " "The Story 
of Joseph;" "The Story of the Baby Moses;" 
"David and Goliath." 



Chapter XVI— Patriot Stories 232 

Introduction; ''George Washington and the 
Colt;" ''George Washington and the Cherry 
Tree;" ''Going to Sea;" " George Washington 
as a Young Man;" "George Washington the 
Great Man." 

Chapter XVII— Thanksgiving Stories . . 245 
Introduction; " Ruth and Naomi ; " "Old Man 
Rabbit's Thanksgiving Dinner." 

Chapter XVIII— Christmas Stories ... 254 
Introduction ; " The Shoemaker and the Elves ; " 
"The Visit to Santa Claus Land;" "Snowball's 
Christmas Eve;" "Nancy Etticoat's Ring;" 
"The Christmas Visitors;" "The First Christ- 

Chapter XIX— Spring Stories 278 

Introduction; "Five Peas in the Pod;" "Pic- 
ciola;" "Proserpina;" "A Wondrous Change;" 
"Sleeping Beauty." 

Chapter XX— Hero Stories 302 

Introduction; "The Little Hero of Haarlem;" 
" Joan of Arc; " " The Young Knight Galahad; " 
"The Rescue of Sir Melyas;" "The Castle of 
the Maidens;" **St. George and the Dragon;" 
"St. George and the Giant." 



Supplementary List of Stories for Very 

Little Folks 329 

Supplementary List of Animal Stories . . 330 



First Books for Little Children .... 330 

Books for Older Children 332 

Source-Books for the Story-Teller . . . 334 

Books and Articles on Children's Reading . 338 

Books on Story-Telling Methods .... 339 

Books on Literary Study and Its Value . . 340 

Publishers' Addresses 341 

General Index 343 


We cannot wonder at the skeptical smile which in 
certain quarters is sure to greet each new ''How to" book 
as it issues from the press, for too many such books have 
seemed arrogant, and too many readers have assumed, to 
their eventual disappointment, that it is within the power 
of some omniscient author to disclose an infallible recipe 
for the successful practice of a given art. Of course no 
such thing is possible. There are no secrets that a painter, 
a writer or a story-teller can divulge but that may be, and 
in fact often have been, discovered at first hand by those 
who have added to their native gifts the devotion of in- 
telligent practice. What is more, there are no fixed rules 
in art— in literary art especially— by which the would-be 
artist must be governed as he proceeds. 

What service, then, can the authors of a book of this 
kind hope to give to those who take it up expecting help? 
They can, after either personal experience or a wide and 
temperate study of the methods of others (or, better still, 
after both kinds of preparation), make a clear statement 
of the various methods used successfully by story-tellers— 
since that is the scope of this treatise. From these methods, 
approved by the experience of many, certain simple 
foundation-principles may be deduced so as to help the 
student of the art to understand the material he has to 
work with, the forms in which it may be cast, various 
successful methods of presentation, the limitations of his 


hearers, and the ends he is justified in seeking to gain. 
Further, these principles may be clearly illustrated by 
examples so as to show, first, how others have applied 
them; and second, how the story-teller may modify and 
improve upon the ways of others in reaching the particu- 
lar results he desires. 

The whole process of teaching such an art may be com- 
pared to the Automobile Blue Book, which points out the 
directness of one route, the delights of another, and the 
difficulties of a third, while leaving the motorist to choose 
for himself — knowingly. Those story-tellers who have 
had to search out their own trails through Storyland 
freely recognize that they would have been saved many a 
detour, many a *' blind" lane, if only some earlier traveler 
had erected a few friendly guide posts. 

This, then, is a modest little Blue Book, which analyzes 
the several wa3^s that lie before the adventurer into the 
delightful fields of romance, offers advice on matters of 
equipment, points out difiicult curves, warns of deceptive 
byways, and seeks, without the interjection of a single 
impertinent must, to help the traveler choose his own way 
with confident ease. 

The use of story-telling in home, school, Sunday-school 
and recreation center is now so fully recognized as a power- 
ful factor in education, in character building and in de- 
light-giving, that no words are needed here to urge upon 
home, school and social guardians the importance of 
learning how to tell the best stories in the best ways. 

The Authors. 
August I, 191 7. 





Out of your cage, 

Come out of your cage 

And take your soul on a pilgrimage ! 

Pease in your shoes, an if you must ! 

But out and away before you're dust: 

Scribe and stay-at-home, 

Saint and sage, 

Out of your cage. 

Out of your cage ! 

— Josephine Preston Peabody, The Piper. 

The story-teller is an interpreter of life — he interprets 
the life embodied in his story to the common life which 
throbs through his audience. 

The first requirement for an interpreter is the ability 
to understand; the second is power to transmit his under- 

It is a mere truism to say that he who would under- 
stand life must first of all live it; yet how many of us 
burrow like moles, each in his separate dark passageway, 
not questioning why we burrow, or whither the passage- 
way leads. Or if we have passed the mole stage and stand 
upright on the face of the earth, do we not still obey the 
animal instinct to consort each with his own kind? The 
millionaire in his limousine seldom has much discernment 
of the problems of a strap-hanger, while the man who 

2 children's stories and how to tell them 

always has a nickel is just as bliniji to the life of the man 
who must walk. So also the mother in her sheltered home 
may have small vision of the way of the woman who, 
perhaps through no choice of her own, walks with empty 
arms and a lonely heart. 

But the artist who would perfectly interpret life must 
touch vitally the lives of "all sorts and conditions of men," 
else he cannot have a sympathetic imagination to grasp 
the varied problems of all classes. To be able to think 
and feel with his fellows he must possess the insight to 
search out their hidden hearts; and, if he be a great 
artist, he will have also the bigness of soul which does not 
lightly condemn that which his probing reveals. He will 
have, too, the skill born of heart and head which is able 
to reveal the bond of emotion that "makes the whole 
world kin." Love, hate, courage, fear, joy, sorrow, make 
up a common human-beingness which eliminates surface 
class distinctions. 

It is with such fundamental emotions that the artist 
deals, whatever the medium he chooses for their em- 
bodiment. The painter with his brush, the sculptor with 
his chisel, the writer with his pen, the story-teller with 
his spoken words, each in his own way transmits the 
message his spirit has seized and evaluated. For artistry 
deals with values, set up as standards for works of art 
which are yet to be conceived and brought into being, 
and not with mere methods or technique. 

Story-telUng, then, rightly belongs to the arts, and the 
story-teller's preparation for his work as an artist must 
begin with the enrichment of his own personality. He 


must acquire the culture of the student of literature; he 
must be mellowed through his experiences in his own 
human relationships ; he must be, as Ethel Clifford says, 

". . . lover of wind and sun, 
And of falling rain, and the friend of trees; 

With a singing heart for the pride of noon, 
And a tender heart for what twilight sees. 

" Let him be lover of you and yours — 
The Child and Mary; but also Pan, 
And the sylvan gods of the woods and hills, 
And the God that is hid in his fellowman." 

With his culture, with his love of nature, with his love 
of his fellowman, he must keep the dauntless courage, 
the joy in life, which belongs to the spirit of youth. Dif- 
ficult, perhaps impossible? Yes; the ideal of the artist 
is always so. As Browning tells us, "A man's reach should 
exceed his grasp, or what's heaven for?" Not so much 
the attainment as the pursuit of the vision differentiates 
the clod from the master. 

So he who has not some urge of vision should not enter 
the field. But he who cannot resist the call for creative 
expression must choose his medium — then sharpen his 

Voice and Word 

The spoken word is the story-teller's chief technical 
equipment. A knowledge of words, precision and fluency 
in their use, as well as voice-placing and training in articu- 
lation, are essential. The successful story-teller must 

4 children's stories and how to tell them 

make word and voice the servants of his spirit. Voice 
and utterance infallibly reveal the appreciation, or the 
lack of it, which the story-teller has for the story he is 

It is through speech that man begins to assert his 
divinity. We move through life wrapped in the impenetra- 
ble veil of individuality, sentenced to aloneness — except 
for the gift of expression. It is chiefly through the spoken 
word that spirit kindles response of spirit, and reveals 
itself to its kind. 

"The eyes are the windows of the soul," but the voice 
is its musical instrument, through which its subtle 
harmonies are transmitted. The old Witch of the Sea 
was maliciously sagacious when she required the little 
Mermaid to give her voice in exchange for human form, 
and then set her the task of winning the love of the Prince 
in order to attain the soul. 

Thought of in terms of the painter, the voice is the 
pigment which gives color to the story-teller's pictures. 
He paints in spoken words, and his canvases are the minds 
of his listeners. So the story-teller needs the painter's love 
of beauty, the writer's command of words, the actor's 
sense of the dramatic, the orator's adaptability to his 
audience, the psychologist's knowledge of the mind, the 
philosopher's interpretation of the meaning and purpose 
of life. Does all this seem an appalUng program? So is 
any other that honestly contemplates child-development; 
but how rich is the reward at the end! 

It is the joy of the story-teller, as it is that of every artist 
worthy of the name, that his preparation must be as 


broad as life itself. The aspiration to be an interpreter 
of life is a daring, a wonderful dream. 


1. What is art? 

2. In what fundamental respects does an art differ from a 
science? From a trade? From a business? 

3. Why are we justified in regarding story- telling as an art? 

4. Does the fact that an art has a technique imply that its 
practice is governed by fixed rules? 

5. Does a knowledge of the principles of the story-teller's 
art tend to hamper originaHty or to encourage it? Give reasons. 

6. May one go too far in laying down rules for the practice 
of an art? 

7. What is the difference between a principle and a rule? 

8. What relation does art bear to life? 

9. Briefly explain what the poet meant by her lines quoted 
as a preface to this chapter. 

10. What is interpretation? 

11. Should the impossibility of attaining the ideal deter the 
possible artist from attempting to express himself through art? 

12. What has emotion to do with art? 



Stories are the natural soul-food of children, their native air 
and vital breath; but our children are too often either story- 
starved or charged with ill-chosen or ill-adapted twaddle tales. 
— G. Stanley Hall, Sunday-school and Bible Teaching. 

Story-telling will make the child father to a more kind-hearted, 
a more enthusiastic, a more idealistic man than the one taught 
to scorn story-telling. The story-telling nations of the world 
are the cheerful, social, enthusiastic, ideahstic nations, and this 
is because story-telling to the child brings out all the better 
qualities — sympathy, warm-heartedness, sociabiHty. 

— Seumas McManus, Lecture. 

Economic conditions, changing standards of living, 
and other complexities of modern life have increased the 
difficulty of mere existence and put well-marked success, 
in any line, out of reach of the man who is not highly 
specialized in his training. The preparation which brought 
success a quarter of a century ago would guarantee only 
mediocrity today. 

Capability and Culture 

This higher standard of efficiency has inevitably had 
its effect on education. Parents have demanded that the 
schools shall attack and solve the problem of equipping 
the student for efficient living. In response, vocational 


schools have spread like plants in a force-bed. Domestic 
science departments, agricultural classes — in fact, many 
phases of physical work, have come to be represented in 
the college and university curriculums. 

These short cuts to making a living have been emphasized 
because efficiency has been interpreted as the ability to 
satisfy the demand for physical luxuries. Silk stockings, 
tailor-made clothes and diamond rings were once badges 
of social distinction, but in a democracy every man must 
see to it that he and his have an open road to the ''good 
things of life." Success or failure has been measured by 
the money standard, which in turn has come to mean the 
luxury standard, and as a consequence there is a tendency 
to limit the essentials of education to the purely utilitarian 

But this misplacement of emphasis is only a temporary 
phase in the transition to the great middle ground which 
in the development of every question seems to be the 
truly progressive roadway. If schools deserve criticism 
for turning out half-baked philosophers who are unable 
to meet every-day issues because they have been trained 
away from actual life, they deserve equal censure when 
they send out materialists who recognize only physical 
needs. True, physical needs must be satisfied, for the man 
who is hungry is not likely to do much high thinking, but 
the development of ability to satisfy those needs is only one 
phase of the demand properly made upon education — the 
development of a capacity for high thinking and right 
feeling is equally essential. 

In a striking article on "The Columniated Collegian," 

8 children's stories and how to tell them 

published in The Atlantic Monthly, June, 191 5, Mary Leal 
Harkness says: " So we come to one of the gravest charges 
that can be brought against the 'new education': that, 
while it may bring jobs to men and women when they are 
young, it provides nothing for the man or woman retired 
from that job by age. If there is anything beneath the 
stars more pitiable than an elderly man or woman with 
no active purpose left in life and no intellectual resources 
from which to draw occupation and interest, I have not 
yet seen it." 

Only the full mind and the warm heart can find high 
contentment; so, even from a selfish standpoint, the 
necessity for the development of all sides of the self must 
be admitted. Capability and culture are not to be 
divorced. Modern life demands men and women who 
can do things, who can think clearly while in the thick of 
action, and who to their judgment and initiative have 
added ideals of courage, of sympathy, and of justice. 

Parents and teachers who can see below the surface 
recognize the true goal of life to be a self-development 
which is expressed in service. As a result, they demand 
that the curriculum shall not be narrowed to the purely 
utilitarian. There must be an education newer than 
**the new" — an education which is a blend of the new 
economic studies and the old cultural subjects. True 
efficiency can be realized only through the enrichment of 
personality.^ Indeed, the problem of education is funda- 
mentally the problem of the development of personahty. 

1 See Chapter III. 


When the question "To what purpose?" is appUed as a 
test to the subject-matter of the course of studies it must 
be answered in the Ught of this larger problem. Hence, 
the educational leaders who are meeting the foregoing 
question are agreed that 

Literature Must he Made the Keystone of the 
Educational Arch 

This conclusion has been reached because it is the ex- 
pansion of individual life into world-life that is desired, 
and literature is built of the stuff of world-life; it is the 
art-form of the best that has been thought, felt, and done 
since the beginning of man's conscious life in the world. 
Literature reveals man to himself. It interprets his 
thoughts, emotions and experiences. It deepens his 
understanding of other men: their temptations and 
failures, their aspirations and successes. Through know- 
ing himself and his fellows he becomes better fitted for 
cooperation. Every time a piece of real literature has 
become a part of himself, the man has advanced further 
into the meaning and purpose of life. And by * ' literature ' ' 
is not meant those forms which move only the minds of 
the highly educated few, but those true, beautiful, strong 
and good creations which appeal also to the many. 

The Importance of Cultivating the Imagination 

Not only does literature enlarge the sympathies and 
deepen the understanding, but it quickens the imagina- 


tion. Imagination is too often interpreted as idle fantasy 
— vague, pointless dreaming. On the contrary, it is the 
clarifying chemical in the crucible of the mind, and useful 
in the last degree. Imagination pictures vividly all the 
possibilities of a given situation. It reveals causes and 
forecasts results. It analyzes and reconstructs. In field, 
shop, store, office, forum, study, and home, it rules the 
world because it is the creative force of the mind and the 

The complex problems of modern life can be solved 
only by men and women of highly developed imagination. 
It is the woman with imagination who transforms the 
daily round of her home and social duties into an inter- 
esting adventure, or if her work lies in some other field of 
activity makes herself felt as a real force in life. It is 
the business man with imagination who becomes a million- 
aire. It is the professional man with imagination who 
reaches the head of his profession. It is the scientist with 
imagination who makes the world rich by his discoveries. 
''Assign to almost any task requiring thought an imagina- 
tive man with scant logic, and an unimaginative logician; 
nine times out of ten the former will handle it more 
successfully." ^ 

The longings and imaginings of the race have fore- 
shadowed all the modern scientific inventions. The 
Kalevala, the great epic of the Finns, sung in runes as 
early as 2000 B. C, tells of a battle in which takes part a 
monster eagle of steel and iron, filled with a thousand 
magic heroes. The dread Zeppelin has not quite attained 

1 Short- Story Writing, Walter B. Pitkin. 


the power of its '"hero-feathered" forerunner, but — the 
future! The Norse centuries ago told tales of ''hill- 
borers" which could tunnel through the rockiest moun- 
tains, and of "stream-suckers" which changed the current 
of great rivers. The Panama Canal and a thousand other 
engineering feats of today are monuments to these dreams 
of the ages. Fairy lore is filled with stories of calls heard 
round the world. The telegraph, the telephone, and last 
of all, Marconi's message of sound, have made the old 
tales come true. Madam Curie's discovery of radium has 
brought the inexhaustible store and the magic healing 
substance from fairyland into real life. 

Again, literature develops the imagination through its 
power of inducing keen emotions which perpetuate its 
images. These images are concrete, vivid, vital and 
beautiful. They become a part of the mind's store house, 
and are its inexhaustible food. The man whose mind is 
so developed is fortified against boredom, loneliness, 
poverty and misfortune. 

"Education of the soul by literature," says Professor 
George Edward Woodberry, "is a very real thing. It 
issues in insight into life and fate, in sympathy with 
whatever is human, in apprehension of what seems divine 
— issues, that is, in greater power to live." 

Culture Should Begin in Childhood 

Those who recognize the power of literature recognize 
equally well that it must be brought into the life of the 
youth at the earliest possible time. The introductory to 


literature should be through the first stories that are pre- 
sented to the child in the nursery and in the kindergarten. 

The power of the story in the life of the child is equally 
as great as that of the literature read by the youth and by 
the man. It is because the social worker, the teacher, the 
mother, are coming to realize its force that a revival of 
story-telling is sweeping through the entire world. In- 
deed, so wide-spread is this revival that in some cases the 
story is being misused. Because of the child's natural 
love for it, the uninteresting and the indolent seize upon 
the story as the too-facile tool for accomplishing their 
ends. Nature stories, music stories, bed-time stories, all 
sorts and conditions of stories, are thrust upon the child. 

Fortunately, this fulness of story-telling cannot destroy 
the fundamental appeal of the story for him. Yet there 
is a real danger here which both teacher and mother should 
recognize and guard against. No story which is not real 
literature should he given him. There is little excuse for 
cluttering the mind of a child with ''ill-chosen or ill- 
adapted twaddle tales," in Dr. Stanley Hall's pungent 
phrase. It is not enough that a story be a story. It 
should be literature as well, for the best stories are litera- 
ture. Fortunately, there is a great wealth of old stories 
full of truth and fancy, and couched in language which in 
choice and arrangement of words erects solid standards 
for the child. Primitive man wove these tales out of his 
heart to interpret himself, physical nature, and God. 
Because the child's attitude toward life is so nearly the 
same as that of primitive man, these stories are the 
child's "natural soul-food." In them he finds himself. 


In them his own half-formed thoughts and longings are 
expressed. His free spirit finds its realization in bird- 
plumage, wishing-caps, magic carpets, and seven-league 
boots. His wonder and questionings meet and mingle 
with the wonder and the questionings of the race. His 
imagination finds satisfaction and expansion in the primi- 
tive answers to these questions. His love of beauty is 
satisfied and increased by his glimpses of fairyland. His 
hunger for adventure is appeased vicariously as he journeys 
with Jack-the-Giant-Killer, Robin Hood, St. George, 
or any other of the splendid company of unconquerable 
heroes. His sense of justice is satisfied and intensified 
through the inevitable law of the tale that good is rewarded 
and evil punished. His faith is fixed that somehow, some- 
where, things always come out right for the one who has 
done his best. Courage, kindness, and helpfulness are 
made beautiful to him through the deeds of the heroes he 
most admires. It is through these great old stories that 
his attitudes toward life are fixed. 

Dr. Stanley Hall says: ''Let me tell the stories and I 
care not who writes the textbooks." Stories broaden and 
interpret the child's own experience. They introduce 
him to the world of interesting fact. They enlarge his 
vocabulary and give him added power of self-expression. 
They kindle his imagination. They deepen his apprecia- 
tion of the beautiful. They stimulate moral discrimina- 
tions. They counteract the baser sights and sounds of 
the street or in the ''movies." They awaken his sym- 
pathies and increase his sense of social relationships. 
They lift him out of the commonplace. They carry him 

14 children's stories and how to tell them 

to foreign strands. They quicken his sense of humor. 
They present to him ideals. They give him *' dramatic 
joy." It is through stories that a foundation is laid for 
full and efficient living. 


1. If you believe that it is possible to over-emphasize the 
story in the life of the child, show how. 

2. Illustrate how some children lead story-Hves. If you have 
personally had any such experience, give it. 

3. In leading story-lives, do children confine their fancies 
and little dramas to stories they have heard, or do they also 

4. What did Plato mean when he said that the way to teach 
the child truth was to teach him fiction? 

5. Can you cite any definite instance showing the value that 
has come to a child by telling him stories? 



The Appreciation of Literature, George Edward Woodberry, 
Chapters I and VII. 

What Can Literature Do for Me? C. Alphonso Smith. 

Aims of Literary Study, Hiram D. Corson. 

Literature in the Elementary Schools, Porter Lander Mac- 
Clintock, Chapter II. 

Story-Telling, Edna Lyman, Chapter on "The Responsibility 
of Society for What Children Read." 

Note : It is suggested that from the foregoing books, as well as 
from this chapter, the student make a list of the various 
services which the story may perform for the child. For 
example, Edward Porter St. John, in his Stories and Story- 
Telling, gives seven aims of story-telHng : 


"1. To add to the pleasure of those who Hsten, including 
making a lesson attractive. 

2. To seek to introduce children to the best literature. 

3. For use in connection with language study. 

4. For general intellectual training. 

5. For illustrating some unfamiliar truth. 

6. For culture of the imagination. 

7. With the aim of influencing conduct and character." 

"To make the child feel intensely the strivings of others, and 
to make him feel the light and shades of feeling in many a live 
situation is to give him an opportunity for moral training and 
an exhortation to be good." 

— E. N. AND G. E. Partridge, Story-Telling in School and Home. 

"And how much capable mothers might derive from Words- 
worth's poetry for the spiritual nurture of their children. Capable 
mothers are, alas! comparatively few; but forces are now at 
work which are increasing the number of such mothers, and will 
continue to increase it more and more as the ideals of true woman- 
hood are more and more realized and exalted. 

— Hiram D. Corson, The Voice and Spiritual Education. 

"The highest use of all literature is not to fill us with facts, 
but to set us to thinking. We teach the children history not half 
so much in order that they may know, and always remember, 
things that have happened, as that they may understand life, 
and how to meet it. We repeat poetry to the little ones and tell 
them fairy tales, not merely to amuse them^, nor as an exercise 
for the memory, but as a stimulus to the imagination and to the 
aesthetic sense. The Old Testament stories serve both these pur- 
poses. The spontaneous instincts of the child, and the almost 
equally spontaneous revelations of human nature in these stories, 
correspond one to another as face answers to face in water. The 
perpetual splendor of sentences in the Old Testament, the lofty 
sublimity of its suggestions, appeal to the sensuous nature of 
the child as no other literature does; and there is no nobler 
endowment of a well-bom and well-bred human being than a rich 
sensuous nature." 

— Louise Seymour Houghton, Telling Bible Stories. 



Every race has its heritage of folk-tales and myths that have 
a far larger meaning than the mere entertainment of the young. 
Scientists study these stories of the past with painstaking care, 
because they reveal the genius of the people. Not only do they 
reflect the ideals which have shaped the social and religious life, 
but they have shaped those ideals and have given them form and 
power. As factors in molding character, the stories of the gods 
are not less important than the rites of worship. 

— Edward Porter St. John, Stories and Story-Telling. 

The stories that charm the merry and the serious moods 
of child and man alike, transporting each to the lands of 
yesterday, today, or never-was, express as many varying 
conceptions of life as varying minds are capable of enter- 
taining. Yet these views of life are by no means clearly 
recognized by all those who act upon them, for many an 
ideal, whether base or high, is only hazily present in the 
mind, while yet being clear enough to influence vital 
choices and actions subconsciously. Thus only a few of 
the many who enjoy a story have either the ability or the 
inclination to see in it a crystallization of the facts of life 
and man's attitude toward those facts. Nevertheless, 
each story that is worth hearing or reading does really 
embody a part of our idea of what life means to mankind. 

This power of the story to express our ideals and to 
affect their character is as old as the idea of story-telling, 


and that is so old that primitive man practiced it in his 
first effort to adorn the account of some encounter with 
an enemy, man or beast. ^ 

Daily, and in surprising ways, the alert observer may 
see how the development of the individual parallels the 
progress of the race from its beginnings ^ — only, the child, 
the youth, the adult, takes with a casual step whole ascents 
which cost humanity ages of steady climbing to overpass. 
Pressed not too far, this truth has value when we plan and 
carry out educational processes for either home, school, 
or recreation center, particularly as we come to see its 
bearing on the use of fiction in the development of per- 
sonality. Just as the story bore its part in race-progress, 
so does it both assist in and mark out the growth of per- 
sonality in the child — and even in the adult — as will 
presently appear. 

A basis for this belief may be found in the fact that 
stories which are in essence one — like "Cinderella," which 
dates at least from Strabo — have appeared with more or 
less variation from early times down to the present, among 
many nations. This well-known fact shows not so much 
that one people gives its stories to another, as that all 
peoples share commonly, though of course in different 
measure, certain fundamental emotions, desires, and con- 
ceptions of life. And so do all children, and hence all 

1 Those who wish to trace the origins of fiction will find abun- 
dant material in .4 History of Prose Fiction, J. C. Dunlop; The 
Evolution of Literature, A. S. Mackenzie; The Book of the Short 
Story, Alexander Jessup and Henry Seidel Canby, and other 
works available in any large library, 

* See Chapter XIII, "Folk and Fairy Stories." 

1 8 children's stories and how to tell them 
Stories Express the Hopes of Mankind 

A very little thought will enable any of us to find a 
score and more of elemental ideas to illustrate the state- 
ment made in the foregoing heading. Primitive man felt 
the futility of his struggle against the physical forces of 
cold, darkness, hunger, thirst, weariness, disease and death, 
just as we of today may become disheartened in our battles 
against the subtler powers of disappointment, the dis- 
loyalty of others and our own moral weaknesses. Try as 
he might, one or another of these mysterious powers of 
nature defeated his desires. His crude inventions of fire- 
places, lights, beds, medicines, stored food and drink — all 
left him vanquished in the contest; and even today, after 
ages of devising, this battle with Nature still is waging. 
What, then, could be more natural in such circumstances 
than that our prehistoric forebears should dream of a sun- 
hero whose shafts of eternal light could put to death the 
dragon of darkness; or of a goddess of plenty whose 
cornucopia poured out fruits in abundance; or of a being 
from the air whose magic was strong to stay death and heal 
all hurts? In some such way, it seems, the first myths 
arose, and grew and changed with much telling until they 
became comparatively fixed. 

And so today we turn oftenest to those stories that 
embody our hopes — even hopes that at times we have 
called dead. Man still finds in his fictions — and in his 
true stories — what Dr. Partridge^ has called "an effort 
to obtain vicarious satisfaction from an unyielding world." 

^ Story-Telling in School and Home, E. N. and G. E. Partridge. 


The work-weary mother loses herself, but really finds her 
ideal self, in the happy outcome of a story that brings rest 
out of labors, and is a solvent for the same sort of worry 
that has eaten into her own soul. We need only analyze 
our own experiences to multiply examples of how in the 
story-world we find what our ancestors near and remote 
used to find in fictional creations, whether their own or 
told by others— the satisfaction that life has denied, or 
has seemed to deny, to them. It is not only children who 
lead story-fives — blessed anodynes for real cares! 

Even the minority who have a melancholy joy in stories 
that end in disaster and ruin feel themselves to suffer the 
losses of the victim of perfidy, of trickery, of Nature, of 
fate, for it is a satisfaction to be able to pity ourselves 
cordially — a very human satisfaction, albeit not a lofty 
nor a strengthening one. So we find in this state of mind 
no exception to what appears to be a general experience — 
that stories hold our interest because they transport us 
to a realm where things work out in somewhat the way 
that seems to us to be typical of life, either as it is or as we 
should like it to be. 

Have you never when a child gone to bed smarting under 
a real or fancied injustice and fallen asleep picturing your- 
self a powerful noble, at last come to your own, and in a 
lordly way forgiving — or perhaps punishing — the humili- 
ated author of that wrong against you? Children naturally 
take to the idea of poetic justice and readily fictionize the 
outcome of slights and favors. But before we apply this 
trait to character training we must consider two other 
foundation principles. The first of these — closely related 

to the truth just illustrated, that stories express the hopes 
of mankind — is this: 

Stories Often Lead the Hearer to Form Moral Judgments 

The place of the moral in the story — or rather the 
importance of not drawing an obvious moral in story- 
telling — must be touched on later, but here let us say that 
this, one of the chief educational values of story-telling, 
takes care of itself in the conscience of the child if the 
story is well arranged and adequately told. As soon as 
children come to the stage when they begin to distinguish 
between good and bad, generous and selfish, kind and 
cruel conduct in themselves and others, they involuntarily 
feel more or less clear reactions from the conduct of the 
story-people who are presented to them.* This part of 
the problem of the story-teller, therefore, is to select such 
stories as will lead the child to form sound moral judg- 
ments, rightly approving or condemning the actions of 
characters — in most cases without his uttering a word. 
To excite such discriminations is a subtle function of the 
story-teller, and a vital one. Not all stories, of course, 
will serve this end — to try to make them do so will defeat 
the end of pure pleasure in many a good tale. 

From our own grown-up experiences we can draw many 
illustrations. A vicious novel is one that makes vice 
alluring; a wholesome story may paint evil reaHstically, 

^Froebel has called this "the judgment of the feelings," which 
often operates quite independently of the judgment of the 


yet delicately we are led to see not only its enormity but 
its consequences, and that without a single word of preach- 
ment. Just so moral judgments — not at all necessarily 
on great questions — are inevitably formed in the spirit of 
the child by hearing such stories as David and Goliath, 
Reynard the Fox, and others that raise issues of conduct. 

Stories Stimulate All the Mental and Moral Processes 

It is enough merely to state the principle at this point, 
as it will be dwelt upon in later chapters. Think it over 
a few moments, however, to see how wide is its applica- 
tion. Consider, for example, how sense-appeal in stories 
that deal with color, or sound, or touch, or taste, or smell, 
may be just as educational as emotional appeal, of what- 
ever sort. The story, let it be remembered, may excite 
any sort of reaction which it is skillfully planned to call 

The Definite Effects of Fiction on the Personality of the Child 

First let us see what is meant by personality — though 
it baJSles definition. It is that which marks an individual 
as being himself and not another. Therefore it is known 
by its manifestations. It is the blended force of "What 
Is," "What Thinks," "What Wills" and "What Does" 
that, to paraphrase Robert Browning, constitutes the man. 

Personality is both positive and negative in its nature. 
It leads to action or it inhibits action. A boy, say, is self- 
willed, selfishly tenacious of his own, and cares not a whit 

22 children's stories and how to tell them 

for the good opinion of others — except that he is pained 
when his mother is sad. He begins to show ideals of honor, 
but he has a somewhat warped personal code, by which 
whatever affects his own happiness and that of his mother 
are his sole standards of good and bad. It must be plain 
that stories — which subtly creep into his mind and there 
set up ideals of conduct — will either confirm this lad in 
his bent or gradually shake his childish conviction that it 
is good (which to him means satisfying) to think and act 
as he does. 

The problem, then, is to find, modify or invent not only 
one story but a number that will — not too obviously — 
show, and not formally say, that a lad's mother is deeply 
hurt by a self-willed son; that the child who considers 
others prepares happiness for himself and others; that 
strength and the joy of doing things come by showing 
ourselves indifferent to what lessens or increases merely 
our own pain, and being regardful of the things that make 
others happy, and therefore finally ourselves content. 

To develop personality in the child by story-telHng 
means, first, to implant proper ideals by showing that a 
certain course of conduct brings happiness, as well as by 
showing through the action of the story and its ending 
that wrong ideals lead to various unhappy results. The 
child begins by being a hedonist — that is, he is deeply 
moved to action by the idea of happiness — and this notion 
will never entirely leave him. How to harmonize this 
ideal of personal happiness with the happiness and well- 
being of others is really the problem of life, and we must 
attack it cautiously from the start — cautiously, lest we 


teach him the mischievous doctrine that man's chief end 
is to attain happiness, whatever be the means. 

Further, personahty is developed by those stories that 
lead to action. What we all need in greater measure is 
dynamic personality. It is not enough that the child be 
led to form judgments as to what is right or wrong in the 
actions of the story-people — he must be inspired to do 
things: inspired by example, excited by the allurement of 
the possible, led out of himself by stories of achievement. 
Motor-reaction stories are important factors in bringing 
about this action-mood in the mind of the child, and this 
field is simply tremendous in its possibilities. When a 
story seizes hold of the imagination its power for good — 
or for evil — is unspeakable. Think how an unworthy 
motive may be inhibited and a noble one substituted by 
the story of ''White Fang," re-told for children. Let this 
purpose of supplying dynamic to the personahty be promi- 
nent in all your story-telling. 

But there are many other phases of personality, as we 
see upon a little reflection, and all these may be moved 
upon by the story. The morbid, brooding child may be 
allured from over-sensitiveness, the stolid awakened, the 
shallow deepened, and the morally obtuse quickened in 
all that we call conscience. 

From this no one, of course, will hastily assume that the 
development of personality is altogether or even chiefly 
a matter of story-telling. In this book the authors are 
laying emphasis on the story as being one, and only one, 
important element in child-culture. The wise guardian 
of the child will constantly coordinate the whole regimen 


of training — physical, social, intellectual, moral — so that 
the story may illustrate and teach the very standards of 
what is good that are being set up and enforced by other 
means of teaching, in home, school, and elsewhere. 

The Effect of Fiction on the Story-Teller 

How vital is the bearing of story-preference upon the 
growth of personality in the adult I Whatever a man loves, 
he is — potentially, and often actually. And because the 
fiction we read reacts so vitally upon our own characters, 
the parent, the nurse, the teacher, the temporary guardian, 
whose privilege it is to tell a story to a child, owes a primary 
obligation to herself to select for her own reading a type 
of fiction that tends to develop in her a worthy personaUty. 
However deeply the mother, actual or expectant, may be 
interested in books of sex-struggle, crime, and sordid 
atmosphere, certainly she should ask herself whether it 
would not be better for her child were its mother to fill 
her mind — and that does involve all her hopes and ideals 
— with thoughts of brightness, victory, and purity. How 
can there be a divided answer to this question? 

Obviously, we do not urge that a story-teller's reading 
should be namby-pamby, for stories that teach a robust, 
upUfting philosophy are anything but sugar coated; it is 
important, however, that room be given — yes, made — ^in 
the story-teller's heart for fiction that illustrates the worth- 
whileness of man's struggle for purity, honesty, and all 
the best things; that shows that inner victory is more im- 
portant than outward success when that success is denied; 


and that leaves us with the feeling that good is more 
powerful than evil. We who tell stories to little ones have 
no right to allow acid books to make our spirits rheumatic, 
and if we cannot read them — as most people cannot — 
without at least insensibly drawing in their taint, they 
had better be discarded for stories of hope and brave spirit. 
The very first demand that the race may and ought to 
make upon its story-tellers is that they develop in them- 
selves a personality whose charm and optimistic vigor 
is worth transmitting in the stories they tell to others, 
young or old. 

Every line of the foregoing implies that if in any degree 
pessimistic and sordid fiction may not harm the story- 
teller it will be entirely due to the reaction by which a 
healthy nature throws off the depressing — an experience 
that is by no means universal. But a child is not so con- 
stituted, for its personality is as yet undeveloped, or may 
be already beginning to develop in wrong directions. 
What care, then, should be given to choosing for the little 
ones those stories which suggest right ideals, move them 
to wise choices, and inspire them vigorously to good action ! 


1. Take any Greek myth and, applying the principle sug- 
gested in this chapter, show how it might naturally have arisen. 
See Myths and Myth Makers, John Fiske; Mythology of the 
Aryan Nations, Sir G. W. Cox; A History of Prose Fiction, 
J. C. Dunlop. 

2. How might a prehistoric parent have invented a story to 
serve as a physical warning example to his child? Try to recon- 
struct the circumstances. 


3. Similarly, reconstruct the circumstances in which an 
ancient hunter might have told of his exploit. 

4. Show how such an exploit would be embroidered until 
the doer of the deed passed down in tribal history as a super-man, 
a demi-god, or even a god. 

5. Write a brief account of the professional story-teller of 
ancient times. 

6. Why do we find the same fundamental stories in many 
different lands? 

7. Why are many such stories still current today? 

8. Illustrate from your own experience how a favorite story 
often represents our hopes and our views of life. 

9. In your own observation, and not as a matter of theory, 
do you believe that a person's preferences in fiction indicate his 
ideals? Why? 

10. Adduce any reasons, further than those suggested in this 
chapter, to show that preferences in fiction influence personality 
in the adult, 

11. Show by example how stories will affect the personality 
in the child. 

12. Select one or two stories that are calculated to affect the 
personality dynamically. 

13. Select a class of stories, or one in particular, that should 
produce some other definite effect — naming the effect, or reaction. 

14. After studying this chapter, add to the list of functions 
of the story, as called for in the questions appended to Chapter II. 

15. Discuss Forbush's statement that "The story is helpful 

. because it helps the child to will what is good." 


For the Story Teller, by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey, contains short 
but good chapters on " The Apperceptive Basis of Story- Telling " 
and " The Story with a Sense Appeal." She says: 

"We will study stories, then, asking ourselves: What emotion 
does this story stimulate? By its unpleasant situations and images. 


does it inspire fear in a child ? Does it make a child happy because 
cf its bubbling good humor? Does it create .... sympathy, 
courage, grief, anger, malice, charity, temperance? Each one 
of these states of feeling is characterized by bodily expression 
and we can almost mold character, and influence a child's future 
life-activity, by means of the stories which we tell him." 

" To me the mourning-dove has always seemed a sacred bird, 
and although I could have killed thousands of them, I have never 
taken the life of one. When a very small boy at my mother's 
knee she related to me the story of the winged messenger sent 
out by Noah to look for real estate. She told me that doves were 
innocent and harmless birds, and that I must never wrong one 
in the least. Had my good mother issued an injunction covering 
the whole animal kingdom, I think I would have grown up as 
harmless to animals as any Hindoo ; for her solemn charge regard- 
ing mourning-doves has always seemed as binding as the Ten 
Commandments. I mention this in order to point out to parents 
and teachers the vast influence they may easily wield in behalf 
of our wild creatures, which are in sore need of protection." 

— William T. Hornaday, American Natural History. 



The imagination of the pupil can be led by means of the classical 
works of creative imagination to the formation of a good taste 
both as regards ethical merit and beauty of form. The proper 
classical works for youth are those which nations have produced 
in the childhood of their culture. These works bring the children 
face to face with the picture of the world which the human mind 
has sketched for itself in one of the necessary stages of develop- 

—J. K. F. RosENCRANTZ, Philosophy of Education, 

In preceding chapters, as we have disclosed the functions 
of the story as a developer of young lives, we have seen 
why stories should be told to children. Now we must 
examine the kinds of stories that may wisely be brought 
before them, and approximately when. 

Society is much concerned over questions of fresh air, 
food, and all phases of bodily well-being. These problems 
are fundamental and deserve the consideration they 
receive, but it seems time that more attention be given to 
the mental food of children. The physician who would 
permit a child under his care to be underfed or given 
sweetmeats to the exclusion of wholesome diet would be 
justly condemned, but the father who holds his newspaper 
with one hand and with the other gives his child a nickel 
for the moving-picture show, reads on with untroubled 
conscience. He feels no concern that the child goes out 


from home to have his mind filled with cheap melodrama, 
with love stories which force his attention to aspects of 
life beyond his years, with low "horse-play," and often 
with attempts at humor based upon life's supreme trage- 
dies. "The people muth be amuthed," declared the 
inimitable Sleary, and no one would dispute it, but it is 
a grave mistake to permit a child to become dependent 
upon being amused. Nervous, restless adults who cannot 
endure a moment alone are the product of these early 
years of over-excitement and of mental starvation. They 
have no richness of life within themselves, no reserve of 
thought-power, no dream-stuff out of which to build a 
world. They have not received their heritage of the 
spiritual thought of the race which is embodied in great 
literature, simple though its form may be. 

The throb of life is so intense today that there is more 
need than ever for the balance of poise and calm which 
comes from the friendship with books. The parent who 
is wise enough to give his children regularly a few hours 
of association with himself, betimes reenforcing his own 
personaUty with the lasting thoughts expressed in story, 
poem or drama, is not only giving them wholesome amuse- 
ment, but is giving meaning to home, forming life- 
standards, building power, both for them and for himself. 

There are too few parents, as well as too few teachers, 
who are alive to their responsibilities in these questions 
of invigorating food for growing minds. Magazines 
which exploit the mental debauchery of over-stimulated 
neurotics are permitted to make their inroads upon the 
emotions of the adolescent boy and girl. Other magazines, 

30 children's stories and how to tell them 

with their milk-and-water sentimentaHsm, form the only 
reading in many homes. The result is flabby, emasculated 
brains which are unable to think clearly, and which go 
down before real situations. It is a truism that "Medi- 
ocrity breeds mediocrity — evil produces evil." For this 
reason, there is an obligation upon the home and the school 
to bring to the children the best in literature. 

The basis of selection of children's literature is two- 

I. The Child Himself as a Basis 

This, of course, means his general and his personal 
characteristics, his needs, his stage of development, and 
his personal background of experience. Second, the 
essentials of good literature will come in for consideration. 

While each child differs as an individual from every 
other child, there are also certain quahties which he has 
in common with all children. The most evident of these 
universal characteristics is activity. All higher animal 
life, as well as all mental life, expresses and develops itself 
through action. The normal, healthy child is doing some- 
thing every waking moment. He is investigative and 
curious. He is imaginative, living much in a world of 
make-believe. He has a sense of the dramatic. He is 
interested in all that has life and feels a sense of kinship 
with, and an understanding of, every living thing. He is 
sympathetic. His emotions are easily stirred and frankly 
expressed. He has a feeling for rhythm and an instinctive 
love of beauty. All these phases of his nature should 


find expression in his literature, therefore a consideration 
of all the foregoing universal characteristics, supplemented 
with individual experience, should guide in the selection 
of his stories — that is, the story should be such as will 
feed, yet not over-feed, these traits. It should be remem- 
bered, too, that these characteristics of child-nature 
persist through the adolescent period with varying 
emphasis according to the stage of development. In 
many of its aspects childhood remains long after it super- 
ficially seems to have departed. Bear in mind that not 
age hut stage of progress must govern in choosing the story 
for the child. 

The very young child lives in the immediate present. 
He is dominated by a single imperative motive. He sees 
things in the concrete. He cannot reason farther than 
from cause to immediate effect nor follow subtle and in- 
volved relationships; therefore the language of his stories 
should be simple, the plot uninvolved. He is fascinated 
v/ith the sound of words, and for this reason it is particu- 
larly important that his literature be presented orally. 
This love of sound, together with his sense of rhythm, 
makes the Mother Goose Rhymes, and stories in which 
there is repetition, the logical beginning of his literature. 
"I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow your house in!" 
"Run, run, as fast as you can, you can't catch me, I'm 
the Ginger Bread Man!" "Good day. Cocky Locky," 
and like phrases, fill him with glee. 

As the child's experience broadens and his mental power 
increases — say, not too definitely, at the normal age of 
four or four-and-a-half — the content of his stories should 

32 children's stories and how to tell them 

advance in proportion to his development. The rhymes 
lead into poetry, the cumulative and repetition stories 
give place to the animal stories. In these his feeling of 
kinship with all life finds happy expression. His own 
experience is repeated in fanciful form through the 
animals endowed with human faculties. For instance, 
The Three Bears live in a house, use tables, chairs and 
beds just as he does. They are father, mother and baby — 
his own famiUar relationships. They talk together in 
language he understands, and another child shares the 
adventure. Thus The Billy Goats Gruff, Puss in Boots, 
The White Cat, The Three Little Pigs, The Cock and 
The Hen, and Bre'r Rabbit become his favorite com- 

Again, as his concepts increase and widen still more, 
his orderly imaginative power grows greater. His sense 
of the dramatic becomes more keen. At the age of about 
six — and of course in some instances earlier, for it must be 
reiterated that it is quite impossible to parcel out the 
stages of child-development by years — fairy tales come to 
have first place in his affections. In them his love of 
beauty, his sense of the mysterious and the supernatural, 
find satisfaction. His interest in the power of unseen 
forces is deepened. The impressions of vital truths are 
stamped upon him, for the great fairy tales always em- 
body truths which primitive man discovered about him- 
self, about nature, about God. The poetic fancy, the 
wonder, the elemental passions of the race, are woven into 
the old fairy and wonder tales. They nourished the strong 
adventurous spirit of the world. They are the record of 


the emotions, the social conscience, the purpose of the 
race. It is a true instinct which leads the child to choose 
them as his ''natural soul food." ^ 

Thus from the age of six, throughout the early adolescent 
period, or up to ten and even twelve, the child "with 
insistent persuasion leads us back to the morning-time of 
literature." Along with the fairy tales, the love of the 
hero develops. The fairy prince, the dauntless youngest 
son, lead naturally to the semi-mythic hero. The great 
race-heroes of the epics, Robin Hood, King Arthur and 
his Knights, thrill the ten-year-old and set him dreaming 
of heroic deeds. 

But at this age, romance should be supplemented with 
fact-stories. The biographical hero, history stories, 
nature stories, begin to form a wonder world as fascinating 
as the fairy world has been. This blending of chivalry, 
romance and fact should be continued through the middle 
years of the adolescent period. If the foundation of right 
choice is carefully developed through the years from 
babyhood to sixteen, the result will be felt not only in the 
matter of taste for good reading, but the boy or girl will 
have a more wholesome, more vigorous attitude toward 
life. The sentimentality, the weakness, the absolute 
falsity which pervade the books read by the average 
student leaving high school, if he reads at all, may account 
in great measure for some of the most serious problems 
of American life today; and, in a prior way, is accounted 
for largely by misdirected, or absence of, early story- 
training. The bearing of early training on taste for stories 

1 See Chapter XIII, "Folk and Fairy Stories. 


in adolescence is most vital. ''Many a moral victory, 
like many a battle field, is won or lost before the actual 
struggle has begun. The battle is decided in the pre- 
liminary skirmish by contending mental images. If the 
child is stocked up with virtuous and inspiring mental 
images, through stories, his imagination is already cap- 
tured by goodness." ^ 

2. Literary Quality as a Basis 

The presentation of vigorous, wholesome images is a 
characteristic of the best literature. "Literature," says 
Dr. McVannell, *'is the expression, in words of truth and 
beauty, of man's consciousness of the significant and 
enduring values of experience — personal, national, uni- 
versal." Courage, power to endure, abihty to overcome 
Hmitations, a spirit of fair play, faithfulness, unselfishness, 
tenderness, love and service are some of the achievements 
of man's spirit in his process of development. The best 
literature sounds the changes on these dominant notes 
in the symphony of character, and thus sets up ideals of 
both character and conduct. 

The expression of phases of these ideals constitutes the 
varieties of true literature — that is, literature expresses 
in artistic form the highest which the human spirit knows. 
Therefore children's stories must be selected with such 
standards well in mind. Stories which are full of senti- 
mentality, which ''talk-down" to him, pretend, moralize, 
or present trifling rubbish in the effort to descend to his 

Manual of Stories, William Byron Forbush. 


plane of understanding, should be vigorously rejected. 

The parent, the teacher, or the story-teller who is to 
guide the choice of the child's mental food should be sure 
that his own standards are high. He should first enrich 
his own personality through an understanding of the 
essential values of literature and of life. The person whose 
life is colorless, whose emotions are pallid, whose experience 
is narrow, whose appreciation of beauty is undeveloped, 
whose knowledge of Hterature is limited, should face 
squarely the fact that he is not the one to guide the de- 
velopment of a child. He should kindle the flame in his 
own life before he attempts to pass on the torch. The 
child responds instantly to the life-quality, both in the 
individual and in the story. It is this life-quality which 
"feeds his soul." 

Because this vital force is expressed in natural, elemental 
simpHcity in the old tales which are really Hterature — being 
great in both content and form— they hold their power 
over each succeeding generation. However, some adap- 
tation of these stories would seem wise in order to lessen the 
effect of the primitive cruelty which is found in many of 
them. Yet it should be largely a question of emphasis, 
rather than mere elimination, for the child should not be 
robbed of the sweep and strength of these great stories. 
It must be remembered that the child himself does not 
feel or judge from the point of view of the adult. His 
angle of vision is far closer to that of primitive man than 
to that of the cultured man or woman of today. Some 
educators hold that it is a true impulse which gives nursery 
lore the slaying of ogres and giants, the punishment of 


wicked stepmothers. However that may be, it is safe to 
say that no story should be presented which places a 
premium upon cruelty, or in which trickery and cun- 
ning are rewarded. It is essential that the higher forces of 
good predominate and be presented in such a way as to 
awaken the child's admiration, love, and desire to imitate. 
But how shall this be done? Those words and deeds, 
those persons and things, which stir his emotions are more 
important than the facts which his intellect acquires. 
One purpose of the story is to enrich the child's 
emotional life and to furnish an outlet for his feelings. 
Great care and understanding are needed in this connec- 
tion. His emotions are simple, strong and quickly ex- 
pended. His anger rarely persists long enough to desire 
revenge, his grief is never nursed to morbidity, at least in 
the normal child; even his love does not survive long 
absences. No other emotional characteristics will have 
meaning to him in his literature until well on in his adoles- 
cent period. "Action, emotion and thought are the three 
great divisions of life," and they develop in the order 
mentioned. The very young child thinks little, he acts. 
He does not analyze, he feels. Hence his stories must 
contain action and emotion rather than reasoning. They 
must have vivid picture-quality without wordy passages 
of description. They must be concise and dramatic. In 
language and structure they need to adhere to the best 
literary form. They should appeal to the imagination, 
inspire love of beauty, and present right ideals. They 
must mirror his own experience and embody universal 


One final word must here be said — and it will be reiter- 
ated later. It has to do with 

The Mood of the Story -Teller 

Certainly there can be few times when the narrator is 
unable to choose the story she is to tell, hence no one can 
object to the demand that the story-teller should be in 
sympathy with the story. Good work can no more be done 
by one on whom the story has not laid its hand in genuine 
appeal than by an actor who has never been aroused by 
his part. In either case the audience will be quick to 
notice the coldness of the speaker, the children first of all. 
It is better to discard the most highly recommended tale 
if it does not move you to interest, and tell a story that 
arouses your sympathy. Sympathy, as we all know, 
means ''feeling with," and feeling is the absolute basis 
of all good fiction. There never was an effective story 
that did not play upon one or more of the emotions — 
without this quality the narrative would be dead. 

Yet there is the other side also to consider. An untrained 
story-teller who is called upon to choose a story for a child 
will naturally turn to one that suits her own taste. '' Put 
yourself in his place" — was ever wiser, or more difiicult, 
injunction laid upon man! Yet it must be done, and the 
effect upon the child well weighed before a story is chosen 
for telling. Remember how easy it is to hurt young 
ideals by giving babes strong meat. Not for children's 
stories must "true to life" be the sole standard, but true 

38 children's stories and how to tell them 

to truth. None is too young to begin the first lessons in 
that fine old philosophy — optimism. 


1. Since apperception is the process of building new concepts 
upon a foundation of what the mind already knows, how would 
you go about discovering the child's stage of development so as to 
avoid, on the one hand, a tiresome repetition of what is famihar 
and, on the other, stories which are beyond him? 

2. What are some of the things which may have given cur- 
rency to the misconception that good literature can be understood 
and loved by only the mature and the cultivated ? 

3. Are abstruse thoughts at all necessarily characteristic of 
good literature? 

4. Have you at any time had the notion — if not the con- 
viction — that ' ' literature ' ' and simplicity of language were not 

5. What do you think now? 

6. Can you name an admittedly great work of literature 
which is written in clear and simple English? 

7. What qualities should a literary story for children possess? 
In answering this question consider both form and content, or 

8. Make a list of those characteristics of childhood which 
are named in this chapter, and add any others which, upon 
careful thought and observation, seem to you to be present in 
children generally. 

9. What do you understand by a concrete as distinguished 
from an abstract story? Give an example of each. 

10. To what child-periods would the former appeal? The 

11. Make several lists of well-known stories for children, 
saying to what child-periods they are especially adapted. 

Note: Open discussions of these lists will prove helpful. Do 
not be guided entirely by the Hsts furnished by authorities, but 


bring each story to the test of your own knowledge — based 
on experience, preferably, but if not, on what you have learned 
of child-nature from books. 

12. Has your experience taught you to disagree with any of the 
generalizations made in this chapter regarding the stages of 
receptivity to various types of story, as shown by children? If 
so, be specific in stating your experience, and do not base a 
generaHzation upon your experience with only one or two children, 
for the exceptional child, when handled singly, needs exceptional 
study. Do not be too ready to consider children as a mass — 
they are individuals, though in some respects they lead a mass 

13. How openly in a story would you show a young child that 
it pays to do right, and that wrong-doing brings its penalties? 

14. Cite at least one story to illustrate your attitude on the 
foregoing question. 

15. In what kinds of stories do rewards and penalties most 
promptly follow the deed? 

16. For young children, is exaggeration in the proportion of 
reward to good deed, and of penalty to offence, a justifiable 
device in fairy, animal and wonder stories? Why? 

17. Try to recall the stories which you liked at certain periods 
of your childhood and youth. Name at least a dozen, assigning 
some, if you honestly can, to different periods of your develop- 
ment, with due regard for the over-lapping of interests in adjoin- 
ing periods. 

18. At about what period, have you observed, do boys begin 
to show different story-preferences from girls? Compare this 
with their choice of games and occupations. 

19. At what periods do the following types of stories make 
their strongest appeal: (a) adventure? (b) realistic? (c) 

20. At what period does the child begin to question probabili- 
ties in a story? 

21. Try to visit a kindergarten, or some other gathering of 
children, at the story hour; report the kinds of stories that 
produced the strongest observable effects. Note especially what 


sorts of children, if any, missed or lost interest in the subtler points 
of the stories. 

22. Make a detailed report, after talking cautiously to as 
many children as you can, on what stories they like, trying to 
find out why they like them. You will have to injer most of 
their reasons. A cooperative study of this sort will prove valuable 
to a class or group of students. 

23. Remember that the results from laboratory, or personal- 
experience work, will, if based upon enough cases, lead you to 
more valuable conclusions than if you depend on the teaching of 
others. Test the appeal made to children and youths of different 
periods of development of at least some of the following kinds of 
stories and make notes of the results: (a) stories of altruism; 
(b) physical bravery of a fictitious hero; (c) moral heroism of a 
historic or a Biblical character; (d) humorous results of vanity, or 
some other weakness; (e) some other purpose-story chosen by 

24. Give a real or a supposititious example of how a special 
story may be selected so as to meet a special moral or discipHnary 
need in a group of children, saying to what period of development 
the children have come. For example, continued disobedience 
in a group of bright boys of from nine to eleven. 

25. Discuss this statement: In good literature, form fits con- 
tent, and words fit ideas. 

26. What effect on the education of the child has the good — 
not merely the grammatically correct — language-form of a story 
when told? 

27. Make a list of kinds of stories to avoid at different stages 
of child-development. Be prepared to defend your disapproval 
in each instance. 


"The storks have a great many stories which they tell their 
little ones, all about the bogs and marshes. They suit them to 
their age and capacity. The young ones are quite satisfied with 


kribble, krabble, or some such nonsense, and find it charming; 
but the elder ones want something with more meaning." 

— Hans Christian Andersen, The Marsh King's Daughter. 

"Experience has taught me that for the group of normal 
children, irrespective of age, the first kind of story suitable for 
them will contain an appeal to conditions to which the child is 

accustomed The next incident that appeals is 

unusual activities carried on in the usual atmosphere of 

the child." 

— Marie L. Shedlock, The Art of the Story-Teller. 

"If literature is to regain its sway over the heart and its ministry 
in life, there must be a greater return to the oral and auditory 
basis of appeal. The book, to be sure, has its own indispensable 
place and function, but in relation to popular culture, it is the 
second and not the first place. Because our culture is increasingly 
eye-minded, it is necessarily less emotionalized and less vital, 
less joyous and spontaneous." 

— Percival Chubb, The Blight of Literary Bookishness, 
in The English Journal, Jan., 1914. 



We have found it helpful to liken the effect that a well-written, 
well-told story has upon a child's mind to the appeal that a 
successful drama makes to an audience. We have discovered 
that the opening paragraph, the first sentence of a child's story, 
should have the quality that characterizes the scene disclosed 
on the stage when the curtain rolls up — compelling interest. 
Following this curtain-raising of the story, there should be a 
series of pictorial scenes that carry the events that go to make 
up the story-plot, strung upon a slender thread of curiosity, 
and giving the element of suspense to the story. 

Following out this story-structure, we come, eventually, to 
the end. The curtain must fall at last before the eyes of the 
child-audience and the closing of the story-drama should be as 
mind- stimulating as was its beginning. 

— Carolyn Sherwin Bailey, For the Story-Teller. 

Happily for the story-teller, no intricate and confusing 
technique is needed for effective narration to children, 
notwithstanding the exacting demands of the art. In the 
magazine short-story for grown-ups we observe mechani- 
cal processes and devices which at times are far from 
simple, but the teller of children's stories finds his path 
more straightforward. Nevertheless, intelligent study and 
7nuch practice are necessary for him also if he would 
master his art. At the outstart only a few simple direc- 
tions — discoverable for himself, in fact — are needed to set 
and keep him on the right way, but it is important to 


remember that story-telling for children demands a serious 
apprenticeship if worth-while results are to be gained. 

The Beginning of the Story 

The telling of many a good story has been handicapped, 
if not quite defeated, by unnecessary and therefore bad 
preliminaries. Short fiction knows no more inexorable 
law than this: Every word that does not help, hinders. 
How futile it is for a story-teller to gather her hearers 
and say: ''Now, children, I am going to tell you a lovely 
story, and I want you all to be ve-e-ry quiet — James, 
sit up straight! If, when I have finished, you do not say 
that this is one of the very best stories you have ever 
heard, I shall be very much disappointed" — and more 
irritating indirectness, plentifully sprinkled with very's. 
The way to begin is to begin. If the opening does not 
command interest no story-teller can demand it. 

Let there be no formal introduction — that is, no audi- 
ble laying of foundations, no exposition of facts and con- 
ditions that took place prior to the story. Plunge in. 
The best opening brings before the child in one or two 
short, vivid sentences one or more of the leading charac- 
ters in the story and shows him or them in an interesting 

But what is interest? It is that which sends the mind 
forward in a swift leap of expectation. ''Something is 
going to happen!" we feel subconsciously; or, "That's 
queer!" or, "How did that come to be?" In short, the 
good story-opening not only points forward to action but 
actually begins the action. 

44 children's stories and how to tell them 

But the effective opening does more: It also establishes 
a setting in a word or two. In a word or two? Precisely. 
The magazine fiction writer, who often gives whole para- 
graphs to setting, might profit by the condensed, sugges- 
tive art of the children's story-teller. The setting of the 
EHzabethan stage was, as we all know, a very simple 
thing — the fancy of the hearer-spectator supplied the 
scene by pure evocation. And so does the child call 
forth his own pictures of background. True, not all 
youngsters have seen a forest, and fewer still an ice cave, 
but in these days of printed pictures and universal cine- 
matography the range of setting known to the average 
of children is astonishingly wide, so that, "Once there 
was an ugly little dwarf who kept his horse in a freezing 
cold ice cave" will at once evoke a satisfactorily clear 

Learn the value of suggestion in drawing the setting, 
and do not be too precise. Children quickly grasp com- 
parisons. "Jack lived in a cottage whose front yard was 
just large enough for Bruno to turn round in three times," 
is more stimulating to the imagination than either the 
bare adjective "small," or the worse device of "twenty 
feet square." The child is full of imagery — and so must 
the story be. Let your nouns and verbs be clear and 
picturesque, then will adjectives and adverbs be less 

The opening will often suggest the mood of the story. 
Is it to be a "real" story, a fairy tale, a myth, a wonder 
legend, a story of rollicking fun? — the beginning may 
well answer the question by striking a clear tone. 


Let US see from the following openings how these Jour 
purposes: the introduction of one or more of the characters 
in an interesting situation, the beginning of the action, the 
suggestion of a setting, and the establishment of a mood — 
are in whole or in part accomplished by skillful story- 
tellers. At the same time we shall be interested in no- 
ticing some of the variations of the old ''Once upon a 
time" opening, and in observing some other devices of 


In the grey beginnings of the world, or [before] ever the 
flower of justice had rooted in the heart, there lived among 
the daughters of men two children, sisters, of one house. 

' — John Russell. 

There was once a shilling which came forth from the mint 
springing and shouting, "Hurrah! Now I am going out into 
the wide world," 

— Hans Christian Andersen, Fairy Tales. 


In the High and Far Off Times the Elephant, O Best Beloved, 
nad too trunk. 
f — RuDYARD Kipling, Just So Stories. 

Once upon a time, longer than long ago, when the good St. 
Peter walkfed about the earth looking to see how men lived, 
he came one day to the door of a cottage where an old woman 
was baking cakes. 

— Old Legend. 

Long, long ago, when all the animals could talk, there lived 
in the province of Inaba, in Japan, a little white hare. His 

46 children's stories and how to tell them 

home was on the island of Oki, and just across the sea was 
the mainland of Inaba. 

Now the hare wanted very much to cross over to Inaba. 

— OzAKi, The Japanese Fairy Book. 

Huacani was curious. He wanted to go with his friend Vago- 
niona to visit the Caves of Souls; it was forbidden to visit these 
and he knew this was so, yet he was determined to visit the 
mysterious caverns. 

— Florence J. Stoddard, As Old as the Moon. 

The narrator of tales relates that, once upon a time, there 
lived a man and his wife who were so poor that they had no 
home. So the woman begged of her husband to seek a place 
for her in the hamam, or bath house. Now, the bamam was a 
large building, with many rooms. When the bamamjy, or keeper, 
had listened to the tale of the poor man he answered: "There 
will be room for your wife tomorrow. Let her come then." 

— IzoRA Chandler and Mary W. Montgomery, 
Told in the Gardens of Araby. 

There was none other in the quiet valley so happy as the 
rose-tree, — none other so happy unless perchance it was the 
thrush who made his home in the linden yonder. The thrush 
loved the rose-tree's daughter, and he was happy in thinking 
that some day she would be his bride. 

— Eugene Field, The Holy Cross and Other Tales. 

Once upon a time there were a man and a woman, who had 
an only daughter. Now it happened that one of their sheep 
went astray, and they set out to look for it, and searched, each 
in a different part of the wood. Then the good wife met a 
witch, etc. 

— Andrew Lang, The Red Fairy Book. 


Every afternoon, as they were coming from school, the children 
used to go and play in the Giant's garden. 

— Oscar Wilde, The Happy Princess. 

Once upon a time there was a little White Rabbit with two 
beautiful long pink ears and two bright red eyes and four soft 
Httle feet — such a pretty little White Rabbit, but he wasn't 

— Southern Folk Tale. 

The Body of the Story 

It is immediately after the opening that the children's 
story shows its most marked difference from the present- 
day magazine story, therefore it seems needful to establish 
briefly one or two distinctions. 

The tale may be compared to a chain, each link of 
which is an event, an incident, a step forward in the 
sequence of the narrative. So a tale does not have a 
plot — by which, roughly, we mean a tying up of the 
action of the story in such a way as to produce a crisis 
(or difficulty, or obstacle, or interruption) in the affairs 
of at least one of the characters, following which is an 
exhibition of the resulting struggle, and then the more or 
less surprising outcome, or denouement. 

A simple plot may be illustrated by a capital Y, or an 
inverted y — A, or an X. The point where all lines meet 
is the focus of the "clash of wills," the contest of inter- 
ests, the struggle against material or immaterial opposi- 
tion. The lines indicate either the divided or the united 
courses of the characters either before or after the crucial 


struggle. Plot is one essential element of the short-story 
as distinguished from the tale. Really, there is no such 
thing as a short-story — as distinguished from the plotless 
tale — unless we have a plot, however simple that plot 
may be. 

Children's stories generally have simple plots, and 
nearly all of them contain a struggle, with its outcome, 
but in this field complicated plots are a rarity, even in 
continued fairy stories like those written by Mr. Andrew 
Lang. All in all, the tale — the chain of incidents that 
might be continued indefinitely without altering the 
course of the action and so might be ended anywhere — 
is a frequent form of the story told to children, but the 
best children's stories contain plots of a simple sort. It 
is difficult for small children to keep in mind the several 
threads of a complicated plot, though they are always 
interested in simple plots, such as when the hero meets 
a difficulty and some friendly animal or fairy shows him 
a way out, which he follows in a course zigzagging be- 
tween success and failure until at last he attains his 
goal. Really, this is the course of the novel, but with 
that we are not now concerned. 

Directness in the presentation of a series of scenes is the 
first method to be followed. There must be no digres- 
sions or side trips {episodes) in the well-told children's 
story. However great may be the temptation to make 
pleasing little excursions by the way, the narrator must 
sternly bear in mind Mr. Kipling's whimsical remark, 
"But that is another story." Interest soon wanders 
afield at the first inviting break in the hedge, and 


then how shall we come happily to the end of the road? 

For the foregoing reason it is rarely if ever wise to 
ask the children questions while a story is being told, or 
to allow them to interrupt with questions. The well- 
prepared story will answer all necessary questions as it 
goes along. Even if every point cannot be briefly made 
clear to every child, do not stop to elaborate. Have not 
you yourself experienced the joy of sudden understanding 
of some passage in a story or a poem learned in child- 
hood, the full meaning of which was long denied to your 
mind? Besides, it will not do to ignore the fancy of the 
child, which is marvellously equipped to paint its own 
pictures, if only you give it the imaginary background. 

Sometimes an unintentional digression is suggested by 
the narrator when an absorbing situation in a story is 
touched upon and left without having any real part in 
the story. Here is an example in point: "And Eric went 
on and on until he came to a black rabbit with four glass 
feet and a silk hat, but he didn't stop there" — though 
the child's mind is likely to. That which does not help, 
hinders — let this maxim be repeated. The story-teller 
introduced the funny bunny merely as an ornament, with 
the result that it proved to be a distraction. 

Since the well-told story is a carefully considered se- 
quence of pictorial scenes, each leading naturally into its 
successor, the straight-ahead course of the story must 
not be interrupted by the introduction of many, if any, 
matters that require explanation. The story is to be sug- 
gestive, not exhaustive. Examine any good fairy story 
and see how like a scenario it is in parts. Everything is 


swiftly — almost casually — done. Events which in a story 
for grown-ups would require elaboration are passed over 
"just like that," because the child-mind leaps forward to 
what comes next with impatience of minute explanation. 
Children either sense what is conveyed in a few swift 
words, fining in the imagined sketch by their own light- 
ning strokes of fancy, or they weary of the tedious recital. 

Just as explanations are bad, so are too many details. 
The child would rather have repetition than confusing 
minutiae. Take for example the constant use of threes 
in the fairy tale. Note how a pleasing sense of expec- 
tancy and recognition are developed in the listener as the 
wanderer first meets a hermit in a brown cloak, who 
sends him on to a second hermit in a brown cloak, who 
in turn sends him to a third hermit in a brown cloak 
with a green hood. This variety in unity at once suggests 
a crisis and a change. 

Trace out this use of threes, with all manner of varia- 
tions, and you have possessed yourself of one of the funda- 
mental structural forms of the fairy tale. 

Plausibility and motivation need careful consideration, 
for they go hand in hand. By the former we mean that, 
given a certain state of affairs, the outcome should be 
consistent; by the latter, that an adequate motive must 
be either shown or implied for every important act — the 
say-so of the narrator is not convincing when an im- 
portant point is not plausible. 

Amateur story-tellers often assume that a fairy story 
or a wonder tale gives them carte blanche for the intro- 
duction of all manner of events, whether impossible or 


improbable. Nothing could be farther from the truth. 
Plausibility is not offended when we meet a rabbit with 
four glass feet, because at once we accept this as an 
evidence that we are in a wonderland where anything 
may be true, so long as — and here is the real demand of 
plausibility — he acts as such a strange creature would. 

Suppose, for example, that the rabbit should run a 
thorn in his foot — we resent this as impossible; but let 
him crack his left hind foot by knocking it against a 
stone, and we believe it, so to say, for the foot is glass. 

At the same time we may find in this instance an ex- 
ample of good motivation. Eric meets the rabbit weeping 
its silk hat full of tears. At once we want to know why 
he is weeping. The lad stops in wonder, and hears about 
bunny's accident — all the facts are thus linked and the 
way is open for Eric to tell the rabbit how to have his 
foot mended, and the future interweaving of their for- 
tunes is merely a matter of invention; we have had both 
plausibility and motivation. 

Crisis is constantly met with in children's stories — 
crisis in the form of an "impossible" task with a severe 
penalty for failure; crisis in the shape of formidable 
opposition in the pursuit of a quest; crisis in the person 
of an enemy, natural or supernatural, the overcoming of 
whom brings victory for the hero. 

Suspense^ a vital quality in all absorbing stories, grows 
out of crisis. Will the Prince succeed? The answer is 
deferred through a series of efforts and sub-efforts, re- 
buffs, failures, promised victories, and still another failure 
— until the listener fairly throbs for fear that the needed 


help may not come in time to allow the Prince to put the 
wicked Witch to rout and so break the enchantment 
of the lovely Princess. 

Climax is the high point in the action of the story. 
It comes just when the struggle, having reached its 
height, can grow no more intense, and reward comes to 
the hero or heroine, or both. To lead a story zigzagging 
up the course to this climacteric point — each successive 
scene definitely marking an advance or an intentional 
recession — is the acme of story-telling, worth study and 
patient effort. Let no master-story hereafter be read 
without noting by what alternately advancing and re- 
ceding steps the climax is reached. So many devices are 
possible by which the hearer may be held in suspense 
while he is being led on to the outcome that the new- 
comer in the story-telling field need not fear that all the 
good stories have been told. 

But not only in wonder-tales must the several elements 
just considered be given a place, for in every good story 
they are inherent. The story-teller who is ambitious to 
excel would do well first to analyze a considerable num- 
ber of stories to see how these factors are worked, then 
try using them in re-telling old stories, and finally learn 
to handle them effectively in original narration. 

The End of the Story 

The swiftest endings of all fictional forms, excepting 
the anecdote, are those of children's stories. Indeed, in 
many stories the high point, or climax, is the ending 
itself, though in others a final line is added to round off 


the tale. But when you are through, stop. Antidimax 
here means a painful let-down of interest. 


When he got to his den the Fox asked each of his limbs how 
they had helped him in his flight. His nose said, "I smelt the 
hounds;" his eyes said, "We looked for the shortest way;" 
his ears said, "We Hstened for the breathing of the hounds;" 
and his legs said, "We ran away with you." Then he asked his 
tail what it had done, and it said, "Why, I got caught in the 
bushes, or made your leg stumble; that is all I could do." So, 
as a pimishment, the Fox stuck his tail out of his den, and the 
hounds saw it and caught hold of it, and dragged the Fox out 
of his den by it and ate him all up. So that was the end of 
Master Reynard, and well he deserved it. Don't you think so? 
— Joseph Jacobs, Europa's Fairy Book. 

But through the darkness the great throng watched the 
burning ship carried further and further over the distant waters, 
while the Hght of the funeral pyre grew dimmer and fainter, 
until at last, with a shower of sparks, the vast burning pyre 
and hull fell in, reddening the sea — and then all was dark. 
— E. N. AND G. E. Partridge, Story-Telling in School and Home. 


He has never caught up with the three days he missed at 

the beginning of the world, and he has never learnt how to 


— Rudyard Kipling, Just So Stories. 

We have all this straight out of the alderman's newspaper, 
but it is not to be depended on. 

— Hans Christian Andersen, Fairy Tales, 

And they fell on his neck and kissed him, and brought him 
into the palace, and clothed him in fair raiment, and set the 

54 children's stories and how to tell them 

crown upon his head, and the scepter in his hand, and over 
the city that stood by the river he ruled, and was its lord. Much 
mercy and justice did he show to all, and the evil Magician he 
banished, and to the Wood-cutter and his wife he sent many 
rich gifts, and to their children he gave high honour. Nor 
would he suffer any to be cruel to bird or beast, but taught 
love and loving-kindness and charity, and to the poor he gave 
bread, and to the naked he gave raiment, and there was peace 
and plenty in the land. 

— Oscar Wilde, The House of Pomegranates. 

Then as they went from the church King Arthur's Knights, 
clad in stainless white, marched before him with trumpets and 
a song: 

Blow trumpet, for the world is white with May! 
Blow trumpet, for the night hath rolled away ! 
Blow thro' the living world, "Let the King reign!" 
And that was the coming of King Arthur. 

— Richard Thomas Wyche, Some Great Stories 
and How to Tell Them. 

Before now, doubtless, it will have been observed that 
the pointing of a moral is eschewed by tellers of good 
stories. This old-time habit of thrusting home the ob- 
vious is happily overpast. That teaching which the 
action of the story does not itself bring to the child's 
consciousness can never be given at the close by the 
formal words of the story-teller. If you would kill the 
natural effect of the story, get out your hammer and tack 
on a moral. Look at that exquisite ending of "The 
Star Child," told with a purity of English comparable 
only to that wellspring of beauty, the English Bible, from 
which indeed its style was learned; then ask yourself 
whether the young hearer, who has been sympathetically 


following the Star Child through loss and sorrow to the 
day of his crowning, must not feel, in emotional arouse- 
ment, the fineness of all that the hero did at the last. 
Moral appeal most good stories do make, but it must not 
be an obvious appeal. One of the chief factors in the 
moral training of stories lies in this: A useful didactic 
story subtly leads the child to say within himself , "That 
punishment was deserved," "Master Reynard was a 
tricky fellow;" "I'm glad that Cinderella, instead of 
one of her mean sisters, got the Prince; " "Jack had more 
pluck than I have — I wonder if I could be so brave if I 


1. Point out the differences between the magazine short- 
story and the story told to children. 

Note : Those who wish to look more fully into the technique 
of the short-story will find on one of the front fly leaves of 
this volume a list of books on the subject, by one of the present 

2. Of the stories printed in this book say which are tales. 
The instructor may limit this assignment to the exiamination 
of, say, ten stories. 

3. (a) If any opening quoted in this chapter seems in- 
effective, criticise it. ih) Alter it so as to meet your views. 

4. To what ages or school grades would any one of the 
openings seem best adapted? Say why. 

5. Rewrite the opening of any story given complete in this 
book, so as to improve it, if you think it open to criticism. 

6. Rewrite any opening given in this chapter, or given in 
the complete stories, so as to adapt it to children of a different 
age or school grade, stating at what grade you are aiming. 

7. Give reasons supporting the changes made. 

56 children's stories and how to tell them 

8. Criticise specifically, and re-tell, the opening of any 
story you have heard told which seemed unsuitable. 

9. (a) Say how you would open a story-hour — not a specific 
story. (&) How would you get the children in order and in 
proper attitudes — if the latter seems important to you. 

10. Why are elaborate introductions bad? 

11. (a) Point out which of the four elements of an opening 
named in this chapter are present or absent in the openings 
quoted, (b) Do the same with five openings of stories printed 
in full in later chapters. 

12. Write (or give orally) five very brief sentences in which 
setting is given — use the method of suggestion in at least two. 

13. How was setting indicated on the Elizabethan stage? 

14. Is it important that a child should be fully acquainted 
with the settings of stories told to him? Give your reasons. 

15. What do you understand by the mood or tone of a 

16. Is it well to have the mood of the story shift during its 

17. Invent several variations of "Once upon a time." 

18. Write an original opening (a) for a re-told story, (b) for 
an original story. Be sure to be brief. 

19. Quote an opening that seems to you to be especially 
good. Say why. 

20. Briefly outline the plot of any short-story in this col- 
lection, marking the points of crisis, suspense, and denouement 
(outcome of the struggle or complication). 

21. Try to find an instance in which plausibility is violated 
in a children's story. Correct the error. 

22. Point out the climax in any three stories, whether told 
in this book or not. 

23. Do you know of an instance in which a story would 
have been improved if it had been ended earlier? If so, point 
out the exact place. 

24. Apply question 3 to the ending of the story and answer it. 
Note: The same may be done with questions 5, 6, 7, and 8. 


25. Do Bible stories illustrate the principles of structure 
taught in this chapter? 


Edward Porter St. John, in Stones and Story-Telling, gives 
these as "some vital characteristics of good stories: Suggestive- 
ness or Meaning, Unity, and Action." 

"Bible stories are models. . . . You are left to read as 
much between the Hnes as you choose, but the kernel of the 
message is soon revealed. You are in touch with real life from 
start to finish and essentials only are admitted." 

— Samuel B. Haslett, The Pedagogical Bible School. 

In her How to Tell Stories to Children, Sarah Cone Bryant 
analyzes three stories— "The Three Bears," " Three Little Pigs, " 
and "The Little Pig that Wouldn't Go Over the Stile" — and 
finds in them three characteristics important in the structure 
of children's stories: "Something happens, all the time." "Each 
event presents a distinct picture to the imagination, and these 
pictures are made out of very simple elements." And, "A third 
characteristic ... is a certain amount of repetition" — 
sometimes cumulative. 



It is impossible for one who has not spent much time in study- 
to understand all the carefully concealed machinery which lies 
back of any art. But there is one thing any one must be willing 
to do before he attempts to tell stories in even the most unas- 
suming way ; namely, so to live with the literature which he is to 
interpret that he becomes filled with the spirit and atmosphere 
of the tale and it becomes in a sense his own. Too much emphasis 
cannot be laid upon the necessity of this one thing. I have known 
artists who live with the stories they are to tell a year, sometimes 
two years, before they feel that they are ready to give them to an 

— Edna Lyman, Story-Telling — What to Tell and How to Tell it 

From the short quotation foregoing it seems evident 
that it is not enough that you as a story-teller understand 
the structure of stories in general, nor yet that you have 
often read or heard the particular story you purpose telling 
— a definite preparation for the presentation of that story 
is necessary if you are to tell it effectively, and effectively is 
a big word. 

The Subjective Appeal 

The first step in the preparation of a story for telling is to 
put yourself in tune with its spirit. No matter what 
authority has pronounced the story good, never tell it 
unless it appeals to you personally. It is unfair to the 


story, to your audience, and to yourself to try to interpret 
a piece of literature with which you are not in perfect 
harmony. Unless the story expresses your own thoughts 
and feelings, unless it is an outlet for your inner self, it is 
not for you.^ 

Story-telUng, therefore, should be a form of self-expres- 
sion, "a giving forth as rain that which has been received 
as mist." This is not possible unless the message of the 
story is felt to be your message. If you can say of a story 
"1 love it", you are inevitably seized with a desire to 
make some one else love it, for the story-teller is never 
content until he has shared his treasure-trove. 

Re-creating the Conditions of the Story 

As a first step in mastering the story for telling, you will 
re-create in your own mind the story as a whole, adding 
to the author's vision the coloring of your personality. 
You will read it again and again, absorbing the author's 
style, the subtle shadings of his presentation of his theme. 
You will see the pictures move before the eye of your mind 
like the silent enactment of a drama on the moving-picture 
screen — as a series of definitely connected scenes. This 
inner visualization is the essential preliminary in the prep- 
aration of a story. 

One day last spring two street cleaners were talking to- 
gether as they sat on the curb. One said to the other: 
''You know, when you tell a story you got to just see it 

^ See page 37 

6o children's stories and how to tell them 

happenin' when you're tellin' it — if you want the other 
feller to git the point. " 

The old man had found the secret of the story-teller's 
art — just to "see it happenin' when you're tellin' it." 

This picture-quality comes only through the re-creative 
power of the imagination. Dare to wonder about your 
story. Wonder until your wondering becomes a magic 
power, which sets the actors to playing out their parts 
before you. Wonder until you see all that the author has 
not told you of what happened before this story could 
come to pass. In other words, your imagination must fill 
out all the happenings which you instinctively know make 
up the unwritten background of the story. This is more 
especially necessary if the story you are to tell is a frag- 
ment, as a section cut from a longer narrative, for then 
only a knowledge of the whole will fit you for telling the 

For example, if you are preparing a story of David and 
Goliath, you will catch the vision of a fearless boy, ruddy 
of countenance, running to meet the giant champion. 
You will see him adjust the stone in his shepherd's sling 
and hurl it with unerring aim at Goliath's forehead. Then 
you will go back and begin to wonder — and question: 
Why was David's eye so keen? Why was his aim so sure? 
Why was his arm so strong? Why was he not afraid? 
For answer, you will see him as a child living in the fields 
with his brothers as they tended their father's flocks. 
You will see him jumping, running, climbing, growing 
daily stronger, taller, more ruddy of countenance, more 
keen of eye. You will picture the boyish games he must 


have played. Step by step you will build up his prepara- 
tion for this first service to his people. And so also with 
Goliath's life, and the whole struggle between the two 
warring peoples. 

Out of such dreamings and questionings will come that 
intangible something called atmosphere — the surrounding 
air — which is a part of every work of art. 

When this atmosphere has fully developed, you are 
ready for 

The Intensive An alysis of the Story 

First of all, state clearly to yourself the central theme. 
This can almost always be expressed in one short sentence, 
thus: How a courageous shepherd boy delivers his people 
by doing the thing he has learned to do while defending 
his flocks. Or, How David did with a sling-shot what he 
could not have done with an unaccustomed sword. Or, 
How God used a boy who knew his work to put a braggart 
to rout. Or the theme might be stated in a dozen other 
ways. Whatever big point you wish to bring out in the 
story, that is its theme. 

Of course this theme is not to be stated formally when 
you tell your story — it is merely to help you crystallize 
the action of the tale around a central point. 

Next you will want to note with what details or incidents 
the author reinforces this theme. Determine which in- 
cidents belong to the background, and which, through 
emphasis or elaboration, should receive the "high light" 
in the composition. The story-teller's sense of the dra- 


matic, his feeling for the artistic in selection, must be his 
guide in this part of the work. 

The technique of a story is the same as that of a great 
painting. Every part of the background, however minute, 
must be in harmony, or in intentional contrast with, and 
furnish the essential setting for, the central figure which 
works out the artist's message in the action. 

In the Corcoran Art Gallery at Washington there is a 
wonderful picture called "The Family," by L'Hermitte. 
The setting is a field of yellow wheat, part of it uncut, part 
of it tied into bundles, part of it loaded on the wagon. In 
the foreground sits a mother nursing her baby. The father, 
with his scythe thrown over his shoulder, has paused a 
moment to look with grave tenderness at the child. The 
mother's eyes are looking with a passionate motherhood 
into the face against her breast. The old grandmother 
sits at the right, also gazing fondly at the infant. A little 
sister and brother kneel against the mother, with eyes 
turned adoringly upon the baby's face. Every eye, every 
stroke with which the wheat is pictured, leads to the baby. 

Now notice the significance of the wheat as a back- 
ground for the family. It is their sustenance, the fruit of 
their toil — it tells us much of the occupation and condition 
of the family, the season, and more besides. But further, 
it seems to be symbolical, for perhaps the three arrange- 
ments of the wheat mirror the three generations of the 
family — the uncut grain corresponding to the children; 
that which is harvested and bundled, 'to the parents; that 
which is loaded and ready to be carried to other scenes, 
to the grandparents. Every detail of the picture is es- 


sential, and every one points to the child, saying, "It is 
for this we exist." 

This unity of theme, so humanly and dramatically 
expressed in this masterpiece, this harmony of detail, so 
subtly developed, should characterize every story which is 
presented to an audience. 

We must reiterate here what is said elsewhere: It is 
important, next, to conceive of your story as a longer or 
shorter series of scenes, or perhaps as a single dramatic 
scene. Whichever it is, let the action be envisioned before 
you in this pictorial way, one act leading naturally to 
another until you come to the high point — the climax — 
where the vital action is shown. No more important step 
in preparation is there than to set the climax clearly before 
your mind's eye, for how can one intelligently work to- 
ward a point without planning clearly what that point is 
to be, and by what steps it is to be reached? 

To sum up: Determine the climax of your story, then 
with the same sure strokes as those of the artist, make each 
incident of the action, each detail of the setting, say, "It 
is for this we exist. " 

Having established your mood, absorbed the author's 
style, developed the imaginative atmosphere, and analyzed 
the structure of the story, you are ready for the next step 
in preparation: 

Fitting Words to the S tory 

These words should be your ov/n, and come spon- 
taneously at the time of presentation. The memorized 

64 children's stories and how to tell them 

story is mechanical, and its mechanism usually creaks — 
it is like a chiseled image, rather than a living, breathing 
being; it is parrot-like recitation, rather than creation. 
The story-teller must free his mind from all but the life 
of the story which flows through his words to his listeners. 
Each sentence must be charged with the electric current 
of his joy in the giving. It is this joy which will free him 
from self-consciousness. Not himself, but the story is 
important. He is merely the medium through which the 
message is transmitted. He must know his story so well 
that his mind is freed from thought of words and thought 
of self, then will his mood play through the story, catching 
and kindling the spirit of his audience. 

Consider the force of these words of the poet Bryant: 

The secret wouldst thou know 

To touch the heart or fire the blood at will? 

Let thine own heart o'erflow; 

Let thy lips quiver with the passionate thrill; 

Seize the great thought ere yet its power is past 
And bind, in words, the fleet emotions fast. 

On considering — yet not memorizing — the words and 
the sentence forms you are to use in telling a story, pay 
attention to points like the following: 

Do not use words equivocally — that is, words which as 
first heard, particularly when used in a certain word-con- 
nection, have a double meaning. Children are readily 
confused by such expressions as "Jack was carving a 
figure ;^^ "I must go help Alice with the cow — she is not 
yet well trained, and she might upset the milk pail. " 

In using words unfamihar to the children, be careful to 


do SO sparingly, and be doubly certain that each unfamiliar 
word may be understood from the way in which it is used. 
In this way the vocabulary of the child will be enlarged. 
When story-telling is employed as an adjunct to language 
work, certain words may be explained in the preceding 
language lesson and then used in the story. Or the process 
may be reversed^ 

Fit the language-form to the spirit of the story. The 
dignity of Bible English is not suited to ''Tom Thumb." 
The beauty of smooth-flowing style and the vigor of terse 
expression may be impressed upon the child subconsciously 
at an early age. For this reason it is better to avoid slang 
and extremely colloquial expressions — but on the other 
hand be sure that you do not reject our easy, correct 
colloquial idioms for stilted English. 

Watch the transitions between sentences and parts of 
sentences. " And then, " " So, " " Next, " " But, " and the 
like, should be used in a way that will lead the mind to 
recognize such ideas as succession, reversal of movement, 
contrast, and change of mind. Even the formal "Where- 
upon," "Hence," "Wherefore," etc., may be chosen in 
stories of the heroic or Biblical sort, so as to enlarge the 
children's understanding. The simpler literary forms 
should be mastered by the story-teller. In choosing your 
English, "Simphfy but do not sillify." 

1. Can you agree with the sentiments quoted from Edna 

^ There is a good chapter on " Story- Telling in Teaching English, " 
in Stories to Tell to Children, by Sara Cone Bryant. 

66 children's stories and how to tell them 

Lyman's "Story-Telling" at the opening of this chapter? Give 
reasons, briefly. 

2. Make an orderly list of the several steps in preparing a 
story for telling, as recommended in this chapter^ 

3. Which seem to you the most important, and why? 

4. Can you add any others which seem valuable? 

5. Analyze any of the longer stories in this book, and briefly 
say what are (a) its theme, (b) its essential scenes (c) its climax. 

6. Say why you chose this story. 

7. After preparing this same story carefully, tell it to an 
audience, preferably of children, and report the defects of your 

8. Criticise, kindly but honestly, similar work by another. 

9. State the themes of any five stories given in this book. 

10. Invent two original themes. 

11. Invent several scenes, and a climax scene, from one of 
these two themes. 

12. Without writing out the story, tell it. Do not let it be a 
long story, and say to what grade of children you wish it to appeal. 



I like to think of the story-teller as a good fellow standing at a 
great window overlooking a busy street or a picturesque square, 
and reporting with gusto to the comrade in the rear of the room 
what of mirth or sadness he sees; he hints at the policeman's 
strut, the organ grinder's string, the school girl's gayety, with a 
gesture or two which is born of an irresistible impulse to imitate, 
but he never leaves his fascinating post to carry imitation farther 
than a hint. 

— Sara Cone Bryant, How to Tell Stories to Children. 

It should be clear by now that the authors of this book are 
not disposed to lay down fixed rules for the invention, 
selection, preparation and telling of stories; quite on the 
contrary, it has seemed far better to set a body of facts in 
order before the story-teller so that the principles of the 
art might be arrived at reasonably, and not accepted on 
the authority of others. It is intended that this spirit 
should also pervade the present study of methods — 
methods that assume the careful preparation of the story 
proper and apply to its actual recital. 

The Mood of the Story-Teller 

Sympathy is the first great necessity for effective oral 
narration. Sympathy with the story may be presupposed, 
as we have urged in the chapter on " The Basis of Selection 
of Children's Stories," and real sympathy with children 

68 children's stories and how to tell them 

is of course even more a primary necessity; but what 
about those occasional moods of depression, weariness, 
self-distrust, irritation from worrisome cares, and all the 
rest of those forces, whether overt or subtle, that throw us 
out of harmony with the ideal warmth of the story-hour — 
is there any cure for these? 

The' story-teller's problem is precisely that of the 
preacher, the lecturer, the legal pleader and the actor. 
These public speakers by and by learn that it is not only 
possible but vitally necessary to practice self-electrification. 
This process is not imitation or pretense — listeners soon 
unmask the face that wears a false smile — it is what 
dramatic trainers call conviction. And that word gives 
us the key to self-arousement. Emotion is an effect, and 
of course also a cause, but it is an effect before it is a cause: 
it is a response to some sort of appeal kindUng the forces 
of mind and body and wrapping them in a fervent heat of 
conviction that what the speaker is then saying is of the 
utmost importance. 

What are the appeals which the story-teller may make 
to her own emotions so as to induce the mood for magnetic 

First, a direct exercise of the will. "I WILL!" repeated 
with a sudden contraction of the whole being — spirit and 
body — will not fail to produce a powerful reaction, a thrill. 
This is what we mean by concentration — a centering of 
every force on a single point. A little practice in con- 
centration — mind you, it must be sudden — will bring a 
genuine flash to your eye, a tightening of relaxed muscles, 
a quickening of the pulse, an alertness of bearing, even the 


starting of a tear, that will put you in any mood that your 
will may command. How else, do you suppose, does the 
emotional actress succeed in acting with so much sincerity, 
two hundred nights in succession? Believe that this is 
possible for you also. Not always are we able to defer our 
story-telling to an hour of inspiration unevoked. 

At first it may seem that this self-electrification is a piti- 
ful physical subterfuge. Far from it — it is purely spiritual 
in its origin. When the mind — or heart, if you choose — 
suddenly images some exciting idea, the will summons 
every faculty to sense that idea intently, and the result is 
aroused emotion; and with emotion once aroused in the 
story-teller the victory is well begun. 

Try your own power over yourself just now by calling 
up the emotion of fear. Now make it definite — fear of an 
angry dog. Change the emotion to determination to quell 
him with your eye. Practice calling out emotion in many 
forms until you can arouse yourself at will. It can be 
done — every actor, every orator, knows that — and you 
can do it. 

One word of caution, however: In self-electrification 
at the beginning of a story, do not start at so high a pitch 
that you early exhaust your powers and so fall into a disap- 
pointing anticlimax. Once well begun, the story will fur- 
nish much, or perhaps all, of its own "ginger. " 

A second means of self-arousement is a more deliberate 
one, for it is really an essential part of your preparation that 
carries itself over into the telling of the story — it consists 
in so steady a concentration on the mood, the pervading 
feeling of the story, that absorption results. The successful 


story-teller not only absorbs her story — she is absorbed in 
it. Re-read the preceding chapter on "The Preparation 
of the Story for TelHng," and see how vital it is to think 
and feel yourself into the heart of your story, until the 
story is in you and all of you is in the story. Sense the 
full meaning of this word absorb. The story must possess 
you before you can possess it, and so cause the story to 
possess your hearers. Forget all else, but don't forget this 
truth. Yet, withal, retain your supremacy of will, so that 
you may not be carried beyond the bounds of restraint. 
Here is a golden middle-path for the story-teller. 

The third means — also partly a matter of preparation 
and partly of delivery — is visualization. Image the scenes 
one by one; dream them, but with restraint, lest you 
wander away from your prepared outhne; live them until 
you feel their vital reality. It cannot be repeated too 
urgently: visualize the story as a series of connected scenes 
in a simple drama. 

The Manner of the Story-Teller 

Manner, evidently, should grow out of mood, but it 
oftener is the effect of habit, and not always admirable 
habit. Now attitude is generally counted to be a matter of 
artifice, but it may be quite sincere. Mental attitude re- 
veals itself in manner, both toward the story and toward 
the child. Does it require a great occasion to excite your 
most interested attitude toward the tale and the children? 
Once admit to yourself that this story, this moment, is 
trivial, and your lackadaisical mood will inevitably betray 


itself to your listeners — if listeners they long remain. If 
you feel this negligent attitude and would like to correct it, 
think seriously upon this truth: We never know at what 
moment the water-shed of a young life may be reached. 
No truly educational act can really be trivial. 

The personal appearance of the story-teller may seem 
a slight matter, but neatness and taste in dress do have a 
bearing on first impressions. Their delight in the story 
may overcome for the hearers any unpleasantness in the 
narrator's appearance, but why accept a handicap? 
Charm, it is well worth remembering, is of composite 
origin. Think this out. 

Poise is an even more important consideration. Neither 
a stately pose nor a forced vivacity is good. Flexibility, 
not nervous restlessness, wins and holds attention. Poise 
comes from self-control, but self-control must steer a 
middle course between watchfulness of self and self- 
consciousness. Put your feet and hands and head and 
back bone where you want them to be, and don't let 
them move until you order them to; then put them in 
the next place. Soon an unaffected manner will be com- 
bined with perfectly controlled movement. 

The whole matter is analogous to eating in company. 
If you found yourself masticating out loud, you would stop 
it. Good table-bearing becomes a habit by quietly doing 
the right thing until it becomes second nature. Every 
awkward, spasmodic movement pushes back the moment 
of perfect self-government and begins to cultivate a man- 
nerism. Toying with a pencil, twisting a thread, the use 
of uhs, and any other distracting movement or sound 

72 children's stories and how to tell them 

habitually repeated, can be checked by following the 
grinning advice of the Irish drill-sergeant: "Now sthep 
out and look at yersilves!" 

But self-consciousness is really an affliction with many — 
who accept it as a visitation of Heaven, to be borne with 
like a deformed foot. This is heresy. Self-consciousness 
before an audience of either little folks or grown-ups may 
be overcome by making such careful preparation that 
public utterance will require a minimum of attention, and 
then steadfastly thinking upon what you are saying and 
not of how you are saying it. The "how" should have 
been considered hours before. Having prepared 
thoroughly, you may rest assured that you are better 
fitted to tell that story than is any of your hearers. Grip 
your forces as determinedly as you would a knife for a 
delicate piece of work, then WILL all fear away. Once 
more: Overcome self-consciousness by resolutely thinking 
of something else. 

Methods in Delivery 

Memorizing (see Chapter VI) is a matter that each story- 
teller must decide personally. The ablest public narrators 
decidedly agree that the memorizing of a story word for 
word is not the best method, chiefly because that system 
allows for no flexibility in the recital, and chains the fancy. 
Hence memorizing tends toward a mechanical manner. 
Yet some masterpieces are so closely associated with the 
language of the original that the omission of some words 
and the rephrasing of certain sentences clearly weaken the 
effect. But this will not apply to the whole story. 


A kind of memorizing is practiced by every good story- 
teller—that of repeating the story so often that the 
language is as familiar as the Apostles' Creed to a church- 
man. Others commit only those parts of a story that would 
positively suffer from variation, and then depend for the 
rest upon the spirit of the moment. Whatever method be 
pursued, the air of spontaneity and lively freshness must 
be preserved. In familiar stories the children become 
wedded to a precise arrangement of certain of the words 
and with pleasure they look for their repetition. The 
wise story-teller will consider well before altering those 
time-honored phrases which all the world has come to 
love, yet be alive to the importance of adapting the 
language of the story to the audience. 

Few untrained speakers realize that charm of voice may 
be acquired by anyone who is willing to spend a few 
minutes daily on deep-breathing exercises, and to pay 
attention to the tones used in ordinary conversation. 
Doubtless nearly every story-teller can sing "a Httle," 
3^et does not singing illustrate the ease of tone-placing? 
Put your voice down when it shows a tendency to shoot up. 
By an act of will smooth off its rough edges. Relax the 
muscles of the throat when you feel them tightening as you 
speak. Practice the full, deep, open tones. Repeat " open" 
words like ''Oh" until you feel deep down the vibration 
and richness of a round tone. The poet Longfellow ad- 
vised Mary Anderson to read joyous lyric poetry aloud 
daily so as to put brightness into her voice. Learn to 
listen to your own voice and so cultivate charm of tone. 
If you are moved by the voice-quality of a public speaker. 


are not children charmed by it as well? If a story-teller 
is worthy of the name, care in voice-control will not seem 
too hard a task. 

Clear enunciation and articulation are even more im- 
portant than charm of voice. By enunciation a vocal 
sound is issued; by articulation two or more sounds — 
as in the utterance of successive syllables — are spoken or 
sung. Imitative as they are, children quickly copy the 
slovenly speech of their elders, hence the importance of 
their hearing good models. If your lips seem heavy and 
inert, a very little daily practice in lip-twisting will make 
the muscles flexible. If you enunciate badly, eliding part 
of a word, as "fi' cents," simply stop it. If you articulate 
carelessly, dividing syllables with carelessness, as, *'He 
paddled on in his bar kanoo, " stop that also. Whatever 
be the fault and its cause, two steps will bring about a cure: 
listening to your own speech and the use of the will. 

But in correcting faults such as these, avoid the extreme 
of graceless over-precision. Don't catapult your conson- 
ants at your hearers. 

Change of pace is one of the most effective methods of 
delivery. Now rapidly, now slowly, now with moderate 
speed, constantly accommodate your rate of utterance to 
the mood of the story. The flat evenness of a uniform pace 
is guaranteed to be dull. 

Change of pace and the interest of the narration in 
general are helped by the use of what proficient speakers 
know as the pause — a well-calculated pause either just 
before or just after an emphatic word or an important 
statement. The preliminary pause is a signal that some- 


thing interesting is about to come, it gives the vital point 
time to pierce the mind. The after-pause allows time for 
the point to sink in. Pause makes use of that greatest 
of all devices known to the talker — contrast. It is the foe 
of monotony and the friend of emphasis. Rightly used, 
there can be no better device by which to cap a cHmax. 

Change of pitch is still another admirable method of 
holding the listener's interest. Single-toned expression is 
monotony, and who is wilHng to be monotonous? Speak 
the following sentence in four different ways, varying the 
pitch as is indicated by the position of the words on the 
page, from the high to low, and low to high: 

^O 1,- 

"i th 


And what can I do with 

And what can I do with 


76 children's stories and how to tell them 

Not for the purpose of being spectacular, but because 
change of pitch kills monotony and brings out important 
thoughts emphatically, read aloud any story given in this 
volume and practice both gradual and sudden shifts of 
pitch. But be moderate, for extremes lead to the ridic- 
ulous. If this experience in altering vocal pitch should 
be a new one, its effectiveness will surprise you. Most 
speakers know no other way to make utterance forcible 
than to speak the words loudly. By a judicious use of 
change of pace, pause, pitch, and verbal inflection, there 
will be little need for the very loud tones, and when they 
are used they will be more impressive for their rarity. 

Gejteral position and posture are important, yet they are 
so altogether governed by the circumstances of story- 
telling that advice seems useless. It is doubtless enough 
for you to be set to thinking of these matters. Whether 
to stand or sit, you must decide — perhaps you will practice 
variety here also. One thing, however, seems open to less 
difference of opinions: the best story-tellers face as many 
of their hearers as possible. The hearers seated in an arc, 
forming the third of a circle, the center of which is occupied 
by the speaker, thus: ^T^ is a natural position if circum- 
stances allow this arrangement. The speaker should not 
form a part of the arc, thus: ^•^^ 

Gesture and mimicry are valuable adjuncts to good story- 
telling, but, like everything else dramatic, they may easily 
be overdone. Children nowadays — town children, at 
least — are generally familiar with the moving picture and 
at any rate are naturally skillful in interpreting pantomime. 
1 How to Tell Stories to Children, Sarah Cone Bryant, p. 94. 


Imitative sounds and movements should be apt and ex- 
pressive or they had better be omitted. Many a good 
story has been spoiled by inept efforts to mimic the motions 
and the calls of animals, or the exact intonations of fancied 
beings. The line between the humorous and the non- 
sensical is slight indeed; and unless a farcical story is 
being told, the important point in a tale may be buried 
under the grotesque efforts of the story-teller to be imita- 
tive. The after-dinner speaker who is under the delusion 
that he can tell a funny story has a pathetic comrade in the 
story-teller who does not know her dramatic limitations. 

How effective, on the contrary, are bird-calls and 
animal-grunts, deep rumbUngs of giants and piping fairy 
voices, when the artist story-teller is a past-master mimic. 
That is an attainment worth — literally — years of practice, 
provided it be given by one who is natively well endowed. 

The value of drawing as an aid to story-telKng is not a 
matter of general agreement. Certain it is, however, that 
bad drawing is worse than none. Those who essay the 
crayon may find themselves in the position of Artemus 
Ward, who when delivering his famous "London Lecture" 
used to point to a nondescript daub on the canvas of his 
panorama and say: "My friends, I can conceal it from 
you no longer — it is a horse. " 

Obviously, the danger of even the best drawing while 
telling a story is that attention may be drawn from the 
trend of the story. One mental image fades — or tends to 
fade — the moment another is projected on the mind, but 
a drawn image remains while the story goes on. It seems 


safe to say this much: Unless you are able to draw 
swiftly and accurately, though very simply, and unless you 
can make your story keep perfect pace with your drawing, 
it is better not to try to ride the two horses at once. 

All that has here been said on drawing applies to the 
recital of stories to musical accompaniment. An expert 
pipe organist or a hidden harpist could indeed add greatly 
to the effect of certain stories, but such opportunities are 
so exceptional as to be impracticable for the majority of 

One final point deserves emphasis — the importance oj 
gauging the efect of the story on the audience as the story 
progresses. This cannot always be done by noting those 
faces which smile and those which frown. A certain story- 
teller used to have in her audiences two children — one on 
whose face always appeared a placid grin, no matter what 
the theme; the other was as certain to wear a dour aspect. 
The former was a good-natured empty-pate, the latter the 
most appreciative listener in a bright class. We must 
learn to watch for the subtle lights and shades on the 
countenances of those who sit before us. The swift 
arresting of a wandering glance, the cessation of shuffiing 
feet, the sudden concentration of a glance — a score of 
signs — will tell us when we have captured our little hearers. 
Then is the time to proceed with such caution that not 
one iota may be lost of that for which the story was so 
patiently prepared and so carefully told — the efect upon 
those young minds, each one of which contains such 
tremendous possibilities for good or ill. 



1. Practice arousing in yourself the emotion of (a) surprise, 
(b) distaste, (c) distrust, (d) ridicule, (e) some other emotion 
which you will definitely name. 

2. Say how the manner of the story-teller affects the child 
favorably or unfavorably. 

3. Is there such a thing as over-sprightHness of manner? 

4. Name any faults of bearing which tend to repel or distract 
the attention of child-listeners. 

5. What influences have you found to be effective in dispell- 
ing either personal timidity or self-consciousness before an 
audience of children? 

6. What are the demerits of memorizing a story verbatim? 
Are there any merits? 

7. (a) What has been your own experience in regard to telling 
fully memorized stories? (b) Partially memorized stories? 

8. The bright tones of the voice are nasal — not in the un- 
pleasant sense. Repeat: Sing-song, Ding-dong, Hong-kong, Long- 
thong, in order to secure resonance. Have a clear head. 

9. Practice throwing your tones forward in the mouth ; then 
utter several words well back in the throat, and notice the carrying 
quality of the former as compared with the thick nature of the 

10. Repeat me-mo many times so as to gain lip-flexibility. 

11. Make a Hst of ten imperfect enunciations and articula- 
tions commonly in use. 

12. From any one of the stories printed in this book select 
several sintable passages and repeat them, practicing change of 
pace or tempo. 

13. Do the same in practicing pause. 

14. Do the same in practicing change of pitch. 

15. Utter the word. Oh! so as to express at least four distinct 
meanings, letting the class interpret. 

16. Do the same with (a) Yes, (b) No. 

17. What has been your experience or observation regarding 
general position and posture in story-telling? 

8o children's stories and how to tell them 

18. Read the quotation that heads this chapter and say how 
it applies to gesture and mimicry. 

19. Give the results of any experience you have had, or 
observations you have made, regarding the merits or demerits of 
gesture and mimicry in story-teUing. 

20. Do the same as regards (a) drawing as an adjunct to 
story-telHng; (b) musical accompaniment. Apply these ideas 
not to the stage performer but to the home, school and recreation- 
center narrator. 

21. From your observation, how does flagging interest in 
a child-audience show itself? 

22. Can you give any experience, whether personal or from 
observation, showing how flagging interest was revived? 

23. In your own way, prepare for telling any story given in 
this volume. Tell it with due attention to the points emphasized 
in this chapter. 

24. Applying the points you have learned from this chapter, 
specifically criticise a story told by another. 

25. In the same manner, criticise one of the stories told by 


"Nearly all amateur story-tellers speak too fast anyhow, not 
allowing for the slow apprehensions of the children and forgetting 
that what is familiar to themselves is entirely fresh to their 
hearers, and there is always the temptation, for the sake of creat- 
ing an air of animation, or to carry the hearers enthusiastically 
through an exciting scene, or to drown out a child with whooping 
cough, or to be sure not to overstay the hour, to become almost 
breathless with speed of utterance. The result is that details get 
left out, points are not clearly made, the children get irritated and 
the story is not well told. A minister who was subject to this 
temptation used to write "Plenty of Time" in red ink at the top 
of every page of his manuscript. The story-teller having no 
manuscript cannot do this, but if he can imagine the clock saying 
it or can put a burdock in his pocket to remind him of the fact 
whenever he thrusts his hand inside, he may do as well. By slow 


and distinct utterance the tones become deeper and more modu- 
lated, there is a chance here for a sentence of fine description, 
there to enhance the humor of the situation, and self-mastery to 
put one's best and not one's worst into the climax. " 

—William Byron Forbush, Manual of Stories, 
"The story-teller must not allow any intruding mental state 
or circumstance, any intruding 'self,' to come between the story 
andtheHstener. Suchaself may be: (1) The diffident or embar- 
rassed self of the self-conscious story-teller. (2) The vain or 
affected self of the insincere story-teller. (3) The weakening 
self of the patronizing story-teller. (4) The non-seeing self of 
the non-spontaneous story-teller. (5) The non-sensible, or 
non-artistic self of the 'sledge-hammer' story-teller. (6) The 
non-communicating self of the 'acting' story-teller. (7) The 
misinformed self of the Hfeless story-teller." 

—Angela M. Keyes, Stories and Story-Telling, 



The telling of stories refreshes the mind as a bath refreshes the 
body; it gives exercise to the intellect and its powers; it tests 
the judgment of the feelings. 

— Friedrich W. a. Froebel, Education of Man. 

There come times in every story-teller's experience 
when the re-told story seems for the moment to have lost 
its charm for the children, or does not excite in the narrator 
a desire to tell it. Again, the need for some definite kind 
of story may arise which is not perfectly met by any of the 
stories available at the time. On occasions like these what 
is to be done? Turn to pictures for suggestion and in- 
spiration, for nearly always pictures are stories, caught at 
some moment of high interest. 

Invention is sometimes a depressing duty. When the 
story-teller is suddenly confronted with the demand for an 
original story he is likely enough to be swamped in a desola- 
tion of barrenness, but let him once become acquainted 
with the picture as a stimulus to invention and his troubles 
are more than half-way past. No longer fettered by the 
terrifying thought that he must tell a story out of noth- 
ing, the most inexperienced fictionist will find that he 
has within himself unsuspected material which needs 
only to be re-imaged and worked upon by fancy, for 
the function of fancy is to mold, expand and embellish 


those images which are formed in the imagination. 
Like all forms of narration, telling stories from pictures 
may more readily be mastered if some simple and elastic 
method is well understood and followed.^ Five distinct 
steps are observable in telling stories from pictures and 
each of these requires not only thought but practice. 


It should need no argument to convince us that the 
untrained observation is an inefficient affair. Take one 
long glance at the contents of a shop window, then try to 
repeat the details of what you were able to take in with 
that single look. When you have looked again at the win- 
dow you may test the fullness and the accuracy of your 
first observation — the color, form, size, and number of 
at least some of the objects seen on that second look will 
surprise you, unless you are a trained observer. The same 
principle applies to a picture. 

Five minutes' practice daily will do wonders in cultivat- 
ing the eye in full and exact observation. Begin with the 
whole, then observe the parts; next begin with the parts 
and ascend to the whole. By this method you will learn to 
observe in an orderly way and so remember more of what 
you see. 

Have you ever felt tongue-tied — or loose? It requires 

1 This chapter is the outgrowth of MppincoWs New Picture Com- 
position Book, by J. Berg Esenwein (J. B. Lippincott Co., Phila- 
delphia), a method for teaching composition by means of pictures. 

84 children's stories and how to tell them 

considerable practice to be able to say no less and no more 
than is intended. The trouble lies primarily in loose think- 
ing, and loose thinking results in part from careless obser- 
vation and imperfect coordination — of which more 

Accurate reporting is not an entirely separate process 
from accurate observing, but a continuation of it, therefore 
the hint given at the end of the preceding section applies 
here as well — in reporting what you see in a picture, learn 
to proceed both from the general impression to the partic- 
ulars, and from the details to the picture viewed as a 

Turn just now to some picture that delineates action, 
whether of people or of animals. What does the picture 
as a imit represent? What are its main parts? What are 
the details of the several parts? Now reverse the process. 

An important element of this exercise in accurate re- 
porting is the fitting of precise and pictorial words to the 
picture. Learn to call things and actions by names that 
not only clearly express their precise nature but also call 
up a picture. This involves the appreciation of shades of 
verbal meaning. Be specific. Do not try to describe that 
object by calling it a vessel, but name its species — it is a 
sloop, or a motor boat, or a battle ship, or what not. In 
telUng the story to very small children you may have 
either to explain or to use a general term, but in training 
yourself, narrow the general to the particular. 

In the same way, practice choosing words to describe 
feehngs and movements. Particularly when picturing 
action, whether of animate or inanimate objects, let your 


verbs express the precise shade — without the use of an 
adverb, if possible. Raining is general, drizzling is partic- 
ular. This whole important principle of choosing definite 
words you must apply for yourself to all sorts of expres- 
sions. Be assured, it is vital to good story-telling, which 
abhors the useless word and the vague. 

Learn also how to seize upon the important points in a 
picture and characterize them by suggestion. Some words 
denote, others connote. Denotative words accurately 
describe; connotative words suggest more than they 
actually say. Hence connotation is usually more pictur- 
esque than denotation. The most famous example is 
Dickens' picture of Mrs. Fezziwig in his "Christmas 
Carol:" "In came Mrs. Fezziwig — one vast substantial 
smile. " 

In reporting the contents of a picture, you are not yet 
concerned with invention; that, however, begins with the 
next step: 


This point needs only a word here. The principle is 
simple: Decide what are the chief story-elements in the 
picture, assign to each of these a place in relation to the 
other chief elements (whether any one is to be first or 
secondary in importance in the story), and then subordi- 
nate or omit everything else. The process of coordination, 
including subordination and exclusion, is therefore a sort 
of architectural planning of your story-material as found 
in the picture. 

86 children's stories and how to tell them 

Selection is the basis of art. To set in the foreground 
that which belongs in the background destroys proportion, 
and disproportion means a confused picture, with interest 
weakened in consequence. *'Hold things in their propor- 
tion," said Henry Drummond. 

The next step will, of course, be in the back of your head 
all the while you are observing, reporting and coordinating, 
though we now consider it as a separate process: 


To see a story in a picture is easy if you set imagination 
at work, and embellish the image by adding your own 
fancies. The process is one of questioning, and consists 
of three steps: 

What is going on in the picture? 
What led up to this situation? 
What happens afterward? 
These three questions, What? Whence? Whither? will, 
of course, lead to other questions; particularly. Why? 
How? When? Where? Continue to ask questions until 
out of the picture grow all the facts of a story. 
Then comes the final step: 


This includes the preparation of the story for telling, of 
course, and involves the same elements that we are dealing 
with in stories re- told or invented originally — the beginning, 
the body of the story, and the ending, as set forth in 


Chapter V. These need not be enlarged upon here, more 
than to re-emphasize the importance of telling the story 
in a series of steps or scenes, each leading naturally into its 
successor, up to the conclusion. 

Before ending this chapter, a few words must be said 
about the sort of pictures to choose. No advice is needed 
on where to find suitable pictures, for nowadays every 
home and school is well-supplied with pictorial matter, 
in newspapers, magazines, books, and in such inexpensive 
picture-series as the "Perry Pictures" and others.^ A 
picture scrapbook will be found most useful. 

Re-read the chapter on "The Basis of Selection for 
Children's Stories" so that you may be clear as to what 
reactions you wish to arouse in the mind of the child. The 
same motives that govern you in selecting a fairy tale, an 
animal story or a myth for re-telling must guide you in 
choosing a picture. Plainly, then, pictures of horrors, 
morbid interest, mere sentimentahty, and subjects that 
tend to arouse feelings or decisions which are not for a 
child of a given age, must be avoided. 

Action-pictures, rather than those of "still life," will 
be found most suggestive to the invention of the story- 
teller. Bible scenes, historical subjects, animal pictures, 
play, sport and travel scenes, and nature-pictures which 

1 The New Picture Composition Book referred to in a footnote 
on a preceding page of this chapter is an inexpensive book and 
contains a large number of colored and black-and-white pictures 
for story-telHng. Forbush's Manual of Stories gives a chapter on 
"Picture Story- TelHng, " a Hst of inexpensive "story-pictures" 
and their pubhshers, and a descriptive list of books that treat 
pictures from an educational point of view. 

88 children's stories and how to tell them 

include animals and persons, are particularly inspiring to 
the imagination. 

The story-teller must decide whether the picture itself 
should be shown to the child. If it is shown while the 
story is being told, the picture should be a rather simple 
one, lest complexity and unknown objects lead the atten- 
tion away from the story. 


1. Show how necessity may be "the mother of invention" 
and yet in other circumstances paralyze inventiveness. 

2. Why was the word elastic used in the third paragraph of 
this chapter? 

3. Report the results of one swift glance at a strange room — 
or a glance from a window upon some familiar scene. Use specific 

4. Take a second and slightly longer look, then correct your 
first report, if need be. 

5. Repeat the foregoing processes, using a fairly full picture 
for observation. Select specific words that most children would 
understand and also invent at least one suggestive expression in 
describing one of the chief characters or objects. 

6. Name two or three famous pictures which suggest original 
stories — not the well-known stories which the pictures illustrate. 

7. Select any picture for your purpose, study it, and then (a) 
name its contents, proceeding from the general to the details; 
(b) reverse the process; (c) name the one, two or three things 
you wish to bring out as prominent in the story; (d) name several 
subordinate ideas found in or suggested by the picture; (e) name 
some purely fancied or invented elements you might add as story 

8. Outline the events of the story, after having reviewed 
Chapter V. 


9. Write out the story, feeling free to alter the foregoing 
outline in any way. Let invention be free, governed solely by 
your purpose — do not feel at all bound by the picture out of 
which the story grew. (If you depart freely from the plain 
elements of the picture, of course you will not show it to the child 
in telling the story.) 

10. Try to explain just how one or more of the fanciful or in- 
vented elements entered your mind — that is, whether by deliber- 
ate invention, association of ideas, alteration, subconsciously, etc. 

11. From any source, bring five pictures that suggest stories. 

12. Very briefly tell what kinds of stories they suggest. 

13. Begin a picture scrapbook. 

14. (a) Would any of the pictures called for in Exercise 11 
be suitable for showing to the children while the story is being 
told? (b) If so, which? (c) Give reasons why you chose some 
for this purpose and rejected others. 

15. Select one or two pictures which ought not in any circum- 
stances be either shown to children as story-bases or even made 
the subjects of stories. Give reasons supporting your decision. 

16. Relate any personal experience (a) in the use of pictures 
shown to children while the original story is being told, (b) in the 
use of pictures solely as a personal inspiration to invent. 



*' The proper preparation of the story-teller is that he should 
saturate himself with the Bible story, but it must be story 
itself, not story and history mixed. 

When the story has been properly studied and assimilated, 
then the freest play of imagination should be used in the ren- 
dering. Like the actor, the story-teller is the translator, with 
the translator's double fidelity — to his original and to his au- 
dience. The question is not of translating out of one language 
into another ******** \^-^^i q^^ Qf Q^e set of mental 
habits belonging to ancient life into another set of habits char- 
acterizing the modern hearers who are to be impressed. Greek 
drama, with exquisite instinct, realized this double fidelity in 
its institution of the chorus. Theoretically, a Greek chorus is 
a portion of the supposed audience in the theater transported 
into the age and garb of the story dramatized, which they 
follow from point to point with meditations calculated to voice 
similar meditations on the part of those watching the repre- 
sentation of the drama. Every teller of a Bible story must be 
his own chorus, moving through the scenes of the narrative 
with the outlook and emotions of the men or the children of 

— Richard G. Moulton, The Art of Telling Bible Stories. 

The story-teller soon finds that while stories are count- 
less, those that can wisely be told without change to 
children are by no means so many. A certain story may 
have elements of decided appeal to little folk, but it is 
too long for telling, or parts of it ask for a mature under- 
standing, or one incident raises problems unsuited to 


either the children or the occasion, or it is too compli- 
cated in plot, or too many characters are introduced, or 
the scene of action is not picturesque — for one reason or 
another, the story must be adapted to fit the immediate 
purpose of the narrator. 

The answer to each such need may seem to be simple — 
the way to change a story is to change it. But, unfor- 
tunately, re-telling a story that needs adaptation is not 
always as direct a matter as the pruning of a bush. 
Sometimes the central stock must be cut off short and a 
branch trained up to become the new trunk. This 
process needs knowledge, care, and some practice if the 
final growth is to be lively and symmetrical. 

Before looking at a number of methods for adapting 
stories for word-of-mouth telHng, let us quickly see what 
ground has been covered in the preceding chapters, for 
always this thought must possess the student of methods: 
Purpose must govern means. 

In Chapter I the place of the story in the life of the 
child was set forth, leading in Chapter II to the truth 
that the development of personaUty in its richest forms 
of expression is an important object of story- telHng. 
The basis of selection of stories was treated in Chapter 
III, and the artist story-teller in Chapter IV. The next 
chapter, V, took up the structure of the story; its prepa- 
ration and presentation were discussed in Chapter VI, 
and Chapter VII went fully into various narrative methods. 
Chapter VIII, which dwelt on how to invent stories from 
pictures, naturally led up to the present chapter. A 
short review of these chapters should make it clear to the 

92 children's stories and how to tell them 

story-teller that the principles already elaborated bear 
vitally upon the work of adapting stories for oral pres- 
entation. These can not be repeated here, of course, 
but a knowledge of them must be assumed in all that 

Two fundamentally important cautions are now in 
order. The first is negative: Do not feel that every story 
needs adaptation. When you have found a story that 
meets the requirements of your aim — which should be 
quite definite — do not hesitate to tell it substantially as 
it is. Too extreme a wish to be original may lead you 
to mar a gem. 

It needs no finished enchantress to transform a giant 
of literature into a pygmy — a bungling apprentice, un- 
happily, may do it. Some stories are too big — not merely 
too long — for worthy re- telling. As the young people 
grow older they must be led to the great originals, so 
that in them they may discover all the charm and wonder 
and inspiration that come to those who make their first 
acquaintance with a masterpiece. Who, for example, 
would dare to re-tell "A Christmas Carol," or "Hia- 
watha," or "Rip Van Winkle?" Each word in such 
magic stories is needed to bring their full power to mind 
and heart. If the inexperienced story-teller is in doubt, 
let her consult some one of the various lists prepared for 
just such needs.^ 

The second caution is positive: In every step of your 
adaptation remember that you are to present the story by 
word of mouth. Written art and spoken art are essentially 

1 See Part III of this volume. 


unlike in method. To name one difference only, printed 
words linger on the page, so that the impressions they 
make may be renewed indefinitely, whereas the spoken 
word, as Longfellow has imaged it for us, is like the 
arrow-flight, swift and not easy to follow. Each idea, 
therefore, must have its appropriate spoken word, each 
word its well-chosen mate, each group its sequence, and 
all must be picture-producing, so that one scene — or 
moving picture, as it were — may follow another with 
clearness and interesting liveliness. In short, description 
in the oral story must give way to action pictured in 
such a way that it will evoke in the hearer an elaboration 
of the bold outlines drawn by the speaker. 
The first step in adapting is to 

Analyze the Story 

Story-analysis is something more than separating the 
story into its components — it includes classifying the 
parts into major and minor, and also determining the 
relations of each to the other.^ 

Perhaps the best plan is to ask ourselves questions 
about the story. Certainly this is a good method if we 
persist until each query is met by a satisfying answer. 
What is the bare story, denuded of its contributory inci- 
dents, if there are any? we may ask. Are there any links 
which are really not parts of the chain of action, yet 
which seem to be essential? To change the figure: do 
such little side trips actually and directly help to 

See page 85. 

94 children's stories and how to tell them 

bring out the attractiveness of the main journey, or do 
they, even by ever so little, divert interest from the path? 
Which characters are indispensable to the story? Which 
may be dispensed with? Which, for our object, really 
clog the scenes? What relations do the minor scenes 
bear to the chief ones? Which lesser characters are really 
needed to show us the more important actors? 

Questions like these should be pressed until we are 
quite in the clear as to what the story is, in whole and in 
part; and the same sort of incisive analysis will be used 
again and again as we follow out one or more of the 
methods now to be suggested — for analysis is not a mere 
preliminary to synthesis, but is present in it as a body of 
knowledge to make the up-building process more firm and 

Study the Situation to he Adapted 

A situation in fiction is a state of affairs resulting from 
certain causes and leading to definite effects. The chief 
situation in a story is the pivot point of the plot. For 
example, Billy Squirrel has run away from home. This 
is a definite situation, having a cause and also effects — 
which make the story. 

Now the study of a big situation in a story involves 
an examination of the lesser or causal situations which 
led up to it, as well as those that result. Hence when 
a story is being studied for adaptation and condensation, 
the whole story, the larger story, must first be examined. 
An epic, for instance, contains many episodes, or side 
trips, and no one of these can be perfectly understood by 


the narrator without a knowledge of the entire series, 
with the bearing of one on the other. In the same way 
the chief and the lesser scenes of the single episode to 
be adapted for telling must, of course, be understood in 
their relations to each other. 

But more than this: the surroundings — called techni- 
cally the setting — of the whole story, and of each of its 
scenes, must be understood. To be sure, it would be 
expecting too much to ask a mother or a young teacher 
to master all the details of the Greek life and lands before 
adapting a simple story from Homer — that were to make 
story-telling from the Iliad and the Odyssey a discourag- 
ing task. Yet it cannot be doubted that the fuller the 
knowledge of the setting of the main story from which 
the section is taken for adaptation, the richer will be the 
story-teller's equipment. It is not, however, in these 
days of book-helps either a heavy or an unpleasing task 
to fill one's self with the spirit and understanding of Greek 
life — since we are now pointing an example from Homer. 
Those who are totally unable, or unwilling, to absorb the 
setting of a race, or a period, or a country, would better 
confine their adaptations to stories whose surrounding 
fife they know, or else simply re-tell stories from the 
multitude of books which present them ready for 

Focus the Story 

These three words tell it all. The good short-story 
converges, it does not diverge — according to a precon- 


ceived plan it concentrates, it does not spread. Each 
word directs the spot-Hght upon the picture to be shown, 
each thing the actors do or say leads to an effect which 
the story-teller has planned to make on the child 
hearer. Again be it said, whatever does not help, 

That great constructive critic of the short-story, Edgar 
Allan Poe, first announced a theory of story-telHng that 
has done more to influence the methods of fiction than 
any other before or since laid down. He said that the 
efficient story-teller decides on a definite impression he 
wishes to make on the reader, and then sends every ray 
of the story converging toward that impression. In this 
sense the teller of stories to children must be an impres- 
sionist — he must first /ee/ and see the impression, and then 
select — a most important word — those scenes, and those 
scenes only, which make that same impression on the 
child, and no other impression whatsoever. 

At what effect am I aiming? the narrator must ask 
herself. If she cannot answer that question she will be 
totally unable to produce a definite effect. What sort of 
children, precisely, are before me? How much do they 
know of what I am about to tell them? What points of 
sensitiveness in their knowledge, their stations in life, and 
their interests, can I find on which to focus the light of 
this story? These inquiries are vital for the impressionist 
story-teller, guiding her constantly as she adapts the 
written to the spoken, the larger story to the smaller, the 
longer to the shorter, the distant time and scene to the 
near, the mature theme to the untutored mind. 


Select a Single Chain of Scenes 

Four words here are significant — select^ for adaptation 
is deliberate, intelligent choice; single, for side issues de- 
stroy unified impressions; chain, for each link must be 
securely fastened to its mates; and scenes, for only such 
parts of the larger story must be shown as may be pre- 
sented vividly to the mind's eye. "One set of related 
events," as someone has put it, is all that may safely be 
selected from the source-story. 

But each link — each pictured scene — must be dramatic, 
if the most vivid interest is to be aroused, maintained 
and increased. By "dramatic" we mean scenes in which 
something happens. Not merely action, mind you, but 
action that points either backward to an interesting 
cause, or forward to a result — a result that is important 
to the character involved in the happening. Ponder this 
idea of what is dramatic until it is clear. 

Let us once more take the runaway Billy Squirrel as an 
example. We have physical action when we hear that 
"He leaped over a great fallen tree and ran and ran and 
ran." Indeed, there is more than physical action— there 
is part of a scene, but only a part; of dramatic action, 
however, there is none. How can we transform this mere 
physical action into dramatic action? In a score of ways 
that each story-teller may invent for himself. Mr. 
Black-and-tan Hound is chasing Billy Squirrel, let us 
say, and is ahnost upon the Uttle chap when Billy spies 
his friend, Old Father Bull, in the next field, and skurries 
to him, complaining bitterly of Mr. Hound's attack. 

98 children's stories and how to tell them 

Whereupon Father Bull begins to deal with Mr. Hound, 
while Billy sits by in safety and gleefully cracks a nut. 
Here we have cause, action, and effect — drama. 

How one dramatic scene is linked with another is illus- 
trated by Billy Squirrel's running — he literally runs out 
of one scene into another — a narrative method which is 
infinitely better than first to picture Billy running away 
from home, leave him and tell about Mr. Black-and-tan 
Hound, then show Old Father Bull grazing in a distant 
field, next show the chase, and finally Old Father Bull's 
intervention. When Billy meets Mr. Hound a scene 
begins, and the dog's attack opens a dramatic scene, 
which is linked to the scene of the chase, which in turn is 
linked to the scene with Father Bull — all by the action 
of the chief character, Billy Squirrel himself; and the 
story never shifts from this single viewpoint. Cause, 
dramatic action, and effect are the essence of simple 
drama, and when the thing that may happen as an effect 
of the action produces suspense in the hearer, we have 
drama in its most intense form, whether for little people 
or for grown-ups. Furthermore, the drama does not end 
until the suspense is definitely satisfied. 

The principle by which scene-links are selected for the 
chain of dramatic action will become more clear when we 
come to see what it is that keeps us in suspense while 
a story is in progress — it is the element of danger to the 
character who is engaged in the plot-struggle. "What 
will victory win, is rarely so poignant a question as what 
defeat will cost. . . . It is the element of reward and 
penalty — of danger, in other words — that forms suspense. 


The joys of reward are great only to those who face the 
danger of loss or non-attainment. What the defeat of 
the protagonist may mean is what makes the fight 'for 
blood.' We almost know the outcome — yet we tremble! 
It is the championship games that count, for defeat means 
no 'look in' for the finals." ^ 

Let us now look at the three processes which mark the 
selection of scene-links for the story-chain, the choice of 
characters for the story, and the decision as to what 
details must be used for the setting. 

Since many printed stories are quite too long for a 
single telling, Omission is the simplest and the most ob- 
vious method of adapting them to an audience. But 
what shall we omit? Each link that is not a necessary 
part of the single chain of dramatic scenes; everything 
that suggests another story; all characters that tend to 
blur the scene by presenting too full a picture; each 
detail that does not directly add to the clearness of the 
scene; everything that might confuse the young hearer 
by raising questions which the story itself does not either 
answer or cause the child to answer for himself. Again 
and again and again: That which does not help, hinders. 

Expansion may be found a more difficult process than 
condensation. In its simplest aspect it consists of the 
selecting of a short chain of events, and adding other 
links to bring the story to a more interesting climax. Or 
we may choose an especially promising scene and add 

1 From J. Berg Esenwein's Introduction to The Technique of 
Play Writing, by Charlton Andrews. Published uniform with 
this volume in "The Writer's Library." 


action — perhaps even another character — so as to make 
that scene the chief one of all. Or again we may invent 
additions throughout. Thus a single germ idea, like that 
of the dispute among the bric-d-brac figures in Ouida's 
"The Niirnberg Stove," might be made into a story by 
itself, omitting little August entirely, making the great 
faience stove, Hirschvogel, the principal character, and 
devising several linked scenes of dramatic action among 
the occupants of the old shop. The method may be 
applied to infinity. 

Alteration in Story-Telling Method is the final mode of 
adaptation to be considered. Many stories are not so full 
as to need drastic cutting, nor so short as to require 
elaboration, yet they must be changed if the audience of 
little folk is to enjoy them to the full. Of the many ways 
of changing a story it seems necessary to name only a few. 

The order of incidents may be changed so as to direct 
attention to the point to be brought out. This will best 
be done when we consider that a story must not only 
hold interest but must constantly rise in interest — by 
means of the scene-steps that lead to the high point, or 
climax. As the difiiculties of Cinderella grow, as August 
Strehla remains longer and longer in the old stove, as 
Reynard the Fox plays one trick after another, suspense 
as to the outcome rises — singularly enough, even after we 
know what that outcome will be! And this is climax as 
a process — a series of scene-steps, as we have already 
reiterated, which lead to the high point, the climax itself. 

Vividness of narration, as Professor St. John has 
pointed out in his "Stories and Story-Telling," may 


also be gained by changing indirect into direct discourse. 

"And when he came to himself he said, 'I will arise and 
go to my father,' " is much more effective than if Jesus 
had said of the Prodigal Son, "And when he came to 
himself he said that he would go to his father." 

Greater interest for children is sometimes gained by 
changing ordinary speech into simple verse — at not too 
frequent points in the story. This device is used in 
Joseph Jacobs' rendering of the Universal Cinderella, "The 
Cinder-Maid," re-told in his "Europa's Fairy Tales:" 

"Be home, be home ere mid-o'night 
Or else again you'll be a fright." 

The literary form of the story will nearly always have 
to be changed. Language must be simplified by the use of 
easy yet literary words, and sentence-forms adopted 
which apply Spencer's well-known law of economy of 
attention.^ However, the educational value of under- 
standable literary language beautifully spoken is beyond 
estimation. Let no teacher or mother ruin the great 
phrases of literature by translating them into speech that 
only cheapens, without adding one whit to their clear- 
ness. If Oliver Wendell Holmes gave thanks for having 
knocked about among books ever since he was no higher 
than one of his grandfather's folios, so ought many of 
us be glad that we early and often heard from the lips 
of our parents those sonorous and crystal word-sequences 
with which the Bible, Shakespeare, Milton and Bunyan 
glorified the Enghsh tongue. Better that the full meaning 

^ Philosophy of Style, Herbert Spencer. 


of an occasional phrase should escape the child than that 
he should miss hearing the simplicity of our inherited 
speech at its purest and loftiest. The wise will know 
where to draw the line. 

This meaningful point must not be dropped without 
a word on the particular kinds of adapted stories which 
especially lend themselves to chaste, simple, yet lofty 
language. The Bible, of course, is first and always the 
best source-book. The Sagas, too, are rich in sturdy 
picture-expressions. Scenes from Shakespeare, Milton, 
Bunyan, and even Dryden will open up opportunities for 
just what we need. These masters use words that are 
"current with the audience," yet the verbal arrangement 
gives them a dignity that must impress good standards 
upon young minds. This an important distinction. 

One final observation on the methods of adapting: 
Whatever changes in the characters, and their words and 
deeds, you make as you tell a historical story or a Bible 
tale, be sure that these alterations and additions add to 
the vividness and present-day interest of the story, 
without presenting any of the characters as being other 
than they really were. It is one thing to use imagina- 
tion, it is quite another so to pervert a character that in 
after years the child will have to reverse his early im- 
pressions completely. Write this large in your memory. 
Now and then, put your own words into the mouths of 
David, Caesar, and Lincoln, if you can do it well, but 
let the words be in harmony with the dignity and the 
tone of the character depicted. If you have not time 
to find out what that tone was, let the character alone. 


On the other hand, the story-teller may justly pass 
over unpleasant and even evil incidents in the lives of 
the great, just as he might omit Jack the Giant Killer's 
early misconduct, as told in the early versions of that 
immortal yarn; but he should think twice before vio- 
lently forcing a "happy ending" upon a world-old story 
in order to deal with nothing but sugar-coated subjects. 
The well-known story with an unpleasant ending need 
not be told at all, but if it is, the ending should not be 
twisted beyond recognition. Even children love poetic 
justice, and profit by believing in its prevalence through- 
out the world. 

Some Stories for Adaptation 

In Part III of this volume will be found a considerable 
list of stories, many of which are suitable to be adapted. 
More general sources are now to be considered briefly. 

What incidents in your early fictional reading most 
impressed you and now linger in your mind? Here is a 
rich source-spring. The Sagas, "Robinson Crusoe," 
"Leather-Stocking Tales," Scott's, Tennyson's, and 
Longfellow's story-poems, Matthew Arnold's " Sorab and 
Rustum," "The Waverly Novels," Hawthorne, Irving, 
and scores of others will, on a little thought, re-open 
their pages and send forth troops of heroes and heroines 
whose lively adventures may be told in condensed form 
for children. In choosing among these you will be guid- 
ed, it may be, by those principles of selection set forth in 
this treatise which seem to you to be good. This will 
apply, too, to those world-epics — The Iliad, The Odys- 


sey, The ^Eneid, The Niebelungen Lied, and others not 
SO well known — which will always remain the richest 
storehouses of old story.^ Books of folk lore, especially 
those of a romantic sort, of various nations will likewise 
be found suggestive. Only assimilate the stories well 
and they are yours. The stories of The Cid, Robin 
Hood, King Arthur, Roland, Frithjof, Sigurd, and others 
— half epic, altogether delightful — will charm and inspire. 

For expansion, the creations of all the famous fabu- 
lists — ^sop. La Fontaine, and the rest — will be found 
inspiring. So will all the books of legends and myths. 

The longer stories may be handled in any of three 
ways — in single incidents, in cycles or series, or as con- 
tinued stories. The occasions at your command and the 
advancement of your listeners must guide you in your 

Miss Edna Lyman's recommendations ^ will prove 
helpful in arranging cycles of stories. Her chapters on 
"National Epic Tales," and ''How to Use These Epic 
Tales," are valuable. One program out of the ten that 
she gives, with source references, is the following, based 
on Baldwin's "Story of Roland:" 

Roland's Boyhood; Baldwin, pp. 1-3 1. 

Ogier the Dane; pp. 47-70. 

Ogier and Roland Knighted; pp. 70-80. 

How Ogier Won Horse and Sword; pp. 81-96. 

1 The Book of the Epic, by H. A. Guerber (J. B. Lippincott 
Co.), tells in brief form the story of practically all the great 
epics. It is an invaluable source-book. 

^ Story-Telling— What to Tell and How to Tell It, Edna 


Roland's Arms; pp. 97-113- 

A Roland for an Oliver; pp. 114-132. 

Princess of Cathay; pp. 175-217. 

How Ogier Refused a Kingdom; pp. 240-244. 

How Ogier Slew the Sea Monster; pp. 245-254. 

A Contest for Durandal; pp. 317-328. 

How Roland Became His Own Shadow; pp. 328-343; 

The Treachery of Ganelon and Roland's Death; pp. 


1. What is the difference between a story adapted and a 
story re-told? 

2. Make a list of the reasons that might lead one to adapt 
a story for telling to children. 

3. Which of these reasons would especially influence you if 
you were to tell the story to children of (a) from 4 to 6? (b) 
from 7 to 10? (c) from 11 to 14? Remember that not age, 
strictly, but stage of development must govern. 

4. Review chapters I to III, making a list of the various 
principles which might well govern us in adapting stories. 

5. Precisely how does a story told orally differ from a 
written or a printed story? 

6. Select a story for adaptation and analyze the original 
by giving (a) a brief statement of the plot; (b) a list of the 
principal characters; (c) minor characters present and speaking; 
(d) minor characters present but not speaking — if any; (e) 
minor characters merely named — if any; (/) a very brief out- 
line of the setting, or surroundings; (g) the several incidents and 
their relative importance in the story. 

7. Set down in outline a list of the scenes you would like 
to use in your adapted story. Learn to separate a single story- 
thread from the more intricately twisted story for maturer 

io6 children's stories and how to tell them 

8. After considering the two demands for dramatic scenes 
and for arrangement of scenes so that interest should grow to 
a climax, re-arrange the order of your scenes, if necessary. 

9. Point out how your adapted story differs from the 
original, and briefly show why you made the changes. 

10. Explain what Dr. Walter L. Hervey, in his "Picture 
Work," means when he advises those who would re-tell a story to 

"See it. 
Feel it. 
Shorten it. 
Expand it. 
Master it. 
Repeat it." 

11. (a) To what books would you go in order to fill yourself 
with the atmosphere of the times of which Homer sang? (&) 
The times of Robin Hood? (c) King Arthur? (d) Some other 

12. In your own words tell what is meant by focusing a 

13. Read the original and criticise the adaptation of any 
story in this collection. 

14. Give three original examples of a dramatic scene, in 
brief outline. 

15. Write out one as it should be told. 

16. Relate it orally without committing it. 

17. From the stories in this book give three examples of 

18. Give also three examples of how the idea of danger is 
used to increase suspense. 

19. In outline, show how you would adapt any chosen story, 
chiefly by omission. 

20. Do the same with a fable, using expansion. 

21. Do the same with another chosen story, using any form 
or forms of alteration you prefer. 


22. In any of the three foregoing instances, tell why you 
made the adaptation as you did, and what class or age of hearers 
you had in view. 

23. Adapt a story from (a) The Bible; (b) any other famous 
source. Use notes only — do not write out the story. 

24. Tell the story. 

25. What is the difference between a series and a serial 

26. Make a list of subjects for a series of stories from some 
epic, or group of hero-tales, like Miss Lyman's cycle of stories 
about Roland. 

27. Outline roughly a serial from any epic with which you 
are familiar. 

28. Give your views of the "happy ending" as appHed to 
children's stories. 


•"Anyone can put in everything. It is only the born story- 
teller, or one who will sit down by the side of a child and pa- 
tiently observe the points that the child sees and likes to hear, 
that can be trusted to put in and leave out just the right points." 
— Walter L. Hervey, Picture Work. 

The first law of story-telling. . . . "Every man is bound 
to leave a story better than he found it." 

— Mrs. Humphrey Ward, Robert Elsmere. 



I sing about the things I think 

Of almost everything. 
Sometimes I don't know what to think 

Till I begin to sing. 

— Josephine Preston Peabody, The Green Singing Book. 

Those who enter upon this chapter with the serious 
purpose of learning to tell or write original stories for 
children should scan each of the preceding chapters to 
see that the fundamentals of purpose, structure and 
methods of presentation are not forgotten, for throughout 
the present treatment it is assumed that the reader is 
familiar with the principles thus far discussed. These 
principles should be observed carefully, both in attempt- 
ing to write original stories for children and in guiding 
their own efforts at creative expression. 

Why Tell Original Stories? 

The need for the purely original story is not great. 
There is such a mass of vigorous old tales which meet the 
child's own interest, and which by many tests have been 
found to correspond so well to his various stages of de- 
velopment and give him the right life-attitudes and a 
rich background of culture, that the story-teller would do 


better to select carefully, instead of presenting an original 
story, unless he is very sure of his own power and of the 
worth of his own message. 

There is real danger for the child in the flood of 
stories which is poured out for him today. Not more 
stories but better stories should be the slogan of 
all who are sincere in their interest in stories and in 

The story that is worth the telling is worth teUing 
many times. The child does not tire of it. If you doubt 
this, try telling some familiar tale like "Sleeping Beauty" 
or "Tom Tit Tot" to a group of children of ten or twelve. 
It is with stories as with all true literature: the charm 
holds, and there is an added message at each stage of life. 

Of course there does come a time when the child wants 
a new story. Then, if the story-teller does not have 
access to sufficient material, the original story becomes 
an important resource. Then, too, there is occasionally 
a person who can tell new stories that possess the child- 
like spirit, and can open up fresh fields which are adapted 
to the needs of the little hearers. Such stories may lack 
the merits of the classics, but if they strike fire in the 
story-teller's own spirit, they will doubtless kindle a 
kindred spark in the spirit of the child. 

It is out of the need for special stories to fit pecuhar 
wants that the chief opportunity for the original story 
grows. It is far more important that the story-teller 
study the need of the child and seek to find a story es- 
pecially suited to meet that need than it is for a teacher 
or a parent to cultivate her own talent for origination. 


Story-tellers who practice on children, with no care for 
the special effect of their work, do not understand how 
vital it is that only right stories, told with attention to 
producing right impressions, should be narrated. A child 
of five will re-tell with astounding fidelity to detail a 
story heard a year before, and not since repeated. A 
child of six who heard a story told to an audience of 
adults waited eagerly for a year to reach the story-teller 
with the request to hear the story again. Another child 
of nine read one of Byron's long story-poems, and car- 
ried the details in mind until adult understanding gave 
interpretation to the thing which had no meaning when 
read. These incidents are mentioned to impress the im- 
portance of care in the selection and presentation of 
stories. There is a strong emotional appeal in a story 
which leaves an indelible impression on the child. We 
should not dare to practice on sensitive, impression- 
able beings who may be irrevocably warped by 

The mother or the teacher who realizes the power of 
the story will give such time and thought to the prepara- 
tion that she will have a fund of great stories. If she has 
the happy gift of facility in devising stories, she will 
cultivate this endowment. Necessity has been credited 
with being a fertile mother, but practice is an equally 
fruitful parent. The need of the hour will find those un- 
prepared who do not cultivate the gift that is in them. 
There may be a few who will be able to invent as they go, 
telling naturally an almost perfect story, but the great 
majority of us need to prepare thoughtfully. 


Where to Find Story Mater ial 

Sometimes the germ for a story just pops into the 
mind. No need for hunting the story-protoplasm in its 
lair for those to whom it comes thus readily. Many there 
are, however, who must chase and beat the bushes until 
a suitable suggestion appears. 

Since the children's story is not so complex in structure 
as is much of the fiction affected by adults, we need not 
seek so far for fresh themes as must our brother the 
magazine writer, for no one is likely to accuse us of 
plagiarism if we revamp old story-ideas. Here our pur- 
pose is not to attain to absolute originality— if, indeed, 
anywhere in fiction such a thing is any longer possible. 

In going to the stories of others for hints or plot-germs, 
you may examine, first, the kinds of stories, to find out 
whether one sort especially suits the two foundation re- 
quirements—the particular need that calls for a story, 
and your own limitations of knowledge and ability. For 
example, a fairy story may seem out of harmony with 
your purpose, a travel story beyond your equipment, and 
a humorous story not consonant with your mood. Thus 
the whole range of kinds may be searched over until one 
stands out the best. 

Locality is a fertile field for story-ideas. The hill 
country will suggest original tales of gnomes and hunters, 
of beasts and trees, of streams and torrents, of clouds 
and peaks. Imitation of the methods of great story- 
tellers will be of help here as everywhere. The big hills 
and the little ones may converse. The mountains may 


be made to war with each other. We may tell a story 
of how Old Baldy got the hole in his side, or of how 
Mister Coyote grew his brush, or of how the Cascade 
made a wash basin for Father Grizzly — scores of moun- 
tain facts and fancies will arise when imagination is set 
to work. In the same way the plain, the desert, the 
farm, the waters, the sea shore, the city, the village, will 
suggest themes connected with prairie hens and jack 
rabbits, cactus and sand dune, dolphin and trout, shells 
and sea weed, chimneys and motor cars, steeples and 
vegetable gardens, cows and horses — each teeming with 
stories of its own. 

Family legends and anecdotes , of past days and present, 
tales of hero ancestors, of what father and mother did, 
and especially bits of the child's own history, serve an 
excellent purpose. Special times and seasons, sports and 
games, bird, fish and animal life, travel scenes and odd 
experiences, one winter's snows and last summer's drought, 
particularly tales of pure human interest, open up endless 
stores of material. See all with the creative idea, with 
thought for the purpose of the story, but constantly using 
care lest the teaching lapse into moralizing. 

Avoiding the Threadbare 

While strict originality is not demanded for the sort of 
stories we are now considering, it is well nigh useless to 
turn to the time-worn theme when a little effort will yield 
something more fresh. The children in a given group are 
pretty sure to have heard so often the story of Rain 


Drop's Travels, the experiences of Billy Bunny, and the 
adventures of Bre'r Rabbit that, unless you prefer to tell 
the stories in their classic forms, a new twist will be 
needed, if not an entirely fresh theme. Old characters, 
indeed, please both grown-ups and youngsters, but we all 
demand that familiar characters now and then act in 
new fields and have novel relations with each other. 

The Development of the Plot 

Here again the story-teller must be warned not to 
essay the compHcated. The very word "plot" calls up 
to many a bugaboo of difficulty. As we have said, plot 
in children's stories is a very simple matter, yet in many 
stories it is definitely present as a framework for the 

Angela M. Keyes, in her "Stories and Story-Telling," 
says that there are really only four kinds of plots in any 
good story for children. This has been elaborated by 
WiUiam Byron Forbush ^ as follows: 

"First, 'a single line of sequence.' This is illustrated in such 
a story as 'The Sleeping Beauty,' in which the action moves 
steadily along a single line from one exciting event to the next. 
Second, 'the three-parallel line.' In such stories we are shown 
what the first did, what the second did, and what the third 
did, and the climax is usually in the third, and often the stupid 
third member of the family turns out to be the cleverest and 
the most favored of fortune. Third, 'two contrasting courses 
of action placed side by side.' In such a story, we learn, first, 
what the beautiful person did and then what the ugly person 
did; what the industrious child did and what the idle one did, 

^ Manual of Stories. 

114 children's stories and how to tell them 

as in 'Diamonds and Toads,' 'Cinderella,' etc. Fourth, 'the 
cumulative plan,' illustrated in 'The House that Jack Built,' in 
which there are repetitions and added incidents and plots, and 
to each subject there is a new interest." 

The essence of plot in fiction of all kinds is this: Some- 
thing happens to break the usual course of events, and 
this something works out in an unusual way. This cross- 
roads, or twist, or crucial happening may be planned by 
following the three-question method suggested in another 
chapter: What obstacle, or struggle, or crisis, or mix-up, 
or twist in the situation would offer interesting possibili- 
ties? What cause or event led up to it? What results 
from it? 

Take any familiar story and analyze it by asking three 
similar questions, and the plot-action is laid bare. Simi- 
larly, it is well to practice on plot-building from simple 
situations so as to excite wonder or surprise, and yet 
make the outcome seem natural — once the groundwork 
of the story is accepted as being, for the time, believable. 


1. If you have had any experience in telling stories extem- 
poraneously — without any conscious preparation, that is — tell 
(a) what difficulties confronted you; (6) whether the results 
were as satisfactory as when you prepared. 

2. In your opinion, is originality helped or hindered by 
preparation? How? 

3. From memory, name any principles of story-selection 
and story-structure, treated in earlier chapters, that obviously 
apply to the invention of original stories. 

4. Are there any reasons why you prefer not to invent 


5. Are there any reasons why you prefer to tell original 

6. If so, what sort or sorts do you like best? Why? 

7. Name (a) a locality, (b) a season and (c) any other 
source of story-germs which suggest to you stories. 

8. Give a simple outline of one such original story, saying, 
if possible, how the idea arose in your mind. 

9. Make a list of as many fresh ideas for stories as you can, 
stating each in a rather short sentence, somewhat like this: 
How old Mount Baldy got the hole in his side; How the steeple 
lost its chime of bells; The triumph of Waki the surf-rider. 

10. Write any one story in full. 

11. Tell it publicly, after careful preparation, but without 
committing it verbally to memory. 

12. What do you understand by a time-worn or trite theme, 
and how may triteness be avoided? 

13. In your experience, are the best themes spontaneously 
bom, consciously sought out, or first bom and then made by 
working over them? 

14. Analyze the plots of three stories and show the three 
elements — foundation, twist or crisis, and outcome. 

15. Give one additional example of each of the four kinds 
of stories named by Angela M. Keyes. 

16. Constmct an original story-plot after any one of these 
four kinds, saying which method you are pursuing. 

17. Without writing out the story in full, but carefully 
preparing the opening and the closing words, tell the story. 



There are times in a child's life when it suddenly leaps into 
larger growth, as the imprisoned bud blooms larger than its 
promise. . . . Knowledge comes to the child, especially all 
the subtler knowledge of time, of space, of love, in a vague, 
indefinite, unconscious way, developing out of the child's or- 
ganic self as a flower blooms. This knowledge comes to definite 
knowledge for an instant only and then returns to the subcon- 
sciousness, waiting the next day of warm sun, shining water, 
and smell of spring. Each time it stays longer, till at last the 
child can contemplate his own thought and finally express it. 
These times form our real life epochs. 

— Hamlin Garland, Rose of Butcher's Coolly. 

We must leave to others the pedagogical study of what 
benefit the child receives when he himself tells stories. 
It is enough to say here that in learning to model his 
invention, his language, his bearing, and his simple dra- 
matic manner upon the methods of the teacher he gains 
as much as he can gain in any exercise that is largety 
imitative and repetitive even while it is creative. The 
same may be said for teaching children to dramatize 

But just as valuable as the child's re-telling of stories 
is his origination of them, and this may be encouraged — 
but not required — in simple ways so as to cultivate the 

^ See "Grist from Other Mills," appended to this chapter. 


imagination, the language sense, the feeling for locality, 
dramatic values, and, best of all, moral feeling. In fact, 
the child may be led to teach himself the essence of well- 
nigh all that the story-teller can teach him. 

In her valuable book, "The Art of the Story-Teller," 
Marie L. Shedlock quotes from the French psychologist, 
Queyrat, in his ^^Jeux de VEnfance,^^ a short original 
story composed by a child of five: 

"One day I went to sea in a lifeboat — all at once I saw an 
enormous whale, and I jumped out of the boat to catch him, 
but he was so big that I climbed on his back and rode astride, 
and all the little fishes laughed to see." 

"Here is another," Miss Shedlock continues, "offered by Loti, 
but the age of the child is not given : 

** 'Once upon a time a little girl out in the Colonies cut open 
a huge melon, and out popped a green beast and stung her, and 
the little child died.' 

"Loti adds: 

" 'The phrases "out in the Colonies" and "a huge melon" 
were enough to plunge me suddenly into a dream. As by an 
apparition, I beheld tropical trees, forests alive with marvelous 
birds. Oh! the simple magic of the words "the Colonies!" 
In my childhood they stood for a multitude of distant sun- 
scorched countries, with their palm-trees, their enormous flow- 
ers, their black natives, their wild beasts, their endless possibili- 
ties of adventure.' " 

Obviously, these stories are typical in content, if not 
also in form, of what any imaginative — that is, picture- 
making — child-mind would produce, and as such we see in 
each not only the outline of a story but the kernel of 
romance. It means much in the development of the child 
to give issue to such completely related concepts. 


Helps to the Child's Invention 

Sheer imitation aside, which is almost certain to be 
seen the first in any child's efforts at story-making, a 
satisfactory first step in invention is taken by having him 
tell stories from pictures. The same methods which have 
been outlined in Chapter VIII, for the adult, may with 
modifications be used to lead out the gifts of the child. 

A next step is that of having the child place spots, 
lines, and other arbitrary figures on the blackboard to 
mark the elements of the story, as, "Here is the road, 

, and here is the little house, D , and here are the 

two boys, I I ." With these materials, and a little 
time given for thought, the story soon comes out. Later 
scenes in the story may be indicated in the same way. 
Of course the value of the diagram lies in holding the 
very young mind to the place and the persons in the 

Older children are helped more effectively by setting 
before them the elements which they are to use in de- 
vising their stories, thus: 

The place where the story begins 

The people in the story 

The thing they start to do 

What happens to them 

How they get out of the trouble 
The place, people, etc., should not be set down, but 
merely kept in mind. 

Or, again, the three-question method, referred to in 
chapters VIII and X, may wisely be used. The im- 


portant thing is to avoid setting up limits for the fancy ^ 
while yet showing the child what it is that makes a set of 
happenings become a story. 

If the child can be led to ask himself guiding questions, 
the educational value of the exercise is, of course, so 
much the greater. But any method that will help the 
little story-teller to picture the scenes, one leading surely 
into the other, and all moving forward to some precon- 
ceived end, will be of definite value. 

The two kinds of stories which best lend themselves to 
child-narration are the simple chain of incidents, and the 
parallel plot — the story that tells first of the Ogre, say, 
and then of the Prince, and what he does to the Ogre. 
This story-plan may be illustrated on the board by a Y 
laid upon its side, >^ , for after hearing first of the Ogre's 
treatment of the Little Maid and of the journey of the 
Prince, we learn how the antagonists come together in a 
struggle and, the Ogre having been killed, we see how 
that the fortunes of the Prince and the Little Maid are 

Of course, other simple diagrams to help the small in- 
ventor steer a well-planned course, such as a chain, and 
other arbitrary symbols of plot-movement, may also be 

Like adults, children often need a start. Sometimes 
an opening setting and one or more of the characters 
may be suggested in a single sentence, as: "On a snowy 
day three fat sparrows were sitting around a piece of 
bread that a little boy had dropped out of his lunch 
basket"— then the child is encouraged to take up the 


story. At times flagging invention may be stimulated by 
brief leading questions. Thus the young fictionist is en- 
couraged to stand more and more on his own feet. 

Still older children are helped to invention by showing 
them that story-situations are essentially of these four 

A usual or commonplace happening in usual circum- 

A usual happening in unusual circumstances. 

An unusual happening in ordinary circumstances. 

An unusual happening in extraordinary circumstances. 

The following stories by children are not given as being 
exceptional, but as typical of what may be done with 
average children varying from eight to eleven years of 

By Max Irland 

Once there was a little Kitten that thought she knew every- 
thing, so she said: "I am going out to conquer the world." 

Off she started, and then she saw a queer thing buzzing along 
in the air. 

*'Buzzzz! You sing and I sting." 

"I am going to catch you," said the Kitten. 

" Oho ! ' ' said the Stranger. "BuzzzzI B U Z Z Z !'' 

Soon the children saw a white streak fly across the yard. 

"Ah!" said the Kitten, "I am still too young to conquer the 

And she never did. 

By Helen Tastet 
In a small hole in the pantry wall lived two mice. One was 
old and the other was young. In the house they lived in was 
a Cat who loved mice for his dinner. 


One evening the Young Mouse said: "I am going out to 
hunt for food." 

The Older Mouse said: "Be careful of the Cat." 

The Young Mouse did not take heed, but scampered through 
the hall into the dining-room, and then into the kitchen. 

In a dark comer the Cat was quietly waiting for the Mouse. 
As the careless Young Mouse went past, the Cat sprang upon 
him and killed him. The Old Mouse was sorry, but she shook 
her head and said: "They must have their trials." 

By Harold Klein 

Once there was an old fish and a young fish. One day, as 
they were swimming, the young fish darted at a worm which he 
saw. His mother tried to keep him from eating it, for she knew 
it was a trap to catch them. But the young fish, heedless to 
his mother's advice, went on. He snapped at the worm, and to 
his surprise he couldn't swim back, for the worm was on a hook 
to catch foolish fishes. 

By Persis Birtwell 

Once upon a time there was a little Mouse, and his Mother 
was out. She had told him not to go away from home while 
she was gone, but he thought he could take care of himself, so 
he went out. As he was out playing, he saw a Cat. He said to 
himself: "I am not afraid of a little Cat." So he walked boldly 
up and said, "Come on and have a race, I bet you can't catch 

So the Cat agreed and said, "Where shall we begin?" 

"At that stump, and run down to that tree." 

"All right," said the Cat. 

But soon the Mouse got tired and the Cat caught him and 
ate him for lunch. 

After a while the Old Mouse came home, and she knew the 
whole story. All she could do was to sit and cry. Pretty soon 
a Cat came and ate her up. So that was the end of the Mouse 


If the mother or the teacher is sympathetic in attitude 
and avoids comment which causes self-consciousness, it is 
easy to lead even the very small child to tell stories with 
great joy. The listening adult should be guarded, even 
in facial expression. A smile at the wrong time may cause 
a fit of shyness which can be overcome only with great 

The child's first stories should be voluntary. He 
should never be asked to tell a story for the sake of 
"showing off." "I know a story," or "I'll tell a story if 
you'll tell me one," is a common response of the four- 
year-old who hears stories. This suggestion should be 
met with quiet interest. Sometimes the story is a re- 
telling of one which has been heard a number of times. 
Sometimes it will be a combination of a number of stories 
strung together into one. Sometimes it will be an exact 
account of an actual happening, sometimes an imagina- 
tive tale based on some occurrence. One four-year-old 
who is particularly fond of the story of "Snowball's 
Christmas Eve," told in this volume, volunteered to tell 
a story. She told the story exactly as given, except that 
she substituted her little dog for the cat. She kept him 
as the hero throughout the story, imitating the barking 
of the dog instead of the meowing of the cat. 

A child of five who had a little Swedish doll asked to 
have a story told about the doll. "I don't know any 
story about it," she was told. 

"Well, I do," washer response, and she told this story: 

"Away over in a big store in Sweden there was a little Doll. 
The little Doll did so want to have a Mother. She kept sajdng, 


'Oh, I wish I had a Mother!' But she had only the big Store- 

"One day, a nice Nurse came into the store. 'I want that 
little Doll,' she said. She gave the Storeman some money, 
and took the little Doll away. She took her on a big boat 
and there was a great storm on the ocean. 

"But by and by, they reached this country. The Nurse 
came to Washington, and the little Doll was with her. There 
she found a nice Httle girl for her Mother, and the little girl's 
name was Helen Louise." 

This story had its basis of fact, but the imaginative 
quality is charming. If the child is given carefully se- 
lected, well-told stories, he will unfailingly give some form 
of creative return. It may be an attempt at illustration, 
it may be in dramatization, it may be merely questions 
or conversation, it may be in the invention of original 
stories. Whatever the form, the response is sure, for 
when his emotions are stirred, and his imagination fired, he 
must find some means of self-expression. 


1. Should story-telling by children be set as a required 
exercise in the lower grades, or should volunteers be called for? 

2. How might the teacher's attitude guard against the 
danger to a sensitive child in having his serious efforts at story- 
telling laughed at by his schoolmates? 

3. Of the seven little stories quoted in this chapter, which 
do you like best, and why? 

4. Which next best, and why? 

5. Which shows the most imagination? 

6. Which is the most complete? 

7. Invent three opening sentences which might be used to 
start a child on an original story. 

8. At home, or elsewhere, carefully select a picture, induce a 

124 children's stories and how to tell them 

child to tell a story about it, and set down the story as exactly 
as you can from memory. 

9. What facts or theories can you deduce from this experi- 
ence? Your theories will have added value if you repeat this 
experiment a number of times. 

10. How far is it wise to help a child tell a story? 


Chapter V, in How to Tell Stories to Children, by Sara Cone 
Bryant, discusses helpfully the three forms of having children 
give back the story to the story-teller, so as to result in "the 
freeing and developing of the power of expression in the pupils." 
The first is re-telling the stories. The second is "a kind of 'seat 
work.' The children are allowed to make original illustrations 
of the stories by cutting silhouette pictures," The third is 
dramatizing the stories, in which the children choose characters 
from the stories, and both repeat the dialogue and act out the 
scenes. This chapter gives some interesting suggestions for 
dramatizing stories. 

A unique plan for dramatizing old and new stories has been 
devised by Mrs. Mary Lowe, by means of her "Bottle People." 
Out of empty bottles, "dressed up," are created enough dolls to 
represent all the characters in any story. The story is then told 
by causing the "Bottle People" to enact the several parts taken 
by the characters. The method is fully explained in William 
Byron Forbush's Manual of Stories. This book also contains a 
chapter on "Dramatizing Stories," which quotes freely the 
methods used by teachers and story-tellers in helping children 
to dramatize. Some suggestions on the subject will be found in 
Chapter V, "Use of the Story in Primary Grades," in The Art 
oj Story-Telling, by Julia Darrow Cowles. 

LilHan Edith Nixon, in "Fairy Tales a Child Can Read and 
Act," recommends for children up to the second grade several 
stories as suitable for dramatizing: Little Red Riding Hood, 
Peter and the Magic Goose (original). The Blue Peacock, The 
Ant and the Cricket, Hansel and Gretel, Stories from "Pinoc- 
chio," Scenes from "Alice in Wonderland," Scenes from 
"Through the Looking Glass." 

















For him there's a story in every breeze 
And a picture in every wave. 

— Thomas Moore, Boat Glee. 

This group of five stories, with the supplementary list of 
twelve others named in Part III, has been tested with 
children of from three to five years old. The stories are 
offered as a partial answer to the request of numerous 
mothers who have said, "Please give me some stories for 
very little children. " 

Every mother tells the child "make-up" stories embody- 
ing his own adventures — ^stories of walks, of going to meet 
Daddy, of baby's kitty or doggie, of dolly, of the tired, 
sleepy baby whose mother has put him in his little white 
bed. The mother's instinct and the memory of her own 
childish likes lead her inevitably to Mother Goose, Golden 
Hair and the Three Bears, Three Pigs, The Old Woman 
and the Pig — then her treasure-trove is exhausted, and the 
story-hungry child still clamors, "Tell me a story!" 

A study of the stories here given and listed later will 
prove helpful in the selection of others. The story for 
the little child must be exceedingly simple in plot. It 
should deal chiefly with objects he has touched and seen, 
with experiences he has had. It must be full of action, and 

128 children's stories and how to tell them 

told in language he can understand. It must be based in 
his real interests. 

For example, Miss O'Grady's "Go To Sleep Story," 
from "The Story-Teller's Book," is an excellent type of 
tale for the child of two-and-a-half or three. It deals with 
an every-day occurance in the child's life; it is Baby Ray's 
sleepy time. Mother is in it, too, and each baby sees his 
own dearest experience mirrored when Baby Ray is lifted 
in his mother's arms. Every child delights in stories of 
living things, and to this is added his love of rythmic 
repetition when Baby Ray's doggie comes to say good 
night to Baby Ray, and his mother puts him into a song: 

"One little doggie that was given him to keep. 
Came to see if Baby Ray was asleep, sleep, sleep!" 

The story continues until dog, cats, rabbits, ducks, 
geese and chickens, all going to sleep, just as Baby Ray 
does, have been woven into the mother's song. 

The child's nearness to his mother, his love of and in- 
terest in animals, his own every-day experience, are given 
form in words which he can understand. It does for him 
what every story should do — it gives new meaning and in- 
terest to his own experience, it deepens his emotions, it 
develops his command of words. 

The story for the little child must give pictures, with 
little description, for it must be remembered that name- 
words and action-words are his first acquisitions in lan- 
guage. His interest is in things and in deeds, rather than in 
appearances or in feelings. He cares nothing for motives. 
He cannot follow involved processes of reasoning, so "plot- 


complication" and "periods of suspense" do not belong 
to his stories. Cause and result must develop in such 
close sequence that he can grasp their relation. The tale 
must run in straight lines to a well-defined, inevitable 

When telling stories to very little children, the story-teller 
should be most deliberate in her presentation. Though 
without faltering, or dragging her speech, she should give 
the child time to form one picture before she develops 
the next. Her articulation should be perfect, for the child 
grasps words slowly. Her English should be simple, but 
unfailingly correct, for the child's habits of speech are 
formed in his first nine years. Her manner should be in- 
teresting and charged with vitality, but never over- 
dramatic; better no stories than over-stimulation. 

The child should be encouraged to talk freely— sooner 
or later— about every story he hears, but the story-teller 
should never moralize, nor attempt to answer all his 
questions for him. It is often well to leave him wondering. 
She should never answer in such a way as to limit his 
thought or curb his imagination. If his mind is grasping 
for a fact, she should guide him only so far as he is unable 
to go alone, then leave to him the growth and the joy of 
discovering the fact for hunself . If the answer to his ques- 
tion lies in the realm of creative fancy, she should let him 
keep the wings of his own imagining, rather than substi- 
tute her own. ^ 

The carefully selected, well-told story should be given 
to the little child over and over again until it becomes a 
part of himself. Then he should be encouraged to re-tell 

130 children's stories and how to tell them 

it, to dramatize it, and so to make it a means of self- 


This story, from Hans Christian Andersen's "Thumbling," 
has been adapted by some story-teller unknown, and many 
kindergartners have used it successfully with very small children. 
The problem of the right story for the very Httle ones is so great 
that none which proves satisfactory should be lost; therefore, 
with acknowledgments to the adapter, I offer this version, which 
has been slightly modified through the responses of numerous 
groups of five-year-olds. 

A careful study of Andersen's story will show how well the 
adapter has kept the spirit and meaning of the original. The 
adventures in this version are more beautiful, more interesting, 
and more within the range of experience of the child, than are 
those portrayed by Andersen. In the original, The Little Princess, 
sprung from the heart of a flower, finds her place among her own 
flower-folk after many sad adventures. Thumbelina in this 
version leaves her Mother for a day of simple, delightful adventure 
and returns to her in the evening. So each goes out from her own, 
and in the end returns to her own, her Hfe enriched by the ex- 
periences of her travel. 

That this is the favorite story of the children in the kinder- 
garten, year after year, is sufficient proof of its value. 

Once upon a time there was a little girl no bigger than 
her Mother's thumb, and so they called her ^'ThumbeHna." 

Thumbelina did not sleep in a little white bed, as you 
do; her bed was the half of a walnut shell. Her Mother 
covered her with pink rose leaves for blankets, when she 
curled up for a cozy nap. By and by, when Thumbelina 
had grown large enough to run about wherever she wished 
to go, she started for a walk one beautiful sunshiny morn- 
ing. She had not gone very far when she heard something 


coming hoppity-skip, hoppity-skip behind her. She 
turned around, and there she saw a great big green Grass- 

"How do you do, Thumbehna?" he said. "Wouldn't 
you like to go for a ride this morning?' ' 

"I should like it very much," said Thumbelina. 

"Very well, hop up on my back," said the Grasshopper. 
So Thumbelina hopped up on his back, and away they 
went, hoppity-skip, hoppity-skip, through the grass. 
Thumbelina thought it was the finest ride she had ever had. 
After a while the Grasshopper stopped and let her get 
down off his back. 

"Thank you, Mr. Grasshopper," said Thumbelina. 
" It was very good of you to take me for a ride. " 

"I'm glad you enjoyed it," said the Grasshopper. 
"You may go again some day. Good-by." And away he 
went, hoppity-skip, hoppity-skip, through the grass, 
while Thumbelina went on her walk. 

She walked on and on until she came to a river, and as 
she stood on the bank, looking down into the shining 
water, a Fish came swimming up. 

"How do you do, Thumbelina?" he said. 

"How do you do, Mr. Fish?" said Thumbelina. 

"Wouldn't you like to go for a sail this morning?" 
asked the Fish. 

" Yes, indeed, " said Thumbelina, " but there is no boat." 

"Wait a moment, " said the Fish, and he flirted his tail, 
and darted away through the water. Presently he came 
swimming back to the bank, and in his mouth he held the 
stem of a lily leaf. 

132 children's stories and how to tell them 

"Step down on this; it will make a fine boat." 

Thumbelina stepped down on the lily leaf and sat care- 
fully in the middle of it. The Fish kept the stem in his 
mouth, and swam away down the stream. Overhead the 
birds were singing, along the bank the flowers were bloom- 
ing, and over the edge of the leaf Thumbelina could see 
the fishes darting here and there through the water. 

So they sailed and sailed down the river. But at last 
the Fish took her back to the bank again. 

"Thank you for the sail, Mr. Fish," Thumbelina said 
as she stepped off on to the bank. "I never had such a 
good time in all my life. " 

"I'm glad you enjoyed it, Thumbelina. Good-by for 

The Fish darted away through the water, and Thumbe- 
lina turned to go home. Just then Mrs. Mouse came run- 
ning up. 

"How do you do, Thumbelina?" she said. "Won't 
you come home with me and see my babies?" 

"I'd love to," said Thumbelina, and she clapped her 
hands in glee. 

Mrs. Mouse's home was quite a way down imder the 
ground. Thumbelina crept through the long dark passage- 
way to the cozy room in which Mrs. Mouse and her three 
babies lived. They all ran races up and down the long pas- 
sageway, and Thumbelina tasted the dried peas which 
Mrs. Mouse had brought home with her. 

"I think I must go home now," Thumbelina said at 
last, "my Mother will be wondering where I am. " So she 
said good-bye to them all and started off home. 


She had not walked very far along the path through the 
field when she heard something saying: "Peep, peep," in 
a weak, sick little voice. Thumbelina looked, and there 
close beside her in the grass she saw a little Bird; his eyes 
were shut, and he looked very sick, 

''Why, what's the matter, Httle Bird?" said Thumbelina. 

"Oh, I have a thorn in my foot, and it does hurt so. " 

"Let me see," said Thimibelina. "Perhaps I can help 
you. " 

She looked carefully, and there she saw the thorn stick- 
ing in the poor Bird's foot. She took her little fingers and 
pulled it out, as gently as she could. Then she fetched 
some clear, cold water and bathed the wounded foot. The 
Bird felt so much better that he opened his eyes. 

"Why, it is Thumbelina!" he said. 

"How did you know my name?" said Thumbelina, in 

"That's easy to explain," said the Bird. "My nest is 
up in a tree, close beside your window. I often hear your 
Mother calling you. But are you not a long way from 

"Yes, I am, " said Thumbelina. "I was hurrying home 
when I found you. " 

"Well," said the Bird, "if you will climb up on my 
back, I'll take you there, far more quickly than you can 
run. " So Thumbelina climbed up on the Birdie's back. 

"Hold on tight," he said, as he spread his wings and 
flew swiftly up above the tree tops. 

He went so high that sometimes they skimmed along 
through the clouds, and so fast that Thumbelina could 


hardly get her breath; but still she thought it was very 
wonderful, and she was not a bit afraid. Soon the Bird 
lit right in the window of ThumbeHna's own room. She 
climbed down off his back, and thanked him for bringing 
her home. Then she ran away to find her Mother, and tell 
her all about the wonderful things which had been happen- 
ing to her that day. 


(Re-Told from the Norse) 

The power and helpfulness of small things is a delight to the 
youngest children. Without any words from the story-teller 
they readily see themselves in such stories. The little poem and 
song called "Helpful," from "Songs of a Little Child's Days," 
is an excellent supplement to this entire group of stories. 

One bright morning Johnny was driving his goats to 
pasture. He trudged along whistling, and paying but 
little attention to the goats, when suddenly he saw them 
all running toward the farmer's rye field. There was a hole 
in the fence, which the leader of the goats had seen, and 
before Johnny could stop them, they all scrambled through 
and were busily eating the rye. Johnny knew that this 
would never do, so he climbed over the fence, took a stick, 
and tried to drive them out. But they would not go — 
they only ran round and round the field. Johnny ran after 
them until he was so tired he could run no farther, then 
he crawled through the hole in the fence, sat down by the 
roadside, and began to cry. 

Just then a Fox came down the road. 


"Good morning, Johnny, why are you crying?" asked 
the Fox. 

*'I'm crying because I can^t get the goats out of the rye 
field," said Johnny. 

"Oh, don't cry about that! I'll drive them out easily; 
watch me!" said the Fox. 

He leaped over the fence and began to chase the goats. 
Round and round they ran, and nothing could get them 
to go near the hole in the fence. At last the Fox was so 
tired that he could run no more, so he crawled through the 
hole in the fence, sat down beside Johnny, and began to cry. 

Then a Rabbit came hopping down the road. When he 
saw Johnny and the Fox he stopped still. 

"Why are you crying. Fox?" he asked. 

"I'm crying because Johnny is crying," said the Fox. 

"Why are you crying, Johnny?" 

"I'm crying because I can't get the goats out of the rye 
field," said Johnny. 

"Tut, tut ! " said the Rabbit, 'what a thing to cry about! 
Watch me. I'll soon drive them out. " 

The Rabbit hopped over the fence, and round and round 
the field he chased those goats; but they would not go 
near the hole in the fence. At last the Rabbit was so tired 
he could not hop another hop, so he crawled through the 
fence, sat down beside the Fox, and began to cry. 

While they were all crying away, along came a little 
Bee. She stopped in surprise. " Good morning. Rabbit, 
whatever are you crying about this lovely morning? " 

"I'm crying because the Fox is crying," answered the 


"And why are you crying, Fox?" 

"I'm crying because Johnny is crying. " 

"Why are you crying, Johnny?" 

"Boo hoo!" sobbed Johnny, "I'm crying because I 
can't get the goats out of the rye field! " 

" Don't cry about that. I'll get them out for you, " said 
the Bee. 

Johnny was so surprised that he stopped crying; then 
he began to laugh. "What! A little thing like you drive 
them out when I couldn't do it!" he shouted. 

"And when I could not!" said the Fox. 

"And when I could not!" said the Rabbit. Then they 
all began to laugh. 

The little Bee didn't say a word. She flew over the fence 
and flew right to the ear of the leader of the goats. " Buzz- 
zip ! " She went in one ear. The goat shook his head, and 
the little Bee flew to the other side. " Buzz-zip ! " She went 
in that ear. The goat started running toward the hole in 
the fence. The little Bee never stopped buzzing in his ear 
until he ran out of the field. And all the other goats fol- 
lowed after him. 

Johnny, the Fox, and the Rabbit stared at each other in 

"Thank you, httle Bee," said Johnny, and he ran after 
his goats to the pasture. 


{From the Norse) 

There is a never-failing appeal to the child in stories of animals — 
of which more later; but there are other characteristics which 


combine to make this old story a favorite. The sense of size as 
conveyed through the voice, the repetition, the thrill that is 
almost fear yet holding no grewsome quality, the final overthrow 
of the Troll by the hero (the Biggest Billy-Goat Gruff), the action, 
the simplicity, and the appeal to imagination — all unite to make 
it the finest type of story for the younger children. Careful 
study of this and similar stories will give the mother an excellent 
basis of selection for stories. 

The adaptation is from "Popular Tales from the Norse," by 
George Webbe Dasent, by courteous permission of the publishers, 
G. Putnam's Sons, New York. 

Once upon a time there were three billy-goats, and the 
name of all three was Gruff. 

One fine day they said to each other, ^' Let's go up on the 
hillside, and eat grass, and make ourselves fat. " 

The youngest of the three started off first. After a 
while, he came to a bridge, under which Hved an ugly Troll, 
with eyes as big as a saucer, and a nose as long as a poker. 
As the Smallest Billy-Goat Gruff went trip, trap, trip, trap 
over the bridge, the Troll roared out, "WHO'S THAT 
tripping over my bridge? " 

"It's I, the Smallest Billy-Goat Gruff. I'm going up on 
the hillside to eat grass, and make myself fat. " 

*'I'm coming to gobble you up! " roared the Troll. 

''Oh, don't do that! I'm so Httle I'll scarcely make a 
mouthful. The Middle-sized Billy-Goat Gruff will be 
along soon. You'd better wait for him. " 

*' Very well, be off with you! " said the Troll. 

Presently, along came the second Billy-Goat Gruflt. 

He went Trip, Trap, Trip, Trap, over the bridge. 

"WHO'S THAT tripping over my bridge?" roared the 


"It's I, the Middle-sized Billy-Goat Gruflf. I'm going 
up on the hillside to eat grass, and make myself fat. " 

*' Well, I'm coming to gobble you up !' ' roared the Troll. 

*' You'd better wait for the Biggest Billy-Goat Gruff. 
He's far fatter than I." 

*' Very well, then, be off with you! " said the Troll. 

After a time, along came the Biggest Billy-Goat Gruff. 
TRIP, TRAP, TRIP, TRAP he went over the bridge, and 
it creaked and groaned under his weight. 

"WHO'S THAT tripping over my bridge?" roared the 

said the billy-goat in a big voice of his own. 

"Well, I'm coming to gobble you up!" roared the Troll. 

"HO! HO!" laughed the Biggest Billy-Goat Gruff. 
"You don't say so! Well, come along! I'l crush you to 
bits, body and bones!" That's what the Big Billy-Goat 
said, in his big, rough voice. 

Up came the Troll, and rushed at the Biggest Billy-Goat, 
who just lowered his head and tossed the Troll over the 
bridge, into the stream; and I shouldn't wonder at all if 
he was crushed to bits, body and bones. 

Then the Biggest Billy-Goat Gruff went up on the hill- 
side with the other Billy-Goats Gruff, and they ate grass, 
and ate grass, until they were so fat that the fat was drop- 
ping off of them. 


This adaptation of an old folk tale effectively combines the 
interest of the animal-story with the lesson of the power of little 
things, as heretofore mentioned. 


In the long ago time there was a great, thick forest. In 
it there lived many animals, and the Lion was the king of 
them all. One day he was lying under a tree fast asleep. 
Near him some little field mice were playing about. They 
were chasing each other and did not see the Lion until one 
of them ran right over his paw. 

With a roar the Lion clapped his foot down over the 
little Mouse and held him fast. 

"How dare you wake me up?" cried the Lion angrily. 

"Oh, please, Mr. Lion, I didn't mean to disturb you! 
Please let me go! If you only will I'll do something for you 
some day!" 

When the Lion heard that, he laughed loud and long. 
"How could a little bit of a Mouse like you do anything 
for a great big Lion like me? " he said. "I'll let you go 
this time, but see that you never wake me up again!" So 
he lifted up his huge paw and the little Mouse scampered 

Not long after this, one day the mice were playing in the 
forest again. Suddenly they stopped and listened. Great 
roars were sounding through the forest. 

"That's my friend Mr. Lion," said the little Mouse, 
*' I'm sure he's in trouble. I must go and see, " and he ran 
through the forest until he found the Lion. 

He was in trouble indeed; he was caught in a net which 
some hunters had set for him. The thick ropes were wound 
around him. He pulled this way and that, but for all of 
his strength he could not break the ropes — they only drew 
closer and cut deeper. 

"Wait, I'll help you," said the little Mouse. 

I40 children's stories and how to tell them 

''How can you help me, you foolish little thing?" said 
the Lion . *' Do you not see that I, the strongest of animals, 
can do nothing?" 

The little Mouse did not answer, but ran over to one of 
the ropes and began to gnaw it with his sharp teeth. He 
cut the threads as quickly as he could, then went to the 
next rope. That, too, he gnawed through with his sharp 
little teeth. Soon he had cut every rope. ''Now, stand 
up, Mr. Lion," he said. 

The Lion stood up and shook the pieces of rope from 
himself. There he was, safe and free again. 

"Well," he said, "I never thought that a little bit of a 
Mouse like you could ever do anything for a great big 
Lion like me, but you've saved my life today!" 


This old folk tale from the Spanish embodies a delightful com- 
bination of humor and justice. The picture-quality, the repeti- 
tion, and added to these the sense of adventure, make it an ideal 
tale. Children delight in odd phrases such as " hoppity-kick, " 
and will repeat them in glee, caring nothing for meaning — though 
" hoppity-kick, " to be sure, has a delightfully picturesque quality 
of its own. 

Once upon a time there was a Spanish hen who hatched 
some little chickens. Among them was a queer little chick. 
He had only one leg, one wing, one eye, and half a bill — 
he was a little Half-Chick. Now this little Half-Chick 
was very naughty and always wanted to have his own way. 
One day he said to his mother: "I'm going to Madrid to 
see the King." 


"Don't do that," said his mother, "it wouldn't be safe 
at all. " She begged and begged him to give it up, but he 

"Nonsense, I want to go, and I will!" And away he 
went, hoppity-kick, hoppity-kick, as fast as he could go. 

After he had traveled for quite a while he came to a 
Brook that was caught in some weeds. It was gurgling 
and choking, and it called out: "Little Half-Chick, come 
and help me, please come and help me! " 

*' I have no time to bother with you, I'm off to Madrid to 
see the King." And on he went, hoppity-kick, hoppity- 
kick, leaving the little Brook to choke if it must. 

Farther on the little Half-Chick came to a Fire which 
was smothered. It was trying so hard to burn, and when 
it saw the Uttle Half-Chick, it called out: "Oh, little 
Half-Chick, come and help me, please come and help me!" 

The little Half-Chick tipped his little half bill in the air 
and said: "You are very fooHsh if you think I'll take the 
time to bother with you. I'm off to Madrid to see the 
King." And on he went, hoppity-kick, hoppity-kick, as 
fast as he could, leaving the poor Fire to smother. 

When he had traveled a good way, and was near Madrid, 
he passed a clump of bushes. In them the Wind was 
caught fast. It was crying pitifully and begging to be set 
free. The little Half-Chick pretended not to hear. 

"Oh, little Half-Chick, little Half-Chick, please come 
and help me!" the Wind called. 

"The idea!" said the little Half-Chick. "Why should 
I bother with you? I'm off to Madrid to see the King. " 
And on he went, leaving the Wind held fast in the bushes. 

142 children's stories and how to tell them 

At last he came to Madrid, and to the courtyard of the 
King's palace. The Cook was just leaning out of the 
kitchen window. When he saw the little Half-Chick, he 
cried out: "What luck! I was wanting a chicken for the 
King's supper," and he seized the little Half-Chick and 
threw him into the pot of water on the fire. 

The Water came up over the little Half-Chick; it filled 
his eyes, and choked him. "Oh, Water! Water!" he cried 
out. " Don't come up so high ! Please don't drown me ! " 

But the Water said: "Oh, little Half-Chick! Little 
Half-Chick! You wouldn't help me when I was in trouble, 
and now I can't help you!" And the Water came up 
higher and higher. 

Then the Water began to get very hot, as the Fire crackled 
and burned underneath the pot. The little Half-Chick 
danced up and down, and cried out: "Fire! Fire! Please 
don't burn so hot ! You'll burn me to death ! Oh, stop ! " 

But the Fire said: " Oh, little Half-Chick ! Little Half- 
Chick! You wouldn't help me when I was in trouble, and 
now I can' t help you ! ' ' And the Fire burned hotter than ever. 

Presently the Cook took the lid off and looked in the pot. 
"Dear me!" he said, "this chicken is burned black; it's 
not fit for the King." So he took the little Half-Chick 
and threw him out of the window. 

He was caught by the Wind and whirled round. He was 
bumped and thumped, he was blown this way and that. 
"Oh, Wind, please don't blow me so hard!" he begged. 

But the Wind said: "Oh, little Half-Chick! Little 
Half-Chick! You wouldn't help me when I was in trouble, 
and now I can't help you!" 


And the Wind blew him harder than ever. It tossed 
him up above the tree tops, and finally blew him against 
the church steeple, where he stuck. 

And there he stands on his little one leg to this day. He 
turns when the Wind blows, and never gets his own way at 
all— he has to tell all the people which way the Wind is 



The commonest form in which the childish imagination finds 
exercise is that of fairy-tales; but education must take care that 
it has these in their proper shape as national productions, and that 
they are not the morbid kind which artificial poetry so often gives 
us in this species of literature, and which not seldom degenerate 
into sentimental caricatures and silliness. 

— J. K. F. RosENCRANTZ, PMlosophy of Education, 

The old stories of the race are not fact, but they are 
truth which the race-mind has visioned and given form in 
words. They are the product of primitive man's longings 
and wonderings. They are the answers of his soul in his 
quest for God. They are his attempts to solve the mystery 
of his own life, the explanation of his environment. They 
are the charts which his imagination made, marking the 
paths by which his spirit might pass to freedom. In them 
he defied time, conquered space, and transcended all limita- 
tions. In them, supernatural agencies were his reserve 
power. In time of stress, the modern man falls back upon 
his own sub-conscious self; primitive man called upon the 
Fairies and kindred beings which his own fancy had created 
to meet his need. 

Thus all such tales embody the ideals of early man, and 
through them his growth of spirit may be traced. They 
have even moulded the religious and social life of the pres- 
ent time, for the highest and best achievements of today 


are but the slow fulfillment of man's age-long prophecies 
and dreams. 

It is because folk and fairy tales are filled with this 
spirit of truth that they lay hold upon the heart of child- 
hood from generation to generation. As we have said in an 
earher chapter, the child, to some extent, repeats the ex- 
periences of the race. Light and darkness, wind and sun, 
sea, sky, and earth surround him. He wonders and dreams 
about them all. The life within himself calls to the life 
without and asks Whence? Whither? What? His ques- 
tionings must find answer on the plane of his own under- 
standing, so the folk tale with its simplicity and sincerity 
meets his need. 

Since belief in the Fairies was a part of primitive man's 
religion, to feed the child's imagination with the tales 
which true beHef built concerning these supernatural 
agencies is to awaken in him a religious attitude. The 
transition is easily made from interest in these representa- 
tions of the religion and philosophy of our ancestors to a 
deepened interest in the power of the unseen forces of 
nature. This belief in an unseen world leads the child 
directly into the realm of pure spirit. The attitude of 
wonder is closely akin to reverence. 

Fairy tales give the child a sense of well-being. In them 
good always comes to good; somehow, somewhere, things 
tend to come out right for the man who chooses wisely and 
does his best. This attitude of mind is a valuable asset 
to the child. It adds to his power of endurance and courage, 
it robs him of fear. 

Fairy tales people the child's world, and make him less 

146 children's stories and how to tell them 

alone. Fits of intense loneliness frequently sweep over a 
sensitive child. If he feels the nearness of these unseen 
friends, his heart is comforted in a way unbelievable to the 
grown-up who has never known these dream companions. 
The child who peeps into the cup of every flower for the 
fairy which may be cradled there will go through life with 
spirit on tiptoe. Each day will be a new adventure, each 
road will lead to fortune. 

As for myths, they especially need adaptation lest younger 
children gather wrong ethical ideals from the forms in 
which the myths come to us, from Greece and Rome 
particularly. Wise choice must be exercised as to what to 
omit, what to alter and what to relate unchanged. 


There are many versions of the story of Tom Thumb, yet few 
of the present-day books include it. Just why it should be 
dropped out is hard to understand, for Tom is the ideal hero of 
the little child. The appeal of the small thing, the call of courage, 
the adventures which border on the supernatural, make it a 
fascinating tale for all children. 

This version is developed from a combination of the favorite 
versions, Andrew Lang being followed a bit more closely than the 

Long, long ago there lived a wonderful Magician. He 
was fond of traveling about the world disguised as a beggar, 
for this helped him to know the hearts of people as he 
could never have known them if he had come as the power- 
ful enchanter that he really was. 

On one of his journeys the Magician stopped at the cot- 
tage of a poor Plowman. He was so kindly received that 


he began to wonder how he could reward the kindness of 
the man and his good wife. He looked about the clean, 
comfortable cottage hoping to see something they really 
needed. They were poor enough, but their wants were so 
simple that they seemed to have no needs, in spite of their 

At last as he watched the couple he noticed that they 
both looked quite sad. 

"What is it you lack for your happiness?" asked the 

"Alas," said the Wife, "do you not see how lonely we 
are without children? I'd be content and happy if we had 
a son, even if he were no bigger than my goodman's 

The Magician laughed at the idea of any human creature 
being so small, but the more he thought of it, the more he 
determined they should have the little son. He went to 
the Queen of the Fairies and persuaded her to grant the 
wish. So, not long after, the Plowman's Wife had a son, 
and not a bit bigger than his father's thumb. 

One day when his Mother was sitting up admiring the 
baby, the Queen of the Fairies fiew in at the window. She 
kissed the child and said: "His name shall be Tom 
Thumb. " Then she gave him a suit of fairy clothes, said 
some magic words over him, and flew away. 

Now though Tom grew very strong and also very clever, 
he never grew a bit bigger. He played all sorts of cunning 
tricks on the boys — in fact, on every one, and was afraid 
of nothing. 

One day Tom Thumb went with his Mother into the 

148 children's stories and how to tell them 

meadow to milk the Cow. He wore his oak-leaf hat the 
Queen of the Fairies had given him, and his little jacket 
of thistle-down. The wind was blowing so hard his Mother 
feared he would be carried away, so she tied him to a blade 
of grass, and set to work milking. The Cow saw Tom's 
oak-leaf hat, and liking the looks of it, took Tom, hat, 
thistle-down jacket and all in her mouth at one gulp. 

** Mother ! Mother ! " he cried as loudly as he could, and 
danced about to keep out of the way of the Cow's big 

"Where are you, my dear?" said his Mother. 

"Here in the Cow's mouth," he repHed. 

The poor Mother was beside herself with fright. She 
ran at the Cow, crying and wringing her hands, while Tom 
kept dancing about and calling, "Help me. Mother, help 

The Cow was so surprised that she opened her mouth 
and dropped Tom Thumb into his Mother's apron. 

Not long after that, Tom was driving the cattle to 
pasture when a Raven flying overhead seized him and car- 
ried him away. The Raven sailed on without stopping 
until he came to the castle of a Giant. The Giant was 
standing looking out across the sea, and the Raven dropped 
Tom at his feet. The Giant picked him up and holding 
him between his thumb and fingers popped him into his 
great ugly mouth, and swallowed him. 

Tom was terribly frightened, but he kept kicking and 
dancing around at such a rate that the Giant was made so 
uncomfortable that he was glad to let the little fellow 
come up again. 


The Giant was very angry that Tom had kicked him so 
furiously, so he tossed him straight into the sea. A big 
Fish swimming near instantly swallowed him. Again Tom 
kicked and danced until the Fish was so uncomfortable 
he could not tell which way he was swimming and was 
soon caught in a net. 

The Fish was carried into the King's kitchen, and when 
the Cook cut it open, out hopped Tom Thumb ! Every- 
one was so astonished they could talk of nothing else. 
The King himself came down to see the little man, and he 
was so delighted with Tom that he said Tom must stay in 
the palace. Fine clothes were ordered for him, for those 
the Fairy Queen had given him were quite spoiled, and he 
was soon as much at home as he had been in his 
Mother's kitchen. 

The little fellow's tricks and his fun made him a favorite 
at the court. The King often took Tom with him when he 
went for his rides. Once he even went to sleep in the 
King's pocket. 

One day the King asked Tom about his parents, and 
when he learned that they were very poor, he told Tom 
to take home some gold to them. So Tom set out at once 
and traveled two whole days and nights to get there. The 
good people were overjoyed to see their son again, and 
were happier still when they saw all the gold he had 
brought for them. His Mother brought out his walnut- 
shell bed and Tom crept in it to rest after his long journey. 

Wlien Tom was ready to go back to the court, there had 
been a heavy rain and the ground was so wet he could not 
travel, so his Mother took some paper and made something 

150 children's stories and how to tell them 

like a little parasol. She tied Tom to it, then puffed him 
into the air. The wind caught him and whirled him along 
at a great rate all the way to the King's palace. 

Tom came flying across the courtyard just as the Cook 
was carrying a bowl of porridge to the King, and the little 
fellow fell with a splash right in the middle of the bowl. 
The hot porridge flew up in the Cook's face and frightened 
him, as well as burning him. 

The Cook told the King that Tom had jumped into his 
porridge from pure mischief. This made the King angry 
and he ordered Tom to be beheaded for treason. So they 
captured him and shut him up in a mousetrap. But he 
looked out between the wires and said such funny things 
to every one who passed that the King could not stay 
angry with him, so Tom was set free again. 

Then the King ordered him some new clothes, for of 
course his old ones were spoiled from the porridge, and 
gave the small chap a Mouse to ride. He had a tiny 
sword at his side, and galloped about on his mouse- 
charger like the knights themselves. 

One day a Cat made a spring at Tom and his Mouse, but 
the Httle man drew his sword and rushed at the Cat so 
fiercely that she was glad enough to let them alone. 
Tom was wounded in the fight, however, and one of the 
nobles of the court carried him into the palace and laid 
him on an ivory bed. 

Then the Queen of the Fairies flew in at the window and 
carried Tom off to Fairyland with her. There she cured 
him, and he lived with the Fairies for many years. He 
sailed about on butterflies, danced with the fairy ladies, 


and altogether was as much of a favorite there as he had 
been at the court of the King. 


This story has been so adapted as to bring out the reward of 
lowly service. I have tried to preserve the terse style of the old 
Norse tale, but there are elements in the original, as re-told by 
George Webbe Dasent, in "Popular Tales from the Norse, "^ 
which are too gruesome for children. A child of twelve heard 
the present version in a settlement house one evening. She had 
read "Bushy Bride" and demanded that it be told "with the 
snakes in it. " It was the demand for melodrama and a certain 
morbid taint against which modern educators are warning us. 

In the distant days of long ago there was a man who had 
two children, a son and a daughter. These children were 
both beautiful and good. They loved each other dearly 
and were as happy as an April day. 

After a while the man brought them a step-mother who 
also had a daughter. This lassie was as cross-grained and 
disagreeable as the man's two children were kind and 
loving. She wouldn't do this and she wouldn't do that. 
She pouted and fussed from one day's end to another. No 
one loved her, unless of course it was her mother, who 
thought that whatever her daughter did was right, and 
blamed the man's children for all that her own cross- 
patch did that was wrong. 

There was no more peace or happiness in that household, 
and as soon as the boy grew big enough he set out into the 
world to seek his fortune. 

1 Used by courteous permission of the publishers, G. Putnam's 
Sons, New York. 

152 children's stories and how to tell them 

After he had wandered around for a long time he came to 
the King's palace and got a place to work in the King's 
stables. He was quick and wilHng, and took such good 
care of the King's horses that their coats shone when he 
brought them into the courtyard. And the horses knew 
and loved him. They whinnied at the sound of his step 
and when he came near enough they rubbed their noses 
against his shoulder as if trying to tell him they loved him. 
He was busy and happy, except for wishing to see his dear 

She, poor lassie, stayed at home and worked hard from 
sunrise to sunset, with never a kind word to bless her. 
But for all that, she never lost her merry ways nor her 

One day her step-mother sent her to the brook to f<etch 
some water. Just as she stooped to dip her pail full, up 
popped an ugly, dirty Head from the bottom of the pool. 

"Wash me, you lassie," it said. 

*' Ah! do you wish to be clean? " said the lassie. "Yes, 
with all my heart I'll wash you. " 

It was not a pleasant job, but the lassie never stopped 
until all the mud and slime were gone. 

As soon as she had done washing the Head, up popped 
another one out of the pool. This Head was far uglier 
than the first one. 

"Brush me, you lassie," it said. 

"Yes, with all my heart I'll brush you," said the lassie. 

She set to work brushing and smoothing the matted 
locks. It was no pleasant work, nor was it soon done, but 
the lassie kept thinking how the poor thing wanted to be 


tidy, so she never stopped until the last tangle was smooth. 

But when it was done, if a third Head didn't pop up 
from the pool ! This one was far uglier than both the others 
put together. Tears were streaming from its eyes. " Com- 
fort me, you lassie," it said. 

The lassie felt so sorry for the poor thing that she forgot 
how hideous it was. ''With all my heart I'll comfort you," 
she said, and she wiped the tears away and bathed the 
ugly face ever so tenderly and gently. 

Then the three Heads began to chatter together and ask 
what they should do for a lassie who was so kind and gentle. 

*'That she may be the prettiest lassie in the world, and 
as fair as the bright day, " said one. 

*'That gold may drop from her hair whenever she 
brushes it, and fall from her lips when she speaks," said 
the second Head. 

*'That the King himself shall love her, and that she 
shall never be sorry nor sad, " said the third Head. 

When the lassie came home her step-mother asked why 
she had stayed so long. The lassie began to tell her, and 
down fell the gold from her lips. 

Then the step-mother called her own lassie and sent her 
to the brook to fetch water. She fussed and fumed over 
going, but go she must, her mother said. 

When she came to the brook and stooped down with 
her bucket, up popped the first Head. 

*'Wash me, you lassie," it said. 

"That I won't! Wash yourself, you ugly thing!'* said 
the cross lassie. 

Up popped the second Head. 

154 children's stories and how to tell them 

" Brush me, you lassie, " it said. 

"Ugh! I wouldn't do it for the world! Brush yourself, 
you horrid thing 1 " said the cross lassie. 

So down it went to the bottom and up popped the third 

''Comfort me, you lassie," it cried. 

"Go away!" said the lassie, and she struck at it with 
her bucket. 

Then the three Heads chattered together and asked what 
they should do for a lassie who was so spiteful and cross. 

They all agreed that she should be the ugliest lassie in the 
whole wide world, she should have a voice like a frog, and 
whenever she spoke, ashes should fall from her lips. 

When the cross lassie came home and her mother saw 
the dreadful thing which had happened to her daughter, 
she wept and groaned, but all her grief didn't change it. 

Now the brother who was working in the King's stable 
had a picture of his sister which he kept in his room. One 
day the King chanced to see it. "There is not so lovely a 
lady in the land as that!" he said. 

"It's my own dear sister," said the lad. "If she isn't 
prettier than that, at least she isn't any uglier. " 

When the King heard that, nothing would do but they 
must set off at once and fetch her to the palace to be his 

The brother was mightily pleased when he found his 
sister had grown even lovelier than when he had left her, 
and the King could never thank him enough for his lovely 
bride. And when the lassie became the queen, her brother 
was the greatest man in the palace next to the King. 


As for the cross lassie and her mother, they doubtless 
got what they deserved, just as disagreeable people always 
do sooner or later. 


This story embodies the characteristic humor and justice of the 
Norse, from which it is re-told, by permission of the publishers, 
G. Putnam's Sons. A comparison of this version with the same 
tale as given in George Webbe Dasent's "Popular Tales from the 
Norse" will show that all essentials have been preserved, without 
the details which are interesting to the student of folk-lore, but 
of no value to children. 

Long, long ago, there were two brothers, one rich and 
one poor. Now one cold winter's eve the poor one hadn't 
so much as a crumb in his house, so he went to his rich 
brother to ask him for something to eat. The rich one 
was not pleased to see him. 

"If you are poor it's because you are shiftless and lazy. 
Look at me, am I poor?" 

"You know I've worked hard and have done my best, 
Brother. I can't say how it is that you have prospered and 
I have not. I only know that I must starve, and my faith- 
ful wife with me, unless you have pity on us. " 

"Well, take this flitch of bacon and be off with you,'* 
said the rich one. 

The poor brother thanked him and started off for home. 
Whether it was because of the cold and snow, or because 
his eyes were tear-dimmed on account of his brother's un- 
graciousness, he lost his way. He walked until far into 
the night and at last he came to a place where he saw a 
bright light. 

156 children's stories and how to tell them 

An old, old man with a long white beard stood in the 
yard hewing wood for the fire. "Good evening to you. 
Whither are you going so late?" said the old man. 

"I've lost my way," said the poor man. 

"What is it you carry on your shoulder?" 

"It's a flitch of bacon." 

"Well, go in yonder and you'll find one who will buy 
it from you. Only mind you take nothing for it except 
the hand-quern which stands behind the door. When you 
come out, I'll teach you how to handle it, for it's good to 
grind anything, if you only know the right of it." 

So the man with the bacon thanked the other one for his 
advice and went in. After some bargaining with those 
within, he came out carrying the quern under his arm. 
The old man showed him how to use it and put him on the 
right road to his home. It was twelve o'clock before he 
reached his own door. 

"Where have you been? " said his wife. "I have waited 
for you hours and hours." 

"Oh," said the man, "I lost my way. But never mind 
that — only see what I have brought home." 

With that he put the quern on the table and told it to 
grind fire, lights, then a tablecloth and dishes, then meats 
and every good thing to eat or drink that they could think 
of wanting. 

The old dame was too happy for words and began 
planning right away how they would give a dinner party 
and invite the rich brother. 

It was a great feast. All of their friends and kin were 
there. The table was loaded with every kind of dainty. 


The rich brother could scarcely believe his own eyes, and 
he never rested until he knew the secret of all this wealth 
that had come to his brother. 

As soon as he saw the quern grinding out such wonderful 
things the rich brother made up his mind he would have it. 
So he begged and coaxed until his brother gave it to him. 

It was evening when he carried it home with him, and 
the next morning he told his wife to go out in the fields 
with the mowers and he would stay at home to get the 
dinner ready. 

"It's easy work for me," he laughed to himself as his 
dame set off to the field. 

When dinner-time drew near he just put the quern on 
the kitchen table and said, "Grind broth and herrings — 
Grind them fast, and plenty of them." 

So the quern began to grind broth and herrings. And 
it ground until the dishes were full, then until the tubs 
were full, then till the kitchen floor was covered. The 
rich man twisted and twirled the quern to make it stop, 
but on it went, grinding until the broth was so high in the 
kitchen that he threw open the door and ran into the parlor. 
It ground the parlor full too, and then the man opened 
the door and ran down the road. The stream of broth 
ran after him and herrings were piled all along the way. 

The man's wife and the mowers were just starting home 
to dinner, and they met the man running pell-mell down 
the hill, while after him came the herrings and broth 
dashing and splashing together. 

"Take care you're not drowned in the broth!" he 
yelled as he passed them, and away he went as 

158 children's stories and how to tell them 

fast as his legs could carry him to his brother's house. 

"Come and get your quern!" he shouted. "The whole 
country will be drowned in broth. I'll give you three 
hundred dollars if you'll only come at once and get it." 

So the poor brother got both the money and the quern. 

It wasn't long before he set up the finest house in the 
land. He ground gold by the barrel. He even used gold 
to cover the roof of his house. People came from far and 
wide to see the golden house and the wonderful quern. 

At last one day a great ship came sailing up. The cap- 
tain had come from far because he had heard of the quern. 

" Can it grind salt? " he asked. 

When he heard that it could, nothing would do but he 
must have it. 

"I shall get rid of my long, stormy voyages," he said; 
for he sailed long distances across the sea to load his ship 
with salt. 

He gave the man many, many thousands of dollars, 
then he took the quern on his back and hurried away with 
it to his ship. He didn't wait to learn how to use it, for 
he was so afraid the man would change his mind, but he got 
on board his ship and set sail. 

When he was a good way off, he brought the quern on 
deck. "Grind salt! Grind salt!" he said. 

Then the quern began to grind. When the ship was 
full, the captain wanted to stop the quern, but he could not 
do it. He twisted and pulled, but nothing he did could 
stop it. It kept grinding, and the salt poured out like 
water. It piled so high on the deck that the captain saw 
his ship was about to sink. He tried throwing the salt 


overboard, but it came from the quern so fast that he soon 
saw that that was no good. So then he seized the quern 
and hurled it over the ship's side into the ocean. It sank 
to the bottbm, but it still kept grinding away. And there 
it lies to this very day, grinding out salt because no one 
has ever stopped it, and that's why the sea is salt. 


(Re-told from an old Legend) 

There had been no rain in the land for a very long time. 
It was so hot and dry that the flowers were withered, the 
grass was parched and brown, and even the big, strong 
trees were dying. The water dried up in the creeks and 
rivers, the wells were dry, the fountains stopped bubbling. 
The cows, the dogs, the horses, the birds, and all the people 
were so thirsty! Every one felt uncomfortable and sick. 

There was one little girl whose mother grew very ill. 
"Oh," said the little girl, "if I can only find some water 
for my mother I'm sure she will be well again. I must 
find some water." 

So she took a tin cup and started out in search of water. 
By and by she found a tiny little spring away up on a 
mountain side. It was almost dry. The water dropped, 
dropped, ever so slowly from under the rock. The little 
girl held her cup carefully and caught the drops. She 
waited and waited a long, long time until the cup was full 
of water. Then she started down the mountain holding 
the cup very carefully, for she didn't want to spill a single 

i6o children's stories and how to tell them 

On the way she passed a poor little dog. He could 
hardly drag himself along. He was panting for breath 
and his tongue hung from his mouth because it was so dry 
and parched. , V 

**0h, you poor Httle dog," said the little girl, *'you are 
so thirsty. I can't pass you without giving you a few drops 
of water. If I give you just a little there will still be enough 
for my mother." 

So the little girl poured some water into her hand and 
held it down for the little dog. He lapped it up quickly 
and then he felt so much better that he frisked and barked 
and seemed almost to say, ''Thank you, little girl." And 
the little girl didn't notice — but her tin dipper had changed 
into a silver dipper and was just as full of water as it had 
been before. 

She thought about her mother and hurried along as fast 
as she could go. When she reached home it was late in the 
afternoon, almost dark. The little girl pushed the door 
open and hurried up to her mother's room. When she 
came into the room the old servant who helped the little 
girl and her mother, and had been working hard all day 
taking care of the sick woman, came to the door. She was 
so tired and so thirsty that she couldn't even speak to the 
Httle girl. 

''Do give her some water," said the mother. "She has 
worked hard all day and she needs it much more than I do. " 

So the little girl held the cup to her lips and the old 
servant drank some of the water. She felt stronger and 
better right away and she went over to the mother and 
lifted her up. The little girl didn't notice that the cup 


had changed into a gold cup and was just as full of water 
as it was before! 

Then she held the cup to her mother's lips and she drank 
and drank. Oh, she felt so much better! When she had 
finished there was still some water left in the cup The 
little girl was just raising it to her own lips when there came 
a knock at the door. The servant opened it and there 
stood a stranger. He was very pale and all covered with 
dust from traveling. "I am thirsty," he said, "won't you 
give me a little water?" 

The little girl said: "Why, certainly I will. I am sure 
that you need it far more than I do. Drink it all." 

The stranger smiled and took the dipper in his hand, 
and as he took it, it changed into a diamond dipper. He 
turned it upside down and all the water spilled out and sank 
into the ground. And where it spilled a fountain bubbled 
up. The cool water flowed and splashed — enough for the 
people and all the animals in the whole land to have all the 
water they wanted to drink. 

As they watched the water they forgot the stranger, but 
presently when they looked he was gone. They thought 
they could see him just vanishing in the sky — and there 
in the sky, clear and high, shone the diamond dipper. It 
shines up there yet, and reminds people of the little girl 
who was kind and unselfish. It is called the Star Dipper. 


There is an old Norse legend of two children, Juk and 
Jille, who because of their beauty were loved and stolen by the 

* By Marietta Stockard ; reprinted by permission from The 
Story-tellers' Magazine. 


Moon. It is told to explain the spots on the moon. I have used 
this legend to make more vivid the immensity of Space and the 
universality of the light of the moon 

Long ago, in a far-away country, there lived two children 
called Juk and Jille, or, as we should say, Jack and Jill. 
Their home was in a little cottage at the foot of a great 
mountain. They were fine, strong children, and when 
they were not helping their mother they were playing 
together out of doors. From early morning until the night 
they played under the trees and up and down the moun- 

One winter's night when the ground was covered with 
ice and snow, they took their pail between them and 
trudged up the hill to fetch some water for their mother. 
Up in the sky was the big round moon, flooding the hills 
with light. 

"If we cHmbed to the top of the mountain do you 
think we could reach the moon. Jack?" asked Jill, as 
she gazed up at it. 

"We never could climb so far," said Jack, "but I wish 
we could. It would be splendid to be up there!" 

So talking and wondering, they climbed to the spring 
and filled their bucket with clear, cold water. As they 
went back down the steep hill. Jack slipped and fell, and 
down came Jill right after him. They bumped their heads 
so hard that both children began crying bitterly. 

Suddenly they both stopped and stared in amazement, 
for there dancing around them were dozens of little silvery 
figures. " Come with us, come with us ! " they were saying. 

"Where?" said both of the children together. 


"Why, up to the moon, of course. Don't you know us? 
We are the Moon Fairies. Come along, we'll show you 
such wonderful sights you'll forget all about bumped heads. 
Are you afraid to cHmb high? If not, come along!" 

The children quickly scrambled to their feet, and holding 
their bucket between them, started climbing with the 
fairies up the shining moon-beam ladder. Up and up and 
up they climbed, until they were dizzy and tired, but still 
they did not reach the moon. Far up in the sky they could 
see it. Their breath came in Uttle gasps and they started 

"This will never do," said the fairies. "We shan't be 
there tonight at this rate. Come, fly as we do." 

Lifting the children with them, they rose quickly higher 
and higher. The cold air blew upon them and they gasped 
for breath, but on they went faster and faster, higher and 
higher, until at last they reached the moon. 

Far down below the children gazed. "Where is our 
mountain? Where is our home? " they said. 

"Oh, wait a moment. Your eyes can't see them yet. 
They are so far away. Now look!" And the fairies 
brushed the children's eyes once, twice, three times. 

"How wonderful! How splendid! Oh! now we can see 
it all ! " cried Jack and Jill. There they saw their mountain, 
with their own little home at the foot of it. Many other 
mountains too towered higher, far higher than it, but the 
highest peak of all was far down below. " If they were all 
piled on top of each other they still would not reach so far 
as this," said Jack in wonder. 

Side by side the children stood gazing down. "How 

i64 children's stories and how to tell them 

much we can see at once, " said Jill. "There is our home, 
and the homes of all our playmates. See them there 
coasting on the hills and racing on their snow-shoes. " 

"Yes," said Jack, "and there is our school, and our 
little church. How tiny they all are ever since the fairies 
touched our eyes!" 

Looking away far to the north, Jill cried out: "Look, 
Jack, I never saw children like those before. How 
queer they look, dressed all in fur! What are they 

Both children laughed and laughed as they saw the 
funny way the strange children were racing. Curling up 
into little furry balls, they rolled over and over down the 
snowy hill. 

"Where is their house?" said Jack. 

"That mound of snow is their house," said the 

Jack and Jill stared. "A snow-house? How queer!" 

Then the children saw someone creeping out from one of 
the mounds. "That's their mother and the baby," said 
the fairies. 

Out from the warm fur hood on the mother's back 
peeped the baby. He stared at the moon with big round 
eyes, then stretched both hands up as far as he could reach. 

"He's trying to reach the moon just as we've seen you 
do," smiled the fairies. "Here's the father now." 

Dashing across the snow came a sleigh, drawn by dogs. 
It stopped and a man sprang out. The children all came 
trooping around him, and Jack and Jill saw him point up 
toward the moon as he talked. "He's telling how he was 


lost and couldn't find his way home until the moon sent 
down its light," said the fairies. "But there are many 
other things to see. Here's a city you've never seen be- 

Jack and Jill saw far to the south a great city. There 
were so many houses they couldn't count them. Great 
churches sent their steeples up and up and up toward the 
sky, but the highest one of all did not reach the moon. 
They saw children playing in the streets. Some of them 
stretched their hands up as if to reach the moon. Some 
ran and ran, trying to leave the moon behind. 

Other cities, other villages, other countries, came in 
sight, and as the moonlight flooded down upon them, 
children and grown people too looked up at the 

Far to the south they saw little black children playing 
under the trees. It was so warm there that they wore no 
clothing at all. Those children also played games with the 
moon and tried to reach it with their little black hands. 
Black children, brown children, yellow children, white 
children, all the children in the world loved the moon and 
its light; and for them all everywhere, when it was time, 
the moon shone bright and clear. 

Jack and Jill looked down upon them all. What fun it 
must have been! Some people say that they found so 
many interesting things to look at that they are standing 
there yet, with their bucket between them, gazing down 
upon the earth. Look at the moon some night when it is 
big and round and see if you can find them there, so high 
and far away, looking down at you. 

1 66 children's stories and how to tell them 


{Re-told from the Irish) 

When he was a little lad, Barney Noonan's mother told 
him of the Good Folk and all their cunning ways, so he 
looked and listened and longed to meet them. 

He often saw clouds of dust go whirling by, with never 
a bit of wind, and he knew, of course, that the fairies 
traveled so. He often saw the rings of brown grass in the 
fields and he knew, of course, that the fairies had been 
dancing there, but not even a glimpse of a white robe or a 
green jacket did he see. 

Sometimes when he lay dreaming under the trees he 
would hear a sound like gurgling laughter, and, knowing 
that it was the fairies, would start up hoping to catch them. 

Sometimes in the moonlight he felt sure he saw them, 
but on drawing near there was nothing. 

"Never mind, Barney," his mother would say, "they 
are there; keep wishing and looking, perhaps you'll see 
them yet, and when you do, mind you behave politely 
to them if you would have their friendship. " 

Well, time went on, and Barney grew to be a big lad. 
He was always kind to his old mother, and in all Ireland 
there was no harder worker than he. He could play, too, 
as hard as he could work, and his merry laughing ways 
were good to see. 

One summer evening after a hard day's work, Barney 
lay under a tree watching the stars twinkling above him. 
He was very still, in fact was half asleep, when he heard 
voices near him. 


"Yes, that's our best dancing place, but let him alone," 
he heard a tiny voice say. 

" Well, since it's Barney we'll wait. He is a fine lad and 
his mother is our friend. She has brought him up to think 
well of us," said another. 

" 'Tis the Good Folk, as I live!" thought Barney, 

He turned his head and looked in the direction of the 
voices, but there was nothing to be seen except the green 
grass waving in the evening breeze. 

Barney stood up and making a low bow said: "I hope 
you'll forgive me, ladies and gentlemen, I was only resting 
here a bit. I'll be going home to my mother now and I 
promise not to take your favorite dancing place again." 

There was no sound of answer, but from that time on 
the fairies were Barney's friends. 

Their friendship didn't give him wealth, but perhaps that 
proved their real friendship. Barney worked hard as ever, 
but his heart was merry, even if he didn't always find 
money in his pocket. 

It was because he was needing some money that he 
planned to go up to town on Fair Day to sell his calf. He 
woke early in the morning, and when he saw what a 
beautiful sunshiny day it was he said to himself: "I'll just 
get up and cut my hay before I go to town." 

So he went down into the meadow and pretty soon the 
hay was all mowed and spread out in the sunshine to dry. 

Then Barney drove his calf into town and sold it for a 
good price. Soon he met some of his friends who had come 
to the fair too, and there was such dancing and merry- 
making that Barney forgot all about his hay lying out in 

1 68 children's stories and how to tell theai 

the field. It was long after dark when he started home and 
when he was there he rolled into bed without giving a 
thought to the hay. 

While he lay snoring in his bed the clouds were piling 
up mountain high in the west. The wind began blowing, 
the thunder rolled and lightning flashed. A loud clap of 
thunder woke him; he sat up in bed and remembered his 

"What shall I do!" he thought. "The last blade of 
my hay will be ruined." 

Looking through his window, he saw a sight that made 
him stare. There was a great crowd of little men and 
women running about like mad. A row of fires was burning 
from the meadow to the barn, and the wee folk were hurry- 
ing from the meadow, each with an armful of hay. Some 
were in the barn receiving the hay, some were in the field 
raking it together, and some were standing around with 
hands in their pockets like bosses, telUng the others what 
to do. 

"It isn't every farmer that has such haymakers," 
thought Barney, but he was careful not to say a word, for 
he knew the Good Folk would not like it. 

When they had finished putting in the hay they began 
dancing before the fires to the most beautiful music Barney 
had ever heard. 

By and by, two of the little men came dragging out a 
jug and they all began drinking from little glasses. 

Barney saw that it was his own jug of cider, the last 
that he had. He stood still and watched them as they 
drank glass after glass. He wanted it for himself and he 


began to feel angry with the fairies for drinking it all up. 

At last, forgetting all about their hard work with the 
hay, he shouted out: "Stop, you little pigs, at least leave 
me a sip of my own cider!" 

Instantly everything was dark except for the flashes of 
lightning, and not a fairy was to be seen. 

Barney went back to bed saying, "Well, at any rate 
I'm glad the hay is in," for by that time the rain was com- 
ing down in torrents. 

The next morning he went down to the barn to look at 
the hay to see if the fairies had put it in right, for, he said, 
"It's not a job they are used to." 

Well, he stood and stared sure enough, for there was not 
a blade of hay left in the barn. 

Going down into the meadow he found it laying just 
where he had left it, and 'twas soaked through by the rain. 

Barney knew well what had happened. Angered by his 
rudeness, the fairies had dragged it all back into the field 
again and left it there to teach him better manners next 

You may be sure that if ever the fairies helped him again 
he didn't go calUng them names, or grudging them a bit of 
cider in return for their work. 


(Re-told from the German) 

Away out in the country, there was once a large farm- 
yard in which there lived a cock and a large flock of hens. 
These chickens had a nice warm house in which to roost 

lyo children's stories and how to tell them 

at night and every day the farmer gave them as much food 
as they could eat. 

In spite of all this, however, they were very dissatisfied 
chickens. Their trouble was this: each day the eggs which 
the hens laid were taken out of the nests and carried to 

"What right has the farmer to take our eggs?" the hens 
said. "We made the nests! We laid the eggs! Let him 
keep away! Let him keep away!" 

But all of their cackling did no good, for day after day 
the farmer carried the eggs away. 

"We'll hide our nests," said the hens. 

So they built their nests in all sorts of queer, out of the 
way places. But it did no good, for when a hen laid an 
egg she always cackled and cackled to tell all of the other, 
hens about it. 

"Do come and see! It's the finest egg yet! Do come 
and see! Do come and see!" each hen would call out, as 
loud as ever she could. Of course the farmer always heard 
too, and so found the hidden nest right away. 

"Can't you keep still?" said the Cock. 

"You can't do it yourself," said the hens, "you cackle 
the loudest of all, you know you do." 

The Cock had nothing to say to this, but at last he 
thought of a plan. Flying up on the fence, he stretched 
his neck and called, "Cock-a-doodle-doo — !" three times, 
as loud as he could. The hens all heard and came hurrying 
up to see what had happened. 

"Hear my plan," said the Cock, "We'll endure this no 
longer. Let us all leave the farmyard and go together 


into the woods. The farmer will not find our eggs then, 
and we shall live in peace." 

^' Cluck! Cluck! It's a fine idea," said the hens. "Let 
us go at once." 

So they all flew over the fence and went down into the 
thick, dark woods. 

"See! There are plenty of seeds. The earth is soft, so 
we can scratch for worms. It's a fine, free life we shall 
live," they all said. 

"Here under this bush is a place for my nest," said the 
White Hen. 

"We'll fly up into the trees to roost," said the 

Well, they lived merrily for a while, though sometimes 
the hens heard noises that made them feel afraid. 

One night the White Hen was sitting on her nest when 
a sly old Fox came creeping up behind her. She heard 
him just in time to fly up into the tree and sat there 
trembling with fright. 

"Oh, dear! Nothing like this ever happened in the 
farmyard," she said. "I'm sure I broke some of my eggs. 
It's just as bad as if the farmer took them." 

By and by, the leaves began dropping from the trees 
and the nights were so cold that it was hard for the chickens 
to roost up among the bare limbs. 

"It was warm in the house the farmer built for us," 
said the Brown Hen. 

"Yes, warm and safe," said the White Hen. 

Each day it was harder to find food. The ground was 
frozen hard and all the seeds were gone. 

172 children's stories and how to tell them 

"I'm so hungry!" wailed the Black Hen. "So am I! 
So am I!" they all said. 

" Come," said the Cock, " I see we must go back. After 
all, it's only fair that the farmer should take our eggs, for 
he built us a nice warm house and gave us our food." 

" Why did we never think of that? Come, let's go back," 
the hens agreed. So they all went back into the farmyard, 
and they were so glad to have plenty of food and a warm, 
safe house in which to sleep, that there was never any more 
fussing about giving up eggs to the farmer. 


{Adapted from Hans Christian Andersen) 

Andersen's Fairy Tales are literature for the adult. They are 
intricate, filled with a symbolism beyond the understanding of 
the child, and shot through with the Norseman's tragic gloom. 
"The Ugly Duckling" is one of the few which can be brought 
within the range of the younger children. In adapting it, the 
central thought of the story has been kept in mind throughout 
the true beauty hidden under an ugly exterior, developing in 
spite of hardships and misunderstanding. The incidents empha- 
sized are those which show the inner nature of the duckling — his 
grace in the water, his longing for his true environment when in 
the old woman's hut, his recognition of his kind. The incident 
in the peasant's hut has been omitted because it is not essential 
to the main theme of the story and detracts from its unity. The 
same is true of the hunters and the dog, and the wild geese on the 

It is a story of unusual literary quaHty, and as here arranged 
appeals to groups of even very young children. 

It was Springtime in the country. Birds were singing, 
flowers were blooming, and the green wheat was waving 


in the fields. Down by the water a Duck was sitting on 
her nest. She had been sitting there alone for many days 
waiting for her eggs to hatch. The other Ducks sometimes 
swam up and talked to her, and then went away, leaving 
her alone again. At last to her great joy the eggs began 
to hatch and out came the downy little Ducks. There 
was only one egg left: it was a very big egg, different from 
the rest. 

"Let me see it, " said a Visiting Duck. " Take my word 
for it, it's a Turkey's egg. You'll be sorry if you hatch it, 
for young Turkeys are a great deal of trouble. Nothing 
can induce them to go near the water. Leave it and come 
along to the barnyard." 

*'No," said the Mother Duck, "since I've waited so 
long I may as well wait one more day. " 

The other Duck swam away and left her, and the Mother 
Duck settled back on her nest. 

The next day the big egg hatched, and out came a big 
gray Duckling. He was very ugly and awkward, not at 
all like the other Ducklings. 

"I do wonder if he is a Turkey?" said the mother. 
"I shall take them to the water at once and find out." 

When they reached the water the Ugly Duckhng was 
the first one to plunge in. He swam better than any of the 

"No, he is not a Turkey. Well, that is a relief, at any 
rate," said the Mother Duck. "Come along, now I will 
show you the barnyard. That's quite the finest place in 
the whole world," and she led the way to the barnyard, 
with all of the Httle Ducks waddling after her. 

174 children's stories and how to tell them 

"What's this, a new family?" all the inhabitants of 
the barnyard cried when they saw her coming. " That one 
is very ugly!" and they began to push him about and to 
make fun of him. 

"Let him alone," said his Mother. "You should see 
him swim, he is very graceful in the water. Then, too, 
see how strong he is." 

But it did no good, the Chickens, the Turkeys and all 
the other Ducks pecked him, and said: "Get out of our 
sight, you ugly thing!" 

The poor Duckling grew more and more miserable until 
at last he could bear it no longer: so he flew over the fence 
and down to the moor. He was very lonely there, but it 
was more peaceful than in the barnyard. 

One day there was terrible storm. The Duckling was 
blown by the wind and beaten by hail stones. He ran 
through the woods seeking a shelter. At last he came to 
a little house. The door was open and he slipped in. This 
was the home of an old woman, her cat and her hen. She 
peered at the Duckling. "Ah!" she said, "you shall stay 
here, and we shall have some duck's eggs." 

So the DuckHng settled down in his corner. He was 
quiet and peaceable enough, but the Cat and the Hen 
could never leave him alone. 

"Can you purr or throw sparks?" asked the Cat. 

"I never did such a thing in my life," said the poor 

"Then you are not at all interesting: kindly keep 
quiet, " said the Cat. 

" Can you lay eggs? " asked the Hen. 


"No," said the Duckling. 

''Then you are not good for much. Keep quiet!" said 
the Hen. 

One day the warm spring air came through the door. 

"How splendid it would be to take a swim!" said the 
Duckling. "I should love to feel the water close over my 
head, to — " 

"Swim! Swim!" the Cat and the Hen exclaimed in 
horror. "Who ever heard of anything so foolish? We do 
not swim, the old woman does not swim, so why should 
you wish to do such an awful thing?" 

"I think I'll go out into the world," said the Duckling. 

"Please do, we really do not care to associate with you." 

The Duckling sHpped through the door and ran down 
to the moor again. There he floated and dived through 
the long summer. He felt very lonely, but every day he 
grew larger and stronger. 

The autumn came on, and one day as he lay among the 
reeds on the edge of the pool he heard a strange cry over- 
head. He looked up, and sailing above him were some 
beautiful white birds. He had never seen anything like 
them before, and he did not know why the strange feeUng 
swept through him. He whirled and whirled in the water, 
and uttered a cry so strange and wild that it almost 
frightened him. But the beautiful birds did not hear him: 
they sailed on out of sight. 

Then the long winter came on and the DuckUng found it 
hard to get food. Sometimes the water ahnost froze around 
him as he swam up and down. He was lonely, cold and 
hungry. But at last one day there was a smell of spring in 

176 children's stories and how to tell them 

the air. The sun shone warmer, the grass grew green and 
the Duckling felt glad to be alive. His wings had grown 
very strong, and he flew across the woods to a large pond. 

When he lighted on the water he saw a flock of the 
beautiful white birds he had seen in the fall. He felt that 
he must be with them. 

"They will be angry that anything so ugly as I dares to 
come near them, but they may kill me if they will — I must 
speak to them." 

So he bent his head and glided toward them. They 
swam to meet him, and what was his surprise when they 
caressed him with their beaks and bowed before him. 

Some children and their father had come down to the 
pond. They threw crumbs to the birds and cried out: 
"Oh, father, seel There is a new Swan, and he is the 
most beautiful of them all!" 

The other Swans wheeled about him: "Yes, you are 
the most beautiful of us all. You must never leave us," 
they cried. 

He bent his head and looked at his reflection in the water. 
He saw that his ugly gray feathers had become white like 
the birds he had loved and dreamed of through the long 
winter. A great happiness filled his heart; he was no 
longer unloved and alone, he had found his own at last. 


This story, which is re-told from Hawthorne, by permission of 
Houghton, Mifflin Co., the publishers, Boston, Mass., has been 
condensed and modified, some of the pictures being developed 
after the version played by the Ben Greet Players. 


Once upon a time there lived a very rich King whose 
name was Midas. He had more gold than any one in the 
whole world, but for all that, he thought it was not enough. 
He was never so happy as when he happened to get more 
gold to add to his treasure. He stored it away in great 
vaults underneath his palace, and many hours of each day 
were spent counting it over. 

Now King Midas had a little daughter named Marygold. 
He loved her devotedly, and said : " She shall be the richest 
princess in all the world!" 

But little Marygold cared nothing about it all. She 
loved her garden, her flowers and the golden sunshine 
more than all her father's riches. She was a lonely little 
girl most of the time, for her father was so busy planning 
new ways to get more gold, and counting what he had, 
that he seldom told her stories or went for walks with her, 
as all fathers should do. 

One day King Midas was down in his treasure room. 
He had locked the heavy doors and had opened up his 
great chests of gold. He piled it on tjie table and handled 
it as if he loved the touch of it. He let it slip through his 
fingers and smiled at the clink of it as if it had been sweet 
music. Suddenly a shadow fell over the heap of gold. 
Looking up, he saw a stranger dressed in shining white 
smiling down at him. King Midas started up in surprise. 
Surely he had not failed to lock the door! His treasure 
was not safe! But the stranger continued to smile. 

"You have much gold. King Midas," he said. 

"Yes, " said the King, "but think how little this is to all 
the gold there is in the world!" 

178 children's stories and how to tell them 

''What! Are you not satisfied?" asked the stranger. 

" Satisfied? " said the King, '' of course I'm not. I often 
lie awake through the long night planning new ways to 
get more gold; I wish that everything I touch would turn 
to gold." 

"Do you really wish that, King Midas?" 

*' Of course I wish it, nothing could make me so happy." 

*'Then you shall have your wish. Tomorrow morning 
when the first rays of the sun fall through your window 
you shall have the golden touch." 

When he had finished speaking, the stranger vanished. 
King Midas rubbed his eyes. ''I must have dreamed it," 
he said, ''but how happy I should be if it were only true!" 

The next morning King Midas woke when the first faint 
light came into his room. He put out his hand and touched 
the covers of his bed. Nothing happened. "I knew it 
could not be true," he sighed. Just at that moment the 
first rays of the sun came through the window. The 
covers on which King Midas' hand lay became pure gold. 
"It's true, it's true!" he cried joyfully. 

He sprang out of bed and ran about the room touching 
everything. His dressing gown, his slippers, the furniture, 
all became gold. He looked out of the window through 
Marygold's garden. "I'll give her a nice surprise," he 
said. He went down into the garden touching all of Mary- 
gold's flowers, and changing them to gold. " She will be so 
pleased," he thought. 

He went back into his room to wait for his breakfast; 
and took up his book which he had been reading the night 
before, but the minute he touched it, it was solid gold. 


"I can't read it now, " he said, ''but of course it is far bet- 
ter to have it gold. " 

Just then a servant came through the door with the 
King's breakfast. " How good it looks, " he said, " I'll have 
that ripe, red peach first of all.'* 

He took the peach in his hand, but before he could taste 
it, it became a lump of gold. King Midas put it back on 
the plate. "It's very beautiful, but I can't eat it!" he 
said. He took a roll from the plate, but that, too, became 
gold. He took a glass of water in his hand, but that, too, 
became gold. ' ' What shall I do ? " he cried. " I am hungry 
and thirsty, I can't eat or drink gold!" 

At that moment the door was opened and in came little 
Marygold. She was crying bitterly, and in her hand was 
one of her roses. 

''What's the matter, little daughter?" said the King. 

"Oh, Father! See what has happened to all my roses! 
They are stiff, ugly things!" 

" Why, they are golden roses, child. Do you not think 
they are more beautiful than they were?" 

"No," she sobbed, "they do not smell sweet. They 
won't grow any more. I like roses that are alive. " 

"Never mind," said the King, " eat your breakfast now." 

But Marygold noticed that her father did not eat, and 
that he looked very sad. "What is the matter. Father 
dear?" she said, and she ran over to him. She threw her 
arms about him, and he kissed her. But he suddenly cried 
out in terror and anguish. When he touched her, her 
lovely little face became glittering gold, her eyes could not 
see, her lips could not kiss him back again, her little arms 


could not hold him close; she was no longer a loving, 
laughing little girl, she was changed to a little golden statue. 

King Midas bowed his head and great sobs shook him. 

''Are you happy, King Midas?" he heard a voice say. 
Looking up he saw the stranger standing near him. 

"Happy! How can you ask? I am the most miserable 
man living!" said the King. 

"You have the golden touch," said the stranger, "is 
that not enough?" 

King Midas did not look up or answer. 

"Which would you rather have, food and a cup of cold 
water or these lumps of gold?" said the stranger. 

King Midas could not answer. 

"Which would you rather have, O King — that Httle 
golden statue, or a little girl who could run, and laugh and 
love you? " 

"Oh, give me back my little Marygold and I'll give up 
all the gold I have ! " said the King. "I've lost all that was 
worth having." 

"You are wiser than you were. King Midas," said the 
stranger. "Go plunge in the river which runs at the 
foot of your garden, then take some of its water and 
sprinkle whatever you wish to change back just as it 
was." The stranger vanished. 

King Midas sprang up and ran to the river. He plunged 
into it, and then he dipped up a pitcher of its water and 
hurried back to the palace. He sprinkled it over Marygold, 
and the color came back into her cheeks. She opened her 
blue eyes again. "Why, Father!" she said, "What hap- 
pened? " 


With a cry of joy King Midas took her into his arms. 

Never after that did King Midas care for any gold 
except the gold of the sunshine, and the gold of little 
Marygold's hair. 


This story is re-told from a version given a Texas teacher by 
an old Scotch friend. The quaint, humorous style of the original 
has been kept, with condensations and slight shifts of events to 
give greater unity to the plot. It would be difficult to find a 
better Hallowe'en story, for there is just enough of the super- 
natural element, and the pictures are vivid and real. It is a pure 
fun-story of a high order. 

Once on a time a Woodman lived in the heart of a thick 
woods. He lived all by himself; he did not have any wife 
to look after him, or any children to look after. But he 
was a clever old fellow, and managed things somehow. 
He built his own house, did his own cooking, and mended 
his own clothes. He did all the washing he thought neces- 
sary, which was not a great deal, so his house was not very 
clean and tidy, for he thought the best place for things 
was where they could be picked up easily; and when any- 
thing got lost he had no one to blame but himself. 

One afternoon he suddenly remembered that he had to 
go to the village, which was miles and miles away, to get 
a new ax. His old one was of no use, for he had sharpened 
it so many times that there was very little left of it. He 
had some work to do the next day, so a new ax he must 
have, and he hurried to get ready. 

He washed his brown face, combed his gray hair, stuck 

i82 children's stories and how to tell them 

a skewer through his leather clothes where some buttons 
were off, and set out to the village. 

When the people saw his fat, stumpy little figure coming 
down the street, they came out to talk to him, for he was a 
kind old fellow and they all liked him. He was glad to 
have someone to talk with besides himself, so he stayed 
quite late in the village. The sun was going down before 
he put his new ax across his shoulder and started for home. 

'*Be careful as you go through the woods to-night," 
his friends called after him, "you know it is Hallowe^en; 
the witches and goblins will be out." 

"I've never seen one of them yet," said the old Wood- 
man, "but I'll try to get home before midnight, so I'll 
be safe," and he hurried along through the woods. 

He would have told you that he could find his way home 
with his eyes shut, but suddenly, to his great surprise, he 
saw that the road looked strange and he had not the least 
idea where he was. As he went forward the woods became 
thicker and thicker. He could hardly squeeze through 
the trees, they were so close together. But he walked on, 
starting at every sound, for it was very dark indeed, and he 
could not help thinking of all the stories he had ever heard 
of witches, goblins and ghosts. 

At last he came to a huge beech tree, and as he peered 
about trying to find a path, he came upon six big eggs. 
They were in a hollow place between the roots of the tree. 

"What thumping big eggs!" he said. "I'll take them 
home and hatch them out. If I can raise some hens to lay 
such eggs, I'll not have far to look for breakfast hereafter." 

He took up the eggs and carried them carefully, walking 


very slowly so as not to stumble with his treasures. At 
last, after some trouble, he found the road and went along 

When he got into the house he began to look about for 
some way to hatch the eggs. The cat was soft and warm, 
but she would never keep still long enough; besides, he 
dared not trust her. He thought of putting them into bed 
with himself, but it was out of the question for him to stay 
in bed three weeks. At last he thought of a piece of red 
flannel he had bought to make himself some winter shirts. 
So he cut it up, and wrapped an egg in each piece of it, 
then set them around the fire. 

For three weeks he kept the fire going night and day, 
and he turned and watched the eggs. It was a tedious 
job, but of course if one wants something he must work 
for it, and the Woodman wanted those big hens. 

At last the day came when the eggs showed signs of life. 
They moved a little — just a teeny, tiny bit. He had to 
look close to be quite sure it was true. One began to chip, 
then another began to chip. One of the cracks opened, 

and out came not a chicken's head as he had expected, 

but a little squirmy fist, like a baby's hand, only it was a 
purply black. Soon there was a crackHng and a squealing 
and a squirming, and out of one egg popped a head, out 
of another a foot, and soon six little bodies came wriggling 
out of the six eggs. 

The Woodman stood staring at six of the queerest little 
imps you ever could imagine, sprawling about on the floor. 
They stretched their necks and tumbled about over each 
other like young puppies. The poor Woodman did not 

i84 children's stories and how to tell them 

know what to say or think or do. He stood scratching 
his head and staring. He had never had a family before, 
and he did not have any neighbors to come in and give him 
advice. He thought the poor things looked cold, for they 
had hatched out without any clothes on, so he took the 
pieces of flannel that had been wrapped around the eggs, 
and snipped a round hole in each piece. Then he slipped 
the pieces over the little shivering bodies. It was a funny 
sight, but the Woodman did not laugh. It was a serious 
matter to get a family like that all at once. 

But how was he to feed them? He brought some pans 
of milk, but they did not know how to drink. At last he 
thought of a way. He took some of the flannel, dipped it 
in the milk, and stuck it into their gaping little mouths. 
After a while he taught them to drink through a straw. 
Then they ate and ate and ate. They did not know when 
to stop. Of course that made them sick, and there was 
more trouble for the poor man. He had never been so 
busy in all his life. Sometimes he was so tired that he 
thought of running away and leaving them: but he was 
too kind to do that, for he knew they would freeze and 
starve if they were left alone. 

" Perhaps if I take care of them now, they will help me 
when they are older," he thought. Then he planned all 
the ways they could help him, running errands, cooking 
the food, chopping wood and going to the spring for the 
drinking water. 

But as they grew older, instead of helping him, they 
hmdered him more and more. They were always plapng 
pranks. They pulled the poor cat's tail, hid the Wood- 


man's glasses — in fact, they were just as bad as bad could 
be. But bad as they were all day long, when the candles 
were lit in the evening they all became quiet at once. No 
matter what they were doing, the moment they saw the 
light of the candles, they stopped and gathered around 
the table. They leaned their elbows on it, propped their 
chins on their hands, and stared at the candles, each eye 
like the letter O, with a dot in the middle. 

One night when they gathered around the table in this 
way, an idea came to the Woodman: *'I know what I'll 
do," he thought, "I'll put the candle into this lantern and 
they will follow it. I will take them to the beech tree 
where I found the eggs, and I'll leave them there. Some 
of their own people will be sure to find them." 

So he took the candle and put it in the lantern, and all 
the Goblins — for that is what they were — crowded round 
to see him do it. They chattered among themselves like 
bats, never taking their eyes off the light. They did not 
wink, they did not blink — they just stared and stared at 
the light until the old Woodman felt like staring himself. 
He made for the door and went out into the night. 

They all came stumbling after, their eyes glued to the 
light. Sometimes one stumbled and fell, but he got up 
again and went bumping on as before. On they went 
through the dark woods. Shadows danced about their 
path, twigs crackled under their feet, and now and then 
there was a dull thud as one stumbled over a root or a 

At last the Woodman found the beech tree, and hung 
the lantern on a broken branch, then turned to go home. 

i86 children's stories and how to tell them 

The little Goblins squatted on the ground in a circle, and 
sat staring up at the lantern. 

But the Woodman turned away and walked into the 
black night along the tangled path; he stumbled like a 
blind man. Branches struck him in the face, one hurt his 
hand as he tried to thrust it aside, and finally he slipped 
and fell. He tried to crawl forward, but something seized 
him by the belt. He gave a scream of terror. It was only 
the limb of a tree, but the poor man was almost frightened 
out of his wits. 

He looked back at the light, and the little Goblins were 
sitting there still and quiet. When he looked away, the 
darkness seemed more terrible. He was afraid of every 
dark shadow. 

He looked back at the light again, and it seemed as if 
he were being drawn back to it and to his Goblin family. 
The more he looked at their homely little faces, the more 
he wanted to be there with them, and with the light. So 
he crawled slowly back towards the circle. His own eyes 
began to be glued to the light. They grew big and round, 
and he stared and stared and stared, unable to turn 
away from it; the Spell had come upon him too. He took 
his place in the GobUn circle, and if the light still burns, 
beyond a doubt they are all sitting there still underneath 
the crooked beech tree. 


{Adapted from the American Indian) 

There are many versions of the Indian Warrior and the Star- 
maid. This one is as my fancy has clothed the old tale. I have 


tried to keep it characteristically Indian, while adding such 
detail as seemed needed to make the story artistic. 

So far as I know, none of the old versions has Waupee assume 
the guise of a hawk, or explains the mist, fireflies and owl-cry in 
this way. This story appeals to older children, and to adults. 
It is particularly effective for a twilight story-hour in the out-of- 

Long ago, when the Indians roved over the plains and 
hunted through the forests of America, there lived a young 
hunter called Waupee, or The White Hawk. 

Waupee was strong and fearless. His arrows never 
missed the mark, and his keen eyes almost saw the wind 
as it blew past. 

He lived in the wigwam with his old mother, because no 
maid had pleased him enough for him to take her as his wife. 

One day as he strode home through the forest with a 
string of wild ducks about his neck, he came to an opening 
in the wood. The grass was turning green, and the first 
spring flowers were beginning to bloom. The smell of 
arbutus was in the air, and altogether it was a lovely spot. 
Waupee drew in a deep breath and looked about him. 
There was no trace of footsteps — he was evidently the 
first to find this beautiful glen. 

Suddenly he spied a circle on the grass. It looked as if 
feet had run round and round until the grass was trampled 
down, but no steps led away from the ring. 

Waupee was puzzled. *'I will see," he said; so he hid 
himself in the underbrush and waited. 

The sun went down; the smoky twilight settled over the 
wood. The new moon shone through the trees and the 
stars filled the sky. Still Waupee waited. 

1 88 children's stories and how to tell them 

After a while he heard music. It was so strange and 
sweet he almost felt fear, for the first time in his life. The 
music seemed to be coming from the sky. Waupee looked 
up, and there, floating down through the air, was a wonder- 
ful basket, and in it were twelve Maidens, more beautiful 
than any he had ever set eyes on before. When the basket 
touched the ground, they sprang out and began to dance. 

Round and round they whirled, their feet scarcely touch- 
ing the ground. Their robes were as soft and white as the 
mist of the milky-way. Their eyes gleamed like the stars, 
and a pale light shone from them. Their singing 
set the birds in the trees twittering as if the dawn had 

Waupee lay scarcely breathing as he watched. When the 
dance was ended, the twelve Maidens stepped back into 
the basket and floated away into the sky. 

Like one dazed, Waupee made his way back to his wig- 
wam, but he told no one what he had seen. 

The next evening he stole away and hid himself again 
on the edge of the glen in the forest. All happened as it 
had the night before, except that one of the Maids laughed 
as her feet touched the earth. That laugh crept into the 
heart of Waupee, and he did not understand that he would 
never know joy until he had the Maid for his own. 

When the basket vanished into the sky, Waupee lay 
until morning planning how he might capture her. There 
seemed no way, for the dancing ring was in the middle of 
the glen. Even Waupee could not spring so far, and he 
knew that at the slightest sound the Star-Maids would 
step into their basket and vanish, perhaps never to return. 


He made his way to his wigwam, and told his old mother 
the story of his love and longing. 

*'0h, my son! Why will you not choose a wife from one 
of our own people?" she said. 

But nothing would do, he would have the Star-Maid or 
no one. 

"Well, then, have your way!" said his mother. "But 
mind you, never leave her alone when the stars shine, for 
if you do, you will lose her." 

He had no fear of losing her, he said, if only his mother 
would show him the way to capture the Star-Maid. 

The old mother set to work, and out of the feathers of 
the white hawks which Waupee had shot when winning 
his name she wove a magic coat. 

When it was finished, Waupee put it on. He became a 
white hawk, and flying away perched in a tree on the edge 
of the glen where the Star-Maids came to dance. 

He watched the basket float from the sky and the dance 
begin. Then he swooped down among the maidens and 
instantly changed into Waupee, the strong Indian hunter. 
He seized the Star-Maid and held her fast while her sisters, 
with cries of terror, climbed into the basket and floated 

The Star-Maid wept piteously, but he lifted her in his 
arms and carried her home to his wigwam. 

He loved her so tenderly and treated her so gently that 
he soon won her heart, and for seven years they lived 
happily together. 

At length a little son, with eyes like the stars, and a laugh 
like running water, was born to them. But Waupee had 

never forgotten the words of his old mother, and when the 
stars shone on the grass he was always by the side of his 

But a hard winter came. Food grew scarce, even for so 
skilled a hunter as Waupee. He walked far and wide, 
hunting for game. At last one day he went so far from 
home that he lost his way in the forest. For the first time 
the Star- Wife sat in her wigwam alone when night came. 
Her heart grew lonely, but she waited throughout the night. 
Another day passed, and still Waupee did not return. 
The third day, she took the hand of her little son and set 
out through the forest to search for him. 

Just as the sun went down, she came to the edge of a 
wooded glen. The purple mist settled over the hills, the 
stars shone out. 

"Oh, my Sisters, where are you?" she cried. 

Suddenly she heard music, and down from the sky came 
her sisters. 

"Come with us!" they begged. 

"No, I must find Waupee, my Beloved," she replied. 

"Only come for a moment, and show your little Son to 
our Father," they urged. 

At last she agreed, and stepping into the basket with 
the child, rose to the sky-land. 

The next morning Waupee, worn with tramping through 
the forest, staggered back to the wigwam. No little son 
ran to meet him, no Star- Wife answered his call. Then 
he remembered his old mother's warning and his heart 
stood still with fear. 

He set out to search for them, and followed their trail 


to the glen where the Star-Maids had danced. He knew 
only too well what had happened, and his heart broke 
within him for the loss that had come to him. 

A hundred years had passed when one day the Star- Wife 
said: *'I must return to the earth now and find my Be- 
loved," for years are but as moments in the star-land. 

Her father and sisters begged her to stay with them, but 
she would not be satisfied until she found Waupee again. 

So back to the earth she came one starry night. She 
ran to the place where the wigwam had stood, but no 
wigwam was there. Then, bewildered, she hurried back 
to the woods, thinking to find Waupee there. And to this 
day she runs up and down through the forest, seeking for 
her Beloved. 

Perhaps on some starry night when you travel through 
the woods, you will see something soft and white floating 
by. You may think it is only the mist, but it is a bit of the 
Star-Maid's robe. 

Perhaps you will see lights dancing here and there 
through the darkness, and you will think it is the fireflies 
rising, but it is really the gleam of the Star-Maid's eyes 
as she searches for her Beloved. 

Perhaps you will hear a shivering call: " Who-ee, who-ee 
who-eee!" through the trees. *' An owl's cry," you may 
say, but it is really the Star-Maid crying: ''Waupee! 
Waupee! Waupee!" through the night. 



Let what he did tell what he was. 

— Walter L. Hervey, Picture Work. 

The child is unfailingly interested in animals. He feels 
no difference between their intelligence and his own. He 
talks to his pet kitten and accepts its purrings as suffi- 
cient answer to his conversation. He stoops over the 
globe of goldfish and says, *'Come on up and eat your 
lunch!'* never doubting that. they hear and understand 
him. Like primitive man, *' Conscious personality and 
human emotions are visible to him everywhere and in 
everything." The life within him responds to whatever 
has life. 

This interest in animals is deep-rooted in the child's 
nature and is a part of his inheritance from the heart of 
the race. Primitive man's first struggles for survival 
were with animals. Doubtless the first story ever told grew 
out of these struggles. It is easy to picture a group of 
hunters about the camp fire re-telling the experiences of 
the chase. Perhaps the sense of fear experienced in the 
contest may have added to the prowess of the animal; 
pride in the conquest may have lent its aid to the dra- 
matic imagination. Gradually, too, the attributes of 
man's own nature were assigned to the animals: the sly 


fox, the bold lion, the timid rabbit, were made the heroes 
in the tales, and now and then they became endowed 
with even superhuman qualities. 

There are various forms of animal stories: those in 
which the animals talk together in the language of human 
beings; those in which they are overheard and under- 
stood by a human; those in which they talk freely and 
understandingly with a person. ''The Sheep and the Pig 
Who Set up Housekeeping" is an example of the first 
type. "True and Untrue," from "Popular Tales from 
the Norse," is an example of the second; "How Peter 
Found His Fortune" is an example of the third. 

The modern animal story is intensely psychologic. 
Ernest Thompson-Seton's animals have all the instincts 
and emotions, almost the reasoning power, of men. Kip- 
ling's animals are delightfully human. The Elephant 
Child with his "satiable curiosity," the Butterfly for 
whose sake King Solomon teaches his own wives a lesson 
in "obedience and low speaking," are fascinating exam- 
ples of his whimsical disguising of the human under ani- 
mal forms for the sake of greater freedom. 

Whatever the type of the story, the child's response is 
instinctive interest and joy. Nor is this lost at any stage 
of his development. "The Three Bears" is one of his 
first treasures, and few grown-ups fail to thrill to Jack 
London's "The Call of the Wild." 

Along with the animal stories having a literary quality, 
it is easy to develop nature stories giving facts as to the 
homes, habits and life of the animals, birds or insects 
mentioned. A group of kindergarten children who had 


listened to the version of ''Thumbelina," given in Chap- 
ter XII, once asked to see a grasshopper. They were 
taken into their garden to find one. After hearing the 
story of *'The Caterpillar and the Butterfly," they were 
fascinated to see a caterpillar eat and grow sleepy, then 
later spin his cocoon. When the butterfly emerged, they 
fed it sugar and water from their finger tips and finally 
sent it flying across their garden, ''into the beautiful 
world beyond." Along with their stories of birds, they 
saw the nests of familiar birds, saw their pet canaries 
build their nests and raise their young; so the children 
were given their first knowledge of the beginnings of life. 
It is easy and simple for the thoughtful guide to lead the 
child along these lines of his own natural interests away 
from the fear and horror of animal life which obsesses 
some wrongly-taught children and into a fuller apprecia- 
tion of the mystery and wonder of all life. It is so that 
he comes, like the immortal Kim, to find himself in 
truth, "little brother of all the world." 

Story-tellers will find other animal stories, which yet 
fall naturally into other groups, in "Stories for Very 
Little Folks," and in "Folk and Fairy Stories," in preced- 
ing sections. 


{Re-told from the Norse) 

Once upon a time, before your time or mine, there was a 
Sheep who lived in a pen. Every day he was given as 


much food as he could eat and he grew fatter with each 
meal. At last one day when the Maid gave him his food 
she said: " Eat away, Sheep; you'll not be here much longer. 
We are going to kill you to-morrow.'* 

But he ate on until he was ready to burst; and then he 
butted down the door of his pen and ran away as fast as 
ever he could go. 

After a while he came to another farm, and there in the 
pigsty he saw a Pig who was as fat as himself. 

"Good morning," said the Sheep, "do you know why 
they take such pains to give you all the food you can eat? " 

"I do not," said the Pig. 

" Well, I will tell you: they are going to kill and eat you." 

"Are they?" said the Pig, "Well, not since I know 
about it," and he pushed a hole through the pigsty, and 
came out on the road with the Sheep. 

"Come along," said the Sheep, "we'll go off into the 
woods, build us a house and set up housekeeping." 

The Pig was willing, so off they went. 

By and by, they met a Goose. "Good morning," said 
the Goose. " Where are you going this fine morning? " 

"Good morning to you," said the Sheep. "We are on 
our way to the wood to build a home for ourselves. They 
gave us too much food where we were — they were planning 
to eat us, so we left without saying good-bye!" 

"Now that you speak of it, I believe I am too well 
treated myself," said the Goose. "May I go along with 

"What can you do toward building a home?" said the 

196 children's stories and how to tell them 

"I can pluck moss and stuff it into the cracks between 
the planks. It will make the house warm, " said the Goose. 

"Come along, by all means," said the Pig, who liked to 
be warm and comfortable. 

So the Sheep and the Pig and the Goose went along 
together. After a while they met a Hare hopping along 
through the woods. 

" Good morning, " said the Hare. " Where are you going 
this fine day? " 

"Good morning to you," said the Sheep. "We were 
treated too well at home so we decided to leave and build 
us a home for ourselves." Then they told him the straight 
of the story, how they were being fattened for a fine feast. 

"Well," said the Hare," I have a home in every bush. 
It is well enough in the summer, but I should like a more 
comfortable home for myself in the winter. May I go 
with you?" 

"What can you do to help build the home?" asked the 

" Every one has some tools to work with," said the Hare. 
" I have fine teeth for gnawing. I can gnaw the pegs and 
set them in the wall." 

"Well, come along with us," they said. "Many hands 
make easy work." 

So the Sheep and the Pig and the Goose and the Hare 
went along together. After a time, they met a Cock. 

"Good morning to you," said the Cock. "Where are 
you going this fine day? " 

"We're off to the woods to build a home for ourselves," 
said the Sheep. Then they told him the whole story. 


" Well, now that you speak of it, I believe it would be 
better for me if I found a home for myself too. May I go 
with you?" 

"Well," said the Pig, "so far as I know, the only thing 
you can do is to flap and crow. We want no one with us 
who cannot work." 

"Who ever heard of a house without a Dog or a Clock 
or a Cock?" said the Cock. "You will need me to tell 
you when to wake up and go to work. I am up early and 
will let no one oversleep." 

"Well, come along with us," they all said. 

So they traveled until they found an opening in the 
wood. There they set to work and built their house. Each 
one worked his best, and soon the house was finished, and 
there they lived together for many a day. " 'Tis good to 
travel east and west, but after all, a home is best," said 
the Sheep, when they sat around their own fireside in the 
winter evenings. 


{Re-told from Chaucer) 

Once there was a barnyard close to a wood, in a little 
valley. Here dwelt a cock. Chanticleer by name. His 
comb was redder than coral, his feathers were like bur- 
nished gold, and his voice was wonderful to hear. Long 
before dawn each morning his crowing sounded over the 
valley, and his seven wives listened in admiration. 

One night as he sat on the perch by the side of Dame 

198 children's stories and how to tell them 

Partlet, his most loved mate, he began to make a curious 
noise in his throat. 

"What is it, my dear?" said Dame Partlet. "You 
sound frightened." 

"Oh!" said Chanticleer, "I had the most horrible 
dream. I thought that as I roamed down by the wood a 
beast like a dog sprang out and seized me. His color was 
red, his nose was small, and his eyes were like coals of fire. 
Ugh! It was fearful!" 

" Tut, tut 1 are you a coward to be frightened by a dream? 
You've been eating more than was good for you. I wish 
my husband to be wise and brave if he would keep my 
love! " Dame Partlet clucked, as she smoothed herfeathers, 
and slowly closed her scarlet eyes. She felt disgusted at 
having her sleep disturbed. 

" Of course you are right, my love, yet I have heard of 
many dreams which came true. I am sure I shall meet 
with some misfortune, but we will not talk of it now. I 
am quite happy to be here by your side. You are very 
beautiful, my dear!" 

Dame Partlet unclosed one eye slowly and made a 
pleased sound, deep in her throat. 

The next morning. Chanticleer flew down from the perch 
and called his hens about him for their breakfast. He 
walked about boldly, calling, "Chuck! chuck!" at each 
grain of corn which he found. He felt very proud as they 
all looked at him so admiringly. He strutted about in the 
sunlight, flapping his wings to show off his feathers, and now 
and then throwing back his head and crowing exultantly. 
His dream was forgotten; there was no fear in his heart. 


Now all this time, Reynard, the fox, was lying hidden 
in the bushes on the edge of the wood bordering the barn- 
yard. Chanticleer walked nearer and nearer his hiding 
place. Suddenly he saw a butterfly in the grass, and as he 
stooped toward it, he spied the fox. 

"Cok! cok!" he cried in terror, and turned to 

"Dear friend, why do you go?" said Reynard in his 
gentlest voice. "I only crept down here to hear you sing. 
Your voice is like an angel's. Your father and mother 
once visited my house; I should so love to see you there 
too. I wonder if you remember your father's singing? I 
can see him now as he stood on tiptoe, stretching out his 
long slender neck, sending out his glorious voice. He 
always flapped his wings and closed his eyes before he sang. 
Do you do it in the same way? Won't you sing just once 
and let me hear you? I am so anxious to know if you really 
sing better than your father." 

Chanticleer was so pleased with this flattery that he 
flapped his wings, stood up on tiptoe, shut his eyes and 
crowed as loudly as he could. 

No sooner had he begun than Reynard sprang forward, 
caught him by the throat, threw him over his shoulder, and 
made off toward his den in the woods. 

The hens made a loud outcry when they saw Chanticleer 
being carried off, so that the people in the cottage near by 
heard and ran out after the fox. The dog heard and ran 
yelping after him. The cow ran, the calf ran, the pigs be- 
gan to squeal and run too. The ducks and geese quacked 
in terror and flew up into the tree tops. Never was there 

200 children's stories and how to tell them 

heard such an uproar. Reynard began to feel a bit 
frightened himself. 

"How swiftly you do run!" said Chanticleer from his 
back. "If I were you I should have some sport out of 
those slow coaches who are trying to catch you. Call out 
to them and say, ^Why do you creep along like snails? 
Look! I am far ahead of you and shall soon be feasting 
on this cock in spite of all of you!' " 

Reynard was pleased at this and opened his mouth to 
call to his pursuers; but as soon as he did so, the cock flew 
away from him and perched up in a tree safely out of reach. 

The fox saw he had lost his prey and began his old tricks 
again. "I was only proving to you how important you 
are in the barnyard. See what a commotion we caused! 
I did not mean to frighten you. Come down now and we 
will go along together to my home. I have something very 
interesting to show you there." 

"No, no," said Chanticleer. "You do not catch me 
again. A man who shuts his eyes when he ought to be 
looking deserves to lose his sight entirely." 

By this time, Chanticleer's friends were drawing near, so 
Reynard turned to flee. "The man who talks when he 
should be silent deserves to lose what he has gained," he 
said as he sped away through the wood. 


{Re-told from the English) 

A version of this story may be found in "More English Fairy 
Tales," by Joseph Jacobs. "Golden Hair and the Three Bears" 


is derived from it. It seems probable that the fox in the original 
was translated first into an old woman, and then some one who 
wished to make the story more attractive transformed her into 
the well-known Golden-Locks. " Scrapefoot" appeals to children 
even more than the better known tale. There is more humor, and 
a satisfying sense of justice in it. 

In the old, old days there was once a great thick forest, 
and in it there lived ever and ever so many animals. Three 
of them were bears — Father Bear, Mother Bear and Baby 
Bear, who lived in a castle in the thickest part of the 
woods. Then there was a sly old fox whose name was 

Scrapefoot was very much afraid of Father Bear. In 
fact, he was afraid of almost everything, for he was a big 
old coward. But he had more curiosity than any animal 
in all the woods. He was never satisfied unless he was 
peeking and prying around to find out what the other 
animals were doing, and he was most curious of all about 
what went on inside of the Bears' castle. Every day he 
would go sneaking around the castle, peeping and peeping, 
and wondering what was inside. But if he heard Father 
Bear coming he would slink down behind the bushes and 
shiver and shake until he had gone by. 

One day when Scrapefoot was hanging around the castle 
as usual, he saw the three Bears come out through the gate 
and go off for a walk. He hid until they were out of sight 
and then crept up to the castle door. What was his joy 
to find that the Bears had left the door open! 

"Now I'll see what's inside this castle!" 

He slipped through the door and into the hall. There 
he found three chairs — a great big chair, a middle-sized 


chair and a tiny little chair. He thought he would sit 
down and rest for a while, so he jumped up on the great 
big chair. He turned round after his tail, and round 
after his tail, and round after his tail, but he couldn't 
make himself comfortable. Then he jumped down and 
got into the middle-sized chair. There he turned round 
after his tail, and round after his tail, and round after his 
tail, but he couldn't make himself comfortable. So then he 
jumped over into the little chair. He turned round after 
his tail just one time, and the chair was so soft and warm 
and comfortable that Scrapefoot sat, and sat, and sat, 
until he sat the bottom out. Down he went with a big 
thump upon the floor. 

So he got up and began looking about him again. He 
pushed open a door and went into a big dining room. 
There on the table he saw three bowls of soup, a great big 
bowl, and a middle-sized bowl, and a tiny little bowl. 
Scrapefoot tasted the soup in the big bowl, but it was too 
hot. Then he tried the soup in the middle-sized bowl, but 
that was too cold. He tasted the soup in the tiny little 
bowl, and that was just right. He went on tasting, and 
tasting, until there was not a taste left. 

Then Scrapefoot. went upstairs, and there he found a 
big room with three beds in it; a great big bed, and a 
middle-sized bed, and a tiny little bed. He climbed up 
into the big bed and turned round after his tail, and round 
after his tail, and round after his tail, but he could not 
make himself comfortable, so he jumped down and tried 
the middle-sized bed. He turned round after his tail, and 
round after his tail, and round after his tail, but he could 


not make himself comfortable, so he got up and went to 
the little bed. That was so soft and warm and nice that 
he turned round after his tail just one time, and fell fast 

After a time the Bears came home, and when they got in 
the hall Father Bear went up to his chair and said: 
Mother Bear went to her chair and said: ^'Who^s been 
Sitting in my Chair? " And Baby Bear went up to his chair 
and said: ''Who's been sitting in my chair and has broken 
it all to pieces?" And the poor Baby Bear just cried and 

Then they went into the dining room, and Father Bear 
Mother Bear said: "Who^s been Tasting my Soup?^' And 
Baby Bear said: "Who's been tasting my soup and has 
drunk it all up?" And poor little Baby Bear cried hard 

Then they went upstairs into the bedroom and the big 
Father Bear said: "WHO'S BEEN SLEEPING IN 
MY BED?" And Mother Bear said: ''Who's been Sleep- 
ing in my Bed?'' And Baby Bear said: "Who's been 
sleeping in my bed? Oh, see, here he is now ! " 

So all the Bears came round the bed. "What shall we 
do with him?" they all said. 

Father Bear said: "Let's hang him." 

Mother Bear said: "Let's drown him." 

And Baby Bear said: "Let's throw him out of the win- 

Then Father Bear took two legs, and Mother Bear two 

204 children's stories and how to tell them 

legs, and they swung him back and forth, and back and 
forth: then away went Scrapefoot out of the window. 

Poor Scrapefoot was so frightened! And he thought 
every bone in his body must be broken. He shivered and 
whined, but it did no good. At last he got up and shook 
one front leg. *'No bones broken there," he said. Then 
he shook the other front leg: "No bones broken there." 
Then he shook one hind leg: "No bones broken there." 
Then he shook the other hind leg and cried in rehef: "No 
bones broken there!" He shook his tail up over his back, 
and shouted out: "No bones broken there!" Then he 
dashed away through the gate and down into the woods as 
far as ever he could go from the Bears' castle, and never, 
never, so long as he lived, did he go peeking and prying 
around there again. 


{Re-told from ^^ Tales from the Punjab^*) 

Once upon a time there was a fat, sleek Rat who was 
caught in the rain while walking in the woods. 

"Dear me! I shall be quite wet. This will never do!" 
he cried, and he set to work and soon dug a nice hole in the 
ground. He crept into it and sat there, dry as a bone, 
while the rain splashed outside. 

Now when the rain was over and he started out again, 
he saw a piece of dry root which he had broken off while 
digging. "I'll take this home with me for my fire," he 
said. So he took it in his mouth and set out for home, 
picking his way carefully through the puddles. By and by 


he came to a man who was trying to light a fire. Five 
little children stood around him, howling and crying. 

*' Goodness gracious!" cried the Rat, *' whatever is the 
matter? Why do these children make this dreadful noise? " 

''They are hungry," the man answered, ''but these 
sticks are so wet that I can't start the fire to bake the cakes 
for their breakfast." 

" Oh, is that all? Well, I can help you. I will give you 
this dry root. It will burn easily. The children must not 
be hungry." The Rat was very kind-hearted. 

"Thank you a thousand times!" said the man. "Here 
is a piece of dough. Take it along for your breakfast." 

The Rat took the dough and trotted off with it. "How 
lucky I am!" he thought. "Here I've traded a dry stick 
for enough food to last me five days at least," and he 
leaped and danced for joy. 

"Food for five days for a piece of stick! Wonderful! 
Wonderful ! How glad I am I took that stick along ! " 

Rejoicing over his good fortune, the Rat kept on his way 
until he came to a poor little house. There stood a man 
with three children around him, screaming as if they would 

"Goodness gracious! What a noise! What is it all 
about?" asked the Rat. 

"They're crying because they are so hungry," said the 
man. "I haven't a dust of flour in the house." 

"Is that all? "said the Rat. " Then I can help you. You 
shall have this piece of dough. Cook it for them quickly. 
The children must not be hungry." 

"I can never thank you enough," said the man. "Here 

2o6 children's stories and how to tell them 

is a large jar; I made it myself and you shall have it for 
your kindness." 

"Well, I call this another good bargain," said the Rat 
as he took the jar. 

It was not easy for him to carry it, but at last he 
balanced it on his head, and went down the road. He hung 
his tail over his arm for fear he would trip on it and break 
his jar. 

"A wonderful trader I am, to be sure! I traded a stick 
for a roll of dough, now I've traded the dough for this fine 
large jar. I am lucky, beyond a doubt." 

Presently he met a man driving a beautiful red cow. 
When the man saw the Rat with the jar he said : *' Give me 
your jar so that I may milk my cow in it. I will give you a 
sip of the milk if you will." 

"Indeed, sir, I shall make no such bad bargain. I will 
give you my jar if you will give me the cow." 

The man laughed loud and long. "How could a little 
thing like you drive a cow home even if I did give her to 

It made the Rat very angry to be laughed at because of 
his size. 

"That's my business," the Rat said. 

The man laughed still more, but he took the jar and 
milked it brimming full of milk. " I am hungry myself, and 
it is not my cow, so you may have her," but he only said 
it for a joke. "Here, drive her home, "and he fastened 
the cow's rope around the Rat's neck. 

The Rat thanked him and started off towards his home. 
He traveled no further than the end of the rope, however. 


for instead of following him, the cow set off through the woods. 

"I'll go home this way; it's a shadier road," he called 
to the man, who was roaring with laughter. 

"I have plenty of time, so who cares?" said the Rat, as 
he trotted after the cow. 

He followed her all day long, and he was growing weary 
and was not at all sorry when the cow decided to lie down 
to rest under some wild plum trees. 

*'Well, anyway, she is my cow. I am a wonderful 
trader. I traded a rotten stick for a limip of dough, the 
lump of dough for a fine large jar, and the jar for this 
beautiful red cow. I am a lucky fellow! " 

He was almost falling asleep when he heard someone 
wailing bitterly, and in a moment a beautiful young girl 
came through the woods. She was sobbing so loudly that 
she scarcely heard the Rat when he said, "Goodness 
gracious! Whatever is the matter?" 

" Oh ! " sobbed the girl. " I've been lost in this forest all 
day. I am so tired and so hungry!" 

"Well, well! I believe everybody in the whole world is 
hungry. Now don't make such a fuss about it. You shall 
have some of the milk from my cow. " 

"Whoever heard of a Rat having a cow!" said the girl. 

"Well, she is my cow. Can't you see the rope about my 
neck? I've been leading her home all day. If you care to 
milk her, you may do so." 

"I can't milk a cow. I am a Princess, and I never 
milked a cow in my life." 

" Neither did I," said the Rat. " You see, I only traded 
for her to-day." 

2o8 children's stories and how to tell them 

He thought for a while, then he said: " I'll tell you what 
we'll do — we'll follow the cow. I've heard they always go 
home at night-fall. If I loosen her, she will go back to the 
man from whom I got her. He can milk her, then you will 
have food.'* 

" Perhaps he can show me the way to my own home too ! 
You are a clever Rat. My father will surely reward you." 

*'Just loosen this rope from about my neck," said the 
Rat, who was still pretending that he had been leading the 

Soon the cow arose and started through the woods, and 
the Rat and the Princess walked after her. By and by, 
away in the distance they saw the towers of a castle. 

**Why, that's my home!" cried the Princess joyfully. 
And so it was, for the cow was one from the King's own 

The Princess took the Rat into the palace with her and 
told her father how the little fellow had brought her safely 

"Choose what you will for reward," said the King. 

"Well," said the Rat, "this palace is far finer than my 
hole in the field. I should like to have a room in it for my 
own for the rest of my days." 

"So you shall," said the King. He called one of his 
guard and the Rat was led away to a lovely room with 
velvet hangings, and in it was a table set with rich food. 

"Surely I am a lucky fellow," said the Rat once more. 
"I traded a rotten stick for a lump of dough, the lump 
of dough for a fine large jar, the jar for a beautiful red 
cow, and now I have a home with the King." 



This story is adapted from "The Biography of a Silver Fox," 
by Ernest Thompson-Seton. Those who are not famihar with the 
book should read it in connection with this adaptation. 

The entire book is a mirroring in animal life of the highest of 
human relationships. The equal working together in building a 
home, the equal responsibiHty of parenthood, the faithful com- 
radeship of Domino and Snowyruff, portray the basic institution 
evolved by man — the family. 

Those interested in the adapting of stories will find it well to 
study the relation of this version to the whole book. The idea to 
be developed is the family, particularly the father's position in it. 
There are many stories of the mother's devotion to her young, 
of her courage, self-sacrifice and wisdom, but very few in which 
the meaning of fatherhood is developed. For that reason we are 
particularly grateful to the Century Company, New York, for 
their courtesy in allowing us to use this story. 

While simplifying the action, and eliminating many details of 
the book, I have endeavored to keep the spirit of the whole. 
Some of the incidents of Domino's cub-hood have been woven 
into the training of his own young. 

This version of the story has been appreciated by children of 
five. It is valuable to all ages, for we shall hear more of father- 
hood, although not less of motherhood, as the men and women of 
the future work out their ideals together. 

It was the early spring time. The snowbanks were 
melting away, leaving the brown earth soft enough for the 
flowers to push through as soon as they felt the warmth 
of the sun. 

Across the high hill, which sloped down to the river, 
came a pair of foxes. The splendid Silver Fox, with a 
black mark across the eyes like a mask, was called Domino. 
The dainty little lady fox by his side, with a red coat and 
an elegant ruffle of white, was Snowyruff. They had met 


one day in the woods, and chosen each other for mates and 
friends for life, as is the way of foxes. Now they were 
searching through the woods for a place to build their 

Snowyruff looked about the piney glade, nosed the 
ground, then began to dig. It was her way of saying, '' I 
am satisfied. We'll set up housekeeping here." 

She did not know that she had chosen the same sunny 
slope on which Domino himself had lived as a tiny cub, 
but she did know that it was a fine place for a home for a 
family of foxes. The hillside would be sheltered and warm, 
the den door would be hidden by the pine thicket near. 

The deep snow and deep leaves had kept the earth soft 
enough for her to dig, so she worked away with a will. 
Domino sat on the hill and kept guard for an hour, then 
he took her place and worked while Snowyruff kept watch. 
So, working together, they built their home, a cozy, well- 
hidden den it was, too. No eye could detect it, though 
within a dozen feet, and as the warm spring sunshine set 
the grass growing, it was better hidden each day. 

The pair were more and more careful not to be seen near 
the den. At last one day Snowyruff said to Domino: 
"Keep away now!" and he kept away from the den for 
days. While he was absent a wonderful thing happened: 
Five little foxes were born ! When Snowyruff left them to 
slip down to the river for a cooling drink of water. Domino 
was there on the bank watching. She said to him in plain 
Fox language: "You must not come home yet;" so he 
crouched with his head flat on the leaves, and she hurried 
back to the den. 


The next day when she was hungry, she ate some of the 
food which they had stored up in the dry sand of the side 
chamber of the den. Two days later, she went to the door, 
and there was a pile of food — Domino had stolen 
down and left it for her and their babies. After that, every 
day, there was food at the door, or hidden in the grass 

When the cubs were nine days old their eyes opened, 
they whimpered less, and Snowyruff felt it safer to leave 
them. Domino now came in to see his family, and a proud 
father he was. He guarded them with the greatest care, 
and was as devoted to them as Mother Snowyruff 

When they were about a month old, the little toddlers 
were brought out into the sunlight in front of the den. 
There they romped and wrestled and raced with each 
other. Sometimes they chased flies or bumble-bees, some- 
times they made a fine game of catching Mother's tail, 
or tussled over a dried duck's wing. 

As the days passed and the young foxes grew stronger. 
Domino and Snowyruff began teaching them to find food 
for themselves. Live game was brought home each day. 
Sometimes a frog, or a fat field mouse, was brought, and 
then turned loose for the youngsters to re-capture. Once 
Domino called, "Chur-chur-chur,^' and when the rollicking 
cubs came tumbling over one another, he dropped a live 
muskrat in their midst. They pounced on it, but the 
muskrat was a desperate fighter. It seemed for a time that 
he would win, but the Father and Mother only looked on. 
They must let their children learn to do hard things for 


themselves, so they waited until one cub was strong 
enough and quick enough to lay the muskrat low. 

The happy growing days went by, and the cubs had not 
learned the meaning of fear. One day Domino was return- 
ing home with food. Five little black noses, ten little 
beady eyes, set in wooly heads, were bunched at the den 
door. Suddenly the bay of a hound sounded near 
and Domino leaped on a stump to listen. There was no 
mistake, the hound was coming nearer the home place. 
Snowyruff warned the little ones, and Domino loped 
bravely out to meet his enemy. He showed himself boldly, 
and even barked defiance at the big hound, then dashed 
away, leading him farther and farther from the den. 

Domino ran hard for an hour, then began trying to 
throw the hound off his trail, but it was not easy. The 
hound was swift and keen in following the trail, and though 
he doubled, crossed, and tried every trick he knew, Domino 
could not throw him off. The fox ran lightly ahead, the 
hound crashing heavily after him, baying loudly. At last 
Domino led his enemy along a narrow ledge which ran at 
the edge of a cliff overhanging the river. 

On they went. Domino was growing very tired. His 
steps were lagging so that the hound was gaining upon him 
at every jump. Up and up they went; Domino went 
slower still. The hound could see him just ahead. He 
drew closer with each bound. At last Domino reached the 
top of the cliff. His black coat gleamed against the sky. 
He could go no farther, it was the end of the trail. The 
hound plunged forward, and leaped at the fox, but Domino 
sprang lightly aside, and the hound plunged headlong over 


the rugged cliff. He was hurled down into the icy flood 
below. He swam out as best he could, battered and 
bleeding, and limped home, whining with pain. Domino 
turned back and ran to the den, where five little black 
noses, ten little beady eyes, set in five little woolly heads, 
waited for their Father. 

The hound never came back again, and the Fox family 
lived in peace until the little foxes grew large enough to 
leave the home den and make homes for themselves. 



Our first duty to a Bible story is to love it; its effect we may 
leave to the Divine Artist. 

— Richard G. Moulton, The Art of Telling Bible Stories. 

Stories for the young must be concrete representations of the 
True, the Beautiful and the Good; in other words, they must be 
works of art. 

— Hiram D. Corson, The Voice and Spiritual Education. 

There are many homes in which the children are being 
taught that all the stories of the Bible must be accepted 
as literal fact. The suggestion that the story of Jonah is 
a Jewish sun myth would seem dangerous and irreverent. 
The classification of the Old Testament as partly Hebrew 
folk-lore, partly a record of the development of the Jewish 
people, and partly an expression of their dreams and ideas 
about God, would seem a sacrilege. 

There are other homes in which the parents have turned 
away from the orthodox teaching and in its place have 
found no positive faith. They refuse to teach their children 
what they do not truly believe, so these children are grow- 
ing up without fundamental knowledge of the Bible. Their 
loss is irreparable, for, even laying the value of religious 
instruction aside, it is essential that these great old stories 
become a part of their mental equipment in their early years. 

There is a third type of home in which the parents 


discriminate between fact and truth. They unhesitatingly 
accept the Hebrew's valuation of his own great Book, and 
train the children to respond to the spiritual truths of the 
Bible stories, without confusing them with interpretations 
which their reason will later discard. Every mother or 
teacher should study Mrs. Louise Seymour Houghton's 
*' Telling Bible Stories" ^ and develop the story groups for 
her own children from the Bible itself. The presentation 
should be so made that the children will be imbued with 
the spirit of truth, and a God-consciousness will be awak- 
ened within them which will deepen instead of weakening 
as their thought power increases. To teach them that 
truth and literal fact are identical is to undermine all faith 
in them as soon as they mature mentally. 

The beginnings of religion for the little child are in his 
first social relationships. Mother and father become his 
symbols of God. They, through the miracle of their love 
for each other, have called his life into being. Their 
protection is about him. Their gentle guidance opens up 
the ways for his development. It is through them that he 
comes to know for a surety that "God is love." 

Nature is another door through which his spirit finds 
God. When his heart is open to beauty, his mind filled 
with the mysteries of all life about him, a dim realization 
comes to him that back of all is some great power express- 
ing itself through these beauties and mysteries. The 
presence of God is with him everywhere. Wonder and awe 
at length become grateful worship. 

1 This book is written from the advanced viewpoint, commonly 
called "higher criticism." 

2i6 children's stories and how to tell them 

This religious spirit should be intensified through the 
use of the Bible stories. The ancient Hebrew idea of God 
is that of the little child, and this idea is expressed in every 
story. The Bible is the child's own book. The simple, 
stately language, the pictorial power, its elemental and 
hiunan quality, together with its wonderful God-conscious- 
ness, make it the essential food for his developing spirit. ^ 


This story, with its beautiful imagery and its vision of God ex- 
pressing himself through his creations, should be told to the child 
early, and repeated until it sinks deep into his consciousness. 

The simple, direct language can be understood by the child of 
four or five and it will hold his interest through the years as the 
mystery and wonder of Hfe unfolds to his growing mind. It holds 
no teaching which is at variance with the knowledge which 
science will bring to him. 

The creative power working patiently through the slow evolu- 
tion of the ages will only deepen his reverence for the crown of 
creation — human life. As he catches its message, he will feel 
within himself the dignity and power of a being who is a part of 
God. And no bitterness or cynicism can enter into him, what- 
ever the testing life may bring, because he will never lose the 
consciousness that each human being holds the spark of the 

This vision of truth and of power is the inheritance of every 
child, and this story of the Beginning should be so presented that 
he will not miss it. 

Ages and ages and ages ago, there were no people, no 
earth, and no moon nor stars nor sun. All was darkness and 

1 In Manual of Stories, WilHam Byron Forbush, p. 278, is given 
"a list of Bible stories and Bible story-books" which will be found 
helpful since it is classified under such themes as Chivalry, 
Generosity, Heroism, Patience, and a number of others. 


silence. But God longed for light and life. He said, *'Let 
there be light: and there was light." He made the day 
with its blazing sun, and the night with its moon and stars. 
The earth too. He made, with its rivers, its mountains, 
and its seas. 

Then because He had longed for life, that also began to 
be. Grass and flowers and trees grew upon the earth. 
Fishes, great whales, and thousands of moving things began 
to swim under the waters. Birds of every kind flew 
through the air. Animals roamed the forests and fields. 
But still the heart of God was not satisfied. *' Let us make 
man in our own image," He said. 

And God formed man of the dust of the ground and 
breathed into him the breath of life. Because he was a 
living soul, a part of God himself, God said to man: " Be- 
hold, I give you the earth and all that is in it. Use it and 
rule over it." 

Then God set the man in a beautiful garden, filled with 
trees bearing fruit, and with four great cooling rivers 
watering it. And because He knew that Adam — the first 
man — could not be happy without work to do, God com- 
manded him to dress the garden and keep it. He brought 
the animals before him and let Adam give them names. 

But Adam grew lonely. The trees and flowers, the 
animals and birds, even his work in the garden, were not 
enough to keep him happy. He longed for a comrade to 
share it all with him. God understood Adam's longings, 
and said: *'It is not good that the man should be alone; 
I will make an help meet for him." 

So God caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep, and while 

2i8 children's stories and how to tell them 

he slept, He took one of the ribs from Adam's side, and of 
it He formed a woman. 

When Adam saw her, he loved her as he had loved no 
living thing, for she was a part of himself and of God. And 
Adam called the woman Eve. 

They were happy in the garden because they loved each 
other, because they worked together to keep the garden 
beautiful, and because they loved God who had given them 
life, and a wonderful world in which to live. 


All children love the story of Joseph. Its pictures are vivid, 
the plot is simple but dramatic, the ending is happy. Joseph 
embodies the true spirit of brotherhood. His love was great 
enough to forgive and to help those who had been small of nature 
and cruel to him. Courage and faith help him to rise from slavery 
to riches and power. He saves the lives of his people, and meaning 
and purpose are given to each incident of his life. It is not only 
the story of brotherhood, but of the development of character 
through suffering. 

Long ago, in the land of Canaan, there lived a rich 
shepherd and farmer called Jacob. He had great flocks 
and many servants. He had also twelve sons, and the best 
loved of his sons was Joseph. Perhaps it was because 
Joseph himself was always gentle and obedient; perhaps it 
was because of his beautiful mother, Rachel, who had died 
when the Uttle brother Benjamin was born ; but at any rate, 
Jacob loved Joseph deeply and tenderly. 

His brothers grew angry and jealous because of this 
great love. *' Our father will give him all of his riches, and 
make him ruler over us," they said. 


When Joseph was seventeen years old, his father gave 
him a beautiful coat of many colors. He walked among 
his brothers dressed like a prince, and they grew more 
jealous and angry still. Sometimes he talked to them of 
strange dreams he had, which seemed to mean that some 
day he would be more rich and powerful than they. This 
made them hate him bitterly. 

At last, one day when they had driven their flocks to 
pastures which were far away from home, Jacob called 
Joseph to him and said: ''Go see whether it be well with 
thy brethren and with the flocks; and bring me word again." 

Joseph was always glad to serve his father, so he set out 
toward Shechem to find his brothers. But they had driven 
their flocks still farther away, and Joseph wandered in the 
fields for a long time before he came to them. 

When they saw him afar off, the jealousy which had 
been making their hearts more wicked each day grew into 
hatred so black that they began to plan to murder their 
own brother. But Reuben, the oldest of the brethren, 
determined to save Joseph if he could. He seemed to 
agree with them, and said: "Let us cast him into this pit 
here in the wilderness and leave him." He meant to 
return, however, and send Joseph away home to their old 

As Joseph drew near to them, his brothers began to 
mock him. "Behold the dreamer!" they scoffed. *'Let us 
now see what will become of his dreams!" They caught 
him and with rough hands stripped off his beautiful coat, 
and threw him into the deep pit. Then they sat near and 
ate their food, laughing at Joseph's cries and pleadings. 


While they sat there, a caravan of merchants came along 
the highway. Their camels were loaded with spices and 
myrrh which they were carrying down into Egypt. 

"Come," said Judah, "let us sell Joseph to these 
Ishmaelites. They will carry him down into Egypt, and 
we shall never see him again. We shall be rid of him, and 
still we shall not have his blood upon our hands." 

The brethren agreed, and lifted Joseph from the pit. He 
begged most piteously to be allowed to go back home, but 
they hardened their hearts, and sold him for twenty pieces 
of silver. Then the Ishmaelites set him upon a camel, and 
carried him away into the strange land of Egypt. 

Reuben came back to the pit and found Joseph gone. 
He rent his clothes in his great grief, but the other 
brethren said: "We are well rid of him. Now he will 
never rule over us." 

They took Joseph's coat and tore it, then dipped it in 
the blood of a kid so that their father would think some wild 
beast had slain his son. When Jacob saw the coat, he 
mourned most piteously. 

Meantime, the Ishmaelites continued their journey 
down into Egypt, carrying the lonely lad. But God com- 
forted him in his dreams. He remembered too the teaching 
of his father, and faith and courage stayed in his heart. 

When they arrived in Egypt, Joseph was sold to 
Potiphar, who was an officer of the king, called Pharaoh. 
Soon Joseph's gentle ways and comely looks caused him 
to be loved and trusted by all. Whatever he did prospered, 
so the Egyptian captain saw that God was with him, and 
he made him the overseer of his house. There Joseph 


learned the customs of the land, he learned to command 
men, and learned the needs of the country. 

But the happy, prosperous days soon came to an end. 
The wife of Potiphar filled her husband's mind with wicked 
lies concerning Joseph, and caused him to be thrown into 
prison. Some servants of Pharaoh who had angered him 
were in the prison at this time, and Joseph talked with them 
so wisely that they knew that his knowledge came from God. 

Two long years went by, and at last Pharaoh was 
troubled by strange dreams and needed counsel. The 
chief butler, who had been in the prison with Joseph, 
remembered his great wisdom. "Send for that young 
Hebrew prisoner," he said to King Pharaoh; "he will 
interpret your dream." 

Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph. He was brought 
from his dungeon and placed before the king. He listened 
to the king's strange dream of seven lean kine coming from 
the river and devouring seven fat kine; of seven blasted 
ears of corn springing up and devouring seven ears that 
were full and good. And God gave Joseph the wisdom to 
know the meaning of the dream. 

"O King," he said, "there are seven years of great 
plenty at hand, but these seven years will be followed by 
seven years of famine in the land. Let the king command 
that food be gathered and stored during the seven years 
of plenty." 

Pharaoh believed Joseph's words and made him chief 
ruler in the land. Only the king himself was greater than 
he. He gave him riches and power, and the high-born 
maiden, Asenath, for his wife. 


In the seven years that followed, Joseph caused great 
storehouses to be built and filled with grain, so when the 
years of famine came there was bread in Egypt, but in no 
other land. People came from all the neighboring coun- 
tries into Egypt to buy bread. 

Now the aged Jacob heard that there was bread in Egypt 
so he sent his ten sons thither. Benjamin, the youngest 
son, he sent not. He feared that evil might befall this 
other son of his beloved Rachel, the mother of Joseph. 

The ten brethren journeyed down to Egypt, and stood 
before the governor of the land. They bowed down before 
him, not knowing that the rich and powerful governor 
was their own brother whom they had sold to the 
Ishmaelites long years before. But Joseph knew them, 
and he remembered the dreams of his boyhood. He felt 
glad for all the strange, hard things which had come to him, 
because through them this day had become possible. 

His heart yearned for his own people, but he wished to 
test his brothers, so he spoke to them roughly and accused 
them of being spies. "Ye say ye have a younger brother 
at home. Go fetch him hither that I may know ye are 
true men." 

When they would not promise to fetch Benjamin, he 
threw them into prison for three days. Then they stood 
before him again, and at first talked among themselves in 
deep distress. At last they told Joseph about their brother 
whose anguish they had not heeded when they sold him 
into slavery long years before. ''It is because of our guilt 
that this sorrow has come upon us," they said. 

Joseph went out from them and wept at their words, but 


he felt that the time had not yet come for him to make 
himself known to them. So he caused Simeon to be bound 
and kept as an hostage, then he filled their sacks with corn 
and sent them back to Canaan. But every man's money 
was secretly placed in the mouth of his sack. 

The brethren were filled with wonder and fear when 
they found it there. They returned to Jacob, their father, 
and told him all that had befallen them; and his heart was 
troubled for his children. 

At last the food was all gone, and unless they would 
starve they must return to Egypt, so Jacob at last con- 
sented to send Benjamin with them as the strange man had 
demanded. He sent rich presents, too, and double the 
money for the grain he wanted to buy, hoping thus to 
please the powerful governor. 

When at last the brethren stood before Joseph, and he 
saw Benjamin with them, he ordered the ruler of his house 
to make ready a great feast for them. They bowed them- 
selves to the ground before him, and told him of the money 
in their sacks. 

"Fear not," he said, "the God of your father hath given 
you treasure." 

He brought out to them Simeon, whom he had kept as an 
hostage, and treated them with great kindness. At last 
he sent them on their way again, and as before, 
every man's money was placed in his sack. But in 
the sack of Benjamin, Joseph's own drinking cup was 

When they had gone out of the city, Joseph sent his 
steward after them, and he said: "Wherefore have ye 


rewarded evil for good? Ye have taken away the cup from 
which my lord drinketh." 

He compelled them to open their sacks, and when the cup 
was found in the sack of Benjamin, they cried out in great 
distress, and hastened back to the city. They threw them- 
selves at Joseph's feet and begged for the liberty of their 
young brother. 

Judah said: ^'His brother is dead, and he alone is left 
of his mother, and his father loveth him." Judah begged 
that he be made a servant in the lad's place. 

Then Joseph knew that their hearts were no more filled 
with jealousy and selfishness, and he cried out to them: "I 
am Joseph, your brother. Grieve no more that ye sold me 
hither, for God did send me before you to preserve life." 

Then he kissed his brethren and showed great love for 
them. "Go," he said, "fetch our father and all your 
households down from Canaan. The best part of the land 
of Egypt shall be yours." 

Joseph's brethren did as he conunanded. They 
journeyed down into Egypt, and made their homes there. 
Then at last Jacob held Joseph's children in his arms and 
blessed them, and there was great happiness between them 
throughout all their days. 


The children of Israel lived for many years in the land 
of Egypt. Joseph, his father, and his brethren died there. 
The king who had been their friend grew old and died also. 
Year by year, the Israelites grew stronger, richer, and 


more powerful. At last the Egyptians grew jealous of 

"These strangers have the best of our land," they com- 
plained. " They are growing so many and so powerful that 
they will soon take the whole land and will rule over us." 

At last, King Pharaoh sent out a proclamation that 
every boy born in the home of a Hebrew should be put to 
death. He thought that in this cruel way he would stop 
the growth of these people. The poor mothers wept bit- 
terly, and hid their children from the officers of the king. 

Now, about this time, there was born in the home of one 
of the Hebrews a little boy who was a strong and beautiful 
child. His mother kept him hidden until he was three 
months old. Then she grew afraid that the cruel Egyptians 
might come to her home and find him, so she went down 
to the river and gathered bulrushes. These she wove into 
a basket, or ark, and daubed it with mud and pitch, so 
the water could not come into it; then she took her baby 
boy and laid him carefully in it. She took the ark and hid 
it in the rushes on the edge of the river. His little sister 
stood afar off and kept watch to see what would happen 
to the child. 

By and by, the daughter of Pharaoh and her maidens 
came down to the river to bathe. As the princess walked 
along the river side she saw the ark hidden in the rushes 
and she sent her maidens to fetch it. She opened the ark 
of rushes and the child stretched out his arms to her. The 
princess lifted him from the ark and held him close to her 
heart. As she looked into his baby face, she was filled with 
pity and love for the beautiful boy. 

226 children's stories and how to tell them 

" This is one of the Hebrew's children," she said. " Some 
poor mother has hidden him here. He is a splendid child; 
I will take him and bring him up as my own son." 

Just then the little sister drew near and heard what the 
princess said. Her heart was filled with joy. 

*' Shall I go and call a nurse of the Hebrew women that 
she may nurse the child for thee?" 

The princess smiled. " Go, " she said. 

The maid ran swiftly to her mother and told her all that 
had happened. Trembling with joy, the mother hurried 
to the princess, and the child was placed into the arms of 
his own mother. 

''Nurse this child for me and I will give thee thy wage," 
said the princess. *'His name shall be called Moses, be- 
cause I drew him out of the water." 

So, loved and tended by his own mother, Moses grew up 
in the palace of the king, and he was treated as the son of 
the princess. He grew to be strong and powerful, but he 
never turned from his own people, the Hebrews. Long 
years after, when he had grown wise enough to be a great 
leader, he took his people out of Egypt, back into their 
own land. 


The dauntless courage of youth, the appeal of bodily strength, 
the thrill of the terrible giant, the overthrowing of the seemingly 
invincible warrior with the boy's famiHar weapons, all unite to 
make this a perfect story for children. But better still is 
the inspiration of the hero who wins because his cause is right and 
because his trust is in the God of hosts. 

Long ago, in the land of Bethlehem, there lived a man 


named Jesse, who had eight stalwart sons. The youngest 
of these sons was David. 

Even as a little lad, David was ruddy, beautiful of 
countenance, and strong of body. When his older brothers 
drove the flocks to the fields, he ran with them. Each day 
as he leaped over the hillsides, listened to the gurgling 
water in the brooks, and the songs of birds in the trees, he 
grew stronger of limb, and more filled with joy and courage. 
Sometimes he made songs of the beautiful things he saw 
and heard. His eye was keen, his hands strong, and his 
aim sure. When he fitted a stone into his sling, he never 
missed the mark at which he threw it. 

As he grew older, he was given the care of a part of the 
flocks. One day as he lay on the hillside keeping watch 
over his sheep, a lion rushed out of the woods and seized a 
lamb. David leaped to his feet and ran forward. He had 
no fear in his heart, no thought but to save the lamb. He 
sprang upon the lion, seized him by his hairy head, and 
with no weapon but the staff in his strong young hands, he 
slew him. Another day, a bear came down upon them. 
Him also, David slew. 

Now, soon after this, the Philistines marshaled their 
armies and came across the hills to drive the children of 
Israel away from their homes. King Saul gathered his 
armies and went out to meet them. David's three oldest 
brothers went with the king, but David was left at home 
to tend the sheep. " Thou art too young; stay thou in the 
fields and keep the flocks safe," they said to David. 

Forty days went by, and no news of the battle came; so 
Jesse called David to him and said: "Take thou this food 


for thy brethren, and go up to the camp to see how they 

David set out early in the morning, and journeyed up to 
the hill on which the army was encamped. There was great 
shouting and the armies were drawn up in battle array 
when David arrived. He made his way through the ranks 
and found his brethren. As he stood talking with them, 
silence fell upon King Saul's army; and there on the hill- 
side opposite stood a great giant. He strode up and down, 
his armour glittering in the sun. His shield was so heavy 
that the strongest man in King Saul's army could not have 
lifted it, and the sword at his side was so great that the 
strongest arm could not have wielded it. 

"It is the great giant, Goliath," David's brethren told 
him. " Each day he strides over the hill and calls out his 
challenge to the men of Israel, but no man amongst us 
dares to stand before him." 

*' What ! Are the men of Israel afraid? " asked David. 
"Will they let this Philistine defy the armies of the living 
God? Will no one go forth to meet him? " He turned from 
one to another, questioning them. 

Eliab, David's oldest brother, heard him and was angry. 
"Thou art naughty and proud of heart," he said. "Thou 
hast stolen away from home thinking to see a great battle. 
With whom hast thou left the sheep? " 

"The keeper hath charge of them; and our father, 
Jesse, sent me hither; and my heart is glad that I am 
come," answered David. "I myself will go forth to meet 
this giant. The God of Israel will go with me, for I have 
no fear of Goliath nor of all his hosts!'* 


The men standing near hastened to the tent of King 
Saul and told him of David's words. 

"Let him stand before me," commanded the king. 

When David was brought into his presence, and Saul 
saw that he was but a youth, he attempted to dissuade 
him. But David told him how he had slain the lion and 
the bear with his naked hands. "The Lord who delivered 
me from them will deliver me out of the hand of this 
Philistine," he said. 

Then King Saul said: " Go, and the Lord go with thee!" 

He had his own armour fetched for David; his helmet 
of brass, his coat of mail, and his own sword. But David 
said: "I cannot fight with these. I am not skilled in their 
use." He put them from him, for he knew that each man 
must win his battles with his own weapons. 

Then he took his staff in his hand, his shepherd's bag 
and sling he hung at his side, and he set out from the camp 
of Israel. He ran lightly down the hillside, and when he 
came to the brook which ran at the foot of the hill, he 
stooped, and choosing five smooth stones from the brook, 
dropped them into his bag. 

The army of King Saul upon one hill, and the host of the 
Philistines upon the other, looked on in silent wonder. 
The great giant strode toward David, and when Goliath 
saw that he was but a youth, ruddy and fair of counte- 
nance, his anger knew no bounds. 

"Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves?" 
he shouted. "Do the men of Israel make mock of me to 
send a child against me? Turn back, thou stripling, or I 
will give thy flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts 


of the field!" Then Goliath cursed David in the name 
of all his gods. 

But no fear came to David's heart. He called out 
bravely: "Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a 
spear, and with a shield : but I come to thee in the name 
of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom 
thou hast defied. This day will the Lord deliver thee into 
mine hands; and I will smite thee, that all the earth may 
know that there is a God in Israel!" 

Then Goliath rushed forward to meet David, and David 
ran still more swiftly to meet the giant. He put his hand 
into his bag, and took one of the stones from it. He fitted 
it into his sling, and his keen eye found the place in the 
giant's forehead where the helmet joined. He drew his 
sling, and with all the force of his strong right arm, he 
hurled the stone. 

It whizzed through the air, and struck deep into 
Goliath's forehead. His huge body tottered — then fell 
crashing to the ground. As he lay with his face upon the 
earth, David ran swiftly to his side, drew forth the 
giant's own sword, and severed his huge head from his 

When the army of Israel saw this, they rose up with a 
great shout, and rushed down the hillside to throw them- 
selves upon the frightened Philistines who were fleeing in 
terror. When they saw their greatest warrior slain by this 
stripling lad, they fled toward their own land, leaving their 
tents and all their riches to be spoiled by the men of Israel. 

When the battle was ended, King Saul caused David to 
be brought before him, and he said: "Thou shalt go no 


more to the house of thy father but thou shalt be as mine 
own son." 

So David stayed in the tents of the king, and at length 
he was given command over the king's armies. All Israel 
honored him: and long years after, he was made the king 
in King Saul's stead. 



History after all is the true poetry. 

— Thomas Carlyle, 

on Boswell's Life of Johnson. 

The biographical story is valuable, not so much for its 
historic teaching, nor for its dramatic power and literary 
quality, as for its presentation of the purpose and power 
of a hercttc life. This is especially true of our national 
patriot heroes. This tyj>e of story should be so developed 
and presented that even the small child must recognize 
the traits of character which have made the hero great. 

This series of stories from the life of George Washington 
is given as an example of the treatment of the historic 
hero, and particularly the patriot. History is full of rich 
material for this kind of story. 

The story of the cherry tree has been treated with levity 
and disrespect until it is sometimes difficult to make the 
student see that it may be presented in such a way as to 
leave with the child a lasting sense of courage in facing the 
result of a thoughtless act. The pictures are vivid and 
plausible, the childish heroism in telling the truth is not 
untrue to the after development in the character of the 
man — so whatever the facts may be, the story is full of 
truth. As we have reiterated, it is most important that 
the story-teller be thoroughly imbued with the power to 
discriminate between fact and truth. 


The story of the colt, likewise, may or may not be fact; 
but the boyish bravado, the sudden determination to 
conquer the untamed animal, the struggle and final 
courageous facing of his mother — whom he respected, 
feared, and at the same time loved and trusted — are true 
to type. Moreover, the type is that of the strongest boy 
of to-day, and so will appeal in a wholesome way to any 
audience from five years old to the early high school age. 
It is the embodiment of both physical and spiritual courage. 

Each story is so developed that the preparation for the 
important life work of the man runs like an unbroken 
thread through the series. Who can estimate the effect 
of this attitude of mind upon a child? Each step is but a 
building for a life work. Not a fixed fatahsm, but a vision 
of the meaning and purpose of seemingly unimportant 
events becomes a part of the child, and all unknowing he 
is learning to find his own way along the path of develop- 


George Washington's mother had some fine horses, and 
the finest of them all was a young colt. No one had ever 
ridden it, and it was allowed to gallop about the pasture, 
doing no work until it should grow to its full size. *'That 
will be the best horse on this farm. You must help me to 
take the best of care of it, George," his mother said. 

One day George and some other boys were playing down 
in the pasture. They were catching the horses and riding 
them. They all rode well, but George rode best of them 
all. He was very proud of his riding. "I can ride any 

234 children's stories and how to tell them 

horse on the farm. No horse can throw me," he 

"You can't ride that colt," one of the other boys said. 

"Of course I can ride him, but my mother allows no 
one to get on his back," George answered. 

"How could you hurt him? He is almost full grown, and 
you are not heavy. It's only that you know you can't ride 
him," they jeered. 

George's face flushed angrily, and as the colt galloped 
past him he sprang out and caught him by the mane. 
Then he swung up on his back. 

The horse was terribly frightened and rushed round 
and round the field. George clamped his knees tight to 
the horse's sides and clung to him. The colt kicked and 
plunged, but George still held on to him. At last the colt 
reared in the air and fell over backward. George 
jumped clear of him as he fell, and then stood waiting for 
him to get up. But the colt did not move. George began 
to feel frightened. He went over to the horse and tried 
to make him stand up, but he could not, the colt was dead; 
he had burst a blood vessel. 

As George stood looking down at the horse, he began to 
think of how sorry his mother would be because he had 
disobeyed her. "She'll never trust me again, either," 
George thought miserably. "I should have known better 
than to be so foolish. I was afraid to have the boys laugh 
at me. How can I tell my mother? " 

The more he thought of it the harder it seemed. At 
last he turned and walked away toward the woods. "I 
can't tell her," he thought. But suddenly he lifted his head 


and said: "Nonsense, I'm not a coward! I can tell my 
mother anything!" 

He walked quickly to the house. When he came into 
his mother's room she looked up from her sewing and 
smiled at him. " Where have you been, George? "she asked. 

"Down to the pasture. Mother," he answered. 

"Did you see our young colt? I think we must begin 
training him soon." 

George could not answer for a moment. His mother 
looked at him and said: " What's the matter, my son? '* 

"Mother," he said, "the colt is dead." 

"Dead!" Mrs. Washington exclaimed. "Why, I saw 
him only this morning, and he was not sick then." 

"It was my fault. Mother," George said. Then he told 
her all that had happened. 

Mrs. Washington listened without saying a word. When 
George finished she walked to the window and stood look- 
ing out imtil she had controlled her indignation and disap- 
pointment. Then she came over to George. 

"My son," she said, "I am glad you came and told me. 
Remember, you can always tell your mother anything. 
You were foolish to mind what the boys said. Never let 
the remarks of anyone affect you. Do the thing you know 
to be right, but if you do make a mistake, be brave enough 
to admit it." 

Many times when he grew to be a man George 
Washington remembered his mother's words. 

When George Washington was a little boy he lived on a 

236 children's stories and how to tell them 

farm in Virginia. It was a very big farm, and it 
took a great many workers to raise the crops and look 
after the horses and cattle. 

George Washington's father taught him to ride and he 
used to take George about the farm with him so that 
his son might learn how to manage things when he grew 
to be a man. When the boy was not riding or studying 
he played with the other boys on the plantation. He 
was very strong and brave, and while he nearly always 
made the boys obey him, he never buHied them or treated 
them unfairly. 

Mr. Washington had planted an orchard of fine fruit 
trees. There were apple trees, peach trees, pear trees, 
plum trees, and cherry trees. Once a particularly fine 
cherry tree was sent to him from across the ocean. Mr. 
Washington planted it on the edge of the orchard. He told 
every one on the farm to watch it carefully to see that it 
was not broken or hurt in any way. 

It grew well and one spring it was covered with white 
blossoms. Mr. Washington was pleased to think he would 
soon have cherries from the little tree. Just about this 
time George Washington was given a new hatchet; it was 
shiny and sharp. George took it and went about chopping 
sticks, cutting into the rails of the fence and whatever he 
passed. At last he came to the edge of the orchard, and 
thinking only of how well his hatchet cut, he chopped into 
the little cherry tree. The bark was soft, and it cut so 
easily that George cut it all around, then went on with his 

That evening when Mr. Washington came from inspect- 


ing the farm, he sent his horse to the stables and walked 
down to the orchard to look at his cherry tree. He stood 
in amazement when he saw how it was cut. Who could 
have dared do such a thing? He called the servants, but 
none of them knew anything about it. There was one 
little negro boy about the age of George. When Mr. 
Washington began to question him, he was so frightened that 
he could not answer. Mr. Washington grew indignant, 
for he was sure that this boy had cut the tree. As he was 
speaking to the child, George Washington came up to the 
group. He saw his father's face and knew that he was very 
angry; then he heard him say: *'Why did you cut my 

George stepped to his father's side and said: *'He did not 
cut the tree, Father. I did it with my hatchet." 

Mr. Washington looked at George. The boy's face was 
white, but he looked straight into his father's eyes. 

"Go into the house, my son," said Mr. Washington 

George went into the library and waited for his father. 
He was very unhappy and very much ashamed. He knew 
that he had been foolish and thoughtless and that his 
father was right to be displeased. 

By and by Mr. Washington came into the room. " Come 
here, my boy," he said. 

George went over to his father. 

Mr. Washington looked at him long and steadily. 

*'Tell me, my son, why did you cut the tree? " 

*'l was playing and I did not think — " George 


*'And now the tree will die — we shall never have any 
cherries from it. But worse than that, you have failed to 
take care of the tree when I asked you to do so." 

George's head was bent and his cheeks were red from 

"I am sorry, Father," he said. 

Mr. Washington put his hand on the boy's shoulder. 
"Look at me," he said. "I am sorry to have lost my cherry 
tree, but I am glad that you were brave enough to tell me 
the truth. I would rather have you truthful and brave 
than to have a whole orchard full of the finest cherry trees. 
Never forget that, my son." 

George Washington never did forget. To the end of his 
life he was just as brave and honorable as he was that day 
when a little boy. 


When George Washington was twelve years old he and 
his mother were living at Mt. Vernon with his older brother, 
Lawrence Washington. George saw the ships come sailing 
up the Potomac River and many times they stopped at 
Mt. Vernon. When George saw the sailors and heard 
them talk, he decided that he wanted to go into the King's 
Navy and be a sailor himself. Lawrence Washington had 
msiny friends in the Navy and he thought it would be a 
very good thing for George to do. 

At last, one day, a large boat came in. The captain was 
a special friend of Lawrence, and when he heard that 
George wanted to be a sailor he said: "I'll take him on 


my ship. He is old enough to go now. Let him be ready 
by the time I sail." 

Lawrence talked with his mother about it and persuaded 
her to give her consent and George was very happy. He 
packed his trunk and had the servants carry it on board 
the ship. Then he went over the farm and said good-bye 
to everyone, for the ship was to sail early the next morning. 

That night he came to his mother's room to have a good- 
bye talk with her. He found her crying as if her heart 
would break. "Oh, George! I can't let you go!" she 
said. "I can't give you up, you will be so far away; be- 
sides, I feel that it is not right for you to go." 

George talked and tried to make her feel better about it, 
but nothing he could say would change her. 

*' Well, Mother," he said, "I do want to be a sailor more 
than anything else in the whole world, but I am your son. 
You have loved me and cared for me all your life; I would 
not make you unhappy; I will stay at home." He ordered 
his trunk brought back to the house, and let the ship sail 
away without him. 

If George Washington had not loved his mother and 
wanted to make her happy more than to please himself, 
he would not have been here when his country needed him. 


When he was about seventeen years old, George 
Washington decided that he would learn to be a surveyor. 
He studied hard, and soon it was said, "That young Mr. 
Washington is a fine surveyor, he never makes a mistake." 

240 children's stories and how to tell them 

Not far from Mt. Vernon there lived a man called Lord 
Fairfax. He was a great friend of the Washingtons, so 
he said: *'Send George over to stay with me and survey 
my land. I should like to know how much I really have, 
and it will be a good experience for him." 

George Washington took his instruments and went to the 
home of Lord Fairfax. He set to work at once, living in 
a cabin in the woods for months. He tramped for miles, 
carrying his heavy instruments. Sometimes he slept on 
the ground. He ate rough food, and he grew hardier and 
stronger every day. 

George met and talked with the friendly Indians and 
they taught him many things — how to build a fire by rub- 
bing two sticks together, how to find his way through the 
woods by noticing the bark on the trees, how they fought 
in war time, how they crossed rivers and where the hills 
were tallest and the woods thickest. George Washington 
did not know it, but every day he was learning something 
which would help him later in his great work for his country. 

Lord Fairfax told everyone how well the young surveyor 
worked and how he never gave up what he had set out to 
do, so when the Governor of Virginia wanted some one 
to travel to the far North to carry messages, and to learn 
the truth about the quarrel which was beginning between 
the French and the English people, he said at once: *'I'll 
send that young Mr. Washington — he is afraid of nothing; 
and, too, we can beheve exactly what he tells us." 

So George Washington set out on horse-back, taking a 
guide with him and traveling to the far North. He found 
the French building forts on the land which he knew be- 


longed to the English. He delivered the message from the 
Governor, watched carefully the work which was being 
done, and set to work surveying and marking the lines 
between the French and the English country. Every- 
where the people were unfriendly. He was alone except 
for his guide, and he knew that his life was not safe any- 
where; but he worked on, showing no fear. 

At last one day an arrow whizzed over his head. " Lucky 
for us our work is done," he said to his guide. "We must 
start back to warn the people at home to be ready for war," 

That night they slipped away. They dared not stop 
to rest or build a fire to cook their food, but tramped on 
through the cold and snow. They came to a river and 
found it filled with floating ice. "We must get across," 
said George Washington. 

So they built a raft and tried to guide it across, but a 
great mass of ice whirled against the raft, and threw them 
off into the icy water. A swimmer less skillful and strong 
would have drowned, but George Washington swam until 
he reached the nearest island. There he built a fire in the 
way the Indians had taught him and dried his frozen 
clothing. Well he knew that no one would dare try to 
reach him that night. The next day he crossed on the ice 
and hurried into Virginia. 

When the English heard his report they began to make 
ready for the war that was sure to come. The King sent 
his soldiers sailing across the sea. "They'll soon make 
things safe and right," everyone said. The Virginians 
formed a company too, and George Washington was 
chosen to be their Captain. The English soldiers laughed 


when they saw the company. "What do you know about 
fighting?" they said. 

When George Washington told of the way the Indians 
fought, they only laughed more. *' They're only stupid 
savages; what can they do against us? " they said. 

So General Braddock and his men loaded their heavy 
wagons and marched away into the forests in their scarlet 
uniforms. But as the days went by they began to see that 
they could not get their loads through the woods. They 
did not see the Indians slipping silently through the trees. 
At last when they had traveled until they were exhausted 
they were attacked by the hidden Indians and the French 
who were using the Indian way of fighting. The Enghsh 
soldiers could not see any enemy to fire upon, and soon they 
grew frightened and turned to run. 

But George Washington and his soldiers hid behind the 
trees and fought in the same way the enemy was fighting. 
They fought so well that many of the English soldiers were 
saved. From this defeat they learned that the young 
Virginian Captain and his soldiers were not to be laughed at 
again, and everyone talked of the bravery of *' Captain 


Years went by and at last there came a time when the 
people of the country determined that they would make 
their own laws and have the riches of the land for them- 
selves. "The King across the sea has no right to rule us," 
they said, "we must be free!" Of course this did not 
please the King or the people in England, so a great war 


began— the Revolutionary War. "George Washington 
shall be our leader," the people here said; and he was 
given command of the army which they had formed, and 
was called General Washington. 

Seven long years of fighting went by. Sometimes the 
soldiers were without food, sometimes they walked on bare 
feet through the ice and snow, but they would not give up 
the fight any more than would their leader. "We must 
make this a great, free land for ourselves and for our 
children after us," they said. 

When they were discouraged, General Washington came 
and talked with them — he rode among them on his big 
white horse, and when they saw his face, so brave and quiet 
and stern, they would shout, " Hurrah for General Washing- 
ton!" With such a leader they felt that they must win in 
the end; and so they did. The day came at last when the 
English soldiers sailed away in their ships and left this 
country for those who had built it. They called the new 
country The United States. 

General Washington was made President of the country. 
He helped to make the laws, and helped the people to 
begin to rule themselves. 

After eight years he went home to Mt. Vernon. "I am 
an old man now, I must rest," he said. "Besides, others 
must learn to help. In a free country one man must not 
rule — all of the people must do it together." 

After a time he died, but year by year the people of the 
United States loved and honored him more because of all 
that he had done for his country. At last they determined 
to build a great monument to him and place it in the 

244 children's stories and how to tell them 

beautiful city which bears his name. Each state of the 
United States sent a stone to be built into the monument. 
Even England, the country against which he fought so 
bravely, said: *'We honor this man too, so we will send a 

At last the monument was finished, and to-day it stands 
in the city of Washington, pointing up against the sky. 
It says to every American: "Be brave, be true, and ready 
to serve your country as did this great American who lived 
so long ago." 



'Tis in the thriftful Autumn days, 

When earth is overdone, 
And forest trees have caught the blaze 

Thrown at them by the sun. 

— Will Carleton, Farm Festivals. 

The two stories in this Httle group, together with the 
Christmas stories which follow, may be taken as typical 
of festival or hoUday stories in general. A little fore- 
thought in preparing tales for special days and seasons 
will help the story-teller to bring home the truths appro- 
priate to the occasion with fresh and happy emphasis 
each recurring year. 


The story of Ruth and Naomi is one of the most beautiful 
in all literature. Though of course it must be classed as a Bible 
story, it is particularly adapted for use at Thanksgiving time. 
The harvest, the harvest feast, and the sharing with others who 
are less fortunate, should be emphasized when told at this season. 

In adapting it I have kept close to the Bible version, keeping 
the atmosphere, and wherever possible the simple, stately 
language, of the Bible itself. 

It came to pass in days long gone that there was a 
famine in the land of Bethlehem-Judah. 

246 children's stories and how to tell them 

"There is plenty of food in the country of Moab," 
said Elimelech to his wife Naomi. "Let us take our 
sons and journey there. We are not afraid to go into a 
strange land, and there will be all the more food left for 
our friends and neighbors here." 

So Elimelech, Naomi and their sons traveled down into 
the country of Moab and made a home for themselves 
there. It was a rich and pleasant land. The sun shone, 
the wind blew, the rain fell and the fields were full of 
grain. The busy, happy years went by. The sons grew 
to manhood and took wives for themselves from among 
the daughters of Moab. 

But when ten years had passed, sorrow came to the 
household. Elimelech and his two sons died, so Naomi 
was left alone in a strange land. Her two daughters-in- 
law loved her tenderly, but her heart longed for her old 
home and friends. She heard there was plenty in the 
land of Bethlehem- Judah, once more, so she set out to 
return to her own country. 

Ruth, the daughter-in-law who loved her most, jour- 
neyed with her, and they came to Bethlehem in the 
beginning of the barley harvest. 

Now there was a rich and mighty man, Boaz by name, 
who was Naomi's kinsman. When Ruth saw the reapers 
at work in his fields of waving grain, she said to Naomi: 
"Let me follow after the reapers and glean, that we may 
have food." 

"Go, my daughter," said Naomi. "Thy kindness and 
thy thought of me in my lonely old age will surely bring 
thee just reward." 


So Ruth entered the fields and the reapers permitted 
her to follow after them and to glean, or pick up the 
grain that the reapers had left. 

It was near the noonday when Boaz came down from 
the City and stood watching the work of the harvest. 

"Who is the strange damsel who follows after the 
reapers?" he asked of one of his men who was near. 

*'rt is Ruth, the daughter-in-law of Naomi," the man 
replied. *'She came back with Naomi out of the country 
of Moab, and today she came to us and asked to be 
allowed to glean among the sheaves. She hath continued 
even from the morning until now." 

Then Boaz commanded that Ruth stand before him. 

*'So thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the 
land of thy nativity, and come into a strange country to 
care for Naomi, who is old and alone? The God of Israel 
will give thee full reward. Go not to glean in another 
field, but abide among my maidens. Sit down to meat 
with them and I will give my men charge concerning 
thee. Take even of the sheaves, for have I not plenty? 
It is given me to share with you, and with my kinswoman, 
Naomi, in thy need." 

Ruth bowed herself to the ground before him. 

*'I thank thee, my lord, for thy graciousness; thou 
hast comforted me with thy friendly words," she said. 

So she gleaned in the fields until the evening. Then 
she beat out the grain and took it into the city to her 
mother-in-law, Naomi. 

When Naomi heard how Ruth had gleaned in the field 
of Boaz, and with what kindness he had treated her. 

248 children's stories and how to tell them 

her heart was glad within her. '' It is good, my daughter. 
Go thou with his maidens each day as he has bidden thee. 
The man is near of kin unto us." 

So to the end of the harvest Ruth went into the fields 
and gleaned of the barley and the wheat. 

When all of the grain was gathered in and the barns 
were full, Boaz held a Thanksgiving feast. The hearts of 
all were merry and they feasted until far into the night. 
Ruth was there in all of her youth and strength and 

"Because thou art as kind as thou art beautiful," 
Boaz said to her, "thou shalt never know sorrow nor 
want again. Thou and Naomi shall both come into my 
house, and thee I will have for my own dear wife." 

So Boaz took Ruth for his wife, and they all lived to- 
gether in great happiness. 


This story is from "The Story- Teller," by Carolyn S. Bailey, 
and is included by courtesy of the Milton Bradley Company, 
Springfield, Mass., the publishers. 

The vivid interest awakened by this story is due to Miss 
Bailey's skillful appeal to the senses. You fairly taste "that 
nice ripe piece of turnip" which Old Man Rabbit is eating. 
You feel the snug warmness of his "red wool muffler," as well 
as the cold of the whistling wind. You see the "little brown 
path," "the shiny red leaves," "the fat red ears of corn," "the 
purple turnips," "the yellow carrots," "the russet apples," in 
a delightfully harmonious color scheme. You smell the delicious 
pudding as it bumps and bubbles and boils. You hear the rusty 
dinner bell as it clangs out its call, but the author does not leave 
it all in the realm of the senses, for her real emphasis is upon the 
spirit of kindness which makes the true Thanksgiving. Those 


interested in story-telling will do well to study this story care- 

Old Man Rabbit sat at the door of his little house, 
eating a nice, ripe, juicy turnip. It was a cold, frosty 
day, but Old Man Rabbit was all wrapped up, round and 
round, with yards and yards of his best red wool muffler, 
so he didn't care if the wind whistled through his whiskers 
and blew his ears up straight. Old Man Rabbit had 
been exercising, too, and that was another reason why 
he was so nice and warm. 

Early in the morning he had started off, lippity, clip- 
pity, down the little brown path that lay in front of his 
house and led to Farmer Dwyer's corn patch. The path 
was all covered with shiny red leaves. Old Man Rabbit 
scuffled through them and he carried a great big bag 
over his back. In the corn patch he found two or three 
fat, red ears of corn that Farmer Dwyer had missed, so 
he dropped them into his bag. A little farther along he 
found some purple turnips and some yellow carrots and 
quite a few russet apples that Farmer Dwyer had ar- 
ranged in little piles in the orchard. Old Man Rabbit 
went in the barn, squeezing under the big front door by 
making himself very flat, and he filled all the chinks in 
his bag with potatoes, and he took a couple of eggs in 
his paws, for he thought he might want to stir up a little 
pudding for himself before the day was over. 

Then Old Man Rabbit started off home again down the 
little brown path, his mouth watering every time his bag 
bumped against his back, and not meeting anyone on 
the way because it was so very, very early in the morning. 


When he came to the little house he emptied his bag 
and arranged all his harvest in piles in his front room; 
the corn in one pile, and the carrots in one pile, the 
turnips in another pile, and the apples and potatoes in 
the last pile. He beat up his eggs and stirred some flour 
with them and filled it full of currants to make a pudding. 
And when he had put his pudding in a bag and set it 
boiling on the stove, he went outside to sit a while and 
eat a turnip, thinking all the time what a mighty fine old 
rabbit he was, and so clever, too. 

Well, while Old Man Rabbit was sitting there in front 
of his little house, wrapped up in his red muffler and 
munching the turnip, he heard a little noise in the leaves. 
It was Billy Chipmunk traveling home to the stone wall 
where he lived. He was hurrying and blowing on his 
paws to keep them warm. 

*'Good morning, Billy Chipmunk," said Old Man 
Rabbit. *'Why are you running so fast?" 

"Because I am cold, and I am hungry," answered Billy 
Chipmunk. *'It's going to be a hard winter, a very hard 
winter — no apples left. I've been looking all the morning 
for an apple and I couldn't find one." 

And with that, Billy Chipmunk went chattering by, 
his fur standing straight out in the wind. 

No sooner had he passed than Old Man Rabbit saw 
Molly Mouse creeping along through the little brown 
path, her long gray tail rustling the red leaves as she went. 

" Good morning, Molly Mouse," said Old Man Rabbit. 

"Good morning," answered Molly Mouse in a weak 
little voice. 


"You look a little unhappy," said Old Man Rabbit, 
taking another bite of his turnip. 

*'I have been looking and looking for an ear of corn," 
said Molly Mouse in a sad little chirping voice. "But 
the corn has all been harvested. It's going to be a very 
hard winter, a very hard winter." 

And Molly Mouse trotted by out of sight. 

Pretty soon Old Man Rabbit heard somebody else com- 
ing along by his house. This time it was Tommy Chick- 
adee hopping by and making a great to-do, chattering 
and scolding as he came. 

"Good morning, Tonmiy Chickadee," said Old Man 

But Tommy Chickadee was too much put out about 
something to remember his manners. He just chirped 
and scolded, because he was cold and he couldn't find a 
single crumb or a berry or anything at all to eat. Then 
he flew away, his feathers puffed out with the cold until 
he looked like a round ball, and all the way he chattered 
and scolded more and more. 

Old Man Rabbit finished his turnip, eating every single 
bit of it, even to the leaves. Then he went in his house 
to poke the fire in his stove and to see how the pudding 
was cooking. It was doing very well indeed, bumping 
against the pot as it bubbled and boiled, and smelling 
very fine indeed. 

Old Man Rabbit looked around bis house at the corn 
and the carrots and the turnips and the apples and the 
potatoes, and then he had an idet It was a very funny 
idea, different from any other idea Old Man Rabbit had 

252 children's stories and how to tell them 

ever had before in all his life. It made him scratch his 
head with his left hind foot, and think and wonder; but 
it pleased him, too — it was such a very funny idea. 

First he took off his muffler, and then he put on his 
gingham apron. He took his best red tablecloth from 
the drawer and put it on his table, and then he set the 
table with his gold-banded china dinner set. By the 
time he had done all this, the pudding was boiled, so he 
lifted it, all sweet and steaming, from the kettle and set 
it in the middle of the table. Around the pudding Old 
Man Rabbit piled heaps and heaps of corn and carrots 
and turnips and apples and potatoes, and then he took 
down his dinner bell that was all rusty, because Old Man 
Rabbit had very seldom rung it before, and he stood in 
his front door and he rang it very hard, calling in a loud 
voice: ' 

"Dinner's ready! Come to dinner, Billy Chipmunk, 
and Molly Mouse, and Tommy Chickadee!" 

They all came, and they brought their friends with 
them. Tommy Chickadee brought Rusty Robin, who 
had a broken wing and had not been able to fly South 
for the winter. Billy Chipmunk brought Chatter-Chee, 
a lame squirrel, whom he had invited to share his hole 
for a few months, and Molly Mouse brought a young 
gentleman Field Mouse, who was very distinguished- 
looking because of his long whiskers. When they all 
tumbled into Old Man Rabbit's house and saw the table 
with the pudding in the center they forgot their manners 
and began eating as fast as they could, every one of 


It kept Old Man Rabbit very busy waiting on them. 
He gave all the currants from the pudding to Tommy 
Chickadee and Rusty Robin. He selected juicy turnips 
for Molly Mouse and her friend, and the largest apples 
for Billy Chipmunk. Old Man Rabbit was so busy that 
he didn't have any time to eat a bite of dinner himself, 
but he didn't mind that, not one single bit. It made 
him feel so warm and full inside just to see the others 

When the dinner was over, and not one single crumb 
was left on the table, Tommy Chickadee hopped up on 
the back of his chair and chirped: 

"Three cheers for Old Man Rabbit's Thanksgiving 

"Hurrah! Hurrah!" they all twittered and chirped 
and chattered. And Old Man Rabbit was so surprised 
that he didn't get over it for a week. You see, he had 
really given a Thanksgiving dinner without knowing that 
it really and truly was Thanksgiving Day. 



I know he isn't make-believe 

But true as true can be, 
I've made up lots of good pretends 

But none so nice as he. 

He can't be anything but real, 

My Mama said, because 
The very soul of giving is 
Dear Mr. Santa Claus. 

— Anna Bird Stewart, The Gentlest Giant, 
and Other Pleasant Persons.^ 

Christmas is the world's joy time, because Love which 
gives itself unselfishly has chosen the season for its own. 
Santa Claus is the embodiment of the Christmas love- 
spirit, and Santa Claus is true, if love is true. 

To present this to the child, without leaving room for a 
later destruction of faith, is simply a matter of under- 
standing. To say that Santa Claus has been seen and 
talked with is a common mistake made by well-meaning 
grown-ups. No man has seen God, no man has seen the 
spirit of love which is of God. The sense of mystery is 
deepened and no joy taken from the child if he is told the 
truth — that Santa Claus is real, but that no one sees him. 

1 By courteous permission of the Wayne Publishing Company. 


The little song in Miss Bentley's "Music Primer" ^ gives 
the right presentation for the little child: 

"Jingle, jingle, tiny bells, in the frosty night. 
None may follow Santa Claus in his busy flight. 
No one ever speaks to him, but he is so dear: 
He just knows what children want, and brings it every year!" 

The child should be told that the pictures of Santa Claus 
show the way some artists imagine he looks; that the men 
dressed like these pictures and walking about the shops 
at Christmas time are merely playing Santa Claus. 
Children will catch the spirit of fun in this, for they too 
love to play Santa Claus. A group of children will dram- 
atize the whole Christmas experience — some being the 
toys, some the children who receive them, some the 
fathers and mothers and one Santa Claus. They will play 
this again and again, each time with increasing joy. 
Their imitations of the mechanical toys are truly mar- 
velous. This play brings an understanding that each 
person may in his heart be Santa Claus. 

The stories told should deepen in meaning as the child's 
consciousness grows. The jollity stories, such as "The 
Night Before Christmas," "The Shoemaker and the 
Elves," and "The Visit to Santa Claus Land," should be 
given first. Leading from the fun of receiving to the joy 
of giving, "Snowball's Christmas Eve" and "Nancy 
Etticoat's Ring" may follow. "The Christmas Visitors," 
the Bible story of "The First Christmas," and "Why the 
Chimes Rang," lead the child away from the Santa Claus 

Published by A. S. Barnes & Co. 

256 children's stories and how to tell them 

phase of love to the greatest love of all, the love which 
gives self in service. Thus his joy is deepened and his faith 
in the great reality made sure and lasting. 


{Adapted from the German of the Grimm Brothers) 

Here we have a tale that is a particularly useful introduction 
to a group of Christmas stories. The central thought developed 
in the following adaptation is that service given demands service 
in return. The Elves have come to the aid of the shoemaker 
in his need. As soon as he is able, he takes up his own work, and 
he and the goodwife plan the clothing which they think their 
helpers need. This variation from the old folk tale seems entirely 
permissible. In folk lore, it is a characteristic of Elves that they 
will leave the house in which any article of clothing is offered 
them — why, perhaps only the Elves or Brownies themselves 
know. The suggestion that it is because they are going away to 
help some one else came from a child who had heard the story. 
This explanation was joyfully accepted by the whole group, and 
seems such a reasonable and right one that I have incorporated 
it in my version of the story. 

The mystery, the subtle humor, and the picture quality of 
this tale make it a particularly successful one. The children 
never tire of dramatizing it. 

There once lived a ShoemaKer and his Wife who were 
very poor, and had to work hard to get money enough for 
food and clothes. The Shoemaker sat all day at his bench, 
sewing and hammering, making the shoes, while his Wife 
worked just as hard in her house. They tried to save a 
little money, but it was very little that they could save. 

By and by the Shoemaker fell ill, and all of the money 
they had saved was spent for medicine and food — at least. 


nearly all, for when the Shoemaker was able to creep about 
the house again he had just money enough left to buy the 
leather for one little pair of shoes. He took the money and 
went down into the town, bought the leather, and carried 
it home. Then he cut out the little shoes, but he felt so 
weak and tired that he could not work any more. 

"I must go to bed now and rest," he said to the Good- 
wife. "Tomorrow morning early I will come down and 
finish the shoes." 

It was scarcely light the next morning when the Shoe- 
maker came down to his work. He stared in surprise, for 
there on the table stood a little pair of shoes. 

*' Why, Wife!" he said, "did you make these shoes?" 

"Of course I did not," said the Wife, "I could not make 
a pair of shoes to save my life," and she was just as sur- 
prised as he. 

They looked at the neat little stitches and wondered 
much who could have made them. At last the man set 
them in the window, hoping some one might come to buy 
them. Sure enough, they were scarcely in the window 
when a man came down the street and saw them. "Those 
are just the shoes I want for my little girl," he 

So he bought them and gave the Shoemaker more money 
than he had ever had for a pair of shoes before. It was 
enough to buy leather for two pair of shoes. So that day 
he went down into the town again and bought more 
leather. When he came back he cut out his work, just as 
he had done before, then again he felt so weary that he 
went up to bed, saying that he would finish the work early 

258 children's stories and how to tell them 

the next morning. When he came down he found, to his 
surprise, that the two pair of shoes, all neatly finished, 
stood on the table. 

"Who can be helping us?" he said. 

*' Tonight we will hide behind the curtains there, and 
watch," said his Wife. 

So that night when he had cut out his work, and placed 
it on the table, the Shoemaker and his Wife hid behind the 
curtains instead of going up to bed. They waited, and 
waited. Ten o'clock came, but nothing happened; eleven 
o'clock, and still nothing happened. 

"I am so tired," whispered the Shoemaker, "I cannot 
wait any longer." 

"Oh, do wait just a little!" said his Wife. 

And so they waited until the clock went dong,dong, 
twelve times. At the last stroke of twelve, the door flew 
open and in came a troop of little Brownies. They 
scampered across the floor to the table where the Shoe- 
maker had left his work. Then they began hammering 
and sewing, making the little shoes. Soon they were all 
finished and stood in a neat little row on the table. Then 
the Brownies gathered up the scraps of leather, for they 
were neat little Elves, and they scampered off again. 

"Well," said the Shoemaker, "I had often heard that 
Brownies came to help those who needed it, but I never 
dreamed it was they who were working for us." 

"Nor I," said his Wife. "But did you notice that the 
poor little things didn't have any clothes? I should think 
they would be cold, these frosty nights. They have worked 
so hard for us that I think we should make them some 


clothes to keep them warm. I'll make them some little 
trousers, jackets and coats." 

''And I'll make them some shoes," said the Shoemaker. 

" Of course they must have some stockings too, and some 
little stocking caps," said his Wife. 

So they set to work. They stitched and sewed and 
stitched and sewed. It took a long time and hard work to 
make so many little Brownie suits, but the very day before 
Christmas the last little suit was finished. 

On Christmas Eve the Shoemaker and his Wife put the 
clothes and shoes on the table, instead of the work. Then 
they hid behind the curtains again, to see what would 

Just as before, they waited until the clock struck twelve. 
Then the door flew open, and in came the Brownies. They 
ran over to the table and began looking for their work, but 
of course they did not find it. Presently one Brownie 
picked up a little pair of trousers. He held them up and 
looked at them. Then he popped one leg down into them, 
and then another. The other Brownies capered and 
laughed and struggled into pairs of trousers too. They put 
on the jackets and coats, the shoes and stockings. Then 
they pulled the funny little stocking caps down over their 
ears. You should have seen their big, round eyes, and 
heard their giggles. 

Then they began dancing. It was such fun to hear their 
little shoes clatter that they danced and danced and danced. 
Finally they put their hands on each other's shoulders and 
danced round and round the room, out through the door, 
and off. 

26o children's stories and how to tell them 

When after a great many nights the Brownies did not 
come back again, the Shoemaker and his Wife began 
wondering where they had gone. 

" Perhaps the Elves are helping someone else who needs 
them," said the Shoemaker. "Of course I am well now, 
so we can work for ourselves." 

Perhaps he was right, for, at any rate, the Brownies 
never came back to the Shoemaker's house, 


The author of this story is unknown — I have vainly searched 
through many story lists in the effort to locate it. It is one of 
the favorite jollity stories. The children delight in adding to it 
all the toys which have interested them. It should be told 
with imitations of the noises of the drums and trumpets, and 
thus it naturally leads to a delightful dramatization of the 
mechanical toys which the children like best. 

Jack and Margaret were growing more excited each day, 
because Christmas was so near. They talked of nothing 
but Santa Claus. 

"Don't you wish you could see him? " they said over and 

One night, just before Christmas, Mother tucked them 
in bed and left them to go to sleep. But Jack wiggled, 
Margaret wriggled. At last they both sat up in bed. 

"Jack," Margaret whispered, *'are you asleep?" 

"No," said Jack, "I can't go to sleep Margaret, don't 
you wish you could see Santa Claus? What's that? " 

They both listened, and they heard a little tap^ tap on 
the window. They looked, and there, right in the window, 
they saw a funny little Brownie. 


"What's that I heard you say? You want to see Santa 
Claus? Well, I am one of his Brownies. I am on my way 
back to Santa Claus Land. I'll take you with me if you 
want to go." 

Jack and Margaret scrambled from their beds. 

"Come on, show us the way!" they cried in great 

"No, indeed," said the Brownie. *'No one must know 
the way to Santa Claus Land. Kindly wait a moment." 

Then the Brownie took something soft and thick and 
dark, and tied it around Jack's eyes. Next he took some- 
thing soft and thick and dark, and tied it around 
Margaret's eyes. 

"How many fingers before you?" he asked. 

Both of them shook their heads. They could not see 
a wink. 

"Very well, now we're off," said the Brownie. 

He took Jack's hand on one side, and Margaret's on the 
other. It seemed as if they flew through the window. 
They went on swiftly for a little while, then the Brownie 
whirled them round and round until they were dizzy, and 
off they went again. The children could not tell whether 
they were going North, South, East or West. After a 
time they stopped. 

"Here we are," said the Brownie. 

He uncovered their eyes, and the children saw that they 
were standing before a big, thick gate. 

The Brownie knocked and the gate was swung open. 
They went through it, right into Santa Claus's garden. 

It was a very queer garden. There were rows and rows 

262 children's stories and now to tell them 

of Christmas trees, all glittering with balls and cobwebby 
tinsel, and instead of flower beds there were beds of every 
kind of toy in the world. Margaret at once ran over to a 
bed of dolls. 

"Let's see if any of them are ripe," said the Brownie. 

"Ripe?" said Margaret in great surprise. 

"Why, of course," said the Brownie. "Now if this one 
is ripe it will shut its eyes." 

The Brownie picked a little doll from the bed and laid 
it in Margaret's arms. Its eyes went half shut, and then 

" No, it's not ripe yet," said the Brownie. **Try this one." 

He picked another one, and this one shut its eyes just 
as if it had gone to sleep. 

"We'll take that one," he said, and he dropped it into a 
big sack he was carrying. 

"Now this one cries, if it's ripe," he said as he picked a 
lovely infant doll. The Brownie gave it a squeeze, and the 
doll made a funny squeaking noise. 

"Not quite ripe," he said, and he put it back into the 
bed. He tried several others, and he picked a good many. 
Some of them cried, some said " Mamma" and ''Papa," and 
some danced when they were wound up. 

"Oh, do come over here, Margaret!" Jack called. 

Margaret ran over to another bed and there were drums 
— big drums, little drums and middle sized drums; yellow 
drums, blue drums, green drums, red drums. 

"Can we gather some of these?" said Jack to the 

"Why, of course. Let's see if this one is ripe." 


The Brownie took up a little red drum, and gave it a 
thump with a drum stick. But it made such a queer sound 
that Jack and Margaret both laughed out loud. The little 
red drum was put back into the bed, and the Brownie tried 
another big one. It went Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! 
Boom! and Jack and Margaret marched all along the bed, 
keeping step to it. 

When they had finished picking drimis, they went over 
to a bed filled with horns. That was the most fun of all. 
Some of them made very queer noises, and on some the 
Brownie played jolly little tunes. 

The next bed they came to was filled with toys which 
could be wound up. There were trains, automobiles, 
dancing dolls, climbing monkeys, hopping birds, funny 
wobbling ducks, and every kind of toy you could think of. 
The children stayed at this bed for a long time. 

At last Margaret said: "But where is Santa Claus? 
We wanted to see him." 

''Oh, to be sure," said the Brownie. "Come along," 
and he led them down a long, winding walk, to the edge of 
the garden. Then he pointed to a hill in the distance. 

"Do you see that large white house? There is where 
he lives." 

The children stared at it. It was so white that it seemed 
to shine in the distance. 

"Walk right across here," said the Brownie, "then up 
the hill to Santa Claus's house." 

"Oh, must we walk across there?" said Margaret. She 
stared down at the deep dark chasm between the garden 
and the hill; across it was stretched a narrow plank. 

264 children's stories and how to tell them 

"Walk carefully," said the Brownie, "and mind you 
don't look down; for if you do, I'm afraid you won't see 
Santa Claus tonight." 

"We'll be very careful," said Jack. "Come along, 
Margaret," and he took his little sister's hand and they 
started across the plank. 

They had almost reached the middle of it when Jack 
looked down. 

"Oh!" he said, and gave Margaret a pull. 

She looked down too, and cried "Oh, Oh!" and down, 
down, down they went. 

Suddenly they landed with a thump. They sat up and 
rubbed their eyes. There they were right in their own beds 
at home. Mother opened the door. 

"Are you awake, children?" she said. 

" Oh, Mother, we haven't been asleep. We've been to 
Santa Claus Land, and we nearly saw Santa Claus!" 

Then they told her all about it, and Mother just smiled. 


The idea on which this story is based was suggested by an 
incident from "The New Year's Bargain," by Susan Coolidge. 
The other incidents of the story have been, to a very great extent, 
developed by the children themselves. They even gave it its 
name. They made Snowball scratch the top of Santa Claus's 
boot, they had his head left sticking from Santa Claus's pocket, 
so that he might see everything that was happening, and they 
decided what gifts were given to each of the children. It is always 
the favorite story of the year in the kindergarten. 

Once upon a time there was a little girl whose name was 
Gretchen. Gretchen had a little kitten, soft and furry and 


white — so white that they called him Snowball. Gretchen 
gave him a soft basket to sleep in and took the best of care 
of him in everyway. But when Christmas Eve came round 
she was in such a hurry to be in bed before Santa Claus 
came that she forgot about Snowball, and left him out of 
doors in the snow and in the cold. Snowball came 
up to the door and said: "Meow/ Meow! Let me in, 
Gretchen!" But Gretchen was sound asleep and did not 
hear him at all. 

Then Snowball began looking for a warm place to sleep. 
At last he climbed up on the roof, and there beside the 
chimney he found a place where the snow was melting 
away. So he curled up against the warm bricks of the 
chimney and was just going to sleep when he heard some- 
thing far away, coming nearer, and nearer. It was the 
jingling of bells. Snowball opened his eyes and peeped 
over the edge of the roof, and there, dashing along across 
the snow, he saw Santa Claus in his sleigh. Quick as a 
wink, the reindeer galloped up on the roof, and Santa Claus 
stepped out of his sleigh, flung his pack over his back, and 
was about to go down the chimney, when Snowball said: 
"Meow! Meow!" 

"What is that?'* said Santa Claus. And he peered 

But Snowball was so much like the snow on the roof that 
Santa Claus couldn't see him. So Snowball put out his 
little paw and scratched on Santa Claus's boot. Santa 
Claus stooped and picked him up. 

"Why, what are you doing out here. Snowball? " he said. 
Snowball said: ''P-r-r-r! P-r-r-r! P-r-r-r-!'' 

266 children's stories and how to tell them 

"Oh, I see," Santa Claus laughed. "Gretchen hurried 
off to bed and forgot you. She wasn't going to let me find 
her awake. But come along, I'll take you down the chim- 
ney with me." 

Then Santa Claus opened his big fur-lined pocket and 
dropped Snowball down into it. But he left Snowball's 
head sticking out, so he could see everything that was 

Down the chimney they went, right into Gretchen's 
room. Santa Claus tip-toed over to her bed to see that she 
was sound asleep, and then he set to work filling her stock- 
ing. He put a beautiful new doll right in the top, and he 
was about to take Snowball out of his pocket and put him 
down on the rug by the fire, when he said : " Snowball, how 
would you like to go all around the world with me tonight, 
and see all the children to whom I am taking gifts? " 

Snowball said: "P-r-r-r-/ P-r-r-r-I P-r-r-rf' quite 

"All right, I'll take you," said Santa Claus. 

So he dropped Snowball back into his pocket and up the 
chimney they rose. Santa Claus stepped into his sleigh, 
whistled to his team of reindeer and away they flew over 
the snow. 

Soon they stopped at another house. Down that chim- 
ney they went also and into a room where three little 
children were sleeping. There was a brother, a sister, and 
a baby. Santa Claus peeped at them, just as he had at 
Gretchen, to be sure they were sound asleep. Then he 
filled their stockings. He left a fine new sled for brother, 
a doll for sister, and a big round ball for the baby. Then he 


said : " Merry Christmas I " and up the chimney they went. 

They drove swift as the wind, for wherever there were 
children Santa Claus stopped. All over the city, through 
the country — in fact, all over the world they went that 
night. Snowball had never dreamed there were so many 
children in the world. 

At last Santa Claus said: ^'Now, Snowball, there is one 
more place." 

Soon they stopped before a big, big building. There was 
no chimney, so Snowball wondered how Santa Claus could 
get in, but there was no trouble at all. Right in through 
the door he went, and into a big room in which there were 
rows and rows of little w^hite beds. In each bed there was 
a little child sleeping. Their faces were thin and white, for 
they were little sick children, and this was a hospital. 
Santa Claus tip-toed past each bed, and on each one he left 
a gift: on one a picture book, on another a nice, funny 
jumping-jack — something to make each one happy on 
Christmas morning. Then he hurried back to his sleigh. 
He picked up his sack and shook it — not a toy was left! 

*' Now, Snowball, I must take you home. I must hurry, 
too, for it will soon be morning, and it would never do for 
the children to wake and find me here." 

Then Santa Claus drove to Gretchen's house, took 
Snowball from his pocket, and put him down by the door. 
Then away he went, as swift as the wind. 

The morning light was just coming over the hills, and 
inside the house Gretchen opened her eyes. She remem- 
bered it was Christmas morning. Just like that she sprang 
from her bed, and ran over to her stocking. She took out 

268 children's stories and how to tell them 

her new doll, and hugged it close. Just then she heard 
something say: ^'Meowf Meow!^^ And she remembered 
Snowball! She ran to the door, and opened it. Quickly 
she picked Snowball up in her arms, and said: 

"Oh, you poor little kitty! I'm so sorry I left you out of 
doors all night! Were you very cold?" 

Snowball said: ^'P-r-r-rl P-r-r-r-1 F-r-r-r-V He tried 
and tried to tell her how he had gone all over the world 
with Santa Claus that night, but Gretchen couldn't under- 
stand him, so she never knew a thing about it. 

{Re-told from ^'Mother Goose Village^'' by permission) 

The changes I have made in this story have developed from 
the children's responses to it. I have purposely emphasized 
Humpty Dumpty's joy in playing Santa Claus, because through 
this experience small children may be led easily and naturally 
to the realization that Santa Claus remains true forever and ever 
to the people who find him within themselves. 

"Mother Goose Village," by Madge A. Bingham (Rand, 
McNally & Co., Chicago), is a very delightful collection of stories 
for small children. 

Humpty Dumpty and Nancy Etticoat were two of the 
happiest children in Mother Goose's village. They were 
happy the whole year round, but now that Christmas was 
so near, they were almost bursting with glee. They wrote 
letters to Santa Claus, and put them up the chimney; they 
talked and wondered about him until they almost forgot 
to go to sleep at night. 

One day, Nancy said: "Humpty Dumpty, I wish Santa 


Claus would bring me a little gold ring with a red stone set 
in it." 

"Well, let's write a letter and tell him," said Humpty 

So the children set to work writing the letter. When it 
was finished they sent it up the chimney. 

On Christmas morning Humpty Dumpty ran over to 
Nancy's house to see the ring, but, do you know, Santa 
Claus had not brought it! 

Nancy was disappointed, she could not help being; but 
Humpty Dumpty said: *' Never mind, Nancy, he'll bring 
it next Christmas. Perhaps we didn't write him in time. 
We'll send the letter earlier next year." 

When Christmas was coming around again, Humpty 
Dumpty and Nancy Etticoat wrote to Santa Claus and 

"Dear Santa Claus: 

Please bring Nancy a little gold ring with a red 

stone set in it. She wants it more than anything else in 

the whole wide world." 
And they signed the letter "Nancy and Humpty Dumpty." 

"There!" said Humpty Dumpty, as he sent it up the 
chimney. "He'll get it in time this year." 

On Christmas morning Humpty Dumpty again hurried 
over to Nancy's house. He was there when she took down 
her stocking. They pulled out everyting, clear to the toe, 
but there was no gold ring. 

This time Nancy Etticoat had to wink hard to keep back 
the tears, and Humpty Dumpty said: "I am so sorry, 
Nancy; perhaps he'll bring it next year." 

270 children's stories and how to tell them 

"No," said Nancy, " I won't ask him again. I'm sure he 
thinks it best for me not to have it." 

All at once Humpty Dumpty's eyes began dancing as if 
he had thought of something fine. 

"Just wait and see, Nancy, he will bring it next year, I 
know he will," he said. 

Humpty Dumpty went home whistling and chuckling 
to himself. He must have known a secret that made him 
very happy. If he did, he didn't tell a soul, unless it was 
his little black hen. 

He must have told her, for the very day after Humpty 
Dumpty was down in the barnyard feeding her, the little 
black hen made a nest and laid an egg in it. 

Humpty Dumpty carried the egg to the house, and put 
it into a basket. The next day there was another, and the 
next day another. Humpty Dumpty took each one and 
put it into the basket. 

On Saturday he went to see the Old Woman who "went 
to the market her eggs for to sell." 

"Won't you take my eggs to market to-day?" said 
Humpty Dumpty. 

"Why, certainly," said the Old Woman. "What shall 
I bring you for them?" 

"Bring me the money, please," said Humpty Dumpty. 

When the Old Woman brought him the money he put it 
in his bank; and week after week Humpty Dumpty 
gathered the eggs, and when they were sold put away his 

"Whatever are you going to do with your money, 
Humpty Dumpty?" the Old Woman said one day. 


Humpty Dumpty laughed. "It's a secret, a Christmas 
Secret," he said. 

At last Christmas time was drawing near again. 
Humpty Dumpty opened his bank, and took out his 
money. He carried it down to the Old Woman, and said: 
"When you are in London Town to-day, please buy me a 
little gold ring with a red stone set in it." 

The Old Woman came home that night with a small 
white plush box, and inside it was a lovely little gold ring 
with a red stone. She helped Humpty Dumpty tie it up 
with tissue paper and red ribbon. 

"Let's have some fun," said Humpty Dumpty, so he put 
that package inside another box, and they tied that box up 
with tissue paper and red ribbon. Then they put it inside 
of another box, and tied it up in the same way. How they 
did laugh while they were doing it ! 

That night, when Humpty Dumpty was sure that Nancy 
had gone to bed, he slipped over to her home. Nancy 's 
mother came to the door and Humpty Dumpty whispered: 
"Please put this in Nancy's stocking." 

"Why, are you Santa Claus, Humpty Dumpty?" said 
Nancy's mother. 

Humpty Dumpty almost laughed out loud. "Yes," 
he nodded. 

"Well, then come in and put the package in her stock- 
ing yourself." 

So Humpty Dumpty tiptoed in and pushed the box way 
down in Nancy's stocking. Then he sKpped out and hur- 
ried home to get to bed himself. He did not want Santa 
Claus to find him awake, you may be sure. 


That night when Santa Claus came to fill Nancy's stock- 
ing he looked puzzled for a minute when he touched the 
box that was already there. Then he winked and chuckled. 

" Oho ! " he said. *' That boy Humpty Dumpty has been 
playing Santa Claus, I see." He smiled to himself as he 
filled Nancy's stocking and hurried on to Humpty 
Dumpty's house. 

Humpty Dumpty was at Nancy's house bright and early 
the next morning, just as on the other Christmases. 

*'Come along, Nancy, let's see that gold ring Santa 
Claus brought you!" he shouted. 

"Oh, Humpty Dumpty," said Nancy Etticoat, "I'm 
sure he didn't bring it. I didn't even ask him for it this 
year, you know." 

"Well, I'm sure he did. Hurry up and let's see," said 
Humpty Dumpty. 

Nancy emptied her stocking, and there in the bottom 
she found the large box. 

" You see, Humpty Dumpty, this is the very last thing, 
and it's no ring," said Nancy. 

Then Nancy untied the ribbon and opened the box. Her 
eyes grew big when she saw the second box inside. "Is 
Santa Claus playing a joke on me? " she said. She was so 
excited she could hardly untie the ribbon. And when she 
opened it, and saw the third package inside, she was more 
puzzled still. But she untied this one as fast as ever she 
could, and there was the little white plush box, and shining 
inside of it was her little gold ring ! 

Nancy danced up and down in glee. "He did bring it! 
He did bring it!" she shouted. 


"I told you he would," said Humpty Dumpty, and he 
was as happy as Nancy herself. In fact, he was the hap- 
piest boy in the whole of Mother Goose's Village that 
Christmas time. 

"I'm going to play Santa Claus every year, if it's as 
much fun as this," he said to himself. 

{Re-told from an old German Legend) 

Once upon a time there lived a man and his wife who 
had but one child, a little boy. He was a lovely child — 
strong, well, merry, but best of all, kind and thoughtful. 

The father and mother were sometimes sad because they 
had so little money with which to buy things for their boy. 

One year when Christmas came round the little boy 
walked with his father through the streets of the city, look- 
ing longingly into the windows at the beautifully lighted 
Christmas trees. His father had only money enough to 
buy one large apple, a roll, and a single candle for the boy. 
*Xome, let's go home to Mother now," the father said. 

When they reached home the mother had kindled a 
bright fire on the hearth. It sparkled and glowed until the 
whole room was bright with the light. 

"Welcome home!" said the mother. "Here is a cup of 
milk for our boy. Now tell me of the wonderful sights 
you have been seeing." 

They drew near the fire and were talking merrily to- 
gether when there came a faint knock at the door. The 
little boy ran to open it, and there on the threshold stood 

274 children's stories and how to tell them 

another little boy. His face was beautiful, but he was 
white and tired looking. He was fairly shivering from the 

"Come in to our fire," said the little boy, taking the 
stranger's hand and leading him in. 

The father and mother welcomed him too. Then the 
little boy gave the Stranger Child half of his roll and milk. 
He shared the apple with him, too, and when they had 
finished eating he said: "Now let us light our Christmas 
candle. We have but one, but that will burn merrily." 

So the Christmas candle was lighted, and the father and 
mother stood smiling by while the Stranger Child and the 
little boy talked together of Christmas. 

By and by the Stranger Child thanked them for their 
kindness to him, and before they could stop him, he 
vanished into the night. 

A year went by, and in that year sickness and misfortune 
came upon the goodman and his wife. When Christmas 
Eve came around again, there was not even a penny for a 
roll, or wood for a fire. The little boy stood in the dark 
room beside the bed on which lay his sick father and 

Suddenly the door opened and a bright light fell upon 
the room. And there in the light stood the beautiful 
Stranger Child dressed in shining white and bearing a 
Christmas tree in his arms. Behind him were twelve old 
men. They were kindly looking men, with long white 
beards, and each had a great sack upon his back. One by 
one they silently placed the sacks upon the floor. Then the 
Stranger Child lifted up his hands and said: "I bring you 


blessings. Last year you shared with me. I return it to 
you a hundred fold.'* 

Then he lighted the candles upon the Christmas tree 
and was gone. 

The tree was loaded with apples of gold and silver, and 
in the bags were food and rich gifts. The father and 
mother, healed of their illness, rose from their beds, and 
they kept a Merry Christmas. 

As the years went by, they became rich. They were 
very happy together, but they never forgot the Stranger 
Child. Even when the little boy grew to be a man he 
always left his door open on Christmas Eve so that any 
little child who was outside in the darkness and the cold 
might come in and share his light, warmth, and Christmas 


Long years ago, in a little country called Galilee, far 
across the sea, there lived a man named Joseph, and his 
wife Mary. 

Mary and Joseph had been born in Bethlehem, of Judea, 
so when the king sent out the proclamation that every man 
should go up to his own city to be taxed, they made ready 
to go back to Bethlehem. It was a long, hard journey, for 
in those days there were no trains, nor swift, easy ways of 
travel. Joseph placed Mary upon their own little donkey, 
and walked beside her all the way. 

At last they came to the gates of the city, just at night- 
fall, and when they reached the inn they found that every 
room was full. Many people besides themselves had come 

276 children's stories and how to tell them 

back to Bethlehem in obedience to the king's command, so 
the little city was crowded. Up and down the street they 
went seeking a place to stay, but always the answer was, 
"There is no room." Joseph would not have cared, for 
himself, for he was a big, strong man and could have slept 
in the streets, but Mary must have a shelter for the night. 

At last the keeper of the inn said: ''You may sleep in 
my barn, if you like." Joseph made a bed upon the sweet- 
smelling hay, and Mary rested upon it, while the wonder- 
ing cattle stood around. 

In the night a very wonderful thing happened: a little 
Baby was born to Mary. And Mary took the Baby and 
wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in the 

Now in the same country there were some shepherds 
abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by 
night. As they sat talking together, suddenly a bright 
light shone round about them, and then in the heavens 
they saw an angel appear. They were very much afraid 
and hid their faces on the ground. But the angel said unto 
them: "Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of 
great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is 
born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is 
Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye 
shall find the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in 
a manger." 

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of 
the heavenly host praising God, and saying, "Glory to 
God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward 


When the angels' song had ended and the angels were 
gone, the shepherds arose, and went down into the city. 
There they found Mary and Joseph and the Babe, just as 
the angels had said. They fell down and worshiped Him, 
then went throughout the city, telling the good news to 
all whom they met. 

In a far away country there were also some wise men 
who had been told that this Baby would be born, and they 
had been promised that a bright star should lead them to 
Him. Night after night they looked up at the heavens, 
and waited for the sign. At last one night the star shone 
out, so they mounted their camels and followed it as it 
moved before them. It led them to Bethlehem, and stood 
still over the stable where the young Child was. Then 
they went into the stable and saw the Child with 
Mary, his mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. 
They gave Him rich gifts — gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 
Then they returned to their own country. 

That was the very first Christmas. Ever since that time 
the Birthday of that Child has been kept. "For the 
light, the truth, the way, came to bless the earth that 
day, long ago on Christmas." 



O, grown-ups cannot understand, 

And grown-ups never will, 
How short's the way to fairy-land 

Across the purple hill ; 
They smile; their smile is very bland, 

Their eyes are wide and chill; 
And yet — at just a child's demand — 

The world's an Eden still. 

— Alfred Noyes. 

Spring stories should always be supplemented with the 
actual experience with the awakening forces of nature. 
Bulbs should be planted in the autumn, and the child 
should watch their growth after their long sleep through 
the winter. Seeds should be planted, and their germi- 
nation followed. He should see cocoons open and the 
beautiful butterfly become free. He should see the 
birds nest and hatch their young. He should observe all 
phases of awakening life, and these observations should 
be deepened in meaning through song and story. The 
power of the unseen forces of nature should be brought 
vividly to him. 

If these simple experiences are rightly presented, the 
child will thrill to the joy of life and beauty around him. 
The great life-principle will take on new meaning, and 
immortahty, the ''dream stuff" of the soul throughout 
the ages, will become a part of his consciousness. 


{Re-told from Andersen) 

Once upon a time there were five peas in one shell. 
They were green, the shell was green, and so they believed 
the whole world was green. The sun shone and warmed 
the shell, the rain made it moist and cool, and the peas 
grew bigger and bigger. 

One day one of the peas said: *'Are we going to sit 
here forever? I'm getting cramped and hard from sit- 
ting still so long. It seems to me there must be more 
room outside." 

By and by, the peas became yellow, and the shell 
became yellow. 

*'A11 the world is turning yellow! How queer!" they 
all said. 

Suddenly they felt a pull, and they were torn right off 
the vine and put into a pocket, though they did not 
know it was a pocket, as they had never seen one before. 

"What do you suppose will happen next? " they all said. 

Just then. Crack! went the shell, and the five peas 
rolled out into the sunlight. A little boy rolled them 
over in his hand, and stared at them with big round 
eyes. "These are fine peas for my pea-shooter," they 
heard him say. 

Suddenly one of the peas felt himself shot out into the air. 

"Now I am flying into the wide world! Catch me if 
you can!" he said, and he was gone in a moment. 

"I shall fly straight to the sun!" said the second pea, 
as he too was shot away. 

28o children's stories and how to tell them 

*' Let's roll around and find a place to sleep," said two 
of the others, as they dropped from the pea-shooter. 

When the last pea was shot out of the pea-shooter, he 
flew up against an old board in a garret window, and 
fell into a little crack filled with moss and soil. The moss 
closed itself around him, and there he lay, unable to get 

"Oh, dear! This is horrid! It was much better to 
fly!" he grumbled; but grumbhng did no good — there 
he was, and there he stayed. 

Now in the garret there lived a woman and her little 
daughter. The little girl had been ill for a whole year. 
The mother worked hard all day long, and sometimes 
until late in the night. She tried in every way to make 
her child strong and well again. 

One morning it was spring. The sun shone in through 
the window, and made a bright spot on the floor. The 
mother pushed the little girl's bed close up to the window 
so she could look out, and so the warm spring air could 
blow on her face. 

"Oh, mother, what is this little green thing that peeps 
in at the window? See it waving in the wind." 

The mother stepped to the window and looked. 
"Why," she said, "it is a little pea that has taken root 
in the moss, and is putting out green leaves. I wonder 
how it ever got here? I'll give it some water, and you 
can have a little garden to look at right here by your 

All the day the little girl lay there watching the pea. 
It was so bright and green, and seemed to nod at the little 


girl, as much as to say: "This warm sun will make you 
grow too." 

That night the little girl said she felt much better. 
This made the mother so happy that she could scarcely 
go to sleep. 

The next morning the mother propped the little plant 
with a stick so the wind would not break it. She gave 
it more water, and tied a piece of string to the window 
sill, so the pea vine might wind around it. Very soon the 
tendrils began to curl around the string. Every day the 
little girl lay and watched the vine as it grew higher and 
higher. It seemed as if she could almost see it creeping 
up the string. 

One day a tiny bud came, and then a flower. The 
little girl was so excited that she sat up in bed; and her 
cheeks were as pink as the blossoms. Inside the house 
the little girl was growing stronger and rosier, and out- 
side the pea vine was growing and blooming. 

At last, one day, the little girl walked over to the 
window. It was the first time since she had been ill that 
she had felt strong enough to walk. She bent her head 
and touched her cheek to the flowers. *'You made me 
well!" she whispered. 

The little pea rustled his leaves, and his pink blossoms 
sent out a faint perfume. "I'm glad the moss shut me 
up herel" he thought. "This is better than flying!" 


Those who have read Saintine's "Picciola" will see that in 
translating and adapting it from the French I have departed 

282 children's stories and how to tell them 

from the spirit of the original only in the attitude of the Em- 
peror. The nurture and love that Count Charney gave to the 
plant, which brought about his freedom, is true to the original. 
That the Emperor was merely scornful of a man who could 
care so much for the life of a plant is not an essential point. 

Av^ray across the sea, in the land of France, there once 
lived a man whose name was Count Charney. He read 
many books and studied deeply about many things, and 
he decided that there ought to be no kings or rulers of 
any kind — that people should govern themselves. He 
talked much of this, until at last some one who heard 
him told the Emperor of France that Count Charney 
was planning to have him killed. The Emperor was 
very angry and sent his soldiers to arrest the Count. 
They carried him away and shut him up in a prison with 
great, thick walls, and windows so high and small that 
no sunlight could come in. None of his friends was al- 
lowed to come to see him, he had no books to read nor 
paper on which to write his thoughts, and he could only 
sit and think about the beautiful world outside, and 
wish that he were free again. 

For one hour each day he was allowed to walk in the 
courtyard, but this, too, was surrounded with walls so 
high that he could not see the people passing in the 
streets. He could not even see the mountains, which were 
nearby — he could only look at the blue sky overhead. 
He watched the floating clouds, he saw the birds fly past. 
"Oh! if only I had wings!" he said. "Oh! to be free, 
to be free! To see the trees, the flowers, the green grass 
again! Must I stay in here my whole life through? " 


Days and weeks and months went by, and the Count 
grew still more lonely and sad. He tried to write some of 
his thoughts on his linen handkerchief with a piece of 
charcoal, but that was not easy to do. Each day he 
waited eagerly for the door of his room to be unlocked so 
that he might walk in the courtyard. There he could at 
least see the sunlight, the floating clouds, the flying birds. 

One day, as he paced up and down, he saw that some 
loosened earth was pushed between the heavy paving 
stones. He was about to smooth it with his foot when 
he noticed something green. 

''Surely nothing could grow here," he said, as he knelt 
to look more closely. But there, pushing its way up 
between the stones, were two tiny green leaves. 

''What kind of plant are you, to try to grow here?" 
Count Charney whispered. "You poor little thing! 
You are brave. I'll fetch some water for you and help 
you all I can." 

He went to his cell and brought some of the water 
which had been given him to drink. This he poured 
carefully about the little plant's roots. 

The next day when Count Charney came to walk in 
the courtyard he hurried over to the spot in which he 
had seen the little plant the day before. The tiny leaves 
had unfolded and pushed up farther between the stones. 

"My poor little one!" he said gently. "You have a 
hard place in which to grow. Perhaps some bird dropped 
your seed here. You shall live as long as possible." 
And he brought some water again and poured it carefully 
about the thirsty roots. 

284 children's stories and how to tell them 

"What is your name, little green thing?" he said, as 
if to a child. 

Count Charney knew the names of many flowers and 
plants, but he had never seen a leaf shaped like this one. 
He remembered all the flowers in his beautiful garden at 
home, all the wild flowers in the woodland of his great 

"They have a place to grow and blossom," he said, 
"but you, ma pauvre petite — my poor little one! My 
Picciola, will you ever have a chance to bloom? " 

The jailer, passing near, heard him talking to the 
Httle plant. "Poor fellow, he's quite mad," he said. 

Day after day Count Charney tended the little plant. 
He was so interested, so pleased to help it grow, that he 
almost forgot his own hard lot. He talked to it and called 
it tender names: "My Picciola, my Picciola," he would 
say. That meant, "My Httle one, my beloved." 

The little plant grew and grew. It unfolded its leaves 
and waved in the breeze as gaily as if the hard stones had 
not been on either side of it. 

One day there came a storm. The wind blew, and the 
hailstones pelted down. Count Charney was walking in 
the courtyard when the storm began, but he did not go 
into his room for shelter. He knelt by the little plant 
and shielded it with his own body, so the hailstones could 
not strike the tender leaves. 

"Picciola, Picciola, what would have happened had I 
not been here?" he said. "You must live and bloom, 
my little one." 

When the storm had passed he took some wood which 


had been given him for a fire, and he made a frame which 
he placed around the plant. He took off his coat and 
hung it about the frame. 

''That will protect you if another storm comes when 
I am locked in my room," he said. 

The next day there was a tiny, hard bud on the tip of 
the stalk. Count Charney was quite beside himself with 

"A flower here! To think I shall see a flower again!'* 
he cried. That day he gave it every drop of his water. 

"Take it all," he said. "I am willing to be thirsty if 
only you will imfold your petals. What color will you 
be, my Picciola? " 

He could hardly wait for the night to pass, and for the 
hour to come when he could return to the courtyard to 
see his flower. 

Sure enough, the bud had parted so that the color 
peeped through. It was a pale, pinkish lavender. He 
spent the whole hour beside the plant. "Tomorrow I 
shall see you. Perhaps I shall know your name," he 
whispered as he left her. 

But when he hurried to it the next day he noticed that 
the leaves were drooping. 

"WTiat is the matter?" he cried. "I gave you water, 
Picciola; I have tended you so carefully. Shall I not see 
one bloom?" 

He knelt beside the flower and examined it carefully. 
He saw that the stem had grown so large that the sharp 
edges of the paving stones were cutting into it. It could 
not live unless the stones were lifted to give it growth. 

286 children's stories and how to tell them 

Count Charney rushed to the jailer, and begged him to 
lift the stones and save the life of the plant. 

"It cannot be done," the jailer said. "Only the Em- 
peror himself can give permission for those stones to be 

"But it must be done! The plant will die! Oh, let it 
have a chance to bloom!" Count Charney pleaded. 
But the jailer shook his head. 

"Will no one take a letter to the Emperor?" Count 
Charney implored. "If he only knew, I am sure he 
would command that the stones be lifted. It could do 
no harm, and the brave little flower would live." 

A young girl who was visiting her father in the prison 
heard Count Charney's story. 

"I'll carry your message to the Emperor," said she. 
Count Charney took one of his linen handkerchiefs, 
and with a piece of charcoal he wrote to the Emperor, 
begging for the life of the flower. 

The young girl carried it carefully, and let nothing 
stop her until the letter was in the hands of the Emperor 

"Count Charney," said the Emperor, "is not he the 
man who was shut up in prison for life because he was 
plotting to kill me? Would the man who cares so much 
for the little flower take the life of his Emperor? It 
could not be. I will set him free at once." 

He called a member of his Guard and ordered him to 
ride to the prison, bearing the command that the stones 
be lifted to save the flower, and that Count Charney be 
sent to his own home again. 


Count Charney was permitted to lift the plant and 
carry it away with him. He set it in his beautiful gar- 
den, where it lived and bloomed. He took his little chil- 
dren to look at it, and told them the story of how Picciola 
had set their father free. 


Many teachers have told me that they have never been able 
to use this story successfully with young children. I have used 
this version with children as young as five, and it has been their 
favorite story. They talk of it, dramatize it — in fact, it is the 
most successful of my stories with them. 

Long, long ago there lived a woman whose name was 
Ceres. People sometimes called her "Mother Ceres." 
It was her work to help things to grow, so she worked 
hard from morning until night, tending the trees, the 
flowers, the grass — in fact, everything that grew in the 
earth; and in the autumn she helped the fruits to ripen, 
and made the grain ready for the harvest. 

She loved all the beautiful ferns and grasses, loved all 
the trees and plants, but much as she loved these there 
was one thing she loved far more — her little daughter 

Proserpina often helped her mother, and she, too, 
loved all growing things. When Mother Ceres went away 
to her work, Proserpina played in the garden with the 
flowers. Sometimes she felt that the violets and the 
lilies really talked to her and understood her well. She 
never felt lonely while they were nodding to her in the 

288 children's stories and how to tell them 

One day, Mother Ceres stepped into her chariot and 
said: "Good-bye, Proserpina, I have a great deal of work 
to do today, and must travel far. Play with the flowers, 
and be waiting for me when I come home." Then she 
swept away in her chariot drawn by dragons. 

Proserpina looked longingly after her mother. For a 
while she played about in the garden, but the sunshine 
was so bright, and the birds' songs seemed to call to her 
so gayly, that she left the garden and walked out across 
the green field. There were many beautiful flowers — 
violets, wild flowers, clover — and Proserpina began 
gathering some for her mother. 

By and by she came to a field of yellow wheat, and 
down in among the wheat bright red poppies shone. 
They bowed their silken heads toward Proserpina and 
seemed to say: "Come and pick us! Come and pick 
us!" She dropped all her other flowers and began gath- 
ering the poppies. They were so lovely and silky and 
red, Proserpina thought she could never gather enough. 
When she picked one bunch, another farther on seemed 
even more beautiful. 

By and by she saw a cluster which seemed lovelier than 
all the rest. "Oh!" she cried, "I must have these!" 
But try as she would, she could not break them. She 
caught them fast in both her hands, and pulled with all 
her might. As she did, the roots were loosened from the 
earth and a low rumbling sound was heard. 

Proserpina stood still, listening. "Can that be thun- 
der? There's not a cloud in the sky," she thought. 

The rumbling grew louder, and looking across the field 


she saw a great black chariot drawn by four coal black 
horses sweeping over the bending wheat, coming nearer 
and nearer to her. Seated in the chariot was a man, 
straight and tall and dressed in black from head to foot. 
Even his face was covered with a black masque. When 
he was close beside Proserpina he stooped and lifted her 
into the chariot beside him. 

She was frightened, and cried out: "Mother Ceres! 
Mother Ceres!" But Mother Ceres was far away and 
did not hear her. 

Then Proserpina grew silent and looked up into the 
eyes of the man. They looked back at her so kindly that 
she felt less afraid. "Who are you? Where are you 
taking me? " she said. 

"I am King Pluto," answered the man. "I have a 
wonderful kingdom down under the earth. I'm taking 
you there. You'll like it, I am sure. I have there strange 
and wonderful things which you have never seen before." 

"I do not want to go with you," cried Proserpina. 
"Oh! please take me to my mother. She will want me 

"I want you too, Proserpina," said King Pluto. "I 
have no little girl, and I want some one to love. Wait 
until you see the wonders of my kingdom. There are 
great red rubies — " 

"But I like red poppies best," said Proserpina, "and 
violets and lilies" — Just then her head dropped over 
against King Pluto's arm and Proserpina was sound 

King Pluto drove on and on, until at last he came to 

290 children's stories and how to tell them 

a large opening in the ground. Right into this he drove. 
A gate, guarded by a great two-headed dog, swung open, 
and passing through this the horses stopped before a 
beautiful palace. 

Proserpina was still sleeping, so King Pluto lifted her 
gently in his arms and carried her within. Then she 
stirred, rubbed her eyes, and said: *' Where am I? Where 
is my mother?" 

"Welcome to my home," said King Pluto. "I hope 
you will be happy here. See, all this yellow gold you 
may have." 

"But there is no sunlight," said Proserpina. "I love 
the sunlight." 

"Never mind," said King Pluto, "you'll forget about 
that by and by. You are tired and hungry now." 

He called his servants and they came before Proser- 
pina with strange, rich dishes, but she turned away weep- 
ing, and begging to be taken to Mother Ceres. King 
Pluto tried hard to persuade her to eat, for he knew that 
if he could do so Proserpina must stay with him forever. 

Now, up on the earth Mother Ceres was searching for 
Proserpina. Never since the evening she came home and 
found Proserpina gone had she ceased going up and down 
the earth asking always: "Have you seen Proserpina? 
Oh! can you tell me where she has gone?" 

The grass withered, the flowers drooped, the leaves 
dropped from the trees, for Mother Ceres had no time to 
tend them now — she could only search for Proserpina. 
In fact, she did not care whether the earth was beautiful 
or not, since Proserpina was not there to see. 


"The grass shall not grow, the flowers shall not bloom, 
the trees shall stand bare and brown until my child is 
found," Mother Ceres said. Failing to find her. Mother 
Ceres sat upon a stone by the wayside, with her head on 
her hands, weeping all the day. 

Now there was a great traveler named Mercury. He 
saw how weary and sad Mother Ceres was and he longed 
to make her happy again. At last he learned how King 
Pluto had carried Proserpina away to his underground 
home and he set out quickly to bring her back to the 
earth again. 

Down in King Pluto's palace Proserpina was weeping 
too. She would take none of his gifts, and tasted no food. 
At last he remembered that Proserpina had told him that 
Mother Ceres always gave her fruit to eat, so calling one 
of his servants, he sent him up to the earth to fetch fruit 
for Proserpina. 

The servant found the whole earth brown and dead — 
there was no fruit to be found on any of the trees. At 
last, however, he found one Httle withered pomegranate. 
Taking that, he hurried back to King Pluto's palace. 
"Here, Proserpina, eat this," begged King Pluto; "see, 
it is one of your own pomegranates. I had it fetched 
from the earth for you." 

Proserpina would not touch it, but King Pluto placed 
it near her and went away. It smelled so good that soon 
Proserpina took it in her hand. She lifted it to her lips 
and sank her little white teeth into it. 

Just then the door flew open and there stood Mercury. 
"Stop, Proserpina, I have come to take you home, but 


if you eat so much as one bite, I cannot take you. It is 
the law," said Mercury. 

"I only swallowed six of the seeds," said Proserpina. 

King Pluto laughed softly. ''For each of those little 
seeds, Proserpina, you must spend one month out of 
each year with me. Six months you may stay on the 
earth with Mother Ceres, but the other six months you 
must be with me here." 

"You have been very kind to me, and I know you are 
lonely here, so I shan't mind very much, since I may 
stay with my mother part of the time," said Proserpina. 

Then saying good-bye to King Pluto, she journeyed 
back to the earth with Mercury. 

As soon as her feet touched the earth the grass grew 
soft and green. Mother Ceres, weeping on her stone, 
suddenly Hfted up her head and said: "What is this? 
The grass is growing green, there are violets beginning to 
bloom, and buds too are on the trees. How dare these 
things grow when Proserpina is not here!" 

Then far across the field she saw the flash of a green 
dress and a little figure running to meet her. "Oh! 
Proserpina has come back! Proserpina has come back!" 
she cried joyfully. The birds up in the trees twittered 
and sang: "Proserpina is here! Proserpina is here!" 
Flowers ever3rwhere burst into bloom, the green leaves 
rustled in the soft warm breeze, and all the earth was 
beautiful and glad once more. 

And ever since that time, Proserpina has spent six 
months upon the earth with her mother and six months 
in the underworld with King Pluto. When she leaves 


the earth, Mother Ceres weeps, the grass withers, the 
flowers fade and the leaves drop from the trees; but 
when she returns, the buds, the grass, the flowers, the 
singing birds, and golden sunshine make the earth again 
a place of beauty and gladness. 


The natural facts of the life of the common cabbage butterfly 
have been used as the basis of this story. The symboHc thought 
of the caterpillar song in Froebel's "Mother Play Songs" has 
been developed in it. 

Mrs. Gatty, in "Parables of Nature," tells the story. Miss 
Harrison in her volume, "In Story Land," also has a version of 
the same story. My own version, offered here, has grown from 
the children's responses to the study of the growth of the butter- 
fly, and the dramatization of it into a game. All kindergartners 
have used the Froebelian game, but no group of children has 
failed to develop the game for themselves after the study of the 
nature facts, the song and the story. This story presents to 
them the mystery of the awakening and the continuance of life, 
and is the best of the Easter nature stories. 


Once I was a baby and 

Knew only baby talk, 
You were once a caterpillar 

On our garden walk. 

Now I wonder, — maybe you 

Could tell me, if you try — 
Do you talk in Caterpillar 

Or in Butterfly? 

1 From The Gentlest Giant, by Anna Bird Stewart. Used 
by the courteous permission of the publishers, Wayne Publish- 
ing Co., New York. 

294 children's stories and how to tell them 

Once upon a time there was a big garden. It was not 
a flower garden, but a vegetable garden. In it there grew 
potatoes, asparagus, beans, peas, and cabbages. Down 
on one side there was a strawberry bed and along by the 
fence there was a row of plum trees, all white with 

In the middle of the garden, on a cabbage leaf, there 
lived a creepy crawly, fuzzy wuzzy, green caterpillar. 
All day long this little caterpillar crept and crawled, and 
ate cabbage. He never looked up at the sunshine, nor 
out across the garden — the only world he knew was made 
of cabbage. 

One day a beautiful white butterfly came flitting over 
the garden and lighted on the cabbage leaf, close beside 
the caterpillar. He lifted up his head and looked at her. 
"How wonderful!" he said, as the butterfly flew lightly 
away toward the plum trees. *'0h, dear! I wish I could 
fly, instead of crawling in this slow way! It must be a 
splendid thing to have wings!" 

Just then he saw twelve little round green eggs on the 
leaf where the butterfly had lighted. "Now what shall I 
do?" he said. "That butterfly has left these eggs here 
and gone away. The baby butterflies will hatch, and who 
will take care of them? I don't know what they should 
eat, and I could never teach them to fly. Oh dear! Oh 
dear!" and he worried and worried about the baby 
butterflies that he was sure would come out of those 

One day the eggs did hatch, and out came — what do 
you suppose? Not baby butterflies at all, but twelve 


little creepy crawly, fuzzy wuzzy, tiny green caterpillars, 
just like the old caterpillar. 

*'Well, well," he said, "I should never have been so 
troubled if I had only known that baby caterpillars were 
coming out of those eggs! I know exactly how to teach 
them to crawl and eat." 

By and by, the old caterpillar began to feel very sleepy. 
Then he found that he could draw silken threads from his 
body, and he began winding them round and round him- 
self. Pretty soon, he had a house made for himself, and 
he went to sleep inside it. He slept and he slept, for 
days and days. 

At last he woke up, and thought he would like to come 
out of his house, but it was so tightly sealed that it was 
very hard for him to get out. So he pushed and wriggled 
until at last he broke a hole through the walls at one end. 
Then he dragged himself slowly out on to the cabbage leaf. 
After him, on one side, he pulled a white wet thing; and after 
him, on the other side, he pulled another white wet thing. 

"Whatever is this?" he said. "I didn't have those 
things fastened to me when I went to sleep!" 

Then the sun shone down on him, and the white things 
began to dry. He lifted them up straight, and just then, 
a little puff of wind struck him. He tumbled off the cab- 
bage leaf, and fluttered over to the asparagus bed. 
"Why!" he panted in excitement, "I do believe I've 
waked up with wings!" 

He lifted his wings again, and flew over to the straw- 
berry bed. "What a world! What a world!" he said. 
"It's not all cabbage, after all!" 

296 children's stories and how to tell them 

Then he smelled the fragrant plum blossoms, and 
somehow he knew that in them he would find something 
he wanted very much. So he flew over to them, and 
sipped honey until he felt wonderfully strong. Over in 
the field beyond the garden, he saw clover nodding in the 
wind. That smelled sweet too, and he was about to fly 
over to it, when he remembered the little caterpillars. 
He fluttered back across the garden, and lighted on the 
cabbage leaf, close beside them. "Eat and grow, little 
caterpillars, eat and grow," he whispered to them. "By 
and by you too will sleep, and you too will wake with 
wings! It is a wondrous thing to do! Now, good-bye, 
I'm off to see the great world!" 

He lifted up his wings, and flitted away, past the plum 
trees, and over into the clover field beyond. 


The children's love of "Sleeping Beauty" is not due alone to 
the appeal of the fairy element, nor the beauty of the little 
princess; the mystery of life which continues through the long 
period of sleep is a hint of immortaHty. The children respond to 
this thought far more than one would realize who has not told 
the story to them, then sat silent while they talked of it. When 
they have heard this story, start them thinking of all the things 
which sleep and wake, not by telling them, but by simple ques- 
tions, leaving them to think for themselves. They will cover 
the whole of animal and plant life and will press forward in 
their thought until the consciousness of the great life-force 
which causes all awakening becomes a part of them. 

In the wonderful days of old there lived a king and a 
queen. They had a beautiful palace; in fact, they had 


everything that heart could wish, except they had no 
children. "If only we had a Httle son, or a little daugh- 
ter!" they said. 

At last, a little daughter was born to them, and there 
was no end to the rejoicing throughout the kingdom. 
"We must give a great christening feast," said the king. 
"We'll ask all of the Fairies in the kingdom to come." 

Messengers were sent out, and preparations were begun 
for the feast. The king ordered the goldsmiths to make 
wonderful plates of gold set with precious stones for the 
Fairies to eat from, and other things quite as marvelous. 

At last, the day of the christening came. The twelve 
Fairies who had been invited were seated at the table 
which was laid in the banquet hall, the king and the 
queen were on their thrones, and the baby princess had 
just been brought in for the Fairies to kiss her, and give 
her their wishes, when the door flew open, and there 
stood an old, old Fairy. She had lived out in the forest 
all alone for so long that everyone had forgotten her. 

"What's this? A party, and I not invited!" she 
frowned angrily. 

"Oh, do come in!" said the king. "We meant to have 
every Fairy here. How did it ever happen that you did 
not get the message?" 

They gave her a seat, a plate was fetched for her, and 
servants ran to wait on her. But her plate was only of 
plain gold, while those of the other Fairies were set with 
diamonds and rubies. The old Fairy frowned still more 
when she saw that. 

Soon the Fairies began giving gifts to the little princess. 

298 children's stories and how to tell them 

"She shall be the most beautiful princess in the whole 
world," said one. 

*'She shall sing such lovely songs that the whole world 
will be glad for hearing them," said another. 

"She shall dance as lightly as the Fairies themselves," 
said a third. 

" She shall be so gentle and so kind that everyone shall 
love her," said a fourth; and so on, until eleven of the 
twelve Fairies had given the princess a wonderful gift. 

Now the old Fairy had been frowning more and more 
disagreeably at every wish, and the youngest Fairy of all 
suspected that she was plotting some mischief, so she 
slipped behind the curtain, and did not give her gift. 
When the old Fairy thought they had all finished, she 
stood up, and pointed her wand at the little princess. 
" I will give my wish ! " she snapped. " When the princess 
is fifteen years old she shall prick her finger with a spindle, 
and fall down dead!" 

"Oh! Oh!" they all cried. "Don't say that! Please 
take back your wish!" But the old Fairy would not. 

Then the youngest Fairy stepped from behind the 
curtain, and said: " I may not entirely undo what another 
Fairy has done, but I can change it. The princess shall 
not fall down dead, but she shall fall into a deep, deep 
sleep, and sleep for a hundred years. At the end of that 
time, the most charming prince in all the world shall 
come and waken her." 

The king and the queen were still not very happy, for 
of course they did not wish their little daughter to fall 
asleep for a hundred years. So the king thought and 


thought; then at last he said: "1 know what I'll do! 
I'll have all of the spinning wheels in the kingdom broken 
up, then our child will be safe. Of course she cannot prick 
her finger with a spindle if there are no spindles." So he 
sent forth the order, and soon there was not a spinning 
wheel left in the kingdom. 

Years went by, and all that the kind Fairies had wished 
came to pass. The little princess grew more and more 
lovely as the days went by, and all the other charming 
things came to her. 

At last her fifteenth birthday drew near. The king 
and the queen felt so safe, since all the spinning wheels 
were destroyed, that they had almost forgotten the 
prophecy of the old Fairy. 

On the evening of her birthday the little princess was 
left alone. She felt restless, and wanted something to do. 
She walked about the castle as if she were searching for 
something. At last she came to a door which she had 
never seen before. She opened it, and there she saw steps 
which wound round and round, and up and up. The 
little princess started cUmbing the steps, and never 
stopped until she reached a tower at the very tiptop of 
the castle. There by the window sat an old woman, 
whirhng a spinning wheel, as fast as she could. By her 
side was a pile of thread. 

"What are you doing?" said the princess. 

"I am spinning," answered the old woman. 

"Oh, let me do it!" said the princess, running over to 
the wheel, and taking the thread in her hand. 

Of course she did not know how to spin, as she had 

300 children's stories and how to tell them 

never seen it done, so she was awkward, and struck her 
hand against the spindle. It pricked her finger, and 
instantly she fell asleep. Everything in the castle fell 
asleep too, and around the castle there sprang up a thick 
hedge. It grew higher than the towers of the castle, and 
was filled with thorns. 

The years went by, and now and then some prince who 
heard the story of the sleeping princess came and tried to 
force his way through the hedge, but when the thorns 
pricked him, he rode away. 

At last a hundred years had passed, and one day a 
king's son was out hunting. He stopped his horse on the 
top of a hill, and sat looking across the country. 

*'What castle is that so far away?" he asked of one of 
his men. 

The man rubbed his eyes, then laughed. "It must be 
the enchanted castle you see," he said. 

"What castle is that?" asked the prince. 

Then the man told him the story of the beautiful prin- 
cess who had been enchanted by the wicked Fairy. As 
the prince listened, he knew in his heart that it was he 
who was to waken her. He rode away from his men, 
and never stopped until he reached the spot where he 
had seen the towers of the castle. He pressed through 
the thick hedge, and as he went forward, the hedge burst 
into bloom, and the birds began to sing. He reached the 
door of the castle, and went in. There in the hall, he saw 
the watch dog, sound asleep. Down in the kitchen, the 
cook and the kitchen boy were sound asleep. Out in the 
stable, the horses were asleep. Up in the banquet hall, 


the lords and the ladies, the king and the queen, and all 
the musicians, were asleep. 

"Where can the princess be?" he wondered. 

At last, he came to a door and opened it. He saw some 
steps which wentro und and round, and up and up. He 
started climbing, and never stopped until he reached the 
tip top. There in the little room in the highest tower in 
the castle he found the sleeping princess. Her long 
golden hair spread over her pillow, and her cheeks looked 
so pink and soft, and her mouth so lovely, that he could 
not help giving her a kiss. When his Ups touched hers, 
she opened her eyes. 

"Have you come, my prince? I've waited for you 
these hundred years," she said. 

Then the prince gave her his hand and led her down 
the steps to the banquet hall. When the princess had 
awakened, everyone in the palace woke up too, and the 
musicians began to play the music which they were 
playing when they went to sleep, a hundred years before. 

So they held a wedding feast for the prince and the 
princess, and they all lived happy, ever after. 



So when a good man dies, 

For years beyond his ken, 
The light he leaves behind him lies 

Upon the paths of men. 

— H. W. Longfellow, Charles Sumner. 

The small boy's hero in real life is the fireman, the 
policeman, the soldier. They embody his ideals of physi- 
cal strength, of courage, and of ability to do things. 
Then, too, they move in a world different from his own — 
a world of adventure. It is their daily business to do 
deeds boldly. 

The child demands the same simplicity and strength 
in his heroes in literature. They must be men of deeds. 
Their courage and resourcefulness must never fail. Their 
leadership must be unquestioned — at least in the end. 

By these standards, there is no more appeahng hero 
than Robin Hood. His good fellowship, the loyalty of 
his trusty band, his humor, his fairness and generosity, 
his defiance of needless convention and unjust law, his 
spirit of daring, his freedom, his ability to meet defeat 
and still command respect, all unite to give him first 
place in the heart of boyhood. Even the setting in which 
his adventures occur increases their interest — the green- 
wood is forever the paradise of real boys. 


Ulysses combines the characteristics which appeal to 
the boy's mind. If he is a less popular hero, it is because 
of the faulty presentation of the stories of his adventures. 
He is brave, he is resourceful, he never fails to meet an 
emergency. His activities appeal to every boyish in- 
stinct. To excel in battle, to sail the seas, to outwit the 
Cyclops and hurl back at him truly boyish defiance, to 
build a raft, to be cast on an unknown shore and win the 
hearts of all at court by his wisdom and his excellence in 
games, to return at last to his own kingdom and fight 
against unparalleled odds, standing triumphant in the 
end — these are exploits of thrilling interest. 

Whether the hero is mythical, semi-mythical, or his- 
toric, his characteristics must be in essence the same. 
He must be master of his environment. He must win 
power, and use it daringly. He must be true to his 
fellows. He must be imbued with the spirit of service. 
He must be the super-man. No mollycoddle will serve 
for a hero. 


In this story the child sees the heroic endurance of another 
child. The simple, homely touches of the tale link it with the 
common experiences of all children. The pain of the cold, the 
loneliness of the night, have meaning to them. That the boy 
in the story suffered them and stayed, keeping the waters back 
from the sleeping city, and that he finally won recognition for 
his heroism, will appeal to children in a way not realized except 
by the adult who has been in position to observe closely the 
effect of the story upon the lives of little ones. 

Far across the sea is a little country called Holland. 


The surface of the land there is lower than the ocean, so 
the only way to keep the waves from coming in and 
flooding the land is by means of great walls, called dykes, 
which hold the water back. Men watch these walls con- 
stantly to see that no holes are broken through them by 
the beating of the waves. Even the little children are 
taught that they must help watch these walls, for a tiny 
hole can soon grow to a big one, and many lives may be 
lost very quickly. 

In this land, and in the City of Haarlem, once lived a 
little boy whose name was Peter. One day Peter had 
been out in the country to visit his grandmother, and he 
did not start home until just before sunset. He ran 
along on top of the sea-wall — he was hurrying, for he 
had stayed later than usual at grandmother's house. All 
the men had left the fields, and he knew that he would 
be late to his supper. 

Suddenly he heard something which made him stop 
still — it was the sound of water trickling. Peter scram- 
bled down the side of the dyke and looked carefully for 
the hole he knew must be there. He soon found it; just 
a little one it was, but it was growing larger each moment. 
Peter looked about for something with which to stop it, 
but he could not find a thing. So he pushed his finger 
into the hole; it was just right to hold the water back. 
He held his finger pressed tightly in the hole, and called 
loudly for help. But no one came. All the men had 
gone to their homes for the night. " Surely some one will 
come soon,'* Peter thought, so he shouted again and 


The sun was gone, the shadows grew darker, and the 
stars shone out overhead. The boy's hand grew numb 
and cold, and he wondered how he could stand the pain 
if no one came. He dared not take his finger away, for 
if he did, the water would rush through faster and faster, 
until it would be a roaring flood which would sweep over 
the city. He could hear the roar of the waves, and the 
night winds grew colder and colder. 

''Mother will miss me and they will come to look for me 
soon," Peter thought. 

But when her little boy did not come his mother said: 
''I suppose Peter has decided to stay with Grandmother 
for the night," so they had supper and went to bed. Of 
course Grandmother thought Peter was safe at home, as 
he had left in time to be there before the night fell. 

When no one came, Peter moaned with pain, and felt 
very lonely out there in the night, but he never thought of 
taking his finger from the hole and letting the water come 
through. "I'll stand it some way," he thought. So he 
stayed there all through the night keeping the water 

Early the next morning a man passed along the dyke 
on his way to work. He heard a queer moaning sound, 
and looking over the edge of the dyke saw Peter clinging 
to the side of the great wall, with his finger still in the hole. 
He climbed quickly over to him and lifted the boy in his 
arms, crying for help. Other men passing ran with their 
shovels and the hole was soon mended. 

They carried Peter home to his mother, and told all 
the people in the city how the brave boy had saved their 

3o6 children's stories and how to tell them 

lives that night. People in Holland still love to tell the 
story of his bravery, and they still call him "The Little 
Hero of Haarlem." 


"A girl cannot be a knight!" is inevitably the scornful com- 
ment of some boy in the group which has been listening to sto- 
ries of knighthood, and boy and girl ahke have responded to the 
thrill of bravery and chivalry. The best answer always is the 
telling of the story of Joan, the brave maid who saved her coun- 
try and her king. For the same purpose a group of stories of 
heroic women might be developed. The children are not yet in 
the stage of development to appreciate the daily heroism of the 
life of service which most women give to their loved ones, there- 
fore such tales should be given for a basis of wholesome equality, 
pictured in the terms which, satisfy their ideal. 

Long years ago, in the land of France, there lived a 
Httle maid whose name was Joan. She was a strong, 
healthy child, and she loved to run, climb and play just 
as the other children did; but she also loved to slip away 
alone and sit thinking about strange and wonderful 
things. Now and then she would steal away to a beauti- 
ful church near her home and sit for hours looking at the 
pictures on the windows. Sometimes as she sat there in 
the soft light it seemed as if the pictured angels spoke to 
her; or at times as she walked underneath the trees she 
loved, it seemed to her that these angels came and walked 
with her. They whispered to her to be good, and to 
grow strong, for there was much work she must do for the 

When Joan was still a child there was great sadness in 


her home because the English king and his soldiers were 
overrunning the country, and the Dauphin Charles, the 
rightful King of France, was neither crowned nor allowed 
to rule his own people. He was weak, and afraid to try 
to drive the strangers from his land. Joan heard her 
father and the country people talk of this; she saw their 
fear and poverty, and she longed to be able to help them. 

So day by day she thought of nothing else. She dreamed 
of armies made up of men who loved their country, and 
who were not afraid. She knew that the hearts of her 
countrymen were brave, but they lacked a leader. Some 
one must go to the uncrowned king and waken the courage 
in his heart. 

One day when she had been thinking of these things, 
it suddenly seemed to Joan that a brilliant light was 
shining through the trees. Her eyes were dazzled at 
first, but as she gazed it seemed that one of the most 
beautiful of the angels stood before her. "Joan," he 
said, "it is you who must help the king!" 

The vision faded and Joan was left stirred and 

In the days that followed, this vision came again and 
again: it was always the angel and the two saints pic- 
tured in her little church who came her. Perhaps she kf 
really saw them, perhaps the whisperings came only from 
her own brave heart; but, at any rate, for three whole 
years she kept hearing that message: "Joan, it is you 
who must help the king and set your country free." 

At last the EngUsh came to Joan's own village and 
burned the church she loved. She determined that she 

3o8 children's stories and how to tell them 

would not wait longer. She went to her father and to 
her uncle and told them of her visions and of the voices 
which had told her to go to the king. At first they thought 
she was mad, and said she should not go; but at last the 
governor of her province said: "Let her go, it can do no 
harm," and he sent her away with an escort of soldiers, 
and a letter to the Dauphin Charles. 

The news spread through France. People talked of 
nothing else. Some believed that Joan was really sent to 
set the king upon his throne and free her country, some 
mocked and laughed, some said wicked, cruel things. 
But Joan heeded nothing but her voices and the dreams 
of freeing her land, and at last she overcame all difficul- 
ties and stood before the uncrowned king. Her brave 
words and her faith in him stirred Charles and made him 
ashamed of his weakness and cowardice. He gave her 
the uniform of a soldier, placed a great sword in her 
hand, and pledged himself and his small band of soldiers 
to follow her. 

When news of this spread through the land, all brave 
men who truly loved their country gathered about Joan 
and she soon rode at the head of a brilliant army. She 
feared nothing, stopped at nothing, and when the men 
saw the courage and endurance of this young girl they 
would have felt ashamed to falter or turn back. 

Town after town fell before them, and at last they 
reached Orleans. At sight of its walls, the soldiers sent 
up shouts of joy. Nothing could stop them now. Joan 
had said she would lead them here, and she had said, 
too, that they would capture the city and that Charles 


should be crowned at Rheims. They beheved that her 
voices had told her truly, and that God was leading 
them, through this young girl. 

Joan called to her men to follow her, and she dashed 
forward, leading the fight. They all fought like heroes, 
but none was braver than Joan. They crossed the 
bridges and scaled the walls of the city. It was a terrible 
battle, and Joan was wounded, but she would not leave 
the front of her soldiers, or even stop for her wound to 
be dressed. So long as the men could see her banner at 
the front nothing could make them turn back. At last 
Orleans was taken and Joan rode beside the king, bear- 
ing her conquering banner, to Rheims. And there in the 
cathedral Charles was crowned King of France. 

New courage had come to the French people, and they 
vowed never to stop until all France was their own again. 
All this had come about because one little country maid 
was not afraid, and dared to follow her visions and believe 
in her power to help her people and her king. 


{Adapted from Malory's "Morte D' Arthur") 

Galahad is a romantic figure in story, of wide appeal. His 
picture is the best known of all the knights. The ideal portrait 
by E. A. Abbey is used in many schools and homes, yet the 
usual stories of the knight are too mystical to appeal to children. 
Those given herewith show a different phase of him, and one 
which does not fail to arouse their interest. 

King Arthur and his Knights had gathered in the great 
hall of his castle at Camelot, and were talking over the 

3IO children's stories and how to tell them 

adventures of the day, when a door was opened and there 
on the threshold stood a maiden robed in white, with a 
girdle of red about her waist. The knights paused in 
their stories and waited for her to speak. 

"Which is Sir Lancelot of the Lake?" she asked. 

*'I am he," said Sir Lancelot, the brave and courteous, 
as he rose and bowed to the maiden. *'How could I 
serve you? "he asked. 

"Follow me," she answered. 

" Whither and wherefore? " 

"That you shall know later," the maid replied. 

Wondering much, but ever willing to serve, Sir Lance- 
lot followed her out of the great hall. 

There in the courtyard stood two horses. They mounted 
and rode away, over hill and dale, across open country 
and through the great forest. By and by, just as the sun 
was setting, they passed out of the forest, and there 
before them stretched a beautiful valley. Orchards were 
blossoming, wheat stood bending in the wind, and away 
in the distance the sheep were grazing in the fields. 
Down in the valley stood a white house with a green roof. 

" 'Tis there we are going," said the maiden. 

At length they dismounted and passed within. To his 
surprise, Sir Lancelot saw two other knights, Sir Bors 
and Sir Lionel, waiting within. 

"Why are you here?" asked Sir Lancelot. 

"We know not. A maiden robed in white and wearing 
a red girdle about her waist led us hither," the knights 

While they stood apart talking together a door opened. 


and there entered twelve gentle black-robed nuns, and 
with them a youth of eighteen. He was dressed in white, 
and as the knights looked at his straight, strong body, 
and his face so pure, so young, so beautiful, they felt 
glad at heart just at the sight of him. 

*'Who is this youth?" asked Lancelot. 

*'Sir Knight," the Abbess answered, "he is none other 
than your own son, Galahad. For many years we have 
nourished him here. We have taught him of your brave 
deeds, your kindliness, and your courtesy. Now he 
desires to be made a knight by you." 

"That will I gladly do," said Lancelot, who was over- 
joyed to find he had a son so noble and so fair. Then he 
and Galahad talked long together. 

When the morning came, Gafahad knelt before Sir 
Lancelot, who with his own sword touched the lad's 
shoulder, saying: " Rise, Sir Galahad, ride forth to do what- 
ever brave and noble deeds your hands shall find to do." 

Then Sir Lionel, Sir Bors and Sir Lancelot rode back 
to Camelot. But the young knight, Galahad, did not 
ride with them, for he knew that the time had not yet 
come for him to go to the castle of the King. 

A few days passed, and again at evening the knights 
were gathered in the great hall at Camelot. Again the 
door opened, and there entered an old man, leading by 
the hand a young knight clad all in red. He had no 
sword or shield, and there was an empty scabbard hang- 
ing by his side. 

"Hail, O King!" cried the old man. "Here is a fair 
young knight who would be of your company!" 


"He is right welcome," said King Arthur. 

Then the old man pointed to the great covered seat 
next to the King. ''There shall he sit!" he said. 

Then all the knights started up in fright, for that was 
called "The Seat Perilous," and no one had ever dared to 
sit in it. 

But the King took the young Knight's hand, and led 
him to the seat: 

"Are you afraid?" said Arthur. 

"Of what should I be afraid?" answered the young 
knight; and smiling, he took the seat. All the folds 
which enwrapped it fell away, and there, graven on the 
back they read: "Sir Galahad." 

At this the knights sent up a shout which shook the 
hall, for they knew that this young knight was to do the 
greatest deeds of them all, because his courage was great 
and his heart was pure. 

Just then the water carriers came hurrying into the hall. 

"Come quickly to the river," they said. "A most 
strange thing has happened. By the river is lying a great 
block of polished marble, and deep into the middle of it 
is driven a wonderful sword. The hilt is set with jewels 
rich and rare." 

" Come," said the King. 

So they all arose and went down to the river. There, 
just as it had been said, lay the great cube of marble, 
with the sword driven into the middle of it. The knights 
drew near and read: ^^ Never shall man take me hence, hut 
only he by whose side I ought to hang, and he shall be the 
best knight of all the world.'' 


"You, Sir Lancelot, are my greatest knight. All 
know you so; draw you the sword," said the King. 

"Nay," said Sir Lancelot, "there are many worthier 
than I. Let us others try." 

The knights came round, and many of them attempted 
to draw the sword, but it remained as firmly fixed as 

Then said the King to Galahad: "Do you try, Sir 
Knight. You have no sword as yet, I see." 

So Sir Galahad stepped forward, and taking the sword 
by its jeweled hilt drew it easily from the stone and set 
it in the scabbard which hung from his side. 

Sir Lancelot's heart was thrilled with pride and joy in 
his son. 

In the days that followed, Sir Galahad proved himself 
a knight indeed, in every way, and was honored by all 
in Arthur's court. But the young knight had as yet no 
shield. He had been told that far away in the heart of 
the forest there was an abbey in which was kept a snow- 
white shield with a cross of red in its center. This shield 
would be given only to the knight who had proven him- 
self able to draw the jeweled sword from the block of 
red marble. So Sir Galahad knew that this shield was 
his own, and he rode away from Camelot to find and 
claim it. 

After four days of wandering through the forest, he 
came at evening to the abbey. There, after some ad- 
venture, the shield was proven his; and fully armed he 
rode away to seek the work which was waiting for a true 
knight to do. 

314 children's stories and how to tell them 

Sir Galahad's first battle had been won, and he was 
resting for a brief time to gain strength, and to learn 
what was next to be done, when a young man approached 
him. He was brave and fair, and Galahad's heart called 
him friend. His name was Melyas, and he was the son 
of the King of Denmark. 

*' Since you are born of Kings and of Queens, and since 
your heart knows not fear, you shall be made a knight," 
said Galahad. ''See that you prove yourself pure, true, 
and good as a knight should be." 

Sir Melyas' heart grew proud within him, that Sir 
Galahad, the worthiest of all, had called him friend and 
made him knight. They rode together for a week, but 
found no adventure. 

At last one morning they came to a sign by the road 
which said: *'Ride this way, ye Knights, and ye shall 
be sorely tested. If ye think ye are strong, ride forward! " 

"Let me go alone," said Sir Melyas, thinking to win 
greater honor if he met the unknown danger without the 
help of Galahad. 

"As you please," said Galahad gently. "It were bet- 
ter that ye rode not that way, but each must choose for 

But Sir Melyas heeded not, and rode forth through 
the forest. 

At last he came to a beautiful meadow, on the edge of 
which stood an enchanting bower. Sir Melyas entered. 
Rich carpets covered the earth. Soft resting places stood 


about, and tempting food was spread. There, too, he 
saw a crown of gold. It was more rare than any his eyes 
had beheld. He felt no hunger, nor did he tarry within 
the bower. It was the crown alone he longed for, and 
stooping he took it up and rode away with it. 

Soon two armed men rode upon him. 

"Set down that crown, young Knight, or it will be 
worse for you," they cried. 

Sir Melyas drew his sword and rode at them, but they 
bore down upon him from both sides. Their blows fell 
so quick and hard that his shield was soon pierced and 
he was thrown to the ground. The crown was snatched 
from his hands, and he lay at their mercy, calling loudly 
for help. 

By good fortune. Sir Galahad was near, and hearing 
the cries he rode quickly to give aid. 

The two men rushed upon him, but their spears slipped 
from Sir Galahad's shield, and he struck such lusty blows 
that they soon turned in terror and fled through the 
forest. He pursued them for a little, then turned back 
to where Sir Melyas lay, groaning from his wounds. 

Sir Galahad lifted him gently and, placing him upon 
his horse, walked beside him through the wood. His 
strong right arm held Melyas, so that he might not fall. 

They journeyed thus to the hut of a good man who 
dwelt in the forest. Sir Galahad bore Sir Melyas within, 
and laid him upon the bed. He dressed his wounds and 
for three days and nights he tended him with all care. 

"You are as kind as you are brave," said Sir Melyas. 
" How can I thank you, for you have saved my life? " 


"When you are strong again, Melyas, ride forth to 
serve the King, and not yourself. 'Tis thus I would be 
thanked," said Sir Galahad. 

And Sir Melyas said: *'I promise." 

"Your wounds are well-nigh healed," said Sir Galahad. 
"Tomorrow I must ride forth to find others who have 
need of me." 

"As soon as I may ride I shall seek you," said Sir 

So the Knight Galahad moimted his horse and rode 
out of the forest and across the hills, searching for what- 
ever work there was among men which only a true knight 
might do. 


It was early morning when Sir Galahad rode out from 
the forest. He drew up his horse and sat looking down 
into the valley where a little village nestled. The sun 
was on his face and touched his bright hair, for his hel- 
met was thrown back. His white shield gleamed until 
rays of light seemed to be falling from it as well as from 
the sun. 

He lifted his eyes from the village and gazed at the 
castle on the crest of the hill. Its tall red roof shone like 
blood against the sky. Deep ditches circled the castle, 
and a beautiful river ran past it. The draw-bridges were 
up, the great gates tightly closed. 

"No knights of the King live there, I know; what 
castle is it that is built so strong?" Galahad wondered 
to himself. 


Just then he heard a step near, and turning he saw an 
old, old man, looking up at him with wonder in his eyes. 

"What castle is yon?" asked Sir Galahad. 

"Fair sir, it is a wicked, a terrible place. It is called 
'The Castle of the Maidens,' " and the old man's weak 
voice quavered and broke. 

"Tell me more of this," said Sir Galahad sternly. "Are 
there no knights in this fair land left to destroy a place 
so wicked? " 

"Alas! you see how strong it is. None dare go near 
it. Seven terrible men have slain the Lord of the castle, 
and have filled with fear all knights for miles around. 
They have captured seven of the fairest maids in all of 
the country hereabouts and have locked them in the 
castle. They are shamefully and cruelly used, for seven 
long years now." A trembling sigh shook the old man as 
he made an end of speaking. 

Sir Galahad silently tightened the trappings on his 
horse, then lifted his helmet and fastened it firmly in 
place. He touched his long spear, and his great sword 
which hung by his side, then he set his snow-white shield 
before him, and made ready to ride forward. 

"What will you do. Sir Knight? Oh, turn again!" 
the old man pleaded. "You are brave, I know, but you 
are one, whilst they are seven." 

"You know well I shall not turn again," said Sir 
Galahad; and with a word to his trusty horse he galloped 
toward the castle. 

Pausing in front of it he lifted to his lips an ivory 
horn, set round with gold, and blew forth a blast which 


could be heard for two miles round. The people below 
hurried out from their homes, and looked up in wonder 
at the brave young knight in gleaming white. 

Within the castle there was a stir. The seven robbers 
looked out from the windows. 

"What is this?" they said, and arming themselves 
rode out from the castle. 

"On guard, Sir Knight!" they shouted, "we assure 
you naught but death!" Then they flung down the 
draw-bridge and clattered forth, the seven together. 

They rode at Sir Galahad, and clashed their spears 
against his shield. The spears broke in their hands, but 
not one pierced the great white shield. 

Now Sir Galahad rushed upon them. With his long 
spear he flung the leader from his horse with such force 
that he could not rise again. Two he hurled into the 
river below; two fled across the fields; two others at- 
tempted to withdraw into the castle, but Galahad drew 
forth his sword and rained mighty blows upon them. 
He followed them within the gates and drove them out 
on the other side of the castle. 

Then an old man knelt before Sir Galahad in the 
great hall and said: " Sir, here are the keys of this castle." 

Sir Galahad opened every door that was closed. Those 
who had been kept prisoners through the seven long years 
crowded about him, kissing even his feet in gratitude. 
The people from the village and the whole country round 
thronged through the gates to give him thanks. The fair 
maidens were now free to return to their own homes, and 
fear of the robbers was no more in the hearts of the people. 


Seeing that his work was done, Sir Galahad bade them 
farewell, and rode forth again, for there were yet many 
things left to be done by the knight whose heart was 
pure, and who knew not fear. 

Throughout the years, since that time, the tales of Sir 
Galahad have been told, but there is none greater than 
this one of the Castle of the Maidens. 


Long ago, when the knights lived in the land, there 
was one knight whose name was Sir George. He was not 
only braver than all the rest, but he was so noble, kind 
and good that the people came to call him Saint George. 

No robbers ever dared to trouble the people who lived 
near his castle, and all the wild animals were killed or 
driven away, so the little children could play even in the 
woods without being afraid. 

One day St. George rode throughout the country. 
Everywhere he saw the men busy at their work in the 
fields, the women singing at work in their homes, and 
the little children shouting at their play. 

"These people are all safe and happy; they need me 
no more," said St. George. 

"But somewhere perhaps there is trouble and fear. 
There may be some place where little children cannot 
play in safety, some woman may have been carried away 
from her home — perhaps there are even dragons left to 
be slain. Tomorrow I shall ride away and never stop 
until I find work which only a knight can do." 


Early the next morning St. George put on his helmet 
and all his shining armor, and fastened his sword at 
his side. Then he mounted his great white horse and rode 
out from his castle gate. Down the steep, rough road he 
went, sitting straight and tall, and looking brave and 
strong as a knight should look. 

On through the little village at the foot of the hill and 
out across the country he rode. Everywhere he saw rich 
fields filled with waving grain, everjrwhere there was 
peace and plenty. 

He rode on and on until at last he came into a part of 
the country he had never seen before. He noticed that 
there were no men working in the fields. The houses 
which he passed stood silent and empty. The grass along 
the roadside was scorched as if a fire had passed over 
it. A field of wheat was all trampled and burned. 

St. George drew up his horse, and looked carefully 
about him. Everywhere there was silence and desolation. 
"What can be the dreadful thing which has driven all 
the people from their homes? I must find out, and give 
them help if I can," he said. 

But there was no one to ask, so St. George rode for- 
ward until at last far in the distance he saw the walls 
of a city. "Here surely I shall find some one who can 
tell me the cause of all this," he said, so he rode more 
swiftly toward the city. 

Just then the great gate opened and St. George saw 
crowds of people standing inside the wall. Some of them 
were weeping, all of them seemed afraid. As St. George 
watched, he saw a beautiful maiden dressed in white, 


with a girdle of scarlet about her waist, pass through the 
gate alone. The gate clanged shut and the maiden 
walked along the road, weeping bitterly. She did not 
see St. George, who was riding quickly towards her. 
''Maiden, why do you weep?" he asked as he reached 

her side. 

She looked up at St. George sitting there on his horse, 
so straight and tall and beautiful. ''Oh, Sir Knight I" 
she cried, "ride quickly from this place. You know not 
the danger you are in!" 

*' Danger 1" said St. George; "do you think a knight 
would flee from danger? Besides, you, a fair weak girl 
are here alone. Think you a knight would leave you or 
any woman so? Tell me your trouble that I may help 


"Nol No!" she cried, "hasten away. You would 
only lose your life. There is a terrible dragon near. He 
may come at any moment. One breath would destroy 
you if he found you here. Go ! Go quickly ! " 

"Tell me more of this," said St. George sternly. ''Why 
are you here alone to meet this dragon? Are there no 
men left in yon city?" 

"Oh," said the maiden, "my father, the King, is old 
and feeble. He has only me to help him take care of his 
people. This terrible dragon has driven them from their 
homes, carried away their cattle, and ruined their crops. 
They have all come within the walls of the city for safety. 
For weeks now the dragon has come to the very gates of 
the city. We have been forced to give him two sheep 
each day for his breakfast. 

322 children's stories and how to tell them 

"Yesterday there were no sheep left to give, so he 
said that unless a young maiden were given him today 
he would break down the walls and destroy the city. 
The people cried to my father to save them, but he could 
do nothing. I am going to give myself to the dragon. 
Perhaps if he has me, the Princess, he may spare our 

"Lead the way, brave Princess. Show me where this 
monster may be found." 

When the Princess saw St. George's flashing eyes and 
great, strong arm as he drew forth his sword, she felt 
afraid no more. Turning, she led the way to a shining pool. 

"There's where he stays," she whispered. "See, the 
water moves. He is waking." 

St. George saw the head of the dragon lifted from the 
pool. Fold on fold he rose from the water. When he 
saw St. George he gave a roar of rage and plunged toward 
him. The smoke and flames flew from his nostrils, and 
he opened his great jaws as if to swallow both the knight 
and his horse. 

St. George shouted and, waving his sword above his 
head, rode at the dragon. Quick and hard came the 
blows from St. George's sword. It was a terrible battle. 

At last the dragon was wounded. He roared with 
pain and plunged at St. George, opening his great mouth 
close to the brave Knight's head. 

St. George looked carefully, then struck with all his 
strength straight down through the dragon's throat, and 
he fell at the horse's feet — dead. 

Then St. George shouted for joy at his victory. He 


called to the Princess. She came and stood beside him. 

"Give me the girdle from about your waist, O Prin- 
cess," said St. George. 

The Princess gave him her girdle and St. George bound 
it around the dragon's neck, and they pulled the dragon 
after them by that little silken ribbon back to the city 
so that all of the people could see that the dragon could 
never harm them again. 

When they saw St. George bringing the Princess back 
in safety and knew that the dragon was slain, they threw 
open the gates of the city and sent up great shouts of joy. 

The King heard them and came out from his palace to 
see why the people were shouting. 

When he saw his daughter safe he was the happiest 
of them all. 

"O brave Knight," he said, "I am old and weak. 
Stay here and help me guard my people from harm." 

"I'll stay as long as ever you have need of me," St. 
George answered. 

So he lived in the palace and helped the old King take 
care of his people, and when the old King died, St. George 
was made King in his stead. The people felt happy and 
safe so long as they had such a brave and good man for 
their King. 


One day St. George called six of the youngest knights 
about him. 

"Come," he said, "let us go together and seek some 
knightly adventure in the great world. There is much 

324 children's stories and how to tell them 

yet to be done which only brave knights can do. But 
this time we will not ride forth in shining armor and 
with waving banners. We will go as lowly men, that we 
may know the people better." 

The young knights eagerly agreed. They dressed 
themselves in coarse, dark clothes, took stout wooden 
staves in their hands, and set off on foot. 

They walked many miles. At last, footsore and weary, 
they came to an open gate. Here they turned in, hoping 
to find rest and food. They passed through beautiful 
gardens up to the door of a wonderful palace. It was 
built of blue marble and great pillars supported its roof. 
The door of the palace stood wide open, and within the 
hall stood an old man. His white hair fell about his 
shoulders; his eyes were sad, though kind. 

''Welcome, strangers," he said. 

"There is always food ready for weary travelers and 
a place to rest for as many as care to come." 

"We thank you, good Sir," said St. George. "We have 
traveled far and are weary indeed, but we have no 
money with which to pay you." 

"It matters not. It is not for money that our door is 
open day and night. All are welcome here," said the old 

He led the knights into a lofty dining hall and seated 
them around a great table, where the best of food was 
set before them. 

When they had eaten they were taken into a sleeping 
chamber where soft beds had been made ready, and as 
they lay resting, sweet music lulled them to sleep. 


The next morning when breakfast was done, the old 
man took the knights through his gardens and showed 
them his rare flowers. 

*'Will you not rest with me yet another day?" he 
urged. "My house is empty, save for guests whom it is 
my dehght to entertain." 

The old man's voice was so sad that St. George said: 
"Tell us, kind Sir, why are you thus alone? Have you 
no children to make glad your heart? " 

At these words, tears flowed from the old man's eyes. 
His voice grew husky and broken as he said; "You 
shall hear my story. 

"I once had seven beautiful sons. We lived together 
in a palace far finer than this one. In front of the palace 
there played a magic fountain whose water could change 
whatever it touched into silver and gold. 

"One day a great giant came and drove me from the 
palace; my sons he shut within a dungeon; the rich 
fountain and the palace he took for his own. Since 
that time I have lived here alone. I welcome all stran- 
gers and give them whatever comfort and joy I may. 
It is the only solace to my lonehness and grief." 

When the old man had finished speaking, the youngest 
knight of all sprang to his feet. "A boon, O our leader!" 
he cried to St. George. "Let me go forth and find this 
wicked giant. I shall beat him well for the shameful 
thing he has done and force him to give back the old 
man's fountain and his sons." 

"It will be no easy task, for the giant is very power- 
ful," said the old man. 

326 children's stories and how to tell them 

St. George smiled at the young knight's eagerness. 

*'Go," he said. ^' 'Tis time you tried your strength. 
You have never met a giant." 

St. George then turned to the old man and said: "Will 
you give him armor and a horse? We travel without 
them, as you see." 

Then the old man knew that it was seven brave knights 
who were his guests and he hastened to do as St. George 
had asked. Early the next morning the young knight 
rode away. He was very proud and very sure that he 
would win the victory. 

Now the giant had heard of the knights, and he feared 
that they might some day learn of his crime and come 
to punish him, so he sat before the doorway of his stolen 
palace, looking watchfully across the hills. From afar he 
saw the shining armor and nodding plumes of the young 
knight. Then he strode forth and came upon the young 
knight unawares, seized him before he struck even one 
blow, and threw him in the dungeon underneath the 

The next day another of the young knights rode out 
to meet the giant. He too was soon overcome and shut 
within the dungeon. And so it was until all six of the 
young knights had been conquered. 

Then the giant laughed loud and long. "These knights 
are mere puny striplings," he boasted. "Why did I ever 
fear them?" So he sat chuckling to himself until finally 
he grew drowsy and fell to nodding with sleep in the 

When the sixth young knight failed to return, St. 


George said: "I myself will ride forth and seek this 

He dressed himself in glittering armor, swung a long, 
piercing lance from his saddle, and galloped across the 
hills. He soon came upon the giant nodding by the 

"Stand up, you robber giant, and defend yourself!" 
St. George shouted. 

The giant stumbled to his feet and his sleepy eyes 
were dazzled as St. George drew near. At sight of the 
stern face of the knight he was afraid, but he plunged 
forward, striking hard with his great fist. 

St. George threw his shining lance and pierced the 
giant through. Then he sprang from his horse, tore the 
keys from the giant's belt, and entered the palace. He 
unlocked the dungeon, and the light from his armor ban- 
ished the darkness as he entered. He brought the young 
knights forth, then searched until he found the old man's 
seven sons and released them also. The old man was 
fetched; and the castle, the magic fountain, and his sons 
were all restored to him. 

The old man fell upon his knees and thanked St. 

The knights went on their way, seeking other adven- 
tures, and the old man and his seven sons lived happily 
in their palace. The door was never closed to any stranger, 
and the gold and silver from the magic fountain they 
gave to the poor and needy throughout the land. 



It is of course obvious that the following groups are 
given as being representative, and not as in any sense 
complete bibliographies. The publishers' addresses are to 
be found at the end of this Part. 

A Short Supplementary List of Stories 
FOR Very Little Folks 

"The Go-To-Sleep Story," "The Old Woman Who Lived 
in a Vinegar Bottle," in The Story-Teller's Book, Alice 
O'Grady and Frances Throop; Rand, McNally. 

"The Little Grey Pony," in Mother Stories, Maud Lind- 
say; Milton Bradley. 

" Golden Hair and the Three Bears," Old tale. 

"The Little Rabbit Who Wanted Red Wings," in For the 
Story-Teller, Carolyn Sherwin Bailey; Milton 

" The Old Woman and the Pig," Old tale. 

"The Cap That Mother Made," in For the Story-Teller, 
Carolyn Sherwin Bailey. 

"The Foolish Timid Rabbit," "The Turtle Who Couldn't 
Stop Talking," in Jataka Tales, Ellen Babbitt; 

330 children's stories and how to tell them 

"Tommy Tucker's Bun," in Mother Goose Village^ Madge 
A. Bingham; Rand, McNally. 

"The Pig Brother," in Golden Windows, Laura E. Rich- 
ards; Little, Brown. 

A Short Supplementary List of Animal Stories 

"How Brother Rabbit Fooled the Elephant and the 

Whale," in How to Tell Stories to Children ^ Sarah 

Cone Bryant; Houghton, Mifflin. 
"The Greedy Cat," "Pork and Honey," "Reynard and 

Chanticleer," "Slip, Root, Catch Reynard's Foot," 

in Tales from the Fjeld, George Webbe Dasent; 

"The Bear and the Fox," in Russian Grandmother^ s 

Wonder Tales, Louise Seymour Houghton; Scribner. 
"The Lady Squirrel," to be adapted from Adventures of 

Nils, Selma Lagerlof ; Doubleday , Page. 
"The Banyan Deer," in Jataka Tales, Ellen C. Babbitt; 

"Raggylug," in Wild Animals I Have Known,^ Ernest 

Thompson-Seton; Houghton, Mifflin. 
"The Teal and the Overland Route," in Lives of the 

Hunted, Ernest Thompson-Seton; Scribner. 
"The White Seal," Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling; 

Doubleday, Page. 

Some First Books for Little Children 

Randolph Caldecott Picture Books — 16 parts: "Hey 
Diddle Diddle and Baby Bunting," "The House 


that Jack Built;" etc., also bound in four volumes. 
Walter Crane Picture Books: *'The Baby's Opera," ^'The 

Baby's Bouquet," "The Baby's Own ^sop," and 

"Pan Pipes." 
Beaxtrix Potter's Peter Rabbit Series, 15 vols.: "The Tale 

of Peter Rabbit," "The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin," 

Kate Greenaway Picture Books: "Under the Window," 

"Marigold Garden," "Pied Piper of Hamelin," 

"Mother Goose," etc. 
(All of the foregoing are published by Warne) 

"Chicken World," E. Boyd Smith; Putnam. 

"The Farm Book," E. Boyd Smith; Houghton, Mifflin. 

"Goops and How to Be Them," Gellett Burgess; 

"Mother Goose," Illustrated by Arthur Rackham; 

"Mother Goose," Edited by Edward Everett Hale; 

Lothrop, Lee & Shepard. 
"Through the Farm Gate," "The Runaway Donkey," 

Emilie Poulsson; Lothrop, Lee & Shepard. 
"Sunbonnet Babies' Book," Eulalie Osgood Grover; 

Rand, McNally. 
"The Hiawatha Primer," Florence Holbrook; Hough- 
ton, Mifflin. 
"A Child's Garden of Verses," Robert'Louis Stevenson; 

Illustrated by Mars and Squire; Rand, McNally. 
"A Child's Garden of Verses," Robert Louis Stevenson; 

Illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith; Scribner. 

332 children's stories and how to tell them 

"Mother Goose Village," Madge Bingham; Rand, 

"The Dutch Twins," Lucy Fitch Perkins; Houghton, 

"Book of Folk Stories," Horace E. Scudder; Houghton, 

"The Cock, the Mouse and the Little Red Hen," 
Felicite LeFevre; Jacobs. 

"The Story of Little Black Sambo," Helen Bannerman; 
Stokes; also Reilly & Britton. 

"Tales of Mother Goose," Charles Perrault; Trans- 
lated by Charles Welsh; Heath. 

Some Books for Older Children 

(Up to approximately 14 years of age) 

"The Story of Roland," James Baldwin; Scribner. 
"The Crimson Sweater," "Team Mates," Ralph Henry 

Barbour; Century. 
"Juan and Juanita," F. C. Bayler; Houghton, Mifflin. 
"Barnaby Lee," "Master Skylark," John Bennett; 

"Master of the Strong Hearts," E. S. Brooks; Button. 
"Leatherstocking Tales," James Fennimore Cooper; 

Houghton, Mifflin. 
"The Last of the Mohicans," James Fennimore Cooper; 

Illustrated by E. Boyd Smith; Holt. 
"Robinson Crusoe," Daniel Defoe; Illustrated by E. 

Boyd Smith; Houghton, Mifflin. 
"The Boy Scout," Richard Harding Davis; Scribner. 


"Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates," Mary Mapes 

Dodge; Scribner. 
''Lob-Lie-by-the-Fire," "Jackanapes," J. H. Ewing; 

"The Man Without a Country," Edward Everett Hale; 

Little, Brown. 
"Boy Life on the Prairie," "The Forest Ranger," Hamlin 

Garland; Harper. 
"Nights with Uncle Remus," Joel Chandler Harris; 

Houghton, Mifflin. 
"Uncle Remus, His Songs and Sayings," "On the Planta- 
tion," Joel Chandler Harris; Appleton. 
"The Blue Bird for Children," Georgette LeBlanc; 

Silver, Burdett. 
"The Thrall of Leif the Lucky," "The Ward of King 

Canute," O. A. Lil jencrantz ; McClurg. 
"The Wonderful Adventures of Nils," Selma Lagerloe; 

Doubleday, Page. 
"The Princess and Curdie," "The Princess and the 

Goblins," "At the Back of the North Wind," George 

Macdonald; Lippincott. 
."Two Little Confederates," "Among the Camps," 

"Tommy Trot's Visit to Santa Claus," Thomas 

Nelson Page; Scribner. 
"Dutch Twins," L. F. Perkins; Houghton, Mifflin. 
"The Story of King Arthur and His Knights," "The 

Merry Adventures of Robin Hood," Howard Pyle; 

"Men of Iron," Howard Pyle; Harper. 
"Jack Ballister's Fortunes," Howard Pyle; Century. 


"Stories of Persian Heroes," Wilmet Buxton; Crowell. 
"Ivanhoe," ''Rob Roy," Sir Walter Scott; Houghton, 

Mifflin; and others. 
"A Little Shepherd of Provenge," Evaleen Stein; Page. 
"The Black Arrow," "Treasure Island," "Kidnapped," 

Robert Louis Stevenson; Scribner. 
"Captains Courageous," Rudyard Kipling; Century. 
"Heidi," "Moni the Goat Boy," Johanna Spyri; Ginn. 
"Just So Stories," Rudyard Kipling; Doubleday, Page. 
"The Jungle Book" (2 vols.), Rudyard Kipling; Cen- 
"Biography of a Grizzly," "Silver Fox," Ernest Thomp- 

son-Seton; Century. 
"Lives of the Hunted," "Wild Animals I Have Known," 

Ernest Thompson-Seton; Scribner. 
"The Magic Forest," Stewart Edward White; Grosset 

& Dunlap. 
"Wilderness Babies," Julia A. Schwartz; Little, Brown. 
"Bob, Son of Battle," Alfred Olivant; Burt. 
"Red Fox," "Watchers of the Trail," Charles G. D. 

Roberts; Page. 
"Squirrels and Other Fur Bearers," John Burroughs; 

Houghton, Mifflin. 

Some Source-Books for the Story Teller 

" Fairy Tales of All Nations," Edited by Logan Marshall; 

"Home Fairy Tales," Jean Mace; Harper. 


"The Japanese Fairy Book," Ozaki; Button. 

"The Story-Teller's Book," Alice O'Grady and Frances 

Throop; Rand, McNally. 
"Fairy Tales from Many Lands," "When the Wind 

Blows," Re-told by Katharine Pyle; Button. 
"Moral Training," "Golden Ladder," "Golden Word," 

" Golden Beed," etc., Sneath and Hodges ; Macmillan. 
"Fairy Tales," "The Happy Prince," "The House of 

Pomegranates," Oscar Wilde; Putnam. 
"The Outlook Fairy Book," Edited by Laura Winning- 
ton; Macmillan. 
"Celtic Wonder Tales," Re-told by Ella Young; Mannsel 

and Co., Bublin, Ireland. 
"Old Indian Legends," Zitkala-Sa; Ginn. 
"Favorite Fairy Tales — Childhood Choice of Representa- 
tive Men and Women," Harper. 
The Story-Teller (periodical). Published by the Story- 

Tellers Co., 80 Fifth Ave., New York. 
"The Fairy Ring," "Tales of Laughter," Kate Bouglas 

WiGGiN and Nora Archibald Smith; Boubleday, 

"The Indian Story Book," Richard Wilson; Macmillan. 
"Zuiii Folk Tales," F. H. Gushing; Putnam. 
"Old Beccan Bays," Mary Frere; John Murray, 

"Forty-four Turkish Fairy Tales," Translated by Ignatz 

KuNOS; Crowell. 
"Chinese Fairy Tales," A. M. Fielde; Putnam. 
"Good Stories for Great Holidays," Francis Jenkins 

Olcott; Houghton, Miflain. 

336 children's stories and how to tell them 

"Wonder Stories from Herodotus," Edited by N. B. 

D 'Almeida; Harper. 
"Myths of the Hindus and Buddhists," M. E. Noble and 

K. Coomaraswanay; Holt. 
"Roumanian Fairy Tales," J. M. Percival; Holt. 
"Plutarch's Lives of Illustrious Men;" Various publishers. 
"Tales of the Heroic Ages" (2 vols.), Z. A. Ragozin; 

"Myths and Legends of Flowers, Trees, Fruits and 

Plants," C. M. Skinner; Lippincott. 
"The Welsh Fairy Book," W. J. Thomas; Stokes. 
"Slav Fairy Tales," A. E. B. Chodzko; Translated by 

E. J. Harding; Burt. 
" Jataka Tales," E. C. Babbitt; Century. 
"Legends of the Iroquois," W. W. Canfield; Wessels. 
"The Golden Spears," Edmund Leamy; Fitzgerald. 
' ' The Golden Windows, ' ' Laura E. Richards ; Little Brown. 
" A Child's Book of Warriors," William Canton ; Button. 
"Fairy Tales from Hans Christian Andersen," Translated 

by Mrs. Edgar V. Lucas; Button; also Boubleday, 

" Fairy Tales from theFar North," P. C. Asbjornsen; Burt. 
"Popular Tales from the Norse," "Tales from the Fjeld," 

"East o' the Sun and West o' the Moon," George 

Webbe Basent; Putnam. 
"Children's Book of Christmas Stories," Edited by Asa 

Ben Bickinson; Boubleday, Page. 
"Sons o' Cormac, Aldis Bunbar;" Longmans, Green. 
"Grimm's Fairy Tales," Translated by Mrs. Edgar V. 

Lucas; Lippincott. 


"The Book of the Epic," H. A. Guerber; Lippincott. 

"Stories of Famous Operas," "Stories of Wagner Operas," 
H. A. Guerber; Dodd, Mead. 

"In Storyland," Elizabeth Harrison; Central PubHsh- 
ing Co. 

"Cossack Fairy Tales," "Russian Fairy Tales," R. N. 
Bain; Burt. 

"English Fairy Tales," "More English Fairy Tales," 
"Celtic Fairy Tales," "More Celtic Fairy Tales," 
"Europa's Fairy Tales," Joseph Jacobs; Putnam. 

"The Big Book of Fairy Tales," Walter Jerrold; Cald- 

"The Red Romance Book," "The Animal Story Book," 
"The Blue Fairy Book," "The Green Fairy Book," 
"The Brown Fairy Book," "The Violet Fairy Book," 
"The Yellow Fairy Book," "The Crimson Fairy 
Book," "The Olive Fairy Book," "The Lilac Fairy 
Book," Andrew Lang; Longmans, Green. 

"Christ Legends," Selma Lagerlof; Holt. 

"Mother Stories," "More Mother Stories," Maud 
Lindsay; Milton Bradley. 

" Every Child Should Know" Series, Edited by Hamilton 
Wright Mabie; Doubleday, Page. 

"After School Club Library" (12 vols.). Edited by 
Hamilton Wright Mabie; After School Club, 

"Stories Children Need," Carolyn Sherwin Bailey; 
Milton Bradley. 

"For the Children's Hour," Carolyn Sherwin Bailey 
and Clara M. Lewis; Milton Bradley. 

338 children's stories and how to tell them 

"Worth While Stories for Every Day," Lawton B. Evans; 

Milton Bradley. 
"In the Child's World," Emilie Poulsson; Milton 


Books and Articles on Children's Reading 

"Fingerposts to Children's Reading," Walter Taylor 

Field; McClurg. 
"The Children's Reading," Frances Jenkins Olcott; 

Houghton, MiflSin. 
"Fairy Tales in the School Room," Catherine A. Dodd; 

Living Age, 235:369-375. 
"Telling Stories for Children," Theresa Hitchler; 

Public Libraries, 1 2 : 89-9 1 . 
"On the Selection of Books for Children," Sidonie M. 

Gruenberg; Outlook, 105: 803-806. 
"What Do Children Read?" Montrose Moses; Good 

Housekeeping, 58: 63-67. 
"The Muses in the Public School," Mary E. Burt; 

A tlantic Monthly, 67: 531. 
"Books and a Boy," Katherine Reighard; Outlook, 

65: 178-180. 
"Good Books to Give Children," Elizabeth R. Scovil; 

Ladies^ Home Journal, 17: 32. 
"Children and Poetry," Annie W. McCullough; Out- 
look, 58: 227-228. 
"Children's Literature: the Mother's Point of View," 

Helen B. Lincoln; Outlook, $8: 1075. 
"Bibliography of Children's Readings," Teachers' College, 

Columbia University, New York. 


"Books and Articles on Children's Reading," Margaret 
Widdemer; Bulletin of Bibliography, July, October, 
191 1 ; January, April, 191 2. 

"Graded List of Stories for Reading Aloud," E. Hassler; 
Public Library Commission, Indiana. 

The public libraries of our larger American cities very 
generally publish lists of books and stories for children, 
usually carefully classified. These reading lists may be 
had for a few cents each and the titles of the pamphlets 
will be furnished on application to the librarian if return 
postage is enclosed with the request. For example, the 
Carnegie Library, of Pittsburgh, Pa., issues for five cents 
"A List of Good Stories to Tell to Children Under Twelve 
Years of Age;" the Boston Public Library will send for 
five cents a " Finding List of Fairy Tales and Folk Stories," 
which lists about one hundred books; the Brooklyn, 
N. Y., Public Library publishes a pamphlet on "Books 
that Girls Like;" and the Y. M. C. A. Press, New York, 
are the publishers of "Selected Books for Boys," by C. B. 
Kern (15 cents). The Connecticut State Board of Educa- 
tion, the Capitol, Hartford, issues free a bibliography of 
book lists of the sorts just referred to. 

Books on Story-Telling Methods 

"Some Great Stories and How to Tell Them," Richard 

T. Wyche; Newson. 
"How to Tell Stories to Children," Sara Cone Bryant; 

Houghton, Miffiin. 


"Stories to Tell to Children," Sara Cone Bryant; 

Houghton, Mifflin. 
"For the Story-Teller," Carolyn Sherwin Bailey; 

Milton Bradley. 
*'The Story-Teller's Art," Charity Dye; Ginn. 
"Telling Bible Stories," Louise Seymour Houghton; 

"Story-TelHng— What to Tell and How to Tell It," 

Edna Lyman; McClurg. 
"Story-Telling in School and Home," E. N. and C. E. 

Partridge ; Sturgis & Walton. 
"Stories and Story-Telling in Moral and Religious In- 
struction," Edward Porter St. John; Pilgrim 

"Stories and Story-Telling," Angela M. Keyes; 

"The Art of the Story-Teller," Marie L. Shedlock; 

"The Art of Story-Telling," Julia Darrow Cowles; 

"Manual of Stories," Wm. Byron Forbush; Jacobs. 
"The Art of Story- Writing," J. Berg Esenwein and 

Mary D. Chambers; Home Correspondence School. 
For books on the technique of the short-story, and of the 
literary forms, see the list which faces the title page of 
this volume. 

Books on Literary Study and Its Value 

"The Appreciation of Literature," George E. Wood- 
berry; Baker, Taylor. 


"The Torch," George E. Woodberry; Doubleday, Page. 
''The Heart of Man," George E. Woodberry; Mac- 

''What Can Literature Do for Me? " C. Alphonso Smith; 

Doubleday, Page. 
"The Aims of Literary Study," Hiram D. Corson; Mac- 

"The Voice and Spiritual Education," Hiram D. Corson; 

"Literature in the Elementary Schools," Porter Lander 

MacClintock; University of Chicago Press. 
"Literature in the School," John S. Welsh; Silver, 


Publishers' Addresses 

Henry Altemus Co., Philadelphia. 

D. Appleton & Co., New York. 
The Baker Taylor Co., New York. 
Milton Bradley Co., Springfield, Mass. 
A. L. Burt & Co., New York. 

H. M. Caldwell Co. (Dodge Publishing Co.), New York. 

Century Co., New York. 

Central Publishing Co., New York. 

T. Y. Crowell & Co., New York. 

Dodd, Mead & Co., New York. 

Doubleday, Page & Co., Garden City, Long Island. 

E. P. Dutton & Co., New York. 
D. Fitzgerald, New York. 
GiNN & Co., Boston. 

Harper & Brothers, New York. 

342 children's stories and how to tell them 

D. C. Heath & Co., Boston. 

Henry Holt & Co., New York. 

Home Correspondence School, Springfield, Mass. 

Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Boston. 

G. W. Jacobs Co., Philadelphia. 

J. B. Lippincott Co., Philadelphia. 

Little, Brown & Co., Boston. 

Longmans, Green & Co., New York. 

Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, Boston. 

A. C. McClurg & Co., Chicago. 

Macmillan Co., New York. 

Newson & Co., New York. 

L. C. Page & Co., Boston. 

Pilgrim Press, Boston. 

G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York. 

Rand, McNally & Co., Chicago. 

The Reilly & Britton Co., Chicago. 

Charles Scribner's Sons, New York. 

Silver, Burdett & Co., Boston. 

F. A. Stokes Co., New York. 

Sturgis & Walton Co., New York. 

Frederick Warne & Co., New York. 

John C. Winston Co., Philadelphia. 


General topics are set in Roman or ordinary type; 
names of periodicals in italics; proper names, real or 
fictional, are in capitals; and titles of books, articles and 
stories are in quotation marks. Only the titles of main 
sections in the appendix material which makes up Part III 
are included in this index. 

Abbey, E. A., 309. 

Adapting stories, 90. 

Adolescence, 31. 

"iEneid, The," 104. 

^sop, 104. 

''Alice in Wonderland," 

"American Natural His- 
tory," 27. 

Analysis of the story, 61, 

Andersen, Hans Chris- 
tian, 40, 41, 45, 53, 130, 
172, 279. 

Anderson, Mary, 73. 

Andrews, Charlton, 99. 

Anecdotes, 112. 

Animals, Interest in, 27, 

Animal Stories, 192-213. 

"Ant and the Cricket, 
The,", 125. 

Anticlimax, 53. 
Apperception, 26. 
Arnold, Matthew, 103. 
Articulation, 74, 129. 
"Art of Story-Telling, 

The," 124. 
"Art of Telling Bible 

Stories, The," 90, 214. 
"Art of the Story-Teller, 

The," 41, 117. 
Artistry in story-telling, 

"As Old as the Moon," 46. 
Atlantic Monthly , They 8. 
Atmosphere, 61. 
Audience, The, 76, 78. 


Baby Ray, 128. 

Bailey, Carolyn Sher- 

win, 26, 27, 42, 248-253. 
"Barney Noonan's Fairy 

Haymakers," 166-169. 




Bently, Miss, 255. 

Bible, The, 54, 65. 

Bible stories, 15, 54, 87, 

loi, 214-231, 245-248, 

"Billy-Goats Gruff, The," 

32, 136-138. 
Bingham, Madge A., 268. 
Biographical stories, 232. 
"Biography of a Silver 

Fox," 209. 
Birtwell, Persis, 121. 
"Blight of Literary Book- 

ishness. The," 41. 
"Blue Peacock, The," 124. 
"Boat Glee," 127. 
"Book of the Epic, The," 

BoswELL, James, 232. 
Bottle People, 124. 
"Br'er Rabbit," 32, 113. 
Brownies, 256. 
Browning, Robert, 3, 21. 
Bryant, Sarah Cone, 57, 

67, 76, 124. 
Bryant, William Cullen, 

Bunyan, John, ioi, 102. 
"Bushy Bride," 151. 
"Butterfly," 293. 

Caesar, Julius, 102. 

"Call of the Wild, The," 

Capability and Culture, 6-9. 
Carlton, Will, 245. 
Carlyle, Thomas, 232. 

"Castle of the Maidens, 
The," 316-319. 

"Caterpillar and the But- 
terfly, The," 194. 

Century Co., The, 209. 

Chandler, Izora, 46. 

Change of pace, 74. 

Chaucer, Geoffrey, 197. 

"Child, The," 3. 

"Christmas Carol, A.," 85, 

Christmas Stories, 254-277. 

"Christmas Visitors, The," 
255, 273-275. 

Chubb, Percival, 41. 

CiD, The, 104. 

"Cinderella," 17, 114, 100, 


"Clever Rat, The," 204- 

Clifford, Ethel, 3. 
Climax, 52, 63. 
"Cockand theHen, The," 

' ' Columniated Collegian, 

The," 7, 8. 
"Coming of Arthur, The," 

Coolidge, Susan, 264. 
Coordination, 85, 86. 
Corson, Hiram D., 14, 15, 

CowLES, Julia Darrow, 

Crisis, 51. 

Culture, 6-9, II, 12. 
Curie, Madame, ii. 




Dasent, George Webbe, 

137, 151, 155, 193- 
David, 102. 
''David and Goliath," 21, 

60, 61, 226-231. 
*' Death of Baldur, The," 

Delivery, 72-78. 
Details, 61. 
*' Diamonds and Toads," 

"Discontented Chickens, 

The," 169-172. 
Dramatic quality in stories, 

43, 97, 98. 
Dramatizing stories, 116, 

124, 125, 256, 260. 
Drawing, 77. 
Drummond, Henry, 86. 
Dryden, John, 102. 

"Education of Man," 82. 
"Elephant's Child, The," 

Elves, 256. 
Endings of stories, 52-55, 

English Journal J The, 41. 
Enunciation, 74. 
Epics, 94, 95, 103, 104, 105. 
Episode, The, 48, 94, 95. 
"Europa's Fairy Tales," 

53, loi. 
"Evolution of Literature, 

The,"^ 17. 
Expanding stories, 99, 100. 


"Fable About the Bee and 
the Kitten, A," 120. 

Fairy stories, 11, 2>3, 144- 

"Fairy Stories a Child Can 
Read and Act," 124. 

"Fairy Tales," Andersen's, 

45, 53, 134, 172. 
"Farm Festivals," 245. 
" Father Domino," 209-213. 
Feelings in education, 20. 
Fezziwig, Mrs., 85. 
Field, Eugene, 46. 
"First Christmas, The," 

255, 275-277- 
"Five Peas in a Pod," 279- 

Folk stories, 33, 144- 191. 
"For the Story-Teller," 26, 

27, 42, 248-253. 
FoRBusH, Wm. Byron, 26, 

34, 80, 81, 87, 113, 124, 

"Fox and the Cock, The," 

Frith jOF, 104. 
Froebel, Friedrich W. A., 

20, 82, 293. 

Ganelon, 105. 
Garland, Hamlin, 116. 
Gatty, Mrs. 293. 
"Gentlest Giant, The," 254, 

"George Washington and 



the Cherry Tree," 235- 

"George Washington and 

the Colt," 233-235. 
"George Washington as a 

Young Man," 239-242. 
" George Washington the 

Great Man," 242-244. 
Gesture, 76, 77. 
"Goats in the Rye Field, 

The," 134-136. 
"Going to Sea," 238-239. 
"Golden Hair and the 

Three Bears," 127, 200. 
"Golden Locks," 201. 
" Golden Touch, The," 176- 

"Go to Sleep Story," 128. 
"Green Singing Book, 

The," 108. 
Grimm Brothers, 256. 
GuERBER, H. A., 104. 

Hall, G. Stanley, 6, 12, 

Hallowe'en Story, 181. 
"Hansel and Gretel," 125. 
"Happy Princess, The," 47. 
Harkness, Mary Leal, 7, 

Harrison, Miss, 293. 
Harvest stories, 245-253. 
Haslett, Samuel B., 57. 
Hawthorne, Nathaniel, 

103, 176. 
"Helpful," 134. 
Hero stories, 302-327. 

Hervey, Walter L., 106, 

107, 192. 
"Hiawatha," 92. 
Holmes, Oliver Wendell, 


"Holy Cross and Other 

Tales, The," 46. 
Hornaday, William T., 

Houghton, Louise Sey- 
mour, 15, 215. 
Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 

"House that Jack Built, 

The," 114. 
"How Peter Found His 

Fortune," 193. 
"How to Tell Stories to 

Children," 57, 67, 76, 

"How the Camel Got His 

Hump," 53. 
Humor, 77. 


Ideals influenced by stories, 

16, 24; expressed by 

stories, 18. 
"Iliad, The," 95, 103. 
Imagination, 9, 11, 13, 32. 
Incidents, 61, 100, loi. 
"In Story Land," 293. 
Interest, 42, 43. 
Interpretation, 2. 
"In the Beginning," 216- 

Invention, Stimulating, 116- 




Irland, Max, 120. 
Irving, Washington, 103. 


"Jack and Jill's Visit to the 

Moon," 161-165. 
"Jack the Dullard," 93. 
Jack - the - Giant - Killer, 

Jacobs, Joseph, 53, loi, 

"Japanese Fairy Book, 

The," 46. 
"Jeux de I'Enfance," 117. 
"Joan of Arc," 306-309. 
"Just So Stories," 45, 53. 


"Kalevala," 10, 11. 
Keyes, Angela M., 81, 

King Arthur, 33, 104. 
Kipling, Rudyard, 45j 48, 

53. 193- 
"Kim," 194. 
Klein, Harold, 121. 

LaFontaine, 104. 

Lang, Andrew, 46, 48, 

"Leatherstocking Tales," 

"Legend of the Dipper, 

The," 159-161. 
L'Hermitte, 62. 
"Life of Johnson," 232. 

Lincoln, Abraham, 102. 

"Lion and the Mouse, 
The," 138-140. 

"Lippincott's New Picture 
Composition Book," 83, 

Literature; place of in edu- 
cation, 9,41; book refer- 
ences to 14. 

"Little Half-Chick, The," 

"Little Hero of Haarlem, 
The," 303-306. 

"Little Pig that Wouldn't 
Go over the Stile, The," 


' ' Little Rabbit Who Wanted 
Red Wings, The," 47. 

"Little Red Riding Hood," 

Locality a source of mate- 
rial, III, 112. 

London, Jack, 23, 193. 

Longfellow, H. W., 73, 
93. 302. 

LoTi, Pierre, 117. 

Lowe, Mary, 123. 

Lyman, Edna, 16, 58, 104, 


McManus, Seumas, 6. 


Malory, Sir Thomas, 309. 
Manner of the story-teller, 

70, 129. 
" Manual of Stories," 26, 34, 

80, 81, 87, 113, 124, 216. 



Marconi, Guglielmo, ii. 
"Marsh King's Daughter, 

The," 40, 41. 
Memorizing, 64, 72-74. 
Methods of Story-Telling, 

Milton Bradley Co., 248. 
Milton, John, ioi, 102. 
Mimicry, 76. 
Montgomery, Mary W., 

Moore, Thomas, 127. 
Moral, The, 54. 
Moral force of stories, 2022. 
"More English Fairy 

Tales," 200. 
"Morte d' Arthur," 309. 
"Mother Goose,", 31, 127. 
"Mother Goose Village," 

"Mother Play Songs," 293. 
Motivation, 50, 51. 
Moulton, Richard G., 90, 

"Mouse and the Cat, The," 

"Music Primer," 255. 


"Nancy Etticoat's Ring," 

255, 268-273. 
New Education, The, 8. 
"New Year's Bargain, 

The," 264. 
"Niebelungen Lied, The," 

"Night Before Christmas, 

The,'^ 255. 

Nixon, Lillian Edith, 124. 
Noyes, Alfred, 278. 
"Niirnberg Stove, The," 


Observation, 83. 

"Odyssey, The," 95, 103, 

Ogier, 104, 105. 

O' Grady, Alice, 128. 

"Old Fish and the Young 
Fish, The," 121. 

" Old Man Rabbit's Thanks- 
giving Dinner," 248-253. 

"Old Woman and the Pig, 
The," 127. 

Opening of the story, 43-47» 

Original stories, 108- 11 5. 

OuiDA, 100. 

OzAKi, 45, 46. 

"Parables of Nature," 293. 

Partridge, E. N. and G. 
E., 15, 18, 53. 

Patriot Stories, 232-244, 

Pause, 74, 75. 

Peabody, Josephine Pres- 
ton, I, TOO. 

"Pedagogical Bible School, 

The," 57. 
Perry Pictures, The, 87. 
Personal appearance, 71. 
Personality, 2, 16-27. 
"Peter and the Magic 

Goose," 124. 
"Philosophy of Education," 

28, 144. 



"Philosophy of Style," loi. 
"Picciola," 281-287. 
Pictures in story- telling, 

Use of, 82-89. 
Picture-quality in stories, 

60, 130. 
"Picture Work," 106, 107, 

"Pinocchio," 125. 
"Piper, The," I. 
Pitch, 75. 

Pitkin, Walter B., 10. 
Plausibility, 50, 51. 
Plot, 47» ii3> 114, 127. 
PoE, Edgar Allan, 96. 
Poetry, Value of, 15. 
Poise, 71. 
"Popular Tales from the 

Norse," 137, 151, 155, 

Position and posture, 76. 
Preparation of the Story 

for Telling, 58-66. 
Primitive man, 144, 145 5 

"Prodigal Son, The," loi. 
"Proserpina," 287-293. 
"Puss in Boots," 31. 
Putnam's Sons, G., 137, 


Queyrat, 117. 


Rand, McNally & Co., 

Reading, Effects of, 24, 25. 

"Red Fairy Book, The," 

Religious element in stories, 

Repetition, 57. 
Report, Teaching children 

to, 83-85. 
"Rescue of Sir Melyas, 

The," 314-316. 
"Reynard and Bruin," 53. 
"Reynard the Fox," 21, 

Rhythm, 28, 31. 
"Rip Van Winkle," 92. 
"Robert Elsmere," 107. 
Robin Hood, 13, 33, 104, 

"Robinson Crusoe," 103. 
Roland, 104, 105. 
"Rose and the Thrush, 

The," 46. 
" Rose of Butcher's Cooly," 



' ' Ruisenor (Nightmgale) , 

The," 46. 
Russell, John, 45. 
'Ruth and Naomi," 245- 

"Saga, A," 45- 

Sagas, The, 103. 

St. George, 13. 

"St. George and the 

Dragon," 319-323- 
"St. George and the 

Giant," 323-327- 



St. John, Edward Porter, 

14, 15, 16, 57, 100. 
Santine, 281. 
Scenes in stories, 48, 49, 63, 

97, 100. 
Scott, Sir Walter, 103. 
"Scrapefoot," 200-204. 
Self-consciousness, 72. 
Self-electrification, 68, 69. 
''Selfish Giant, The," 47. 
Sense appeal, 21, 26. 
Seton, Ernest Thompson, 

193, 209-213. 
Shakespeare, William, 

loi, 102. 
Shedlock, Marie L., 41, 

''Sheep and the Pig Who 

Set up Housekeeping, 

The," 193, 194-197- 
" Shoemaker and the Elves, 

The," 255, 256-260. 
"Short-Story Writing," 10. 
Sigurd, 104. 

"Silver Shilling, The," 45- 
Situation in the story, 94, 

"Sleeping Beauty," 109, 

113, 296-301. 
Smith, C. Alphonso, 14. 
"Snowball's Christmas 

Eve," 255, 264-268. 
"Sohrab and Rustum," 

"Songs of a Little Child's 

Days," 134. 
Spencer, Herbert, ioi. 
Spring Stories, 278-301. 
"Star Child, The," 53, 54- 

"Star Wife, The," 186- 191. 

Stewart, Anna Bird, 254. 

Stoddard, Florence J., 

Stories, Basis of selection 
of, 28-41. 

"Stories and Story-Tell- 
ing," Keyes, 81, 113. 

"Stories and Story-Tell- 
ing," St. John, 14, 16, 

Stories for very Little 

Folks, 127-143. 
Story, The; Effect of on 

personahty, 16-27. 
Story, The; Place of in the 

Life of the Child, 6-15; 

Story material, iii. 
"Story of Joseph, The," 

"Story of the Baby Moses, 

The," 224-226. 
"Story of the Beautiful 

One Who Did not Have 

Her Desire," 46. 

Story-teller, The, 1-5, 24, 

35, ?>h 58, 59, 67, 70-78. 
Story-Teller as Artist, The, 

" Story-Teller's Book, The," 

Story-Teller^ s Magazine, 

The, 161. 
"Story-Telling in School 

and Home," 15, 18, 53. 
" Story-Telling— What to 

Tell and How to Tell It," 

16, 58, 104. 



Strabo, 17. 

Strehla, August, 100. 

Structure of the Story, The, 

"Sumner, Charles," 302. 

Suspense, 51, 52, 98, 99. 
Sympathy with children 

Tale, The, 47, 48. 

"Tales from the Punjab," 

Tastet, Helen, 120, 121. 

"Technique of Play Writ- 
ing, The," 99. 

"Telling Bible Stories," 15, 

Tennyson, Alfred, 103. 

Thanksgiving Stories, 245- 

Theme, The, 61. 

"Three Bears, The," 32, 57, 

"Three Heads, The," 151- 

"Three Little Pigs, The," 

32, 57- 
"Three Pigs, The," 127. 
"Through the Looking 

Glass," 125. 
"Thumbelina," 130-134, 

"Tom Thumb," 65, 146- 

"Tom Tit Tom," 109. 
Transitions, 65. 
Triteness, 112. 

"True and Untrue," 193. 
"Two Mice and the Cat, 
The," 120, 121. 


"Ugly Duckling, The," 

Ulysses, 303. 
Unity, 63, 95, 96. 

"Visit to Santa Claus Land, 
The," 255, 260-264. 

Visualizing a story, 59, 70. 

Voice, 3, 4, 73-74; 

"Voice and Spiritual Edu- 
cation, The," 15, 214. 

Voice and Word, 3. 


Ward, Artemus, 77. 
Ward, Mrs. Humphrey, 

Washington, George, 232- 

"Waverly Novels, The," 

Wayne PubHshing Co., 

The, 254, 293. 
"White Cat, The," 32. 
"White Fang," 23. 
"White Hare and the 

Crockodiles, The," 45- 
"Why the Chimes Rang," 

"Why the Sea is Salt," 155- 




Will, The, 68, 69. 

Wilde, Oscar, 47, 53, 54. 

WARD, II, 14. 

"Woodman and the Gob- 
lins, The," 181-186. 

"Woodpecker, The," 45. 


Words, 3, 4, 63, 64, 84, 85, 
93, 129. 

"Wondrous Change, A," 

Wordsworth, William, i 5. 
Wyche, Richard Thomas, 


"Young Knight Galahad, 
The," 309-313. 

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