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THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
TOPAZ STORY BOOK
Stories and Legends of
Autumn, Halloween, and Thanksgiving
ADA M. SKINNER
ELEANOR L. SKINNER
Editors of "The Emerald Story Book" "Merry Tales'
"Nursery Tales from Many Lands' 1
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DUFFIELD & COMPANY
Copyright, 1917, by
DUFFIELD & Co.
Fifth Edition, 1928
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Nature stories, legends, and poems appeal
to the young reader's interest in various ways.
Some of them suggest or reveal certain facts
which stimulate a spirit of investigation and
attract the child's attention to the beauty and
mystery of the world. Others serve an ex-
cellent purpose by quickening his sense of
Seedtime and harvest have always been sea-
sons of absorbing interest and have furnished
the story- teller with rieh : themes. The selec-
tions in "The Emerald Stoiy Book" empha-
size the hope and premise of the spring; the
stories, legends, and poems in this volume,
"The Topaz 'Story Book," express the joy and
blessing which attend the harvest-time when
the fields are rich in golden grain and the or-
chard boughs bend low with mellow fruit
"The year's work is done. She walks in gor-
geous apparel, looking upon her long labour
and her serene eye saith, 'It is good.'
The editors' thanks are due to the follow-
ing authors and publishers for the use of valu-
able material in this book:
To Dr. Carl S. Patton of the First Congre-
gational Church, Columbus, Ohio, for per-
mission to include his story, "The Pretending
Woodchuck"; to Frances Jenkins Olcott for
"The Green Corn Dance," retold from "The
Journal of American Folk-Lore," published
by Houghton, Mifflin Company; to Ernest
Thompson Seton and the Century Company
for "How the Chestnut Burrs Became"; to
Dr. J. Dynelly Prince for permission to retell
the legend of "Nipon" from "Kuloskap the
Master"; to Thcmas Nelson and Sons for
"Weeds," by Carl Ewald ; to William Herbert
Carruth for the selection from "Each In His
Own Tongue"; to -Josephine K. Dodge for
two poems by Mary Mapes Dodge; to A.
Flanagan Company for "Golden-rod and
Purple Aster," from "Nature Myths and
Stories," by Flora J. Cooke; to J. B. Lippin-
cott Company for "The Willow and the Bam-
boo," from "Myths and Legends of the Flow-
ers and Trees," by Chas. M. Skinner; to
Bobbs, Merrill Company for the selection
by James Whitcomb Riley; to Lothrop,
Lee, and Shepard Company for "The Pump-
kin Giant," from "The Pot of Gold," by
Mary Wilkins Freeman; to Raymond Mac-
donald Alden for "Lost: The Summer";
to the Youth's Companion for "A Turkey
for the Stuffing," by Katherine Grace Hul-
bert, and "The News," by Persis Gardi-
ner; to John S. P. Alcott for "Queen Aster,"
by Louisa M. Alcott; to G. P. Putnam's Sons
for two poems from "Red Apples and Silver
Bells," by Hamish Henry; to Francis Cur-
tis and St. Nicholas for "The Debut of
Daniel Webster," by Isabel Gordon Curtis;
to Emma F. Bush and Mothers' Magazine
for "The Little Pumpkin"; to Phila Butler
Bowman and Mothers' Magazine for "The
Queer Little Baker Man"; to the Inde-
pendent for "The Crown of the Year," by
Celia Thaxter; to Ginn and Company for
"Winter's Herald," from Andrew's "The
Story of My Four Friends" ; to Frederick A.
Stokes Company for "Lady White and Lady
Yellow," from "Myths and Legends of Ja-
pan"; to the State Museum, Albany, New
York, for permission to reprint the legend
"O-na-tah, Spirit of the Corn," published in
the Museum Bulletin; to Houghton, Mifflin
Company for "The Sickle Moon," by Abbie
Farwell Brown; "Autumn Among the Birds"
and "Autumn Fashions" by Edith M. Thomas,
"The Nutcrackers of Nutcracker Lodge" by
Harriet Beecher Stowe, and "The Three Gol-
den Apples" by Nathaniel Hawthorne; and
to Duffield and Company for "The Story of
the Opal" by Ann de Morgan.
AUTUMN STORIES AND LEGENDS
Each in His Own Tongue (selection)
William Herbert Carruth 2
Nipon and the King of the Northland (Algonquin Leg-
end) Retold from Leland and Prince
Eleanor L. Skinner 3
Prince Autumn (Translated from the Danish by Alex-
andre Teixeira de Mattos) Carl Ewald 12
The Scarf of the Lady (adapted) (Translated from the
French by Hermine de Nagy) 24
The Sickle Moon (Tyrolean harvest legend)
Abbie Farwell Brown 30
Winter's Herald Jane Andrews 35
Jack Frost (poem) 42
The Pumpkin Giant Mary Wilkins Freeman 44
Lady White and Lady Yellow (Japanese Legend)
Frederick Hadland Davis 62
The Shet-up Posy Ann Trumbull Slosson 66
The Gay Little King Mary Stewart 73
The Story of the Opal Ann de Morgan 83
Selection Celia Thaxter 97
Lost: The Summer (poem)
Raymond Macdonald Alden 98
By the Wayside (poem) William Cullen Bryant 99
The King's Candles (German legend)
Eleanor L. Skinner 100
A Legend of the Golden-Rod Frances Weld Danielson 106
Golden-Rod (poem) Anna E. Skinner 109
The Little Weed. no
Golden-Rod and Purple Aster (adapted)
Flora J. Cooke 112
Wild Asters (poem) 115
Silver-rod Edith M. Thomas 116
Pimpernel, the Shepherd's Clock (poem) 118
A Legend of the Gentian (Hungarian) ..Ada M. Skinner 119
Queen Aster Louisa M. Alcott 121
The Weeds Carl Ewald 134
Autumn Fires (poem) Robert Louis Stevenson 144
AMONG THE TREES
To An Autumn Leaf (poem) 146
Why the Autumn Leaves Are Red (Indian legend)
Retold and adapted by Eleanor Newcomb Partridge 147
The Anxious Leaf Henry Ward Beecher 154
How the Chestnut Burrs Became
Ernest Thompson-Seton 156
The Merry Wind (poem) Mary Mapes Dodge 158
Autumn Among the Birds Edith M. Thomas 159
The Kind Old Oak Selected 163
The Tree (poem) Bjdrnstjerne Bjornson 165
Coming and Going Henry Ward Beecher 166
A Legend of the Willow Tree (Japanese) 170
Autumn Fashions (poem) Edith M. Thomas 173
Pomona's Best Gift (Old English Song) 175
Pomona (Greek myth retold from Ovid)
Ada M. Skinner 176
In the Orchard (poem) George Weatherby 180
Johnny Appleseed Josephine Scribner Gates 181
Red Apple (poem) Hamish Hendry 185
The Three Golden Apples Nathaniel Hawthorne 186
October: Orchard of the Year Selected 211
The Pretending Woodchuck Dr. Carl S. Patton 215
Mrs. Bunny's Dinner Party Anna E. Skinner 228
The Nutcrackers of Nutcracker Lodge (adapted)
Harriet Beecher Stowe 234
Bushy's Bravery Ada M. Skinner 243
Nut Gatherers (poem) Hamish Hendry 248
When the Frost is' on the Pumpkin
James Whitcomb Riley 250
Origin of Indian Corn (Indian legend)
Eleanor L. Skinner 251
Song of Hiawatha Henry W. Longfellow 254
O-na-tah, the Spirit of the Corn Fields
Harriet Converse 255
Mondamin (poem) Henry W. Longfellow 258
The Discontented Pumpkin Ada M. Skinner 259
Bob White (poem ) George Cooper 263
The Little Pumpkin Emma Florence Bush 265
Autumn (poem) Edmund Spenser 270
The News (poem) Persis Gardiner 272
How There Came To Be a Katy-did Patten Beard 273
Old Dame Cricket (poem) 276
Miss Katy-did and Miss Cricket ( adapted )
Harriet Beecher Stowe 277
The Cricket (poem) William Cowper 284
Shadow March (poem) Robert Louis Stevenson 286
Twinkling Feet's Hallowe'en (adapted from a Cornwall
legend) Eleanor L. Skinner 287
Jack-o'-Lantern (poem) 298
The Elfin Knight (old ballad retold)
Eleanor L. Skinner 299
The Courteous Prince (Scotch legend)
Eleanor L. Skinner 307
Jack-o'-Lantern Song 314
A HARVEST OF THANKSGIVING STORIES
Selection Henry Van Dyke 318
The Queer Little Baker Man Phila Butler Bowman 319
A Turkey for the Stuffing Katherine Grace Hulbert 327
Pumpkin Pie (poem) Mary Mapes Dodge 333
Mrs. November's Party Agnes Carr 335
The Debut of Dan'l Webster Isabel Gordon Curtis 345
The Green Corn Dance Frances Jenkins Olcott 365
Thanksgiving (poem) Amelie E. Barr 373
The Two Alms, or The Thanksgiving Day Gift (Trans-
lated and adapted from the French)
Eleanor L. Skinner 375
Thanksgiving Psalm Bible 380
The Crown of the Year (poem) Celia Thaxter 381
AUTUMN STORIES AND LEGENDS
EACH IN HIS OWN TONGUE
A haze on the far horizon,
The infinite, tender sky,
The rich, ripe tint of the cornfields,
And the wild geese sailing high;
And, all over upland and lowland
The charm of the golden- rod,
Some of us call it Autumn,
And others call it God.
WILLIAM HERBERT CARRUTH.
NIPON AND THE KING OF THE
THE Summer Queen whom the Indians called
Nipon lived in the land of sunshine where
the life-giving beams of the mighty Sun shone
all the year round on the blossoming meadows
and green forests. The maiden's wigwam
faced the sunrise. It was covered with a vine
which hung thick with bell-shaped blossoms.
The fair queen's trailing green robe was
woven from delicate fern leaves and embroid-
ered with richly coloured blossoms. She wore
a coronet of flowers and her long dusky braids
were entwined with sprays of fragrant honey-
suckle. Her moccasins were fashioned from
Nipon was very busy in her paradise of
flowers. Every day she wandered through the
green forests where she spoke words of en-
4 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
couragement and praise to the great trees, or
she glided over the meadows and helped the
flower buds to unfold into perfect blossoms.
Sometimes the maiden's grandmother,
whose name was K'me-wan, the Rain, came
from afar to visit the land of Sunshine. The
Summer Queen always welcomed her and
listened carefully to the words of warning
which K'me-wan solemnly gave before leav-
"Nipon, my child, heed what I say. In
thy wanderings never go to the Northland
where dwells Poon, the Winter King. He is
thy deadliest foe and is waiting to destroy
thee. This grim old Winter King hates the
fair beauty of the Summer Queen. He will
cause thy green garments to wither and fade
and thy bright hair to turn white like his own
frost. All thy youth and strength he will
change to age and weakness."
The Summer Maiden promised to heed her
grandmother's warning, and for a long time
she did not look in the direction of the North-
land. But one day when she sat in front of
her sun-bathed wigwam a strange longing
NIPON AND THE KING 5
crept into her heart a longing to look at the
frozen Northland where Poon the Winter
King reigned. Slowly she turned her eyes in
the forbidden direction and there she saw a
wonderful vision. The far-away Northland
was flooded with sunshine. She could see the
broad, shining lakes, the white mountain peaks
touched with rosy mists, and the winding riv-
ers gleaming with light.
"It is the most beautiful land I have ever
seen," said Nipon.
She rose slowly and stood for some time
looking at the enchanting beauty of the scene
before her. Then she said, "My heart is
filled with a strange longing. I shall go to
visit the Northland, the Land of Poon, King of
"My daughter, remember K'me-wan's
warning," whispered a voice and Nipon knew
that her grandmother was speaking. "Go not
to the Northland where death awaits thee.
Abide in the land of Sunshine."
"I can not choose," said Nipon. "I must
go to the Northland."
"Heed my warning! Heed my warning!"
6 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
whispered the faint voice of K'me-wan, the
"I can not choose," repeated the Summer
Queen. "I must go to the Northland."
In her delicate robe of leaves and her coro-
net of flowers Nipon left the Land of Sunshine
and began her long journey northward. For
many moons she traveled keeping her eyes
fixed on the dazzling beauty of the frost king's
One day she noticed that the shining moun-
tains, lakes, and rivers in the land of Poon
moved onward before her. She stopped for
a moment to consider the marvel and again a
faint voice whispered, "Turn back, my child!
Destruction awaits thee in the land of King
Winter. Heed the warning of K'me-wan."
But the willful Summer Queen closed her
ears to the pleading voice and proceeded on
her journey. The beautiful vision no longer
seemed to move away from her. Surely be-
fore long she would win her heart's desire, she
would reach the beautiful land of Poon.
Suddenly fear seized the Summer Queen,
r for she felt that the sunshine was gradually
NIPON AND THE KING 7
fading away. A chill wind from the distant
mountain rent her frail garments and with
sinking heart she saw the leaves of her robe
were turning yellow, the blossoms were fad-
ing and dying. A cruel wind blew and tore
to pieces her coronet of flowers. Then she
noticed that her dusky braids were turning
white as the frost.
"K'me-wan's warning!" she cried. "How I
wish I had heeded K'me-wan's warning! The
Frost King is cruel. He will destroy me! O
K'me-wan, help me! Save me from destruc-
Soon after Nipon left for the Northland
her grandmother knew what had happened,
for from her Skyland she saw that no smoke
rose from the Summer Queen's wigwam.
K'me-wan hastened to the land of Sunshine.
There she saw that the blossoms on the
queen's wigwam were beginning to wither, the
ground was strewn with fallen petals, and the
leaves of the vine had lost their shining green
"A grey mist covers the face of the sun and
a change is gradually creeping over this beau-
8 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
tiful land," cried K'me-wan. "I'll send my
gentlest showers to refresh the woods and
But the Rain-rnother failed to bring back
the colour to the Summer Queen's island.
"The trees and flowers need warmth as well
as moisture," sighed K'me-wan. "The leaves
of the forest are beginning to turn orange,
crimson, and brown. Every day there are
fewer flowers in the meadows and along the
banks of the brook. A great change is creep-
ing over the land of Sunshine."
And as she sat in Nipon's wigwam, grieving,
she heard the Summer Queen's cry of agony.
She heard Nipon call out, "O K'me-wan!
Save me from destruction."
"I'll send my bravest warriors to do battle
with Poon," declared K'me-wan, standing and
looking toward the Northland. "He shall
match his strength with mine!"
Quickly she called together her strong war-
riors, South-wind, West-wind, and Warm-
"Go to the Northland, my warriors," she
commanded. "Use all your power to rescue
NIPON AND THE KING 9
Nipon from Poon, the Winter King. Fly to
the Northland !"
K'me-wan's wind warriors fled like light-
ning to the land'of Poon. But the crafty Win-
ter King was not taken by surprise. The
mighty North-wind, the biting East-wind, and
the Frost-spirit, his strong chieftains, he held
in readiness to do battle for possession of the
Summer Queen. And when K'me-wan's war-
riors drew near the Northland, Poon gave his
"Fly to meet our foes, my warriors! They
come from the land of Sunshine! Vanquish
And as he spoke his chieftains saw that
Poon's stalwart figure was growing gaunt and
thin, and great drops of sweat were dropping
from his brow.
At Winter King's command his giants flew
to match their strength with K'me-wan's war-
But the Snowflakes and Hailstones led by
the Frost-spirit weakened and fell before
Warm-breeze and his followers, the Rain-
drops. The cold wind warriors of the North
io THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
shook and roared as they matched strength
with the mightier giants from the land of
Sunshine. Then, as K'me-wan's warriors
pressed nearer and nearer to the Northland,
Poon the Winter King weakened and cried out
in agony, "Set Nipon free or I shall perish.
My warriors are vanquished by the chieftains
of the land of Sunshine! Free the Summer
Queen and end this strife!"
At this command from Poon, his giant war-
riors grew silent and fled back to the North-
land, leaving K'me-wan's chieftains in pos-
session of Nipon. Gently they led the weary
Summer Queen back toward her own land.
They travelled for many moons before the
beams of the great sun were warm enough to
restore her beauty.
Only once on her journey back to her own
land did Nipon stop. It was when she reached
a place enveloped in grey mists and dark
clouds where the wild lightning leaped and
flashed. The wind blew and the showers fell
continually in this land of K'me-wan.
Through the clouds and rain Nipon traveled
until she reached the wigwam of the ancient
NIPON AND THE KING n
"Forgive me, K'me-wan," said the Summer
"My child, thou hast well nigh killed me,"
moaned K'me-wan faintly. "Thy disobedi-
ence has brought great suffering in my cher-
ished island. My giant warriors conquered
or Poon with his cruel ice scepter would have
reigned king over all. Never again can I ven-
ture on such a struggle."
"Never again shall I disobey thee," de-
clared Nipon, the Summer Queen.
"Hasten back to the land of Sunshine," said
K'me-wan, rising. "There thou art sadly
needed, for the leaves have changed their color
and the blossoms are almost gone. Hasten
back and give them new life, my daughter."
Then Nipon bade farewell to the Rain-
mother and departed for the land of Sunshine.
As she drew near her heart was filled with a
wonderful joy and peace.
"Welcome, Nipon," laughed the warm sun-
"Welcome, Nipon," sang the gentle breezes.
"Welcome, our life-giving Summer Queen,"
nodded the forest trees.
ON the top of the hills in the West stood the
Prince of Autumn and surveyed the land with
his serious eyes.
His hair and beard were dashed with gray
and there were wrinkles on his forehead. But
he was good to look at, still and straight and
strong. His splendid cloak gleamed red and
green and brown and yellow and flapped in
the wind. In his hand he held a horn.
He smiled sadly and stood awhile and lis-
tened to the fighting and the singing and the
cries. Then he raised his head, put the horn
to his mouth and blew a lusty flourish:
Summer goes his all-prospering way,
Autumn's horn is calling.
Heather dresses the brown hill-clay,
Winds whip crackling across the bay,
Leaves in the grove keep falling.
Copyright, 1913, by Dodd, Mead & Company.
PRINCE AUTUMN 13
All the trees of the forest shook from root
to top, themselves not knowing why. All the
birds fell silent together. The stag in the
glade raised his antlers in surprise and lis-
tened. The poppy's scarlet petals flew before
But high on the mountains and on the bare
hills and low down in the bog, the heather
burst forth and blazed purple and glorious in
the sun. And the bees flew from the faded
flowers of the meadow and hid themselves in
But Autumn put his horn to his mouth again
Autumn lords it with banners bright
Of garish leaves held o'er him,
Quelling Summer's eternal fight,
Heralding Winter, wild and white,
While the blithe little birds flee before him.
The Prince of Summer stopped where he
stood in the valley and raised his eyes to the
hills in the West. And the Prince of Autumn
took the horn from his mouth and bowed low
i 4 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
"Welcome!" said Summer.
He took a step towards him and no more,
as befits one who is the greater. But the
Prince of Autumn came down over the hills
and again bowed low.
They walked through the valley hand in
hand. And so radiant was Summer that,
wherever they passed, none was aware of Au-
tumn's presence. The notes of his horn died
aw r ay in the air; and one and all recovered
from the shudder that had passed over them.
The trees and birds and flowers came to them-
selves again and whispered and sang and
fought. The river flowed, the rushes mur-
mured, the bees continued their summer orgy
in the heather.
But, wherever the princes stopped on their
progress through the valley, it came about that
the foliage turned yellow on the side where
Autumn was. A little leaf fell from its stalk
and fluttered away and dropped at his feet.
The nightingale ceased singing, though it was
eventide; the cuckoo was silent and flapped
restlessly through the woods; the stork
stretched himself in his nest and looked to-
PRINCE AUTUMN 15
ward the South. But the princes took no heed.
"Welcome," said Summer again. "Do you
remember your promise?"
"I remember," answered Autumn.
Then the Prince of Summer stopped and
looked out over the kingdom where the noise
was gradually subsiding.
"Do you hear them?" he asked. "Now do
you take them into your gentle keeping."
"I shall bring your produce home," said
Autumn. "I shall watch carefully over them
that dream, I shall cover up lovingly them
that are to sleep in the mould. I will warn
them thrice of Winter's coming."
"It is well," said Summer.
They walked in silence for a time, while
night came forth.
"The honeysuckle's petals fell when you
blew your horn," said Summer. "Some of my
children will die at the moment when I leave
the valley. But the nightingale and the
cuckoo and the stork I shall take with me."
Again the two princes walked in silence. It
was quite still, only the owls hooted in the old
16 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
"You must send my birds after me," said
"I shall not forget," replied Autumn.
Then the Prince of Summer raised his hand
in farewell and bade Autumn take possession
of the kingdom.
"I shall go tonight," he said. "And none
will know save you. My splendour will linger
in the valley for a while. And by-the-by,
when I am far away and my reign is forgot-
ten, the memory of me will revive once more
with the sun and the pleasant days."
Then he strode away in the night. But
from the high tree-top came the stork on his
long wings; and the cuckoo fluttered out of
the tall woods ; and the nightingale flew from
the thicket with her full-grown young.
The air was filled with the soft murmurings
Autumn's dominion had indeed begun on
the night when Summer went away, with a
yellow leaf here and a brown leaf there, but
none had noticed it. Now it went at a quicker
pace; and as time wore on, there came even
more colours and greater splendour.
PRINCE AUTUMN 17
The lime trees turned bright yellow and the
beech bronze, but the elder-tree even blacker
than it had been. The bell-flower rang with
white bells, where it used to ring with blue,
and the chestnut tree blessed all the world with
its five yellow fingers. The mountain ash shed
its leaves that all might admire its pretty ber-
ries; the wild rose nodded with a hundred
hips; the Virginia creeper broke over the
hedge in blazing flames.
Then Autumn put his horn to his mouth
and blew :
The loveliest things of Autumn's pack
In his motley coffers lay;
Hips sweet as cherries,
Sloes blue and black
He hung upon every spray.
And blackbird and thrush chattered blithely
in the copsewood, which gleamed with ber-
ries, and a thousand sparrows kept them com-
pany. The wind ran from one to the other and
puffed and panted to add to the fun. High up
in the sky, the sun looked gently down upon it
1 8 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
And the Prince of Autumn nodded content-
edly and let his motley cloak flap in the wind.
"I am the least important of the four sea-
sons and am scarcely lord in my own land," he
said. "I serve two jealous masters and have
to please them both. But my power extends
so far that I can give you a few glad days."
Then he put his horn to his mouth and blew :
To the valley revellers hie!
They are clad in autumnal fancy dresses,
They are weary of green and faded tresses,
Summer has vanished, Winter is nigh
Hey fol de rol day for Autumn!
But, the night after this happened, there was
tremendous disturbance up on the mountain
peaks, where the eternal snows had lain both
in Spring's time and Summer's. It sounded
like a storm approaching. The trees grew
frightened, the crows were silent, the wind
held its breath. Prince Autumn bent forward
"Is that the worst you can do?" shouted a
hoarse voice through the darkness.
PRINCE AUTUMN 19
Autumn raised his head and looked straight
into Winter's great, cold eyes!
"Have you forgotten the bargain?" asked
"No," replied Autumn. "I have not for-
"Have a care," shouted Winter.
The whole night through, it rumbled and
tumbled in the mountains. It turned so bit-
terly cold that the starling thought seriously
of packing up and even the red creeper turned
The distant peaks glittered with new snow.
And the Prince of Autumn laughed no
more. He looked out earnestly over the land
and the wrinkles in his forehead grew deeper.
"It must be so then !" he said.
Then he blew his horn.
Autumn's horn blew a lusty chime;
For the second time, for the second time!
Heed well the call, complying.
Fling seed to earth!
Fill sack's full girth!
Plump back and side!
Pad belt and hide!
Hold all wings close for flying!
20 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
Then suddenly a terrible bustle arose in the
land, for now they all understood.
"Quick," said Autumn.
The poppy and the bell-flower and the pink
stood thin and dry as sticks with their heads
full of seed. The dandelion had presented
each one of his seeds with a sweet little para-
"Come, dear Wind, and shake us!" said the
"Fly away with my seeds, Wind," said the
And the wind hastened to do as they asked.
But the beech cunningly dropped his shaggy
fruit on to the hare's fur; and the fox got one
also on his red coat.
"Quick, now," said Autumn. "There's no
time here to waste."
The little brown mice filled their parlors
from floor to ceiling with nuts and beech-mast
and acorns. The hedgehog had already eaten
himself so fat that he could hardly lower his
quills. The hare and fox and stag put on clean
white woollen things, under their coats. The
starling and the thrush and the blackbird saw
PRINCE AUTUMN 21
to their downy clothing and exercised their
wings for the long journey.
The sun hid himself behind the clouds and
did not appear for many days.
It began to rain. The wind quickened its
pace: it dashed the rain over the meadow,
whipped the river into foam and whistled
through the trunks in the forest.
"Now the song is finished!" said the Prince
Then he put his horn to his mouth and blew.
Autumn's horn blew a lusty chime,
For the last time, for the last time!
Ways close when need is sorest:
Land-birds, fly clear!
Plunge, frogs, in mere!
Bee, lock your lair!
Take shelter, bear!
Fall, last leaf in the forest!
And then it was over.
The birds flew from the land in flocks. The
starling and the lapwing, the thrush and the
blackbird all migrated to the south.
Every morning before the sun rose the wind
tore through the forest, and pulled the last
22 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
leaves off the trees. Every day the wind blew
stronger, snapped great branches, swept the
withered leaves together into heaps, scattered
them again and, at last, laid them like a soft,
thick carpet over the whole floor of the forest
The hedgehog crawled so far into a hole
under a heap of stones that he remained caught
between two of them and could move neither
forwards nor backwards. The sparrow took
lodgings in a deserted swallow's nest; the frogs
went to the bottom of the pond for good, set-
tled in the mud, with the tips of their noses up
in the water and prepared for whatever might
The Prince of Autumn stood and gazed over
the land to see if it was bare and waste so that
Winter's storms might come buffeting at will
and the snow lie wherever it pleased.
Then he stopped before the old oak and
looked at the ivy that clambered right up to
the top and spread her green leaves as if Win-
ter had no existence at all. And while he
looked at it the ivy-flowers blossomed! They
sat right at the top and rocked in the wind !
"Now I'm coming," roared Winter from
PRINCE AUTUMN 23
the mountains. "My clouds are bursting with
snow; and my storms are breaking loose. I
can restrain them no longer."
The Prince of Autumn bent his head and
listened. He could hear the storm come rush-
ing down over the mountains. A snowflake
fell upon his motley cloak . . . and an-
other . . . and yet another . . .
For the last time he put his horn to his
mouth and blew :
Thou greenest plant and tardiest,
Thou fairest, rarest, hardiest,
Bright through unending hours!
Round Summer, Winter, Autumn, Spring,
Thy vigorous embraces cling.
Look ! Ivy mine, 'tis / who sing,
'Tis Autumn wins thy flowers!
Then he went away in the storm.
THE SCARF OF THE LADY
(A French Harvest Legend)
Translated by Hermine de Nagy
THE Field of the Lady was the name which
the peasants gave to a large tract of land be-
longing to a rich estate. The lord of the castle
had given these fertile acres to his daughter
and had told her to do as she pleased with the
grain which the field produced. Each year at
harvest time she invited the poor peasants of
the neighbourhood to come and glean in her
field, and take home with them as much grain
as they needed for winter use.
Sometimes when the gleaners were busily at
work one of them would cry out joyfully, "Ah,
there comes the lady of the castle." They
could see her coming in the distance, for she
always wore a simple dress of white wool, and
over her head was thrown a scarf of white silk
THE SCARF OF THE LADY 25
striped with many colours. She loved to come
into the field while the people were at work
and speak words of encouragement and cheer
One sultry afternoon there were many peas-
ants gleaning in the field. The lady of the
castle had been with them for several hours.
Suddenly she looked up into the threatening
sky and said, "My friends, see what large
clouds are gathering. I'm afraid we shall
have a storm before long. Let us stop glean-
ing for today and seek shelter." The peas-
ants hastened a\vay and the lady started to-
ward the castle.
As she drew near the green hedge which
bordered the field she saw coming toward her
a beautiful young woman and a fair child
whose hand she held. The little boy's golden
hair fell in waves over his white tunic.
"You came to glean," said the lady of the
castle in her sweet voice, full of welcome.
"Come then, we'll work together for a little
while before the rain falls."
"Thank you," said the young woman.
The three began to pick up the ripe ears and
26 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
pile them in small heaps. They had worked
but a little while, however, when a gust of
wind swept over the field and great raindrops
began to fall. The thunder rumbled in the
distance and streaks of lightning rent the sky.
"Come, my friends," said the lady of the
castle. "We must seek shelter. See, there
near the wood is a great oak, thick with fo-
liage. Let us hasten to it and stand there until
the storm is over.' 3
In a short time they reached the tree and
stood together under the shelter of its great
With his chubby hand the child took hold
of the end of his mother's veil and tried to
cover his curly head with it.
"You shall have my scarf," said the lady of
the castle, smiling.
She slipped it off, wrapped it tenderly
around the dear child's head and shoulders,
and kissed his fair young brow.
Suddenly the great clouds seemed to roll
away. The lady of the castle stepped out from
the shelter of the tree to look at the sky. The
storm had ceased and the birds were beginning
THE SCARF OF THE LADY 27
to twitter in the trees. She stood still, looking
at the wonderful golden light which flooded
the harvest field. And in the calm silence
there came floating through the air the sweet-
est music she had ever heard. At first it
seemed far, far away. Then it came nearer
and nearer until the air was filled with har-
monious voices chanting tenderly in the purest
angelic tones. She turned toward her com-
panions and lo! they had disappeared.
In the distance there was a sound like the
light fluttering of wings. The lady of the
castle looked toward the hedge where she had
first seen her mysterious companions. There
she saw them again the lovely woman and
the golden-haired child. They were rising
softly, softly upon fleecy clouds. Around them
and mounting with them was a band of angels
chanting a joyful Hosanna!
The marvelous vision rose slowly into the
clear blue of the heavens. Then on the wet
ears of grain in the harvest field the lady of the
castle knelt in silent adoration, for she knew
she had seen the Virgin and the Holy Child.
While she worshipped in breathless silence
28 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
the heavenly choir halted and in clear, ring-
ing tones the angels sang out:
"Blessed be thou!
"Blessed be the good lady who is ever ready
to help the poor and unfortunate! Blessed be
this Field of Alms."
The Virgin stretched forth her hands to
bless the lady and the harvest field. At the
same time the Holy Child took from his head
and shoulders the silk scarf which the lady
of the castle had wrapped about him, and gave
it to two rosy- winged cherubim. Away they
flew one to the right, the other to the left,
each holding an end of the scarf which
stretched as they flew into a marvelous rain-
bow arch across the blue vault of the sky. The
Virgin and the Holy Child, followed by the
angelic choir, rose slowly, slowly into the sky.
Softly and gently as wood breezes the heav-
enly music died away and the vision disap-
The lady of the castle rose to her feet A
marvelous thing had happened. The small
heaps of grain gathered by the gleaners had
changed into a harvest richer than the field
THE SCARF OF THE LADY 29
had ever produced before. Over all in the
sky still shone the lovely rainbow arch
the arch of promise across the Field of Alms.
THE SICKLE MOON
(Tyrolean Harvest Legend)
ABBIE FARWELL BROWN
When of the crescent moon aware
Hung silver in the sky,
"See, Saint Nothburga's sickle there!"
The Tyrol children cry.
It is a quaint and pretty tale
Six hundred summers old,
When in the green Tyrolean vale,
The peasant folk is told.
The town of Eben nestled here
Is little known to fame,
Save as the legends make it dear,
In Saint Nothburga's name.
For in this quiet country place,
Where a white church spire reared,
Nothburga dwelt, a maid of grace
Who loved the Lord and feared.
THE SICKLE MOON 31
She was a serving little lass,
Bound to a farmer stern,
Who to and fro all day must pass
Her coarse black bread to earn.
She spun and knit the fleecy wool,
. She bleached the linen white,
She drew the water-buckets full,
And milked the herd at night.
And more than this, when harvest-tide
Turned golden all the plain,
She took her sickle, curving wide,
And reaped the ripened grain.
All people yielded to the charm
Of this meek-serving maid,
Save the stern master of the farm,
Of whom all stood afraid.
For he was hard to humble folk,
And cruel to the poor,
A godless man, who evil spoke,
A miser of his store.
Now it was on a Saturday
Near to the Sabbath time,
Which in those ages far away
Began at sunset-chime.
32 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
Nothburga in the harvest gold
Was reaping busily,
Although the day was grown so old
That dimly could she see.
Close by her cruel master stood,
And fearsome was his eye ;
He glowered at the maiden good,
He glowered at the sky.
For many rows lacked reaping, yet
The dark was falling fast,
And soon the round sun would be set
And working time be past.
"Cling clang!" The sunset-chime pealed
And Sunday had begun;
Nothburga sighed and turned about
The reaping was not done.
She laid her curving sickle by,
And said her evening hymn,
Wide-gazing on the starless sky,
Where all was dark and dim.
But hark! A hasty summons came
To drown her whispered words,
An angry voice called out her name,
And scared the nestling birds.
THE SICKLE MOON 33
"What ho, Nothburga, lazy one!
Bend to your task again,
And do not think the day is done
Till you have reaped this grain."
"But master," spoke Nothburga low,
"It's the Sabbath time;
We must keep holy hours now,
After the sunset-chime."
And then in rage the master cried:
"The day belongs to me!
I'm lord of all the country side,
And hold the time in fee !
"No Sunday-thought shall spoil the gain
That comes a hundred fold
From reaping of my golden grain,
Which shall be turned to gold."
"Nay, Master, give me gracious leave
The Lord's will I must keep;
Upon the holy Sabbath day
My sickle shall not reap !"
The master raised his heavy hand
To deal the maid a blow ;
"Thou shalt!" he cried his fierce command,
And would have struck, when lo!
34 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
Nothburga whirled her sickle bright
And tossed it in the sky!
A flash, a gleam of silver light,
As it went circling by,
And there, beside a little star
Which had peeped out to see,
The sickle hung itself afar,
As swiftly as could be!
The master stared up, wondering;
Forgetting all his rage,
To see so strange and quaint a thing-
The marvel of the age.
And she, the maid so brave and good,
Thenceforth had naught to fear,
But kept the Sabbath as she would,
And lived a life of cheer.
So when among the stars you see
The silver sickle flame,
Think how the wonder came to be,
And bless Nothburga's name.
IN the days of chivalry, mail-clad knights,
armed with shield and spear, rode through the
land to defend the right and to punish the
wrong. Whenever they were to meet each
other in battle at the great tournaments, a her-
ald was first sent to announce the fight and
give fair warning to the opponents, that each
might be in all things prepared to meet the
other, and defend or attack wisely and upon
So, dear children, you must know that Win-
ter, who is coming clad in his icy armour, with
his spear, the keen sleet, sends before him a
herald, that we may not be all unprepared for
It is an autumn night when this herald
comes; all the warm September noons have
slipped away, and the red October sunsets are
36 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
almost gone; still the afternoon light, shining
through the two maples, casts a crimson and
yellow glow on the white wall of my little
room, and on the paths is a delicate carpet
of spotted leaves over the brown groundwork.
It is past midnight when the herald is
called; and although his knight is so fierce,
loud, and blustering, he moves noiselessly
forth and carries his warning to all the coun-
try round. Through the little birch wood he
comes, and whispers a single word to the
golden leaves that are hanging so slightly on
the slender boughs; one little shiver goes
through them, sends them fluttering all to the
ground, and the next morning their brown,
shriveled edges tell a sad story.
Through the birch wood he hurries and on
to the bank of the brook that runs through the
long valley; for the muskrat, who has his home
under the shelving bank, must hear the news
and make haste to arrange his hole with win-
ter comforts before the brook is frozen. While
he crosses the meadow the field mouse and the
mole hear his warning and lay their heads to-
gether to see what is best to be done. Indeed,
WINTER'S HERALD 37
the mole, who himself can scarcely see at all,
is always of opinion that two heads are better
than one in such cases.
Beyond the brook is Farmer Thompson's
field of squashes. "I will not hurt you to-
night," says the herald as he creeps among
them; "only a little nip here and a bite there,
that the farmer may see to-morrow morning
that it is time to take you into the barn." The
turnips stand only on the other side of the
fence and cannot fail to know also that the
herald has come.
But up in Lucy's flower garden are the
heliotropes and fuchsias, tea roses and gera-
niums, delicate, sensitive things, who cannot
bear a cold word, it must have been really
quite terrible what he said there; for before
sunrise the beautiful plants hung black and
withered and no care from their mistress, no
smiles or kind words, could make them look
up again. The ivy had borne it bravely, and
only showed on his lower leaves, which lay
among the grass, a frosty fringe, where the
dew used to hang.
My two maples heard the summons and
38 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
threw off their gay dresses, which withered
and faded as they fell in heaps on the side-
walk. The next morning, children going to
school scuffed ankle-deep among them and
laughed with delight And the maples
bravely answered the herald: "Now let him
come, your knight of the north wind and the
storm and the sleet; we have dropped the gay
leaves which he might have torn from us. Let
him come ; we have nothing to lose. His snows
will only keep our roots the warmer, and his
winds cannot blow away the tiny new buds
which we cherish, thickly wrapped from the
cold, to make new leaves in the spring." And
the elm and the linden and horse-chestnut sent
also a like brave answer back by the herald.
Over the whole village green went the whis-
perer, leaving behind him a white network
upon the grass; and before the sun was up to
tangle his beams in its meshes and pull it all
to pieces, old widow Blake has seen it from
her cottage window and said to herself : "Well,
winter is coming; I must set up some warm
socks for the boys today, and begin little Tom-
mv's mittens before the week is out."
WINTER'S HERALD 39
And Farmer Thompson stands at his great
barn door, while yet the eastern sky is red,
and tells Jake and Ben that the squashes and
pumpkins and turnips must all be housed in
cellar and barn before night; for a frost like
this is warning enough to any man to begin to
prepare for winter.
Mr. Winslow, the gardener, is working all
day with matting and straw, tying up and
packing warmly his tender shrubs and trees;
and the climbing rose that is trained against
the west end of the piazza must be made safe
from the cold winds that will soon be creep-
ing round there.
What will your mother do when she sees
the white message that the herald has left in
his frosty writing all over the lawn? Will she
put away the muslin frocks and little pink
or blue calicoes and ginghams, the straw hats,
and Frank's white trousers and summer jack-
ets, just as the trees threw aside their summer
Not quite like the trees; for your clothes
can't be made new every spring out of little
brown buds, but must be put away in the great
40 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
drawers and trunks of the clothes-press, to
wait for you through the winter.
And see how your mother will bring out the
woolen stockings, warm hoods and caps, mit-
tens, cloaks and plaided dresses; and try on
and make over, that all things may be ready.
For it is with such things as these that she arms
her little boys and girls to meet the knight who
is coming with north wind and storm.
Old Margaret, who lives in the little brown
house down at the corner, although she cannot
read a word from a book, reads the herald's
message as well as your mother can. But here
are her five boys, barefooted and ragged, ever
in summer clothes, and her husband lies back
with a fever.
She can't send back so brave an answer as
your mother does. But your mother, and
Cousin George's mother, and Uncle James can
help her to make a good, brave answer; for
here is Frank's last winter's jacket, quite too
small for him, just right for little Jim; and
father's old overcoat will make warm little
ones for two of the other boys. And here are
stout new shoes and woolen socks, and comfort-
WINTER'S HERALD 41
able bedclothes for the sick man. Margaret
sends a brave answer now, although this morn-
ing she was half ready to cry when she saw the
message that Winter had sent.
Look about you, children, when the herald
comes, and see what answers the people are
giving him ; I have told you a few. You can
tell me many, if you will, before another year
The door was shut as doors should be
Before you went to bed last night;
Yet Jack Frost has got in, you see,
And left your windows silver white.
He must have waited till you slept,
And not a single word he spoke,
But penciled o'er the panes and crept
Away before you woke.
And now you can not see the trees
Nor fields that stretch beyond the lane
But there are fairer things than these
His fingers traced on every pane.
Rocks and castles towering high;
Hills and dales and streams and fields,
And knights in armour riding by,
With nodding plumes and shining shields.
And here are little boats, and there
Big ships with sails spread to the breeze,
And yonder, palm trees waving fair
And islands set in silver seas.
JACK FROST 43
And butterflies with gauzy wings ;
And herds of cows and flocks of sheep;
And fruit and flowers and all the things
You see when you are sound asleep.
For creeping softly underneath
The door when all the lights are out,
Jack Frost takes every breath you breathe
And knows the things you think about.
He paints them on the window pane
In fairy lines with frozen steam;
And when you wake, you see again
The lovely things you saw in dream.
THE PUMPKIN GIANT
MARY WILKINS FREEMAN
A VERY long time ago, before our grandmoth-
er's time, or our great-grandmother's, or our
grandmothers' with a very long string of greats
prefixed, there were no pumpkins; people had
never eaten a pumpkin-pie, or even stewed
pumpkin; and that was the time when the
Pumpkin Giant flourished.
There have been a great many giants who
have flourished since the world began, and, al-
though a select few of them have been good
giants, the majority of them have been so bad
that their crimes even more than their size
have gone to make them notorious. But the
Pumpkin Giant was an uncommonly bad one,
and his general appearance and his behaviour
were such as to make one shudder to an ex-
tent that you would hardly believe possible.
THE PUMPKIN GIANT 45
The convulsive shivering caused by the mere
mention of his name, and, in some cases where
the people were unusually sensitive, by the
mere thought of him even, more resembled the
blue ague than anything else; indeed was
known by the name of "the Giant's Shakes."
The Pumpkin Giant was very tall; he prob-
ably would have overtopped most of the giants
you have ever heard of. I don't suppose the
Giant who lived on the Bean-stalk whom Jack
visited was anything to compare with him;
nor that it would have been a possible thing
for the Pumpkin Giant, had he received an in-
vitation to spend an afternoon with the Bean-
stalk Giant, to accept, on account of his inabil-
ity to enter the Bean-stalk Giant's door, no
matter how much he stooped.
The Pumpkin Giant had a very large, yel-
low head, which was also smooth and shiny.
His eyes were big and round, and glowed like
coals of fire; and you would almost have
thought that his head was lit up inside with
candles. Indeed there was a rumour to that
effect amongst the common people, but that
was all nonsense, of course ; no one of the more
46 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
enlightened class credited it for an instant.
His mouth, which stretched half around his
head, was furnished with rows of pointed
teeth, and he was never known to hold it any
other way than wide open.
The Pumpkin Giant lived in a castle, as a
matter of course; it is not fashionable for a
giant to live in any other kind of a dwelling
why, nothing would be more tame and unin-
teresting than a giant in a two-story white
house with green blinds and a picket fence, or
even a brown-stone front, if he could get into
either of them, which he could not.
The Giant's castle was situated on a moun-
tain, as it ought to have been, and there was
also the usual courtyard before it, and the cus-
tomary moat, which was full of bones! All I
have got to say about these bones is, they were
not mutton bones. A great many details of
this story must be left to the imagination of
the reader; they are too harrowing to relate.
A much tenderer regard for the feelings of
the audience will be shown in this than in most
giant stories; we will even go so far as to state
in advance, that the story has a good end,
THE PUMPKIN GIANT 47
thereby enabling readers to peruse it comfort-
ably without unpleasant suspense.
The Pumpkin Giant was fonder of little
boys and girls than anything else in the world;
but he was somewhat fonder of little boys, and
more particularly of fat little boys.
The fear and horror of this Giant extended
over the whole country. Even the King on
his throne was so severely afflicted with the
Giant's Shakes that he had been obliged to
have the throne propped, for fear it should
topple over in some unusually violent fit.
There was good reason why the King shook;
his only daughter, the Princess Ariadne Diana,
was probably the fattest princess in the whole
world at that date. So fat was she that she
had never walked a step in the dozen years
of her life, being totally unable to progress
over the earth by any method except rolling.
And a really beautiful sight it was, too, to see
the Princess Ariadne Diana, in her cloth-of-
gold rolling-suit, faced with green velvet and
edged with ermine, with her glittering crown
on her head, trundling along the avenues of
the royal gardens, which had been furnished
48 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
with strips of rich carpeting for her express
But gratifying as it would have been to the
King, her sire, under other circumstances, to
have had such an unusually interesting daugh-
ter, it now only served to fill his heart with
the greatest anxiety on her account. The Prin-
cess was never allowed to leave the palace
without a body-guard of fifty knights, the very
flower of the King's troops, with lances in rest,
but in spite of all this precaution, the King
Meanwhile amongst the ordinary people
who could not procure an escort of fifty armed
knights for the plump among their children,
the ravages of the Pumpkin Giant were fright-
ful. It was apprehended at one time that there
would be very few fat little girls, and no fat
little boys at all, left in the kingdom. And
what made matters worse, at that time the
Giant commenced taking a tonic to increase
Finally the King, in desperation, issued a
proclamation that he would knight any one,
be he noble or common, who should cut off
THE PUMPKIN \JIANT 49
the head of the Pumpkin Giant. This was
the King's usual method of rewarding any
noble deed in his kingdom. It was a cheap
method, and besides everybody liked to be a
When the King issued his proclamation
every man in the kingdom who was not al-
ready a knight, straightway tried to contrive
ways and means to kill the Pumpkin Giant.
But there was one obstacle which seemed in-
surmountable : they were afraid, and all of
them had the Giant's Shakes so badly, that
they could not possibly have held a knife
steady enough to cut off the Giant's head, even
if they had dared to go near enough for that
There was one man who lived not far from
the terrible Giant's castle, a poor man, his only
worldly wealth consisting in a large potato-
field and a cottage in front of it. But he had
a boy of twelve, an only son, who rivaled the
Princess Ariadne Diana in point of fatness.
He was unable to have a body-guard for his
son; so the amount of terror which the inhab-
itants of that humble cottage suffered day and
50 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
night was heart-rending. The poor mother
had been unable to leave her bed for two years,
on account of the Giant's Shakes; her husband
barely got a living from the potato-field; half
the time he and his wife had hardly enough to
eat, as it naturally took the larger part of the
potatoes to satisfy the fat little boy, their son,
and their situation was truly pitiable.
The fat boy's name was Aeneas, his father's
name was Patroclus, and his mother's Daphne,
It was all the fashion in those days to have
classical names. And as that was a fashion as
easily adopted by the poor as the rich, every-
body had them. They were just like Jim and
Tommy and May in these days. Why, the
Princess's name, Ariadne Diana, was nothing
more nor less than Ann Eliza with us.
One morning Patroclus and Aeneas were out
in the field digging potatoes, for new potatoes
were just in the market. The Early Rose po-
tato had not been discovered in those days ; but
there was another potato, perhaps equally
good, which attained to a similar degree of
celebrity. It was called the Young Planta-
genet, and reached a very large size indeed,
THE PUMPKIN GIANT 51
much larger than the Early Rose does in our
Well, Patroclus and Aeneas had just dug
perhaps a bushel of Young Plantagenet pota-
toes. It was slow work with them, for Pa-
troclus had the Giant's Shakes badly that
morning, and of course Aeneas was not very
swift. He rolled about among the potato-hills
after the manner of the Princess Ariadne
Diana; but he did not present as imposing an
appearance as she, in his homespun farmer's
All at once the earth trembled violently.
Patroclus and Aeneas looked up and saw the
Pumpkin Giant coming with his mouth wide
open. "Get behind me, O my darling son!"
Aeneas obeyed, but it was of no use ; for you
could see his cheeks each side his father's
Patroclus was not ordinarily a brave man,
but he was brave in an emergency; and as that
is the only time when there is the slightest
need of bravery, it was just as well.
The Pumpkin Giant strode along faster and
52 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
faster, opening his mouth wider and wider,
until they could fairly hear it crack at the cor-
Then Patroclus picked up an enormous
Young Plantagenet and threw it plump into
the Pumpkin Giant's mouth. The Giant
choked and gasped, and choked and gasped,
and finally tumbled down and died.
Patroclus and Aeneas, while the Giant was
choking, had run to the house and locked
themselves in ; then they looked out of the win-
dow; when they saw the Giant tumble down
and lie quite still, they knew he must be dead.
Then Daphne was immediately cured of the
Giant's Shakes, and got out of bed for the first
time in two years. Patroclus sharpened the
carving-knife on the kitchen stove, and they
all went out into the potato-field.
They cautiously approached the prostrate
Giant, for fear he might be shamming, and
might suddenly spring up at them and Aeneas.
But no, he did not move at all ; he was quite
dead. And, all taking turns, they hacked off
his head with the carving-knife. Then Aeneas
had it to play with, which was quite appro-
THE PUMPKIN GIANT 53
priate, and a good instance of the sarcasm of
The King was notified of the death of the
Pumpkin Giant, and was greatly rejoiced
thereby. His Giant's Shakes ceased, the props
were removed from the throne, and the Prin-
cess Ariadne Diana was allowed to go out
without her body-guard of fifty knights, much
to her delight, for she found them a great hin-
drance to the enjoyment of her daily outings.
It was a great cross, not to say an embarrass-
ment, when she was gleefully rolling in pur-
suit of a charming red and gold butterfly, to
find herself suddenly stopped short by an
armed knight with his lance in rest.
But the King, though his gratitude for the
noble deed knew no bounds, omitted to give
the promised reward and knight Patroclus.
I hardly know how it happened I don't
think it was anything intentional. Patroclus
felt rather hurt about it, and Daphne would
have liked to be a lady, but Aeneas did not
care in the least. He had the Giant's head to
play with and that was reward enough for
him. There was not a boy in the neighbour-
54 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
hood but envied him his possession of such a
unique plaything; and when they would stand
looking over the wall of the potato-field with
longing eyes, and he was flying over the ground
with the head, his happiness knew no bounds;
and Aeneas played so much with the Giant's
head that finally late in the fall it got broken
and scattered all over the field.
Next spring all over Patroclus's potato-field
grew running vines, and in the fall Giant's
heads. There they were all over the field,
hundreds of them! Then there was conster-
nation indeed! The natural conclusion to be
arrived at when the people saw the yellow
Giant's heads making their appearance above
the ground was, that the rest of the Giants were
"There was one Pumpkin Giant before,"
said they; "now there will be a 'whole army of
them. If it was dreadful then what will it be
in the future? If one Pumpkin Giant gave us
the Shakes so badly, what will a whole army
of them do?"
But when some time had elapsed and noth-
ing more of the Giants appeared above the
THE PUMPKIN GIANT 55
surface of the potato-field, and as moreover
the heads had not yet displayed any sign of
opening their mouths, the people began to
feel a little easier, and the general excitement
subsided somewhat, although the King had or-
dered out Ariadne Diana's body-guard again,
Now Aeneas had been born with a propen-
sity for putting everything into his mouth and
tasting it; there was scarcely anything in his
vicinity which could by any possibility be
tasted, which he had not eaten a bit of. This
propensity was so alarming in his babyhood,
that Daphne purchased a book of antidotes;
"and if it had not been for her admirable good
judgment in doing so, this story would prob-
ably never have been told ; for no human baby
could possibly have survived the hetero-
geneous diet which Aeneas had indulged in.
There was scarcely one of the antidotes which
had not been resorted to from time to time.
Aeneas had become acquainted with the pe-
culiar flavour of almost everything in his im-
mediate vicinity except the Giant's heads; and
he naturally enough cast longing eyes at them.
Night and day he wondered what a Giant's
56 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
head could taste like, till finally one day when
Patroclus was away he stole out into the po-
tato-field, cut a bit out of one of the Giant's
heads and ate it. He was almost afraid to, but
he reflected that his mother could give him an
antidote; so he ventured. It tasted very sweet
and nice; he liked it so much that he cut off
another piece and ate that, then another and
another, until he had eaten two-thirds of a
Giant's head. Then he thought it was about
time for him to go in and tell his mother and
take an antidote, though he did not feel ill
at all yet.
"Mother," said he, rolling slowly into the
cottage, "I have eaten two-thirds of a Giant's
head, and I guess you had better give me an
"O, my precious son!" cried Daphne, "how
could you?" She looked in her book of anti-
dotes, but could not find one antidote for a
"O Aeneas, my dear, dear son!" groaned
Daphne, "there is no antidote for Giant's
head! What shall we do?"
Then she sat down and wept, and Aeneas
THE PUMPKIN GIANT 57
wept, too, as loud as he possibly could. And
he apparently had excellent reason to; for it
did not seem possible that a boy could eat two-
thirds of a Giant's head and survive it without
an antidote. Patroclus came home, and they
told him, and he sat down and lamented with
them. All day they sat weeping and watching
Aeneas, expecting every moment to see him
die. But he did not die; on the contrary he
had never felt so well in his life.
Finally at sunset Aeneas looked up and
laughed. "I am not going to die," said he; "I
never felt so well; you had better stop crying.
And I am going out to get some more of that
Giant's head ; I am hungry."
"Don't, don't!" cried his father and mother;
but he went; for he generally took his own
way, very like most only sons. He came back
with a whole Giant's head in his arms.
"See here, father and mother," cried he;
"we'll all have some of this; it evidently is not
poison, and it is good a great deal better than
Patroclus and Daphne hesitated, but they
were hungry, too. Since the crop of Giant's
58 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
heads had sprung up in their field instead of
potatoes, they had been hungry most of the
time ; so they tasted.
"It is good," said Daphne; "but I think it
would be better cooked." So she put some in
a kettle of water over the fire, and let it boil
awhile ; then she dished it up, and they all ate
it. It was delicious. It tasted more like
stewed pumpkin than anything else ; in fact it
.was stewed pumpkin.
Daphne was inventive ; and something of a
genius; and next day she concocted another
dish out of the Giant's heads. She boiled
them, and sifted them, and mixed them with
eggs and sugar and milk and spice; then she
lined some plates with puff paste, filled them
with the mixture, and set them in the oven to
The result was unparalleled; nothing half
so exquisite had ever been tasted. They were
all in ecstasies, Aeneas in particular. They
gathered all the Giant's heads and stored them
in the cellar. Daphne baked pies of them
every day, and nothing could surpass the fe-
licity of the whole family.
THE PUMPKIN GIANT 59
One morning the King had been out hunt-
ing, and happened to ride by the cottage of
Patroclus with a train of his knights. Daphne
was baking pies as usual, and the kitchen door
and window were both open, for the room was
so warm; so the delicious odour of the pies
perfumed the whole air about the cottage.
"What is it smells so utterly lovely?" ex-
claimed the King, sniffing in a rapture.
He sent his page in to see.
"The housewife is baking Giant's head
pies," said the page, returning.
"What?" thundered the King. "Bring out
one to me!"
So the page brought out a pie to him, and
after all his knights had tasted to be sure it
was not poison, and the King had watched
them sharply for a few moments to be sure
they were not killed, he tasted too.
Then he beamed. It was a new sensation,
and a new sensation is a great boon to a
"I never tasted anything so altogether super-
fine, so utterly magnificent in my life," cried
the King; "stewed peacocks' tongues from the
60 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
Baltic are not to be compared with it! Call
out the housewife immediately!"
So Daphne came out trembling, and Pa-
troclus and Aeneas also.
"What a charming lad!" exclaimed the
King, as his glance fell upon Aeneas. "Now
tell me about these wonderful pies, and I will
reward you as becomes a monarch!"
Then Patroclus fell on his knees and related
trie whole history of the Giant's head pies
from the beginning.
The King actually blushed. "And I for-
got to knight you, oh, noble and brave man,
and to make a lady of your admirable wife!"
Then the King leaned gracefully down from
his saddle, and struck Patroclus with his jew-
eled sword and knighted him on the spot.
The whole family went to live at the royal
palace. The roses in the royal gardens were
uprooted, and Giant's heads (or pumpkins, as
they came to be called) were sown in their
stead; all the royal parks also were turned into
Patroclus was in constant attendance on the
King, and used to stand all day in his ante-
THE PUMPKIN GIANT 61
chamber. Daphne had a position of great
responsibility, for she superintended the bak-
ing of the pumpkin pies, and Aeneas finally
married the Princess Ariadne Diana.
They were wedded in great state by fifty
archbishops; and all the newspapers united
in stating that they were the most charming
and well-matched young couple that had ever
been united in the kingdom.
The stone entrance of the Pumpkin Giant's
Castle was securely fastened, and upon it was
engraved an inscription composed by the first
poet in the kingdom, for which the King made
him laureate, and gave him the liberal pen-
sion of fifty pumpkin pies per year.
The following is the inscription in full :
"Here dwelt the Pumpkin Giant once.
He's dead the nation doth rejoice,
For, while he was alive, he lived
By e g dear, fat, little boys."
The inscription is said to remain to this day;
if you were to go there you would probably
LADY WHITE AND LADY YELLOW
(A Legend of Japan)
FREDERICK HADLAND DAVIS
LONG ago there grew in a meadow a white and
a yellow chrysanthemum side by side. One
day an old gardener chanced to come across
them and he took a great fancy to Lady Yel-
low. He told her that if she would come
along with him he would make her far more
attractive; that he would give her delicate
food and fine clothes to wear.
Lady Yellow was so charmed with what the
old man said, that she forgot all about the
white sister and consented to be lifted up, car-
ried in the arms of the old gardener and to
be placed in his garden.
When Lady Yellow and her master had de-
parted, Lady White wept bitterly. Her own
simple beauty had been despised; butj what
LADY WHITE AND LADY YELLOW 63
was far worse, she was forced to remain in the
meadow alone, without the companionship of
her sister, to whom she had been devoted.
Day by day Lady Yellow grew more fair
in her master's garden. No one would have
recognized the common flower of the field,
but though her petals were long and purled
and her leaves so clean and well cared for, she
sometimes thought of Lady White alone in the
field, and wondered how she managed to make
the long and lonely hours pass by.
One day a village chief came to the old
man's garden in quest of a perfect chrysanthe-
mum that he might take to his lord for a crest
design. He informed the old man that he did
not want a fine chrysanthemum with long
petals. What he wanted was a simple white
chrysanthemum with sixteen petals. The old
man told the village chief to see Lady Yel-
low, but this flower did not please him, and,
thanking the gardener, he took his departure.
On his way home he happened to enter a
field when he saw Lady White weeping. She
told him the sad story of her loneliness, and
when she had finished her tale of woe the vil-
64 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
lage chief informed her that he had seen Lady
Yellow and did not consider her half so beau-
tiful as her own white self. At these cheery
words Lady White dried her eyes and she
nearly jumped off her little feet when this
kind man told her that he wanted her for his
In another happy moment the happy Lady
White was being carried in a palanquin.
When she reached the Daimyo's palace all
warmly praised her perfection of form. Great
artists came from far and near, set about her
and sketched the flower with wonderful skill.
She soon saw her pretty white face on all the
Daimyo's most precious belongings. She saw
it on his armour and lacquer boxes, on his
quilts and cushions and robes. She was painted
floating down a stream and in all manner of
quaint and beautiful ways. Every one ac-
knowledged that the white chrysanthemum
with her sixteen petals made the most won-
derful crest in all Japan. While Lady
White's happy face lived forever designed
upon the Daimyo's possessions, Lady Yellow
met with a sad fate. She had bloomed for her-
LADY WHITE AND LADY YELLOW 65
self alone and had drunk in the visitor's praise
as eagerly as she did the dew upon her finely
curled petals. One day, however, she felt a
stiffness in her limbs and a cessation of the
exuberance of life. Her once proud head fell
forward, and when the old man found her he
pulled her up and tossed her upon a rubbish
The sixteen petal chrysanthemum is one of the crests of
the Imperial family.
THE SHET-UP POSY
ANN TRUMBULL SLOSSON
ONCE there was a posy. 'Twa'n't a common
kind o' posy, that blows out wide open, so's
everybody can see its outsides and its insides
too. But 'twas one of them posies like what
grows down the road, back o' your pa's sugar-
house, Danny, and don't come till way towards
fall. They're sort o' blue, but real dark, and
they look's if they was buds 'stead o' posies
only buds opens out, and these doesn't.
They're all shet up close and tight, and they
never, never, never opens. Never mind how
much sun they get, never mind how much rain
or how much drouth, whether it's cold or hot
them posies stay shet up tight, kind o' buddy,
and not finished and humly. But if you pick
'em open, real careful, with a pin, I've done
it, you find they're dreadful pretty inside.
Used by permission of Chas. Scribner and Sons.
THE SHET-UP POSY 67
You couldn't see a posy that was finished off
better, soft and nice, with pretty little stripes
painted on 'em, and all the little things like
threads in the middle, sech as the open posies
has, standing up, with little knots on their tops,
oh, so pretty, you never did! Makes you
think real hard, that does; leastways, makes
me. What's they that way for? If they ain't
never goin' to open out, what's the use o' havin'
the shet-up part so slicked up and nice, with
nobody never seein' it? Folks has different
names for 'em, dumb foxgloves, blind gen-
shuns, and all that, but I alters call 'em the
"Well, 'twas one o' that kind o' posy I was
goin' to tell you about. 'Twas one o' the shet-
uppest and the buddiest of all on 'em, all
blacky-blue and straight up and down, and
shet up fast and tight. Nobody'd ever dream't
was pretty inside. And the funniest thing, it
didn't know 'twas so itself! It thought 'twas
a mistake somehow, thought it had oughter
been a posy, and was begun for one, but wasn't
finished, and 'twas terr'ble unhappy. It knew
there was pretty posies all 'round there,
68 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
goldenrod and purple daisies and all; and
their inside was the right side, and they was
proud of it, and held it open, and showed the
pretty lining, all soft and nice with the little
fuzzy yeller threads standin' up, with little
balls on their tip ends. And the shet-up posy
felt real bad; not mean and hateful and be-
grudgin', you know, and wantin' to take away
the nice part from the other posies, but sorry,
and kind o' 'shamed.
"Oh, deary me!" she says, I most forgot to
say 'twas a girl posy "deary me, what a
humly, skimpy, awk'ard thing I be! I ain't
more'n half made; there ain't no nice, pretty
lining inside o' me, like them other posies ; and
on'y my wrong side shows, and that's jest plain
and common. I can't chirk up folks like the
goldenrod and daisies does. Nobody won't
want to pick me and carry me home. I ain't
no good to anybody, and I never shall be."
So she kep' on, thinkin' these dreadful sorry
thinkin's, and most wishin' she'd never been
made at all. You know 'twa'n't jest at fust she
felt this way. Fust she thought she was a bud,
like lots o' buds all 'round her, and she lotted
THE SHET-UP POSY 69
on openfn' like they did. But when the days
kep' passin' by, and all the other buds opened
out, and showed how pretty they was, and she
didn't open, why, then she got terr'ble dis-
couraged; and I don't wonder a mite. She'd
see the dew a-layin' soft and cool on the other
posies' faces, and the sun a-shinin' warm on
'em as they held 'em up, and sometimes she'd
see a butterfly come down and light on 'em
real soft, and kind o' put his head down
to 'em's if he was kissin' 'em, and she thought
'twould be powerful nice to hold her face up
to all them pleasant things. But she couldn't.
But one day, afore she'd got very old, 'fore
she'd dried up or fell off, or anything like that,
she see somebody comin' along her way.
'Twas a man, and he was lookin' at all the
posies real hard and partic'lar, but he wasn't
pickin' any of 'eni. Seems's if he was lookin'
for somethin' diff'rent from what he see, and
the poor little shet-up posy begun to wonder
what he was arter. Bimeby she braced up,
and she asked him about it in her shet-up,
whisp'rin' voice. And says he, the man says:
"I'm a-pickin' posies. That's what I work at
70 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
most o' the time. 'Tain't for myself," he says,
"but the one I work for. I'm on'y his help. I
run errands and do chores for him, and it's a
particular kind o' posy he's sent me for to-
day." "What for does he want 'em?" says the
shet-up posy. "Why, to set out in his gar-
din," the man says. "He's got the beautif'lest
gardin you never see, and I pick posies for V
"Deary me," thinks she to herself, "I jest wish
he'd pick me. But I ain't the kind, I know."
'And then she says, so soft he can't hardly hear
her, "What sort o' posies is it you're arter this
time?" "Well," says the man, "it's a dreadful
sing'lar order I've got to-day. I got to find a
posy that's handsomer inside than 'tis outside,
one that folks ain't took no notice of here,
'cause 'twas kind o' humly and queer to look
at, not knowin' that inside 'twas as handsome
as any posy on the airth. Seen any o' that
kind?" says the man.
Well, the shet-up posy was dreadful worked
up. "Deary dear!" she says to herself, "now
if they'd on'y finished me off inside! I'm the
right kind outside, humly and queer enough,
but there's nothin' worth lookin' at inside,
THE SHET-UP POSY 71
I'm certain sure o' that." But she didn't say
this nor anything else out loud, and bimeby,
when the man had waited, and didn't get any
answer, he begun to look at the shet-up posy
more particular, to see why she was so mum.
And all of a suddent he says, the man did,
"Looks- to me's if you was somethin' that kind
yourself, ain't ye?"
"Oh, no, no, no!" whispers the shet-up
posey. "I wish I was, I wish I was. I'm all
right outside, humly and awk'ard, queer's I
can be, but I ain't pretty inside, oh! I most
know I ain't.' 3 "I ain't so sure o' that myself,"
says the man, "but I can tell in a jiffy." "Will
you have to pick me to pieces?" says the
shet-up posy. "No, ma'am," says the man;
"I've got a way o' tellin', the one I work for
showed me." The shet-up posy never knowed
what he done to her. I don't know myself, but
'twas somethin' soft and pleasant, that didn't
hurt a mite, and then the man he says, "Well,
well, well !" That's all he said, but he took
her up real gentle, and begun to carry her
away. "Where be ye takin' me?" says the
shet-up posy. "Where ye belong," says the
72 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
man; "to the gardin o' the one I work for,"
he says. "I didn't know I was nice enough in-
side," says the shet-up posy, very soft and still.
"They most gen'ally don't," says the man.
THE GAY LITTLE KING
So gay it looked, that young maple tree stand-
ing in the centre of the pasture with rows and
rows of dark cedars and hemlocks growing all
around it! They towered above the little
maple and yet seemed to bow before it, as
with their size and strength they shielded it
from the wind which tossed their branches.
It was covered, this small tree, with leaves of
flaming crimson and gold which danced and
fluttered merrily in the sunshine.
"Is it after all only a maple tree?" thought
the little lad Jamie, who lay upon the ground
in the old pasture watching. Ever since the
frost in a single night had painted the leaves
with splendour, that young tree had been a
real comrade to the cripple boy. Jamie had
hurt his back the year before, and this sum-
mer, while the other boys climbed mountains
74 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
and swam streams, Jamie could only hobble
upon his crutches as far as the pasture. There
he lay for hours upon the grass watching the
clouds drift across the sky and wishing he
were a cloud or a bird, so he could fly also.
The days seemed very long, and to make them
pass more quickly Jamie made up stories about
the mountains in the distance, the stream
which rippled at the foot of the pasture and
the dark evergreen trees which surrounded
that flaming maple. "They are dull old cour-
tiers, and he is a gay little king in his corona-
tion robes," thought the boy and then he sat
up in astonishment and rubbed his eyes. Was
he dreaming? No, it was all real, the young
maple was gone and in its place was a little
king! A crown of gleaming jewels was upon
his head, he was dressed in robes of flaming
crimson and over all was flung a mantle of
woven gold. And the dark evergreens, where
were they? There was no sign of them, and
around the king stood a throng of grave and
solemn courtiers dressed in green velvet, all
gazing frowningly at the King. He was
stamping his foot, Jamie heard the stamp, and
THE GAY LITTLE KING 75
then he heard the King cry in a clear, boyish
voice, "I won't be a King! I won't sit upon
a throne all day long and make laws and pun-
ish people and be bowed down to; I want to
be a little boy and have fun, I do!"
At that moment a gust of wind blew the
King's mantle from his shoulders; it looked
like a handful of golden leaves flying through
the air, and the King himself or was it only
a branch of scarlet leaves? no, it was the lit-
tle King who came scampering over the grass
toward Jamie. "Come," he said gleefully,
"we are going to run away, you and I. We're
going to have the merriest day of our whole
"But my crutches," sighed Jamie. "See, I
"Can't you?" whispered the little King
gently. "Close your eyes and keep tight hold
of my hand."
As Jamie shut his eyes he felt something
very soft, like a bit of thistle down against his
cheek, and then as light as that same thistle he
felt himself rising from the ground, drifting,
floating, flying, up, up "Now open your
76 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
eyes," said the little King's laughing voice.
Jamie obeyed, and for a moment he was puz-
zled. Was he a King, too, he wondered, for
his clothes were of crimson velvet like the lad's
beside him, or were they but leaves fluttering
through the air?
"Never mind what you are," cried the King,
reading his look of bewilderment. "We can
all be lots more things than we dream of until
the Spirit of Autumn takes hold of us. The
folks below think us only leaves, but we know
better, and now, where shall we go? This is
my last gorgeous day, for tonight Autumn flies
away from the cold breath of Winter. Let's
fly to the spot you wish to see more than any-
thing else in the world."
"Flying like this is such fun that I don't
care where we go," answered Jamie, then
suddenly both leaves but let us say boys
stopped drifting and gazed in wonder at the
sight before them. They were in the sun-
shine, but a shower was falling in the distance
and opposite them, across the sky, stretched a
"Did you ever hear of the pot of gold at
THE GAY LITTLE KING 77
the rainbow's foot?" asked Jamie excitedly.
"Let's go there now and find it!"
"All right," answered the little King, Diet's
go there, and if we don't find the pot of gold
we may find something still more wonderful."
Through the air they flew toward the rain-
bow, whose colours were paling a little in the
center, but growing more and more glorious
at the end.
"Shut your eyes again and hold my hand
tight," said the King. "I must fill your eyes
with mist or you would be blinded by the sight
you are going to see. No boy has ever seen it
before except in dreams."
For a moment Jamie shivered, they seemed
to be passing through a thick fog, and then
"Open your eyes," cried the King. Jamie
Picture to yourself a great golden hall filled
with streams of colours, each as radiant as the
sunshine, and yet, seen through spectacles of
mist, so soft they could not dazzle your eyes.
Each great sheath of colour was moving, shift-
ing and weaving itself in and out among the
others like the figure of a dancer, so quickly
78 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
that it was almost impossible to catch it. And
yet that was just what hundreds of gay little
fairies with butterfly wings and scarfs of
thistle down were trying to do. Each one car-
ried a golden pot, and as they caught one
colour after another their captives rushed
away, leaving a bit of colour in the fairy's
hand. Hastily dropping that bit into his
golden pot with a merry, tinkling laugh, the
fairy was off again after another dancing,
gleaming bit of rainbow.
"So there are the pots of gold," cried Jamie.
"But what do the fairies do with the rainbow's
Just then a very merry sprite came tearing
past, his pot brimming over with glowing
crimson. "My colour is the favourite just now,"
he cried. "I've got one billion trees to paint
and all that's left over goes to the cardinal
flowers." "Mine is just as popular," sang out
another fairy, his pot overflowing with gold.
"There are millions of goldenrods for me to
colour as well as the trees!" "And autumn
loves mine too," chanted a delicate little sprite
whose pot was filled with violet. "Think of
THE GAY LITTLE KING 79
all the asters without which your golden-rods
would be very tiresome." "And mine," rip-
pled another, his pot filled with blue like the
sea. "Autumn always wants mine ! The gen-
tians are rare because one blossom takes more
colour than a thousand of spring's forget-me-
Just then a flaming orange stream rushed
past, and Jamie and the little king made one
grab at it.
"Thieves! Robbers!" cried the colours in a
whirl of fury. In a second they were all danc-
ing madly before the eyes of the terrified boys.
Then there was a crash as of thunder and the
lads found themselves lying upon the ground,
wet, thick, gray mist all about them. The
glorious dance at the rainbow's foot had van-
"I suppose we deserved that," sighed Jamie,
"but I did want a pocketful of colour stuff to
show the boys."
"Never mind, let's fly out of this mist and
have more fun!" cried the little King. Up
they floated into the sunshine and they found
that the winds had been busy while they were
80 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
gone. Almost every tree stood dark and bare
the air was full of brilliant, whispering
leaves. "Winter is surely coming soon," said
the little King. "Look at the spot below us
where I grew." Beneath them, in the centre
of the pasture, stood the maple tree, only one
crimson leaf still fluttering from its branches.
"When that leaf is gone, I'll have to say
good-night for many months," said the King.
"Come, before that happens we'll go to the
Cavern of the winds and see how Autumn
plays upon them."
This time they flew upward, and now it
was so cold that Jamie drew his scarlet robes
close about him. Through the first thin clouds
they flew ; then right into a great cloud, look-
ing like an enormous castle, they floated. It
was one huge hall, so vast that Jamie couldn't
see the other end, but he could hear, far, far
away beyond great arches, the rumbling of a
mighty organ. Crashing and thunderous it
sounded until the vast hall shook and echoed
with the sound. "That is Autumn playing
upon the organ of the winds," said the little
King, and although he shouted in Jamie's ear
THE GAY LITTLE KING 81
it sounded like a whisper above the music.
"When she touches the keys the winds fill the
pipes and go roaring off: to carry away the
leaves below," he explained. "But listen she
knows the leaves have almost all fallen and
now she is singing her good-night to them."
The crashing had ceased, and through the
great hall echoed a slumber song, as sweet as
a thrush's note at twilight, as tender as a wood-
Jamie closed his eyes and thought of
lapping waves, and sunsets, the new moon
rising and the first stars blossoming in the
Did he sleep there in the Winds' Cavern
with the Spirit of Autumn singing good-night
to her flaming world? He never knew.
When he opened his eyes he found himself
standing upon the doorstep of his own home!
He was drawing something soft and white
about him to keep out the cold and he heard
a whispered "Good-night, Comrade, until next
Autumn," and a flutter as of leaves flying
through the air, then the house door opened
and as he stood with the light of the blazing
8a THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
fire falling upon him he heard his mother's
"Why, Jamie, you're covered with snow!
And, my boy, where are your crutches ?"
Into the house he ran, right into his moth-
er's outstretched arms, although his crutches
were still lying out on the pasture, buried be-
neath the snow! And Jamie was well! Was
it a gift from the Spirit of Autumn to a little
lad? Just another of her precious gifts given
with her flaming leaves, her wind's music, her
glorious flowers. Has she not a gift for you,
too, among all these? Open your eyes and
your ears and find your heart's desire!
October's touch paints all the maple leaves
With brilliant crimson, and his golden kiss
Lies on the clustered hazels; scarlet glows
The sturdy oak, and copper-hued the beech.
A russet gloss lingers in the elm;
The pensile birch is yellowing apace,
And many-tinted show the woodlands all,
With autumn's dying slendours.
THE STORY OF THE OPAL
ANN DE MORGAN
THE sun was shining brightly one day, and a
little Sunbeam slid down his long golden lad-
der, and crept unperceived under the leaves
of a large tree. All the Sunbeams are in real-
ity tiny Sun-fairies, who run down to earth on
golden ladders, which look to mortals like rays
of the Sun. When they see a cloud coming
they climb their ladders in an instant and draw
them up after them into the Sun. The Sun is
ruled by a mighty fairy, who every morning
tells his tiny servants, the beams, where they
are to shine, and every evening counts them on
their return, to see he has the right number.
It is not known, but the Sun and Moon are
enemies, and that is why they never shine at
the same time. The fairy of the Moon is a
woman, and all her beams are tiny women,
who come down on the loveliest little ladders,
The opal is the stone associated with the month of October.
84 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
like threads of silver. No one knows why the
Sun and Moon quarrelled. Once they were
very good friends. But now they are bitter
enemies, and the Sunbeams and Moonbeams
may not play together.
One day a little Sunbeam crept into a tree,
and sat down near a Bullfinch's nest, and
watched the Bullfinch and its mate.
"Why should I not have a mate also?" he
said to himself. He was the prettiest little
fellow you could imagine. His hair was
bright gold, and he sat still, leaning one arm
on his tiny ladder, and listening to the chat-
ter of the birds.
"But I shall try to keep awake to-night to
see her," said a young Bullfinch.
"Nonsense!" said its mother. "You shall
do no such thing."
"But the Nightingale says she is so very
lovely," said a Wren, looking out from her
little nest in a hedge close by.
"The Nightingale!" said the old Bullfinch,
scornfully. "Every one knows that the Night-
ingale was moonstruck long ago. Who can
trust a word he says?"
THE STORY OF THE OPAL 85
"Nevertheless, I should like to see her," said
"I have seen her, and the Nightingale is
right," said a Wood-dove in its soft, cooing
tones. "I was awake last night and saw her;
she is more lovely than anything that ever
came here before."
"Of whom were you talking?" asked the
Sunbeam; and he shot across to the Bullfinch's
nest. All the birds were silent when they saw
him. At last the Bullfinch said, "Only of a
Moonbeam, your Highness. No one your
Highness would care about," for the Bullfinch
remembered the quarrel between the Sun and
Moon, and did not like to say much.
"What is she like?" asked the Sunbeam. "I
have never seen a Moonbeam."
"I have seen her, and she is as beautiful as
an angel," said the Wood-dove. "'But you
should ask the Nightingale. He knows more
about her than any one, for he always comes
out to sing to her "
"Where is the Nightingale?" asked the
"He is resting now," said the Wren, "and
THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
will not say a word. But later, as the Sun be-
gins to set, he will come out and tell you."
"At the time when all decent birds are go-
ing to roost," grumbled the Bullfinch.
"I will wait till the Nightingale comes,"
said the Sunbeam.
So all day long he shone about the tree. As
the sun moved slowly down, his ladder
dropped with it lower and lower, for it was
fastened to the Sun at one end ; and if he had
allowed the Sun to disappear before he had
run back and drawn it up, the ladder would
have broken against the earth, and the poor
little Sunbeam could never have gone home
again, but would have wandered about, be-
coming paler and paler every minute, till at
last he died.
But some time before the sun had gone,
when it was still shining in a glorious bed of
red and gold, the Nightingale arose, began
to sing loud and clear.
"Oh, is it you at last?" said the Sunbeam.
"How I have waited for you. Tell me quickly
about this Moonbeam of whom they are all
THE STORY OF THE OPAL 87
"What shall I tell you of her?" sang the
Nightingale. "She is more beautiful than
the rose. She is the most beautiful thing I
have ever seen. Her hair is silver, and the
light of her eyes is far more lovely than yours.
But why should you want to know about her?
You belong to the Sun, and hate Moonbeams."
"I do not hate them," said the Sunbeam,
"What are they like? Show this one to me
some night, dear Nightingale.' 1
"I cannot show her to you now," answered
the Nightingale; "for she will not come out
till long after the sun has set; but wait a few
days, and when the Moon is full she will come
a little before the Sun sets, and if you hide
beneath a leaf you may look at her. But you
must promise not to shine on her, or you might
hurt her, or break her ladder."
"I will promise," said the Sunbeam, and
every day he came back to the same tree at
sunset, to talk to the Nightingale about the
Moonbeam, till the Bullfinch was quite angry.
"To-night I shall see her at last," he said
to himself, for the Moon was almost full, and
would rise before the Sun had set. He hid in
88 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
the oak-leaves, trembling with expectation.
"She is coming!" said the Nightingale, and
the Sunbeam peeped out from the branches,
and watched. In a minute or two a tiny silver
ladder like a thread was placed among the
leaves, near the Nightingale's nest, and down
it came the Moonbeam, and our little Sun-
beam looked out and saw her.
She did not at all look as he had expected
she would, but he agreed with the Nightin-
gale that she was the loveliest thing he had
ever seen. She was all silver, and pale greeny
blue. Her hair and eyes shone like stars. All
the Sunbeams looked bright, and hot, but she
looked as cool as the sea; yet she glittered like
a diamond. The Sunbeam gazed at her in
surprise, unable to say a word, till all at once
he saw that his little ladder was bending. The
sun was sinking, and he had only just time to
scramble back, and draw his ladder after
The Moonbeam only saw his light vanish-
ing, and did not see him.
"To whom were you talking, dear Night-
ingale?" she asked, putting her beautiful white
THE STORY OF THE OPAL
arms round his neck, and leaning her head on
"To a Sunbeam," answered the Nightin-
gale. "Ah, how beautiful he is! I was
telling him about you. He longs to see
"I have never seen a Sunbeam," said the
Moonbeam, wistfully. "I should like to see
one so much;" and all night long she sat close
beside the Nightingale, with her head leaning
on his breast whilst he sang to her of the Sun-
beam; and his song was so loud and clear that
it awoke the Bullfinch, who flew into a rage,
and declared that if it went on any longer
she would speak to the Owl about it, and have
it stopped. For the Owl was chief judge, and
always ate the little birds when they did not
But the Nightingale never ceased, and the
Moonbeam listened till the tears rose in her
eyes and her lips quivered.
"To-night, then, I shall see him," whispered
the Moonbeam, as she kissed the Nightingale,
and bid him adieu.
"And to-night he will see you," said the
90 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
Nightingale, as he settled to rest among the
All that next day was cloudy, and the Sun
did not shine, but towards evening the clouds
passed away and the Sun came forth, and no
sooner had it appeared than the Nightingale
saw our Sunbeam's ladder placed close to his
nest, and in an instant the Sunbeam was beside
"Dear, dear Nightingale," he said, "you are
right. She is more lovely than the dawn. I
have thought of her all night and all day.
Tell me, will she come again to-night? I will
wait to see her."
"Yes, she will come, and you may speak to
her, but you must not touch her," said the
Nightingale; and then they were silent and
Underneath the oak-tree lay a large white
Stone, a common white Stone, neither beauti-
ful nor useful, for it lay there where it had
fallen, and bitterly lamented that it had no
object in life. It never spoke to the birds,
who scarcely knew it could speak; but some-
times, if the Nightingale lighted upon it, and
THE STORY OF THE OPAL 91
touched it with his soft breast, or the Moon-
beam shone upon it, it felt as if it would break
with grief that it should be so stupid and use-
less. It watched the Sunbeams and Moon-
beams come down on their ladders, and won-
dered that none of the birds but the Night-
ingale thought the Moonbeam beautiful.
That evening, as the Sunbeam sat waiting, the
Stone watched it eagerly, and when the Moon-
beam placed her tiny ladder among the leaves,
and slid down it, it listened to all that was
At first the Moonbeam did not speak, for
she did not see the Sunbeam, but she came
close to the Nightingale, and kissed it as usual.
"Have you seen him again?" she asked.
And, on hearing this, the Sunbeam shot out
from among the green leaves, and stood before
For a few minutes she was silent; then she
began to shiver and sob, and drew nearer to
to the Nightingale, and if the Sunbeam tried
to approach her, she climbed up her ladder,
and went farther still.
"Do not be frightened, dearest Moonbeam,"
92 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
cried he piteously; "I would not, indeed, do
you any harm, you are so very lovely, and I
love you so much."
The Moonbeam turned away, sobbing.
"I do not want you to leave me," she said,
"for if you touch me I shall die. It would
have been much better for you not to have seen
me; and now I cannot go back and be happy
in the Moon, for I shall be always thinking
"I do not care if I die or not, now that I
have seen you; and see," said the Sunbeam
sadly, "my end is sure, for the Sun is fast sink-
ing, and I shall not return to it, I shall stay
"Go, while you have time," cried the Moon-
beam. But even as she spoke the Sun sank
beneath the horizon, and the tiny gold ladder
of the Sunbeam broke with a snap, and the
two sides fell to earth and melted away.
"See," said the Sunbeam, "I cannot return
now, neither do I wish it. I will remain here
with you till I die."
"No, no," cried the Moonbeam. "Oh, I
shall have killed you ! What shall I do ? And
THE STORY OF THE OPAL 93
look, there are clouds drifting near the Moon;
if one of them floats across my ladder it will
break it. But I cannot go and leave you here ;"
and she leaned across the leaves to where the
Sunbeam sat, and looked into his eyes. But
the Nightingale saw that a tiny white cloud
was sailing close by the Moon a little cloud
no bigger than a spot of white wool, but quite
big and strong enough to break the Moon-
beam's little ladder.
"Go, go at once. See! your ladder will
break," he sang to her; but she did not notice
him, but sat watching the Sunbeam sadly.
For a moment the moon's light was obscured,
as the tiny cloud sailed past it; then the little
silver ladder fell to earth, broken in two and
shrunk away, but the Moonbeam did not heed
"It does not matter," she said, "for I should
never have gone back and left you here, now
that I have seen you."
So all night long they sat together in the
oak tree, and the Nightingale sang to them,
and the other birds grumbled that he kept
them awake. But the two were very happy,
94 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
though the Sunbeam knew he was growing
paler every moment, for he could not live
twenty-four hours away from the Sun.
When the dawn began to appear, the Moon-
beam shivered and trembled.
"The strong Sun," she said, "would kill me,
but I fear something even worse than the Sun.
See how heavy the clouds are! Surely it is
going to rain, and rain would kill us both at
once. Oh, where can we look for shelter be-
fore it comes?"
The Sunbeam looked up, and saw that the
rain was coming.
"Come," he said, "let us go;" and they wan-
dered out into the forest, and sought for a
sheltering place, but every moment they grew
When they were gone, the Stone looked up
at the Nightingale, and said :
"Oh, why did they go? I like to hear them
talk, and they are so pretty; they can find no
shelter out there, and they will die at once.
See! in my side there is a large hole where it is
quite dark, and into which no rain can come.
Fly after them and tell them to come, that I
THE STORY OF THE OPAL 95
will shelter them." So the Nightingale spread
his wings, and flew, singing:
"Come back, come back! The Stone will
shelter you. Come back at once before the
They had wandered out into an open field,
but when she heard the Nightingale, the
Moonbeam turned her head and said:
"Surely that is the Nightingale singing.
See! he is calling us."
"Follow me," sang the bird. "Back at once
to shelter in the Stone." But the Moonbeam
tottered and fell.
"I am grown so weak and pale," she said, "I
can no longer move."
Then the Nightingale flew to earth.
"Climb upon my back," he said, "and I will
take you both back to the Stone." So they
both sat upon his back, and he flew with them
to the large Stone beneath the tree.
"Go in," he said, stopping in front of the
hole; and both passed into the hole, and nestled
in the darkness within the Stone.
Then the rain began. All day long it
rained, and the Nightingale sat in his nest
96 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
half asleep. But when the Moon rose, after
the sun had set, the clouds cleared away, and
the air was again full of tiny silver ladders,
down which the Moonbeams came, but the
Nightingale looked in vain for his own partic-
ular Moonbeam. He knew she could not
shine on him again, therefore he mourned,
and sang a sorrowful song. Then he flew
down to the Stone, and sang a song at the
mouth of the hole, but there came no answer.
So he looked down the hole, into the Stone, but
there was no trace of the Sunbeam or the
Moonbeam only one shining spot of light,
where they had rested. Then the Nightingale
knew that they had faded away and died.
"They could not live away from the Sun
and Moon," he said. "Still, I wish I had
never told the Sunbeam of her beauty; then
she would be here now."
When the Bullfinch heard of it she was
quite pleased. "Now, at least," she said, "we
shall hear the end of the Moonbeam. I am
heartily glad, for I was sick of her."
"How much they must have loved each
other!" said the Dove. "I am glad at least
THE STORY OF THE OPAL 97
that they died together," and she cooed sadly.
But through the Stone wherein the beams
had sheltered, shot up bright, beautiful rays
of light silver and gold. They coloured it all
over with every colour of the rainbow, and
when the Sun or Moon warmed it with their
light it became quite brilliant. So that the
Stone, from being the ugliest thing in the
whole forest, became the most beautiful.
Men found it and called it the Opal. But
the Nightingale knew that it was the Sunbeam
and Moonbeam who, in dying, had suffused
the Stone with their mingled colours and
light; and the Nightingale will never forget
them, for every night he sings their story, and
that is why his song is so sad.
In sapphire, emerald, amethyst,
Sparkles the sea by the morning kissed;
And the mist from the far-off valleys lie
Gleaming like pearl in the tender sky;
Soft shapes of cloud that melt and drift,
With tints of opal that glow and shift.
LOST: THE SUMMER
Where has the summer gone?
She was here just a minute ago,
With roses and daisies
To whisper her praises
And every one loved her so!
Has any one seen her about?
She must have gone off in the night!
And she took the best flowers
And the happiest hours,
And asked no one's leave for her flight.
Have you noticed her steps in the grass?
The garden looks red where she went;
By the side of the hedge
There's a golden-rod edge,
And the rose vines are withered and bent.
Do you think she will ever come back?
I shall watch every day at the gate
For the robins and clover,
Saying over and over:
"I know she will come, if I wait."
RAYMOND MACDONALD ALDEN.
BY THE WAYSIDE
On the hill the golden-rod,
And the aster in the wood,
And the yellow sunflower by the brook,
In autumn beauty stood.
WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT.
THE KING'S CANDLES
ONCE upon a time there lived a good king
who was driven from his throne by an enemy.
A few faithful knights and servants fled with
his majesty to a forest where they found shel-
ter in deep, rocky caves.
The flight from the king's palace had been
so hasty that the knights and servants could
bring only a few things for their king's com-
fort. It was in the early autumn and his
majesty feared it would be necessary to live
in secret during the coming winter. You may
be sure the king was well pleased to find his
knights had brought a few warm blankets and
robes. After he had praised his followers for
their thoughtfulness in providing for the win-
ter, a young page stepped forward and said,
"Your Majesty, I did not bring clothing, but
I brought as many candles as I could carry."
"Candles," laughed the king, "now pray tell
me, lad, why you brought candles. You served
THE KING'S CANDLES 101
me well in the palace by seeing that my throne
was properly lighted, but in our forest exile
we shall have little use for candles, I fear."
"Sire," replied the page, "I thought that
your majesty would wish to hold council in
the evenings, and that I could light your
throne seat with candles as was the custom in
"I fear my throne seat, as you call it, will be
nothing more than a rocky ledge for some
time," said the king. "See, there is one in the
inner cave which will serve. So long as the
candles last, my faithful lad, your king will
not be obliged to hold council in darkness."
"So long as the candles last," repeated the
king's page to himself. "I hope our king's
soldiers, who are seeking help, will be able to
drive the usurper away before winter comes."
The king and his followers soon adapted
themselves to life in exile. During the day-
time they hunted game which lurked in the
thickets; in the evening they gathered together
in the deep cave and held council. Then it
was that the king sat on his rude throne lit
by two candles.
THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
The king's page with sinking heart saw the
candles grow fewer and fewer until there were
but two left. Then at last came an evening
when the lights were missing from the king's
throne. In a dark corner of the cave the little
page sat grieving because he could not see his
It happened one morning that the lad wan-
dered to the edge of the woodland where the
highway separated the richly coloured forest
trees from a stretch of meadowland where the
white mist was slowly lifting. On the road-
side was an old woman carrying a large sack
on her bent shoulders. When she reached the
place where the king's page was standing she
set her sack on the ground and looked wist-
fully at the meadow, then at the deep ditch
which separated the field from the high-
"Shall I help you across the ditch?" asked
the king's page.
"Thank you, my lad," said the old woman.
"Perhaps I'd better not go across. It would
be hard for me to reach the highway again.
But I should like a few of those tall mullein
THE KING'S CANDLES 103
spikes. I've none in my bag so fine as tnose
growing in the meadow."
"I'll gather some for you," said the king's
He leaped across the ditch, and soon filled
his hands with the tall mullein spikes.
The old woman was delighted. She tucked
them into her bag and said, "They make such
fine winter candles. Thank you, my lad."
"Winter candles!" exclaimed the king's
"Aye," nodded the old woman. "Dip them
in tallow, a thin coat will do and you have
candles fit for a king. Thank you kindly."
"We are in sore need of candles where I
live, but " the page stopped.
"Use mullein spikes. They make candles
fit for a king, I say," and the old woman picked
up her sack.
"But we have no tallow," said the lad.
"I can spare you a lump of tallow, my boy.
Come along with me to my cottage," said the
So the king's page carried the sack of mul-
lein spikes to the old woman's cottage and she
104 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
gave him a large lump of tallow. On his way
back he leaped across the ditch again and filled
his arms with tall mullein spikes. He hurried
back to the cave, melted the tallow, and dipped
the weeds into the liquid fat.
When the king and his party returned that
evening to the cave, two tall candles were
standing on the rude throne.
"See," cried the king's page, "we have a
fresh supply of candles."
"Tell us where you got them," said the sur-
"They are made from spikes of the mullein
weed," explained the king's page. Then he
told his majesty about the afternoon's ad-
"The mullein weed shall have a new name,"
declared the king. "It shall be called the
A few days later the king called his follow-
ers around his throne seat and said, "A mes-
sage has come to me declaring that the usurper
has been driven out of my country. Tomor-
row we'll hold a feast in the palace, and the
table shall be lighted by 'King's Candles.' "
THE KING'S CANDLES 105
Every year since that far-off time when the
reigning king holds an autumn festival, the
banquet table is lighted with mullein spikes
dipped in tallow, and they are called the
"The mullein's yellow candles burn
Over the heads of dry, sweet fern."
A LEGEND OF THE GOLDEN-ROD
FRANCES WELD DANIELSON
ONCE there were a great many weeds in a
field. They were very ugly-looking weeds,
and they didn't seern to be the least bit of use
in the world. The cows would not eat them,
the children would not pick them, and even
the bugs did not seem to like them very well.
"I don't see what we're here for," said one
of the weeds. "We are not any good."
"No good at all," growled a dozen little
weeds, "only to catch dust"
"Well, if that's what we're here for," cried
a very tall weed, "then I say let's catch dust!
I suppose somebody's got to do it. We can't
all bear blueberries or blossom into holly-
"But it isn't pleasant work at all," whined
a tiny bit of a weed.
From "Story-Telling Time." Used by permission of Pil-
A LEGEND OF THE GOLDEN-ROD 107
"No whining allowed in this field," laughed
a funny little fat weed, with a hump in his
stalk. "We're all going to catch dust, so let's
see which one can catch the most. What do
you say to a race?"
The little fat weed spoke in such a jolly
voice that the weeds all cheered up at once,
and before long they were as busy as bees, and
as happy as Johnnie-jump-ups. They worked
so well stretching their stalks and spreading
out their fingers that before the summer was
half over they were able to take every bit of
dust that flew up from the road. In the field
beyond, where the clover grew and the cows
fed, there was not any to be seen.
One morning, toward the end of summer,
the weeds were surprised to see a number of
people standing by the fence looking at them.
Pretty soon some children came and gazed
at them. Then the weeds noticed that people
driving by called each other's attention to
them. They were much surprised at this, but
they were still more surprised when one day
some children climbed the fence and com-
menced to pick them.
io8 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
"See," cried a little girl, "how all the dust
has been changed to gold!"
The weeds looked at each other, and, sure
enough, they were all covered with gold-dust.
"A fairy has done it," they whispered one to
But the fairies were there on the spot, and
declared they had had nothing to do with it.
"You did it yourselves," cried the queen
of the fairies. "You were happy in your work,
and a cheerful spirit always changes dust into
gold. Didn't you know it?"
"You're not weeds any more, you're flow-
ers," sang the fairies.
"Golden-rod, golden-rod!" shouted the chil-
Pretty, slender golden-rod,
Like a flame of light,
On the quiet, lonely way,
Glows your torch so bright.
With your glorious golden staff,
Gay in autumn hours,
Now you lead to wintry rest,
All the lovely flowers.
Cheering with a joyous face,
All that pass you by,
How you light the meadows round,
With your head so high.
ANNA E. SKINNER.
THE LITTLE WEED
"YOU'RE nothing but a weed," said the chil-
dren in the fall. The little weed hung its head
in sorrow. No one seemed to think that a
weed was of any use.
By and by the snow came and the cold winds
blew. There were many hungry little birds
hunting for food.
"Twit! Twit Twee!
See! See! See!"
sang a merry little bird one cold morning.
"Here is a lovely weed full of nice brown
seeds !" And he made a good meal from those \
seeds that morning. Then three other little
birds came to share the feast.
The little weed was so happy that she held
her head up straight and tall again.
"That is what I was meant for," she said.
THE LITTLE WEED 1 1 1
"I am good for something. Four hungry
little birds had as many seeds as they wished
for their breakfast. Next year I'll grow as
many seeds as I can to feed many more hun-
gry little birds. Good-bye, little birds," she
called out to the little feathery friends.
"Come again next year. I'll have another din-
ner for you."
"Good-bye, little weed," sang the birds.
"We have had a fine meal and we thank you
very much. You'll see us again next year. It
is so hard to get enough to eat during the cold
weather, and we are grateful to you for hold-
ing your seeds for us."
"It's nice to find that one is of some use
after all, isn't it?" called out the little weed to
her neighbour in the next field.
GOLDEN-ROD AND PURPLE ASTER
FLORA J. COOKE
ONCE upon a time a strange, wise woman lived
in a little hut which stood on the top of a
hill. She looked so grim and severe that peo-
ple were afraid to go near her. It was said
that she could change people into anything
One day two little girls who lived at the foot
of the hill were playing together. One was
named Golden Hair and the other Blue Eyes.
After a while they sat down on the grassy hill-
side to rest.
"I should like to do something to make
everybody happy," said Blue Eyes.
"So should I," said Golden Hair. "Let us
ask the woman who lives on the hilltop about
it. She is very wise and can surely tell us just
what to do."
GOLDEN-ROD PURPLE ASTER 113
"Oh, yes," said Blue Eyes, and away they
started at once.
It was a long, long walk to the top of the
hill. Many times the little girls stopped to
rest under the oak trees which shaded their
They could find no flowers, but they made a
basket of oak leaves and filled it with berries
for the wise woman.
The birds were singing in the treetops, and
the squirrels were frisking about in the
branches. Golden Hair and Blue Eyes
stopped to laugh and talk with them.
The little girls walked on and on up the
rocky pathway. After a while the sun went
down, the birds stopped their singing, and the
squirrels went to bed. The evening wind was
resting. How still and cool it was on the hill-
Presently the moon and stars came out.
Then the frogs and toads awoke, beetles and
fireflies flew about and the night music
Golden Hair and Blue Eyes were growing
very tired, but on and on they climbed until
1 14 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
at last they reached the hut on the hilltop
where the strange, wise woman lived.
"See, she is standing at the gate," said
Golden Hair. "How stern she looks."
The little girls clung close together, and
when they reached the gate Golden Hair said
bravely, "We know you are very wise and we
came to see if you would tell us how to make
"Please let us stay together," said timid Blue
As she opened the gate for the children, the
wise woman was seen to smile in the moon-
light. Golden Hair and Blue Eyes were never
seen again at the foot of the hill. The next
morning beautiful, waving golden-rod and
purple asters grew all over the hillside.
Some people say that these two bright flow-
ers, which grow side by side, could tell the
secret if they would, of what became of the
two little girls on that moonlight night.
White and purple asters, watching by the
Tell me where you got your starry eyes.
Dearie, in their play the baby angels took
Blossoms from the garden of the skies.
Tossed them downward to us over heaven's
And we caught and kept them, that is all.
EDITH M. THOMAS
WHO knows not Silver-rod, the lovely and
reverend Golden-rod beautified and sainted,
looking moonlit and misty even in the sun-
shine! In this soft canescent afterbloom be-
ginning at the apex of the flower cluster and
gradually spreading downward, the eye finds
an agreeable relief from the recent dazzle of
yellow splendour. I almost forget that the
herb is not literally in bloom, that is, no longer
ministered to by sunshine and dew. Is there
not, perhaps, some kind of bee that loves to
work among these plumy blossoms gathering
a concentrated form of nectar, pulverulent
'flower of honey? I gently stir this tufted staff,
and away floats a little cloud of pappus, in
which I recognize the golden- and silver-rods
of another year, if the feathery seeds shall find
hospitable lodgment in the earth. Two other
plants in the wild herbarium deserve to be
ranked with my subject for grace and dignity
with which they wear their seedy fortunes:
iron-weed, with its pretty daisy-shaped involu-
cres; and life-everlasting, which, having pro-
vided its own cerements and spices, now rests
embalmed in all the pastures; it is still pleas-
antly odorous, and, as often as I meet it, puts
me in mind of an old-fashioned verse which
speaks of the "actions of the just" and their
lasting bloom and sweetness. On a chill No-
vember day I fancy that the air is a little
softer in places where Silver-rod holds sway
and that there spirits of peace and patience
have their special haunts.
A white butterfly met a thistle-ball in the
airy highway. Expressions of mutual surprise
"Hello! I thought you were one of us," said
"And I," returned the thistle-ball, "took you
for a white pea-blossom."
PIMPERNEL, THE SHEPHERD'S
I'll go and look at the Pimpernel
And see if she thinks the clouds look well.
For if the sun shine
And 'tis like to be fine,
I'll go to the fair.
So Pimpernel, what bode the clouds in the
If fair weather, no maiden so merry as I.
Now the Pimpernel flower had folded up
Her little gold star in her coral cup.
And unto the maid
A warning she said :
"Though the sun seems down
There's a gathering frown
O'er the checkered blue of the clouded sky
So, tarry at home! for a storm is nigh!"
A LEGEND OF THE GENTIAN
MANY years ago the poor people of Hungary
suffered from a terrible sickness which had
afflicted them for a long time. Thousands of
them had been stricken and many had died,
for nothing could be found to cure them or re-
lieve their sufferings in any way.
At last the people appealed to their good
King Ladislaw for help. Messenger after
messenger was sent to beg him to bring about
some relief. But the good king could do
nothing, and he was obliged to send the mes-
sengers away without help and without hope.
One day the king sat thinking about the
needs of his people. "What can I do for my
people?" he asked himself over and over
again. "I have sent them away without help
and without hope. God alone knows what
will help them. He will give me a sign. My
120 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
arrow shall bring me the message." And the
good king prayed that divine guidance would
direct an arrow shot into the air.
His Majesty shot the arrow and watched
where it fell. And, behold, it pierced the root
of a gentian!
The king then sent his servants to gather
many roots of this plant and make from them
a medicine for his suffering people. And the
cure was so wonderful that from that day his
people have called the gentian "The Herb of
"Thou blossom bright with autumn dew,
And coloured with the heaven's own blue,
That openest when, the quiet light,
Succeeds the keen and frosty night."
LOUISA M. ALCOTT
FOR many seasons the Golden-rods had reigned
over the meadow, and no one thought of choos-
ing a king from any other family, for they
were strong and handsome, and loved to rule.
But one autumn something happened which
caused a great excitement among the flowers.
It was proposed to have a queen, and such a
thing had never been heard of before. It be-
gan among the Asters; for some of them grew
outside the wall beside the road, and saw and
heard what went on in the great world. These
sturdy plants told the news to their relations
inside; and so the Asters were unusually wise
and energetic flowers, from the little white
stars in the grass to the tall sprays tossing their
purple plumes above the mossy wall.
"Things are moving in the great world, and
122 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
it is time we made a change in our little one,"
said one of the roadside Asters, after a long
talk with a wandering wind. "Matters are
not going well in the meadow ; for the Golden-
rods rule, and they care only for money and
power, as their name shows. Now, we are
descended from the stars, and are both wise
and good, and our tribe is even larger than the
Golden- rod tribe; so it is but fair that we
should take our turn at governing. It will
soon be time to choose, and I propose our
stately cousin, Violet Aster, for queen this
year. Whoever agrees with me, say Aye."
Quite a shout went up from all the Asters;
and the late Clovers and Buttercups joined in
it, for they were honest, sensible flowers, and
liked fair play. To their great delight the
Pitcher-plant, or Forefathers' Cup, said "Aye"
most decidedly, and that impressed all the
other plants; for this fine family came over in
the Mayflower, and was much honoured
But the proud Cardinals by the brook
blushed with shame at the idea of a queen;
the Fringed Gentians shut their blue eyes that
QUEEN ASTER 123
they might not see the bold Asters; and Cle-
matis fainted away in the grass, she was so
shocked. The Golden-rods laughed scornfully,
and were much amused at the suggestion to
put them off the throne where they had ruled
"Let those discontented Asters try it," they
said. "No one will vote for that foolish Vio-
let, and things will go on as they always have
done; so, dear friends, don't be troubled, but
help us elect our handsome cousin who was
born in the palace this year."
In the middle of the meadow stood a beau-
tiful maple, and at its foot lay a large rock
overgrown by a wild grapevine. All kinds of
flowers sprung up here; and this autumn a tall
spray of Golden-rod and a lovely violet Aster
grew almost side by side, with only a screen of
ferns between them. This was called the pal-
ace; and seeing their cousin there made the
Asters feel that their turn had come, and many
of the other flowers agreed with them that a
change of rulers ought to be made for the good
of the kingdom.
So when the day came to choose, there was
124 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
great excitement as the wind went about col-
lecting the votes. The Golden-rods, Cardinals,
Gentians, Clematis, and Bitter-sweet voted for
the Prince, as they called the handsome fellow
by the rock. All the Asters, Buttercups, Clo-
vers, and Pitcher-plants voted for Violet; and
to the surprise of the meadow the Maple
dropped a leaf, and the Rock gave a bit of
lichen for her also. They seldom took part in
the affairs of the flower people, the tree liv-
ing so high above them, busy with its own
music, and the rock being so old that it seemed
lost in meditation most of the time; but they
liked the idea of a queen (for one was a poet,
the other a philosopher), and both believed in
Their votes won the day, and with loud re-
joicing by her friends she was proclaimed
queen of the meadow and welcomed to her
"We will never go to Court or notice her
in any way," cried the haughty Cardinals, red
"Nor we! Dreadful, unfeminine creature!
Let us turn our backs and be grateful that the
QUEEN ASTER 125
brook flows between us," added the Gentians,
shaking their fringes as if the mere idea soiled
Clematis hid her face among the vine leaves,
feeling that the palace was no longer a fit
home for a delicate, high-born flower like her-
self. All the Golden-rods raged at this dread-
ful disappointment, and said many untrue and
disrespectful things of Violet. The Prince
tossed his yellow head behind the screen, and
laughed as if he did not mind, saying care-
"Let her try; she never can do it, and will
soon be glad to give up and let me take my
So the meadow was divided : one half turned
its back on the new queen; the other half
loved, admired, and believed in her; and all
waited to see how the experiment would suc-
ceed. The wise Asters helped her with ad-
vice; the Pitcher-plant refreshed her with the
history of the brave Puritans who loved lib-
erty and justice, and suffered to win them; the
honest Clovers sweetened life with their sin-
cere friendship, and the cheerful Buttercups
126 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
brightened her days with kindly words and
deeds. But her best help came from the rock
and the tree, for when she needed strength
she leaned her delicate head against the rough
breast of the rock, and courage seemed to come
to her from the wise old stone that had borne
the storms of a hundred years; when her heart
was heavy with care or wounded by unkind-
ness, she looked up to the beautiful tree, al-
ways full of soft music, always pointing
heavenward, and was comforted by these
glimpses of a world above her.
The first thing she did was to banish the evil
snakes from her kingdom; for they lured the
innocent birds to death, and filled many a
happy nest with grief.
The next task was to stop the red and black
ants from constantly fighting; for they were
always at war, to the great dismay of more
peaceful insects. She bade each tribe keep in
its own country, and if any dispute came up, to
bring it to her, and she would 'decide it fairly.
This was a hard task; for the ants loved to
fight, and would go on struggling after their
bodies were separated from their heads, so
QUEEN ASTER 127
fierce were they. But she made them friends
at last, and every one was glad.
Another reform was to purify the news that
came to the meadow. The wind was tele-
graph-messenger; but the birds were report-
ers, and some of them very bad ones. The
larks brought tidings from the clouds, and
were always welcome; the thrushes from the
wood, and all loved to hear their pretty ro-
mances; the robins had domestic news, and
the lively wrens bits of gossip and witty jokes
to relate. But the magpies made such mis-
chief with their ill-natured tattle and evil
tales, and the crows criticised and condemned
every one who did not believe and do just as
they did; so the magpies were forbidden to
go gossiping about the meadow, and the
gloomy black crows were ordered off the fence
where they liked to sit cawing dismally for
hours at a time.
Every one felt safe and comfortable when
this was done, except the Cardinals, who liked
to hear their splendid dresses and fine feasts
talked about, and the Golden-rods, who were
so used to living in public that they missed the
128 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
excitement, as well as the scandal of the mag-
pies and the political and religious arguments
and quarrels of the crows.
A hospital for sick and homeless creatures
was opened under the big burdock leaves; and
there several belated butterflies were tucked
up in their silken hammocks to sleep till
spring, a sad lady-bug, who had lost all her
children, found comfort in her loneliness, and
many crippled ants sat talking over their bat-
tles, like old soldiers, in the sunshine.
It took a long time to do all this, and it was
a hard task, for the rich and powerful flowers
gave no help. But the Asters worked bravely,
so did the Clovers and Buttercups and the
Pitcher-plant kept open house with the old-
fashioned hospitality one so seldom sees now-
a-days. Everything seemed to prosper, and
the meadow grew more beautiful day by day.
Safe from their enemies, the snakes, birds
came to build in all the trees and bushes, sing-
ing their gratitude so sweetly that there was al-
ways music in the air. Sunshine and shower
seemed to love to freshen the thirsty flowers
and keep the grass green, till every plant grew
QUEEN ASTER 129
strong and fair, and passers-by stopped to
look, saying with a smile :
"What a pretty little spot this is!"
The wind carried tidings of these things to
other colonies, and brought back messages of
praise and good-will from other rulers, glad
to know the experiment worked so well.
This made a deep impression on the Golden-
rods and their friends, for they could not deny
that Violet had succeeded better than any one
dared to hope; and the proud flowers began to
see that they would have to give in, own they
were wrong, and become loyal subjects of this
wise and gentle queen.
"We shall have to go to Court if ambassa-
dors keep coming with such gifts and honours
to Her Majesty; for they wonder not to see us
there, and will tell that we are sulking at home
instead of shining as <we only can," said the
Cardinals, longing to display their red velvet
robes at the feasts which Violet was obliged
to give in the palace when kings came to visit
"Our time will soon be over, and I'm afraid
we must humble ourselves or lose all the gai-
130 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
ety of the season. It is hard to see the good
old ways changed ; but if they must be, we can
only gracefully submit," answered the Gen-
tians, smoothing their delicate blue fringes,
eager to be again the belles of the ball.
Clematis astonished every one by suddenly
beginning to climb the maple-tree and shake
her silvery tassels like a canopy over the
"I cannot live so near her and not begin to
grow. Since I must cling to something, I
choose the noblest I can find, and look up,
not down, forevermore," she said; for like
many weak and timid creatures, she was eas-
ily guided, and it was well for her that Vio-
let's example had been a brave one.
Prince Golden-rod had found it impossible
to turn his back entirely upon Her Majesty,
for he was a gentleman with a really noble
heart under his yellow cloak; so he was among
the first to see, admire, and love the modest,
faithful flower who grew so near him. He
could not help hearing her words of comfort
or reproof to those who came to her for ad-
vice. He saw the daily acts of chanty which
QUEEN ASTER 131
no one else discovered; he knew how many
trials came to her, and how bravely she bore
"She had done more than ever we did to
make the kingdom beautiful and safe and
happy, and I'll be the first to own it, to thank
her and offer my allegiance," he said to him-
self, and waited for a chance.
One night when the September moon was
shining over the meadow, and the air was
balmy with the last breath of summer, the
Prince ventured to serenade the Queen on his
wind-harp. He knew she was awake; for he
had peeped through the ferns and seen her
looking at the stars with her violet eyes full
of dew, as if something troubled her. So he
sang his sweetest song, and Her Majesty
leaned nearer to hear it; for she much longed
to be friends with the gallant Prince, because
both were born in the palace and grew up to-
gether very happily till coronation time came.
As he ended she sighed, wondering how
long it would be before he told her what she
knew was in his heart.
Golden-rod heard the soft sigh, and forget-
132 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
ting his pride, he pushed away the screen, and
whispered, while his face shone and his voice
showed how much he felt,
"What troubles you, sweet neighbour?
Forget and forgive my unkindness, and let me
help you if I can, I dare not say as Prince
Consort, though I love you dearly; but as a
friend and faithful subject, for I confess that
you are fitter to rule than I."
As he spoke the leaves that hid Violet's
golden heart opened wide and let him see how
glad she was, as she bent her stately head and
"There is room upon the throne for two:
share it with me as King, and let us rule to-
.What the Prince answered only the moon
knows; but when morning came all the
meadow was surprised and rejoiced to see the
gold and purple flowers standing side by side,
while the maple showered its rosy leaves over
them, and the old rock waved his crown of
vine-leaves as he said :
"This is as it should be; love and strength
QUEEN ASTER 133
going hand in hand, and justice making the
The lands are lit
With all the autumn blaze of golden-rod,
And everywhere the purple asters nod
And bend and wave and flit.
HELEN HUNT JACKSON.
IT was a beautiful, fruitful season. Rain and
sunshine came by turns just as it was best for
the corn. As soon as ever the farmer began
to think that things were rather dry, you might
depend upon it that next day it would rain.
And when he thought that he had had rain
enough, the clouds broke at once, just as if
they were under his command.
So the farmer was in good humour, and he
did not grumble as he usually does. He
looked pleased and cheerful as he walked over
the field with his two boys.
"It will be a splendid harvest this year," he
said. "I shall have my barns full, and shall
make a pretty penny. And then Jack and Will
shall have some new trousers, and I'll let them
come with me to market."
THE WEEDS 135
"If you don't cut me soon, farmer, I shall
sprawl on the ground," said the rye, and she
bowed her heavy ear quite down towards the
The farmer could not hear her talking, but
he could see what was in her mind, and so
he went home to fetch his scythe.
"It is a good thing to be in the service of
man," said the rye. "I can be quite sure that
all my grain will be cared for. Most of it
will go to the mill: not that that proceeding
is so very enjoyable, but it will be made into
beautiful new bread, and one must put up
with something for the sake of honour. The
rest the farmer will save, and sow next year
in his field."
At the side of the field, along the hedge, and
the bank above the ditch, stood the weeds.
There were dense clumps of them thistle and
burdock, poppy and harebell, and dandelion ;
and all their heads were full of seed. It had
been a fruitful year for them also, for the sun
shines and the rain falls just as much on the
poor weed as on the rich corn.
"No one comes and mows us down and car-
136 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
ries us to a barn," said the dandelion, and he
shook his head, but very cautiously, so that the
seeds should not fall before their time. "But
what will become of all our children? 5 '
"It gives me a headache to think of it," said
the poppy. "Here I stand with hundreds and
hundreds of seeds in my head, and I haven't
the faintest idea where I shall drop them."
"Let us ask the rye to advise us," answered
And so they asked the rye what they should
"When one is well off, one had better not
meddle with other people's business," an-
swered the rye. "I will give you only one
piece of advice: take care you don't throw
your stupid seed on to the field, for then you
will have to settle accounts with me! 9
This advice did not help the wild flowers
at all, and the whole day they stood pondering
what they should do. When the sun set they
shut up their petals and went to sleep ; but the
whole night through they were dreaming
about their seed, and next morning they had
found a plan.
THE WEEDS 137
The poppy was the first to wake. She cau-
tiously opened some little trap-doors at the
top of her head, so that the sun could shine
right in on the seeds. Then she called to the
morning breeze, who was running and play-
ing along the hedge.
"Little breeze," she said, in friendly tones,
"will you do me a service?"
"Yes, indeed," said the breeze. "I shall be
glad to have something to do."
"It is the merest trifle," said the poppy.
"All I want of you is to give a good shake to
my stalk, so that my seeds may fly out of the
"All right," said the breeze.
And the seeds flew out in all directions.
The stalk snapped, it is true; but the poppy
did not mind about that
"Good-bye," said the breeze, and would
have run on farther.
"Wait a moment," said the poppy. "Prom-
ise me first that you will not tell the others,
else they might get hold of the same idea,
and then there would be less room for my
I 3 8 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
"I am mute as the grave," answered the
breeze, running off.
"Ho ! ho !" said the harebell "Haven't you
time to do me a little, tiny service?"
"Well," said the breeze, "what is it?"
"I merely wanted to ask you to give me a
little shake," said the harebell. "I have
opened some trap-doors in my head, and I
should like to have my seed sent a good way
off into the world. But you mustn't tell the
others, or else they might think of doing the
"Oh! of course not," said the breeze, laugh-
ing. "I shall be as dumb as a stone wall."
And then she gave the flower a good shake and
went on her way.
"Little breeze, little breeze," called the dan-
delion, "whither away so fast?"
"Is there something the matter with you
too?" asked the breeze.
"Nothing at all," answered the dandelion.
"Only I should like a few words with you."
"Be quick then," said the breeze, "for I am
thinking seriously of lying down and having
THE WEEDS 139
"You cannot help seeing," said the dande-
lion, "what trouble we are in this year to get
all our seeds put out in the world; for, of
course, one wishes to do what one can for one's
children. What is to happen to the harebell
and the poppy and the poor burdock I really
don't know. But the thistle and I have put
our heads together, and we have hit on a plan.
Only we must have you to help us."
"That makes four of them," thought the
breeze, and she could not help laughing out
"What are you laughing at?" asked the
dandelion. "I saw you whispering just now
to the harebell and poppy; but if you breathe
a word to them, I won't tell you anything."
"Why, of course not," said the breeze. "I
am mute as a fish. What is it you want?"
"We have set up a pretty little umbrella on
the top of our seeds. It is the sweetest little
plaything imaginable. If you will only blow
a little on me, the seeds will fly into the air
and fall down wherever you please. Will you
"Certainly," said the breeze.
i 4 o THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
And hush! it went over the thistle and the
dandelion and carried all the seeds with it into
The burdock still stood and pondered. Its
head was rather thick, and that was why it
waited so long. But in the evening a hare
leapt over the hedge.
"Hide me! Save me!" he cried. "The
farmer's dog Trusty is after me."
"You can creep behind the hedge," said the
burdock, "then I will hide you."
"You don't look able to do that," said the
hare, "but in time of need one must help one-
self as one can." And so he got in safely be-
hind the hedge.
"Now you may repay me by taking some of
my seeds with you over into the cornfield,"
said the burdock; and it broke off some of its
many heads and fixed them on the hare.
A little later Trusty came trotting up to the
"Here's the dog," whispered the burdock,
and with one spring the hare leapt over the
hedge and into the rye.
"Haven't you seen the hare, burdock?"
THE WEEDS 141
asked Trusty. "I see I have grown too old to
go hunting. I am quite blind in one eye, and
I have completely lost my scent."
"Yes, I have seen him," answered the bur-
dock; "and if you will do me a service, I will
show you where he is."
Trusty agreed, and the burdock fastened
some heads on his back, and said to him:
"If you will only rub yourself against the
stile there in the cornfield, my seeds will fall
off. But you must not look for the hare there,
for a little while ago I saw him run into the
wood." Trusty dropped the burrs on the field
and trotted to the wood.
"Well, I've sent my seeds out in the world
all right," said the burdock, laughing as if
much pleased with itself; "but it is impossible
to say what will become of the thistle and the
dandelion and the harebell and the poppy."
Spring had come round once more, and the
rye stood high already.
"We are pretty well off on the whole," said
the rye plants. "Here we stand in a great
company, and not one of us but belongs to our
own noble family. And we don't get in each
142 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
other's way in the very least. It is a grand
thing to be in the service of man."
But one fine day a crowd of little poppies,
and thistles and dandelions, and burdocks and
harebells poked up their heads above ground,
all amongst the flourishing rye.
"What does this mean?" asked the rye.
"Where in the world are you sprung from?"
And the poppy looked at the harebell and
asked : "Where did you come from?"
And the thistle looked at the burdock and
asked: "Where in the world have you come
They were all equally astonished, and it
was an hour before they had explained. But
the rye was the angriest, and when she had
heard all about Trusty and the hare and the
breeze she grew quite wild.
"Don't be in such a passion, you green rye,"
said the breeze, who had been lying behind
the hedge and hearing everything. "I ask no
one's permission, but do as I like; and now
I'm going to make you bow to me."
Then she passed over the young rye, and the
thin blades swayed backwards and forwards.
THE WEEDS 143
"You see," she said, "the farmer attends to
his rye, because that is his business. But the
rain and the sun and I we attend to all of
you without respect of persons. To our eyes
the poor weed is just as pretty as the rich
In the other gardens
And all up the vale
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail !
Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers;
The red fire blazes,
The gray smoke towers.
Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all !
Flowers in the summer!
Fires in the fall !
ROBERT Louis STEVENSON*.
AMONG THE TREES
TO AN AUTUMN LEAF
Wee shallop of shimmering gold !
Slip down from your ways in the brandies
Some fairy will loosen your hold
Wee shallop of shimmering gold.
Spill dew on your bows and unfold
Silk sails for the fairest of launches!
Wee shallop of shimmering gold;
Slip down from your ways in the branches.
WHY THE AUTUMN LEAVES ARE
EMELYN NEWCOMB PARTRIDGE
LONG, long ago no one but animals lived upon
the earth and sometimes they would hold great
Councils. The Bear would be there, the
Bear, with his sharp claws, and his shiny coat,
and his big, big growl; and the Deer, who was
so proud of his antlers, for they came out of
his head like trees; and all the animals, and
all the birds would be present at the great
Council. Little Turtle would go there, too.
She was so small that she did not like to speak
to anyone. But, she often wished :
"Oh, if only I could do some good deed!
What could such a little creature as I do?
Anyway," she thought, "I'll be on the watch,
and it may be that some time there will be a
chance for me to do something for my people."
Little Turtle never forgot about that good
148 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
deed she had planned to perform. One day
the opportunity came to her. She was at the
Council, and the animals were saying:
"It is so dark here, we have only the Snow-
light to see by. It is gloomy, too. Couldn't
we make a light and place it up in Skyland?"
Little Turtle said : "Please let me go up to
Skyland? I am sure that I can make a light
shine up there."
They said that she might go, and they called
Dark Cloud to carry Little Turtle there.
Dark Cloud came.
Little Turtle saw that Thunder and Light-
ning were in Dark Cloud; and when she
reached Skyland, she made the Sun from
Lightning, and placed him in the Sky.
The Sun could not move, because he had no
life, and all the world underneath was too hot
to live upon.
"What shall we do?" the animals asked one
another. Someone said :
"We must give the Sun life and spirit, and
then he will move about in the sky."
So they gave him life and spirit, and he
WHY AUTUMN LEAVES ARE RED 149
moved about in the sky. Mud Turtle dug a
hole through the earth for the Sun to travel
through. Little Turtle made a wife for him
out of some of the Lightning from Dark
Cloud. She was the Moon. Their little chil-
dren were the stars that played all over Sky-
All this time, Little Turtle was taking care
of Skyland. The animals below called her,
She Who Takes Care of Skyland. And she
was very happy, because she was doing her
Some of the animals became jealous of Lit-
tle Turtle, especially the Deer, who was so
proud of his antlers. One day, Deer said to
"Rainbow, please take me up to Skyland
where Little Turtle lives."
Rainbow did not know whether it would
be quite right to take Deer up to Little Tur-
tle's house, but he said :
"In the winter, when I rest upon the big
mountain by the lake, then I will take you."
This made the Deer glad. He did not tell
anyone about the promise of Rainbow. All
150 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
winter long, he waited and watched near the
big mountain for Rainbow to come; but Rain-
bow did not come to him. In the spring, one
day, Deer saw Rainbow beside the lake.
"Rainbow," he asked, "why did you not
keep your promise to me?" Rainbow made
him another promise.
"Come to me by the lake, when you see me
in the thick fog," he said.
The Deer kept this promise a secret, too;
because he hoped to go to Skyland alone.
Day after day, he waited beside the lake. One
day, when the thick fog was rising from the
lake, Deer saw the beautiful Rainbow.
Rainbow made an arch from the lake to the
big mountain. Then a shining light fell about
the Deer, and he saw a straight path shining
with all the colours of the Rainbow. It led
through a great forest.
"Follow the beautiful path through the
great forest," Rainbow said.
The Deer entered the shining pathway, and
it led him straight to the house of Little Tur-
tle in Skyland. And the Deer went about
WHY AUTUMN LEAVES ARE RED 151
When the great Council met, Deer was not
there. "The Deer is not come to the Coun-
cil, where is the Deer?" they asked.
Hawk flew about the air everywhere, and
could not find Deer in the air. Wolf searched
the deep woods, and could not find Deer in the
When Dark Cloud brought Little Turtle
to the Council, Little Turtle told them how
Rainbow had made a path for Deer to climb
to Skyland. "There it is now," said Little
The animals looked over the lake, and they
saw, there, the beautiful pathway. They had
never seen it before.
"Why did not Deer wait for us? All of us
should have gone to Skyland together," they
Now, Brown Bear determined to follow
that pathway the very next time he should see
One day when he was all alone, near the
lake, he saw the shining path that led through
the great forest. Soon he found himself in Sky-
land. The first person he met was the Deer.
1 52 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
"Why did you leave us? Why did you go
to the land of Little Turtle without us? Why
did you not wait for us?" he asked the Deer.
The Deer shook his antlers angrily. "What
right have you to question me? No one but
the Wolf may question why I came. I will
kill you for your impertinence."
The Deer arched his neck; he poised his
antlered head; his eyes blazed with fury.
The Bear was not afraid. He stood up ; his
claws were sharp and strong; his hoarse growls
sounded all over Skyland.
The battle of the Deer and the Bear shook
Skyland. The animals looked up from the
"Who will go? Who will go to Skyland
and forbid the Deer to fight?"
"I will go," said the Wolf. "I can run
faster than anyone." So Wolf ran along the
shining pathway, and in a little while he had
reached the place of the battle. Wolf made
Deer stop fighting. Deer's antlers were cov-
ered with blood, and when he shook them,
great drops fell down, down through the air,
and splashed against all the leaves of the for-
WHY AUTUMN LEAVES ARE RED 153
est. And the leaves became a beautiful red.
So, in the autumn, when you see the leaves
turning red, you may know that it is because
in the long ago, the Deer and the Bear fought
a great battle in Skyland, in the land of Little
Turtle who was doing her good deed.
THE ANXIOUS LEAF
HENRY WARD BEECHER
ONCE upon a time a little leaf was heard to
sigh and cry, as leaves often do when a gentle
wind is about. And the twig said, "What is
the matter, little leaf?" And the leaf said,
"The wind just told me that one day it would
pull me off and throw me down to lie on the
ground!" The twig told it to the branch on
which it grew, and the branch told it to the
tree. And when the tree heard it, it rustled
all over, and sent back word to the leaf, "Do
not be afraid; hold on tightly, and you shall
not go till you want to." And so the leaf
stopped sighing, but went on nestling and sing-
ing. Every time the tree shook itself and
stirred up all its leaves, the branches shook
themselves, and the little twig shook itself, and
the little leaf danced up and down merrily, as
if nothing could ever pull it off. And so it
THE ANXIOUS LEAF 155
grew all summer long until October. And
when the bright days of autumn came, the lit-
tle leaf saw all the leaves around becoming
very beautiful. Some were yellow, and some
scarlet, and some striped with both colours.
Then it asked the tree what it meant. And the
tree said, "All these leaves are getting ready
to fly away, and they have put on these beau-
tiful colours because of joy." Then the little
leaf began to want to go, and grew very beau-
tiful in thinking of it, and when it was very
gay in colour, it saw that the branches of the
tree had no colour in them, and so the leaf
said, "O branches, why are you lead colour and
we golden?" "We must keep on our work-
clothes, for our life is not done; but your
clothes are for holiday, because your tasks are
over." Just then a little pufT of wind came,
and the leaf let go without thinking of it, and
the wind took it up, and turned it over and
over, and whirled it like a spark of fire in the
air, and then it fell gently down under the
fence among hundreds of other leaves, and
began to dream a dream so beautiful that
perhaps it will last forever.
HOW THE CHESTNUT BURRS
ENREST THOMPSON SETON
IN the woods of Poconic there once roamed a
very discontented Porcupine. He was for-
ever fretting, He complained that every-
thing was wrong, till it was perfectly scan-
dalous and the Great Spirit, getting tired of
his grumbling, said :
"You and the world I have made don't seem
to fit. One or the other must be w r rong. It is
easier to change you. You don't like the trees,
you are unhappy on the ground, and think
everything is upside down, so I'll turn you
inside out and put you in the water.
This was the origin of the Shad.
After Manitou had turned the old Porcu-
pine into a Shad the young ones missed their
mother and crawled up into a high tree to
look for her coming. Manitou happened to
THE CHESTNUT BURRS 157
pass that way and they all chattered their
teeth at him, thinking themselves safe. They
were not wicked, only ill-trained, some of
them, indeed, were at heart quite good, but, oh,
so ill-trained, and they chattered and groaned
as Manitou came nearer. Remembering then
that he had taken their mother from them, he
said, "You look very well up there, you little
Porkys, so you had better stay there for al-
ways, and be part of the tree."
This was the origin of the chestnut burrs.
They hang like a lot of little porcupines on the
tree-crotches. They are spiny, and danger-
ous, utterly without manners and yet most of
them have a good little heart inside.
THE MERRY WIND
The merry wind came racing
Adown the hills one day,
In gleeful frolic chasing
The rustling leaves away.
In clouds of red and yellow,
He whirled the leaves along,
And then the jolly fellow
He sang a cheery song.
The merry wind was weary
At last of fun and play ;
His voice grew faint and eerie,
And softly died away.
Far off a crow was calling
And in the mellow sun
The painted leaves kept falling
And fading, one by one.
MARY MAPES DODGE.
AUTUMN AMONG THE BIRDS
[Enter a little Snipe, crying] :
Peet-weet ! Peet-weet !
I've such cold feet,
And nothing to eat!
The creek is so high
That I can't keep dry
Except when I fly!
[A Kildeer] :
Kildee! Kildee! Kildee!
This is no place for me!
The southland I must seek
[A Bobolink] :
Link-a-link ! Link-a-link !
My diet has made me weak;
The fields of rice must be so nice.
160 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
[To the Kildeer] :
111 go with you, I think-
[A Red-Shouldered Blackbird] :
A frost you'll see-
You'll see to your sorrow,
If you wait until to-morrow-
[A Chipping-Bird] :
Chip-chip! Chip-chip! Chip-chip!
I'll give November the slip!
[A House-Wren] :
Sh! Sh! Sh!
Every one loves the Wren!
Wait, and just once again
I'll go, and, as still as a mouse,
Peep into the little house
They built for my use alone,
With a door and a porch like their own!
AUTUMN AMONG THE BIRDS 161
[A Maryland Yellow-Throat Interrupting]:
Witches here! Witches here!
And no wonder so late in the year!
[A Flock of Wild Geese Flying Over] :
On! On! On!
Why should we longer stay?
On ! Ere the peep of day
We should be leagues away,
Quite out of sight of land !
Our old gray Commodore
Will guide our gallant band
With the daintiest food in store!
To a pleasant southern shore,
On! On! On!
[A Flock of Swallows Rising] :
Zip! Zip! You may count on the Swallow!
We hear, and anear we will be;
The rest, if they like, may follow
O'er land and o'er sea.
[A Bluebird to Her Mate] :
Weary! Oh, weary! Oh, weary!
It's a long, long, long way, dearie!
162 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
[A Robin] :
Quip ! Quip ! Cheer up ! Cheer up !
But I think we ought first to sup ;
With such a long journey ahead,
Pilgrims should be well fed
[A Highlander Shouts from the Top of a
Dead Tree] :
A-wick-wick! wick-wick! wick- wick! wick!
If all this senseless chatter you would stop,
And listen, an announcement I would make:
Old Father Crane will soon be here to take
All you small folks upon his back Wick-
Chorus of Small Birds [Chippy, Wren, Yel-
low-bird, Pewee, Kinglet, etc.] :
Peet-weet! Zit! Zit! Cheeree! Ittee! Be
EDITH M. THOMAS.
THE KIND OLD OAK
IT was almost time for winter to come. The
little birds had all gone far away, for they
were afraid of the cold. There was no green
grass in the fields, and there were no pretty
flowers in the gardens. Many of the trees had
dropped all their leaves. Cold winter, with its
snow and ice, was coming.
At the foot of an old oak tree, some sweet
little violets were still in blossom. "Dear old
oak," said they, "winter is coming: we are
afraid that we shall die of the cold."
"Do not be afraid, little ones," said the oak,
"close your yellow eyes in sleep, and trust to
me. You have made me glad many a time
with your sweetness. Now I will take care
that the winter shall do you no harm."
So the violets closed their pretty eyes and
went to sleep ; they knew that they could trust
the kind old oak. And the great tree softly
164 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
dropped red leaf after red leaf upon them
until they were all covered over.
The cold winter came, with its snow and ice,
but it could not harm the little violets. Safe
under the friendly leaves of the old oak they
slept, and dreamed happy dreams until the
warm rains of spring came and waked them
"No more the summer floweret charms,
The leaves will soon be sere,
And autumn folds his jeweled arms
Around the dying year."
The tree's early leaf-buds were bursting their
"Shall I take them away?'* said the Frost,
"No, dear, leave them alone
Till the blossoms have grown,"
Prayed the tree, while it trembled from root-
let to crown.
The tree bore its blossoms, and all the birds
"Shall I take them away?" said the Wind, as
"No, dear, leave them alone
Till berries here have grown,"
Said the tree, while the leaflets all quivering
The tree bore its fruit in the midsummer
Said the girl, "May I gather thy berries or
"Yes, dear, all thou canst see ;
Take them; all are for thee,"
Said the tree, while it bent its laden boughs
COMING AND GOING
HENRY WARD BEECHER
THERE came to our fields a pair of birds that
had never built a nest nor seen a winter. How
beautiful was everything! The fields were
full of flowers, and the grass was growing tall,
and the bees were humming everywhere.
Then one of the birds began singing, and the
other bird said, "Who told you to sing?" And
he answered, "The flowers told me, and the
bees told me, and the winds and leaves told me,
and the blue sky told me, and you told me to
sing." Then his mate answered, "When did
I tell you to sing?" And he said, "Every time
you brought in tender grass for the nest, and
every time your soft wings fluttered off again
for hair and feathers to line the nest." Then
his mate said, "What are you singing about?"
And he answered, "I am singing about every-
COMING AND GOING 167
thing and nothing. It is because I am so
happy that I sing."
By and by five little speckled eggs were in
the nest, and his mate said, "Is there anything
in all the world as pretty as my eggs?" Then
they both looked down on some people that
were passing by and pitied them because they
were not birds.
In a week or two, one day, when the father-
bird came home, the mother-bird said, "Oh,
what do you think has happened?" "What?"
"One of my eggs has been peeping and mov-
ing!" Pretty soon another egg moved under
her feathers, and then another and another, till
five little birds were hatched! Now the
father-bird sang louder and louder than ever.
The mother-bird, too, wanted to sing, but she
had no time, and so she turned her song into
work. So hungry were these little birds that
it kept both parents busy feeding them. Away
each one flew. The moment the little birds
heard their wings fluttering among the leaves,
five yellow mouths flew open wide, so that
nothing could be seen but five yellow
i68 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
"Can anybody be happier?" said the father-
bird to the mother-bird. "We will live in this
tree always, for there is no sorrow here. It is
a tree that always bears joy."
Soon the little birds were big enough to fly,
and great was their parents 7 joy to see them
leave the nest and sit crumpled up upon the
branches. There was then a great time! The
two old birds talking and chatting to make
the young ones go alone ! In a little time they
had learned to use their wings, and they flew
away and away, and found their own food, and
built their own nests, and sang their own songs
Then the old birds sat silent and looked at
each other, until the mother-bird said, "Why
don't you sing?" And he answered, "I can't
sing I can only think and think." "What are
you thinking of?" "I am thinking how every-
thing changes : the leaves are falling off from
this tree, and soon there will be no roof over
our heads ; the flowers are all going; last night
there was a frost; almost all the birds are flown
away. Something calls me, and I feel as if I
would like to fly far away."
COMING AND GOING 169
"Let us fly away together!"
Then they rose silently, and, lifting them-
selves far up in the air, they looked to the
north: far away they saw the snow coming.
They looked to the south : there they saw flow-
ers and green leaves! All day they flew; and
all night they flew and flew, till they found a
land where there was no winter where flow-
ers always blossom, and birds always sing.
A LEGEND OF THE WILLOW TREE
(Japanese Legend Retold)
ONCE upon a time a humble willow tree with
gnarled and twisted branches grew near a tall
and stately companion called the bamboo tree.
Many people who passed by stopped to admire
the shapely bamboo, but no one seemed to no-
tice the old willow tree.
One morning when the sun shone brightly
after a soft rain a timid little plant with a
delicate stem sprang up between the two trees,
and looked pleadingly toward 1 the straight,
strong trunk of the bamboo. But the bamboo
tossed her plumy foliage and said haughtily,
"Do not look to me for help. I shall not let
you cling around my trunk."
"Let me take hold of you until I grow a lit-
tle stronger," begged the little plant. But the
bamboo drew away and said, "Keep away. I
can not allow you to cling to my beautiful
LEGEND OF THE WILLOW TREE 171
Then the kind old willow tree whispered
through her leaves, "Do not be discouraged,
little one. The sun is shining, and the soft
rain will come to refresh you. Come to me if
you like, and grip your little green fingers
into my bark. Do not be afraid. In the shade
of my branches you shall be protected.
The tiny plant still looked longingly to-
ward the handsome bamboo. But at last she
crept over the grass to the old willow, and be-
gan to twine around the sheltering branches.
Up, up, the slender vine climbed to the very
top of the tree. There it tossed out so many
lovely green shoots that the people who passed
stopped to enjoy its beauty. And when the
early fall days came large buds appeared on
The bamboo looked at the swelling buds
and said, "I wonder what those ugly knobs
on the vine mean. Perhaps she has brought
some disease which may affect all the trees of
The willow made no answer to the bamboo,
but in her kindly way she whispered to the
172 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
vine, "Do not feel hurt, I know what the swell-
ing buds mean."
There was a gentle rain at night, and in the
morning the sun shone radiantly in a clear
sky. The green buds which covered the vine
burst forth into beautiful, sweet-scented blos-
soms. From crown to foot the old willow
tree stood bedecked with glorious colour.
The owner of the land called his friends
to see the wonder. They looked in
amazement at the richly coloured blossoms.
Then the master called his labourers, and
told them to clear a space about the willow
"Cut down the bamboo tree that we may see
the beauty of the vine."
"It is a very fine bamboo tree, master," said
the head servant.
"Yes, it is, indeed," declared the master,
"but there are many other bamboo trees
equally fine, whereas no one has ever seen a
vine with such a wealth of lovely blossoms.
So the labourers cut down the haughty bam-
boo tree, and left the willow and the flower-
ing vine to be admired by many, many people.
The Maple owned that she was tired of always
She knew that she had grown, of late, too
shabby to be seen!
The Oak and Beech and Chestnut then de-
plored their shabbiness,
And all, except the Hemlock sad, were wild
to change their dress.
"For fashion-plate we'll take the flowers," the
rustling Maple said,
"And like the Tulip I'll be clothed in splendid
gold and red!"
"The cheerful Sunflower suits me best," the
lightsome Beech replied;
"The Marigold my choice shall be," the
Chestnut spoke with pride.
The sturdy Oak took time to think "I hate
such glaring hues;
The Gillyflower, so dark and rich, I for my
174 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
So every tree in all the grove, except the Hem-
According to its wish ere long in brilliant dress
And here they stayed through all the soft and
bright October days;
They wished to be like flowers indeed, they
look like huge bouquets !
EDITH M. THOMAS.
POMONA'S BEST GIFT
Here stands a good old apple tree
Stand fast at root,
Bear well, at top ;
Every little twig
Bear an apple big;
Every little bough
Bear an apple now;
Hats full, caps full;
Threescore sacks full!
Hullo, boys, hullo!
Old English Song.
IN the far-off days, when the children of
sunny Italy saw the hillside vineyards rich
with purple grapes, and the branches of the
orchards bending with the weight of luscious
fruit, they clapped their hands and cried glee-
fully, "See Pomona's Gifts." They offered
grateful thanks to the wood nymph whose
thoughtful care brought the precious fruit to
a bountiful harvest.
Carrying a curved knife in her right hand,
the faithful Pomona glided swiftly up the hill-
side, and primed the low-bending vines of all
rank shoots. By cutting away all withered
branches, she kept her orchards green and
trim, and thus helped the trees to bring forth
So happy was this nymph in her work that
she gave no attention to the numerous suitors
who hoped to win her. Many a time a mad-
cap satyr desiring to attract Pomona's atten-
tion danced in vain near her orchards. Pan
played entrancingly on his reed pipes, but the
nymph gave no heed to his music.
Among the many admirers of Pomona was
a youth named Vertumnus, who presided over
gardens and the changing seasons. How often
he patiently planned to meet this charming
nymph while she was tending her fruit and
vines, but his advances were always met with
a coy indifference which puzzled him. At
last he determined to appear in various dis-
guises in order to see if he could attract her
attention, and discover if she cared for him.
One day he took the form of a plowman, whip
in hand, as if he had come from unyoking the
tired oxen in a neighboring field. At another
time he assumed the guise of a woodman car-
rying a pruning knife and ladder, then again
he appeared in the garb of a hardy reaper car-
rying a basket filled with golden grain. But
no matter what disguise he took plowman,
woodman, reaper, fruit-gatherer, soldier, fish-
erman he failed to win any attention from
the nymph, whose interest was centered on the
precious orchards and vineyards.
178 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
One day when Pomona was carefully ex-
amining the ripening fruit an old woman lean-
ing on a staff appeared before her and said,
"Thy patient care will earn a precious har-
vest. Never have I seen such marvelous fruit.
Tell me, fair nymph, does some strong youth
help thee attend to the orchards and vine-
The maiden shook her head and replied,
"There is no youth who is constant enough to
love the orchards and vineyards as dearly as
But the old woman drew near to her and
said, "There is one youth whose constancy
can not be questioned, but thou hast scorned
his advances. Many times has he told thee
how gladly he would be thy helpmate, for
nothing in nature delights him so much as
the golden harvest of luscious fruit."
"Thou meanest Vertumnus," said the
nymph. Then she added, "He is, indeed,
worthy of thy praise."
Suddenly the old woman straightened her
bent figure and threw off her disguise. There
before Pomona stood the handsome form of
Vertumnus, who no longer felt any doubt
about the nymph's love.
In the autumn sunshine under the trees,
whose boughs were bending with the ripening
fruit, Pomona and Vertumnus plighted their
troth, and agreed to share in the labour of
bringing to perfection the gifts of orchards
IN THE ORCHARD
D the apples rosy-red,
O the gnarled trunks grey and brown,
Heavy branched overhead;
O the apples rosy-red,
O the merry laughter sped,
As the fruit is showered down!
O the apples rosy-red,
O the gnarled trunks grey and brown.
JOSEPHINE SCRIBNER GATES
ONCE there was a man who was very, very
poor. He had been a farmer, and no one
raised such fine crops as he did. By and by,
in some way, he lost his farm, and was left all
He had always wanted to do some grand
thing, something that would make many peo-
ple happy, but what could he do? He had
no money. All he had was a small boat.
As he trudged along one day, he saw some
old sacks lying under a tree. As he looked
at them he had a splendid thought. A thought
that seemed to have wings, and came flying
from far away. Oh, it was a beautiful
thought, and seemed to be singing a little song
in his heart, as he picked up the sacks and
placed them in his boat, jumped in himself
and floated away.
i8a THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
As he rowed down the stream, the man
watched the shore with keen eyes. When he
saw an apple orchard he rowed to land, tied
his boat, hastened to the homes near the or-
chards and asked for work.
He cut wood, carried water, and did all sorts
of odd chores. In payment for this work he
asked for food, and what else do you suppose?
The people were so surprised at what he
asked for they could hardly believe him. He
asked that he might have the seeds from the
apples on the ground under the trees only
Of course they gladly gave him such a sim-
ple thing, and as he cut the fruit the neighbour
children swarmed about him.
From one place to another he went, always
adding to his store of seeds.
Some generous farmers gave him also cut-
tings of peach, pear, and plum trees, and grape
Day after day, day after day, he cut up the
fruit, while the children sat at his feet, and
listened to thrilling tales of what he had seen
in his travels. Of the Indians with their gay
JOHNNY APPLESEED 183
blankets and feathers, of their camps where
they lived in the forests.
Of their dances and war paint; their many-
coloured, beaded necklaces and jingling, sil-
ver chains and bracelets. Of their beady-eyed
babies strapped to boards.
Of the wolves which came out at night to
watch him as he sat by his fire ; of the beautiful
deer who ran across his patch.
He sang funny songs for the children, and
taught them all sorts of games.
When it came time to go on, they begged
him to stay. Never before had they been so
amused, but on he went, and when his bags
were full, and he had a goodly store of food,
he started on to carry out the splendid thought
Oh, it was a grand thing he was going to do.
The little boat went on and on, till houses
were no more to be seen. Splendid forests
lined the banks here and there. Then he
paused, for this was what he was seeking a
place where no one lived.
He landed and went about with a bag of
seeds, and when he reached an open place in
a forest, he planted seeds and cuttings of the
1 84 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
trees and vines ; then wove a brush fence about
them to keep the deer away. He then has-
tened back to his boat and drifted on.
In many, many places he landed and planted
seeds, and all the orchards of the Ohio and
Mississippi Valley we owe to this man.
Years after when settlers came looking for
a place to live, they chose these spots where, to
their great surprise, they found all sorts of
trees loaded with fruit.
This man's name was John Chapman, but
he was nicknamed Johnny Appleseed.
The big Sky-man that makes the Moons,
Stuck one into our Apple tree;
I saw it when I went to Bed ;
The Tree was black; the Moon was red,
And round as round could be.
To-day I went to get that Moon,
For I can climb the Apple-tree;
The Moon was gone. But in its stead
I found an Apple round and red,
And nice as nice could be.
THE THREE GOLDEN APPLES
DID you ever hear of the golden apples that
grew in the garden of the Hesperides? Ah,
those were such apples as would bring a great
price by the bushel if any of them could be
found growing in the orchards of nowadays!
But there is not, I suppose, a graft of that won-
derful fruit on a single tree in the wide world.
Not so much as a seed of these apples exists
And, even in the old, old, half-forgotten
times, before the garden of the Hesperides
was overrun with weeds, a great many people
doubted whether there could be real trees that
bore apples of solid gold upon their branches.
All had heard of them, but nobody remem-
bered to have seen any. Children, neverthe-
THE THREE GOLDEN APPLES 187
less, used to listen openmouthed to stories of
the golden apple-tree, and resolved to discover
it when they should be big enough. Adven-
turous young men, who desired to do a braver
thing than any of their fellows, set out in quest
of this fruit. Many of them returned no more :
none of them brought back the apples. No
wonder that they found it impossible to gather
them! It is said that there was a dragon be-
neath the tree with a hundred terrible heads,
fifty of which were always on the watch while
the other fifty slept.
It was quite a common thing with young
persons, when tired of too much peace and
rest, to go in search of the garden of the Hes-
perides. And once the adventure was under-
taken by a hero, who had enjoyed very little
peace or rest since he came into the world. At
the time of which I am going to speak he was
wandering through the pleasant land of Italy,
with a mighty club in his hand, and a bow and
quiver slung across his shoulders. He was
wrapt in the skin of the biggest and fiercest
lion that ever had been seen, and which he
himself had killed ; and though, on the whole,
i88 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
he was kind and generous and noble, there was
a good deal of the lion's fierceness in his heart
As he went on his way he continually inquired
whether that were the right road to the famous
garden. But none of the country people knew
anything about the matter, and many looked
as if they would have laughed at the question
if the stranger had not carried so very big a
So he journeyed on and on, still making the
same inquiry, until at last he came to the brink
of a river, where some beautiful young women
sat twining wreaths of flowers.
"Can you tell me, pretty maidens," asked
the stranger, "whether this is the right way to
the garden of the Hesperides?"
On hearing the stranger's question, they
dropped all their flowers on the grass, and
gazed at him with astonishment.
"The garden of the Hesperides!" cried one.
"We thought mortals had been weary of seek-
ing it after so many disappointments. And
pray, adventurous traveler, what do you want
"A certain king, who is my cousin," replied
THE THREE GOLDEN APPLES i
he, "has ordered me to get him three of the
"And do you know," asked the damsel who
had first spoken, "that a terrible dragon with
a hundred heads keeps watch under the golden
"I know it well," answered the stranger
calmly. "But from my cradle upward it has
been my business, and almost my pastime, to
deal with serpents and dragons."
The }^oung women looked at his massive
club, and at the shaggy lion's skin which he
wore, and, likewise, at his heroic limbs and
figure, and they whispered to each other that
the stranger appeared to be one who might
reasonably expect to perform deeds far beyond
the might of others.
"Go back!" cried they all; "go back to your
own home! Your mother, beholding you safe
and sound, will shed tears of joy; and what can
she do more should you win ever so great a vic-
tory? No matter for the golden apples! No
matter for the king, your cruel cousin ! We do
not wish the dragon with the hundred heads to
eat you up."
190 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
The stranger seemed to grow impatient at
these remonstrances. He carelessly lifted his
mighty club, and let it fall upon a rock that lay
half-buried in the earth near by. With the
force of that idle blow the great rock was
shattered all to pieces.
"Do you not believe," said he, looking at the
damsels with a smile, "that such a blow would
have crushed one of the dragon's hundred
"But the dragon of the Hesperides, you
know," observed one of the damsels, "has a
"Nevertheless," replied the stranger, "I
would rather fight two such dragons than a
The traveler proceeded to tell how he
chased a very swift stag for a twelvemonth to-
gether, without ever stopping to take breath,
and had at last caught it by the antlers and
carried it home alive. And he had fought
with a very odd race of people, half-horses and
half-men, and had put them all to death, from
a sense of duty, in order that their ugly figures
might never be seen any more.
THE THREE GOLDEN APPLES 191
"Do you call that a wonderful exploit?"
asked one of the young maidens, with a smile.
"Any clown in the country has done as much."
"Perhaps you may have heard of rne be-
fore," said he modestly. "My name is Her-
"We have already guessed it," replied the
maidens, "for your wonderful deeds are known
all over the world. We do not think it strange
any longer that you should set out in quest of
the golden apples of the Hesperides. Come,
sisters, let us crown the hero with flowers!"
Then they flung beautiful wreaths over his
stately head and mighty shoulders, so that the
lion's skin was almost entirely covered with
roses. They took possession of his ponderous
club, and so entwined it about with the bright-
est, softest, and most fragrant blossoms that
not a finger's breadth of its oaken substance
could be seen. Lastly, they joined hands and
danced around him, chanting words which
became poetry of their own accord, and grew
into a choral song in honor of the illustrious
"Dear maidens," said he, when they paused
192 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
to take breath, "now that you know my name,
will you not tell me how I am to reach the
garden of the Hesperides?"
"We will give you the best directions we
can," replied the damsels. "You must go to
the seashore and find out the Old One, and
compel him to inform you where the golden
apples are to be found."
"The Old One!" repeated Hercules, laugh-
ing at this odd name. "And pray, who may
the Old One be?"
"Why, the Old Man of the Sea, to be sure,"
answered one of the damsels. "You must talk
with this Old Man of the Sea. He is a sea-
faring person, and knows all about the garden
of Hesperides, for it is situated in an island,
which he is often in the habit of visiting."
Hercules then asked whereabouts the Old
One was most likely to be met with. When
the damsels had informed him he thanked
them for all their kindness.
But before he was out of hearing one of the
maidens called after him.
"Keep fast hold of the Old One when you
catch him!" cried she.
THE THREE GOLDEN APPLES 193
"Do not be astonished at anything that may
happen. Only hold him fast, and he will tell
you what you wish to know."
Hercules again thanked her, and pursued
"We will crown him with the loveliest of
our garlands," said they, "when he returns
hither with the three golden apples after slay-
ing the dragon with a hundred heads."
Hercules traveled constantly onward over
hill and dale, and through the solitary
Hastening forward without ever pausing or
looking behind, he, by and by, heard the sea
roaring at a distance. At this sound he in-
creased his speed, and soon came to a beach
where the great surf-waves tumbled them-
selves upon the hard sand in a long line of
snowy foam. At one end of the beach, how-
ever, there was a pleasant spot where some
green shrubbery clambered up a cliff, making
its rocky face look soft and beautiful. A car-
pet of verdant grass, largely intermixed with
sweet-smelling clover, covered the narrow
space between the bottom of the cliff and the
194 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
sea. And what should Hercules espy there
but an old man fast asleep.
But was it really and truly an old man?
Certainly, at first sight, it looked very like one,
but on closer inspection it rather seemed to be
some kind of a creature that lived in the sea.
For on his legs and arms there were scales such
as fishes have; he was web- footed and web-
fingered, after the fashion of a duck; and his
long beard, being of a greenish tinge, had
more the appearance of a turf of seaweed than
of an ordinary beard. Hercules, the instant
he set eyes on this strange figure, was con-
vinced that it could be no other than the Old
One who was to direct him on his way.
Thanking his stars for the lucky accident
of finding the old fellow asleep, Hercules stole
on tiptoe toward him, and caught him by the
arm and leg.
"Tell me," cried he, before the Old One was
well awake, "which is the way to the garden
of the Hesperides?"
The Old Man of the Sea awoke in a fright
But his astonishment could hardly have been
greater than that of Hercules the next mo-
THE THREE GOLDEN APPLES 195
ment. For, all of a sudden, the Old One
seemed to disappear out of his grasp, and he
found himself holding a stag by the fore and
hind leg! But still he kept fast hold. Then
the stag disappeared, and in its stead there was
a seabird, fluttering and screaming, while Her-
cules clutched it by the wing and claw. But
the bird could not get away. Immediately
afterward there was an ugly three-headed dog,
which growled and barked at Hercules, and
snapped fiercely at the hands by which he
held him! But Hercules would not let him
go. In another minute, instead of the three-
headed dog, what should appear but Geryones,
the six-legged man-monster, kicking at Her-
cules with five of his legs in order to get the
remaining one at liberty! But Hercules held
on. By and by no Geryones was there, but a
huge snake like one of those which Hercules
had strangled in his babyhood, only a hundred
times as big. But Hercules was no whit dis-
heartened, and squeezed the great snake so
tightly that he soon began to hiss with pain.
You must understand that the Old Man of
the Sea, though he generally looked so like the
196 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
wave-beaten figurehead of a vessel, had the
power of assuming any shape he pleased.
When he found himself so roughly seized by
Hercules, he had been in hopes of putting him
into such surprise and terror by these magical
transformations that the hero would be glad to
let him go. If Hercules had relaxed his grasp,
the Old One would certainly have plunged
down to the very bottom of the sea.
But as Hercules held on so stubbornly, and
only squeezed the Old One so much the tighter
at every change of shape, and really put him
to no small torture, he finally thought it best
to reappear in his own figure.
"Pray what do you want with me?" cried
the Old One as soon as he could take breath.
"My name is Hercules!" roared the mighty
stranger, "and you will never get out of my
clutch until you tell me the nearest way to the
garden of the Hesperides."
When the old fellow heard who it was that
had caught him, he saw with half an eye that
it would be necessary to tell him everything
that he wanted to know. Of course he had
often heard of the fame of Hercules, and of
THE THREE GOLDEN APPLES 197
the wonderful things that he was constantly
performing in various parts of the earth, and
how determined he always was to accomplish
whatever he undertook. He, therefore, made
no more attempts to escape, but told the hero
how to find the garden of the Hesperides.
"You must go on thus and thus," said the
Old Man of the Sea, "till you come in sight
of a very tall giant who holds the sky on his
shoulders. And the giant, if he happens to be
in the humour, will tell you exactly where the
garden of the Hesperides lies."
Thanking the Old Man of the Sea, and
begging his pardon for having squeezed him so
roughly, the hero resumed his journey. He
met with a great many strange adventures,
which would be well worth your hearing if I
had leisure to narrate them as minutely as
Hercules continued his travels. He went
to the land of Egypt, where he was taken pris^
oner, and would have been put to death if he
had not slain the king of the country and made
his escape. Passing through the deserts of
Africa, and going as fast as he could, he ar-
198 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
rived at last on the shore of the great ocean.
And here, unless he could walk on the crests
of the billows, it seemed as if his journey must
needs be at an end.
Nothing was before him save the foaming,
dashing, measureless ocean. But suddenly, as
he looked toward the horizon, he saw some-
thing, a great way off, which he had not seen
the moment before. It gleamed very brightly,
almost as you may have beheld the round,
golden disk of the sun when it rises or sets
over the edge of the world. It evidently drew
nearer, for at every instant this wonderful
object became larger and more lustrous. At
length it had come so nigh that Hercules dis-
covered it to be an immense cup or bowl
made either of gold or burnished brass. How
it had got afloat upon the sea is more than I
can tell you. There it was at all events,
rolling on the tumultuous billows, which
tossed it up and down, and heaved their foamy
tops against its sides, but without ever throw-
ing their spray over the brim.
"I have seen many giants in my time,"
thought Hercules, "but never one that would
THE THREE GOLDEN APPLES 199
need to drink his wine, out of a cup like
And, true enough, what a cup it must have
been ! It was as large as large but, in short,
I am afraid to say how immeasurably large it
was. To speak within bounds, it was ten
times larger than a great mill-wheel, and, all
of metal as it was, it floated over the heaving
surges more lightly than an acorn-cup adown
the brook. The waves tumbled it onward until
it grazed against the shore within a short dis-
t/ance of the spot where Hercules was stand-
As soon as this happened he knew what was
to be done.
It was just as clear as daylight that this mar-
velous cup had been set adrift by some unseen
power, and guided hitherward in order to
carry Hercules across the sea on his way to the
garden of the Hesperides. Accordingly, he
clambered over the brim, and slid down on the
inside. The waves dashed with a pleasant and
ringing sound against the circumference of the
hollow cup ; it rocked lightly to and fro, and
the motion was so soothing that it speedily
200 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
rocked Hercules into an agreeable slumber.
His nap had probably lasted a good while,
when the cup chanced to graze against a rock,
and, in consequence, immediately resounded
and reverberated through its golden or brazen
substance a hundred times as loudly as ever
you heard a church-bell. The noise awoke
Hercules, who instantly started up and gazed
around him, wondering whereabouts he was.
He was not long in discovering that the cup
had floated across a great part of the sea, and
was approaching the shore of what seemed to
be an island. And on that island what do you
think he saw?
No, you will never guess it not if you were
to try fifty thousand times ! It positively ap-
pears to me that this was the most marvelous
spectacle that had ever been seen by Hercules
in the whole course of his wonderful travels
and adventures. It was a greater marvel than
the hydra with nine heads, which kept growing
twice as fast as they were cut off; greater than
the six-legged man-monster; greater than any-
thing that was ever beheld by anybody before
or since the days of Hercules, or than any-
THE THREE GOLDEN APPLES 201
thing that remains to be beheld by travelers in
all time to come. It was a giant!
But such an intolerably big giant! A giant
as tall as a mountain ; so vast a giant that the
clouds rested about his midst like a girdle, and
hung like a hoary beard from his chin, and
flitted before his huge eyes so that he could
neither see Hercules nor the golden cup in
which he was voyaging. And, most wonderful
of all, the giant held up his great hands and
appeared to support the sky, which, so far as
Hercules could discern through the clouds,
was resting upon his head! This does really
seem almost too much to believe.
Meanwhile the bright cup continued to float
onward, and finally touched the strand. Just
then a breeze wafted away the clouds from
before the giant's visage, and Hercules beheld
it, with all its enormous features eyes each of
them as big as yonder lake, a nose a mile long,
and a mouth the same width.
Poor fellow! He had evidently stood there
a long while. An ancient forest had been
growing and decaying around his feet, and oak
trees of six or seven centuries old had sprung
202 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
from the acorns, and forced themselves be-
tween his toes. The giant now looked down
from the far height of his great eyes, and, per-
ceiving Hercules, roared out:
"Who are you, down at my feet, there?
And whence do you come in that little cup?"
"I am Hercules!" thundered back the hero.
"And I am seeking for the garden of the Hes-
"Ho! ho! ho!" roared the giant, in a fit of
immense laughter. "That is a wise adven-
"And why not?" cried Hercules. "Do you
think I am afraid of the dragon with a hun-
Just at this time, while they were talking
together, some black clouds gathered about
the giant's middle and burst into a tremendous
storm of thunder and lightning, causing such
a pother that Hercules found it impossible to
distinguish a word. Only the giant's im-
measurable legs were to be seen, standing up
into the obscurity of the tempest, and now
and then a momentary glimpse of his whole
figure mantled in a volume of mist. He
THE THREE GOLDEN APPLES 203
seemed to be speaking most of the time, but his
big, deep, rough voice chimed in with the re-
verberations of the thunder-claps and rolled
away over the hills like them.
At last the storm swept over as suddenly as
it had come. And there again was the clear
sky, and the weary giant holding it up, and the
pleasant sunshine beaming over his vast height
and illuminating it against the background of
the sullen thunder-clouds. So far above the
shower had been his head that not a hair of it
was moistened by the raindrops.
When the giant could see Hercules still
standing on the seashore, he roared out to him
"I am Atlas, the mightiest giant in the
world! And I hold the sky upon my head!"
"So I see," answered Hercules. "But can
you show me the way to the garden of the
"What do you want there?" asked the giant.
"I want three of the golden apples," shouted
Hercules, "for my cousin, the king."
"There is nobody but myself," quoth the
giant, "that can go to the garden of the
204 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
Hesperides and gather the golden apples. If
it were not for this little business of holding up
the sky, I would make half a dozen steps across
the sea and get them for you."
"You are very kind," replied Hercules.
"And cannot you rest the sky upon a moun-
"None of them are quite high enough," said
Atlas, shaking his head. "But if you were to
take your stand on the summit of that nearest
one your head would be pretty nearly on a
level with mine. You seem to be a fellow of
some strength. What if you should take my
burden on your shoulders while I do your er-
rand for you?"
"Is the sky very heavy?" he inquired.
"Why, not particularly so at first," answered
the giant, shrugging his shoulders, "but it gets
to be a little burdensome after a thousand
"And how long a time," asked the hero,
"will it take you to get the golden apples?"
"Oh, that will be done in a few moments!"
cried Atlas. "I shall take ten or fifteen miles
at a stride, and be at the garden and back
THE THREE GOLDEN APPLES 205
again before your shoulders begin to ache."
"Well, then," answered Hercules, "I will
climb the mountain behind you, and relieve
you of your burden."
The truth is, Hercules had a kind heart of
his own, and considered that he should be
doing the giant a favour by allowing him this
opportunity for a ramble. And, besides, he
thought that it would be still more for his own
glory if he could boast of upholding the sky
than merely to do so ordinary a thing as
to conquer a dragon with a hundred heads.
Accordingly, the sky was shifted from the
shoulders of Atlas, and placed upon those of
When this was safely accomplished, the first
thing that the giant did was to stretch himself.
Next, he slowly lifted one of his feet out of the
forest, that had grown up around it, then the
other. Then all at once he began to caper and
leap and dance for joy at his freedom, flinging
himself nobody knows how high into the air,
and floundering down again with a shock that
made the earth tremble. Then he laughed
"ho! ho! ho!" with a thunderous roar that
206 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
was echoed from the mountains far and near.
When his joy had a little subsided, he stepped
into the sea ten miles at the first stride, which
brought him mid-leg deep; and ten miles at
the second, when the water came just above
his knees; and ten miles more at the third, by
which he was immersed nearly to his waist.
This was the greatest depth of the sea.
Hercules watched the giant until the gigan-
tic shape faded entirely out of view. And
now Hercules began to consider what he
should do in case Atlas should be drowned in
the sea, or if he were to be stung to death by
the dragon with the hundred heads, which
guarded the golden apples of the Hesperides.
If any such misfortune were to happen, how
could he ever get rid of the sky? And, by the
by, its weight began already to be a little irk-
some to his head and shoulders.
"I really pity the poor giant," thought
Hercules. "If it wearies me so much in tea
minutes, how it must have wearied him in a
I know not how long it was before, to his
unspeakable joy, he beheld the huge shape of
THE THREE GOLDEN APPLES 207
the giant, like a cloud, on the far-off edge of
the sea. At his nearer approach Atlas held up
his hand in which Hercules could perceive
three magnificent golden apples as big as
pumpkins, and all hanging from one branch.
"I am glad to see you again," shouted Her-
cules when the giant was within hearing. "So
you have got the golden apples?"
"Certainly, certainly," answered Atlas,
"and very fair apples they are. I took the
finest that grew on the tree, I assure you. Ah,
it is a beautiful spot, that garden of the Hes-
perides! Yes, and the dragon with a hundred
heads is a sight worth any man's seeing. After
all, you had better have gone for the apples
"No matter," replied Hercules. "You have
had a pleasant ramble, and have done the
business as well as I could. I heartily thank
you for your trouble. And now, as I have a
long way to go, and am rather in haste, and as
the king, my cousin, is anxious to receive the
golden apples, will you be kind enough to take
the sky off my shoulders again?"
"Why, as to that," said the giant, chucking
208 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
the golden apples into the air twenty miles
high or thereabouts, and catching them as they
came down "as to that, my good friend, I
consider you a little unreasonable. Cannot I
carry the golden apples to the king, your
cousin, much quicker than you could? As his
majesty is in such a hurry to get them, I prom-
ise you to take my longest strides. And, be-
sides, I have no fancy for burdening myself
with the sky just now."
Here Hercules grew impatient, and gave a
great shrug of his shoulders. It being now
twilight, you might have seen two or three
stars tumble out of their places. Everybody
on earth looked upward in affright, thinking
that the sky might be going to fall next.
"Oh, that will never do!" cried Giant Atlas
with a great roar of laughter. "I have not let
fall so many stars within the last five centuries.
By the time you have stood there as long as I
did you will begin to learn patience."
"What!" shouted Hercules, very wrathfully,
"do you intend to make me bear this burden
"We will see about that one of these days,"
THE THREE GOLDEN APPLES 209
answered the giant. "At all events, you ought
not to complain if you have to bear it the next
hundred years, or perhaps the next thousand.
I bore it a good while longer, in spite of the
backache. Well, then, after a thousand years,
if I happen to feel in the mood, we may possi-
bly shift about again. Posterity will talk of
you, I warrant it."
"Pish! a fig for its talk!" cried Hercules,
with another hitch of his shoulders. "Just
take the sky upon your head one instant, will
you? I want to make a cushion of my lion's
skin for the weight to rest upon. It really
chafes me, and will cause unnecessary incon-
venience in so many centuries as I am to stand
"That's no more than fair, and I'll do it,"
quoth the giant. "For just five minutes, then,
I'll take back the sky. Only for five minutes,
recollect. I have no idea of spending another
thousand years as I spent the last. Variety is
the spice of life, say I."
Ah, the thick-witted old rogue of a giant!
He threw down the golden apples, and re-
ceived back the sky from the head and shoul-
210 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
ders of Hercules upon his own, where it
rightly belonged. And Hercules picked up
the three golden apples that were as big or
bigger than pumpkins, and straightway set out
on his journey homeward, without paying the
slightest heed to the thundering tones of the
giant, who bellowed after him to come back.
Another forest sprang up around his feet and
grew ancient there, and again might be seen
oak-trees of six or seven centuries old, that had
waxed thus aged betwixt his enormous toes.
And there stands the giant to this day, or, at
any rate, there stands a mountain as tall as he,
and which bears his name; and when the
thunder rumbles about its summit we may
imagine it to be the voice of Giant Atlas bel-
lowing after Hercules.
OCTOBER ORCHARD OF THE
BEND thy boughs to the earth, redolent of
glowing fruit! Ripened seeds shake in their
pods. Apples drop in the stillest hours.
Leaves begin to let go when no wind is out,
and swing in long waverings to the earth,
which they touch without sound, and lie look-
ing up, till winds rake them, and heap them in
fence corners. When the gales come through
the trees, the yellow leaves trail, like sparks
at night behind the flying engine. The woods
are thinner so that we can see the leaves
plainer, as we lie dreaming on the yet warm
moss of the singing spring. The days are
calm. The nights are tranquil. The year's
work is done. She walks in gorgeous apparel,
looking upon her long labour, and her serene
eye saith, "It is good."
Trees bare and brown,
Dry leaves everywhere
Dancing up and down,
Whirling through the air.
Red-cheeked apples roasted,
Popcorn almost done,
Toes and chestnuts toasted,
That's November fun.
No sound was in the woodlands
Save the squirrel's dropping shell
And the yellow leaves among the boughs,
Low rustling as they fell.
At last after watching and waiting,
Autumn, the beautiful came,
Stepping with sandals silver,
Decked with her mantle of flame.
THE PRETENDING WOODCHUCK
CARL S. PATTON
AMONG the wild animals I have not known
was a family of woodchucks who lived in a
hollow log on the edge of a farm in New York
State. Not that they cared much whether it
was New York State or some other state. I
mentioned it only that the details of this story
may be verified by anyone who is inclined to
doubt them. It was New York State.
Now here was a thing that distinguished this
family to start with, from all other families
of the neighbourhood they lived in a hollow
log. All their relatives and friends lived in
the ground. I don't know how this family got
started to living in the rotten log. But I do
happen to know that though there were a
great many warm discussions about the rela-
tive merits of a house in a log, and a house in
the ground, and though many ground houses
in the best locations and with all modern im-
2i 6 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
provements were offered to this family, they
stuck to the house in the log.
The house certainly did have one advan-
tage ; it had two doors. And not only that, the
log was part of an old fence, and the fence
ran between the garden and the cornfield. So
in the summer when the garden stuff was fine,
all you had to do was to walk down the hall-
way of the log, until you came to the left-hand
door, and there you were right in the garden.
But when fall came and the garden was dried
up, but the corn was stacked in shocks or
husked and put into the crib, all you had to
do was to go down the hallway, to the door
that turned to the right, and there you were
in the cornfield. Quite aside from these ad-
vantages, who would live in a house with one
door in it when he could just as well have one
The log-house family consisted of father,
mother, and four children. The youngest of
these the favourite of the family, was named
Monax. His mother had heard that the scien-
tific name for woodchuck was Arctomys
Monax, and being of a scientific turn of mind,
PRETENDING WOODCHUCK 217
she was much taken with this name. But no
woodchuck in her neighbourhood had two
names.. So she took the last of the two and
called her son Monax.
Monax had never been out in the world.
He had been down to the two doors, and had
looked out, but that was all. But he had been
well instructed at home. He knew about men,
and how they would sometimes shoot at wood-
chucks; and about dogs, and about the corn-
crib; and for a long time he had known all
about garden vegetables and corn. He was
certainly a promising boy, even his father and
mother acknowledged it, but he had one weak
point he could not learn which was his right
hand and which was his left.
In the fall Monax' father was laid up with
rheumatism. He was a terrible old fellow to
groan and carry on when he was sick, and his
wife had to stand by him every minute. The
house had to be fixed for winter, and the other
children were at work on this. Saturday came
and someone had to go to market. Who was
there to go except Monax? So it was decided
that Monax should go.
2i8 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
Mrs. Woodchuck gave him his instructions.
She always gave everybody their instructions.
Mr. Woodchuck was, like many of us, quite
an important man, away from home. "You
go out at the right-hand door," said Mrs.
Woodchuck to Monax; "mind me, at the right-
hand door. You go through the corn-field 'till
you come to the big rock in the middle of it.
Then you turn to the right again." She paused
a moment, and a look of hesitancy or misgiv-
ing came into her face. "Do you really know,"
she said solemnly, "do you really know your
right hand from your left?" "Yes," said
Monax. "Hold up your right one," said his
mother. Monax' mind was in a whirl. He
tried to imagine himself with his back to the
cornfield door, where he stood when he had
his last lesson on the subject. If he could only
get that clearly in his mind, he could remem-
ber which hand he held up then. But he was
too excited to think. So he held up one hand ;
he hadn't the slightest idea which it was.
"Certainly," said his mother, "certainly.
Your father said it was not safe to let you go,
because you did not know your right hand
PRETENDING WOODCHUCK 219
from your left. But he under-rates you. He
under-rates all the children." She spoke al-
most petulantly. Then her mind seemed to be
relieved, and she proceeded with her instruc-
tions. "Through the corn-field," she said,
" 'till you come to the big rock; then you go to
the right 'till you come to the edge of the field.
You will see a couple of men in the corn-field.
But do not be afraid of them; they are only
scare-crows. Even if one of them has a gun,
it is only a wooden one, and they can't hurt
you. Go right ahead. At the edge of the
corn-field, by the maple tree, you turn to the
right again always to the right. Then you
will see the barn. Go in and look around
there. Keep away from the horses and don't
mind the odour. If you find a basket of corn
on the barn floor, help yourself and come
home. If you don't you will have to go a little
farther. Just to the right of the barn a few
yards always to the right is the corn-crib.
That is where your father and I get most of
the supplies for the family. You climb up
into the old wagon-box that stands on the scaf-
folding, and jump from that into the crib.
220 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
Getting out is much easier and after that all
you have to do is to come home. You needn't
hurry especially. I sha'n't be worried about
you, because there are no dogs there the dog
lives away over on the other side of the fence
beyond the garage and I know the scare-
crows will not hurt you."
So Monax started out. Down the hall he
went, pondering his instructions. If Mrs.
Woodchuck had not gone back to tie another
piece of red flannel around Mr. Woodchuck's
rheumatic knee, she might have observed that
Monax moved slowly, as if in deep thought.
But she observed nothing, and so said
Monax was in deep thougnt. He was try-
ing to decide which was his right hand and
which was his left. If he could only be sure of
either one of them he could guess at the other
one. He had to know before he got to the first
of the two doors. Why were anybody's two
hands so much alike? How could anyone be
sure which was which? He stopped and held
up one, then the other; they looked just alike.
He struck one of them against the wall; then
PRETENDING WOODCHUCK 221
the other, they felt just alike. He couldn't
stop long about it; if his mother caught him at
it, she would probably suspect what was the
matter with him, and his little journey into the
world would be stopped before it began.
He came to the first door, and a sudden in-
spiration came to him. He never knew how
it was, but he felt perfectly confident which
was his right hand. It seemed perfectly sim-
ple, somehow. It was this one. So he turned
out into the garden.
He didn't see any corn-shocks. But he was
not surprised at that. His mother had said
maybe they w T ould have been hauled away by
this time. He looked ahead. Yes, there was
the big stone. It did look a good deal like a
cement horse-block. "But then," he said to
himself, "they make stone these days so that
you can hardly tell it from cement." He
looked for the two scarecrows. If they were
there he would know he was right. And there
they were. They were awfully good imita-
tions of men. One of them was walking about
just a little. As he went by them, he noticed
that neither of them had a gun, but he heard
222 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
one of them say to the other, "Ever eat 'em?"
"The young uns," said the other, "are pretty
good ; old ones too tough." Monax was much
interested, but he was not frightened. On a
page of the "Scientific American," which his
mother brought home a few weeks before, he
had read about the talking pictures that Mr.
Edison had invented. He hadn't read of the
talking scarecrows, but he had no doubt there
w r ere such. "You never can tell what these
men will invent next," he said as he moved
At the big stone he turned this way he
said to himself. "It is surprising how sure I
am about my right hand now." He came to
the edge of the field. There, just as his mother
had said, was the barn. It looked more like
a garage than a barn. But styles change.
Anyway, there it was to the right, just as his
mother had told him. "If you are sure of
your direction everything else takes care of
itself," he said. "The location is right."
He went into the barn. He noticed the
odour; something like gasoline. He looked for
the horses; none there. He glanced about for
PRETENDING WOODCHUCK 223
the basket of corn. All he saw, instead, was a
bunch of waste lying on top of a big red tank.
Where the horses ought to have been was an
automobile. "Probably they have changed it
over from a barn to a garage since mother was
here," he said; "if you are going to keep up
with the times these days you can't stay in the
house; you've got to get out where things are
doing.' 5 It was no use to look for corn there.
He had had no instructions to bring home
gasoline. His mother used ammonia instead.
So he took his time to look around the barn,
and then moved leisurely out. Just a few
yards to the right again, as his mother had
said, was the corn-crib. He had never seen
one before, and this one looked small to him.
It looked more like a dog-house to him. But
the location was right again "always to the
right," his mother said.
The old wagon box wasn't there. But at the
back end of the corn-crib there was a board
tacked up from the crib to the tree. That was
probably one end of the scaffold that had held
the wagon box. Of course they wouldn't leave
the wagon box there all the fall. Probably
224 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
they were using it to haul corn, at that very
moment, to that very crib.
Meantime Mrs. Woodchuck was growing
very worried at home for Monax had taken
more time for his journey than his mother
thought he would. Mr. Woodchuck' s knee
was very bad, and whenever he had rheuma-
tism he was more pessimistic than usual. "I
tell you," said he, "that boy will never get
home. He doesn't know his right hand from
his left." "I tell you he does," said Mrs.
Woodchuck; "I tried him on it just before he
went." "I wouldn't be surprised," Mr. Wood-
chuck stuck to his position, "if he had turned
out that left-hand door, into the garden and
had gone to the garage instead of the barn.
There is one thing sure; if he tries to get corn
out of that dog kennel, he will find out his mis-
take." Mr. Woodchuck's lack of sympathy
always irritated his wife.
"Keep still," she said, "you will give me
nervous prostration again if you keep saying
Monax had climbed up onto the board. He
paused to look around a moment. Then think-
PRETENDING WOODCHUCK 225*
ing that he must not be quite so leisurely, he
jumped quickly through the little window just
under the roof.
Then things began to happen so fast that
Monax could hardly keep track of them. For
what Monax had really done was just what his
father said he probably would do. He had
turned to the left every time, where he ought
to have turned to the right. He had gone
through the garden instead of the cornfield,
past the cement horse-block instead of the big
stone, mistaken the garage for the barn, and
now, worst luck of all, he had jumped into the
dog kennel instead of into the corn-crib.
The old dog had been after the sheep and
cows, and was fast asleep on the floor of his
kennel. Still, he didn't propose to lie there
and be jumped on by a woodchuck not in his
own kennel. And Monax well, perhaps he
wasn't surprised when, instead of landing on
top of a crib of corn he fell clear to the bot-
tom, and felt his feet touching something furry
that moved. But it didn't have time to move
much. Monax felt that a crisis had arrived
in his career, and it was time to act. He didn't
226 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
wait to look for the door of the kennel; he
didn't want to try any more new routes. He
just rebounded off the back of the dog like a
rubber ball from the pavement. Up he went,
breaking the woodchuck record for the high
jump, back through the window, onto the
board, down to the ground quick as a flash.
The dog was after him, but Monax was six
feet ahead. Away he went, past the barn; the
auto was just backing out; it came over Monax
that it wasn't a barn after all. He dodged
under the machine; the dog had to run around
it; three feet more gained. He went by the
big stone at full speed, it looked more than
ever to him like a cement horse-block. Past
the two scarecrows; he could see that they
had moved quite a little since he passed them
coming out, and one of them had a gun now.
Bang, it went; he felt the shot pass through
his tail, and it increased his speed to forty
miles. He didn't have much time to reflect,
but it did come over him that those were not
scarecrows, but men, and that what he had
overheard them say a half hour before about
the "young uns being good to eat" might pos-
PRETENDING WOODCHUCK 227
sibly have had some reference to himself.
On he sped, through the garden; it was per-
fectly plain now that it had never been a corn-
field, and on like a flash through the garden
door into the loghouse, and into his father's
room fluttering, trembling, and more dead
"Did you turn to the right?" asked his
"I did on the way back," said Monax.
MRS. BUNNY'S DINNER PARTY
ANNA E. SKINNER
"ARE you ready, my dear?" said Mr. Bobtail,
looking at his large watch. "Mrs. Bunny will
expect us to come in good time to her dinner
"I shall be ready in a few minutes, Mr. Bob-
tail. I wonder how many are invited. We
always meet fine people at Mrs. Bunny's
Mrs. Bobtail brought out her little gray silk
bonnet, and Mr. Bobtail's best birch cane.
"Come," she said, "it is a good half hour's
walk to Bramble Hollow. Shall we go around
by the way of Cabbage-Patch Lane?"
"Oh, no, my dear, let us take a short cut
through the meadow."
Off they started arm in arm across the sunlit
"See, there are Mr. and Mrs. Frisk gather-
ing nuts," said Mr. Bobtail. "Jack Frost
Reprinted from "The Churchman."
MRS. BUNNY'S DINNER PARTY 229
shook the trees last night. There are plenty
lying on the ground."
"Good morning. How are all the little
Friskies?" called Mrs. Bobtail.
"Oh, how do you do! They are quite well,
thank you," said Mrs. Frisk.
"The nuts are fine this fall, Mr. Frisk,"
said Mr. Bobtail, shaking hands with his
"Yes, indeed. We have gathered a great
many for our winter store. But you see we
dare not stop long in this open field." Mr.
Frisk dropped his voice and glanced about in
all directions. Then he added, "This is hunt-
ing season, you know."
"What! Do you mean you are afraid of
hunters?" asked Mr. Bobtail in surprise.
"Indeed, we are," said Mrs. Frisk, coming
a little nearer. "From our cosy home up in
the hollow of this tree we saw two hunters
crossing the field this morning. When their
dogs sniffed about the ground and barked up
the tree, we held our breath in fear."
"Yes," added Mr. Frisk, "and in a short
time we heard 'bang! bang!' I tell you we
230 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
didn't venture down to gather nuts for several
"How dreadful! And we are on our way
to Mrs. Bunny's dinner party," said Mrs.
Bobtail, looking in all directions; "do you
think we had better go on, my dear?"
"Of course ! Of course ! I've never had the
least fear of a gun ! Let hunters bang away as
much as they please, they will never frighten
me." Mr. Bobtail straightened up as he
spoke, and tossed back his head. "Come, Mrs.
Bobtail. Good day, my friends."
"Good day. We hope you will have a pleas-
ant time," said Mr. Frisk.
"Isn't Mr. Bobtail wonderfully brave?" said
Mrs. Frisk, looking after her friends.
When they came $ near Bramble Hollow,
Mr. and Mrs. Bobtail met some of their
friends. There were Mr. and Mrs. Pinkeye,
Mr. and Mrs. Longears, Mr. and Mrs. Cot-
tontail, all on their way to the dinner
Mr. and Mrs. Bunny were waiting for their
guests. The little Bunnies had been told how
MRS. BUNNY'S DINNER PARTY 231
"Now, my dears/' their mother had said,
"you may play out-of-doors while we are at
dinner. When we have finished I'll call you.
Now no matter how hungry you are don't dare
peep in at the windows. And if anything hap-
pens to frighten you slip into the kitchen and
wait there quietly until I come/'
Away scampered four happy little Bun-
At noon all the guests had reached Bramble
Hollow. Mr. and Mrs. Bunny welcomed
them, and in a little while all were seated
around the table laughing and talking mer-
"What fine salad this is, Mrs. Bunny," said
Mrs. Longears. "The cabbage hearts are very
sweet this fall."
Mrs. Bunny nodded pleasantly and said,
"Do have some lettuce, Mr. Bobtail. I'm
sure your long walk must have made you hun-
"I hope you will like our carrots," said
Mr. Bunny, helping himself to another.
"Come, Mrs. Cottontail, let me help you to
another serving of turnip tops."
232 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
"Thank you, Mr. Bunny. What a pleasant
home you have here in Bramble Hollow. Do
hunters ever wander into this quiet corner?"
"Well, yes. They stroll through the hollow
"Dear me," said Mrs. Cottontail.
"Our friends, Mr. and Mrs. Frisk, were
telling us that they saw two hunters cross-
ing the fields this morning," said Mrs. Bob-
"This morning!" cried some of the guests,
pricking up their ears.
"Come, come, my friends," said Mr. Bob-
tail, laughing, "I see I shall have to quiet you.
I never could see why so many rabbits are
afraid of a gun! I have often stayed quietly
under a hedge while a hunter fired shots as
near to me as "
"Bang! bang! bang!"
Four little Bunnies leaped through the win-
dow, and jumped right over the table, upset-
ting many of the dishes.
Mr. Bobtail darted off his chair at the same
time, and rushed to a corner of the kitchen,
where he stayed, shaking with fear.
MRS. BUNNY'S DINNER PARTY 233
The other guests did not move or speak for
several minutes. Then Mrs. Bunny caught
sight of Mr. Bobtail in the corner. "Come
out, Mr. Bobtail," she called, "I'm sure the
hunters have gone into the next field."
THE NUTCRACKERS OF NUT-
HARRIET BEECHER STOWE
MR. AND MRS. NUTCRACKER were as respect-
able a pair of squirrels as ever wore gray
brushes over their backs. They lived in Nut-
cracker Lodge, a hole in a sturdy old chest-
nut tree overhanging a shady dell. Here they
had reared many families of young Nutcrack-
ers, who were models of good behavior in the
But it happened in the course of time that
they had a son named Featherhead, who was
as different from all the other children of the
Nutcracker family as if he had been dropped
out of the moon into their nest. He was hand-
some enough, and had a lively disposition,
but he was sulky and contrary and unreason-
able. He found fault with everything his re-
spectable papa and mama did. Instead of
helping with the cares of the family, picking
THE NUTCRACKERS 235
up nuts and learning other lessons proper to
a young squirrel, he sneered at all the good
old ways and customs of the Nutcracker
Lodge, and said they were behind the times.
To be sure he was always on hand at meal
times, and played a very lively tooth on the
nuts which his mother had collected, always
selecting the best for himself. But he sea-
soned his nibbling with much grumbling and
Papa Nutcracker would often lose his pa-
tience, and say something sharp to Feather-
head, but Mamma Nutcracker would shed
tears, and beg her darling boy to be a little
While his parents, brothers, and sisters were
cheerfully racing up and down the branches
laying up stores for the winter, Featherhead
sat apart, sulking and scolding.
"Nobody understands me," he grumbled.
"Nobody treats me as I deserve to be treated.
Surely I was born to be something of more
importance than gathering a few chestnuts
and hickory-nuts for the winter. I am an
236 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
"Depend upon it, my dear," said Mrs. Nut-
cracker to her husband, "that boy is a genius."
"Fiddlestick on his genius!" said old Mr.
Nutcracker; "what does he do?"
"Oh, nothing, of course, but they say that is
one of the marks of genius. Remarkable peo-
ple, you know, never come down to common
"He eats enough for any two," said old Nut-
cracker, "and he never helps gather nuts."
"But, my dear, Parson Too-Whit, who has
talked with Featherhead, says the boy has very
fine feelings, so much above those of the com-
"Feelings be hanged," snapped old Nut-
cracker. "When a fellow eats all the nuts that
his mother gives him, and then grumbles at
her,. I don't believe much in his fine feelings.
Why doesn't he do something? I'm going to
tell my fine young gentleman that if he doesn't
behave himself I'll tumble him out of the nest
neck and crop, and see if hunger won't do
something toward bringing down his fine
"Oh, my dear," sobbed Mrs. Nutcracker,
THE NUTCRACKERS 237
falling on her husband's neck with both paws,
"do be patient with our darling boy."
Now although the Nutcrackers belonged to
the fine old race of the Grays, they kept on the
best of terms with all branches of the squirrel
family. They were very friendly to the Chip-
munks of Chipmunk Hollow. Young Tip
Chipmunk, the oldest son, was in all respects a
perfect contrast to Master Featherhead. Tip
was lively and cheerful, and very alert in get-
ting food for the family. Indeed, Mr. and
Mrs. Chipmunk had very little care, but could
sit at the door of their hole and chat with
neighbours, quite sure that Tip would bring
everything out right for them, and have plenty
laid up for winter.
"What a commonplace fellow that Tip
Chipmunk is," sneered Featherhead one day.
"I shall take care not to associate with him."
"My dear, you are too hard on poor Tip,"
said Mrs. Nutcracker. "He is a very good
son, I'm sure."
"Oh, I don't doubt he's good enough," said
Featherhead, "but he's so common. He hasn't
an idea in his skull above his nuts and Chip-
238 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
munk Hollow. He is good-natured enough,
but, dear me, he has no manners! I hope,
mother, you won't invite the Chipmunks to the
Thanksgiving dinner these family dinners
are such a bore."
"But, my dear Featherhead, your father
thinks a great deal of the Chipmunks they
are our relatives you know," said Mother Nut-
"So are the High-Flyers our relatives. If
we could get them to come there would be
some sense to it. But of course a flying squir-
rel would never come to our house if a com-
mon chipmunk is a guest. It isn't to be ex-
pected," said Featherhead.
"Confound him for a puppy," said old Nut-
cracker. "I wish good, industrious sons like
Tip Chipmunk 'were common."
But in the end Featherhead had his way,
and the Chipmunks were not invited to Nut-
cracker Lodge for Thanksgiving dinner.
However, they were not all offended. In-
deed, Tip called early in the morning to pay
his compliments of the season, and leave a
few dainty beechnuts.
THE NUTCRACKERS 239
"He can't even see that he is not wanted
here/' sneered Featherhead.
At last old papa declared it was time for
Featherhead to choose some business.
"What are you going to do, my boy?" he
asked. "We are driving now a thriving trade
in hickory nuts, and if you would like to join
"Thank you," said Featherhead, "the hick-
ory trade is too slow for me. I was never
made to grub and delve in that way. In fact I
have my own plans."
To be plain, Featherhead had formed a
friendship with the Rats of Rat Hollow a
race of people whose honesty was doubtful.
Old Longtooth Rat was a money-lender, and
for a long time he had had his eye on Feather-
head as a person silly enough to suit the busi-
ness which was neither more nor less than
Near Nutcracker Lodge was a large barn
filled with corn and grain, besides many bush-
els of hazelnuts, chestnuts and walnuts. Now
old Longtooth told Featherhead that he should
nibble a passage into the loft, and set up a
240 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
commission business there passing out nuts
and grain as Longtooth wanted them. He did
not tell Featherhead a certain secret namely,
that a Scotch terrier was about to be bought
to keep rats from the grain.
"How foolish such drudging fellows as Tip
Chipmunk are!" said Featherhead to himself.
"There he goes picking up a nut here and a
grain there, whereas I step into property at
"I hope you are honest in your dealings,
my son," said old Nutcracker.
Featherhead threw his tail saucily over one
shoulder and laughed. "Certainly, sir, if hon-
esty means getting what you can while it is
going, I mean to be honest."
Very soon Featherhead seemed to be very
prosperous. He had a splendid hole in the
midst of a heap of chestnuts, and he seemed to
be rolling in wealth. He lavished gifts on his
mother and sisters; he carried his tail very
proudly over his back. He was even gracious
to Tip Chipmunk.
But one day as Featherhead was lolling in
his hole, up came two boys with the friskiest,
THE NUTCRACKERS 241
wiriest Scotch terrier you ever saw. His eyes
blazed like torches. Featherhead's heart died
within him as he heard the boys say, "Now
we'll see if we can catch the rascal that eats
Featherhead tried to slink out of the hole
he had gnawed to come in by, but found it
"Oh, you are there, are you, Mister?" cried
the boy. "Well, you don't get out, and now
for a chase."
And sure enough poor Featherhead ran
with terror up and down through the bundles
of hay. But the barking terrier was at his
heels, and the boys shouted and cheered. He
was glad at last to escape through a crack,
though he left half of his fine brush behind
him for Master Wasp, the terrier, made a
snap at it just as Featherhead was squeezing
through. Alas ! all the hair was cleaned off so
that it was as bare as a rat's tail.
Poor Featherhead limped off, bruised and
beaten, with the dog and boys still after him,
and they would have caught him if Tip Chip-
munk's hole had not stood open to receive him.
242 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
Tip took the best of care of him, but the glory
of Featherhead's tail had gone forever. From
that time, though, he was a sadder and a wiser
squirrel than he ever had been before.
MR. SQUIRREL was disappointed when he
peeped his head out of his hollow tree early
one morning. Not one nut was to be seen on
"Jack Frost did not come last night. I see
no nuts anyw r here. It will take a long time
to get all we need from the tree, I fear," he
said to Mrs. Squirrel, who was standing close
"But Jack Frost will come to our tree," she
said. "He never fails. See, there's Mrs.
Bushytail out early. She seems .to be looking
around, too. Perhaps Jack Frost has shaken
them down for her. Let's run down and see."
Away frisked Mr. and Mrs. Squirrel as fast
as their legs could take them, to see what Jack
Frost had done for their neighbour. But, no,
he had not visited Mrs. BushytaiPs tree. She
had looked all over the ground, and there
244 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
wasn't a nut in sight. She couldn't explain it
"Let us wait until to-morrow morning," said
Mrs. Squirrel, "he will be sure to come to-
night. Then what fun Bushy and Frisky will
have gathering them. They will have to work
hard to get enough for our winter store. Boys
love nuts, too," she added with a sigh. "But
we will wait."
Morning came and frosty Jack had been
there in earnest, for the nuts lay all over the
"Now to work," said Father Squirrel.
"Come, Bushy and Frisky."
It was a busy day for Mr. Squirrel's family.
They well knew how many, many nuts are
needed for the winter's store, and Mr. Squir-
rel kept telling Bushy and Frisky that they
would have to work hard, and perhaps until
the sun went down that day.
But alas for those little squirrels. "Boys
love nuts, too," Mrs. Squirrel had said over
and over again, and when a rustle was heard
in the bushes behind the trees, and the sound
of boys' voices came loud and clear, these lit-
BUSHY'S BRAVERY 245
tie workers had to take to their heels, and
whisk up the hollow tree. There they stayed
trembling with fear. In a few minutes Bushy,
a little braver than the rest, ventured to peep
out of a small hole. Frisky stood just back
"Boys three of them and they all have
Poor Bushy and Frisky. If there was one
thing that these little squirrels loved to do
more than another it was to gather nuts and
now their chance was spoiled, for the boys
were really there, and would be sure to take
every nut they could find.
"They're working hard," said Bushy.
"Will they leave any for us?" asked Frisky,
not even daring to peep out.
"Sh! Listen, Frisky. I heard one of the
boys say that there are some nuts under the
other tree. Two of the boys are going there
now. It's Mrs. Bushytail's tree. But look,
Frisky, they have left two of the bags."
"One of the boys is sitting on one of them*
He is cracking nuts, I think."
246 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
"And the other bag, Bushy?"
"The other one is close by our tree," and
before any one could say a word, Bushy was
out of the hole, down the tree, and close to the
big bag. Mrs. Squirrel tried to call him back,
but it was of no use. Up and down the bag
he ran, first to the top and then to the sides.
But he could not get in the bag was tied
tight. But Bushy' s teeth were sharp.
"Dear, dear," said his mother, "here come
the boys back, and they will surely see Bushy
Bushy caught sight of the boys coming to-
ward the tree for their bags, and with a whisk
and a scamper he was up the tree again and
into his hole in no time.
"Dear, dear Bushy," said his mother.
^What a fright you gave us all. Just see those
boys. There's no telling what would have
happened if they had seen you."
Mr. Squirrel's family watched the boys pick
up their bags, throw them over their shoul-
ders and go away.
"Why, Tom, look at your bag," said one of
the boys. "It has a hole in it. You must have
BUSHY'S BRAVERY 247
lost ever so many nuts along the way."
"A hole?" asked Tom in surprise, as he
lifted the bag from his shoulder. "So it has
and a pretty big one, too. I wonder how it
ever came there. It wasn't there when 1
The boys were gone, and Mr. Squirrel's
family ventured out once more.
"It's of no use, I fear," began Mrs. Squirrel;
"those boys were good workers and dear me,
here are nuts sprinkled all along the road.
What does it mean?" asked Mrs. Squirrel.
"It is strange," said Mr. Squirrel. "I really
thought those boys had found them all, but
perhaps boys' eyes are not so sharp as we
Bushy kept on gathering the nuts and smil-
ing to himself. How sly he was. Not one of
the family seemed to guess the truth. It was
only when he and Frisky were going to bed
that night that Frisky dared to whisper,
"Bushy, did you put that hole in that bag?"
Hark! how they chatter
Down the dusk Road,
See them come patter,
Each with his Load.
What have you sought, then,
Gay little Band?
What have you brought, then,
Each in his Hand?
No need to ask it;
No need to tell;
In Bag and in Basket
Your nuts show well!
Nuts from the wild-wood;
Sweet Nuts to eat;
Sweetest in Childhood
When life is sweet.
There they go patter,
Each with his Load ;
Hark! how they chatter
Down the dusk Road.
IN HARVEST FIELDS
WHEN THE FROST IS ON THE
When the frost is on the punkin' and the fod-
der's in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the
And the clackin' of the guiney's, and the
cluckin' of the hens,
And the rooster's hallylcoyer as he tiptoes on
O, it's then's the time a feller is a-feelin' at his
With the risin' sun to greet him from a night
of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes
out to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin' and the fod-
der's in the shock.
JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY.
ORIGIN OF INDIAN CORN
ONCE upon a time an Indian chief sat alone
in his wigwam thinking about the needs of his
tribe. For more than a year food had been
very scarce, and they were suffering from a
scanty fare of roots, herbs, and berries. Many
of the people had come to him in their misery.
"We ask you to help us, brave chief," they
cried. "Will you not entreat the Great Spirit
to send us some of the food from the Happy
Hunting Grounds where it is so plentiful?
See how weak and thin our young braves are.
Help us or we shall die."
"I'll go into the depths of the forest," said
the chief. "There I'll live until the Great
Spirit tells me how to relieve the misery of
He left his wigwam and walked far into the
forest, where he waited for several days before
the Great Spirit spoke these words to him:
252 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
"In the moon of rains take thy family and
go to the stretch of land which joins this forest.
Wait there until I send thee a message."
The chief went back to the Indian village,
and told what he had heard from the Great
Spirit. And in the Moon of Rains he called
together his honoured wife, his fleet-footed
sons, and his graceful daughter, and said,
"Follow me to the stretch of land beyond the
When they reached the great plain, they
stood in a group waiting for a message from
the Great Spirit. For three suns they stood
patiently without once changing their positions.
The Indians of the tribe grew anxious to
know what had happened to their chief and
his family, and some of them slipped through
the wood to the plain where they knew he had
been directed to go. There they saw the
group of figures standing with their hands up-
lifted, and their eyes closed. The Indians
were filled with awe.
"The Great Spirit is talking to them," they
whispered, as they went back to their wig-
ORIGIN OF INDIAN CORN 253
In a few days they returned to the plain. A
marvelous sight met their eyes. Instead of
the chief and his family standing like images
of sleep, they saw wonderful green plants, tall
and straight, with broad, flat leaves, and in
place of uplifted hands they beheld ears of
corn with silken fringe.
"The Great -Spirit has called our chief and
his family to the 'Happy Hunting Grounds,'
they said, "and has sent us this food as a sym-
bol of their sacrifice."
They saved some of the kernels and planted
them in the fields, and each year when they
reaped a golden harvest they remembered the
brave chief whose thoughtful care brought
them the rich blessing of the Indian corn.
Sing, O Song of Hiawatha,
Of the happy days that followed,
In the land of the Ojibways,
In the pleasant land and peaceful!
Sing the mysteries of Mondamin,
Sing the Blessing of the Corn-fields!
HENRY W. LONGFELLOW.
O-NA-TAH: THE SPIRIT OE THE
O-NA-TAH is the spirit of the corn, and patron-
ess of the fields. The sun touches her dusky
face with the blush of the morning, and her
dark eyes grow soft as the gleam of the stars
that float on dark streams. Her night-black
hair flares in the breeze like the wind-driven
cloud that unveils the sun. As she walks the
air, draped in her maize, its blossoms plume
to the sun, and its fringing tassels play with
the rustling leaves in whispering promises to
the waiting fields. Night follows O-na-tah's
dim way with dews, and Day guides the beams
that leap from the sun to her path. And the
great Mother Earth loves O-na-tah, who
brings to her children their life-giving
256 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
At one time O-na-tah had two companions,
the Spirit of the Bean and the Spirit of the
Squash. In the olden time when the bean,
corn, and squash were planted together in the
hill these three plant spirits were never sepa-
rated. Each was clothed in the plant which
she guarded. The Spirit of the Squash was
crowned with the flaunting gold trumpet blos-
som of its foliage. The Spirit of the Bean
was arrayed in the clinging leaves of its wind-
ing vine, its velvety pods swinging to the
One day when O-na-tah had wandered
astray in search of the lost dew, Hah-gweh-
da-et-gab captured her, and imprisoned her in
his darkness under the earth. Then he sent
one of his monsters to blight her fields and the
Spirit of Squash and the Spirit of Bean fled
before the blighting winds that pursued them,
O-na-tah languished in the darkness, lament-
ing her lost fields. But one day a searching
sun ray discovered her, and guided her safely
back to her lands.
Sad indeed was O-na-tah when she beheld
the desolation of her blighted fields, and the
desertion of her companions, Spirit of Squash
and Spirit of Bean. Bewailing the great
change, she made a vow that she would never
leave her fields again.
If her fields thirst now, she can not leave
them to summon the dews. When the Flame
Spirit of the Sun burns the maize O-na-tah
dare not search the skies for Ga-oh to implore
him to unleash the winds and fan her lands.
When great rains fall and blight her fields the
voice of O-na-tah grows faint and the Sun
can not hear. Yet faithful she watches and
guards, never abandoning her fields till the
maize is ripe.
When the maize stalk bends low O-na-tah
is folding the husks to the pearly grains that
the dew will nourish in their screening shade,
as they fringe to the sun.
When the tassels plume, O-na-tah is crown-
ing the maize with her triumph sign, and the
rustling leaves spear to the harvest breeze.
Summer passed and Shawondasee
Breathed his sighs o'er all the landscape,
From the South-land sent his ardours,
Wafted kisses warm and tender;
And the maize-field grew and ripened,
Till it stood in all the splendour
Of its garments green and yellow,
Of its tassels and its plumage,
And the maize-ears full of shining
Gleamed from bursting sheaths of verdure.
Then Nokomis, the old woman,
Spake, and said to Minnehaha,
" 'Tis the Moon when leaves are falling,
All the wild rice has been gathered,
And the maize is ripe and ready;
Let us gather in the harvest,
Let us wrestle with Mondamin,
Strip him of his plumes and tassels,
Of his garments green and yellow."
And the merry Laughing Water
Went rejoicing from the wigwam,
With Nokomis, old and wrinkled,
And they called the women round them,
Called the young men and the maidens,
To the harvest of the corn-fields,
To the husking of the maize-ear.
HENRY W. LONGFELLOW.
THE DISCONTENTED PUMPKIN
JACK FROST visited Farmer Crane's field one
night, and the next morning the gold of the
pumpkins shone more brilliantly than ever
through their silver coverings.
"It is of no use," said one large pumpkin to
another lying beside it. "It is of no use. I
was never made to be cut up for pumpkin pies.
I feel I was put here for something higher."
"Why, what do you mean?" said the other.
"You never seemed dissatisfied before. You
quite take my breath away."
"Well, to tell the truth, I do not like the
thought of being cut up and served on a table
like an ordinary pumpkin. See how large I
am, and what a glorious colour. Tell me, did
you ever see a pumpkin more beautiful?"
"You are beautiful, indeed, but I never
thought of being made for anything but pies.
Do tell me of what other use can one be?"
260 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
"Well, I have always thought that I am
not like the other pumpkins in this field, and
when Farmer Crane pointed me out as the
finest one he had, I heard him say, That
would be a fine one for a fair.' It was not till
then that I really knew for what I was in-
"I do remember," answered the other.
"Yes, I do remember hearing about some
pumpkins 7 being taken to a county fair once,
but I never heard how they liked it. As for
myself, I should be proud to be made into
delicious pies and served on a beautiful plate."
"How can you be satisfied with that
thought? But there is Farmer Crane now.
He is gathering some of the smaller pumpkins
to make pies with, I think."
"Perhaps he knows best what you are
made for," answered the other.
Farmer Crane was soon at their side, and
was looking from one to the other.
"What fine pies they will make. I had bet-
ter take them now, I think," he said, and they
were quickly added to the golden heap already
on the wagon.
THE DISCONTENTED PUMPKIN 261
How happy they all were all but one that
lay on the top of the large pile.
"It is hard to be thrown in with these ordi-
nary pumpkins. If I could only slip off by
myself. Perhaps there is at least a place at
the bottom of the wagon where I can be
It was a long way from the top of the pile to
the bed of the wagon, but it was very little
trouble to slip away from the rest. It would
take only a second, and then he could be away
from the others. But alas! the discontented
pumpkin slipped a little too far, and I'm sorry
to say, soon lay on the frozen ground, a shat-
"Dear me," said the pumpkins in one
breath; "see, that fine fellow has slipped off,
and is broken to pieces. What a feast the cows
and pigs will have."
"It is too bad," said one.
"And he w r as so anxious to be taken to a
fair," added another.
Hurrah for the tiny seed !
Hurrah for the flower and vine!
Hurrah for the golden pumpkin;
[Yellow and plump and fine!
But better.than all beginnings,
Sure, nobody can deny,
Is the end of the whole procession-
This glorious pumpkin pie!
I see you on the zig zag rails,
You cheery little fellow!
While purple leaves are whirling down,
And scarlet, brown or yellow.
I hear you when the air is full
Of snow-down of the thistle ;
All in your speckled jacket trim,
"Bob White! Bob White!" you whistle.
Tall amber sheaves, in rustling rows,
Are nodded there to greet you,
I know that you are out for play
How I should like to meet you !
Though blithe of voice, so shy you are,
In this delightful weather;
What splendid playmates, you and I,
Bob White, would make together.
There, you are gone! but far away
I hear your whistle falling,
Ah ! maybe it is hide and seek,
And that's why you are calling.
Along those hazy uplands wide
We'd be such merry rangers;
What! silent now and hidden, too?
Bob White, don't let's be strangers.
264 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
Perhaps you teach your brood the game,
In yonder rainbowed thicket,
While winds are playing with the leaves,
And softly creaks the cricket.
"Bob White! Bob White!" again I hear
That blithely whistled chorus,
Why should we not companions be?
One Father watches o'er us !
THE LITTLE PUMPKIN
EMMA FLORENCE BUSH.
ONCE there was a little pumpkin that grew on
a vine in a field. All day long the sun shone
on him, and the wind blew gently around him.
Sometimes the welcome rain fell softly upon
him, and as the vine sent her roots deep down
into the earth and drew the good sustenance
from it, and it flowed through her veins, the
little pumpkin drank greedily of the good
juice, and grew bigger and bigger, and
rounder and rounder, and firmer and firmer.
By and by he grew so big he understood all
that the growing things around him were say-
ing, and he listened eagerly.
"I came from the seed of a Jack-o'-lantern,"
said this vine to a neighbour, "therefore I must
grow all Jack-o'-lanterns."
"So did I," said a neighbour, "but no Jack-o'-
266 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
lanterns for me. It is too hard a life. I am
going to grow just plain pumpkins."
When the little pumpkin heard he was sup-
posed to be a Jack-o'-lantern, he grew very
worried, for he could not see that he was in
any way different from any ordinary pumpkin,
and if Mother Vine expected him to be a Jack-
o'-lantern, he did not want to disappoint her.
At last he grew so unhappy over it that the
dancing little sunbeams noticed it. "What is
the matter, little pumpkin?"! they cried.
"Why do you not hold up your head and look
around as you used to do?"
"Because," answered the little pumpkin,
sadly, "I have to be a Jack-o'-lantern, and I
don't know how. All I know about is how to
be a little yellow pumpkin."
Then the merry little breezes laughed and
laughed until they shook the vine so that all
the pumpkins had to tighten their hold not to
be shaken off. "Oh, little pumpkin!" they
cried, "why worry about what you will have
to do later? Just try with all your might to
be a little yellow pumpkin, and believe that if
you do the best you can, everything will be all
THE LITTLE PUMPKIN 267
right. We know a secret, a beautiful secret,
and some day we will tell it to you."
"Oh, tell me now!" cried the little pumpkin,
but the sunbeams and breezes laughed to-
gether, and chuckled,
"Oh no, oh no, oh no !
Just grow and grow and grow,
And some day you will know."
The little pumpkin felt comforted. "After
all," he thought, "perhaps if I cannot be a
Jack-o'-lantern I can be a good pumpkin, and
I am so far down on the vine perhaps Mother
Vine won't notice me." He looked around,
and saw that all his brothers and sisters were
only little pumpkins, too.
"Oh, dear," he cried, "are we going to dis-
appoint Mother Vine? Aren't any of us go-
ing to be Jack-o'-lanterns?" Then all his little
brothers and sisters laughed, and said, "What
do we care about being Jack-o'-lanterns? All
we care about is to eat the good juice, and
grow and grow."
At last came the cold weather, and all the
268 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
little pumpkins were now big ones, and a beau*
tiful golden yellow. The biggest and yellow-
est of all was the little pumpkin who had tried
so hard all summer to grow into a Jack-o'-
lantern. He could not believe Mother Vine
did not see him now, for he had grown so big
that every one who saw him exclaimed about
him, and Mother Vine did not seem at all
disappointed, she just kept at work carrying
the good food that kept her pumpkin children
At last one frosty morning, a crowd of chil-
dren came to the field. "The pumpkins are
ready," they cried. "The pumpkins are
ready; and we are going to find the biggest
and yellowest and nicest to make a Jack-o'-lan-
tern for the Thanksgiving party. All the
grandmothers and grandfathers and aunts and
uncles will see it, and we are going to eat the
pies made from it."
They looked here and there, all over the
field, and pushed aside the vines to see better.
All at once they saw the little pumpkin.
"Oh!" they cried, "What a perfect Jack-o'-
lantern! So big and firm and round and yel-
THE LITTLE PUMPKIN 269
low ! This shall be the Jack-o'-lantern for our
Thanksgiving party, and it is so large there
will be pie enough for every one."
Then they picked the pumpkin and carried
him to the barn. Father cut a hole in the top
around the stem, lifted it off carefully and
scooped out the inside, and the children car-
ried it to mother in the kitchen. Then father
made eyes and a nose and mouth, and fitted a
big candle inside. "Oh, see the beautiful Jack-
o'-lantern!" they cried.
The little pumpkin waited in the barn. "At
last I am a Jack-o'-lantern," he said. After
a time it grew dark, and father came and
carried him into the house, and lighted the
candle, and put him right in the middle of the
table, and all the grandmothers and grand-
fathers, and aunts and uncles, cried, "Oh, what
a beautiful, big, round, yellow Jack-o'- lan-
Then the little pumpkin was happy, for he
knew Mother Vine would have been proud of
him, and he shone shone SHONE, until
the candle was all burned out.
Then came the Autumn all in yellow clad,
As though he joyed in his plenteous store,
Laden with fruits that made him laugh, full
That he had banished hunger, which to-fore
Had by the body oft him pinched sore:
Upon his head a wreath, that was enrolled
With ears of corn of every sort, he bore;
And in his hand a sickle he did hold,
To reap the ripen'd fruits the which the eartK
The katydids say it as plain as can be
And the crickets are singing it under the trees;
In the asters' blue eyes you may read the same
Just as clearly as if you had seen it in print.
And the corn sighs it, too, as it waves in the
That autumn is here and summer is done.
HOW THERE CAME TO BE A
LONG, long, long ago so long that this story
has had time to grow into a garden legend
two green grasshoppers went out, one fine day,
to play with a cricket They played tag, .and
I'm on gypsyland. At last they decided to
have a game of hide-and-seek.
The goal was a blade of grass, and they
counted out to see who should be goal man.
It fell to the little cricket, Katy-did. She was
to hide her eyes behind the grassblade, and
count up to one hundred by tens, while the
two grasshoppers went off to hide.
So the cricket hid her face so that she could
not see, and began : "Ten, twenty, thirty, forty,
fifty, sixty, seventy, eighty, ninety, one hun-
From "The Bluebird's Garden." Used by special permis-
sion of the author and the Pilgrim Press.
274 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
Though there were plenty of good places
in which to hide in the garden, one green grass-
hopper had been slow to suit himself. He had
not yet hidden when the little cricket turned
about and caught him.
And he began, "You didn't count up to a
hundred! I didn't have time to hide! You
should have hollered, 'Coming!' It's no fair!
I'm not going to play any more you didn't
count up to a hundred!"
At this, the other grasshopper came out of
hiding. "She did count up to a hundred," he
said, "Katy did !"
"She did !"
"Katy did, did, did !"
"Katy didn't, didn't, didn't!"
"Did, did, did!"
"Didn't, didn't, didn't!"
A KATYDID 275
"Katy didn't I"
To this very, very day, you can hear the dis-
pute still going on in the garden, and the game
of tag has never yet been finished. Ever since
that time the grasshoppers who started the dis-
cussion have been called katydids, and the
whole garden is full of the controversy. You
can hear hundreds of little voices keeping it
up, though nothing is ever decided. So it
goes on eternally, Katy did Katy didn't, did,
did, did, didn't, didn't, she did, she didn't
for nobody has ever yet settled a dispute by
contradiction. By this time, too, everyone has
forgotten what the quarrel was about.
OLD DAME CRICKET
Old Dame Cricket, down in a thicket,
Brought up her children nine,
Queer little chaps, in glossy black caps
And brown little suits so fine.
"My children," she said,
"The birds are abed:
Go and make the dark earth glad!
Chirp while you can!"
And then she began,
Till, oh, what a concert they had!
They hopped with delight,
They chirped all night,
Singing, "Cheer up! cheer up! cheer!"
Old Dame Cricket,
Down in the thicket,
Sat awake till dawn to hear.
"Nice children," she said,
"And very well bred.
My darlings have done their best.
Their naps they must take :
The birds are awake;
And they can sing all the rest."
MISS KATY-DID AND MISS CRICKET
HARRIET BEECHER STOWE
MlSS KATY-DlD sat on the branch of a flow-
ering azalia in her best suit of fine green and
silver, with wings of point-lace from mother
nature's finest web.
Her gallant cousin, Colonel Katy-Did, had
looked in to make her a morning call.
"Certainly I am a pretty creature," she said
to herself when the gallant Colonel said some-
thing about being dazzled by her beauty.
"The fact is, my dear Colonel," said Miss
Katy, "I am thinking of giving a party, and
you must help me make out the lists."
"My dear, you make me the happiest of
"Now," said Miss Katy, drawing an azalia
leaf towards her, "let us see whom shall we
have? The Fireflies are a little unsteady, but
they are so brilliant, everybody wants them
and they belong to the higher circles."
278 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
"Yes, we must have the Fireflies," said the
"Well, then and the Butterflies and the
Moths, now there's the trouble. There are
so many Moths, and they're so dull. Still if
you have the Butterflies you can't leave out the
"Old Mrs. Moth has been ill lately. That
may keep two or three of the Misses Moth at
home," said the colonel.
"I thought she was never sick," said Miss
"Yes, I understand she and her family ate
up a whole fur cape last month, and it dis-
agreed with them."
"Oh, how can they eat such things as
worsted and fur?" then sneered Miss Katy-
"By your fairy-like delicacy one can see that
you couldn't eat such things," smiled the
"Mamma says she doesn't know what keeps
me alive. Half a dewdrop and a little bit of
the nicest part of a rose-leaf often lasts me for
a day. But to our list. Let's see, the Fire-
KATY-DID AND CRICKET 279
flies, Butterflies, Moths. The Bees must
come, I suppose."
"The Bees are a worthy family," nodded the
"Yes, but dreadfully humdrum. They
never talk about anything but honey and
"Then there are the Bumble Bees."
"Oh, I dote on them," said Miss Katy-Did.
"General Bumble is one of the most dashing,
brilliant fellows of the day."
"He's shockingly fat!" said the colonel.
"Yes, he is a little stout," nodded Miss
Katy-Did, "but he is very elegant in his man-
ners, something soldierly and breezy about
"If you invite the Bumble Bees, you must
have the Hornets."
"Ah, they are spiteful, I detest them."
"Nevertheless, one must not offend the
Hornets, and how about the Mosquitoes?"
asked the Colonel.
"They are very common. Can't one cut
"I think not, my dear Miss Katy. Young
280 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
Mosquito is connected with some of our lead-
ing papers, and he carries a sharp pen. It
will never do to offend him."
"And I suppose one must ask all his dread-
ful relations, too," sighed Miss Katy.
At this moment they saw Miss Keziah
Cricket coming. She carried her workbag on
her arm, and she asked for a subscription to
help a poor family of Ants who had just had
their house hoed up by some one who was
clearing the garden walks.
"How stupid of the Ants," said Katy, "not
to know better than to put their house in a
"Ah, they are in great trouble," said Miss
Cricket. "Their stores are all destroyed, and
their father killed cut quite in two by a hoe."
"How very shocking! I don't like to hear
such disagreeable things. But I have nothing
to give. Mamma said yesterday she didn't
know how our bills were to be paid, and
there's my green satin with point lace yet to
come home," said Miss Katy, shrugging her
Little Miss Cricket hopped briskly off.
KATY-DID AND CRICKET 281
"Poor, extravagant little thing," she said to
"Shall you invite the Crickets?" said Colo-,
"Why, Colonel, what a question! I invite
the Crickets? No, indeed."
"And shall you ask the Locusts or the Grass-
"Certainly. The Locusts, of course a very
old and fine family, and the Grasshoppers are
pretty well, and ought to be asked. But one
must draw the line somewhere and the
Crickets! Why, I can't think of them."
"I thought they were very nice, respectable
people," said the colonel.
"Oh, perfectly nice and respectable,
"Do explain, my dear Katy."
"Why, their colour, to be sure. Don't you
"Oh!" said the colonel. "That's it, is it?
And tell me, please, who decides what colour
shall be the reigning colour?"
"What a question! The only true colour
the only proper one is our colour to be sure.
282 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
A lovely pea green is the shade on which to
found an aristocratic distinction. Of course,
we are liberal; we associate with the Moths,
who are gray; with the Butterflies, who are
blue and gold coloured; with the Grasshop-
pers, yellow and brown; and society would be-
come dreadfully mixed if it were not fortu-
nately ordered that the Crickets are as black as
jet. The fact is that a class to be looked down
upon is necessary to all elegant society, and if
the Crickets were not black we could not keep
them down. Everybody knows they are often
a great deal cleverer than we are. They have
a vast talent for music and dancing; they are
very quick at learning, and would be getting
to the very top of the ladder if we allowed
them to climb. Now, so long as we are green
and they are black, we have a superiority that
can never be taken from us. Don't you see
"Oh, yes, I see exactly," said the colonel.
"Now that Keziah Cricket, who just came in
here, is quite a musician, and her old father
plays the violin beautifully; by the way, we
might engage him for our orchestra."
KATY-DID AND CRICKET 283
And so Miss Katy's ball came off. It lasted
from sundown till daybreak, so that it seemed
as if every leaf in the forest were alive. The
Katy-Dids, and the Mosquitoes, and the Lo-
custs, and a full orchestra of Crickets made the
air perfectly vibrate.
Old Parson Too- Whit was shocked at the
gaieties, which were kept up by the pleasure-
loving Katy-Dids night after night.
But about the first of September the cele-
brated Jack Frost epidemic broke out. Poor
Miss Katy, with her flimsy green satin, and
point lace, was one of the first victims, and fell
from the bough in company with a sad shower
of last year's leaves.
The worthy Cricket family, however,
avoided Jack Frost by moving in time to the
chimney corner of a nice little cottage that
had been built in the wood. There good old
Mr. and Mrs. Cricket, with sprightly Miss
Keziah and her brothers and sisters, found a
warm and welcome home. When the storm
howled without, and lashed the poor, naked
trees, the crickets on the warm hearth would
chirp out cheery welcome to the happy family
in the cottage. (Adapted.)
Little cricket, full of mirth,
Chirping on my kitchen hearth;
Wheresoever be thine abode,
Always harbinger of good.
Pay me for thy warm retreat
With a song more soft and sweet;
In return thou shalt receive
Such a strain as I can give.
All around the house is the jet black night,
It stares through the window-pane,
It creeps in the corners hiding from the light
And it moves with the moving flame.
Now my little heart goes a-beating like a
With the breath of the bogie in my hair,
While all around the candle the crooked
And go marching along up the stair.
The shadow of the baluster, the shadow of the
The shadow of the child that goes to bed,
All the wicked shadows come a tramp, tramp,
With the black night overhead.
ROBERT Louis STEVENSON.
Used by special permission of Charles Scribner and Sons.
TWINKLING FEET'S HALLOWE'EN
ONE Hallowe'en a band of merry pixies were
dancing round and round a bright green ring
in the meadow. In the center stood the Little
Fiddler, playing his gayest music, and keep-
ing time with his head and one tiny foot. The
faster he played, the merrier the little crea-
tures danced. What sport it was to twirl and
twist in time with the fairy music, which the
jolly little elf brought out from his tiny in-
strument. No wonder the pixies laughed until
their sides ached. And so, indeed, did their
little musician. Sometimes he was obliged to
stop playing for a few seconds in order to catch
Now there was one pixie named Twinkling
Feet who was the best dancer in the ring, and
he could cut such queer little capers that his
companions fairly shrieked with laughter when
288 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
they looked at him. Suddenly he thought
what sport it would be to play a trick on all
the little dancers. Very slyly he tripped his
partner, and the two fell down in the grass,
dragging with them one pixie after another
until all in the circle were sprawling on the
ground. There they lay for several seconds,
a wriggling mass of green coats and red caps.
It was some time before they could pick them-
selves up. Many of them laughed heartily at
the mishap, but a few were so badly bruised
that they were obliged to slip away and bathe
their shins in the evening dew.
"Who tripped first in the ring?"
"Who made us fall on our s turn jackets?"
"Who spoiled our Hallowe'en dance?"
asked one little pixie after another.
"Twinkling Feet and I fell first," said the
best dancer's partner. "I don't know what
made us tangle our feet, do you?" he asked,
laughing and turning to his companion.
But Twinkling Feet's little brown face was
so drawn and sober that his partner asked
quickly, "Why, what is the matter with you?"
"I don't know," said the little elf.
TWINKLING FEET 289
"Why, do look at him," cried another
"Does anything hurt you?" asked several lit-
tle creatures together.
"I feel very queer," said Twinkling Feet.
"Have you what mortals call 'pain?* " asked
"I don't know what that is, but I feel very,
very queer. Please ask the Little Fiddler if
he knows what is the matter with me."
The group of pixies that had gathered
around Twinkling Feet moved away in order
to let the elfin musician come close to the
queer-looking pixie. The little Fiddler
gazed steadily at him, shook his white head,
and said slowly, "A frightful thing has hap-
pened. Twinkling Feet has lost his laugh!"
"Lost his laugh!" shrieked all the other lit-
"He has lost his laugh!" repeated the Fid-
"Lost my laugh," moaned Twinkling Feet.
"Oh, please tell me what to do."
"There is nothing to do but go and search
for it. You can not dance ima pixie ring with-
290 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
out your laugh, and mark what I say, you must
find it before midnight."
"But what if I can't find it?" cried the
"Then you'll be a pixie 'without a laugh
that is all," declared the Little Fiddler.
At these awful words every pixie's face grew
sober. They looked at each other very sol-
emnly and said, "A pixie without a laugh!
Then one after another they cried out,
"Search for it, Twinkling Feet. Perhaps
you'll find it before midnight. Start now.
Think how sad it will be if you are never able
to dance in the ring again."
"Where shall I go, Fiddler Pixie?" asked
"Well, you might ask Jack-o'-Lantern," said
the musician. "He's been flitting about in the
meadow all the evening. See, there he goes
over by the brook."
Away ran the little pixie as fast as his legs
could carry him. It was no easy matter to
come close enough to Jack-o'-Lantern to make
him hear. Twinkling Feet was almost ready
TWINKLING FEET 291
to give up the chase when the little man
stopped, poked his head out of his lantern,
and called, "Do you wish to speak to me?"
"Don't you know me?" cried the pixie.
"I'm Twinkling Feet."
"Why, what has happened to you?" asked
Jack. "You're the queerest looking chap I
"I've lost my laugh. Please tell me, Jack-
o'-Lantern, have you seen it?"
"Lost your laugh!" repeated the lantern
man, looking very serious. "No wonder I
didn't know you. I'm very sorry to say I've
seen nothing of your laugh."
"Do you know anyone who could help me,
Jack?" asked Twinkling- Feet. "Oh do hel-
me find it."
"Well, let me see. You might ask Jolly
Little Witch. Her eyes'are very sharp. She's
in the ragweed meadow, looking for a good
riding stalk. As soon as she finds one I'm go-
ing to light her to the village where she will
make plenty of merriment at the children's
party. It's Hallowe'en, you know. Come,
jump into my lantern, and I'll take you to her."
292 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
Twinkling Feet hopped into the little lan-
tern, and away they went to the ragweed field.
When they drew near the Jolly Little Witch
called out, "I've found a good ragweed stalk,
Jack, but IVe lost my goggles. Come, per-
haps you can help me find them. I can't go to
the village without my goggles. Why, who is
that in the lantern with you?"
"A pixie who wants to ask you something,"
said Jack-o'-Lantern, opening the door to let
Twinkling Feet out. Then the lantern man
hurried away to search for the witch's gog-
"Please, Jolly Little Witch, I've lost my
laugh," said Twinkling Feet.
"Lost your laugh! and on Hallowe'en!
Well, no wonder I didn't know you. You're
the queerest looking pixie I ever saw. Tell
me how you happened to lose your laugh?"
But Twinkling Feet did not answer her
question. He said meekly, "Have you seen
"No, my little fellow. I'm sorry to say I've
not seen your laugh," said the Jolly Little.
TWINKLING FEET 293
"A pixie can't dance without his laugh,"
sighed Twinkling Feet.
"No, of course he can't. Dear, dear! How
sorry I am for you," said the little witch, shak-
ing her head.
"And if a pixie loses anything on Hallow-
e'en, he must find it before midnight or give
it up forever."
"I could have helped you on any other night,
but you see I always spend Hallowe'en in the
village with the children. I shall be late to-
night if I don't find those goggles." And
again she began to search for them.
The pixie looked at her for a moment.
Then he asked, "Do the children laugh a good
deal on Hallowe'en?"
"Why, my little man, it's the time in all the
year when they laugh most. Tonight there
is to be a witch's party. I shall secretly join
the children, and play all sorts of tricks for
their amusement. What a nuisance it is that
I've lost those goggles."
"I'll help you search for them, Jolly Little
Witch," said the pixie. "I suppose I must
give up my laugh, for I don't know anyone
294 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
else to ask about it. Please tell me what your
goggles look like."
"They are two round glass windows, which
I wear over my eyes when I ride through the
air," said the little Witch.
Away started the pixie to search for them.
He looked carefully around every ragweed
stalk in the meadow, but he could see nothing
which looked like "two round glass windows."
"Perhaps one cannot find anything which
has been lost on Hallowe'en," he said to him-
Slowly he walked back to the place where
he had left the Jolly Little Witch. When
he reached her he stared sharply at something
on top of her head.
"Please tell me more about your goggles,"
said Twinkling Feet. "Are they like the two
glass windows across the front of your hat?"
"Across the front of my hat!" exclaimed the
witch, putting her hands up to find out what
the little elf meant. Then she burst out laugh-
ing, and said, "Well, well! What strange
things do happen on Hallowe'en! Come,
Jack-o'-Lantern! Come! The pixie has
TWINKLING FEET 295
found my goggles. They were on top of my
head all the time!"
And turning to Twinkling Feet she said,
"You shall go with us to the village, and see
the merriment if you like. I'm sure Jack will
carry you in his lantern."
"Of course I will," said the lantern man.
"And while you are playing tricks at the chil-
dren's party, I'll carry him anywhere he
wishes to go. It is a long while before mid-
"I want to see the children, and hear them
laugh," said Twinkling Feet.
The Jolly Little Witch pulled her goggles
down on her nose, and mounted her ragweed
stalk. The pixie hopped into the lantern, and
away through the air the three sailed.
When they drew near the village, the little
Witch lowered herself to the ground.
"Meet me here before the party is over,
Jack-o'-Lantern," she said. "I shall leave be-
fore the children take off their masks. In the
meantime, let Twinkling Feet see the fun the
children will have on the way to the party."
Away she ran up the village street to a cor-
296 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
ner where she joined a group of jolly little
boys and girls on their way to the party. They
wore black dresses, high, pointed hats with
narrow brims, and funny little masks. Not a
word did anyone speak, but the sound of their
merry laughter reached Twinkling Feet's ears.
He slipped out of the lantern, and ran to-
ward the group of children as fast as he could
go. Before he reached them, however, the
tiniest bit of a creature, turning somersaults
faster than anyone could count, came bounding
to him. It climbed up the pixie's little body,
and disappeared into his mouth. Twinkling
Feet burst into the merriest laugh, and ran
back to Jack-o'-Lantern, crying out, "I've
found it! I've found my laugh! My dear
little laugh! Oh, how happy I am! Jack-o'-
Lantern, please take me back to the pixie ring.
I've found my dear little laugh!"
He hopped into the little man's lantern, and
away over the fields they flew. As they drew
near the green ring where the pixies were still
dancing, the delighted elf called out, "I've
found my laugh! I've found my dear little
TWINKLING FEET 297
"Welcome back, Twinkling Feet," an-
swered the dancers.
He hopped out of the lantern, and joined
the other merry pixies. When they stopped
dancing for a little while, the Fiddler Pixie
slipped up to the Twinkling Feet, and whis-
pered slyly, "Always watch your laugh care-
fully while you are dancing.' 3
Cornish Legend, Adapted.
Here comes a Jack-o'-lantern
To frighten you to-night;
Made from a hollow pumpkin
With a candle for its light.
Go off! You Jack-o'-lantern!
You can not frighten me,
You're nothing but a pumpkin
As anyone can see!
THE ELFIN KNIGHT
THE autumn wind blew sharp and shrill
around the turrets of a grey stone castle. But
indoors the fire crackled merrily in my lady's
bower where an old nurse was telling a tale
of Elfland to Janet, the fairest of Scotch
When the story was finished, Janet's merry
laugh echoed through the halls. The old
nurse nodded her head earnestly and said,
" 'Tis well known, my lassie, that the people
of Elfland revel in the hills and hollows of
Scotland. Come close, and I'll tell you a se-
Janet leaned forward, and the old woman
whispered, "An Elfin Knight, named Tarn
Lin, haunts the moorland on the border of
your father's estate. No maiden dares ven-
ture near the enchanted place, for if she should
fall under the spell of this Elfin Knight she
300 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
would be obliged to give him a precious jewel
for a ransom."
"One glimpse of the Elfin Knight would be
worth the rarest gem I have," laughed Janet.
"How I wish I could see him!"
"Hush-sh!" said her nurse tremblingly.
"Nay, nay, my lady! Mortals should have
nothing to do with the people of Elfland. By
all means shun the moorland at this time of
the year, for tomorrow is Hallowe'en the
night when the fairies ride abroad."
But the next morning Janet bound her
golden braids about her head, kilted up her
green kirtle, and tripped lightly to the en-
chanted moorland. When she came near she
saw lovely flowers blooming as gaily as if it
were mid-summer time. She stooped to
gather some of the roses when suddenly she
heard the faintest silvery music. She glanced
around, and there, riding toward her, was the
handsomest knight she had ever seen. His
milk-white steed, which sped along lighter
than the wind, was shod in silver shoes, and
from the bridle hung tiny silver bells.
When the knight came near, he sprang
THE ELFIN KNIGHT 301
lightly from his horse and said, "Fair Janet,
tell me why you pluck roses in Elfland?"
The maiden's heart beat very fast, and the
flowers dropped from her hands, but she an-
swered proudly, "I came to see Tam Lin, the
"He stands before you," said the knight.
"Have you come to free him from Elfland?"
At these words Janet's courage failed, for
she feared he might cast a spell over her. But
when the knight saw how she trembled, he
said, "Have no fear, Lady Janet, and you shall
hear my story. I am the son of noble parents.
One day, when I was a lad of nine years, I
went hunting with my father. Now it chanced
that we became separated from each other,
and ill-luck attended me. My good horse
stumbled, and threw me to the ground where I
lay stunned by the fall. There the Fairy
Queen found me, and carried me off to yonder
green hill. And while it is pleasant enough
in fairyland, yet I long to live among mortals
"Then why do you not ride away to your
home?" asked Janet.
302 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
"Ah, that I can not do unless some fair
maiden is brave enough to help me. In three
ways she must prove her courage. First she
must will to meet me here in the enchanted
moorland. That you have done," declared the
knight. Then he stopped, and looked plead-
ingly at Janet. All her fear vanished, and she
asked, "In what other ways must the maiden
show her courage?"
"She must banish all fear of him. That,
too, you have done," said the knight.
"Tell me the third way, Tarn Lin, for I be-
lieve I am the maid to free you."
"Only my true love can prove her courage in
the third way, fair Janet."
And the maiden answered, "I am thy true
love, Tarn Lin."
"Then heed what I say, brave lady. To-
night is Hallowe'en. At the midnight hour,
the Fairy Queen and all her knights will ride
abroad. If you dare win your true love, you
must wait at Milescross until the Fairy Queen
and her Elfin Knights pass. I shall be in her
"But how shall I know you among so many
THE ELFIN KNIGHT 303
knights, Tarn Lin?" then asked Lady Janet.
"I shall ride in the third group of follow-
ers. Let the first and second companies of the
Fairy Queen pass, and look for me in the third.
There will be only three knights in this last
company; one will ride on a black horse, one
on a brown, and the third on a milk-white
steed," said the knight, pointing to his horse.
"My right hand will be gloved, Janet," he
continued, "but my left hand will hang bare
at my side. By these signs you will know me.' 1
"I shall know you without fail," nodded
"Wait, calmly, until I am near you, then
spring forward and seize me. When the fair-
ies see you holding me they will change my
form into many shapes. Do not fear, but hold
me fast in your arms. At last I shall take my
human form. If you have courage enough to
do this, you will free your true love from the
power of the fairies."
"I have courage enough to do all that you
say," declared Janet. Then they sealed this
promise with a kiss, and parted.
Gloomy was the night, and eerie was the
304 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
way to Milescross. But Janet threw her green
mantle about her shoulders, and sped to the
enchanted moorland, All the way she said to
herself over and over, "On this Hallowe'en
at midnight I shall free rny true love, Tarn
Lin, from Elfland."
At Milescross she hid herself and waited.
How the wind from the sea moaned across the
moorland! Presently she heard a merry tin-
kling sound of far-off music, and in the dis-
tance she saw a twinkling light dancing
forward. Janet could hear her heart beat, but
there she stood, undaunted. The Fairy Queen
and her train were riding forth. In the lead
of her first merry company of knights and
maids of honour rode the beautiful queen,
whose jeweled girdle and crown flashed in the
darkness. The second group passed quickly,
and now came three knights in a third group.
One rode on a black horse, one on a brown, and
there came the milk-white steed last of all.
Janet could see that one hand of the rider was
gloved, and one hung bare at his side. Then
up leaped the maiden. Quickly she seized the
bridle of the rnilk-white steed, pulled the
THE ELFIN KNIGHT 305
rider from his horse, and threw her green
mantle around him. There was a clamour
among the Elfin Knights, and the Fairy Queen
cried out, "Tarn Lin! Tarn Lin! Some mor-
tal has hold of Tarn Lin, the bonniest knight
in my company!"
Then the strangest things happened. In-
stead of Tarn Lin, Janet held in her arms a
bearded lion, which struggled mightily to get
away. But she remembered the knight's
warning. "Hold me fast, and fear me not."
The next moment she held a fire-breathing
dragon, which almost slipped from her, but
she tightened her grasp, and thought of Tarn
Lin's words. The dragon changed to a burn-
ing bush, and the flames leaped up on all sides,
but Janet stood still and felt no harm. Then
in her arms she held a branching tree, filled
with blossoms. And at last Tarn Lin, her own
true love, stood there.
When the Fairy Queen saw that none of her
enchantments could frighten Janet, she cried
out angrily, "The maiden has won a stately
bridegroom who was my bonniest knight.
Alas! Tarn Lin is lost to Elf land."
3 o6 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
On into the darkness rode the fairy train.
Tarn Lin and Lady Janet hastened back to the
grey stone castle. There, in a short time, a
wedding feast was prepared, and Tarn Lin,
who was really a Scottish Earl, and Lady
Janet, the bravest maid in Scotland, were mar-
Old Ballad Retold.
THE COURTEOUS PRINCE
ONCE upon a time a bonnie Prince fell in
love with a lassie who was nobly born, but was
not his equal in rank. The king was sorely
vexed, because his son looked with favour on
this maiden, and his majesty determined to
part the lovers. Fie sent the high chancellor
of the court to an old witch for advice. After
thinking the matter over for nine days, the old
woman muttered the following answer:
"The lassie will I charm away
'Till courtesy doth win the day."
"I'm not quite sure what the old hag means,"
said the king. "But if she'll get this maiden
out of the Prince's sight, I can arrange for his
marriage with some one of his own rank."
In a few days the lassie disappeared, and the
Prince could find no trace of her. He was
very sad, indeed, and declared if he could not
3 o8 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
marry his own true love he would remain sin-
gle all his life.
It happened one fine day near the end of
October that the young Prince and a party of
nobles went hunting. The hounds were soon
on the track of a fine deer, which was so wily
and fleet of foot that the nobles, one by one,
lost track of the quarry, and dropped out of
the chase. The young Prince, who was a
famous rider, continued the hunt alone. Miles
and miles over the low hills he galloped until
at last in the depths of a wooded glen the ex-
hausted deer was brought to bay by the
hounds, and dispatched by the Prince.
Not until after the prize was won did the
royal hunter realize how dusky it was in the
glen, and how threatening the evening sky
looked. He felt sure he was too far from the
palace to retrace his journey; besides, he had
lost all trace of direction. He threw the
quarry over his steed's back, whistled to his
hounds, and rode slowly down the wooded val-
ley, wondering where he could lodge for the
"Little sign of hospitality in this lonely
THE COURTEOUS PRINCE 309
place," he mused. "Perhaps I'd better make
the best of it, and find shelter in one of the
On he rode in the gathering darkness. A
turn in the valley brought him to a stretch of
moorland, and a little distance away he saw
the dark outline of an old, deserted hunting
"A cheerless looking inn," thought the
Prince. "No doubt one will have to play host
as well as guest here. However, I have my
trusty hounds and noble steed for company,
and the quarry will furnish a good meal for
all of us."
He leaped from his horse and walked up to
the old ruin. With very little effort he broke
open the door. The creaking of its rusty
hinges made strange echoings throughout the
hall. The Prince led his horse into one of the
small rooms, then with his hounds he went into
the large dining hall, where he lit a fire on the
great hearth, and proceeded to cook some veni-
son for supper.
While he was waiting for the meat on the
spit to roast, he listened to the rising wind,
3 io THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
which moaned about the gloomy old ruin, and
rattled the doors and windows unceasingly.
The good steed, in the adjoining room, pawed
the floor restlessly, and every few moments the
hounds stretched their heads straight up into
the air, and whined in a most uncanny way.
As he mused before the fire, the Prince
thought, "This is All Hallowe'en, the night
when ghosts and witches hold their revels.
Nevertheless, I'd rather be in this deserted
hall than on the storm-swept moorland."
He took the roasted meat from the fire, and
prepared to eat his supper. Suddenly a fierce
blast of wind burst open a large door at the
far end of the hall, and into the room stalked
a tall, ghostly woman. Her lank figure was
clothed in grey garments, which trailed for
yards on the floor. Her long, grey hair hung
loose down her back. By the light of the flick-
ering fire the Prince could see her hollow eyes
and wan features. He was a brave man, but
this ghostly creature filled him with dread and
horror. The hounds dropped their bones of
venison, and crept close to their master, who
was unable to utter a word.
THE COURTEOUS PRINCE 311
Slowly down the hall the grey ghost glided
to the Prince, and pointing a long, bony finger
at him, she asked in a hollow voice, "Art thou
a courteous knight?"
In a trembling voice the Prince an-
swered, "I will serve thee. What dost thou
"Go ye to the moorland, and pluck enough
heather to make a bed in the turret-room for
me," said the phantom-like figure.
It was a strange request to make, but the
Prince was relieved to have any excuse to get
out of her sight. He sprang quickly to his
feet, and hurried out to face the stormy night
in search of heather. He plucked as much as
he could carry in his plaid, and returned to
the hall where the ghostly visitor was waiting
for him. She led the way down the room, and
up a half-ruined staircase to the turret-room.
Here the Prince spread a heather bed for her,
and covered it with his plaid. When it was
finished she pointed to the door, and dismissed
"May you sleep well," said the Prince cour-
teously. Then, cold and weary, he descended
3 i2 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
to the hall, and lay down to sleep in front of
the dying embers of the fire.
When he awakened the bright sun was
shining in the windows.
The Prince lost no time in making ready to
depart, for he remembered quite well the
ghostly visitor of the past night.
"No doubt she departed before the crowing
of the cock," he said. "I wonder if she left
my bonnie plaid in the turret room. The
autumn air is keen and biting. I'll go and
He ran quickly up the ruined staircase. To
his surprise when he reached the top, the door
of the chamber opened, and there before him
stood his lost sweetheart.
"How earnest thou here?" gasped the
Prince. "And where is the grey ghost."
"Last night I was the grey ghost," she
"And thou wilt change thy form again to-
night?" he asked in horror.
"Never again," said the maiden. "In order
to part us a wicked witch threw a spell over
me a spell which changed me into the awful
THE COURTEOUS PRINCE 313
shape thou sawest last night. But thou hast
broken her wicked charm."
'Tell me how," said the Prince, whose face
was beaming with happiness.
"The witch's charm could not be broken
until some knight should serve me, even
though my form was horrible. By thy cour-
tesy thou hast broken the spell," said the
So the Prince and his true love rode away,
and were happily married, and when the king
heard of his son's adventure in the hunting
hall he said, "Now I know what that old witch
meant by her prophecy."
J r J Scotch legend.
Upon one wild and windy night
Woo-oo, woo-oo, woo-oo, woo-oo
We Jacks our lanterns all did light;
The wind it surely knew FOR-
Whistle and whistle and whist! Now list!
Woo-oo, woo-oo, woo-oo, woo-oo
Whirling* and twirling, with turn and twist,
The wind it softly blew.
It was the creepiest, scariest night
Woo-oo,.woo-oo, woo-oo, woo-oo,
We held our breath, then lost it quite;
The wind it surely knew FOR
Whistle and whistle and whist! Now list!
Woo-oo, woo-oo, woo-oo, woo-oo
Whirling and twirling, with turn and twist,
The wind it loudly blew.
It rose in all its main and might
Woo-oo, woo-oo, woo-oo, woo-oo
It blew out every single light;
The Wind it surely knew FOR
JACK-O'-LANTERN SONG 315
Whistle and whistle and whist! Now list!
Woo-oo, woo-oo, woo-oo, woo-oo
Whirling and twirling, with turn and twist,
That wind it laughed Ho-oht
A HARVEST OF THANKSGIVING
These are things I prize
And hold of dearest worth:
Light of the sapphire skies,
Peace of the silent hills,
Shelter of forests, comfort of the grass,
Music of birds, murmur of little rills,
Shadow of clouds that swiftly pass,
And, after showers,
The smell of flowers
And of the good brown earth,
And best of all, along the way, friendship and
So let me keep
These treasures of the humble heart
In true possession, owning them by love.
HENRY VAN DYKE.
(Selection from God of the Open Air.)
Used by permission and special arrangement with Chas.
Scribner and Sons.
THE QUEER LITTLE BAKER MAN
PHILA BUTLER BOWMAN
ALL the children were glad when the Little
Baker came to town and hung the sign above
his queer little brown shop,
"Thanksgiving Loaves to Sell."
Each child ran to tell the news to another
child until soon the streets echoed with the
sound of many running feet, and the clear
November air was full of the sound of happy
laughter, as a crowd of little children thronged
as near as they dared to the Little Baker's
shop, while the boldest crept so close that they
could feel the heat from the big brick oven,
and see the gleaming rows of baker's pans.
The Little Baker never said a word. He
washed his hands at the windmill water spout
320 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
and dried them, waving them in the crisp air.
Then he unfolded a long, spotless table, and
setting it up before his shop door, he began to
mold the loaves, while the wondering children
grew nearer and nearer to watch him.
He molded big, long loaves, and tiny, round
loaves; wee loaves rilled with currants, square
loaves with queer markings on them, fat
loaves and flat loaves, and loaves in shapes
such as the children had never seen before,
and always as he molded he sang a soft tune
to these words :
"Buy my loaves of brown and white,
Molded for the child's delight.
Who forgets another's need,
Eats unthankful and in greed;
But the child who breaks his bread
With another, Love has fed."
By and by the children began to whisper to
"I shall buy that very biggest loaf," said the
Biggest Boy. "Mother lets me buy what I
wish. I shall eat it alone, which is fair if I
pay for it."
QUEER LITTLE BAKER MAN 321
"Oh," said the Tiniest Little Girl, "that
would be greedy. You could never eat so big
a loaf alone."
"If I pay for it, it is mine," said the Big-
gest Boy, boastfully, "and one need not share
what is his own unless he wishes."
"Oh," said the Tiniest Little Girl, but she
said it more softly this time, and she drew
away from the Biggest Boy, and looked at him
with eyes that had grown big and round.
"I have a penny," she said to the Little
Lame Boy, "and you and I can have one of
those wee loaves together. They have cur-
rants in them, so we shall not mind if the loaf
"No, indeed," said the Little Lame Boy,
whose face had grown wistful when the Big-
gest Boy had talked of the great loaf. "No,
indeed, but you shall take the bigger piece."
Then the little Baker Man raked out the
bright coals from the great oven into an iron
basket, and he put in the loaves, every one,
while the children crowded closer with eager
When the last loaf was in, he shut the oven
322 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
door with a clang so loud and merry that the
children broke into a shout of laughter.
Then the Queer Little Baker Man came
and stood in his tent door, and he was smiling,
and he sang again a merry little tune to these
"Clang, clang, my oven floor,
My loaves will bake as oft before,
And you may play where shines the sun
Until each loaf is brown and done."
Then away ran the children, laughing, and
looking at the door of the shop where the
Queer Little Baker stood, and where the
raked-out coals, bursting at times, cast long,
red lights against the brown wall, and as they
ran they sang together the Queer Little Bak-
er's merry song:
"Clang, clang, my oven floor,
The loaves will bake as oft before."
Then some played at hide-and-seek among
the sheaves of ungarnered corn, and some ran
gleefully through the heaped-up leaves of rus-
QUEER LITTLE BAKER MAN 323
set and gold for joy to hear them rustling.
But some, eager, returned home for pennies to
buy a loaf when the Queer Little Baker should
"The loaves are ready, white and brown,
For every little child in town,
Come buy Thanksgiving loaves and eat,
But only Love can make them sweet."
Soon all the air was filled with the sound
of the swift running feet, as the children flew
like a cloud of leaves blown by the wind in
answer to the Queer Little Baker's call.
When they came to his shop they paused,
laughing and whispering, as the Little Baker
laid out the loaves on the spotless table.
"This is mine," said the Biggest Boy, and
laying down a silver coin he snatched the great
loaf, and ran away to break it by himself.
Then came the Impatient Boy, crying:
"Give me my loaf. This is mine, and give it
to me at once. Do you not see my coin is sil-
ver? Do not keep me waiting*"
The Little Baker never said a word. He
did not smile, he did not frown, he did not
324 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
hurry. He gave the Impatient Boy his loaf
and watched him, as he, too, hurried away to
eat his loaf alone.
Then came others, crowding, pushing with
their money, the strongest and rudest gaining
first place, and snatching each a loaf they ran
off to eat without a word of thanks, while some
very little children looked on wistfully, not
able even to gain a place. All this time the
Queer Little Baker kept steadily on laying out
the beautiful loaves on the spotless table.
A Gentle Lad came, when the crowd grew
less, and giving all the pennies he had he
bought loaves for all the little ones; so that by
and by no one was without a loaf. The Tiniest
Little Girl went away hand in hand with the
Little Lame Boy to share his wee loaf, and
both were smiling, and whoever broke one of
those smallest loaves found it larger than it
had seemed at first.
But now the biggest Boy was beginning to
"This loaf is sour," he said angrily.
"But is it not your own loaf," said the
Baker, "and did you not choose it yourself,
QUEER LITTLE BAKER MAN 325
and choose to eat it alone? Do not complain
of the loaf since it is your own choosing.' 7
Then those who had snatched the loaves un-
gratefully and hurried away, without waiting
for a word of thanks, came back.
"We came for good bread," they cried, "but
those loaves are sodden and heavy."
"See the lad there with all those children.
His bread is light. Give us, too, light bread
But the Baker smiled a strange smile. "You
chose in haste," he said, "as those choose who
have no thought in sharing. I can not change
your loaves. I can not choose for you. Had
you, buying, forgotten that mine are Thanks-
giving loaves? I shall come again; then you
can buy more wisely."
Then these children went away thought-
But the very little children and the Gentle
Lad sat eating their bread with joyous laugh-
ter, and each tiny loaf was broken into many
pieces as they shared with each other, and to
them the bread was as fine as cake and as sweet
326 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
Then the Queer Little Baker brought cold
water and put out the fire. He folded his
spotless table, and took down the boards of his
little brown shop, packed all into his wagon,
and drove away singing a quaint tune. Soft
winds rustled the corn, and swept the boughs
together with a musical chuckling. And
where the brown leaves were piled thickest,
making a little mound, sat the Tiniest Little
Girl and the Little Lame Boy, eating their
sweet currant loaf happily together.
A TURKEY FOR THE STUFFING
KATHERINE GRACE HULBERT
IT always made Ben feel solemn to watch the
river in a storm. To-day it was grey, and
rough and noisy, and the few boats, which
went down toward Lake Huron, pitched about
so that their decks slanted first one way, then
another, and their sides were coated with ice.
"Gran'ma, what day's to-day?" he asked at
last, turning from the stormy river to glance
about their warm, comfortable little room.
"Wednesday, Benny," answered the small
old woman who crouched over the stove.
"Then to-morrow will be Thanksgiving day,
and the Rosses are going to have a turkey, 7 '
said Ben, excitedly. "What are we going to
Mrs. Moxon looked over her glasses at her
grandson's small, thin figure in its patched and
faded clothes, and at his bright, eager face.
"Sonny, dear, what do you think Gran'ma
has for Thanksgiving?" she asked gently.
328 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
The expectant look faded from Ben's face,
and he winked hard to keep the tears from
running over. He did not need to be told how
bare of dainties their cupboard was, for every-
thing there he had brought with his own
hands. Bacon and smoked fish enough for all
winter were stored away; flour, potatoes, and
a few other vegetables were there.
"Tell me about a real Thanksgiving din-
ner," the small boy begged after the first dis-
appointment had been bravely put away.
Mrs. Moxon took off her spectacles, and
leaned back cautiously in her broken- rockered
"I remember one Thanksgiving when
your pa was alive, we had a dinner fit for a
king. There was a ten-pound turkey, with
bread stuffing. I put the sage and onions into
the stuffing with my own hands."
"We could have some stuffing," interrupted
"So we could, sonny, so we could. It takes
you to think of things," and Mrs. Moxon af-
fectionately patted the little brown hand on
her knee. "It never would 'a' come to me
A TURKEY FOR THE STUFFING 329
that we might have turkey stuffing even if we
didn't have any turkey."
Ben beamed with delight at this praise.
"And was there anything else besides the tur-
key and the stuffing, Gran'ma?"
"Land, yes, child. There was turnips, and
mashed potatoes and mince pie, and your pa
got two pounds of grapes, though grapes was
expensive at that time o' year. Yes, nobody
could ask for a better dinner than that was."
"We could have one just like it, all but the
turkey and the mince pie and the grapes," said
"So we can, and will, too, child," answered
the old woman. "Trust you for making the
best of things," and the two smiled at each
Next morning Ben watched his grand-
mother add an egg, some sage and chopped
onion to a bowlful of dry bread, pour boiling
water over it, and put the mixture in the oven.
"Your father said I made the best turkey
stuffing he ever ate," she said with satisfac-
tion. "We'll see how it comes out, Benny."
"I can't hardly wait till dinner-time," Ben
330 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
said, with an excited skip. "I b'lieve I'll go
down to the beach, and pick up driftwood for
a while. You call me when the things are
most cooked, Gran'ma."
The storm of the day before had left many
a bit of board or end of a log on the beach
that would be just the thing for Mrs. Moxon's
stove. Ben worked so hard that he did not
notice a big barge that was corning slowly
down the river, towing two other boats be-
hind it, until he heard a voice ask:
"Hullo, kid! What makes you work so
hard on Thanksgiving day?"
Then he straightened up, to see the boat's
captain standing near its pilot house, and
shouting through a great trumpet.
"I'm waiting for dinner to cook," Ben an-
swered in his piping voice.
"Can't hear you !" roared the captain. "Run
home and get your horn, and talk to me."
Ben ran up the little hill to Mrs. Ross's, and
borrowed her trumpet, or megaphone. One's
voice sounds much louder when these are used,
and they are to be found at every house on the
shores of the St. Mary's, for the people on the
A TURKEY FOR THE STUFFING 331
boats, and those on the land, often want to say,
"How do you do?" to each other. It was all
Ben could do to hold the great tin trumpet
on straight, for it was nearly as long as he was.
"I'm waiting for dinner to cook," the boy
shouted again, and this time the captain heard
"Going to have turkey, I suppose?" the cap-
"No, but we're going to have turkey stuf-
fing," answered Ben with pride.
"Turkey stuffing, but no turkey! If that
isn't the best I ever heard!" The captain had
dropped his trumpet, and doubled up with
sudden laughter. Luckily Ben did not hear.
"What else are you going to have?" he called
when he had repeated the joke about him.
"Mince pie without any mince meat?"
"No, sir!" Ben's voice was shrill, but clear.
"My father had mince pie for Thanksgiving
dinner once, though."
"Did, did he?" The captain dropped his
trumpet again. "That boy's all right," he said
to the first mate. "He's too plucky to be
laughed at. I'm going to send him some tur-
332 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
key for his stuffing, Morgan. Tell the cook
to get ready half a turkey and a mince pie, and
say, Morgan, have him send up one of those
small baskets of grapes. We'll tie them to a
piece of plank, and they'll float ashore all
right. Tell the cook to hurry, or we'll be too
far downstream for the boy to get the things."
Then he raised his trumpet again.
"Say, kid, can you row that boat that's tied
to your dock?"
"Well, you hurry out into the river, and I'll
put off a float with some things for your
Thanksgiving dinner. You're going to have
some turkey for that stuffing."
You may be sure Ben lost no time in push-
ing the rowboat off into the stream, where the
end of a plank and its delicious load were soon
bobbing up and down on the water. How he
did smack his lips when he lifted them into the
boat, and how pleased he was for grandma!
"First the stuffing, and then the turkey!
My, ain't I lucky?" He did not know that
the captain had said he was plucky, and that
luck is very apt to follow pluck.
Through sun and shower the pumpkin grew,
When the days were long and the skies were
And it felt quite vain when its giant size
Was such that it carried away the prize
At the County Fair, when the people came,
And it wore a ticket and bore a name.
Alas for the pumpkin's pride! One day
A boy and his mother took it away.
It was pared and sliced and pounded and
And the way it was treated was hard and rude.
It was sprinkled with sugar and seasoned with
The boy and his mother pronounced it nice.
It was served in a paste, it was baked and
And at last on a pantry shelf was found.
334 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
And on Thursday John, Mary, and Mabel
Will see it on aunty's laden table.
For the pumpkin grew 'neath a summer sky
Just to turn at Thanksgiving into pie!
MARY MAPES DODGE.
MRS. NOVEMBER'S DINNER PARTY*
BY AGNES CARR
THE Widow November was very busy indeed
this year. What with elections and harvest
homes, her hands were full to overflowing; for
she takes great interest in politics, besides be-
ing a social body, without whom no apple bee
or corn husking is complete.
Still, worn out as she was, when her thirty
sons and daughters clustered round, and
begged that they might have their usual fam-
ily dinner on Thanksgiving day, she could not
find it in her hospitable heart to refuse, and
immediately invitations were sent to her eleven
brothers and sisters, old Father Time, and
Mother Year, to come with all their families
and celebrate the great American holiday.
Then what a busy time ensued! What a
slaughter of unhappy barnyard families tur-
*From Harper's Young People, November, 1883.
336 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
keys, ducks, and chickens ! What a chopping
of apples and boiling of doughnuts ! What a
picking of raisins and rolling of pie crust,
until every nook and corner of the immense
storeroom was stocked with "savoury mince
and toothsome pumpkin pies," while so great
was the confusion that even the stolid red-
hued servant, Indian Summer, lost his head,
and smoked so continually he always appeared
surrounded by a blue mist, as he piled logs
upon the great bonfires in the yard, until they
lighted up the whole country for miles
But at length all was ready; the happy days
had come, and all the little Novembers, in
their best "bib and tucker," were seated in a
row, awaiting the arrival of their uncles,
aunts, and cousins, while their mother, in rus-
set-brown silk trimmed with misty lace, looked
them over, straightening Guy Fawkes' collar,
tying Thanksgiving's neck ribbon, and settling
a dispute between two little presidential can-
didates as to which should sit at the head of
Soon a merry clashing of bells, blowing of
MRS. NOVEMBER'S PARTY 337
Horns, and mingling of voices were heard out-
side, sleighs and carriages dashed up to the
door, and in came, "just in season," Grandpa
Time, with Grandma Year leaning on his arm,
followed by all their children and grandchil-
dren, and were warmly welcomed by the
hostess and her family.
"Oh, how glad I am we could all come
to-day!" said Mr. January, in his crisp, clear
tones, throwing off his great fur coat, and rush-
ing to the blazing fire. "There is nothing like
the happy returns of these days."
"Nothing, indeed," simpered Mrs. Feb-
ruary, the poetess. "If I had had time I
should have composed some verses for the oc-
casion; but my son Valentine has brought a
sugar heart, with a sweet sentiment on it, to
his cousin Thanksgiving. I, too, have taken
the liberty of bringing a sort of adopted child
of mine, young Leap Year, who makes us a
visit every four years."
"He is very welcome, I am sure," said Mrs.
November, patting Leap Year kindly on the
head. "And, Sister March, how have you
been since we last met?"
338 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
"Oh! we have had the North, South, East,
and West Winds all at our house, and they
have kept things breezy, I assure you. But I
really feared we should not get here to-day;
for when we came to dress I found nearly
everything we had was lent; so that must ac-
count for our shabby appearance."
"He! he! he!" tittered little April Fool.
"What a sell !" And he shook until the bells
on his cap rang; at which his father ceased
for a moment showering kisses on his nieces
and nephews, and boxed his ears for his rude-
"Oh, Aunt May! do tell us a story," clam-
oured the younger children, and dragging her
into a corner she was soon deep in such a mov-
ing tale that they were all melted to tears, espe-
cially the little Aprils, who cry very easily.
Meanwhile, Mrs. June, assisted by her
youngest daughter, a "sweet girl graduate,"
just from school, was engaged in decking the
apartment with roses and lilies and other
fragrant flowers that she had brought from her
extensive gardens and conservatories, until the
room was a perfect bower of sweetness and
MRS. NOVEMBER'S PARTY 339
beauty; while Mr. July draped the walls with
flags and banners, lighted the candles, and
showed off the tricks of his pet eagle, Yankee
Doodle, to the great delight of the little ones.
Madam August, who suffers a great deal
with the heat, found a seat on a comfortable
sofa, as far from the fire as possible, and
waved a huge feather fan back and forth, while
her thirty-one boys and girls, led by the two
oldest, Holiday and Vacation, ran riot through
the long rooms, picking at their Aunt June's
flowers, and playing all sorts of pranks, re-
gardless of tumbled hair and torn clothes,
while they shouted, "Hurrah for fun!" and
behaved like a pack of wild colts let loose in
a green pasture, until their Uncle September
called them, together with his own children,
into the library, and persuaded them to read
some of the books with which the shelves were
filled, or play quietly \vith the game of Au-
thors and the Dissected Maps.
"For," said Mr. September to Mrs. Oc-
tober, "I think Sister August lets her chil-
dren romp too much. I always like improving
games for mine, although I have great trouble
340 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
in making Equinox toe the line as he should."
"That is because you are a schoolmaster,"
laughed Mrs. October, shaking her head,
adorned with a wreath of gaily tinted leaves;
"but where is my baby?"
At that moment a cry was heard without,
and Indian Summer came running in to say
that little All Hallows had fallen into a tub
of water while trying to catch an apple that
was floating on top, and Mrs. October, rush-
ing off to the kitchen, returned with her young-
est in a very wet and dripping condition, and
screaming at the top of his lusty little lungs.
He could only be consoled by a handful of
chestnuts, which his nurse, Miss Frost, cracked
open for him.
The little Novembers, meanwhile, were
having a charming time with their favourite
cousins, the Decembers, who were always so
gay and jolly, and had such a delightful papa.
He came with his pockets stuffed full of toys
and sugarplums, which he drew out from time
to time, and gave to his best-loved child,
Merry Christmas, to distribute amongst the
MRS. NOVEMBER'S PARTY 341
children, who gathered eagerly around their
little cousin, saying:
"Christmas comes but once a year,
But when she comes she brings good cheer."
At which Merry laughed gaily, and tossed her
golden curls, in which were twined sprays of
holly and clusters of brilliant scarlet berries.
At last the great folding-doors were thrown
open. Indian summer announced that din-
ner was served, and a long procession of old
and young was quickly formed, and led by
Mrs. November and her daughter Thanksgiv-
ing, whose birthday it was. They filed into the
spacious dining-room, where stood the long
table, groaning beneath its weight of good
things, while four servants ran continually in
and out bringing more substantiate and deli-
cacies to grace the board and please the appe-
tite. Winter staggered beneath great trench-
ers of meat and poultry, pies, and puddings;
Spring brought the earliest and freshest vege-
tables; Summer, the richest creams and ices;
while Autumn served the guests with fruit,
and poured the sparkling wine.
342 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
All were gay and jolly, and many a joke
was cracked as the contents of each plate and
dish melted away like snow before the sun,
and the great fires roared in the wide chim-
neys as though singing a glad Thanksgiving
New Year drank everybody's health, and
wished them "many returns of the day," while
Twelfth Night ate so much cake he made him-
self quite ill, and had to be put to bed.
Valentine sent mottoes to all the little girls,
and praised their bright eyes and glossy curls.
"For," said his mother, "he is a sad flatterer,
and not nearly so truthful, I am sorry to say, as
his brother, George Washington, who never
told a lie."
At which Grandfather Time gave George
a quarter, and said he should always remember
what a good boy he was.
After dinner the fun increased, all trying
to do something for the general amusement.
Mrs. March persuaded her son, St. Patrick, to
dance an Irish Jig, which he did to the tune
of the "Wearing of the Green," which his
MRS. NOVEMBER'S PARTY 343
brothers, Windy and Gusty, blew and whistled
on their fingers.
Easter sang a beautiful song, the little Mays,
"tripped the light fantastic toe" in a pretty
fancy dance, while the Junes sat by so smiling
and sweet it was a pleasure to look at them.
Independence, the fourth child of Mr. July,
who is a bold little fellow, and a fine speaker ?
gave them an oration he had learned at
school; and the Augusts suggested games of
tag and blindman's buff, which they all en-
Mr. September tried to read an instructive
story aloud, but was interrupted by Equinox,
April Fool, and little All Hallows, who
pinned streamers to his coat tails, covered him
with flour, and would not let him get through
a line; at which Mrs. October hugged her
tricksy baby, and laughed until she cried, and
Mr. September retired in disgust.
"That is almost too bad," said Mrs. Novem-
ber, as she shook the popper vigorously in
which the corn was popping and snapping
merrily; "but, Thanksgiving, you must not
344 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
forget to thank your cousins for all they have
done to honour your birthday."
At which the demure little maiden went
round to each one, and returned her thanks
in such a charming way it was quite captivat-
Grandmother Year at last began to nod over
her teacup in the chimney corner.
"It is growing late," said Grandpa Time.
"But we must have a Virginia Reel before
we go," said Mr. December.
"Oh, yes, yes!" cried all the children.
Merry Christmas played a lively air on the
piano, and old and young took their posi-
tions on the polished floor with grandpa and
grandma at the head.
Midsummer danced with Happy New
Year, June's Commencement with August's
Holiday, Leap Year with May Day, and all
"went merry as a marriage bell."
The fun was at its height when suddenly the
clock in the corner struck twelve. Grandma
Year motioned all to stop, and Grandfather
Time, bowing his head, said softly, "Hark!
my children, Thanksgiving Day is ended."
THE DEBUT OF "DAN'L WEBSTER"
ISABEL GORDON CURTIS
"I GUESS you can get the ell roof shingled
now, 'most any old time," cried Homer Tidd.
He bounced in at the kitchen door. A blast
of icy wind followed him.
"Gracious! shet the door, Homer, an' then
tell me your news." His mother shivered and
pulled a little brown shawl tighter about her
shoulders. The boy planted himself behind
the stove and laid his mittened hands com-
fortably around the pipe. "Oh, IVe made a
great deal, Mother." Homer's freckled face
glowed with satisfaction.
"What?" asked Mrs. Tidd.
"Did you see the man that jest druv out o'
"No, I didn't, Homer."
Used by permission of St. Nicholas.
346 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
"Well, 'twas Mr. Richards the Mr. Rich-
ards o' Finch & Richards, the big market folks
over in the city."
"Has he bought your Thanksgivin' tur-
"He hain't bought 'em for ThanksgivinV
"Well, what are you so set up about, boy?"
"He's rented the hull flock. He's to pay
me three dollars a day for them, then he's
goin' to buy them all for Christmas."
"Land sakes! Three dollars a day." Mrs.
Tidd dropped one side of a pan of apples she
was carrying, and some of them went rolling
about the kitchen floor.
"For how long?" she asked eagerly.
"For a week." Homer's freckles disap-
peared in the crimson glow of enthusiasm that
overspread his face.
"Eighteen dollars for nothin' but exhibitin'
a bunch o' turkeys! Seems to me some folks
must have money to throw away." Mrs. Tidd
stared perplexedly over the top of her glasses.
"I'll tell you all about it, Mother." Homer
took a chair and planted his feet on the edge
DEBUT OF "DAN'L WEBSTER" 347
of the oven. "Mr. Richards is goin' to have
a great Thanksgivin' food show, an' he wants
a flock o' live turkeys. He's been drivin' round
the country lookin' for some. The postmaster
sent him here. He told him about Dan'l Web-
"They don't make Dan'l any better eatin',"
objected his mother.
"Maybe not. But don't you see? Well!"
Homer's laugh was an embarrassed one.
"I'm goin' to put Dan'l an' Gettysburg through
their tricks right in the store window."
"You ben't?" and the mother looked in rapt
admiration at her clever son.
"I be!" answered Homer, triumphantly.
"I don't know, boy, jest what I think o' it,"
said his mother, slowly. " 'Tain't exactly a
a gentlemanly sort o' thing to do; be it?"
"I reckon I ben't a gentleman, Mother," re-
plied Homer, with his jolly laugh.
"Tell me all about it."
"Well, I was feedin' the turkeys when Mr.
Richards druv in. He said he heered I had
some trick turkeys, an' he'd like to see 'em.
Lucky enough, I hadn't fed 'em; they was
348 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
awful hungry, an' I tell you they never did
their tricks better."
"What did Mr. Richards say?"
"He thought it was the most amazin' thing
he'd ever seen in his life. He said he wouldn't
have believed turkeys had enough gumption in
them to learn a trick o' any kind."
"Did you tell him how you'd fussed with
them ever since they was little chicks?"
"I did. He wuz real interested, an' he of-
fered me three dollars to give a show three
times a day. He's got a window half as big
as this kitchen. He'll have it wired in, an 1
the turkeys'll stay there at his expense. Along
before Christmas he'll give me twenty-two
cents a pound for 'em."
"Well, I vow, Homer, it's pretty good
"Mr. Richards give me a commutation on
the railroad. He's to send after the turkeys
an' bring 'em back, so I won't have any ex-
Homer rose and sauntered about the
kitchen, picking up the apples that had rolled
in all directions over the floor.
DEBUT OF "DAN'L WEBSTER" 349
A week before Thanksgiving, the corner
in front of Finch & Richard's great market
looked as it was wont to look on circus day:
only the eyes of the crowds were not turned
expectantly up Main Street; they were riv-
eted on a window in the big store. Passers-by
tramped out into the snowy street when they
reached the mob at the corner. The front of
the store was decorated with a fringe of plump
turkeys. One window had held a glowing
mountain of fruit and vegetables arranged by
someone with a keen eye to colour monstrous
pumpkins, splendid purple cabbages, rosy
apples and russet pears, green and purple
grapes, snowy stalks of celery, and corn ears
yellow as sunshine. Crimson beets neigh-
boured with snowy parsnips, scarlet carrots,
and silk-wrapped onions. Egg-plants, gleam-
ing like deep-hued amethysts, circled about
magnificent cauliflowers, while red and yellow
bananas made gay mosaic walks through the
fruit mountain. Wherever a crack or a
cranny had been left was a mound of ruby
cranberries, fine raisin bunches, or brown nuts.
It was a remarkable display of American
350 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
products; yet, after the first "Ah" of admira-
tion, people passed on to the farther window,
where six plump turkeys, supremely innocent
of a feast-day fete, flapped their wings or gob-
bled impertinently when a small boy laid his
nose flat against the window. Three times a
day the crowd grew twenty deep. It laughed
and shouted and elbowed one another good-
naturedly, for the Thanksgiving spirit was
abroad. Men tossed children up on their stal-
wart shoulders, then small hands clapped
ecstatically, and small legs kicked with wild
The hero of the hour was a freckled, red-
haired boy, who came leaping through a wire
door with an old broom over his shoulders.
Every turkey waited for him eagerly, hun-
grily! They knew that each old, familiar
trick learned away back in chickhood
would earn a good feed. When the freckled
boy began to whistle, or when his voice rang
out in a shrill order, it was the signal for
Dan'l Webster, for Gettysburg, for Amanda
Ann, Mehitable, Nancy, or Farragut to step
to the center of the stage and do some irresisti-
DEBUT OF "DAN'L WEBSTER" 351
bly funny turn with a turkey's bland solemnity.
None of the birds had attacks of stage fright
their acting was as self-possessed as if they
were in the old farm yard with no audience
present but Mrs. Tidd to lean smiling over
the fence with a word of praise, and the cov-
eted handful of golden corn.
With every performance the crowd grew
more dense, the applause more uproarious, and
the Thanksgiving trade at Finch & Richard's
bigger than it had been in years. Each night
Homer took the last train home, tired but
happy, for three crisp greenbacks w r ere added
to the roll in his small, shabby wallet.
Two days before Thanksgiving, Homer, in
his blue overalls and faded sweater, was busy
at work. The gray of the dawn was just creep-
ing into the east, while the boy went hurrying
through his chores. There was still a man's
work to be done before he took the ten o'clock
train to town ; besides, he had promised to help
his mother about the house. His grandfather,
an uncle, an aunt, and three small cousins were
coming to eat their Thanksgiving feast at the
old farmhouse. Homer whistled gaily, while
352 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
he bedded the creatures with fresh straw. The
whistle trailed into an indistinct trill; the boy
felt a pang of loneliness as he glanced into
the turkey-pen. There was nobody there but
old Mother Salvia. Homer tossed her a hand-
ful of corn. "Poor old lady, I s'pose you're
lonesome, ain't you, now? Never mind ; when
spring comes you'll be scratchin' around with
a hull raft of nice little chickies at your heels.
We'll teach them a fine trick or two, won't we,
Salvia clucked over the corn appreciatively.
"Homer, Homer, come here quick."
Down the frozen path through the yard
came Mrs. Tidd, with the little brown shawl
wrapped tightly about her head. She fluttered
a yellow envelope in her hand.
"Homer boy, it's a telegraph come. I can't
read it; I've mislaid my glasses."
Homer was by her side in a minute, tearing
open the flimsy envelope.
"It's from Finch & Richards, Mother," he
cried excitedly. "They say, Take the first
train to town without fail.'
"What do you s'pose they want you for?"
DEBUT OF "DAN'L WEBSTER" 353
asked Mrs. Tidd, with a very anxious face.
"P'r'aps the store's burned down," gasped
Homer. He brushed one rough hand across
his eyes. "Poor Dan'l Webster an' Gettys-
burg! I didn't know anybody could set so
much store by turkeys."
"Maybe 't ain't nothin' bad, Homer," Mrs.
Tidd laid her hand upon his shoulder.
"Maybe they want you to give an extra early
show or somethin'." She suggested it cheer-
"Maybe," echoed Homer. "But, Mother,
I've got to hurry to catch that 7:30 train."
"Let me go with you, Homer."
"You don't need to," cried the boy. "It
probably ain't nothin' serious."
"I'm goin'," cried Mrs. Tidd decisively;
"you don't s'pose I could stay here doin'
nothin' but waitin' an' wond'rin'?"
Mrs. Tidd and Homer caught a car at the
city depot. Five minutes later they stood in
front of Finch & Richards' big market.
"Mother," whispered the boy, as he stepped
off the car, "Mother, my turkeys! They're
354 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
not there! Something's happened. See the
They pushed their way through a mob that
was peering in at the windows, and through
the windows of locked doors. The row of
plump turkeys was not hung this morning
under the big sign; the magnificent window
display of fruit and vegetables had been ruth-
"What do you s'pose can have happened?"
Whispered Mrs. Tidd, while they waited for
a clerk to come hurrying down the store and
unlock the door.
Homer shook his head.
Mr. Richards himself came to greet them.
"Well, young man," he cried, "IVe had
enough of your pesky bird show. There's a
hundred dollars' worth of provisions gone, to
say nothing of the trade we are turning away.
Two days before Thanksgiving, of all times in
"Good land!" whispered Mrs. Tidd. Her
eyes were wandering about the store. It was
scattered from one end to the other with wasted
food. Sticky rivers trickled here and there
DEBUT OF "DAN'L WEBSTER" 355
across the floor. A small army of clerks was
hard at work sweeping and mopping.
"Where's my turkeys?" asked Homer.
"Your turkeys, confound them!" snarled
Mr. Richards. "They're safe and sound in
their crate in my back store, all but that blasted
old gobbler you call Dan'l Webster. He's do-
ing his stunts on a top shelf. We found him
there tearing cereal packages into shreds. For
mercy's sake, go and see if you can't get him
down. He has almost pecked the eyes out of
every clerk who has tried to lay a finger on
him. I'd like to wring his ugly neck."
Mr. Richard's face grew red as the comb of
Dan'l Webster himself.
Homer and his mother dashed across the
store. High above their heads strutted Dan'l
Webster with a slow, stately tread. Occa-
sionally he peered down at the ruin and con-
fusion below, commenting upon it with a
lordly, satisfied gobble.
"Dan'l Webster," called Homer, coaxingly,
"good old Dan'l, come an' see me."
The boy slipped cautiously along to where
a step-ladder stood.
356 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
"Dan'l," he called persuasively, "wouldn't
you like to come home, Dan'l?"
Dan'l perked down with pleased recogni-
tion in his eyes. Homer crept up the ladder.
He was preparing to lay a hand on one of
Dan'l's black legs when the turkey hopped
away with a triumphant gobble, and went rac-
ing gleefully along the wide shelf. A row of
bottles filled with salad-dressing stood in
Dan'l's path. He cleared them out of the
way with one energetic kick. They tumbled
to a lower shelf; their yellow contents crept
in a sluggish stream toward the mouth of a
"I'll have that bird shot!" thundered Mr.
Richards. "That's all there is about it."
"Wait a minute, sir," pleaded Mrs. Tidd.
"Homer'll get him."
Dan'l Webster would neither be coaxed nor
commanded. He wandered up and down the
shelf, gobbling vociferously into the faces of
the excited mob.
"Henry, go and get a pistol," cried Mr.
Richards, turning to one of his clerks.
"Homer," Mrs. Tidd clutched the boy's
DEBUT OF "DAN'L WEBSTER'' 357
arm, "why don't you make b'lieve you're
shootin' Dan'l? Mavbe he'll lie down, so you
can git him."
Homer called for a broom. He tossed it,
gun fashion, across his shoulder, and crept
along slowly, sliding a ladder before him to
the spot where the turkey stood watching with
intent eyes. He put one foot upon the lowest
step, then he burst out in a spirited whistle.
It was "Marching through Georgia." The
bird stared at him fixedly.
"Bang!" cried Homer, and he pointed the
broom straight at the recreant turkey.
Dan'l Webster dropped stiff. A second
later Homer had a firm grasp of the scaly
legs. Dan'l returned instantly to life, but the
rebellious head was tucked under his master's
jacket. Dan'l Webster thought he was being
strangled to death.
"There!" cried Homer, triumphantly. He
closed the lid of the poultry crate, and wiped
the perspiration from his forehead. "There!
I guess you won't get out again."
He followed Mr. Richards to the front of
the store to view the devastation.
358 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
"Who'd have thought turkeys could have
ripped up strong wire like that?" cried the
enraged market man, pointing to the shattered
"I guess Dan'l began the mischief," said
Homer soberly; "he's awful strong."
"I'm sorry I ever laid eyes on Dan'l!" ex-
claimed Mr. Richards. "I'll hate to see
Finch. He'll be in on the 4.20 train. He's
conservative; he never had any use for the tur-
"When did you find out that they what had
happened?" asked Homer timidly.
"At five o'clock. Two of the men got here
early. They telephoned me. I never saw
such destruction in my life. Your turkeys had
sampled most everything in the store, from
split peas to molasses. What they didn't eat
they knocked over or tore open. I guess they
won't need feeding for a week. They're
chuckful of oatmeal, beans, crackers, peanuts,
pickles, toothpicks, prunes, soap, red herrings,
cabbage about everything their crops can
"I'm awfully sorry," faltered Homer.
DEBUT OF "DAN'L WEBSTER" 359
"So am I," said Mr. Richards resolutely.
"Now, the best thing you can do is to take
your flock and clear out. IVe had enough of
Homer and his mother waited at the depot
for the ii o'clock train. Beside them stood a
crate filled with turkeys that wore a well-fed,
satisfied expression. Somebody tapped Homer
on the shoulder.
"You're the boy who does the stunts with
turkeys, aren't you?" asked a well-dressed man
with a silk hat, and a flower in his button-
"Yes," answered the boy, wonderingly.
"IVe been hunting for you. That was a
great rumpus you made at Finch & Richards 7 .
The whole town's talking about it."
"Yes, answered Homer again, and he
"Taking your turkevs home?"
"I've come to see if we can keep them in
town a few days longer."
The boy shook his head vigorously. "I
don't want any more turkey shows."
360 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
"Not if the price is big enough to make it
worth your while?"
"No!" said Homer sturdily.
"Let us go into the station and talk it over."
On Thanksgiving afternoon the Colonial
Theater, the best vaudeville house in the city,
held a throng that was dined well, and was
happy enough to appreciate any sort of fun.
The children hundreds of them shrieked
with delight over every act. The women
laughed, the men applauded with great hearty
hand-claps. A little buzz of excitement went
round the house when, at the end of the fourth
turn, two boys, instead of setting up the regu-
lation big red number, displayed a brand new
card. It read: "Extra Number Homer
Tidd and his Performing Turkeys." A shout
of delighted anticipation went up from the
audience. Every paper in town had made a
spectacular story of the ruin at Finch & Rich-
ards'. Nothing could have been so splendid a
surprise. Everybody broke into applause,
everybody except one little woman who sat in
the front row of the orchestra. Her face was
DEBUT OF "DAN'L WEBSTER" 361
pale, her hands clasped, and unclasped each
other tremulously. "Homer, boy," she whis-
pered to herself.
The curtain rolled up. The stage was set
for a realistic farmyard scene. The floor was
scattered with straw, an old pump leaned over
in one corner, hay tumbled untidily from a
barn-loft, a coop with a hen and chickens
stood by the fence. From her stall stared a
white-faced cow; her eyes blinked at the glare
of the footlights. The orchestra struck up a
merry tune; the cow uttered an astonished
moo; then in walked a sturdy lad with fine,
broad shoulders, red hair, and freckles. His
boots clumped, his blue overalls were faded,
his sweater had once been red. At his heels
stepped six splendid turkeys, straight in line,
every one with its eyes on the master. Homer
never knew how he did it. Two minutes
earlier he had said to the manager, desper-
ately: "I'll cut an' run right off as soon as I
set eyes on folks." Perhaps he drew courage
from the anxious gaze in his mother's eyes.
Hers was the only face he saw in the great
audience. Perhaps it was the magnificent
362 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
aplomb of the turkeys that inspired him.
They stepped serenely, as if walking out on a
gorgeously lighted stage was an every-day
event in their lives. Anyhow, Homer threw
up his head, and led the turkey march round
and round past the footlights, till the shout of
applause dwindled into silence. The boy
threw back his head and snapped his fingers.
The turkeys retreated to form in line at the
back of the stage.
"Gettysburg," cried Homer, pointing to a
stately, plump hen. Gettysburg stepped to the
center of the stage. "How many kernels of
corn have I thrown you, Getty?" he asked.
The turkey turned to count them, with her
head cocked reflectively on one side. Then
she scratched her foot on the floor.
"One, two, three, four, five!"
"Right. Now you may eat them, Getty."
Gettysburg wore her new-won laurels with
an excellent grace. She jumped through a
row of hoops, slid gracefully about the stage
on a pair of miniature roller-skates; she
stepped from stool to chair, from chair to
table, in perfect time with Homer's whistle,
DEBUT OF "DAN'L WEBSTER" 363
and a low strain of melody from the orchestra.
She danced a stately jig on the table, then,
with a satisfied cluck, descended on the other
side to the floor. Amanda Ann, Mehitable,
Nancy, and Farragut achieved their triumphs
in a slow dance made up of dignified hops and
mazy turns. They stood in a decorous line
awaiting the return of their master, for Homer
had dashed suddenly from the stage. He re-
appeared, holding his head up proudly. Now
he wore the blue uniform and jaunty cap of
a soldier boy; a gun leaned on his shoulder.
The orchestra put all its vigor, patriotism,
and wind into "Marching through Georgia."
Straight to Homer's side when they heard
his whistle, wheeled the turkey regiment,
ready to keep step, to fall in line, to march and
countermarch. Only one feathered soldier
fell. It was Dan'l Webster. At a bang from
Homer's rifle he dropped stiff and stark.
From children here and there in the audience
came a cry of horror. They turned to ask in
frightened whispers if the turkey was "truly
snooted." As if to ans\ver the question, Dan'l
leaped to his feet. Homer pulled a Stars and
364 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
Stripes from his pocket, and waved it enthus-
iastically; then the orchestra dashed into
"Yankee Doodle." It awoke some patriotic
spirit in the soul of Dan'l Webster. He left
his master, and, puffing himself to his stateliest
proportions, stalked to the footlights to utter
one glorious, soul-stirring gobble. The cur-
tain fell, but the applause went on and on and
on! At last, out again across the stage came
Homer, waving "Old Glory." Dan'l Web-
ster, Gettysburg, Amanda Ann, Nancy, Me-
hitable and Farragut followed in a triumphal
march. Homer's eyes were bent past the foot-
lights, searching for the face of one little
woman. This time the face was one radiant
flush, and her hands were adding their share
to the deafening applause.
"Homer, boy," she said fondly. This time
she spoke aloud, but nobody heard it. An en-
core for the "Extra Turn" was so vociferous,
it almost shook the plaster from the ceiling.
THE GREEN CORN DANCE
FRANCES JENKINS OLCOTT
THE first Thanksgiving Dinner in America,
where was it eaten? Why, of course, we think
of its being eaten in old Plymouth Town,
when the Pilgrim Fathers spread their board
with fish, wild turkey, geese, ducks, venison,
barley bread, Indian maize, and other good
things, and invited the Indian King Massa-
soit and his braves to the feast. It was a time
of rejoicing and thanksgiving for the fine har-
vest God had given the Pilgrims.
But that was not the first Thanksgiving Din-
ner eaten in America! For many, many years
before the Pilgrims came to this land, Thanks-
giving Dinners had been given. The Red
Men, the first owners of America, held their
Thanksgiving Festivals every autumn. These
366 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
were in celebration of the ripening of the
corn, and in honour of their Manitos, as they
called their gods. For, until the white men
came, the Indians never heard of the all-good
''Great Spirit" of Heaven. They held other
feasts, too, among them a New Year one, a
Maple Sugar Feast, a Strawberry Festival, a
Bean Dance, and a Corn-gathering Feast.
Even to-day, some Indians keep their
heathen Thanksgiving at the time of the ripen-
ing of the corn. It is called the Green Corn
Dance. Many Indians are Christians, but
numbers still worship the Manitos of the sun,
moon, stars, wind, rain, thunder, and other
things in Nature. Though some of these
heathen Red Men speak reverently of the
Great Spirit, they seem scarcely to under-
stand who He is, and confuse Him with their
Manitos, as may be seen in the hymn that in-
troduces the Feather Dance.
Among some tribes of the Iroquois Family,
in New York State, the Green Corn Dance is
still celebrated. And this is how a visitor saw
the dance at the Cattaraugus Reservation.
As the time for the Festival approached,
THE GREEN CORN DANCE 367
certain men and women of the tribe, called the
"Keepers of the Faith," began to prepare for
the dance. Every morning at sunrise, the
women went to the cornfield and picked a few
ears, and took them to the Head Man at the
Council House. When he decided that the
corn was sufficiently ripe, the Feast was called.
Summons were sent to the Indians at the
Tonawanda and Allegany Reservations, bid-
ding all meet at sunrise on the tenth of
September, in the Council House of the Cat-
On the morning of the feast, the men,
"Keepers of the Faith," arose at sunrise, and
built a fire, on which they threw an offering
of tobacco and corn, and they prayed to the
Great Spirit to bless the tribes. They then ex-
tinguished the fire, and later the women
"Keepers of the Faith" built another in the
Then the people began to arrive, all in their
best clothes. While they were waiting for the
ceremonies to begin, the young men played
ball, and the girls walked about, talking with
each other. Meanwhile, the women "Keepers
3 68 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
of the Faith," hastened to prepare soup and
succotash, which were soon boiling in large
kettles suspended over huge, flaming logs.
After a little while the people began to
move toward the Council House, a long, low,
wooden building, with a door at the northeast
end, and another at the southwest. The peo-
ple entered in two lines, the women through
one door, and the men through the other. All
took their seats on benches arranged on three
sides of the room. In the centre of the room
sat the singers, and the musicians with their
When all was quiet, the speaker began the
ceremonies by a prayer to the Great Spirit,
while the men, with bowed, uncovered heads,
Indians do not kneel, listened reverently.
After the prayer was finished, the speaker,
lifting his voice, addressed the Indians.
"My friends," he said, " we are here to wor-
ship the Great Spirit As by our old custom,
we give the Great Spirit His dance, the Great
Feather Dance. We must have it before noon.
The Great Spirit sees to everything in the
morning, afterwards he rests. He gives us
THE GREEN CORN DANCE 369
land and things to live on, so we must thank
Him for His ground, and for the things it
brought forth. He gave us the thunder to
wet the land, so we must thank the thunder.
We must thank Ga-ne-o-di-o * that we know
he is in the happy land. It is the wish of the
Great Spirit that we express our thanks in
dances as well as prayer. The cousin clans are
here from Tonawanda; we are thankful to the
Great Spirit to have them here, and to greet
them with the rattles and singing. We have
appointed one of them to lead the dances."
When the speaker finished, there was a
pause, then a shout outside the Council House
told that the Feather Dancers were coming.
They entered the room, a long, gracefully
swaying line of fifty men, clad in Indian cos-
tume, gay with colour and nodding plumes,
and with bells adorning their leggings.
Slowly and majestically they entered, and
stood for a moment near the entrance. Then
the speaker began in a high voice, the hymn
of thanksgiving to the Great Spirit, while the
dancers, in single file, commenced walking
A prophet of the Indians.
370 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
slowly around the room, keeping step with the
beating of the musicians' rattles.
Each verse of the hymn thanked the Great
Spirit for some benefit, for water, for the
animals, for the trees, for the light, for the
fruits, for the stars, and among other good
things, for the "Supporters," the three Mani-
to-sisters, the guardians of the Corn, Bean,
After each verse, the dancers quickened
their steps, and danced rapidly around the
room. When the hymn was finished, the
speaker ordered the real dance to start Then,
still in single file, the dancers began the great
Erect in body, yet gracefully swaying, they
moved around and around the Council House,
keeping time with the rhythmic beat of the
rattles, that sounded now slow and now fast.
Lifting each foot alternately from the floor,
every dancer brought his heel down with such
force that all the legging-bells rang in time
with the music. At times the movement grew
very swift, and the many lithesome twistings
and bendings of the dancers, their shouts to one
THE GREEN CORN DANCE 371
another, and the cries of the spectators, filled
all with keen excitement. During the slower
movements, some of the women arose, and
joined the dance, forming an inner circle.
Then the dancers sang a weird chant, in
company with the singers, "Ha-ho! Ha-ho!
Ha-ho!" they sang; then all present joined
in the quick refrain, "Way-ha-ah! Way-
ha-ah ! Way-ha-ah !" ending in a loud, guttural
shout, as the dancers bowed their heads, "Ha-i!
When the noon hour came, the great
Feather Dance was over, and two huge kettles
were brought in to the Council House, one
full of soup, and the other of succotash. One
of the men "Keepers of the Faith," said a
prayer of thanksgiving, in which all joined,
and the food was poured into vessels brought
by the women. It was then carried to the
homes, where the Indians enjoyed eating it
by their own firesides.
The feast was over for that day, but it
lasted two days more, during which the tribes
gambled, danced, ate, and beat their drums.
The visitor who saw this Green Corn Festival,
372 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
wrote afterward about the closing scene, the
great Snake Dance:
"The nodding plumes, the tinkling bells, the
noisy rattles, the beats of the high-strung
drums, the shuffling feet and weird cries of
the dancers, and the approving shouts of the
spectators, all added to the spell of a strange-
ness that seemed to invest the quaint old Coun-
cil House with the supernaturalness of a
"As the sun neared its setting, the dancers
stopped in a quiet order, and the speaker of
the day bade farewell to the clans . . . and,
after invoking the blessing of the Great Spirit,
declared the Green Corn Festival of 1890
"Have you cut the wheat in the blowing fields,
The barley, the oats, and the rye,
The golden corn and the pearly rice?
For the winter days are nigh."
"We have reaped them all from shore to shore,
And the grain is safe on the threshing floor."
"Have you gathered the berries from the vine,
And the fruit from the orchard trees?
The dew and the scent from the roses and
In the hive of the honeybees?"
"The peach and the plum and the apple are
And the honeycomb from the scented flowers."
"The wealth of the snowy cotton field
And the gift of the sugar cane,
The savoury herb and the nourishing root-
There has nothing been given in vain."
"We have gathered the harvest from shore to
And the measure is full and brimming o'er."
374 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
"Then lift up the head with a song!
And lift up the hand with a gift!
To the ancient Giver of all
The spirit in gratitude lift!
For the joy and the promise of spring,
For the hay and the clover sweet,
The barley, the rye, and the oats,
The rice, and the corn, and the wheat,
The cotton, and sugar, and fruit,
The flowers and the fine honeycomb,
The country so fair and so free,
The blessings and glory of home.' 3
AMELIA E. BARR.
THE TWO ALMS
THE THANKSGIVING DAY GIFT
ONCE upon a time a poor old beggar woman
stood shivering by the side of a road which led
to a prosperous village. She hoped some trav-
eler would be touched by her misery, and
would give her a few pennies with which to
buy food and fuel.
It had been snowing since early morning,
and a sharp east wind made the evening air
bitterly cold. At the sound of approaching
footsteps the old woman's face brightened
with expectancy, but the next moment her
eager expression changed to disappointment,
for the traveler passed without giving her
"Poor old woman," he said to himself.
"This is a bitter cold night to be begging on
the roadside. It is, indeed. I am truly sorry
Translated by special permission from Guerber's Contes et
Legendes, I^re Partie. Copyright by American Book Company.
376 THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
And as his footsteps became fainter, the
beggar woman whispered, "I must not give
up. Perhaps the next traveler will help me."
In a little while she heard the sound of
wheels. It happened to be the carnage of
the mayor, who was on his way to a Thanks-
giving banquet. When his excellency saw the
miserable old woman, he ordered the carriage
to stop, lowered the window, and took a piece
of money from his pocket.
"Here you are," he called, holding out a
The woman hurried to the window as fast
as she could. Before she reached it, however,
the mayor noticed that he had taken a gold
piece instead of a silver one out of his pocket.
"Wait a moment," he said. "I've made a
He intended to exchange the coin for one
of less value, but he caught his sleeve on the
window fastening, and dropped the gold piece
in the snow. The woman had come up to the
carnage window, and he noticed that she was
"I've dropped the money, my good
THE TWO ALMS 377
woman," he said, "but it lies near you there in
the snow. No doubt you'll find it."
"Thank you, sir, thank you," said the beg-
gar, kneeling down to search for the coin.
On rolled the mayor to the banquet. "It
was foolish to give her gold," he thought,
"but I'm a rich man, and I seldom make such
That night after the banquet when the
mayor sat before a blazing fire in his com-
fortable chair, the picture of the beggar
woman, kneeling in the snow, and fumbling
around for the gold piece, came before his
"I hope she will make good use of my gen-
erous gift," he mused. "It was entirely too
much to give, but no doubt I shall be rewarded
for my charity."
The first traveler hurried on his way until
he came to the village inn, where a great wood
fire crackled merrily in the cheery dining
room. He took off his warm coat, and sat
down to wait for dinner to be served. But he
could not forget the picture of the old beg-
gar woman standing on the snowy roadside.
378^ THE TOPAZ STORY BOOK
Suddenly he rose, put on his coat, and said
to the host, "Prepare dinner for two. I shall
be back presently."
He hastened back to the place where he had
seen the poor old woman, who was still on her
knees in the snow searching for the mayor's
"My good woman, what are you looking
for?" he asked.
"A piece of money, sir. The gentleman
who gave it to me dropped it in the snow."
"Do not search any longer," said the trav-
eler, "but come with me to the village inn.
There you may warm yourself before the
great fire, and we shall have a good dinner.
Come, you shall be my Thanksgiving guest."
He helped her to her feet, and then, for the
first time, he saw that she was blind. Care-
fully he took her arm, and led her along the
road to the inn.
"Sit here and warm yourself," he said,
placing her gently in a comfortable chair. In
a few moments he led her to the table, and
gave her a good dinner.
On that Thanksgiving Day an angel took
THE TWO ALMS 379
up her pen, and struck out all account of the
gold piece from the book where the mayor re-
corded his good deeds. Another angel wrote
in the traveler's book of deeds an account of
the old beggar woman's Thanksgiving dinner
at the village inn. Adapted.
A THANKSGIVING PSALM
Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye
Serve the Lord with gladness :
Come unto his presence with singing.
Know ye that the Lord he is God;
It is he that hath made us, and not we our-
We are his people and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving
And into his courts with praise,
Be thankful unto him, an d bless his name.
For the Lord is good ; his mercy is everlasting :
And his truth endureth to all generations.
THE CROWN OF THE YEAR
AH, happy morning of autumn sweet,
Yet ripe and rich with summer's heat.
*T *^ 1 * *%* *F *f r
Near me each humble flower and weed
The dock's rich umber, gone to seed,
The hawk-bit's gold, the bayberry's spice,
One late wild rose beyond all price;
Each is a friend and all are dear,
Pathetic signs of the waning year.
The painted rose-leaves, how they glow!
Like crimson wine the woodbines show;
The wholesome yarrow's clusters fine,
Like frosted silver dimly shine;
And who thy quaintest charm shall tell,
Thou little scarlet pimpernel?
In the mellow, golden autumn days,
When the world is zoned in their purple haze,
A spirit of beauty walks abroad,
That fills the heart with peace of God ;
The spring and summer may bless and cheer,
But autumn brings us the crown o' the year.