The Project Gutenberg eBook of Standard Catholic Readers by Grades: Fifth Year

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Title: Standard Catholic Readers by Grades: Fifth Year

Editor: Mary E. Doyle

Release date: December 14, 2016 [eBook #53732]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Juliet Sutherland and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at


The Madonna of the Chair

Painting by Raphael







The Virgin Mary



Copyright, 1909, 1913, by

Stand. Cath. Readers by Grades.
5th Year.

E. P. 6



The selections in this reader for the Fifth Year were chosen with reference both to their intrinsic literary quality and to the varying capabilities of the pupils who will read them. It is confidently hoped that they will reach some interest of each child, and, at the same time, help to form a correct literary standard and encourage a taste for the best reading.

In the preparation of this series of readers, valuable counsel and assistance have been given me by many friendly educators and those in authority. I am especially grateful to the Rt. Rev. John Lancaster Spalding of Peoria for helpful advice and encouragement in the planning and inception of the work; also, to the Rt. Rev. James McGolrick of Duluth, Minnesota, to the Rt. Rev. A. F. Schinner of Superior, Wisconsin, and to other prelates and clergy who have graciously given me assistance in various ways. Many thanks, too, for kindly suggestions and criticisms are hereby proffered to numerous friends among those patient and inspiring educators—the Sisters.




The selections from Whittier, Longfellow. Lowell, Miriam Coles Harris, and John Burroughs are used by special permission of, and arrangement with, Houghton Mifflin Company, the publishers of the works of these authors. The selections from Helen Hunt Jackson are used by special arrangement with Little, Brown, & Company. Acknowledgments for the use of copyright material are also made: to Small, Maynard & Company for the poems by Father Tabb; to the editor and publisher of The Ave Maria for “Lucy’s Rosary,” by J. R. Marre, and other poems from that magazine; to Mary F. Nixon-Roulet for the selections of which she is the author; to Longmans, Green, & Company, for “The Reindeer,” by Andrew Lang; to Henry Coyle for the poems of which he is the author; and to the Congregation of the Mission of St Vincent de Paul, Springfield, Mass., for the extract from Mother Mary Loyola’s “Jesus of Nazareth,” of which book they are the publishers.



Little Wolff and his Wooden Shoe François Coppée 7
The Eagle and the Swan J. J. Audubon 14
Lucy’s Rosary J. R. Marre 16
The Taxgatherer Rev. John B. Tabb 17
The Wisdom of Alexander Horace Binney Wallace 18
Thanksgiving Henry Coyle 23
The Enchanted Bark Cervantes 24
A Legend of St. Nicholas Author Unknown 30
Raphael of Urbino 36
Lead, Kindly Light Cardinal Newman 43
Parable of the Good Samaritan The Bible 44
Connor Mac-Nessa—An Irish Legend M. F. Nixon-Roulet 46
The Martyrdom of Blessed John Fisher Rev. T. E. Bridgett 50
The Nightingale and the Glowworm William Cowper 56
If thou couldst be a Bird Rev. F. W. Faber 58
The First Crusade 60
How the Robin Came John G. Whittier 75
How St. Francis preached to the Birds From “Little Flowers of St. Francis” 78
The Petrified Fern Mary L. Bolles Branch 82
Bird Enemies John Burroughs 84
St. Joseph’s Month H. W. 95
[6]A Song of Spring Aubrey de Vere 96
Robert Bruce Sir Walter Scott 97
“When Evening Shades are Falling” Thomas Moore 106
The Reindeer A. Lang 107
A Story of Ancient Ireland Lady Gregory 114
San Gabriel Helen Hunt Jackson 118
Imitation of Mary St. Ambrose 120
Scene from “William Tell” Sheridan Knowles 121
The Schoolmaster of Sleepy Hollow Washington Irving 132
The Bluebird Rev. John B. Tabb 151
The Brook Alfred Tennyson 152
The Story of a Happy Child 154
May Carol Sister Mary Antonia 158
The Precious Blood of Jesus Henry Coyle 160
The Spanish Cook Miriam Coles Harris 161
The Planting of the Apple Tree William Cullen Bryant 166
The Conversion of King Ratbodo Conrad von Bolanden 170
The Blessed Virgin Mary H. W. Longfellow 174
Come to Jesus Rev. F. W. Faber 175
Father Marquette John G. Shea 178
The Shepherd of King Admetus J. R. Lowell 186
The Sermon on the Mount Mother Mary Loyola 188
The Star-spangled Banner Francis Scott Key 196
How America was Discovered 198
The Power of God Thomas Moore 213
Our Country and our Home James Montgomery 214
Notes 215





Once upon a time, so long ago that everybody has forgotten the date, there was a little boy whose name was Wolff. He lived with his aunt in a tall old house in a city whose name is so hard to pronounce that nobody can speak it. He was seven years old, and he could not remember that he had ever seen his father or his mother.

The old aunt who had the care of little Wolff was very selfish and cross. She gave him dry bread to eat, of which there was never enough; and not more than once in the year did she speak kindly to him.

But the poor boy loved this woman, because he had no one else to love; and there was never a day so dark that he did not think of the sunlight.

Everybody knew that Wolff’s aunt owned a house and had a stocking full of gold under her bed, and so she did not dare to send the little boy to the school for the poor as she would have liked to do. But a schoolmaster on the next street agreed to teach him for almost nothing; and whenever there was work he could do, he was kept at home.


The schoolmaster had an unkind feeling for Wolff because he brought him so little money and was dressed so poorly. And so the boy was punished very often, and had to bear the blame for all the wrong that was done in the school.

The little fellow was often very sad; and more than once he hid himself where he could not be seen and cried as though his heart would break. But at last Christmas came.

The night before Christmas there was to be singing in the church, and the schoolmaster was to be there with all his boys; and everybody was to have a very happy time looking at the Christmas candles and listening to the sweet music.

The winter had set in very cold and rough, and there was much snow on the ground; and so the boys came to the schoolhouse with fur caps drawn down over their ears, and heavy coats, and warm gloves, and thick high-topped boots. But little Wolff had no warm clothes. He came shivering in the thin coat which he wore on Sundays in summer; and there was nothing on his feet but coarse stockings very full of holes, and a pair of heavy wooden shoes.

The other boys made many jokes about his sad looks and his worn-out clothes. But the poor child was so busy blowing his fingers and thumping his toes to keep them warm that he did not hear what was[9] said. And when the hour came, the whole company of boys, with the schoolmaster at the front, started to the church.


It was very fine in the church. Hundreds of wax candles were burning in their places, and the air was so warm that Wolff soon forgot his aching fingers. The boys sat still for a little while; and then while the singing was going on and the organ was making loud music, they began in low voices to talk to one another; and each told about the fine things that were going to be done at his home on the morrow.

The mayor’s son told of a monstrous goose that he had seen in the kitchen before he came away; it was stuffed, and stuck all over with cloves till it was as spotted as a leopard. Another boy whispered of a little fir tree in a wooden box in his mother’s parlor; its branches were full of fruits and nuts and candy and beautiful toys. And he said that he was sure of a fine dinner, for the cook had pinned the two strings of her cap behind her back, us she always did when something wonderfully good was coming.

Then the children talked of what the Christ Child would bring them, and of what He would put in their shoes, which, of course, they would leave by the fireplace when they went to bed. And the eyes of the[10] little fellows danced with joy as they thought of the bags of candy and the lead soldiers and the grand jumping jacks which they would draw out in the morning.

But little Wolff said nothing. He knew that his selfish old aunt would send him to bed without any supper, as she always did. But he felt in his heart that he had been all the year as good and kind as he could be; and so he hoped that the blessed Christ Child would not forget him nor fail to see his wooden shoes which he would put in the ashes in the corner of the fireplace.


At last the singing stopped, the organ was silent, and the Christmas music was ended. The boys arose in order and left the church, two by two, as they had entered it; and the teacher walked in front.

Now, as he passed through the door of the church, little Wolff saw a child sitting on one of the stone steps and fast asleep in the midst of the snow. The child was thinly clad, and his feet, cold as it was, were bare.

In the pale light of the moon, the face of the child, with its closed eyes, was full of a sweetness which is not of this earth, and his long locks of yellow hair seemed like a golden crown upon his head. But his[11] poor bare feet, blue in the cold of that winter night, were sad to look upon.

The scholars, so warmly clad, passed before the strange child, and did not so much as glance that way. But little Wolff, who was the last to come out of the church, stopped, full of pity, before him.

“Ah, the poor child!” he said to himself. “How sad it is that he must go barefoot in such weather as this! And what is still worse, he has not a stocking nor even a wooden shoe to lay before him while he sleeps, so that the Christ Child can put something in it to make him glad when he wakens.”

Little Wolff did not stand long to think about it; but in the goodness of his heart he took off the wooden shoe from his right foot and laid it by the side of the sleeping child. Then, limping along through the snow, and shivering with cold, he went down the street till he came to his cheerless home.

“You worthless fellow!” cried his aunt. “Where have you been? What have you done with your other shoe?”

Little Wolff trembled now with fear as well as with the cold; but he had no thought of deceiving his angry aunt. He told her how he had given the shoe to a child that was poorer than himself. The woman laughed an ugly, wicked laugh.

“And so,” she said, “our fine young gentleman[12] takes off his shoes for beggars! He gives his wooden shoe to a barefoot! Well, we shall see. You may put the shoe that is left in the chimney, and, mind what I say! If anything is left in it, it will be a switch to whip you with in the morning. To-morrow, for your Christmas dinner, you shall have nothing but a hard crust of bread to eat and cold water to drink. I will show you how to give away your shoes to the first beggar that comes along!”

The wicked woman struck the boy upon the cheek with her hand, and then made him climb up to his bed in the loft. Sobbing with grief and pain, little Wolff lay on his hard, cold bed, and did not go to sleep till the moon had gone down and the Christmas bells had rung in the glad day of peace and good will.

In the morning when the old woman arose grumbling and went downstairs, a wonderful sight met her eyes. The great chimney was full of beautiful toys and bags of candy and all kinds of pretty things; and right in the midst of these was the wooden shoe which Wolff had given to the child, and near it was its mate in which the wicked aunt had meant to put a strong switch.

The woman was so amazed that she cried out and stood still as if in a fright. Little Wolff heard the cry and ran downstairs as quickly as he could to see what was the matter. He, too, stopped short when he[13] saw all the beautiful things that were in the chimney. But as he stood and looked, he heard people laughing in the street. What did it all mean?

By the side of the town pump many of the neighbors were standing. Each was telling what had happened at his home that morning. The boys who had rich parents and had been looking for beautiful gifts had found only long switches in their shoes.

But, in the meanwhile, Wolff and his aunt stood still and looked at the wonderful gifts around the two wooden shoes. Who had placed them there? And where now was the kind, good giver?

Then, as they still wondered, they heard the voice of some one reading in the little chapel over the way: “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these—” And then, in some strange way, they understood how it had all come about; and even the heart of the wicked aunt was softened. And their eyes were filled with tears and their faces with smiles, as they knelt down together and thanked the good God for what He had done to reward the kindness and love of a little child.

Adapted from the French of François Coppée.



Imagine yourself, on a day early in November, floating slowly down the Mississippi River. The near approach of winter brings millions of waterfowl on whistling wings from the countries of the North to seek a milder climate in which to sojourn for a season.

The eagle is seen perched on the highest branch of the tallest tree by the margin of the broad stream. His glistening but pitiless eye looks over water and land and sees objects afar off. He listens to every sound that comes to his quick ear, glancing now and then to the earth beneath, lest the light tread of the rabbit may pass unheard.

His mate is perched on the other side of the river, and now and then warns him by a cry to continue patient. At this well-known call he partly opens his broad wings and answers to her voice in tones not unlike the laugh of a madman. Ducks and many smaller waterfowl are seen passing rapidly towards the South; but the eagle heeds them not—they are for the time beneath his attention.

The next moment, however, the wild, trumpet-like sound of a distant swan is heard. The eagle suddenly shakes his body, raises his wings, and makes ready for flight. A shriek from his mate comes across the stream, for she is fully as watchful as he.


The snow-white bird is now in sight; her long neck is stretched forward; her eyes are as watchful as those of her enemy; her large wings seem with difficulty to support the weight of her body. Nearer and nearer she comes. The eagle has marked her for his prey.

As the swan is about to pass the dreaded pair, the eagle starts from his perch with an awful scream. He glides through the air like a falling star, and, like a flash of lightning, comes upon the timid bird, which now, in agony and despair, seeks to escape the grasp of his cruel talons. She would plunge into the stream, did not the eagle force her to remain in the air by striking at her from beneath.

The hope of escape is soon given up by the swan. She has already become much weakened. She is about to gasp her last breath, when the eagle strikes with his talons the under side of her wing and forces the dying bird to fall in a slanting direction upon the nearest shore.

The eagle’s mate has watched every movement that he has made, and if she did not assist him in capturing the swan, it was because she felt sure that his power and courage were quite enough for the deed. She now sails to the spot where he is waiting for her, and both together turn the breast of the luckless swan upward and gorge themselves with gore.

J. J. Audubon.



I love to see her well-worn beads
Slip through her tender hand;
They fall like rich enchanted seeds
Cast in a fruitful land.
From each small bead full silently
A floweret fair doth grow—
A winsome thing with soft bright eye,
Yet strong in grace, I know.
Wild winds may rave and storms may shout,
Her blossoms will not fall;
The angels gird them round about
With hedgerows thick and tall.
The Blessed Mary smiles on them,
Just as, in days of yore,
She smiled when in old Bethlehem
Her little Babe she bore.
And saints adown the golden stair
With noiseless steps oft creep,
To tend these shining flowers of prayer,
When Lucy is asleep.
When autumn dies, these radiant flowers
Shall safe transplanted be,
To bloom in Eden’s greenest bowers
For all eternity.
Before the Godhead they shall raise
Their perfumes pure and sweet,
And bloom in silent hymns of praise
At Lady Mary’s feet.
J. R. Marre.

From The Ave Maria.


“And pray, who are you?”
Said the violet blue
To the Bee, with surprise
At his wonderful size,
In her eyeglass of dew.
“I, madam,” quoth he,
“Am a publican Bee,
Collecting the tax
Of honey and wax.
Have you nothing for me?”
Rev. John B. Tabb.



Macedon melancholy philosopher countenance
cypress messenger perplexity recognize
vigor humiliation solitude poverty
oracles alleviation company behest

The bannered hosts of Macedon stood arrayed in splendid might. Crowning the hills and filling the valleys, far and wide extended the millions in arms who waited on the word of the young Alexander—the most superb array of human power which sceptered ambition ever evoked to do its bidding.

That army was to sweep nations off the earth and make a continent its camp, following the voice of one whose sword was the index to glory, whose command was the synonym of triumph. It now stood expectant, for the king yet lingered.

While his war horse fretted at the gate, and myriads thus in silence waited his appearance, Alexander took his way to the apartment of his mother. The sole ligament which bound him to virtue and to feeling was the love of that mother, and the tie was as strong as it was tender.

In mute dejection they embraced; and Alexander, as he gazed upon that affectionate face, which had[19] never been turned to him but in tenderness and yearning love, seemed to ask, “Shall I ever again behold that sweet smile?” The anxiety of his mother’s countenance denoted the same sad curiosity; and without a word, but with the selfsame feeling in their hearts, they went out together to seek the oracles in the temple of Philip, to learn their fate.

Alone, in unuttered sympathy, the two ascended the steps of the sacred temple and approached the shrine. A priest stood behind the altar. The blue smoke of the incense curled upward in front, and the book of oracles was before him.

“Where shall my grave be digged?” said the king; and the priest opened the book and read, “Where the soil is of iron, and the sky of gold, there shall the grave of the monarch of men be digged.”

To the utmost limit Asia had become the possession of the Macedonian. Fatigued with conquest, and anxious to seek a country where the difficulty of victory should enhance its value, the hero was returning to Europe. A few days would have brought him to the capital of his kingdom, when he fell suddenly ill. He was lifted from his horse, and one of his generals, unlacing his armor, spread it out for him to lie upon, and held his golden shield to screen him from the mid-day sun.

When the king raised his eyes and beheld the glittering[20] canopy, he was conscious of the omen. “The oracle has said that where the ground should be of iron, and the sky of gold, there should my grave be made! Behold the fulfillment! It is a mournful thing! The young cypress is cut down in the vigor of its strength, in the first fullness of its beauty. The thread of life is snapped suddenly, and with it a thousand prospects vanish, a thousand hopes are crushed! But let the will of fate be done! She has long obeyed my behest! I yield myself now to hers! Yet, my mother!”

And the monarch mused in melancholy silence. At length he turned to his attendants and ordered his tablets to be brought; and he took them, and wrote, “Let the customary alms, which my mother shall distribute at my death, be given to those who have never felt the miseries of the world, and have never lost those who were dear to them;” and sinking back upon his iron couch, he yielded up his breath. They buried him where he died, and an army wept over his grave!

When the intelligence of the death of Alexander was brought to his mother, as she sat among her ladies, she was overwhelmed by anguish.

“Ah! why,” she exclaimed, “was I exalted so high, only to be plunged into such depth of misery? Why was I not made of lower condition, so, haply, I had[21] escaped such grief? The joy of my youth is plucked up, the comfort of my age is withered! Who is more wretched than I?” And she refused to be comforted.

The last wish of her son was read to her, and she resolved to perform that one remaining duty and then retire to solitude, to indulge her grief for the remainder of her life. She ordered her servants to go into the city and bring to the palace such as the will of Alexander directed—selecting those who were the poorest. But the messengers, ere long, returned, and said that there were none of that description to be found among the poor. “Go then,” said the queen, “and apply to all classes, and return not without bringing some who have never lost any who were dear to them.” And the order was proclaimed through all the city, and all heard it and passed on.

The neighboring villages gave no better success; and the search was extended through all the country; and they went over all Macedonia, and throughout Greece, and at every house they stood and cried, “If there are any here who have never known misery, and never lost those that were dear to them, let them come out, and receive the bounty of the queen;” but none came forth. And they went to the haunts of the gay, and into the libraries of the philosophers; to the seats of public office, and to the caves of hermits; they searched among the rich, and among the poor—among[22] the high and among the low; but not one person was found who had not tasted misery; and they reported the result to the queen.

“It is strange!” said she, as if struck with sudden astonishment. “Are there none who have not lost their friend? And is my condition the condition of all? It is not credible. Are there none here, in this room, in this palace, who have always been happy?” But there was no reply to the inquiry.

“You, young page, whose countenance is gay, what sorrow have you ever known?”

“Alas! madam, my father was killed in the wars of Alexander, and my mother, through grief, has followed him!”

The question was put to others; but every one had lost a brother, a father, or a mother. “Can it be,” said the queen, “can it be that all are as I am?”

“All are as you are, madam,” said an old man that was present, “excepting in these splendors and these consolations. By poverty and humility you might have lost the alleviations, but, you could not have escaped the blow. There are nights without a star; but there are no days without a cloud. To suffer is the lot of all; to bear, the glory of a few.”

“I recognize,” said the queen, “the wisdom of Alexander!” and she bowed in resignation, and wept no more.

Horace Binney Wallace.



With gratitude, O God, we praise
Thy holy name to-day, and raise
Our hearts to thee;
For all Thy gifts sent from above,
For life and strength and trust and love,
For liberty.
For summer days, for smiles and tears,
For all our joys and hopes and fears,
For storm and fair;
For toil and weariness and rest;
For sleep; for strength to bear the test
Of pain and care;
For food and raiment, and increase
Of harvest plenty, and for peace,
On earth good will.
O God, our Father, we this day
Give thanks for all, and now we pray
Be with us still!
Henry Coyle.

Beautiful Mother, we deck thy shrine;
All that is brightest and best of ours
Found in our gardens, we reckon thine,—
God thought of thee when He made the flowers.
Rev. K. D. Beste.



humor scene donkey Sancho
relief leagues armor Dulcinea
patience moored purpose Don Quixote

Fair and softly, and step by step, did Don Quixote and his squire wend their way through field and wood and village and farmland. Many and strange were their adventures—so many and strange, indeed, that I shall not try to relate the half of them.

At length, on a sunny day, they came to the banks of the river Ebro. As the knight sat on Rozinante’s back and gazed at the flowing water and at the grass and trees which bordered the banks with living green, he felt very happy. His squire, however, was in no pleasant humor, for the last few days had been days of weary toil.

Presently Don Quixote observed a little boat which was lying in the water near by, being moored by a rope to the trunk of a small tree. It had neither oars nor sail, and for that reason it seemed all the more inviting.

The knight dismounted from his steed, calling at the same time to his squire to do the same.

“Alight, Sancho,” he said. “Let us tie our beasts to the branches of this willow.”

Sancho obeyed, asking, “Why do we alight here, master?”


“You are to know,” answered Don Quixote, “that this boat lies here for us. It invites me to embark in it and hasten to the relief of some knight, or other person of high degree, who is in distress.”

“I wonder if that is so,” said Sancho.

“Certainly,” answered his master. “In all the books that I have read, enchanters are forever doing such things. If a knight happens to be in danger, there is sometimes only one other knight that can rescue him. So a boat is provided for that other knight, and, in the twinkling of an eye, he is whisked away to the scene of trouble, even though it be two or three thousand leagues.”

“That is wonderful,” said Sancho.

“Most assuredly,” answered Don Quixote; “and it is for just such a purpose that this enchanted bark lies here. Therefore let us leave our steeds here in the shade and embark in it.”

“Well, well,” said Sancho, “since you are the master, I must obey. But I tell you this is no enchanted bark. It is some fisherman’s boat.”

“They are usually fishermen’s boats,” said Don Quixote. “So, let us begin our voyage without delay.”

He leaped into the little vessel. Sancho followed, and untied the rope. The boat drifted slowly out into the stream.

When Sancho saw that they were out of reach of[26] the shore and had no means of pushing back, he began to quake with fear.

“We shall never see our noble steeds again,” he cried. “Hear how the poor donkey brays and moans because we are leaving him. See how Rozinante tugs at his bridle. Oh, my poor, dear friends, good-by!”

Then he began such a moaning and howling that Don Quixote lost all patience with him.

“Coward!” he cried. “What are you afraid of? Who is after you? Who hurts you? Why, we have already floated some seven or eight hundred leagues. If I’m not mistaken, we shall soon pass the equinoctial line which divides the earth into two equal parts.”

“And when we come to that line, how far have we gone then?” asked Sancho.

“A mighty way,” answered the knight.

They were now floating down the river with some speed. Below them were two great water mills near the middle of the stream.

“Look! look, my Sancho!” cried Don Quixote. “Do you see yon city or castle? That is where some knight lies in prison, or some princess is detained against her will.”

“What do you mean?” asked Sancho. “Don’t you see that those are no castles? They are only water mills for grinding corn.”

“Peace, Sancho! I know they look like water[27] mills, but that is a trick of the enchanters. Why, those vile fellows can change and overturn everything from its natural form. You know how they transformed my Dulcinea.”

The boat was now moving quite rapidly with the current. The people in the mills saw it and came out with long poles to keep it clear of the great water wheels. They were powdered with flour dust, as millers commonly are, and therefore looked quite uncanny.

“Hello, there!” they cried. “Are you mad, in that boat? Push off, or you’ll be cut to pieces by the mill wheels.”

“Didn’t I tell you, Sancho, that this is the place where I must show my strength?” said Don Quixote. “See how those hobgoblins come out against us! But I’ll show them what sort of person I am.”

Then he stood up in the boat and began to call the millers all sorts of bad names.

“You paltry cowards!” he cried. “Release at once the captive whom you are detaining within your castle. For I am Don Quixote de la Mancha, the Knight of the Lions, whom heaven has sent to set your prisoner free.”

He drew his sword and began to thrust the air with it, as though fighting with an invisible enemy. But the millers gave little heed to his actions, and stood ready with their poles to stop the boat.


Sancho threw himself on his knees in the bottom of the boat and began to pray for deliverance. And, indeed, it seemed as though their time had come, for they were drifting straight into the wheel. Quickly the millers bestirred themselves, and thrusting out their poles they overturned the boat.

Don Quixote and Sancho were, of course, spilled out into the stream. It was lucky that both could swim. The weight of the knight’s armor dragged him twice to the bottom; and both he and his squire would have been drowned had not two of the millers jumped in and pulled them out by main force.

Hardly had our exhausted heroes recovered their senses when the fisherman who owned the boat came running down to the shore. When he saw that the little craft had been broken to pieces in the millwheel, he fell upon Sancho and began to beat him unmercifully.

“You shall pay me for that boat,” he cried.

“I am ready to pay for it,” said Don Quixote, “provided these people will fairly and immediately surrender the prisoners whom they have unjustly detained in their castle.”

“What castle do you mean? and what prisoners?” asked the millers. “Explain yourself, sir. We don’t know what you are talking about.”

“I might as well talk to a stump as try to persuade[29] you to do a good act,” answered Don Quixote. “Now I see that two rival enchanters have clashed in this adventure. One sent me a boat, the other overwhelmed it in the river. It is very plain that I can do nothing where there is such plotting and counter-plotting.”

Then he turned his face toward the mill and raised his eyes to the window above the wheel.

“My friends!” he cried at the top of his voice, “my friends, whoever you are who lie immured in that prison, hear me! Pardon my ill luck, for I cannot set you free. You must needs wait for some other knight to perform that adventure.”

Having said this, he ordered Sancho to pay the fisherman fifty reals for the boat. Sancho obeyed sullenly, for he was reluctant to part with the money.

“Two voyages like that will sink all our stock,” he muttered.

The fisherman and the millers stood with their mouths open, wondering what sort of men these were who had come so strangely into their midst. Then, concluding that they were madmen, they left them, the millers going to their mill, and the fisherman to his hut.

As for Don Quixote and Sancho, they trudged sorrowfully back to their beasts; and thus ended the adventure of the enchanted bark.

Retold from Cervantes.



Nicholas heathen apparel aching
jeweled suddenly sniveling kindred
banquet anguish vanished giant
St. Nicholas, about to pick the page up by his hair
The tales of good St. Nicholas
Are known in every clime;
Told in painting, and in statues,
And in the poet’s rhyme.
In England’s Isle, alone, to-day,
Four hundred churches stand
Which bear his name, and keep it well
Remembered through the land.
And all the little children
In England know full well
This tale of good St. Nicholas,
Which I am now to tell.
The sweetest tale, I think, of all
The tales they tell of him;
I never read it but my eyes
With tears begin to swim.
There was a heathen king who roved
About with cruel bands,
And waged a fierce and wicked war
On all the Christian lands.
And once he took as captive
A little fair-haired boy,
A Christian merchant’s only son,
His mother’s pride and joy.
He decked him in apparel gay,
And said, “You’re just the age
To serve behind my chair at meat,
A dainty Christian page.”
Oh, with a sore and aching heart
The lonely captive child
Roamed through the palace, big and grand,
And wept and never smiled.
And all the heathen jeered at him,
And called him Christian dog,
And when the king was angry
He kicked him like a log.
One day, just as the cruel king
Had sat him down to dine,
And in his jeweled cup of gold
The page was pouring wine,
The little fellow’s heart ran o’er
In tears he could not stay,
For he remembered suddenly,
It was the very day
On which the yearly feast was kept
Of good St. Nicholas,
And at his home that very hour
Were dancing on the grass,
With music, and with feasting, all
The children of the town.
The king looked up, and saw his tears;
His face began to frown:
“How now, thou dog! thy sniveling tears
Are running in my cup;
’Twas not with these, but with good wine,
I bade thee fill it up.
“Why weeps the hound?” The child replied,
“I weep, because to-day,
In name of good St. Nicholas,
All Christian children play;
And all my kindred gather home,
From greatest unto least,
And keep to good St. Nicholas,
A merry banquet feast.”
The heathen king laughed scornfully:
“If he be saint indeed,
Thy famous great St. Nicholas,
Why does he not take heed
To thee to-day, and bear thee back
To thy own native land?
Ha! well I wot, he cannot take
One slave from out my hand!”
Scarce left the boastful words his tongue
When, with astonished eyes,
The cruel king a giant form
Saw swooping from the skies.
A whirlwind shook the palace walls,
The doors flew open wide,
And lo! the good St. Nicholas
Came in with mighty stride.
Right past the guards, as they were not,
Close to the king’s gold chair,
With striding steps the good Saint came,
And seizing by the hair
The frightened little page, he bore
Him, in a twinkling, high
Above the palace topmost roof,
And vanished in the sky.
Now at that very hour was spread
A banquet rich and dear,
Within the little page’s home
To which, from far and near,
The page’s mourning parents called
All poor to come and pray
With them, to good St. Nicholas,
Upon his sacred day.
Thinking, perhaps, that he would heal
Their anguish and their pain,
And at poor people’s prayers might give
Their child to them again.
Now what a sight was there to see,
When flying through the air,
The Saint came carrying the boy,
Still by his curly hair!
And set him on his mother’s knee,
Too frightened yet to stand,
And holding still the king’s gold cup
Fast in his little hand.
And what glad sounds were these to hear,
What sobs and joyful cries,
And calls for good St. Nicholas,
To come back from the skies!
But swift he soared, and only smiled,
And vanished in the blue;
Most likely he was hurrying
Some other good to do.




physical admiration torrent Urbino
brilliancy inferior fresco Apennines

Raphael of Urbino is called the prince of painters. And a true prince he was in physical beauty, in graciousness of manner, in kindness of soul, and in power to command the love and admiration of all people with whom he came in contact.

It would almost seem that the gentleness of St. Francis himself had fallen upon him, for Raphael, too, was born among the Apennines near the old town of Assisi. The rugged mountains still rise hill upon hill to the distant blue sky. Assisi, almost deserted, may still be visited, and you may stand in the very house where Raphael was born. You will find it on a steep hillside in the little town of Urbino.

Urbino is built upon a jutting mountain cliff beneath which is a rushing torrent. In the far distance one may see on a clear day the blue Mediterranean. Urbino was once a prosperous town over which a powerful duke ruled, but now it is a quaint village whose one treasure is the house on the steep hillside.


Raphael’s father was Giovanni Santi, a painter of some ability. His mother was the daughter of a rich merchant. Raphael was born April 6, 1483.

No shadow fell across the path of the child until he was eight years of age. Then a great sorrow befell him. His mother died. His father, anxious that the child should not miss a mother’s care, married again. His stepmother treated him with all tenderness, and thus the child grew strong and beautiful in the bright Italian sunshine and the loving atmosphere of home.

He had few companions besides his father and mother. He played much in his father’s studio, and like Angelo learned in babyhood to use the tools of art which later would bring him renown.

In 1494, while the boy was still young, his second misfortune came. His father died. Raphael was left under the guardianship of his stepmother and his father’s brother, a priest.

For a time nothing was done toward his further education. But an uncle who seemed to realize that the lad had unusual genius for painting at last gained permission to send him away to a master. He was placed under the instruction of Perugino, who, it is said, remarked, “Let him be my pupil; he will soon be my master.”


Raphael remained in the studio of Perugino at Perugia nearly nine years. Other students were with him who afterwards became great artists.

A master like Perugino would often receive many orders for pictures or frescoes which he could not execute alone. So the less important work would be left to students. This not only aided the artist, but it made it possible for students to show their power. If a young man had unusual talent, he was sure to seize this opportunity to show his ability and attract the master’s attention. Raphael’s earliest work was done to assist Perugino.

After the death of Perugino, Raphael returned for a time to Urbino. Here he painted for the reigning duke St. George slaying the Dragon and St. Michael attacking Satan. Both of these pictures are now in the Louvre gallery at Paris.

But Raphael wanted especially to see the pictures of Angelo and Leonardo, whose fame had spread to the most remote valleys of the rugged Apennines. So with a letter of introduction to the ruler of Florence, Raphael in 1504 started upon his travels. His letter, he knew, would insure him a welcome in Florence at least.

As he walked through the streets of this beautiful[39] city he felt like a fairy prince in a land of magic. Now he stood beneath the bell tower which Giotto had designed, now he passed the wonderful bronze gates which Ghiberti had cast, and now he studied the pictures of Leonardo or Angelo which were in all the brilliancy of fresh color.

New ideas crowded upon him, new inspiration roused him. He was sure he could do more, much more, than he had ever dreamed of doing before. Eagerly he began to paint, and within a few months three Madonnas were marked with his name. A fresco painting of the Last Supper, which was probably executed by him this same year, was discovered on the wall of a convent dining room in 1845.

He had been gone not quite a year when he returned to Urbino to complete some work which he had before undertaken. The influence of Florence was seen at once in both color and form. He was a finer artist.

All that northern Italy could offer, Raphael had now seen. But the art of Rome excelled the art of Florence. Angelo was at that very time hard at work upon the ceiling frescoes of the Sistine Chapel. Leonardo in Milan had amazed Italy and the world by his Last Supper. He, too, was soon to be in Rome. Hither, in 1506, Raphael went.


A young man of handsome, courtly appearance and gracious manners, with many friends and no enemies, fortune truly favored him! The Pope received him gladly and soon commissioned him to decorate the hall of the Vatican.

Two of the greatest artists of any age were now working almost side by side, Michael Angelo and Raphael of Urbino. Often one or the other would stand by his rival and watch his brush. Yet neither ever spoke. Each admired the other and each was known to defend the other under the attacks of inferior artists.


steadily influence devout favorite
probably festival sleeves conception

Raphael worked steadily in the Vatican hall. Perhaps the most pleasing of these frescoes is the one which shows the Church in heaven and the Church on earth.

The fresco is divided into two sections. The upper one shows the Almighty Father in the midst of angels. Below Him is Christ enthroned, with the Virgin and St. John the Baptist. Beneath the throne is the Dove of the Holy Spirit. In the lower fresco appear St. John, St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, and St. Gregory.


At No. 124 Via Coronari, near the St. Angelo bridge, is the four-story house where Raphael lived during his first four years in Rome.

Raphael was admitted in 1514 into the Fraternity of the Body of Christ, and his many Madonnas of rare beauty were doubtless inspired by his devout spirit.

During his stay in Rome Raphael set up a studio to which many students flocked. They loved him both as friend and master, and he was untiring in his efforts to instruct and inspire them.

He was commissioned by the Pope with the task of making certain decorations for the Sistine Chapel. They were to take the form of tapestries with which the chapel would be adorned on great festival occasions. There were ten of these, all telling some Bible story in the life of Christ or one of His immediate followers.

The last of the series is the Coronation of the Virgin. It shows Christ on his throne crowning the Madonna. The Father and the Holy Spirit are seen above and St. Jerome and St. John the Baptist below.

As yet nothing has been said of the painting by which the name of Raphael is best known, the Sistine Madonna. It was painted in 1518 for the Benedictine Monastery of San Sisto at Piacenza. In 1754 it was purchased by Augustus III, Elector of Saxony, for[42] forty thousand dollars. It was received in Dresden with great rejoicing, and the throne of Saxony was moved to give it a suitable place. It is now in the Dresden gallery.

Another favorite is the Madonna of the Chair. This shows the Madonna, seated, holding the child. “The dress of the mother is light blue; the mantle about her shoulder is green with red and willow-green stripes and a gold-embroidered border; her sleeves are red faced with gold at the wrists. A grayish-brown veil with reddish-brown stripes is wound around her head. The child’s dress is orange colored; the back of the chair is red.” Such is the description given by Grimm.

At the time of his death Raphael was putting forth every effort to finish his noble conception of the Transfiguration. It is now, as he left it, in the Vatican.

On the night of Good Friday, April 6, 1520, at the age of thirty-seven, Raphael died. In his beautiful home, where the people of Rome might do him honor, the unfinished Transfiguration beside him, in the midst of lighted tapers, he lay in state until the body was carried to the Pantheon. In the procession also was carried the great picture.



Lead, Kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home—
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet, I do not ask to see
The distant scene—one step enough for me.
I was not ever thus, nor pray’d that Thou
Shouldst lead me on.
I loved to choose and see my path, but now
Lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will: remember not past years.
So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on,
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone;
And with the morn those angel faces smile
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.
Cardinal Newman.



A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, who also stripped him: and having wounded him went away leaving him half dead.

And it chanced that a certain priest went down the same way: and seeing him, passed by.

In like manner also a Levite, when he was near the place and saw him, passed by.

But a certain Samaritan being on his journey, came near him: and seeing him was moved with compassion.

And going up to him, bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine: and setting him upon his own beast brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

And the next day he took out two pence, and gave to the host, and said: Take care of him: and whatsoever thou shalt spend over and above, I at my return will repay thee.

Which of these three in thy opinion was neighbor to him that fell among the robbers?

Luke x. 30-36.


Painting by Plockhorst

The Good Samaritan



siege tourney falconry anxious
relief anguish tranquil crucify
chieftain emerald generous vigorous
Loud roared the din of battle, fierce,
Bloody and wild,
With Ulster men and Connaught men
The field was piled.
Connor Mac-Nessa, Ulster’s King,
In the mad fray
Wounded to death and well-nigh spent
And dying lay.
A Druid came with healing balm
Of herb and leaf,
He poured it in the gaping wound,
To give relief;
The wound was healed, “Yet,” said the leech,
“Beware, my Liege!
Of war’s alarm or battle fray,
Sally or siege;
“No more o’er mere and fen with thee,
Oh! noble king,
Brave Knight and Lady fair will strive
For bittern’s wing;
No more thou’lt ride thy prancing steed
After the doe,
No more thou’lt tilt at tourney brave
’Gainst gallant foe;
“For thee the fireside’s tranquil calm,
Lest sudden rift
Of wound break forth and cause thy death
In anguish swift!”
Quiet and calm, in war or peace,
No more to roam,
Connor Mac-Nessa, Ulster’s King,
Abode at home.
One day, when woods were green and fair,
And hearts were light,
Swiftly the gleaming mid-day sun
Grew dark as night;
Black portents unto Erin fair
It seemed to bring.
“What means this, mighty Druid?” asked
The anxious king.
“Far, far away, across the sea,”
The Druid said,
“Jesu, the Christ, upon a cross
Bends low His head.
Their King upon the shameful tree,
With mocking cry,
And scornful gibe, the cruel Jews
Now crucify.”
King Connor cried, “What crime had this
Man done, I pray?”
“But to be good were crime enough
For such as they,
My King,” the answer came. “He was
To death enticed,
Then broke His tender, loving heart,
This fair, white Christ!”
A generous flush o’erspread his cheek,
Mac-Nessa sprang
Quick to his feet; his quivering voice
In anger rang.
“Ah! wicked deed! Ah! poor, white Christ!
They murder Thee!
Why didst thou not unto the King
Of Erin flee?
“Thy battles he would fight to death,
Poor, guiltless One,
Ulster’s great chieftain ne’er could see
Injustice done!”
Then dashed he from the hall and seized
With vigorous hand
His keen and sharp-edged clevy—
A wondrous brand!
Under the turquoise sky, upon
The emerald turf,
His anger raged like foaming crest
Of frothy surf.
He hacked and hewed the giant trees
With his keen sword.
“Thus would I slay Thy foes, poor Christ,
With blood out-poured!”
Then quickly his forgotten wound
Sprung gaping wide.
He reeled and fell: “I go to Thee,
Oh! Christ!” he sighed,
For the King Christ he loved unseen,
With flowers bespread,
Connor Mac-Nessa, Ulster’s King
Lay cold and dead!
M. F. N.-R.



message persuasion signify lieutenant
apparel infirmity scaffold occasion
forehead infinite tyrant solemnity

It was very late in the night when the sentence was pronounced, and the prisoner was asleep. The lieutenant was unwilling to disturb his rest for that time, and so did not awaken him, but in the morning before five of the clock he came to him in his chamber in the Bell Tower, and found him yet asleep in his bed.

He awakened the good father, and explained that he was come to him on a message from the king. Then, with some persuasion, he said that he should remember himself to be an old man, and that he could not expect by course of nature to live much longer. Finally he informed him that he was come to signify unto him that the king’s pleasure was he should suffer death that forenoon.

“Well,” answered this blessed father, “if this be your errand, you bring me no great news. I have long expected this message. And I most humbly thank the king’s majesty that it has pleased him to rid me from all this worldly business, and I thank you also for your[51] tidings. But I pray you, Mr. Lieutenant, when is mine hour that I must go hence?”

“Your hour,” said the lieutenant, “must be nine of the clock.”

“And what hour is it now?” said he.

“It is now about five,” said the lieutenant.

“Well, then,” said he, “let me by your patience sleep an hour or two, for I have slept very little this night. My rest has been very much broken, not for any fear of death, I thank God, but by reason of my great infirmity and weakness.”

“The king’s further pleasure is,” said the lieutenant, “that you should not talk much. Especially you must not say anything touching his majesty, whereby the people should have any cause to think ill of him or of his proceedings.”

“For that,” said the father, “you shall see me order myself well. For, by God’s grace, neither the king, nor any man else, shall have occasion to mislike my words.”

The lieutenant then departed from him, and so the prisoner, falling again to rest, slept soundly two hours and more.

After he was waked again he called to his man to help him up. Then he commanded him to take away[52] the shirt of hair (which he was accustomed to wear on his back) and to convey it secretly out of the house. Then he bade him bring a clean white shirt, and all the best apparel he had, as cleanly bright as possible.

While he was dressing himself, he appeared to have more curiosity and care for the fine and cleanly wearing of his apparel that day than had ever been his wont before. His man asked him what this sudden change meant, since he must know well enough that he must put off all again within two hours and lose it.

“What of that?” said the father. “Dost thou not mark that this is our wedding day, and that it is necessary for us to use more cleanliness for solemnity of the marriage?”

About nine of the clock the lieutenant came again to his prison. Finding him almost ready, he said that he was now come for him.

“I will wait upon you straight,” said the father, “as fast as this thin body of mine will give me leave.” Then he turned to his man and said, “Reach me my fur cape to put about my neck.”

“Oh, my lord,” said the lieutenant, “why need you be so careful for your health for this little while? Your lordship knoweth that it is not much above an hour.”


“I think no otherwise,” said this blessed father. “But in the meantime I will keep myself as well as I can, till the very time of my execution. I have, I thank our Lord, a very good desire and willing mind to die at this present time, and so trust of His infinite mercy and goodness He will continue this desire. Nevertheless, I will not willingly hinder my health for one minute of an hour. Indeed, I will prolong the same as long as I can by such reasonable ways and means as Almighty God hath provided for me.”

Then, taking a little book in his hand, which was a New Testament lying by him, he made a cross on his forehead and went out of his prison door with the lieutenant. He was so weak that he was scarce able to go down the stairs, and at the stairs-foot he was taken up in a chair between two of the lieutenant’s men. These carried him to the Tower gate to be delivered to the sheriffs of London for execution.

When they were come to the farthest wall of the Tower, they rested there with him a space; and an officer was sent on before to know in what readiness the sheriffs were to receive him. As they were resting here, the father rose out of his chair, and stood on his feet, leaning his shoulder to the wall. Then, lifting his eyes towards heaven, he opened his little book in his[54] hand, and said, “O Lord, this is the last time that ever I shall open this book; let some comfortable place now chance unto me whereby I thy poor servant may glorify Thee in this my last hour.”

Then he opened the book, and the first thing that came to his sight were these words: “This is life everlasting, that they may know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent. I have glorified Thee upon earth, I have finished the work Thou gavest me to do.” Having read these words, he shut the book together and said, “Here is even learning enough for me to my life’s end.”

The sheriff was now ready for him. So he was taken up again by certain of the sheriff’s men, and, guarded by many armed men, he was carried to the scaffold on Tower Hill, otherwise called East Smithfield. He was seen to be praying all the way, and pondering upon the words that he had read.

When he was come to the foot of the scaffold, they that carried him offered to help him up the stairs; but he said, “Nay, masters, since I have come so far let me alone, and you shall see me shift for myself well enough.” So he went up the stairs without any help, so lively that it was a marvel to them that knew before of his weakness. As he was mounting up the stairs,[55] the southeast sun shined very bright in his face. Observing this, he said to himself these words, lifting up his hands, “Come ye to Him and be enlightened; and your faces shall not be confounded.”

By the time he was on the scaffold, it was about ten of the clock. The executioner, being ready to do his office, kneeled down to him (as the fashion is) and asked his forgiveness.

“I forgive thee,” said the father, “with all my heart, and I trust thou shalt see me overcome this storm lustily.”

Then was his gown and fur cape taken from him, and he stood in his doublet and hose, in sight of all the people. There was to be seen a long, lean, and slender body, having on it little other substance besides the skin and bones. Indeed, so thin and emaciated was he that those who beheld him marveled much to see a living man so far consumed. Therefore, it appeared monstrous that the king could be so cruel as to put such a man to death as he was, even though he had been a real offender against the law.

If he had been in the Turk’s dominion, and there found guilty of some great offense, yet methinks the Turk would never have put him to death being already so near death. For it is an horrible and exceeding[56] cruelty to kill that thing which is presently dying, except it be for pity’s sake to rid it from longer pain. Therefore, it may be thought that the cruelty and hard heart of King Henry in this point passed all the Turks and tyrants that ever have been heard or read of.

After speaking a few words the father kneeled down on his knees and said certain prayers. Then came the executioner and bound a handkerchief about his eyes. This holy father, lifting up his hands and heart to heaven, said a few other prayers, which were not long but fervent and devout, which being ended, he laid his holy head down over the midst of a little block.… And so his immortal soul mounted to the blissful joys of Heaven.

The Rev. T. E. Bridgett, C. SS. R.


appetite eagerly harangued minstrelsy
eloquent abhor oration approbation
A nightingale, that all day long
Had cheered the village with his song,
Nor yet at eve his note suspended,
Nor yet when eventide was ended,
Began to feel, as well he might,
The keen demands of appetite;
When, looking eagerly around,
He spied far off, upon the ground,
A something shining in the dark,
And knew the glowworm by his spark;
So, stooping from the hawthorn top,
He thought to put him in his crop.
The worm, aware of his intent,
Harangued him thus, right eloquent:
“Did you admire my lamp,” quoth he,
“As much as I your minstrelsy,
You would abhor to do me wrong
As much as I to spoil your song;
For ’twas the selfsame Power divine
Taught you to sing and me to shine;
That you with music, I with light,
Might beautify and cheer the night.”
The songster heard this short oration,
And, warbling out his approbation,
Released him, as my story tells,
And found a supper somewhere else.
William Cowper.



If thou couldst be a bird, what bird wouldst thou be?
A frolicsome gull on the billowy sea,
Screaming and wailing when stormy winds rave,
Or anchored, white thing! on the merry green wave?
Or an eagle aloft in the blue ether dwelling,
Free of the caves of the lofty Helvellyn,
Who is up in the sunshine when we are in shower,
And could reach our loved ocean in less than an hour?
Or a stork on a mosque’s broken pillar in peace,
By some famous old stream in the bright land of Greece;
A sweet-mannered householder! waiving his state
Now and then, in some kind little toil for his mate?
Or a heath bird, that lies on the Cheviot moor,
Where the wet, shining earth is as bare as the floor;
Who mutters glad sounds, though his joys are but few—
Yellow moon, windy sunshine, and skies cold and blue?
Or, if thy man’s heart worketh in thee at all,
Perchance thou wouldst dwell by some bold baron’s hall;
A black, glossy rook, working early and late,
Like a laboring man on the baron’s estate?
Or a linnet, who builds in the close hawthorn bough,
Where her small, frightened eyes may be seen looking through;
Who heeds not, fond mother! the oxlips that shine
On the hedge banks beneath, or the glazed celandine?
Or a swallow that flieth the sunny world over,
The true home of spring and spring flowers to discover;
Who, go where he will, takes away on his wings
Good words from mankind for the bright thoughts he brings?
But what! can these pictures of strange winged mirth
Make the child to forget that she walks on the earth?
Dost thou feel at thy sides as though wings were to start
From some place where they lie folded up in thy heart?
Then love the green things in thy first simple youth,
The beasts, birds, and fishes, with heart and in truth,
And fancy shall pay thee thy love back in skill;
Thou shalt be all the birds of the air at thy will.
F. W. Faber.



I. Causes of the Crusades

Mecca inhabitants shrewd apostles
Medina increased conquered crusades
Mohammed idolatry zealous hermit

About six hundred years after the birth of Christ, a child named Mohammed was born in the city of Mecca in Arabia. The father of Mohammed died when the child was still a babe, and his mother was very poor. During his boyhood he earned a scanty living by tending the flocks of his neighbors, and much of his time was spent in the desert.

Even when young, Mohammed seemed to be religious. He often went to a cave a few miles from Mecca, and stayed there alone for days at a time. He claimed that he had visions in which the angel Gabriel came down to him, and told him many things which he should tell the people of Arabia. When he was forty years old, he went forth to preach, saying that he was the prophet of God.

At the end of three years he had forty followers. The people of Mecca, however, did not believe him to be a prophet. They were for the most part idolaters, and[61] as Mohammed preached against idolatry, they finally drove him from the city.

He and his followers then went to the city of Medina. The inhabitants of that city received them kindly, and Mohammed was able to raise an army with which to overcome his enemies.

Mohammed was a very shrewd man, and among other things he was careful to teach his followers that the hour of each man’s death was fixed. Hence one was as safe in battle as at home. This belief, of course, helped his soldiers to fight bravely.

The number of Mohammed’s followers now increased very fast; and ten years after his flight to Medina, he returned to Mecca at the head of forty thousand pilgrims. Soon all Arabia was converted to his faith, and idolatry was no longer known in Mecca.

After Mohammed’s death, his followers formed the plan of converting the whole world by means of the sword. In course of time their armies overran Persia, Egypt, and northern Africa. They also entered Spain, and having established themselves there, they hoped to conquer the whole of Europe.

Soon the Moslems, as the followers of Mohammed were called, took possession of Palestine and of Jerusalem, where was the sacred tomb of our Saviour.


After the earliest churches had been established by the apostles of Christ, it had been the custom of Christians to make pilgrimages to Jerusalem to see the tomb of our Saviour. Each pilgrim carried a palm branch and wore a cockleshell in his hat. The branch was the token of victory; the shell a sign that the sea had been crossed. After the Moslems had gained possession of the Holy Land, as Palestine is often called, the pilgrims often suffered much from persecution. Then, too, they were required to pay a large sum for permission to visit the tomb and other sacred places.

Church of the Holy Sepulcher

(Present Day)

It was to free the pilgrims, who came from Europe, from this persecution that the crusades, or holy wars, were undertaken. These crusades were begun through the efforts[63] of one zealous man, a priest commonly known as “Peter the Hermit.”

II. Peter the Hermit

pilgrimage exposure admittance enthusiasm
resurrection sanction earnestly separated
cardinals council military Constantinople

Peter the Hermit was born in France. He was in turn a soldier, a priest, and a hermit. At length he made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. On reaching Jerusalem, he saw with such sadness the wrongs suffered by the Christians that he said in his heart, “I will rescue the tomb of our Lord from the heathen.”

During his stay in the Holy City, he went often to the Church of the Resurrection. One day he beheld in a vision the Lord, who directed him to go forth and do his work. He at once returned to Europe. His plan was to raise a great army and with it drive the Moslems from the Holy Land. But he must first obtain the consent and aid of Pope Urban II.

So he traveled to Rome and was permitted to tell the Pope his plan. What a picture they made! The Pope sat in state clothed in rich robes. His cardinals and attendants were around him. Before him stood[64] the pilgrim, his face tanned with exposure and his clothes all travel-stained, telling of the grievous wrongs suffered by the Christians in Jerusalem. No wonder Pope Urban wept. The Pope gave his sanction to Peter to preach throughout Europe, urging the people to go and rescue the blessed tomb.

Peter the Hermit preaching the Crusade

Peter, light of heart but strong of purpose, started forth in the year 1094. He was clad in a woolen garment over which he wore a coarse brown mantle. His feet and head he left bare. He was a small man, and if you had seen him, you would not have called him[65] fine looking. Still, he was never refused admittance into the presence of prince or king.

The poor loved him for his gentleness, and the rich loaded him with gifts. These, however, he never kept for himself, but gave to those who were in need.

At Clermont, in November, 1095, the Pope held a council of all the cardinals, bishops, and priests who stood high in the Church. He told them what Peter meant to do, asking them to render him aid. So earnestly did he speak, that when he had finished, they all shouted together, “God wills it! God wills it!”

“Then,” said Pope Urban, “let the army of the Lord when it rushes upon its enemies shout that cry, ‘God wills it.’”

He commanded all who should take up arms in the cause to wear on the shoulder a cross, reminding them that Christ had said, “He that does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” This is why the wars were called the Crusades, for the word “crusade” means literally “the taking of the cross.”

A great army was soon assembled and ready to march. All the men were eager and wild with enthusiasm, but most of them had never had any military training. How would they succeed in that long and toilsome journey across sea and land to Palestine?


They soon began to meet with trouble. In their haste, they had not provided nearly enough food for themselves. When that gave out, they began to take whatever they needed from the people along the way. In Hungary they did much harm to towns and farms. This made the inhabitants very angry, and they came out to fight the crusaders. Many of the crusaders were killed and the rest were scattered in flight.

At length Peter was separated from his followers, and wandered for some time alone in the forest. Then, in order to make his whereabouts known to any who might be in the same forest or near, he blew his horn. In answer to his call several companies of his friends soon appeared. So with only a small number of those who at first started out, Peter at length reached Constantinople.

At that time Constantinople was the capital of the Roman Empire in the East and its ruler was the Emperor Alexis. The emperor received the crusaders kindly. Here Peter the Hermit was rejoined by a large force of his followers who had been separated from him during the march.

After leaving Constantinople, the crusaders entered the land of the Turks, through which they must march before reaching the Holy Land. A terrible battle was[67] soon fought with the Moslems, and most of the crusaders perished. Peter now saw that with the few men who were left he could do nothing; he therefore decided to find a place of security among the mountains and wait there until aid should come. There we shall leave him for a time.

III. Knighthood in the Crusades

chivalry tournaments modesty archery
jousts avenge obedience sponsors

When Pope Urban II called the council of Clermont, and so many men of all ranks stitched upon their shoulders the cross of red silk, the Age of Chivalry in Europe had already begun. The word “chivalry” is from a French word which means rider of a horse. So, when we speak of the Age of Chivalry, we picture to ourselves knights riding their horses and engaging in real or mock battles.

The mock battles were called jousts or tournaments, and they were the chief amusement of the time. Noble lords and beautiful ladies were present and watched the contest from raised seats as we now watch ball games. The real battles had many causes. Sometimes one prince would quarrel with a neighboring[68] prince and settle the dispute by war. Sometimes a body of knights would go forth to avenge a wrong.

A Knight of the Crusades

Sometimes a king would call upon his knights to go with him to conquer some neighboring country. The knights were therefore always ready for war.

Every boy, if he were the son of a noble, at about the age of seven was sent to the castle or court of some prince or king, as a page.

Here he was taught modesty and obedience, hunting, riding, archery, and the hurling of the lance.

When he had become skillful in these he might bear the shield of his master. He was then a squire. He must know no fear, and must not boast of his own deeds. He must defend the weak and be ever courteous to ladies. At feasts he must carve the meats and wait upon the guests.


When he reached the age of twenty-one, the squire might be made a knight. This was often a very pretty ceremony. The squire would come before his lord and a great party of nobles, dressed in armor, except the helmet, sword, and spurs.

Several nobles would offer themselves as sponsors, declaring that they were sure he would prove himself noble and brave. Then the squire was struck lightly on the shoulders with the sword of his master. At the same time his master repeated these words, “I dub thee knight in the name of God and St. Michael; be faithful, bold, and fortunate.” The knight then went forth to do some deed by which to “win his spurs.”

Sometimes, before being knighted, the young squire was left in the chapel of the castle all night. Here he guarded his armor, and by devout and continuous prayer invoked the blessing of God upon himself and whatever cause he should undertake.

Urged by the preaching of Peter the Hermit and the encouragement of Pope Urban, the knights of Western Europe took up the cause of the crusades. Soon after the departure of Peter with his untrained host of followers, a gallant army, led by two famous knights, Godfrey of Bouillon and Tancred, an Italian knight, began its march to the Holy Land.


Peter at last succeeded in joining them with the few men who were left with him, and together they advanced to Jerusalem.

IV. Godfrey of Bouillon

material scarcity missiles recognized
exhaust devices signals Saracens

Many are the tales that are told of the knightly leaders in this first crusade, and many were their adventures. It was on the 29th of May, 1099, that the Christian army first came into full view of the Holy City. Filled with new zeal at the sight, every man shouted, “It is the will of God.”

The city, however, had been fortified in every possible way, and Godfrey, who was in command, knew it would be a hard task to mount the high walls. He was certain that battering-rams would be necessary to break down the walls, but how were they to obtain the material to make them? The barren country around afforded nothing of which they could make use. To transport the timber from a distance would exhaust both men and horses which were already suffering from scarcity of water and food.

At last news came that a fleet had arrived from[71] Genoa with siege machines and supplies. The crusaders hastened to the nearest seaport, but found that their enemies had been before them and destroyed the fleet. Still they were able to pick up much of the material and many of the instruments used in the making of the machines. Some of the Genoese who were skilled in handicraft put together a few wooden towers and other devices which were of great use in surmounting and breaking down the walls. Bridges were also thrown out, over the walls, by which the soldiers could pass into the city.

On Thursday morning, July 14, 1099, the crusaders made the first attack with their wooden towers. The Saracens, as the Mohammedans were called by the crusaders, met them with missiles of all sorts, which they threw upon them. The crusaders soon made a breach in the wall, but still could not enter the city.

Early the next morning the attack was renewed. A procession of priests was formed and moved about through the throng, encouraging the knights. A pigeon was captured, and under its wing a note was found telling the Saracen commander that help was at hand. This stirred the Christians to still fiercer attack.

Suddenly there appeared to the host a horseman clothed in white. The crusaders at once recognized[72] the vision of St. George. “St. George has come to our assistance,” Godfrey exclaimed. “He signals to enter the Holy City.”

Jerusalem taken by the Crusaders

Again arose the cry, “God wills it! God wills it!” Godfrey commanded the attack to be renewed. The hay which the Saracens had heaped up against the walls to deaden the shock of the battering-rams was set on fire. The Saracens, stifled by the smoke, leaped from the walls. Then the tower bridges were let fall, and soon Godfrey and other knights forced their way into the city.


After the capture of the Holy City, Godfrey was chosen king of Jerusalem, or Defender of the Faith. But he lived only about a year to enjoy that high distinction.

V. Tancred

patrolled cautiously finally renowned
endurance Antioch endeared approached

Tancred was known among his followers for his unselfishness. He seemed never to become weary. If a comrade complained of a duty, he himself would perform it. He patrolled walls at night, fought by day, and by his own endurance of labor and hard fare sought to set an example for his men.

One night, when he was standing guard with only his squire as companion, he was attacked by three armed Saracens on horseback. They came upon him quickly, thinking, of course, that they could easily overcome him. They did not know that the blade of this renowned warrior could cleave their heavy armor as if it were cloth.

On came the first horseman and down came Tancred’s sword. The Saracen fell. The next, who had seen the first one fall, waited for the third. Very[74] cautiously they approached side by side, but they soon fared the same as their companion.

It was Tancred who took possession of Bethlehem. He was made ruler over that part of the Holy Land, but hearing that Antioch was threatened by the Saracens, he went to its relief. For three years he held it against the unbelievers.

Tancred’s cousin, Bohemond, who was the rightful ruler of Antioch, was held as prisoner by the Saracen commander; but finally Tancred succeeded in setting his cousin free. He at once gave up to his cousin the entire rule, although he had so endeared himself to the people that they besought him to remain.

A battle wound was the cause of Tancred’s death. He met his fate bravely, and died with the purpose of saving the Holy Land still uppermost in his heart.

Between the years 1095 and 1270 there were eight crusades, all undertaken for the purpose of delivering the Holy Land from the Saracens. While they failed to accomplish that object, they were still of great benefit to the Church and civilization. They made the people better acquainted with the geography and history of other lands, and led to an increase of trade and industry throughout the known world.



tortures genesis hovering myth
chieftain human wampum pity
Happy young friends, sit by me,
Under May’s blown apple tree,
While these home birds in and out
Through the blossoms flit about.
Hear a story strange and old,
By the wild red Indians told.
How the robin came to be:
Once a great chief left his son,—
Well-beloved, his only one,—
When the boy was well-nigh grown,
In the trial lodge alone.
Left for tortures long and slow
Youths like him must undergo,
Who their pride of manhood test,
Lacking water, food, and rest.
Seven days the fast he kept,
Seven nights he never slept.
Then the young boy, wrung with pain,
Weak from nature’s overstrain,
Faltering, moaned a low complaint,
“Spare me, father, for I faint!”
But the chieftain, haughty-eyed,
Hid his pity in his pride.
“You shall be a hunter good,
Knowing never lack of food;
You shall be a warrior great,
Wise as fox and strong as bear;
Many scalps your belt shall wear,
If with patient heart you wait
Bravely till your task is done.
Better you should starving die
Than that boy and squaw should cry
Shame upon your father’s son!”
When next morn the sun’s first rays
Glistened on the hemlock sprays,
Straight that lodge the old chief sought,
And boiled samp and moose meat brought.
“Rise and eat, my son!” he said.
Lo, he found the poor boy dead!
As with grief his grave they made,
And his bow beside him laid,
Pipe, and knife, and wampum braid,
On the lodge top overhead,
Preening smooth its breast of red
And the brown coat that it wore,
Sat a bird, unknown before.
And as if with human tongue,
“Mourn me not,” it said, or sung;
“I, a bird, am still your son,
Happier than if hunter fleet,
Or a brave, before your feet
Laying scalps in battle won.
Friend of man, my song shall cheer
Lodge and corn land; hovering near,
To each wigwam I shall bring
Tidings of the coming spring;
Every child my voice shall know
In the moon of melting snow,
When the maple’s red bud swells,
And the windflower lifts its bells.
As their fond companion
Men shall henceforth own your son,
And my song shall testify
That of human kin am I.”
Thus the Indian legend saith
How, at first, the robin came
With a sweeter life than death,
Bird for boy, and still the same.
If my young friends doubt that this
Is the robin’s genesis,
Not in vain is still the myth
If a truth be found therewith:
Unto gentleness belong
Gifts unknown to pride and wrong;
Happier far than hate is praise,—
He who sings than he who slays.
John G. Whittier.


fervor abandon salvation penance
triple multitude substance raiment
refuge creator preserved element
marveled benefits ingratitude providence

One day when St. Francis was in a village of Italy, he began to preach; and first of all he commanded the swallows who were singing that they should keep silence until he had done preaching, and the swallows obeyed him. And he preached with so much fervor that all the men and women in that village were minded to go forth and abandon the village.


But St. Francis suffered them not, and said to them: “Do not be in haste, and do not go hence, and I will order that which you must do for the salvation of your souls;” and then he thought of his third order for the salvation of the whole world. And he left them much comforted and well disposed to penance; and he departed thence.

And passing along, in fervor of soul, he lifted up his eyes and saw many trees standing by the way, and filled with a countless multitude of little birds; at which St. Francis wondered, and said to his companions, “Wait a little for me in the road, and I will go and preach to my sisters the birds.”

And he entered into the field, and began to preach to the birds that were on the ground. And suddenly, those that were in the trees came around him, and together they all remained silent, so long as it pleased St. Francis to speak; and even after he had finished they would not depart until he had given them his blessing. And according as it was afterwards related, St. Francis went among them and touched them with his cloak, and none of them moved.

The substance of the sermon was this: “My little sisters, the birds, you are much beholden to God your creator, and in all places you ought to praise Him, because[80] He has given you liberty to fly about in all places, and has given you double and triple raiment. Know also that He preserved your race in the ark of Noe that your species might not perish.

“And again you are beholden to Him for the element of air, which He has appointed for you; and for this also that you never sow nor reap, but God feeds you and gives you the brooks and fountains for your drink, the mountains and valleys also for your refuge, and the tall trees wherein to make your nests. And since you know neither how to sew nor how to spin, God clothes you, you and your young ones. Wherefore your creator loves you much, since He has bestowed on you so many benefits. And therefore beware, my little sisters, of the sin of ingratitude, and study always to please God.”

As St. Francis spoke thus to them, all the multitude of these birds opened their beaks, and stretched out their necks, and opened their wings; and reverently bowing their heads to the earth, by their acts and by their songs they showed that the words of the holy father gave them the greatest delight. And St. Francis rejoiced, and was glad with them, and marveled much at such a multitude of birds, and at their beautiful variety, and their attention and familiarity; for all which he devoutly praised their creator in them.


Finally, having finished his sermon, St. Francis made the sign of the cross over them, and gave them leave to depart. Thereupon, all those birds arose in the air, with wonderful singing; and after the fashion of the sign of the cross which St. Francis had made over them, they divided themselves into four parts; and one part flew toward the east, and another to the west, another to the south, and another to the north.

Then, all departing, they went their way singing wonderful songs, signifying by this that as St. Francis, standard bearer of the cross of Christ, had preached to them, made on them the sign of the cross, after which they had divided themselves, going to the four parts of the world, so the preaching of the cross of Christ, renewed by St. Francis, should be carried by him and by his brothers to the whole world, and that these brothers, after the fashion of the birds, should possess nothing of their own in this world, but commit their lives solely to the providence of God.

—From “Little Flowers of St. Francis.

Teach me, O lark! with thee to gently rise,
To exalt my soul and lift it to the skies.
Edmund Burke.



petrified holiday avalanches design
delicate reveled mysteries haughty
mammoth veinings fissure holiday
In a valley, centuries ago,
Grew a little fern leaf, green and slender,
Veining delicate and fibers tender;
Waving when the wind crept down so low;
Rushes tall, and moss, and grass grew round it,
Playful sunbeams darted in and found it,
Drops of dew stole in by night and crowned it,
But no foot of man e’er trod that way;
Earth was young and keeping holiday.
Monster fishes swam the silent main,
Stately forests waved their giant branches,
Mountains hurled their snowy avalanches,
Mammoth creatures stalked across the plain;
Nature reveled in grand mysteries;
But the little fern was not of these,
Did not number with the hills and trees,
Only grew and waved its wild sweet way,—
No one came to note it day by day.
Earth, one time, put on a frolic mood,
Heaved the rocks and changed the mighty motion
Of the deep, strong currents of the ocean;
Moved the plain and shook the haughty wood,
Crushed the little fern in soft moist clay,
Covered it, and hid it safe away.
Oh, the long, long centuries since that day!
Oh, the agony, oh, life’s bitter cost,
Since that useless little fern was lost!
Useless! Lost! There came a thoughtful man
Searching Nature’s secrets, far and deep;
From a fissure in a rocky steep
He withdrew a stone, o’er which there ran
Fairy pencilings, a quaint design,
Veinings, leafage, fibers clear and fine,
And the fern’s life lay in every line!
So, I think, God hides some souls away,
Sweetly to surprise us the last day.
Mary L. Bolles Branch.

The purest treasure mortal times afford
Is spotless reputation: that away,
Men are but gilded loam or painted clay.




recognize honor innocent complimentary
assassin retorts bugaboo apparently
suspect thrush social intolerable

How surely the birds know their enemies! See how the wrens and robins and bluebirds pursue and scold the cat, while they take little or no notice of the dog! Even the swallow will fight the cat, and, relying too confidently upon its powers of flight, sometimes swoops down so near to its enemy that it is caught by a sudden stroke of the cat’s paw. The only case I know of in which our small birds fail to recognize their enemy is furnished by the shrike; apparently the little birds do not know that this modest-colored bird is an assassin. At least, I have never seen them scold or molest him, or utter any outcries at his presence, as they usually do at birds of prey.

But the birds have nearly all found out the trick of the jay, and when he comes sneaking through the trees in May and June in quest of eggs, he is quickly exposed and roundly abused. It is amusing to see the robins hustle him out of the tree which holds their[85] nest. They cry, “Thief! thief!” to the top of their voices as they charge upon him, and the jay retorts in a voice scarcely less complimentary as he makes off.

The jays have their enemies also, and need to keep an eye on their own eggs. It would be interesting to know if jays ever rob jays, or crows plunder crows; or is there honor among thieves even in the feathered tribes? I suspect the jay is often punished by birds which are otherwise innocent of nest robbing.

A jay. Illustrator credit: GLEESON.

One season I found a jay’s nest in a cedar on the side of a wooded ridge. It held five eggs, every one of which had been punctured. Apparently some bird had driven its sharp beak through their shells, with the sole intention of destroying them, for no part of the contents of the eggs had been removed. It looked like a case of revenge—as if some thrush or[86] warbler, whose nest had suffered at the hands of the jays, had watched its opportunity, and had in this way retaliated upon its enemies. An egg for an egg. The jays were lingering near, very demure and silent, and probably ready to join a crusade against nest robbers.

The great bugaboo of the birds is the owl. The owl snatches them from off their roosts at night, and gobbles up their eggs and young in their nests. He is a veritable ogre to them, and his presence fills them with consternation and alarm.

One season, to protect my early cherries, I placed a large stuffed owl amid the branches of the tree. Such a racket as there instantly began about my grounds is not pleasant to think upon. The orioles and robins fairly “shrieked out their affright.” The news instantly spread in every direction, and apparently every bird in town came to see that owl in the cherry tree, and every bird took a cherry, so that I lost more fruit than if I had left the owl indoors. With craning necks and horrified looks the birds alighted upon the branches, and between their screams would snatch off a cherry, as if the act was some relief to their feelings.

The chirp and chatter of the young of birds which build in concealed or inclosed places, like the woodpeckers, the house wren, the high-hoe, the oriole,[87] etc., is in marked contrast to the silence of the fledgelings of most birds that build open and exposed nests. The young of the sparrows, warblers, flycatchers, thrushes, etc., never allow a sound to escape them; and on the alarm note of their parents being heard, sit especially close and motionless, while the young of chimney swallows, woodpeckers, and orioles are very noisy.

The owl, I suspect, thrusts its leg into the cavities of woodpeckers and into the pocket-like nest of the oriole, and clutches and brings forth the birds in its talons. In one case, a screech owl had thrust its claw into a cavity in a tree, and grasped the head of a red-headed woodpecker; being apparently unable to draw its prey forth, it had thrust its own round head into the hole, and in some way became fixed there, and had thus died with the woodpecker in its talons.


mishap tragedies desiccated vicinity
tragic vermin intolerable purgatory
comic couple cavity explosion

The life of birds is beset with dangers and mishaps of which we know little. One day, in my walk, I came[88] upon a goldfinch with the tip of one wing securely fastened to the feathers of its back, by what appeared to be the silk of some caterpillar. The bird, though uninjured, was completely crippled, and could not fly a stroke. Its little body was hot and panting in my hands as I carefully broke the fetter. Then it darted swiftly away with a happy cry.

A record of all the accidents and tragedies of bird life for a single season would show many curious incidents. A friend of mine opened his box stove one fall to kindle a fire in it, when he beheld in the black interior the desiccated forms of two bluebirds. The birds had probably taken refuge in the chimney during some cold spring storm, and had come down the pipe to the stove, from whence they were unable to ascend.

A peculiarly touching little incident of bird life occurred to a caged canary. It laid some eggs, and was so carried away by its feelings that it would offer food to the eggs, and chatter and twitter, trying, as it seemed, to encourage them to eat. The incident is hardly tragic, neither is it comic.

Certain birds nest in the vicinity of our houses and outbuildings, or even in and upon them, for protection from their enemies, but they often thus expose themselves to plague of the most deadly character.


I refer to the vermin with which their nests often swarm, and which kill the young before they are fledged. In a state of nature this probably never happens; at least I have never seen or heard of it happening to nests placed in trees or under rocks. It is the curse of civilization falling upon the birds which come too near man. The vermin is probably conveyed to the nest in hen’s feathers, or in straws and hairs picked up about the barn or henhouse. A robin’s nest will occasionally become an intolerable nuisance from the swarms upon swarms of minute vermin with which it is filled. The parent birds stem the tide as long as they can, but are often compelled to leave the young to their terrible fate.

One season a phœbe bird built on a projecting stone under the eaves of the house, and all appeared to go well till the young were nearly fledged, when the nest suddenly became a bit of purgatory. The birds kept their places till they could hold out no longer, when they leaped forth and fell dead upon the ground.

After a delay of a week or more, during which I imagine the parent birds purified themselves by every means known to them, the couple built another nest a few yards from the first, and proceeded to rear a second brood; but the new nest developed into the[90] same bed of torment that the first did, and the three young birds, nearly ready to fly, perished as they sat within it. The parent birds then left the place.

I imagine the smaller birds have an enemy in our native white-footed mouse, though I have not proof enough to convict him. But one season the nest of a chickadee which I was observing was broken up in a position where nothing but a mouse could have reached it. The bird had chosen a cavity in the limb of an apple tree which stood but a few yards from the house. The cavity was deep, and the entrance to it, which was ten feet from the ground, was small.

Barely light enough was admitted to enable one to make out the number of eggs, which was six, at the bottom of the dim interior. While one was peering in and trying to get his head out of his own light, the bird would startle him by a queer kind of puffing sound. She would not leave her nest like most birds, but really tried to blow, or scare, the intruder away; and after repeated experiments I could hardly refrain from jerking my head back when that little explosion of sound came up from the dark interior.

One night the nest was harried. A slight trace of hair or fur at the entrance led me to infer that some small animal was the robber.


A weasel might have done it, as they sometimes climb trees, but I doubt if either a squirrel or a rat could have passed the entrance.

A pair of the least flycatchers, the bird which is a small edition of the pewee, one season built their nest where I had them for many hours each day under my observation. The nest was a very snug and compact structure placed in the forks of a small maple about twelve feet from the ground. The season before a red squirrel had harried the nest of a wood thrush in this same tree, and I was apprehensive that he would serve the flycatchers the same trick; so, as I sat with my book in a summerhouse near by, I kept my loaded gun within easy reach.

One egg was laid, and the next morning, as I made my daily inspection of the nest, only a fragment of its empty shell was to be found. This I removed, mentally imprecating the rogue of a red squirrel. The birds were much disturbed by the event, but after much inspection of it and many consultations together, concluded, it seems, to try again.

Two more eggs were laid, when one day I heard the birds utter a sharp cry, and on looking up I saw a cat-bird perched upon the rim of the nest, hastily devouring the eggs. I soon regretted my precipitation in[92] killing her, because such interference is generally unwise. It turned out that she had a nest of her own with five eggs in a spruce tree near my window.

Then this pair of little flycatchers did what I had never seen birds do before: they pulled the nest to pieces and rebuilt it in a peach tree not many rods away, where a brood was successfully reared. The nest was here exposed to the direct rays of the noonday sun, and to shield her young when the heat was greatest, the mother-bird would stand above them with wings slightly spread, as other birds have been known to do under like circumstances.


peculiar species expressive courage
curious dismay desperate assault
subtle rescue deranged enemy

Probably the darkest tragedy of the nest is enacted when a snake plunders it. All birds and animals, so far as I have observed, behave in a peculiar manner toward a snake. They seem to feel something of the same loathing toward it that the human species experience. The bark of a dog when he encounters a snake is different from that which he gives out on any[93] other occasion; it is a mingled note of alarm, inquiry, and disgust.

One day a tragedy was enacted a few yards from where I was sitting with a book: two song sparrows were trying to defend their nest against a black snake. The curious, interrogating note of a chicken who had suddenly come upon the scene in his walk first caused me to look up from my reading. There were the sparrows, with wings raised in a way peculiarly expressive of horror and dismay, rushing about a low clump of grass and bushes.

Then, looking more closely, I saw the glistening form of the black snake, and the quick movement of his head as he tried to seize the birds. The sparrows darted about and through the grass and weeds, trying to beat the snake off. Their tails and wings were spread, and, panting with the heat and desperate struggle, they presented a most singular spectacle. They uttered no cry, not a sound escaped them; they were plainly speechless with horror and dismay. Not once did they drop their wings, and the peculiar expression of those uplifted palms, as it were, I shall never forget.

It occurred to me that perhaps here was a case of attempted bird charming on the part of the snake, so[94] I looked on from behind the fence. The birds charged the snake and harassed him from every side, but were evidently under no spell save that of courage in defending their nest.

Every moment or two I could see the head and neck of the serpent make a sweep at the birds, when the one struck at would fall back, and the other would renew the assault. There appeared to be little danger that the snake could strike and hold one of the birds, though I trembled for them, they were so bold and approached so near to the snake’s head. Time and again he sprang at them but without success. How the poor things panted, and held up their wings appealingly!

Then the snake glided off, barely escaping the stone which I hurled at him. I found the nest rifled and deranged; whether it had contained eggs or young I know not. The male sparrow had cheered me many a day with his song, and I blamed myself for not having rushed at once to the rescue, when the arch enemy was upon him.

There is probably little truth in the popular notion that snakes charm birds. The black snake is the most subtle of our snakes, and I have never seen him have any but young, helpless birds in his mouth.

John Burroughs.



O, holy St. Joseph! in thee we confide,
Be thou our protector, our father, our guide;
The flowers of our innocent childhood we twine
In a fragrant white garland of love at thy shrine.
St. Joseph, who guided the Child on His way,
O, guide us and guard us and bless us, we pray!
Long ago didst thou teach the Lord Jesus to speak,
And thine arms were His strength when His footsteps, were weak;
So lend us thy help in the days of our youth
So teach us to walk in the pathway of truth!
St. Joseph, Christ’s early protector and stay,
Protect us and save us from evil, we pray!
When the years glowing o’er us shall smolder away,
When their ashes down-drifting, shall crown us with gray,
Still loyal and true may we keep to our vow
To honor our saint as we honor him now!
St. Joseph, who guided the Child on His way,
O, guide us at last to His presence, we pray!
H. W.



Hark, the spring! She calls
With a thousand voices
’Mid the echoing forest halls
One great heart rejoices.
Hills, where young lambs bound,
Whiten o’er with daisies;
Flag flowers light the lower ground,
Where the old steer grazes.
Meadows laugh, flower-gay;
Every breeze that passes
Waves the seed-cloud’s gleaming gray
O’er the greener grasses.
O thou spring! be strong,
Exquisite newcomer!
And the onset baffle long
Of advancing summer!
Aubrey de Vere.



I. Chased by a Bloodhound

entertaining revenge assemble pursuit
dispersed attendant prisoner fugitives
resolved oppressed relation retreat

I will now tell you a story of King Robert Bruce during his wanderings. His adventures are as entertaining as those which men invent for story books, with this advantage, that they are all true.

About the time when the Bruce was yet at the head of but few men, Sir Aymer de Valence, who was Earl of Pembroke, together with John of Lorn, came into Galloway, each of them being at the head of a large body of men.

John of Lorn had a bloodhound with him, which it was said had formerly belonged to Robert Bruce himself; and having been fed by the king with his own hands, it became attached to him and would follow his footsteps anywhere, as dogs are well known to trace their masters’ steps, whether they be bloodhounds or not. By means of this hound, John of Lorn thought he should certainly find out Bruce, and take revenge on him for the death of his relation Comyn.


When these two armies advanced upon King Robert, he at first thought of fighting the English earl; but becoming aware that John of Lorn was moving round with another large body to attack him in the rear, he resolved to avoid fighting at that time, lest he should be oppressed by numbers. For this purpose, the king divided the men he had with him into three bodies, and commanded them to retreat by three different ways, thinking the enemy would not know which party to pursue. He also appointed a place at which they were to assemble again.

When John of Lorn came to the place where the army of Bruce had been thus divided, the bloodhound took his course after one of these divisions, neglecting the other two, and then John of Lorn knew that the king must be in that party; so he also made no pursuit after the two other divisions, but, with all his men, followed that which the dog pointed out.

The king again saw that he was followed by a large body, and being determined to escape from them if possible, he made all the people who were with him disperse themselves different ways, thinking thus that the enemy must needs lose trace of him. He kept only one man along with him, and that was his own foster brother, or the son of his nurse.


When John of Lorn came to the place where Bruce’s companions had dispersed themselves, the bloodhound, after it had snuffed up and down for a little, quitted the footsteps of all the other fugitives, and ran barking upon the track of two men out of the whole number. Then John of Lorn knew that one of these two must be King Robert. Accordingly, he commanded five of his men to chase after him, and either make him prisoner or slay him.

The Highlanders started off accordingly, and ran so fast that they gained sight of Robert and his foster brother. The king asked his companion what help he could give him, and his foster brother answered he was ready to do his best. So these two turned on the five men of John of Lorn and killed them all.

By this time Bruce was very much fatigued, and yet they dared not sit down to take any rest; for whenever they stopped for an instant, they heard the cry of the bloodhound behind them, and knew by that that their enemies were coming up fast after them. At length they came to a wood through which ran a small river. Then Bruce said to his foster brother, “Let us wade down this stream for a great way, instead of going straight across, and so this unhappy hound will lose the scent; for if we were once clear[100] of him, I should not be afraid of getting away from the pursuers.”

Accordingly, the king and his attendant walked a great way down the stream, taking care to keep their feet in the water, which could not retain any scent where they had stepped. Then they came ashore on the farther side from the enemy, and went deep into the wood.

In the meanwhile, the hound led John of Lorn straight to the place where the king went into the water, but there the dog began to be puzzled, not knowing where to go next; for running water cannot retain the scent of a man’s foot, like that which remains on turf. So John of Lorn, seeing the dog was at fault, as it is called, that is, had lost the track of that which he pursued, he gave up the chase and returned to join with Aymer de Valence.

II. In the Forest

habitation ruffians civilly salutations
amazing villains insisted acquainted

King Robert’s adventures were not yet ended. His foster brother and he walked on in hopes of coming to some habitation. At length, in the midst of the forest,[101] they met with three men who looked like thieves or ruffians. They were well armed, and one of them bore a sheep on his back, which it seemed as if they had just stolen.

They saluted the king civilly; and he, replying to their salutations, asked them where they were going. The men answered they were seeking for Robert Bruce, for that they intended to join with him.

The king answered that he would conduct them where they would find the Scottish king. Then the man who had spoken changed countenance, and Bruce, who looked sharply at him, began to suspect that the ruffian guessed who he was, and that he and his companions had some design against his person, in order to gain the reward which had been offered for his life.

So he said to them, “My good friends, as we are not well acquainted with each other, you must go before us, and we will follow near to you.”

“You have no occasion to suspect any harm from us,” answered the man.

“Neither do I suspect any,” said Bruce; “but this is the way in which I choose to travel.”

The men did as he commanded, and thus they traveled till they came together to a waste and ruinous[102] cottage, where the men proposed to dress some part of the sheep, which their companion was carrying. The king was glad to hear of food; but he insisted that there should be two fires kindled,—one for himself and his foster brother at one end of the house, the other at the other end for their three companions.

The men did as he desired. They broiled a quarter of mutton for themselves, and gave another to the king and his attendant. They were obliged to eat it without bread or salt; but as they were very hungry, they were glad to get food in any shape, and partook of it very heartily.

Then so heavy a drowsiness fell on King Robert, that, for all the danger he was in, he could not resist an inclination to sleep. But first he desired his foster brother to watch while he slept, for he had great suspicion of their new acquaintances. His foster brother promised to keep awake, and did his best to keep his word. But the king had not been long asleep ere his foster brother fell into a deep slumber also, for he had undergone as much fatigue as the king.

When the three villains saw the king and his attendant asleep they made signs to each other, and, rising up at once, drew their swords with the purpose to kill them both. But the king slept lightly, and for as little[103] noise as the traitors made, he was awakened by it, and starting up, drew his sword and went to meet them. At the same moment he pushed his foster brother with his foot to awaken him, and he got on his feet; but ere he had got his eyes cleared to see what was about to happen, one of the ruffians slew him.

The king was now alone, one man against three, and in the greatest danger of his life; but his amazing strength, and the good armor which he wore, freed him from this great peril, and he killed the three men, one after another. He then left the cottage, very sorrowful for the death of his faithful foster brother, and took his direction toward the place where he had appointed his men to assemble.

III. At the Farmhouse

gallant fidelity weariness mischief
trusty faithful sentinels mentioned

It was now near night, and the place of meeting being a farmhouse, Bruce went boldly into it, where he found the mistress, an old, true-hearted Scotswoman, sitting alone. Upon seeing a stranger enter, she asked him who he was. The king answered that he was a traveler, who was journeying through the country.


“All travelers,” answered the good woman, “are welcome here for the sake of one.”

“And who is that one,” said the king, “for whose sake you make all travelers welcome?”

“It is our rightful king, Robert the Bruce,” answered the mistress, “who is the lawful lord of this country; and although he is now pursued with hounds and horns, I hope to live to see him king over all Scotland.”

“Since you love him so well, dame,” said the king, “know that you see him before you. I am Robert the Bruce.”

“You!” said the good woman, “and wherefore are you thus alone?—where are all your men?”

“I have none with me at this moment,” answered Bruce, “and therefore I must travel alone.”

“But that shall not be,” said the brave old dame; “for I have two sons, gallant and trusty men, who shall be your servants for life and death.”

So she brought her two sons, and though she well knew the dangers to which she exposed them, she made them swear fidelity to the king; and they afterward became high officers in his service.

Now the loyal old woman was getting everything ready for the king’s supper, when suddenly there was a great trampling of horses heard round the house.[105] They thought it must be some of the English, or John of Lorn’s men, and the good wife called upon her sons to fight to the last for King Robert. But shortly after they heard the voice of the good Lord James of Douglas, and of Edward Bruce, the king’s brother, who had come with a hundred and fifty horsemen to this farmhouse.

Robert the Bruce, forgetting hunger and weariness, began to inquire where the enemy who had pursued them so long had taken up their abode for the night; “for,” said he, “as they must suppose us totally scattered and fled, it is likely that they will think themselves quite secure, and keep careless watch.”

“That is very true,” answered James of Douglas, “for I passed a village where there are two hundred of them quartered, who had placed no sentinels; and if you have a mind, we may surprise them, and do them more mischief than they have done us.”

Then there was nothing but mount and ride; and as the Scots came by surprise on the body of English whom Douglas had mentioned, and rushed suddenly into the village where they were quartered, they easily dispersed and cut them to pieces.

Sir Walter Scott.



When evening shades are falling
O’er ocean’s sunny sleep,
To pilgrims’ hearts recalling
Their home beyond the deep;
When rest, o’er all descending,
The shores with gladness smile,
And lutes, their echoes blending,
Are heard from isle to isle:
Then, Mary, Star of the Sea,
We pray, we pray, to thee.
The noonday tempest over
Now ocean toils no more,
And wings of halcyons hover,
Where all was strife before;
Oh, thus may life, in closing
Its short tempestuous day,
Beneath heaven’s smile reposing,
Shine all its storms away:
Thus, Mary, Star of the Sea,
We pray, we pray, to thee.
Thomas Moore.



Adapted from “The Red Book of Animal Stories.” Copyright, 1899, by Longmans, Green, & Company. Used by permission.

nourishing excellent sinews immense
delicacy especially crevices sociable
A reindeer. Illustrator credit: GLEESON.

There is perhaps no other animal in the world so useful as the reindeer, at least none that can be put to so many uses. The flesh of a sheep is eaten, and its wool is woven into cloth; but then we should never think of harnessing a sheep even to a baby carriage.[108] A camel serves, in the desert, the purpose of a van and of a riding horse in one, and his hair makes warm garments; but he would give us a very ill-tasting dinner, and the same may be said of some other useful creatures. A reindeer, however, is good to eat, and makes an excellent steed; its milk is nourishing; the softer parts of its horns, when properly prepared, are considered a delicacy; the bones are turned to account as tools; the sinews are twisted into thread, and, all the long winter, the skin and hair keep the dwellers in the far North snug and warm. Take away the reindeer, and the inhabitants of every country north of latitude 60° would feel as helpless as we should in England if there were no more sheep or cows!

Reindeer live, by choice, on the slopes of mountains, and require no better food than the moss, or little alpine plants, which they find growing in the crevices of the rock. Sometimes, in very cold places, or when the winter is particularly severe, they take shelter in the forest; but when spring is in the air once more, out they come in great herds, thin and sore from the bites of newly awakened insects, and wander away in search of fresher pasture. In August and September, when the sun has grown too strong for them, they seek the shade of the woods again.


In their wild state reindeer are great travelers, and as they are very strong, and excellent swimmers, they go immense distances, especially the reindeer of North America, who will cross the ice to Greenland in the early part of the year, and stay there till the end of October, when they come back to their old quarters. They are most sociable creatures, and are never happy unless they have three or four hundred companions, while herds of a thousand have sometimes been counted. The females and calves are always placed in front, and the big bucks bring up the rear, to see that nobody falls out of the ranks from weakness.

Like many animals that live in the North, the color of the reindeer is different in winter from what it is in summer. Twice a year he changes his coat, and the immense thick covering which has been so comfortable all through the fierce cold, begins to fall in early spring and a short hair to take its place, so that by the time summer comes, he is nice and cool, and looks quite another creature from what he did in the winter. As the days shorten and grow frosty, the coat becomes longer and closer, and by the time the first snow falls the deer is quite prepared to meet it.

Though reindeer prefer mountain sides when they can get them, their broad and wide-cleft hoofs are well[110] adapted for the lowlands of the North of Europe and of America, which are a morass in summer and a snow-field in winter. Here are to be seen whole herds of them, either walking with a regular rapid step, or else going at a quick trot; but in either case always making a peculiar crackling noise with their feet.

They have an acute sense of smell, and will detect a man at a distance of five or six hundred paces, and as their eyes are as good as their ears, the huntsman has much ado to get up to them. They are dainty in their food, choosing out only the most delicate of the alpine plants, and their skins cannot be as tough as they look, for they are very sensitive to the bites of mosquitoes, gnats, and particularly of midges.

Reindeer are very cautious, as many hunters have found to their cost; but they are ready to be friendly with any cows or horses they may come across, and this must make the task of taming them a great deal easier. They have their regular hours for meals, too, and early in the mornings and late in the evenings may be seen going out for their breakfasts and suppers, which, in summer, consist, in the highlands, of the leaves and flowers of the snow ranunculus, reindeer sorrel, a favorite kind of grass, and, better than all, the young shoots of the dwarf birch. In[111] the afternoons they lie down and rest, and choose for their place of repose a patch of snow, or a glacier if one is at hand.

In Norway and Lapland great herds of reindeer may be seen, during the summer, wandering along the banks of rivers, or making for the mountains, returning with the approach of winter to their old quarters. With the first snow fall they are safe under shelter, for this is the time when wolves are most to be feared. In the spring they are let loose again, and are driven carefully to some spot which is freer from midges than the rest. And so life goes on from year to year.

Reindeer herding is by no means so easy as it looks, and it would be quite impossible, even to a Lapp, if it were not for the help of dogs, who are part of the family. They are small creatures, hardly as big as a Spitz, and very thin, with close compact hair all over their bodies. These dogs are very obedient, and understand every movement of their master’s eyelid. They will not only keep the herd together on land, but follow them into a river, or across an arm of the sea. It is they who rescue the weaklings in danger of drowning, after their winter’s fast, and in the autumn, when the reindeer have grown strong from good living, drive the herd back again through the bay.


A herd of reindeer on the march is a beautiful sight to see. They go quickly along, faster than any other domestic animal, and are kept together by the herdsman and his dogs, who are untiring in their efforts to bring up stragglers.

When a good stretch of pasture is found, the Lapps build a fold, into which the reindeer are driven every evening, so that the work of the milkers may be lightened. These folds are made of the stems of birches placed close together and strengthened with cross-pieces and strong props. They are about seven feet high, and have two wide doors. At milking time, which the dogs know as well as the men, the animals are driven inside by their faithful guardians, and milking begins busily. The young ones are generally left outside under the watchful eyes of the dogs, who see that they do not wander too far away.

Inside the fold the noise is really deafening. The reindeer run to and fro, giving loud cries and throwing their heads about; which, as their horns are very big, is not pleasant for the milkers. Any one walking that way would be struck, first, with the sound of the commotion in the inclosure, and this would most likely be followed by a crackling noise, as if a hundred electric batteries were at work at once.


In the middle of the fold are thick tree trunks to which the reindeer which have to be milked are fastened, for without these they would not stand still one single instant.

The milkers have a thong which is thrown round the neck of the animal, and drawn closer till it is tied by a slip noose over the creature’s mouth, so as to prevent it from biting. Then the ends are made secure to the milking block, and the milking begins—the animal all the while struggling hard to get free. But the Lapps know how to manage them, and only draw the cord tighter over the nose, so that the creatures are bound in self-defense to remain quiet.

The milk flows into a sort of large bowl with handles, but the Lapps are both careless and dirty in their ways, and not only waste a great deal of the milk, but leave so many hairs in it that it is necessary to strain it through a cloth before it can be drunk. However, the milk itself is very good. The milking once over, the doors are opened, and the animals scamper out joyously.

All together, the life of the owner of a herd of reindeer cannot be said to be an idle one. Yet he is in general well satisfied with his lot, and thinks himself the most fortunate man in the world.

A. Lang.



chariots weapon barriers protector
whelp award district savage

There was a great smith in Ulster of the name of Culain, who made a feast for Conchubar and his people. When Conchubar was setting out to the feast, he passed by the lawn where the boy troop were at their games, and he watched them awhile, and saw how young Setanta, his sister’s son, was winning the goal from them all.

“That little lad will serve Ulster yet,” said Conchubar; “and call him to me now,” he said, “and let him come with me to the smith’s feast.”

“I cannot go with you now,” said Setanta, when they had called to him, “for these boys have not had enough of play yet.”

“It would be too long for me to wait for you,” said the king.

“There is no need for you to wait; I will follow the track of the chariots,” said Setanta.

So Conchubar went on to the smith’s house, and there was a welcome before him, and the feast was brought in, and they began to be merry. And then Culain[115] said to the king, “Will there be any one else of your people coming after you to-night?”

“There will not,” said Conchubar, for he forgot that he had told the little lad to follow him. “But why do you ask me that?” he said.

“I have a fierce hound,” said the smith, “and when I take the chain off him, he lets no one come into the district with himself, and he will obey no one but myself, and he has in him the strength of a hundred.”

“Loose him out,” said Conchubar, “and let him keep a watch on the place.”

So Culain loosed him out, and the dog made a course round the whole district, and then he came back to the place where he was used to watch the house.

Now, as to the boys at Emain, when they were done playing, every one went to his father’s house, or to whoever was in charge of him. But Setanta set out on the track of the chariots, shortening the way for himself with his hurling stick and his ball.

When he came to the lawn before the smith’s house, the hound heard him coming, and began such a fierce yelling that he might have been heard through all Ulster, and he sprang at him as if he had a mind not to stop and tear him up at all, but to swallow him at the one mouthful. The little fellow had no weapon[116] but his stick and his ball, but when he saw the hound coming at him, he struck the ball with such force that it went down his throat, and through his body. Then he seized him by the hind legs and dashed him against a rock until there was no life left in him.

When the men feasting within heard the outcry of the hound, Conchubar started up and said, “It is no good luck brought us on this journey, for that is surely my sister’s son that was coming after me, and that has got his death by the hound.”

On that all the men rushed out, not waiting to go through the door, but over walls and barriers as they could. But Fergus was the first to get to where the boy was, and he took him up and lifted him on his shoulder, and brought him in safe and sound to Conchubar, and there was great joy in them all.

But Culain the smith went out with them, and when he saw his great hound lying dead and broken, there was great grief in his heart, and he came in and said to Setanta, “There is no good welcome for you here.”

“What have you against the little lad?” said Conchubar.

“It was no good luck that brought him here, or that made me prepare this feast for yourself,” said the smith, “for now, my hound being gone, my substance will be[117] wasted, and my way of living will be gone astray. And, little boy,” he said, “that was a good member of my family you took from me, for he was the protector of my flocks and of all that I have.”

“Do not be vexed on account of that,” said the boy, “and I myself will makeup to you for what I have done.”

“How will you do that?” said Conchubar.

“This is how I will do it: if there is a whelp of the same breed to be had in Ireland, I will rear him and train him until he is as good a hound as the one killed; and until that time, Culain,” he said, “I myself will be your watchdog, to guard your goods and your cattle and your house.”

“You have made a fair offer,” said Conchubar.

“I could have given no better award myself,” said Cathbad the Druid. “And from this out,” he said, “your name will be Cuchulain, the Hound of Culain.”

“I am better pleased with my own name of Setanta,” said the boy.

“Do not say that,” said Cathbad, “for all the men in the whole world will some day have the name of Cuchulain in their mouths.”

“If that is so, I am content to keep it,” said the boy. And this is how he came by the name Cuchulain.

Lady Gregory.



uncivil specimens behavior celebrations
dozens wreaths garlands especially

There are a great many interesting stories about the first settlement of San Gabriel, and the habits and customs of the Indians there. They were a very polite people to each other, and used to train their children in some respects very carefully.

If a child were sent to bring water to an older person, and he tasted it on the way, he was made to throw the water out and go and bring fresh water; when two grown-up persons were talking together, if a child ran between them, he was told that he had done an uncivil thing. These are only specimens of their rules for polite behavior. They seem to me as good as ours.

These Indians were very fond of flowers, of which the whole country is full. They used to make long garlands and wreaths, not only to wear on their heads, but to reach way down to their feet. These they wore at festivals and celebrations; and sometimes at these festivals they used to have what they called “song contests.”


Two of the best singers, or poets, would be matched together to see which could sing the better, or make the better verses. That seems to me a more interesting kind of match than the spelling matches we have in our villages.

But there is nothing of this sort to be seen in San Gabriel now, or indeed anywhere in California. The Indians have been driven away by the white people who wanted their lands; year by year more and more white people have come, and the Indians have been robbed of more and more of their lands, and have died off by hundreds, until there are not many left.

Mr. Connor was much interested in collecting all he could of the curious stone bowls and pestles they used to make, and of their baskets and lace work. He spent much of his time riding about the country; and whenever he came to an Indian hut he would stop and ask if they had any stone bowls they would like to sell.

The bowls especially were a great curiosity. Nobody knew how long ago they had been made. When the missionaries first came to the country they found the Indians using them; they had them of all sizes, from those so large that they are almost more than a man can lift down to the tiny ones no bigger than a tea-cup. But big and little, they were all made in the[120] same way out of solid stone, scooped out in the middle, by rubbing another stone round and round on them.

Even yet people who are searching for such curiosities sometimes find big grave mounds in which dozens of them are buried—buried side by side with the people who used to eat out of them. There is nothing left of the people but their skulls and a few bones; but the bowls will last as long as the world stands.

Helen Hunt Jackson.


Let the life of the Blessed Mary be ever present to you.…

She was humble of heart, serious in her conversation, fonder of reading than of speaking.

She placed her confidence rather in the prayer of the poor than in the uncertain riches of the world.

She was ever intent on her occupations, and accustomed to make God rather than man the witness of her thoughts.

She injured no one, wished well to all, reverenced age, yielded not to envy, avoided all boasting, followed the dictates of reason, and loved virtue.

St. Ambrose.



(Switzerland had been conquered by Austria, and Gesler, a cruel tyrant, was her governor. William Tell had refused to bow before Gesler’s hat, which had been elevated on a pole; he was therefore arrested and taken before the governor. His son Albert was also taken, and both were threatened with death.)

Scene I

(William Tell, Albert, his son, and Gesler with officers. Tell in chains.)

Gesler. What is thy name?
Tell. My name?
It matters not to keep it from thee now—
My name is Tell.
Ges. Tell!—William Tell?
Tell. The same.
Ges. What! he so famed ’bove all his countrymen
For guiding o’er the stormy lake the boat?
And such a master of his bow, ’tis said
His arrows never miss! Indeed, I’ll take
Exquisite vengeance! Mark! I’ll spare thy life—
Thy boy’s, too!—both of you are free—on one
Tell. Name it.
[122]Ges. I would see you make
A trial of your skill with that same bow
You shoot so well with.
Tell. Name the trial you
Would have me make.
Ges. You look upon your boy
As though instinctively you guessed it.
Tell. Look upon my boy! What mean you?
Look upon
My boy as though I guessed it! Guessed the trial
[123]You’d have me make! Guessed it
Instinctively! you do not mean—no—no—
You would not have me make a trial of
My skill upon my child! Impossible!
I do not guess your meaning.
Ges. I would see
Thee hit an apple at the distance of
A hundred paces.
Tell. Is my boy to hold it?
Ges. No.
Tell. No! I’ll send the arrow through the core.
Ges. It is to rest upon his head.
Tell. Great Heaven, you hear him!
Ges. Thou dost hear the choice I give—
Such trial of the skill thou art master of,
Or death to both of you; not otherwise
To be escaped.
Tell. O monster!
Ges. Wilt thou do it?
Albert. He will! he will!
Tell. Ferocious monster! Make
A father murder his own child—
Ges. Take off
His chains, if he consent.
Tell. With his own hand!
[124]Ges. Does he consent?
Alb. He does.

(Gesler signs to his officers, who proceed to take off Tell’s chains. Tell all the time unconscious what they do.)

Tell. With his own hand!
Murder his child with his own hand—this hand!
The hand I’ve led him, when an infant, by!
’Tis beyond horror—’tis most horrible.
Amazement! (His chains fall off.) What’s that you’ve done to me?
Villains! put on my chains again. My hands
Are free from blood, and have no gust for it,
That they should drink my child’s! Here! here! I’ll not
Murder my boy for Gesler.
Alb. Father—father!
You will not hit me, father!
Tell. Hit thee! Send
The arrow through thy brain; or, missing that,
Shoot out an eye; or, if thine eye escape,
Mangle the cheek I’ve seen thy mother’s lips
Cover with kisses. Hit thee—hit a hair
Of thee, and cleave thy mother’s heart.
Ges. Dost thou consent?
[125]Tell. Give me my bow and quiver.
Ges. For what?
Tell. To shoot my boy!
Alb. No, father—no!
To save me! You’ll be sure to hit the apple—
Will you not save me, father?
Tell. Lead me forth;
I’ll make the trial.
Alb. Thank you!
Tell. Thank me! Do
You know for what? I will not make the trial,
To take him to his mother in my arms
And lay him down a corpse before her!
Ges. Then he dies this moment—and you certainly
Do murder him whose life you have a chance
To save, and will not use it.
Tell. Well, I’ll do it. I’ll make the trial.
Alb. Father—
Tell. Speak not to me;
Let me not hear thy voice. Thou must be dumb;
And so should all things be. Earth should be dumb,
And heaven—unless its thunders muttered at
The deed, and sent a bolt to stop it. Give me
My bow and quiver!
Ges. When all’s ready.
[126]Tell. Well, lead on!

Scene II

Enter, slowly, people in evident distress. Officers, Sarnem, Gesler, Tell, Albert, and soldiers, one bearing Tell’s bow and quiver, another with a basket of apples.

Ges. That is your ground. Now shall they measure thence
A hundred paces. Take the distance.
Tell. Is the line a true one?
Ges. True or not, what is’t to thee?
Tell. What is’t to me? A little thing,
A very little thing—a yard or two
Is nothing here or there—were it a wolf
I shot at. Never mind.
Ges. Be thankful, slave,
Our grace accords thee life on any terms.
Tell. I will be thankful, Gesler. Villain, stop!
You measure to the sun!
Ges. And what of that?
What matter whether to or from the sun?
Tell. I’d have it at my back—the sun should shine
Upon the mark, and not on him that shoots.
I cannot see to shoot against the sun;
[127]I will not shoot against the sun!
Ges. Give him his way. Thou hast cause to bless my mercy.
Tell. I shall remember it. I’d like to see
The apple I’m to shoot at.
Ges. Stay! show me the basket—there—
Tell. You’ve picked the smallest one.
Ges. I know I have.
Tell. Oh! do you? But you see
The color on’t is dark.—I’d have it light,
To see it better.
Ges. Take it as it is;
Thy skill will be the greater if thou hit’st it.
Tell. True—true! I did not think of that—I wonder
I did not think of that. Give me some chance
To save my boy! (Throws away the apple.)
I will not murder him,
If I can help it—for the honor of
The form thou wearest, if all the heart is gone.
Ges. Well, choose thyself.
Tell. Have I a friend among the lookers-on?
Verner. (Rushing forward.) Here, Tell!
Tell. I thank thee, Verner!
He is a friend runs out into a storm
[128]To shake a hand with us. I must be brief:
When once the bow is bent, we cannot take
The shot too soon. Verner, whatever be
The issue of this hour, the common cause
Must not stand still. Let not to-morrow’s sun
Set on the tyrant’s banner! Verner! Verner!
The boy! the boy! Thinkest thou he hath the courage
To stand it?
Ver. Yes.
Tell. How looks he?
Ver. Clear and smilingly;
If you doubt it, look yourself.
Tell. No—no—my friend;
To hear it is enough.
Ver. He bears himself so much above his years.
Tell. I know! I know!
Ver. With constancy so modest—
Tell. I was sure he would.
Ver. And looks with such relying love
And reverence upon you.
Tell. Man! man! man!
No more. Already I’m too much the father
To act the man. Verner, no more, my friend.
I would be flint—flint—flint. Don’t make me feel
I’m not. Do not mind me. Take the boy
[129]And set him, Verner, with his back to me.
Set him upon his knees—and place this apple
Upon his head, so that the stem may front me,—
Thus, Verner; charge him to keep steady—tell him
I’ll hit the apple. Verner, do all this
More briefly than I tell it thee.
Ver. Come, Albert. (Leading him out.)
Alb. May I not speak with him before I go?
Ver. You must not.
Alb. I must! I cannot go from him without.
Ver. It is his will you should.
Alb. His will, is it?
I am content, then—come.
Tell. My boy! (Holding out his arms to him.)
Alb. My father! (Rushing into Tell’s arms.)
Tell. If thou canst bear it, should not I? Go, now,
My son—and keep in mind that I can shoot—
Go, boy—be thou but steady, I will hit
The apple. Go! God bless thee—go. My bow!— (The bow is handed to him.)
Thou wilt not fail thy master, wilt thou? Thou
Hast never failed him yet, old servant. No,
I’m sure of thee. I know thy honesty.
Thou art stanch—stanch. Let me see my quiver.
Ges. Give him a single arrow.
[130]Tell. Do you shoot?
Sol. I do.
Tell. Is it so you pick an arrow, friend?
The point, you see, is bent; the feather jagged.
(Breaks it.) That’s all the use ’tis fit for.
Ges. Let him have another.
Tell. Why, ’tis better than the first,
But yet not good enough for such an aim
As I’m to take—’tis heavy in the shaft;
I’ll not shoot with it! (Throws it away.) Let me see my quiver.
Bring it! ’Tis not one arrow in a dozen
I’d take to shoot with at a dove, much less
A dove like that.
Ges. It matters not.
Show him the quiver.
Tell. See if the boy is ready. (Tell here hides an arrow under his vest.)
Ver. He is.
Tell. I’m ready, too! Keep silent for
Heaven’s sake and do not stir—and let me have
Your prayers—your prayers—and be my witnesses
That if his life’s in peril from my hand,
’Tis only for the chance of saving it. (To the people.)
Ges. Go on.
[131]Tell. I will.
O friends, for mercy’s sake, keep motionless
And silent.

(Tell shoots; a shout of exultation bursts from the crowd. Tell’s head drops on his bosom; he with difficulty supports himself upon his bow.)

Ver. (Rushing in with Albert.) Thy boy is safe, no
hair of him is touched.
Alb. Father, I’m safe! Your Albert’s safe, dear father,—
Speak to me! Speak to me!
Ver. He cannot, boy.
Alb. You grant him life?
Ges. I do.
Alb. And we are free?
Ges. You are. (Crossing angrily behind.)
Ver. Open his vest
And give him air.

(Albert opens his father’s vest, and the arrow drops. Tell starts, fixes his eye upon Albert, and clasps him to his breast.)

Tell. My boy! my boy!
Ges. For what
Hid you that arrow in your breast? Speak, slave!
Tell. To kill thee, tyrant, had I slain my boy!
Sheridan Knowles.



I. His School and His Friends

custom vicinity scarecrow murmur
uncouth adjacent appalling personage

In a remote period of American history there lived in Sleepy Hollow a worthy man whose name was Ichabod Crane. He sojourned, or, as he expressed it, “tarried” in that quiet little valley for the purpose of instructing the children of the vicinity.

He was tall, but very lank, with narrow shoulders, long arms and legs, hands that dangled a mile out of his sleeves, and feet that might have served as shovels. His head was small, with huge ears, large glassy eyes, and a long snipe nose. To see him striding along the crest of a hill on a windy day, with his ill-fitting clothes fluttering about him, one might have mistaken him for some scarecrow escaped from a cornfield.

His schoolhouse was a low building of one large room, rudely built of logs. It stood in a rather lonely but pleasant place, just at the foot of a woody hill, with a brook running close by, and a birch tree growing near one end of it. From this place of learning the low murmur of children’s voices, conning over their lessons,[133] might be heard on a drowsy summer day like the hum of a beehive. Now and then this was interrupted by the stern voice of the master, or perhaps by the appalling sound of a birch twig, as some loiterer was urged along the flowery path of knowledge.

When school hours were over, the teacher forgot that he was the master, and was even the companion and playmate of the older boys; and on holiday afternoons he liked to go home with some of the smaller ones who happened to have pretty sisters, or mothers noted for their skill in cooking.

Indeed, it was a wise thing for him to keep on good terms with his pupils. He earned so little by teaching school that he could scarcely have had enough to eat had he not, according to country custom, boarded at the houses of the children whom he instructed. With these he lived, by turns, a week at a time, thus going the rounds of the neighborhood, with all his worldly goods tied up in a cotton handkerchief.

He had many ways of making himself both useful and agreeable. He helped the farmers in the lighter labors of their farms, raked the hay at harvest time, mended the fences, took the horses to water, drove the cows from pasture, and cut wood for the winter fire. He found favor in the eyes of the mothers by[134] petting the children, particularly the youngest; and he would often sit with a child on one knee and rock a cradle with his foot for whole hours together.

He was looked upon as a kind of idle, gentlemanlike personage of finer tastes and better manners than the rough young men who had been brought up in the country. He was always welcome at the tea table of a farmhouse; and his presence was almost sure to bring out an extra dish of cakes or sweetmeats, or the parade of a silver teapot. He would walk with the young ladies in the churchyard between services on Sundays, gathering grapes for them from the wild vines that overran the surrounding trees, or sauntering with a whole bevy of them along the banks of the adjacent mill pond; while the bashful country youngsters hung sheepishly back and hated him for his fine manners.

One of his sources of pleasure was to pass long winter evenings with the Dutch farmers, as they sat by the fire with a long row of apples roasting and sputtering along the hearth. He listened to their wondrous tales of ghosts and goblins, and haunted fields, and haunted brooks, and haunted bridges, and haunted houses, and particularly of the headless horseman, or “Galloping Hessian of the Hollow,” as they sometimes called him. And then he would entertain them with[135] stories of witchcraft, and would frighten them with woeful speculations about comets and shooting stars, and by telling them that the world did really turn round, and that they were half the time topsy-turvy.

There was pleasure in all this while snugly cuddling in the chimney corner of a room that was lighted by the ruddy glow from a crackling wood fire, and where no ghost dared show its face; but it was a pleasure dearly bought by the terrors which would beset him during his walk homeward. How fearful were the shapes and shadows that fell across his way in the dim and ghastly glare of a snowy night! How often did he shrink with curdling awe at the sound of his own steps on the frosty crust beneath his feet, and dread to look over his shoulder lest he should behold some uncouth being tramping close behind him!

II. The Invitation

autumnal urchins application cavalier
pensive pommel apparition genuine
horizon plumage luxurious gradually

On a fine autumnal afternoon, Ichabod, in pensive mood, sat enthroned on the lofty stool from whence he watched the doings of his little school. In his hand he[136] held a ferule, that scepter of despotic power; the birch of justice reposed on three nails behind the stool, a constant terror to evil doers; while on the desk were sundry contraband articles taken from idle urchins, such as half-eaten apples, popguns, whirligigs, and fly cages. His scholars were all busily intent upon their books, or slyly whispering behind them with one eye kept upon the master, and a kind of buzzing stillness reigned throughout the schoolroom.

This stillness was suddenly interrupted by the appearance of a negro, in tow-cloth jacket and trousers, who, mounted on the back of a ragged, wild, half-broken colt, came clattering up to the schoolhouse door. He brought an invitation to Ichabod to attend a merrymaking, or “quilting frolic,” to be held that evening at the house of Herr Van Tassel; and having delivered his message, he dashed over the brook, and was seen scampering away up the hollow, full of the importance and hurry of his mission.

All was now bustle and hubbub in the late quiet schoolroom. The scholars were hurried through their lessons. Those who were nimble skipped over half without being noticed; and those who were slow were hurried along by a smart application of the rod. Then books were flung aside without being put away on the[137] shelves; inkstands were overturned, benches thrown down, and the whole school was turned loose an hour before the usual time, the children yelping and racketing about the green, in joy at their early freedom.

The gallant Ichabod now spent at least an extra half hour at his toilet, brushing and furbishing his best and only suit of rusty black, and arranging his looks by a bit of broken looking-glass that hung up in the schoolhouse. That he might make his appearance at the party in the true style of a cavalier, he borrowed a horse from the farmer with whom he was boarding, and, thus gallantly mounted, rode forth, like a knight-errant in quest of adventures.

The animal he bestrode was a broken-down plow horse. He was gaunt and shagged, with a slender neck, and a head like a hammer. His mane and tail were tangled and knotted with burs. One eye had lost its pupil, and was glaring and spectral, but the other still gleamed with genuine wickedness. He must have had plenty of fire and mettle in his day, if we may judge from his name, which was Gunpowder.

Ichabod was a rider suited for such a steed. He rode with short stirrups, which brought his knees nearly up to the pommel of the saddle; his elbows stuck out like a grasshopper’s; and as the horse jogged[138] on, the motion of his arms was not unlike the flapping of a pair of wings. A small wool hat rested on the top of his nose, for so his scanty strip of forehead might be called; and the skirts of his black coat fluttered out almost to the horse’s tail. Such was the appearance of Ichabod and his steed as they shambled along the highway; and it was altogether such an apparition as is seldom to be met with in broad daylight.

It was, as I have said, a fine autumnal day. The sky was clear and serene. The forests had put on their sober brown and yellow, while some trees of the tenderer kind had been nipped by the frost into brilliant dyes of orange, purple, and scarlet. Streaming files of wild ducks began to make their appearance high in the air. The bark of the squirrel might be heard from the groves of beech and hickory, and the pensive whistle of the quail at intervals from the neighboring stubble fields.

The small birds fluttered, chirping and frolicking, from bush to bush, and tree to tree, gay and happy because of the plenty and variety around them. There were the twittering blackbirds, flying in sable clouds; and the golden-winged woodpecker, with his crimson crest and splendid plumage; and the cedar bird, with its red-tipped wings and yellow-tipped tail;[139] and the blue jay, in his gay, light-blue coat and white underclothes, screaming and chattering, nodding and bowing, and pretending to be on good terms with every songster of the grove.

As Ichabod jogged slowly on his way, his eye ranged with delight over the treasures of jolly autumn. On all sides he beheld vast store of apples,—some still hanging on the trees, some gathered into baskets and barrels for the market, others heaped up in rich piles for the cider press. Farther on he beheld great fields of Indian corn, with its golden ears peeping from their leafy coverts, and holding out the promise of cakes and hasty pudding. There, too, were multitudes of yellow pumpkins turning up their yellow sides to the sun, and giving ample prospects of the most luxurious of pies. And anon he passed the fragrant buckwheat fields, breathing the odor of the beehive; and as he beheld them, he dreamed of dainty slapjacks, well buttered, and garnished with honey.

Thus feeding his mind with many sweet thoughts, he journeyed along the sides of a range of hills which look out upon some of the goodliest scenes of the mighty Hudson. The sun gradually wheeled his broad disk down into the west. A few amber clouds floated in the sky, without a breath of air to move them. The[140] horizon was of a fine, golden tint, changing gradually into a pure apple-green, and from that into the deep blue of the midheaven. A slanting ray lingered on the woody crests of the precipices that overhung some parts of the river, giving greater depth to the dark gray and purple of their rocky sides.

III. At the Party

adjacent innovations sumptuous piazza
antiquated animated skeleton specter

It was toward evening when Ichabod arrived at the castle of the Herr Van Tassel. He found it thronged with the pride and flower of the adjacent country,—old farmers, in homespun coats and breeches, blue stockings, huge shoes, and magnificent pewter buckles; their brisk little dames, in close-crimped caps and long-waisted gowns, with scissors and pincushions, and gay calico pockets hanging on the outside; young girls, almost as antiquated as their mothers, excepting where a straw hat, a fine ribbon, or perhaps a white frock showed signs of city innovations; the sons, in short, square-skirted coats with rows of huge brass buttons, and their hair generally queued in the fashion of the times.


What a world of charms burst upon the gaze of my hero as he entered the state parlor of Van Tassel’s mansion—the ample charms of a Dutch country tea table, in the sumptuous time of autumn! Such heaped-up platters of cakes, of various and indescribable kinds, known only to experienced Dutch housewives!

There were doughnuts and crisp, crumbling crullers; sweet cakes and short cakes, ginger cakes and honey cakes, and the whole family of cakes; and then there were apple pies, and peach pies, and pumpkin pies; and slices of ham and smoked beef; and dishes of preserved plums, and peaches, and pears, and quinces; not to mention broiled shad and roasted chickens, together with bowls of milk and cream; all mingled, higgledy-piggledy, with the motherly teapot sending up its clouds of vapor from the midst! I want breath and time to describe this banquet as I ought, and am too eager to get on with my story. Happily, Ichabod Crane was not in so great a hurry, but did ample justice to every dainty.

And now, supper being ended, the sound of music from the common room summoned to the dance. The musician was an old, gray-headed negro, who had been the itinerant orchestra of the neighborhood for more than half a century. His instrument was as old and[142] battered as himself. The greater part of the time he scraped away on two or three strings, moving his head with every movement of the bow, and stamping his foot whenever a fresh couple were to start.

Ichabod prided himself on his dancing. Not a limb, not a fiber about him was idle. How could the flogger of urchins be otherwise than animated and joyous? When the dance was over, Ichabod joined a circle of the older folks, who, with Herr Van Tassel, sat smoking at one end of the piazza, and told stories of the war and wild and wonderful legends of ghosts and other supernatural beings.

Some mention was made of a woman in white that haunted the dark glen at Raven Rock, and was often heard to shriek on wintry nights before a storm. The chief part of the stories, however, turned upon the favorite specter of Sleepy Hollow, the headless horseman, who had been heard several times of late patrolling the country. One man told how he had once met the horseman and was obliged to get up behind him; how they galloped over bush and brake, over hill and swamp, until they reached the bridge by the church, when the horseman suddenly turned into a skeleton, threw him into the brook, and sprang away over the tree tops with a clap of thunder.


A wild, roistering young man, who was called Brom Bones, declared that the headless horseman was, after all, no rider compared with himself. He said that returning one night from the neighboring village of Sing Sing, he had been overtaken by this midnight trooper; that he had offered to race with him for a bowl of punch, and would have won it, too, but just as they came to the church bridge, the specter bolted and vanished in a flash of fire.

IV. The Midnight Adventure

idea gnarled sensitive sociability
dismal covert gigantic desperation
inquiry violence opposite evidently

The party now gradually broke up. The old farmers gathered together their families in their wagons, and were heard for some time rattling along the hollow roads and over the distant hills. Their light-hearted laughter, mingling with the clatter of hoofs, echoed along the silent woodlands, growing fainter and fainter till they gradually died away, and the late scene of noise and frolic was all silent and deserted.

It was the very witching time of night that Ichabod pursued his travel homeward. In the dead hush of[144] midnight he could hear the barking of a dog on the opposite shore of the Hudson, but it was so vague and faint as only to give an idea of the distance between them. No signs of life occurred near, but now and then the chirp of a cricket, or perhaps the guttural twang of a bullfrog from a neighboring marsh, as if sleeping uncomfortably and turning suddenly in his bed.

All the stories that Ichabod had heard about ghosts and goblins now came crowding into his mind. The night grew darker and darker. The stars seemed to sink deeper in the sky, and driving clouds occasionally hid them from his sight. He had never felt so lonely and dismal. He was, moreover, approaching the very place where many of the scenes of the ghost stories had been laid. In the center of the road stood an enormous tulip tree, which towered like a giant above all the other trees of the neighborhood and formed a kind of landmark. Its limbs were gnarled and fantastic, large as the trunks of ordinary trees, twisting down almost to the ground, and rising again into the air.

As Ichabod approached this tree, he began to whistle. He thought his whistle was answered: it was but a blast sweeping sharply through the dry branches. Coming a little nearer, he thought he saw something[145] white hanging in the midst of the tree. He paused, and ceased whistling, but, on looking more narrowly, perceived that it was a place where the tree had been struck by lightning, and the white wood laid bare. Suddenly he heard a groan. His teeth chattered, and his knees smote against the saddle. It was but the rubbing of one huge bough upon another, as they were swayed about by the breeze. He passed the tree in safety, but new perils lay before him.

About two hundred yards from the tree a small brook crossed the road, and ran into a marshy and thickly wooded glen. A few rough logs laid side by side served for a bridge over this stream. To pass this bridge was the severest trial; for it was here that the unfortunate André had been captured, and under covert of the thicket of chestnuts and vines by the side of the road had the sturdy yeomen, who surprised him, lain concealed. The stream has ever since been considered a haunted stream, and fearful are the feelings of the schoolboy who has to pass it alone after dark.

As Ichabod approached the stream his heart began to thump. He gave his horse half a score of kicks in the ribs, and tried to dash briskly across the bridge; but instead of starting forward, the perverse old animal made a lateral movement, and ran broadside against[146] the fence. Ichabod jerked the rein on the other side, and kicked lustily with the contrary foot. It was all in vain. His steed started, it is true, but it was only to plunge to the opposite side of the road into a thicket of brambles.

The schoolmaster now bestowed both whip and heel upon the ribs of old Gunpowder, who dashed forward, but came to a stand just by the bridge with a suddenness that had nearly sent his rider sprawling over his head. Just at this moment a plashy tramp by the side of the bridge caught the sensitive ear of Ichabod. In the dark shadow of the trees he beheld something huge, black, and towering. It stirred not, but seemed gathered up in the gloom, like some gigantic monster ready to spring upon the traveler.

The hair of the affrighted pedagogue rose upon his head with terror. What was to be done? Summoning up a show of courage, he called out in stammering accents, “Who are you?” He received no reply. He repeated his demand in a still more agitated voice. Still there was no answer. Once more he cudgeled the sides of Gunpowder, and, shutting his eyes, broke forth into a psalm tune. Just then the shadowy object of alarm put itself in motion, and, with a scramble and a bound, stood at once in the middle of the road.


Though the night was dark and dismal, yet the form of the unknown might now in some degree be ascertained. He appeared to be a horseman of large dimensions, and mounted on a horse of powerful frame. He made no offer of molestation or sociability, but kept aloof on one side of the road, jogging along on the blind side of old Gunpowder, who had now got over his fright and waywardness.

Ichabod, who had no relish for this strange midnight companion, and bethought himself of the adventure of Brom Bones and the headless horseman, now quickened his steed, in hopes of leaving him behind. The stranger, however, quickened his horse to an equal pace. Ichabod drew up, and fell into a walk, thinking to lag behind; the other did the same. His heart began to sink within him. There was something in the moody and dogged silence of his companion that was mysterious and appalling. It was soon fearfully accounted for.

On mounting a rising ground, which brought the figure of his fellow-traveler in relief against the sky, Ichabod was horror-struck on perceiving that he was headless; but his horror was still more increased on observing that the head, which should have rested on his shoulders, was carried before him on the pommel[148] of his saddle. His terror rose to desperation. He rained a shower of kicks and blows upon Gunpowder, hoping, by sudden movement, to give his companion the slip; but the specter started full jump with him.

Away, then, they dashed, through thick and thin, stones flying and sparks flashing at every bound. Ichabod’s flimsy garments fluttered in the air as he stretched his long, lank body away over his horse’s head, in the eagerness of his flight.

They had now reached the road which turns off to Sleepy Hollow; but Gunpowder, who seemed possessed with a demon, instead of keeping up it, made an opposite turn, and plunged headlong down hill to the left. This road leads through a sandy hollow, shaded by trees for about a quarter of a mile, where it crosses the bridge famous in goblin story; and just beyond swells the green knoll on which stands the whitewashed church.

Just as he had got halfway through the hollow, the girths of the saddle gave way, and Ichabod felt it slipping from under him. He seized it by the pommel, and tried to hold it firm, but in vain. He had just time to save himself by clasping Gunpowder round the neck, when the saddle fell to the earth, and he heard it trampled under foot by his pursuer. For a[149] moment the terror of its owner’s wrath passed across his mind, for it was his Sunday saddle; but this was no time for petty fears. He had much ado to keep his seat, sometimes slipping on one side, sometimes on another, and sometimes jolted on the high ridge of his horse’s backbone with a violence that was far from pleasant.

An opening in the trees now cheered him with the hope that the church bridge was at hand. “If I can but reach that bridge,” thought Ichabod, “I am safe.” Just then he heard the black steed panting and blowing close behind him. He even fancied that he felt his hot breath. Another kick in the ribs, and old Gunpowder sprang upon the bridge; he thundered over the resounding planks; he gained the opposite side; and now Ichabod cast a look behind to see if his pursuer should vanish in a flash of fire and brimstone.

Just then he saw the goblin rising in his stirrups, and in the very act of hurling his head at him. Ichabod tried to dodge the horrible missile, but too late. It encountered his cranium with a tremendous crash. He was tumbled headlong into the dust; and Gunpowder, the black steed, and the goblin rider passed by like a whirlwind.

The next morning the old horse was found without[150] his saddle, and with the bridle under his feet, soberly cropping the grass at his master’s gate. Ichabod did not make his appearance at breakfast. Dinner hour came, but no Ichabod. The boys assembled at the schoolhouse, and strolled idly about the banks of the brook; but no schoolmaster.

An inquiry was set on foot, and after much investigation they came upon his traces. In one part of the road by the church was found the saddle trampled in the dirt. The tracks of horses’ hoofs deeply dented in the road, and evidently at furious speed, were traced to the bridge, beyond which, on the bank of a broad part of the brook, where the water ran deep and black, was found the hat of the unfortunate Ichabod, and close beside it a shattered pumpkin. The brook was searched, but the body of the schoolmaster was not to be discovered.

As Ichabod was a bachelor, and in nobody’s debt, nobody troubled his head any more about him. It is true, an old farmer, who went down to New York on a visit several years after, brought home the intelligence that Ichabod Crane was still alive; that he had left the neighborhood, partly through fear of the goblin and the farmer whose horse he had ridden, and partly for other reasons; that he had changed[151] his quarters to a distant part of the country, had kept school and studied law, and finally had been made a justice of the Ten Pound Court. Brom Bones, too, was observed to look very knowing whenever the story of Ichabod was related, and always burst into a hearty laugh at the mention of the pumpkin, which led some to suppose that he knew more about the matter than he chose to tell.

Washington Irving.


When God had made a host of them,
One little flower still lacked a stem
To hold its blossom blue;
So into it He breathed a song,
And suddenly, with petals strong
As wings, away it flew.
Father Tabb.

We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths;
In feelings, not in figures on a dial.
We should count time by heart-throbs. He most lives
Who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best.
Philip James Bailey.



I come from haunts of coot and hern,
I make a sudden sally,
And sparkle out among the fern
To bicker down a valley.
By thirty hills I hurry down,
Or slip between the ridges,
By twenty thorps, a little town,
And half a hundred bridges.
Till last by Philip’s farm I flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on forever.
I chatter over stony ways,
In little sharps and trebles,
I bubble into eddying bays,
I babble on the pebbles.
With many a curve my banks I fret
By many a field and fallow,
And many a fairy foreland set
With willow weed and mallow.
I chatter, chatter, as I flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on forever.
I wind about, and in and out,
With here a blossom sailing,
And here and there a lusty trout,
And here and there a grayling.
And here and there a foamy flake
Upon me, as I travel
With many a silvery waterbreak
Above the golden gravel.
And draw them all along, and flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on forever.
I slip, I slide, I gloom, I glance,
Among my skimming swallows;
I make the netted sunbeams dance
Against my sandy shallows.
I murmur under moon and stars
In brambly wildernesses;
I linger by my shingly bars;
I loiter round my cresses;
And out again I curve and flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on forever.
Alfred Tennyson.



chevalier poem education opera
conservatory poetry poverty accord
applause talent composer theater

The Chevalier had found a lad who would be worthy of his care. To be sure he was but a peasant boy full of fun and laughter. The Chevalier himself had once been young and remembered how tempting the sunshine used to be and the fields and the ripe nuts of autumn. He had marked with pleasure this handsome lad, and watched with interest his changing face and dancing eye as he went on his merry way.

“I shall ask him to my house,” thought the Chevalier, “and see what he will say to my books.”


So Giochino went to the Chevalier’s house and listened eagerly while the Chevalier told him of the beautiful verses and stories which many of the books contained. Now and then the Chevalier would read a few lines from a poem.

The boy loved poetry. It was sweet in sound and had a movement like the gliding of boats on still water. It made him forget everything else,—even how he had teased his old music teacher, and that his mother was sometimes sad.

Perhaps he was a little lonesome, for his mother, whom he loved dearly, was often far off. She was working for her boy, saving every cent possible to give him the musical education for which she had longed. Here and there throughout Italy she went singing in one of the traveling opera companies so common in those days. In her younger years her voice had been full and strong, but now it was failing and she wondered what would happen to Giochino.

But the boy’s heart was too joyous to be cast down by poverty or trouble. The days were bright and sunny, why should he not be gay? His voice was clear, true, pure in tone, and almost of its own accord broke into song. Occasionally he, too, would earn a little money by singing at the theater.


After a time he was able to study music with a master and finally entered the conservatory at Bologna. Here he was taught some of the more difficult things about music.

It was not long before he discovered that he already knew enough to write operas. He was delighted. He would go to seek his fortune.

His teacher, realizing that he had extraordinary talent, wished him to continue his study further and even offered to instruct him in the stately music of the Church, if he would remain. But the youth did not heed his offer and started forth.

In his happy, aimless way he went from place to place. He sang, he accompanied, he directed and composed. He was always good-natured, always generous, and never without friends.

It was evening in Venice. The opera was just over. People were thronging from the door of the opera house. They were talking excitedly. Evidently they were much pleased. Giochino Rossini’s opera, “Tancred,” had been presented for the first time. It had been received with wild applause.

Rossini was surprised at this. “I fancied,” he said, “that, after hearing my opera, they would put me into the madhouse. But they are madder than I.”



popular finally composition indignation
spirit composer message mentioned

When he was but twenty-four Rossini produced what has been, perhaps, the most popular of his operas, “The Barber of Seville.” But fame alone could not make him content. Beyond Italy the world was wide. The spirit of the man was as restless as that of the boy. He went to Vienna, and finally to Paris.

In Paris he felt he could work at his best. Here he composed his great masterpiece in opera, “William Tell.” It was the story in music and song of the great Swiss hero, of whom you have doubtless heard many tales. For years the hero had seen his country bound under the hand of a tyrant. His soul was on fire with indignation. His country must be freed. He would make it free.

Nothing but grand and noble music could tell such a story. Yet Rossini has told it wonderfully. The opera was brought out in Paris and has been played many times since.

Although as yet you may not have listened to any of the music which has been mentioned thus far, the most of you have probably heard many times Rossini’s[158] finest composition. When he wrote it, he was forty-five; and when it was done, he wrote no longer. This was his last message to the world. This was the “Stabat Mater,” sung for the first time on Good Friday.

In his house in Paris Rossini gathered about him many friends, among them young men who desired to become musicians, poets, or writers. His generous heart was full to the last of merriment and song, though as a composer he was silent. He was born at Pesaro, Italy, February 29, 1792, and died in Paris, November 13, 1868.


See the robins swinging
’Mid the orchards’ snow;
Feel the perfumed breezes
Wafted to and fro;
Listen to the music
Heard from bird and spray;
Lift your hearts, ye sad ones,
’Tis the lovely May.
Ah, our hearts were weary
Waiting for the light,
For the frosts to vanish
With their bitter blight:
See, the earth’s brown bosom
Heaves, where zephyrs play;
See, she thrills and answers
To the touch of May.
May, all fresh and smiling,
Sweet—from heaven above;
May, our souls beguiling
With her dreams of love:
Violet-eyed and fragrant—
How our pulses play
’Neath the virgin beauty
Of the radiant May.
Lift your hearts up: floating
Through the gold and blue
Where the liquid sunlight
Streams and filters through,
There a Lady, smiling,
Stands ’mid cloudless day—
Snow-white Virgin-Mother,
Dazzling Queen of May.
Mary Antonia, Sister of Mercy.


O Precious Blood of Jesus,
Shed for me,
Upon the cruel cross of
Each drop of blood so precious,
And the pain,
A sacrifice was offered
Not in vain.
O Precious Blood of Jesus,
May I feel
The fire of love for Christ, and
Holy zeal!
O Precious Blood of Jesus,
Cleansing, pure!
Inflame my soul with ardor
To endure.
Henry Coyle.



peasant zealous summit intervals
chef caprice recovery porridge
plaza vespers procession accident

Pilar was a young peasant woman. I do not know from what village she came, somewhere in the neighborhood of Malaga. She was paid three dollars a month, and she “found” herself. A man cook in that happy land gets five dollars a month, but times were bad, and my friends had for three years to content themselves with a woman cook. She cooked well, though, and cheerfully, and she prepared more meals in the twenty-four hours than any other cook I ever heard of.

She seemed to have identified herself thoroughly with the family, and to work with a zealous love for them all. There was, however, one of the many children for whom she had a special affection, a very delicate little maiden of two and a half. During the autumn this child had been desperately ill. The doctors gave no hope. Pilar in anguish prayed for her recovery, and promised the Bestower of life that if He would spare little Anita, she would, before the[162] end of Holy Week, carry to the shrine on the top of the “Calvary” outside the town, one pound of olive oil to be burned in His honor. She promised a great many prayers besides, which she managed to get said, in the intervals of her frying and stewing and boiling.

Well, the little girl, contrary to the doctors, began to mend, and finally was entirely restored to health. Pilar was most grateful, and said many Aves in thanksgiving. The winter was a busy one, and then Lent came and seemed not less busy in that big household. Pilar did not forget the pound of oil, but there never seemed a moment when she could ask a half day to go and carry it to the shrine. Holy Week came, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday,—what should she do! She could scarcely get away from her work even to go out to her parish church on Holy Thursday to say a little prayer before the Repository, where, throned in flowers and lighted with myriad candles, the Blessed Sacrament is kept till the morning of Good Friday.

As to going to seven churches and saying her prayers before each Repository as other people did, that, alas! was not “for the likes of her.” She had a dumb, deep-down feeling, however, that the good God knew, and that it would be all right. On her way back from her hurried prayer at the church, a procession[163] passed which she watched for a moment. But this only proved painful, for it had begun to rain, and her pious Southern soul was aflame with wrath that the image of the Blessed Redeemer should be exposed to the storm.

“They don’t care about wetting his dear curls,” she cried, “as long as they can have a good procession.”

She shook her fist at the crowd, and came away in tears. Her mistress, a devout Catholic, tried to console her by reminding her that, after all, it was only an image and not the dear Lord she loved. Oh, she knew that; but “it was cruel, but it was shameful!”

She felt as a mother would feel if the dress of her dead baby, or its little half-worn shoe, were spoiled by the caprice or cold-heartedness of some one who had no feeling for it. All together Holy Thursday was not very consoling to Pilar, and the pound of oil grew heavier every hour.

The next day, Good Friday, she had only time to go to church through the silent streets, where no wheels were heard, and say her prayers and look at the black, black altars and the veiled statues. That night, after her work was done, and the last baby had been served with its last porridge, she put her kitchen in hurried order, and stole out silently. She had bought the[164] pound of oil at a little shop in the next street and, hiding it under her shawl, turned her steps towards Barcenillas.

The night was black and tempestuous. A hot, dry wind blew; occasionally a gust brought a few drops of rain, but more often it was a gale which made the street lamps blink, and whirled the dust around her. It was a long way to the suburb; it was late; there were few abroad, but no matter, the good Lord knew why she was out, and He would take care of her.

There are no street cars running in the days of Holy Week. From Holy Thursday till after the cathedral bells ring for first vespers on Holy Saturday, no wheels move in the streets of Malaga.

It was nearly midnight when she got to Barcenillas. She crossed the silent plaza, passed through the gate, and began the ascent of the steep hill. There is a great broad road that winds up it, and at every “station” there is a lamp burning. She knelt at each as she reached it. But the place was very lonely; the eucalyptus trees shook and whispered to each other, and the lamps were dim and flickered in the rough wind.

The night before there had been processions all through the night, crowds upon crowds going up the hill; she would not have been lonely then. But she[165] could not get away, because of little Josef’s being ill and needing the water heated for his bath every hour. Yes, it would have been nicer last night, with all the priests, and all the chanting, and all the flaming torches. But the good God knew all about it,—why she did not come then, when she wanted to. She would not worry, but she said her prayers with chattering teeth, and many furtive looks behind her.

At last she reached the summit, where in a little chapel burned the light that could be seen for miles around Malaga. There a solitary brother knelt, saying his beads, and keeping watch. She said her last prayers at the altar, and left the votive oil with the friar, who commended her piety and was very kind. As she came out, the clouds broke and the Paschal moon shone through them, and the broad road led down with smooth ease towards the sleeping, silent city. Her steps made just as lonely echoes on the stones of the deserted streets, but she felt herself favored of heaven, as no doubt she was, and all her fears were gone.

It was after three o’clock when she let herself in at the kitchen door; and it was several weeks before her mistress learned, by accident, of the dolorous little pilgrimage.

Miriam Coles Harris.



cleave lea roseate tenderly
mold fruitage verdurous crimson
haunt sojourners fraud rhymes
Come, let us plant the apple tree.
Cleave the tough greensward with the spade;
Wide let its hollow bed be made;
There gently lay the roots, and there
Sift the dark mold with kindly care,
And press it o’er them tenderly,
As round the sleeping infant’s feet
We softly fold the cradle sheet;
So plant we the apple tree.
What plant we in this apple tree?
Buds which the breath of summer days
Shall lengthen into leafy sprays;
Boughs where the thrush, with crimson breast,
Shall haunt and sing and hide her nest;
We plant, upon the sunny lea,
A shadow for the noontide hour,
A shelter from the summer shower,
When we plant the apple tree.
What plant we in this apple tree?
Sweets for a hundred flowery springs,
To load the May wind’s restless wings,
When, from the orchard row, he pours
Its fragrance through our open doors;
A world of blossoms for the bee,
Flowers for the sick girl’s silent room,
For the glad infant sprigs of bloom,
We plant with the apple tree.
What plant we in this apple tree?
Fruits that shall swell in sunny June,
And redden in the August noon,
And drop, when gentle airs come by,
That fan the blue September sky;
While children come, with cries of glee,
And seek them where the fragrant grass
Betrays their bed to those who pass,
At the foot of the apple tree.
And when, above this apple tree,
The winter stars are quivering bright,
And winds go howling through the night,
Girls, whose young eyes o’erflow with mirth,
Shall peel its fruits by cottage hearth,
And guests in prouder homes shall see,
Heaped with the grape of Cintra’s vine,
And golden orange of the line,
The fruit of the apple tree.
The fruitage of this apple tree,
Winds and our flag of stripe and star
Shall bear to coasts that lie afar,
Where men shall wonder at the view,
And ask in what fair groves they grew;
And sojourners beyond the sea
Shall think of childhood’s careless day,
And long, long hours of summer play,
In the shade of the apple tree.
Each year shall give this apple tree
A broader flush of roseate bloom,
A deeper maze of verdurous gloom,
And loosen, when the frost-clouds lower,
The crisp brown leaves in thicker shower.
The years shall come and pass, but we
Shall hear no longer, where we lie,
The summer’s songs, the autumn’s sigh,
In the boughs of the apple tree.
And time shall waste this apple tree.
Oh, when its aged branches throw
Thin shadows on the ground below,
Shall fraud and force and iron will
Oppress the weak and helpless still?
What shall the tasks of mercy be,
Amid the toils, the strifes, the tears
Of those who live when length of years
Is wasting this apple tree?
“Who planted this old apple tree?”
The children of that distant day
Thus to some aged man shall say;
And, gazing on its mossy stem,
The gray-haired man shall answer them:
“A poet of the land was he,
Born in the rude but good old times;
’Tis said he made some quaint old rhymes
On planting the apple tree.”
William Cullen Bryant.



dunes miracle indignation devastating
righteous policy obstinate development
terror pagan chieftain abomination

St. Wulfram and his monks had much work for a time. The Frisians came in crowds for Christian instructions and baptism. It was a great and hard task to teach human beings in the lowest stage of development. Moreover, the teachings of the missionaries were opposed in all things to the traditional customs of the people. Many wrongs, such as slavery, for instance, could not be set aside at once. Moreover, if the people were to be made peaceful and weaned from their wildness, they had to be taught other ways of support than plundering and hunting.

So the Benedictines taught the converts not only Christian doctrine, but how to plow and to plant. They built dunes to hold out the devastating sea, and sent to their abbey home for seeds and implements. In a few years the face of Frisia was greatly changed.

Ratbodo had given Wulfram land and a dwelling near his own residence. In this way he could best keep track of everything that happened at the mission.


The king himself remained obdurate in his paganism. Once he said, tauntingly, to the entreating Wulfram, that if the Christian God would work a miracle for him especially, he would be converted. Wulfram reminded him of the miracles he had seen and had not been converted. Then Ratbodo said that if the table in front of him were changed into gold, he would yield; but Wulfram, in righteous indignation, told him how childish was such a request.

All the while the chieftains were urging the king to send away the bishop. But he laughed at them, saying that what Wulfram had built up he himself would destroy in ten days when the time came, just as had been done in the case of many others. Even the king’s little son, Clodio, was baptized and died a Christian, but the king only smiled. His day was coming, he held.

Then Wulfram went back to Fontinella to get more monks, laborers, and lay brothers for his work in Frisia. The converted Frisians were beginning to realize the blessings of regular and well-ordered work. There were more and more laborers and fewer sea robbers and warriors. Nevertheless, the great mass of the Frisian people remained obstinate, following the example of the king and the great chiefs.

Among the gods whose wrath the Frisians most[172] feared was the god of the sea. The lowness of the land made frequent inundations inevitable. Besides, Frisians, when not robbing, were fishing, or living on the water in some way. Thus they were always anxious to pacify the mighty god of the floods.

On this day, too, a great multitude, together with the king and the chieftains, were gathered at the sea-coast, waiting to soothe the water deity by human sacrifice. The lot had fallen on two little boys this time, the only children of a widow. At the time of low tide the little ones were laid on a projecting point of land, so that the rising waters would cover them. Their feet were tied so cunningly that the childish hands could not undo the knots. Thus they sat on the beach, waiting the waters that were to be their death.

Several hundred feet back, the crowds were gathered to watch the unhappy spectacle. In the foreground sat a young woman, the mother of the children, weeping and moaning in her grief, without, however, waking the faintest sympathy in the hearts of the by-standers.

The waters were even then advancing on the point of land, and a strong wind was driving up the flood in great waves. The little ones began to scream in[173] terror as the spray struck them, and the mother sprang to her feet. If she had not been held fast, she would have flung herself into the water with her children. Gradually the land disappeared; nothing was left but the raised point to which the children clung. One could see how the older boy was trying to hold up his little brother.

“King!” said a voice, ringing with a holy anger, “why this abomination before the eyes of almighty God?”

Ratbodo started and the chieftains stared in silent astonishment.

“We are offering sacrifice to the god of the waters,” said the king, after a moment. “Go take the victims away from him if you can; they may be your slaves and the slaves of your God for the rest of time,” he added with a sneer.

“So be it,” answered Wulfram. Turning, he made the sign of the cross over the rising tide and walked out as if on solid land. The Christians present in the crowd cried aloud for joy, but the pagans stood in wonder bordering on fear. The king himself was most moved by the miraculous sight. His eyes were fixed, his face pale as death. He was convinced that in the saint walking thus unharmed over the waters[174] he saw an unmistakable manifestation of the power of the Christian God.

“That is even more than a golden table,” he whispered tremblingly.

Wulfram lifted the children out of the water and carried them to the land. At once the Frisians crowded about him, asking to be made Christians. Ratbodo himself said:—

“It is but right that a man should keep his word. I said to you years ago that if your God would make a golden table before my eyes, I would become a Christian. But He did more. He made a solid floor of the moving sea. Come to me every day and instruct me.”

Conrad von Bolanden.


If our faith had given us nothing more
Than this example of all womanhood,
So mild, so merciful, so strong, so good,
So patient, peaceful, loyal, loving, pure,
This were enough to prove it higher and truer
Than all creeds the world had known before.
H. W. Longfellow.

From The Golden Legend.



Jesus in crown of thorns
Souls of men! why will ye scatter
Like a crowd of frightened sheep?
Foolish hearts! why will ye wander
From a love so true and deep?
Was there ever kindest shepherd
Half so gentle, half so sweet
As the Saviour who would have us
Come and gather round His feet?
It is God: His love looks mighty,
But is mightier than it seems:
’Tis our Father: and His fondness
Goes far out beyond our dreams.
There’s a wideness in God’s mercy,
Like the wideness of the sea:
There’s a kindness in His justice,
Which is more than liberty.
There is no place where earthly sorrows
Are more felt than up in heaven;
There is no place where earthly failings
Have such kindly judgment given.
There is welcome for the sinner,
And more graces for the good;
There is mercy with the Saviour;
There is healing in His Blood.
There is grace enough for thousands
Of new worlds as great as this;
There is room for fresh creations
In that upper home of bliss.
For the love of God is broader
Than the treasures of man’s mind;
And the heart of the Eternal
Is most wonderfully kind.
There is plentiful redemption
In the Blood that has been shed;
There is joy for all the members
In the sorrows of the Head.
If our love were but more simple,
We should take Him at His word;
And our lives would be all sunshine
In the sweetness of our Lord.
Father Faber.

Be comforted; and blessèd be
The meek, the merciful, the pure
Of heart; for they shall see, shall hear
God’s mercy. So shall peace endure.
Joaquin Miller.



expedition martyrdom humility adieu
investigation utterance fathoms erect
deputed banquet domestic cubit

In 1672, letters from Quebec informed Marquette that the government had taken up the project of exploring the Mississippi, and that he was the missionary selected to accompany the expedition. His heart exulted at the prospect. The hope of a glorious martyrdom while opening the way to future heralds of the Cross buoyed him up, though in his humility he never spoke of martyrdom. To him it was but a death, “to cease to offend God.”

The winter was spent by the two explorers in studying all that had yet been learned of the great river, in gathering around them every Indian wanderer, and amid the tawny group drawing their first rude map of the Mississippi, and the water courses that led to it. And on this first map, traced doubtless kneeling on the ground, they set down the name of each tribe they were to pass, each important point to be met. The undertaking was dangerous, but it was not to be rash: all was the result of calm, cool investigation. In the[179] spring they embarked at Mackinaw in two frail bark canoes; each with his paddle in hand, and full of hope, they soon plied them merrily over the crystal waters of the lake.

They happily glided into the great river.

All was new to Marquette. He had now attained the limit of former discoveries, the new world was before them; they looked back a last adieu to the waters, which, great as the distance was, connected them with Quebec and their countrymen; they knelt on the shore to offer, by a new devotion, their lives, their honor,[180] and their undertaking to their beloved mother the Virgin Mary Immaculate; then, launching on the broad Wisconsin, they sailed slowly down its current, amid its vine-clad isles and its countless sand bars.

No sound broke the stillness, no human form appeared, and at last, after sailing seven days, on the 17th of June they happily glided into the great river. Joy that could find no utterance in words filled the grateful heart of Marquette. The broad river of the Conception, as he named it, now lay before them, stretching away hundreds of miles to an unknown sea.

“The Mississippi River,” he writes, “has its source in several lakes in the country of the nations at the north; it is narrow at the mouth of the Wisconsin; its current, which runs south, is slow and gentle. On the right is a considerable chain of very high mountains, and on the left fine lands; it is in many places studded with islands. On sounding we found ten fathoms of water. Its breadth varies greatly; sometimes it is three quarters of a league broad, and then narrows in to less than two hundred yards. We followed its course quietly, as it bears south and southeast to the forty-second degree.

“Then we perceive that the whole face of the country changes. Scarcely a forest or mountain is now in[181] sight. The islands increase in beauty and are covered with finer trees; we see nothing but deer and elk, wild geese and swans unable to fly, as they are here moulting. From time to time we encounter monstrous fish, one of which struck our canoe with such violence that I took it for a large tree that would knock our frail craft to pieces. Another time we perceived on the water a bearded monster with a tiger’s head, a pointed muzzle like a wild cat; ears erect, a gray head but a jet-black neck. It was the only one we beheld.

“When we cast our nets we took sturgeon, and a very strange fish resembling a trout, but with larger mouth and smaller eyes and snout. From the last projects a large bone, three fingers wide, and a cubit long; the end is round and as wide as a hand. When the fish leaps out of water, the weight of this bone often throws it back.

“Having descended the river to 41° 2´, still keeping the same direction, we found that turkeys took the place of other wild birds, and wild cattle replaced other animals. We call them wild cattle, because they resemble our domestic ones. They are not longer, but almost as bulky again, and more corpulent. Our man killed one, and the three of us could move it only with great difficulty. The head is very large, the[182] forehead flat and a half yard broad between the horns, which resemble exactly those of our oxen, but are black and longer. A large crop hangs down from the neck, and there is a high hump on the back. The whole head, neck, and part of the shoulders are covered with a great mane like a horse’s; it is a foot long and gives them a hideous appearance, and as it falls over the eyes prevents their seeing straight ahead.

“The rest of the body is covered with a coarse curly hair like the wool of our sheep, but much stronger and thicker. This is shed every summer, and then the skin is as soft as velvet. At this time the Indians employ the skins to make beautiful robes, which they paint with various colors. The flesh and fat are excellent, and furnish the best dish at banquets. They are very fierce, and not a year passes without their killing some Indian. When attacked, they take a man with their horns, if they can, lift him up, and then dash him on the ground, and trample him to death.

“When you fire at them from a distance with gun or bow, you must throw yourself on the ground as soon as you fire, and hide in the grass, for if they perceive the person who fired, they rush on him and attack him. As their feet are large and rather short,[183] they do not generally move fast, unless they are provoked. They are scattered over the prairies like herds of cattle. I have seen four hundred of them in a band.”

At last, on the 25th of June, they descried footprints on the shore. They now took heart again, and Joliet and the missionary, leaving their five men in the canoes, followed a little beaten path to discover who the tribe might be. They traveled on in silence almost to the cabin doors, when they halted, and with a loud halloo proclaimed their coming. Three villages lay before them; the first, roused by the cry, poured forth its motley group, which halted at the sight of the newcomers and the well-known dress of the missionary.

“They deputed four old men to come and speak with us,” says Marquette. “Two carried tobacco pipes richly adorned and trimmed with feathers of many kinds. They walked slowly, lifting their pipes toward the sun, as if offering them to him to smoke, but yet without uttering a single word. They were a long time coming the short distance between us and the village. Having at last reached us, they stopped to examine us carefully.

“On seeing these ceremonies which are used only with friends, I took courage, more especially as I saw[184] they wore European goods, which made me judge them to be allies of the French. I therefore spoke to them first, and asked them who they were. They answered: ‘We are Illinois,’ and in token of peace they offered us their pipes to smoke. They then invited us to their village, where the whole tribe impatiently awaited us.

“At the door of the cabin in which we were to be received was an old man awaiting us in a very remarkable attitude. It is their usual ceremony in receiving strangers. This man stood perfectly naked, with his hands stretched out and raised toward the sun, as if he wished to screen himself from its rays, which nevertheless passed through his fingers to his face. When we came near him, he addressed this compliment to us: ‘How beautiful is the sun, O Frenchman, when thou comest to visit us! All our town awaits thee, and thou shalt enter all our cabins in peace,’ He then took us into his, where there was a crowd of people, who devoured us with their eyes, but maintained the deepest silence. We heard, however, these words occasionally addressed to us: ‘Well done, brothers, to visit us!’”

Then the great peace calumet was brought and solemnly smoked, and the two Frenchmen were conducted to the village of the great sachem. Here, too,[185] they were received with pomp, and the calumet was again smoked. Marquette explained the object of their voyage to visit the nations living on the great river, and announce to them the word of God their Creator. They told the Illinois that they were sent by the great chief of the French, and asked information as to the nations between them and the sea.

The sachem presented them an Indian slave, saying: “I thank thee, Blackgown, and thee, Frenchman, for taking so much pains to come and visit us; never has the earth been so beautiful, nor the sun so bright as to-day; never has our river been so calm, nor so free from rocks, which your canoes have removed as they passed; never has our tobacco had so fine a flavor, nor our corn appeared so beautiful as we behold it to-day. Here is my son, whom I give thee, that thou mayst know my heart. I pray thee to take pity on me and all my nation. Thou knowest the Great Spirit who has made us all; thou speakest to Him and hearest His word. Ask Him to give me life and health, and come and dwell with us that we may know Him.”

They feasted the two Frenchmen, and gave them a calumet of peace as a safeguard against hostile tribes, but tried to persuade them to go no farther.

John Gilmary Shea.



There came a youth upon the earth,
Some thousand years ago,
Whose slender hands were nothing worth,
Whether to plow, or reap, or sow.
Upon an empty tortoise shell
He stretched some chords, and drew
Music that made men’s bosoms swell
Fearless, or brimmed their eyes with dew.
Then King Admetus, one who had
Pure taste by right divine,
Decreed his singing not too bad
To hear between the cups of wine.
And so, well pleased with being soothed
Into a sweet half-sleep,
Three times his kingly beard he smoothed,
And made him viceroy o’er his sheep.
His words were simple words enough,
And yet he used them so,
That what in other mouths was rough
In his seemed musical and low.
Men called him but a shiftless youth
In whom no good they saw;
And yet, unwittingly, in truth,
They made his careless words their law.
They knew not how he learned at all,
For idly, hour by hour,
He sat and watched the dead leaves fall,
Or mused upon a common flower.
It seemed the loveliness of things
Did teach him all their use,
For, in mere weeds, and stones, and springs,
He found a healing power profuse.
Men granted that his speech was wise,
But, when a glance they caught
Of his slim grace and woman’s eyes,
They laughed, and called him good-for-naught.
Yet after he was dead and gone,
And e’en his memory dim,
Earth seemed more sweet to live upon,
More full of love, because of him.
James Russell Lowell.




consent reckoning solemnly honors
possess justice merciful persecution
thirst really content satisfy

One day a vast multitude follows our Blessed Lord up a mountain side. They come trooping after Him, men, women, and children; their homes, their business, all the cares of this life, by common consent left behind. Now He has stopped and turned round, facing them. He waits long and patiently as they come toiling up, guiding them with His hand to go here and there where they may hear Him best.

It is His first great Sermon that He is going to preach, this Sermon on the Mount, and it is not only for the numbers beyond all reckoning gathered together here, but for all that shall come into this world and have to be taught what they must do to save their souls. Therefore He would speak so solemnly and from such a lofty place. He sits down, and the Twelve come and stand around Him, or sit on the ground at His feet. The people press round as close as they can, and when all are seated and quiet He begins to speak.


What will the text of this great Preacher be? What is the thought uppermost in His mind and heart? This—to teach us what we must do to be happy. He knows that we are made for happiness, and that we long to be happy. But He knows, too, that very many try to find happiness in things that will not satisfy them, in the riches, pleasures, and honors of this world which can never content our hearts. And so He tells us in the beginning of His Sermon on the Mount who are really blessed or happy.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the land.

“Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.

“Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice, for they shall have their fill.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

“Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.


“Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.”

Blessed the sufferers for whom Heaven is waiting! this is the text of the Sermon on the Mount.


envy abundance sufficiency conquerors
society invitation spiritual victors
raiment contrition special deserve

The poor in spirit are those who, having little of the good things of this life, are content with what God has given them, and do not envy those who are better off. Those, too, who having a sufficiency or an abundance of the pleasant things of this world, do not let their hearts get too fond of them, are ready to give them up if God should take them away, and are generous in sharing them with those in need. To poor, such as these, our Lord promises all the riches of Heaven by and by.

The meek are those who have gained a mastery over anger and revengeful thoughts. They possess as conquerors three lands—the land of their own soul, which they control as lords and masters, the Land of Heaven, where nothing will trouble them any more, and, strange[191] to say, that very land in which they seemed to be overcome. For in the little difficulties and differences of daily life, it is those that yield who are really victors. How many conquests has meekness made!

The mourners are those who all their lives long have a quiet, loving sorrow for their sins—not as though they were unforgiven, but just because they are forgiven, because they have offended Him who forgives so readily and so often. Those, too, are blessed mourners who remember when sorrow comes that He who loves them only permits it for their good, and that in a very little while He will wipe away all tears from their eyes, and they shall be comforted, “nor mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow shall be any more.”

Who hunger and thirst after justice. The soul, like the body, has its hunger and thirst. Our Lord says those are blessed who take care to feed it with those things which keep it alive in the grace of God, with prayer, and instruction, and the Sacraments. Blessed are those who hunger after this spiritual food, who are always trying to get more and more of God’s grace, who go hungry to prayer, hungry to Confession and Communion. Almighty God says, “Open thy mouth and I will fill it.” And our Blessed Lady sings in her canticle, “He hath fed the hungry with good things.”[192] It was because all the saints hungered like this that so much was given them.

The merciful. There is nothing our Lord tells us so often and so plainly as this—that to obtain mercy from God we must ourselves be merciful. If we wish Him to judge us kindly and to forgive our many faults, we must be forgiving and kind. “Be merciful,” He says, “as your Heavenly Father is merciful.” He tells us that at the Last Day He will say “Come” to those who have been merciful to others for His sake, and “Depart from Me” to those who have been unmerciful to the poor and needy, and therefore to Him. For what we do to His least brethren He counts as done to Himself. If, then, we want to hear His sweet invitation on that dreadful Day, we know how to secure it—“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”

The clean of heart. The reward and the joy of the next life is to see God. There are many joys in Heaven—freedom from pain and care, the delights of the glorified body, the society of the Angels and Saints, reunion with those we loved on earth. But all these are as nothing compared with the Vision of God. It is this that makes Heaven what it is. Without this all the rest would not satisfy us. But to see the All Holy God[193] we must be holy. In Heaven all are clothed with white robes, and the nearer the approach to the Great White Throne, the more dazzlingly white is the raiment. We must be getting ready to join that spotless throng. How? By taking as much pains to keep our soul free from stain as we do to prevent soiling our dress when we go along a miry road; by shunning with care all mortal sin and deliberate venial sin; by being careful in our examination of conscience, and often cleansing our soul in the Sacrament of Penance, and by frequent acts of contrition. If we do this we shall be among the clean of heart, and one day we shall see God.

The peacemakers. “Some there are who are neither at peace with themselves nor suffer others to be at peace. And some there are who keep themselves in peace and study to restore peace to others.” Gladness goes with these peacemakers; they turn aside little words and jokes that would give pain, and come among us like our Blessed Lord, whose favorite word of greeting was, “Peace be to you.” They are so like their Father who is in Heaven that they deserve to be called in a special way His children.

The persecuted. If our Lord had not told us these are blessed, should we ever have guessed it? To be persecuted seems such a terrible thing, and so indeed it[194] is unless we can bring ourselves to think more of Him for whose sake we suffer than of the suffering itself. Perhaps we may have known the quiet happiness of being by the side of one we loved who was in pain. The thought that our presence and our sympathy soothed that dear one was greater joy than any pleasure to be found elsewhere. Something like this is the gladness those have even now who for our Lord’s sake are hated and persecuted. They know that if they are like Him in His suffering they will be like Him one day in His glory. Are they not blessed then?


reverent amazement revenge deceive
riveted congregation poverty beatitudes

And now let us stop awhile to look at our dear Master and His hearers. The Twelve are listening with reverent and fixed attention, their eyes riveted on His blessed face. The people gaze at Him in amazement and delight. They have been taught to hate their enemies, to seek revenge, to think that poverty and suffering are the signs of God’s anger, that an abundance of corn and wine and cattle are the rewards for which a good man must hope.


Their beatitudes would have been, “Blessed are the rich and the successful, those that laugh and are held in honor by men.” How unlike these to the blessed ones of Jesus of Nazareth! His way to happiness was a hard way, but they knew as they looked up into His face that it was the right way. And they felt that He could not only teach but help them. Had they known the story of His life as we do they would have seen that He had first practised all He taught. He was so poor that He had not where to lay His head. He was meek and humble of heart, the Man of sorrows, the great Peacemaker.

After the Sermon our Lord comes down from the Mount, conversing familiarly with His disciples, His simple congregation flocking after Him, trying to get near Him, all so refreshed by His company and His words. Hear them talking of Him among themselves, saying, “We never heard the like.”

Oh, if we had seen our Blessed Lord as these happy people saw Him, if we had followed Him about with the crowd, had sat at His feet as He taught, and watched Him as He laid His hands on the eyes of the blind and the sores of the poor lepers—how we should have loved Him!

Mother Mary Loyola.



perilous ramparts haughty conceals
conquer desolation hireling confusion
motto triumph reposes pollution
Oh say, can you see by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming—
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave?
On that shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines on the stream;
’Tis the star-spangled banner; O long may it wave
O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave!
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
’Mid the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country shall leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave,
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave.
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Oh, thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation;
Blest with victr’y and peace, may the heaven-rescued land,
Praise the power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust!”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.




Italian belief finally dangerous
Indies ocean theory persuade
Europe imagine journey furnish

About four hundred years ago there came to Spain an Italian sailor who believed that the earth is round. Such a belief may not seem at all strange to us, but to the people of that time it appeared to be very foolish and unreasonable. Almost everybody laughed at the Italian, and called him a silly fellow.

“Have you eyes?” they asked. “If so, you need only to open them and look about you to see that the earth is as flat as the top of a table.”

“You may think it is flat,” he answered, “and indeed it does appear to be so. But I know it is round; and if I had only a good ship or two, and some trusty sailors, I would prove it to you. I would sail westward across the great ocean, and in the end would reach the Indies and China, which must be on the other side of the great round world.”

“Who ever heard of such nonsense!” cried his learned critics. “Everybody knows that China and the Indies are in the far East, and that they can be reached only by[199] a dangerous voyage through the Mediterranean Sea, and long journeys with camels across the great desert. Yet, here is Mr. Crack-brain, an Italian sailor, who says he can go to the East by sailing west. One might as well try to reach the moon by going down into a deep well.”

“But you don’t understand me,” answered the man whom they had called Mr. Crack-brain. “Here is an apple. Let us suppose that it is the earth. I stick a pin on this side, and call it Spain. On the other side I stick another pin, and call it the Indies. Now suppose a fly lights upon the apple at the point which I have called Spain. By turning to the right, or eastward, he can travel round to the Indies with but little trouble; or by turning to the left, or westward, he can reach the same place with just as much ease, and in really a shorter time. Do you see?”

“Do we see?” said his hearers. “Most certainly we see the apple, and we can imagine that we see the fly. It is very hard, however, to imagine that the earth is an apple, or anything like it. For, suppose that it were so: what would become of all the water in the seas and the great ocean? Why, it would run off at the blossom end of the apple, which you call the South Pole; and all the rocks and trees and men would follow it. Or, suppose that men could stick to the lower part of the earth as the fly does to the lower part of the apple—how[200] very silly it would be to think of them walking about with their heads hanging down!”

“And suppose,” said one of the doubters, who thought himself very wise,—“suppose that the earth is round, and suppose that the water should not spill off, and suppose you should sail to the other side, as you want to do, how are you to get back? Did anybody ever hear of a ship sailing uphill?”

And so, with sneering remarks, the wise men dismissed the whole subject. They said it was not worth while for them to spend their time in talking about such things. But the man whom they had called Mr. Crack-brain would not give up his theory. He was not the first man to believe that the earth is round—this he knew; but he hoped to be the first to prove it by sailing westward, and thus finally reaching the Indies, and the rich countries of the far East. And yet he had no ship, he was very poor, and the few friends whom he had were not able to give him any help.

“My only hope,” he said, “is to persuade the king and queen to furnish me with a ship.”

But how should an unknown Italian sailor make himself heard by the king and queen of the most powerful country in Europe?

The great men at the king’s court ridiculed him. “You had better buy a fisherman’s boat,” they said, “and try to make an honest living with your nets.[201] Men of your kind have no business with kings. As to your crazy theory about the shape of the earth, only think of it! How dare you, the son of an Italian wool-comber, imagine that you know more about it than the wisest men in the world?”

But he did not despair. For years he followed the king’s court from place to place. Most people looked upon him as a kind of harmless lunatic who had gotten a single idea in his head and was unable to think of anything else. But there were a few good and wise men who listened to his theories, and after studying them carefully began to believe that there was some truth in them.

One of these men was Father Perez, the prior of the convent of La Rabida, and, to please this good prior, the queen at last sent for the sailor and asked him to tell her all about his strange theories and his plans for sailing west and reaching the East.

“You say that, if you had the vessels and the men, you would sail westward and discover new lands on the farther side of the great ocean,” said the queen. “What reasons have you for supposing that there are any such lands?”

“My first reason is that, since the earth is round like a ball, the countries of China and the Indies must lie in a westward direction and can, sooner or later, be reached by sailing across the sea,” was the answer.[202] “You, yourself, have heard the story of St. Brandon, the Scottish priest, who, eight hundred years ago, was driven by a storm far across the ocean, and how at last he landed upon a strange and unknown shore. I doubt not but that this country was one of the outlying islands of the Indies, or perhaps the eastern shore of China.

“Not very long ago, Martin Vincent, a sea captain of Lisbon, ventured to go a distance of four hundred miles from land. There he picked up a piece of wood, with strange marks and carvings upon it, which had been drifted from the west by strong winds. Other seafaring men have found, far out in the ocean, reeds and light wood, such as travelers say are found in some parts of the Indies, but nowhere in Europe. And if any one should want more proofs than these, it would not be hard to find them. There is a story among the people of the far north which relates that, about five hundred years ago, some bold sea rovers from Iceland discovered a wild, wooded country many days’ sail to the westward. Indeed, it is said that these men tried to form a settlement there, and that they sent more than one shipload of grapes and timber back to Iceland. Now, it is very plain to me that this country of Vinland, as they called it, was no other than a part of the northern coast of China or Japan.”

It is not to be supposed that the queen cared whether[203] the earth was round or flat; nor is it likely that her mind was ever troubled with questions of that kind. But she thought that if this man’s theories were true, and there were lands rich in gold and spices on the other side of the ocean, it would be a fine thing for the queen and king of Spain to possess them. The Italian sailor had studied his subject well, and he certainly knew what he was talking about. He had told his story so well that the queen was almost ready to believe that he was right. But she was very busy just then, in a war with the Moors, and she had little time to think about anything else. If the Italian would wait till everything else could be settled, she would see whether a ship or two might not be fitted out for his use.

For seven years this man with a new idea kept on trying to find some one who was able and willing to help him carry out the plans which he had so much at heart. At last, broken in health and almost penniless, he gave up hope, and was about to leave Spain forever. It was then that one of his friends, Luis St. Angel, pleaded his case before the queen.

“It will cost but little to fit out two or three ships for him. If the undertaking should prove to be a failure you would not lose much. But if it should succeed, only think what vast riches and how great honor will be won for Spain!”

“I will take the risk!” cried the queen, at last.[204] “If the money cannot be had otherwise, I will sell my jewels to get it. Find him, and bring him before me; and let us lose no more time about this business.”

St. Angel hastened to obey.

“Do you know whether Christopher Columbus has passed out through this gate to-day?” he asked of the soldier who was standing guard at one of the gates of the old city of Granada.

“Christopher Columbus? Who is he?” asked the soldier.

“He is a gray-bearded man, rather tall, with a stoop in his shoulders. When last seen he was riding on a small, brown mule, and coming this way.”

“Oh? Do you mean the fellow who has been trying to make people believe that the earth is round?”

“Yes, that is the man.”

“He passed through here not half an hour ago. His mule is a very slow traveler, and if you follow, you can easily overtake him before he has gone far.”

St. Angel gave the rein to his swift horse, and galloped onward in pursuit of Columbus. It was not long until the slow-paced mule, with its sad rider, was seen plodding along the dusty highway. The man was too busy with his own thoughts to heed the sound of the ringing hoofs behind him.

“Christopher Columbus!” cried his friend, “turn about, and come back with me. I have good news for[205] you. Queen Isabella bids me say that she will help you, and that you shall have the ships and the men for which you ask. And she hopes that you may find a new way to the East, and perhaps discover unknown lands on the farther side of the great ocean. Turn about, and come back with me!”


Palos Canary precious monsters
Niña Santa Maria anxious venture
Pinta Perez mysterious expanse

One morning in August, 1492, there was a great stir in the little seaport town of Palos in Spain. At break of day the streets were full of people. Long before sunrise the shore was lined with anxious men, women, and children. All were talking about the same thing; some were weeping; some appeared to be angry; some were in despair.

“Only think of it,” said one. “Think of sailing into seas where the water is always boiling hot.”

“And if you escape being scalded,” said another, “then there are those terrible sea beasts that are large enough to swallow ships and sailors at a mouthful.”

“It is all on account of that Italian sailor who says that the world is round,” said a third. “He has persuaded[206] several persons, who ought to know better, that he can reach the East by sailing west.”

Moored near the shore were three small ships. They were but little larger than fishing boats; and in these frail vessels Columbus was going to venture into the vast unknown sea, in search of strange lands and of a new and better way to distant India.

Two of the ships, the “Niña” and the “Pinta,” had no decks and were covered only at the ends where the sailors slept. The third, called the “Santa Maria,” was larger and had a deck, and from its masthead floated the flag of Columbus. It was toward these three ships that the eyes of the people on shore were directed; it was about these ships and the men on board of them that all were talking.

On the deck of the largest ship stood Columbus, and by his side was good Father Perez, praying that the voyagers might be blessed with fair winds and a smooth sea, and that the brave captain might be successful in his quest. Then the last good-bys were spoken, the moorings were cast loose, the sails were spread; and, a little before sunrise, the vessels glided slowly out of the harbor and into the vast western ocean. The people stood on the shore and watched, while the sails grew smaller and smaller and at last were lost to sight below the line of sea and sky.

“Alas! We shall never see them again,” said some,[207] returning to their homes. But others remained all day by the shore talking about the strange idea that there were unknown lands in the distant West.

Two hundred miles southwest of Palos there is a group of islands called the Canary Islands. These were well known to the people of that time, and belonged to Spain. But sailors seldom ventured beyond them, and no one knew of any land farther to the west. It was to these islands that Columbus first directed his course. In six days the three little vessels reached the Canary Islands. The sailing had been very slow. The rudder of one of the ships had not been well made and had soon been broken. And so, now, much time was wasted while having a new rudder made and put in place.

It was not until the 6th of September that Columbus again set sail, pushing westward into unknown waters. Soon the sailors began to give way to their fears. The thought that they were on seas where no man had before ventured filled them with alarm. They remembered all the strange stories that they had heard of dreadful monsters and of mysterious dangers, and their minds were filled with distress.

But Columbus showed them how unreasonable these stories were; and he aroused their curiosity by telling them wonderful things about India—that land of gold and precious stones, which they would surely reach if they would bravely persevere.


And so, day after day, they sailed onward. The sea was calm, and the wind blowing from the east drove the ships steadily forward. By the first of October they had sailed more than two thousand miles. Birds came from the west, and flew about the ships. The water was full of floating seaweed. But still no land could be seen.

Then the sailors began to fear that they would never be able to return against the east wind that was blowing. “Why should we obey this man, Columbus?” they said. “He is surely mad. Let us throw him into the sea, and then turn the ships about while we can.”

But Columbus was so firm and brave that they dared not lay hands on him; they dared not disobey him. Soon they began to see signs of the nearness of land. Weeds, such as grow only in rivers, were seen floating near the ships. A branch of a tree, with berries on it, was picked up. Columbus offered a reward to the man who should first see land.

“We must be very near it now,” he said.

That night no one could sleep. At about two o’clock the man who was on the lookout on one of the smaller vessels cried: “Land! land! land!” Columbus himself had seen a distant light moving, some hours before. There was now a great stir on board the ships.

“Where is the land?” cried every one.

“There—there! Straight before us.”



San Salvador anchor bananas messenger
Cuba scarlet palms brilliant

Yes, there was a low, dark mass far in front of them, which might be land. In the dim starlight, it was hard to make out what it was. But one thing was certain, it was not a mere expanse of water, such as lay in every other direction. And so the sailors brought out a little old-fashioned cannon and fired it off as a signal to the crews of the other vessels. Then the sails of the three ships were furled, and they waited for the light of day.

When morning dawned, Columbus and his companions saw that they were quite near to a green and sunny island. It was a beautiful spot. There were pleasant groves where the songs of birds were heard. Thousands of flowers were seen on every hand, and the trees were laden with fruit. The island was inhabited, too; for strange men could be seen running toward the shore and looking with wonder at the ships.

The sailors, who had lately been ready to give up all hope, were now filled with joy. They crowded around Columbus, and kissed his hands, and begged him to forgive them for thinking of disobeying him. The ships cast anchor, the boats were lowered, and Columbus, with most of the men, went on shore. Columbus was dressed in a grand robe of scarlet, and the banner of Spain was borne above him.


The Landing of Columbus.


As soon as the boats reached the shore, Columbus stepped out and knelt down upon the beach and gave thanks to God; then he took possession of the island in the name of the king and queen of Spain, and called it San Salvador. It was thus that the first land in America was discovered on the 12th of October, 1492.

The natives were filled with wonder at what they saw. At first they were awed and frightened at sight of the ships and the strange men; but they soon overcame their fears and seemed delighted and very friendly. They brought to Columbus gifts of all they had,—bananas, yams, oranges, and beautiful birds.

“Surely,” they said, “these wonderful beings who have come to us from the sea are not mere men like ourselves. They must be messengers from heaven.”

Columbus believed that this island was near the coast of Asia, and that it was one of the islands of India; and so he called the people Indians. He did not remain here long, but sailed away to discover other lands. In a short time the ships came to a large island where there were rivers of fresh water flowing into the sea. The air was sweet with the breath of blossoms; the sky was blue and clear; the sea was calm; the world seemed full of joy and peace. This island was Cuba.


“Let us live here always!” cried the sailors; “for surely this is paradise.”

And so, for three months and more, Columbus and his companions sailed among scenes of delight, such as they had never before imagined. They visited island after island, and everywhere saw new beauties and new pleasures. The natives were simple-hearted and kind. “They love their neighbors as themselves,” said Columbus. They looked with wonder upon the bright swords of the white men and upon their brilliant armor; and when the little cannon was fired, they were so filled with alarm that they fell to the ground.

It was on the 15th of the next March that Columbus, after a stormy homeward voyage, sailed again into the little harbor of Palos, from which he had started. And now there was a greater stir in the little town than there had been before. “Christopher Columbus has come back from the unknown seas!” was the cry that went from house to house.

“Did he reach the East by sailing west? Has he really been to far-off India?” asked the doubting ones.

“He has, indeed!” was the answer. “He has discovered a new world.”

Then the bells were rung, guns were fired, and bonfires blazed on the hilltops. Everybody rejoiced. Everybody was willing now to say that the Italian sailor was right when he declared the earth to be round.



Thou art, O God! the life and light
Of all this wondrous world we see;
Its glow by day, its smile by night,
Are but reflections caught from Thee.
Where’er we turn, Thy glories shine,
And all things fair and bright are Thine.
When day, with farewell beam, delays,
Among the opening clouds of even,
And we can almost think we gaze
Through golden vistas into heaven;
Those hues that mark the sun’s decline,
So soft, so radiant, Lord! are Thine.
When night, with wings of starry gloom,
O’ershadows all the earth and skies,
Like some dark, beauteous bird, whose plume
Is sparkling with unnumbered eyes;—
That sacred gloom, those fires Divine,
So grand, so countless, Lord! are Thine.
Thomas Moore.



There is a land, of every land the pride,
Beloved by Heaven o’er all the world beside;
Where brighter suns dispense serener light,
And milder moons emparadise the night:
A land of beauty, virtue, valor, truth,
Time-tutored age, and love-exalted youth:
The wandering mariner whose eye explores
The wealthiest isles, the most enchanting shores,
Views not a realm so bountiful and fair,
Nor breathes the spirit of a purer air.
For in this land of Heaven’s peculiar grace,
The heritage of Nature’s noblest race,
There is a spot of earth supremely blest—
A dearer, sweeter spot than all the rest:
Here woman reigns; the mother, daughter, wife,
Strew with fresh flowers the narrow way of life;
In the clear heaven of her delightful eye,
An angel-guard of loves and graces lie;
Around her knees domestic duties meet,
And fireside pleasures gambol at her feet.
“Where shall that land, that spot of earth be found?”
Art thou a man?—a patriot?—look around;
Oh, thou shalt find, howe’er thy footsteps roam,
That land thy Country, and that spot thy Home.



Page 7.François Coppée, a noted French writer, was born at Paris in 1842. Although he was the writer of good French poetry and some successful plays, he is best known to American readers by his charming short stories, in which he depicts the life and aspirations of the common people. In his later life he was an ardent Catholic, and as such wrote fearlessly in defense of the rights of the Church in France. He died in 1908.

Page 14.John James Audubon, a noted American ornithologist of French descent, was born at New Orleans in 1780. Perhaps no other person has done so much for the birds of America, or has described them so well, as he. His drawings of birds are particularly famous. He died at New York in 1851.

Page 16.J. R. Marre, is a contemporary Catholic writer whose poems are well known to readers of The Ave Maria and other religious periodicals.

Page 17.Rev. John Banister Tabb was born in Virginia, March 22, 1845. He studied for the priesthood and was ordained in 1884. He is an instructor in St. Charles College, Maryland. His poems are exquisite in movement and diction no less than in richness of thought.

Page 18.Horace Binney Wallace, a noted American lawyer and prose writer, was born at Philadelphia, 1817; died at Paris, 1852. His best known work, Literary Criticisms, was published after his death.

Page 23.Henry Coyle is a contemporary Catholic poet residing at Boston, Massachusetts. He is well known as a contributor to Catholic periodicals. His first volume of poetry, entitled The Promise of Morning, was published in 1899. His writings are characterized by deep religious feeling no less than by rare poetic charm.

Page 24.Miguel de Saavedra Cervantes, a celebrated Spanish poet and novelist, was born near Madrid, 1547; died, 1616. His most famous work is the romance entitled Don Quixote, which was first printed in 1605. It has been translated into every language of Europe.

Page 43.John Henry, Cardinal Newman was born at London in 1801. He was educated at a private school until he entered Oxford, where he took his degree before he was twenty. In 1822 he was elected Fellow in Oriel College. In 1845 he left the Church of England for the Roman Catholic Church. He wrote many sermons, treatises, and poems. In literary merit his work ranks very high. He died in 1890.


Rev. Thomas Edward Bridgett, a noted priest and author, was born at Derby, England, in 1829. He was the founder of the Confraternity of the Holy Family for men, and much of his life was devoted to missionary work. He was the author of numerous religious and historical works, among which may be named, The History of the Holy Eucharist, Life of the Blessed John Fisher, Blunders and Forgeries, etc. Father Bridgett died at St. Mary’s Clapham, England, in 1899.

Page 56.William Cowper, a celebrated English poet, was born in 1731. He attended Westminster school and afterwards studied law. His most famous poems are The Task and the ballad John Gilpin’s Ride. He died in 1800.

Page 58.Rev. Frederick William Faber was born in Yorkshire, England, in 1814. He was an eloquent preacher, a brilliant talker, and had an unsurpassed power of gaining the love of all with whom he came in contact. His hymns are well known, and sung throughout the world. He founded a religious community which was afterwards merged in the oratory of St. Philip Neri. He died in 1863.

Page 75.John Greenleaf Whittier was born at Haverhill, Massachusetts, 1807. At the age of eighteen he studied for two years at an academy near his home. In 1829 he became the editor of a paper established at Boston to advocate protective tariff. He was active in the cause of antislavery. He died in 1892.

Page 82.Mary Lydia Bolles Branch was born at New London, Connecticut, in 1840. She is best known as a writer of stories for children.

Page 84.John Burroughs was born in Roxbury, New York, in 1837. He was the son of a farmer, but received a good college education. For eight or nine years he taught school, and then became a journalist in New York city. From 1861 till 1873 he was a clerk in the Treasury Department at Washington. He finally settled on a farm at West Park, New York, giving his time to literature and the observation of nature. His love of nature has inspired most of what he has contributed to the literature of the world.

Page 96.Aubrey de Vere, an Irish Catholic poet, was born in 1788. He belonged to a good family, and always had leisure to cultivate a naturally refined taste. At first he wrote dramas, but later, poems, especially sonnets. He was a true patriot, and pays many tributes of love to his country in his historical themes. He died in 1846.

Page 97.Sir Walter Scott was born at Edinburgh in 1771. His delightful art of story telling, both in prose and poetry, has been excelled by few. Among his most popular poems are The Lady of the Lake and Marmion; among his most popular novels are Kenilworth, Ivanhoe, The Talisman, and Old Mortality. He died in 1832.

Page 106.Thomas Moore was born at Dublin, Ireland, in 1779; died in 1852. He entered Trinity College, Dublin, at fifteen years of age. He studied law, and in 1799 entered the Middle Temple, London. In 1803[217] he received a government appointment to the Bermuda Islands and traveled quite extensively in the United States. Among English Catholic poets he holds a high rank.

Page 107.Andrew Lang was born in Scotland in 1844; died at London in 1912. He pursued many different lines of literary work, and was one of the most versatile writers of modern times. The number of volumes bearing his name as author is surprisingly large.

Page 114.Lady Gregory is the daughter of Dudley Presse, Deputy Lieutenant of Roxborough, County Galway, Ireland. She has done very valuable service to literature in preserving and editing many of the early Celtic legends. Some of her publications are: Poets and Dreamers, Cuchullain of Muerthemme, and Gods and Fighting Men.

Page 118.Helen Hunt Jackson was born in 1831 at Amherst, Massachusetts. In 1867 she wrote her first stories, and from that time until her death books from the pen of H. H. were published with frequency. She wrote verses, essays, sketches of travel, children’s stories, novels, and tracts on questions of the day.

Page 120.St. Ambrose or Ambrosius, one of the fathers of the Latin Church, was born at Treves, A.D. 340; died, 397. He was the champion of the Catholics against Arians and pagans; he became Bishop of Milan in 374. He was the author of numerous hymns and other religious works.

Page 121.James Sheridan Knowles was born at Dublin, Ireland, 1784. For a time he held a commission in the militia, but became attracted to the stage and entered the dramatic profession. He died in 1862.

Page 132.Washington Irving was born in New York city, April 3, 1783; died, 1859. His early schooling was not very systematic. When a young man he began the study of law, but never followed the profession very steadily. He is the most popular of the American writers of the early part of the nineteenth century.

Page 152.Alfred Tennyson was born at Somersby, England, in 1809. He was educated at Cambridge, where he gained the Chancellor’s medal for his poem Timbuctoo in blank verse. In 1830 he published his first volume of poems. Other poems followed quickly and soon became popularly known. Tennyson’s poetry is distinguished by its rare quality and delicate choice of language. He was for many years poet laureate. He died in 1892.

Page 158.Sister Mary Antonia is an occasional and highly esteemed contributor of verse to current Catholic periodicals.

Page 161.Miriam Coles Harris is a contemporary Catholic writer whose works have attracted considerable attention. The extract is from A Corner of Spain, published in 1896.

Page 166.William Cullen Bryant, a famous American poet, was born at Cummington, Massachusetts, November 3, 1794. He entered Williams[218] College at the age of sixteen, but at the end of two years took honorable dismission and engaged in the study of law. He was admitted to the bar in 1815; removed to New York in 1825; was editor of the New York Review in the same year; and in 1826 became connected with the Evening Post, with which he continued until his death, which occurred in 1878.

Page 170.Conrad Von Bolanden is the pseudonym of a contemporary German Catholic writer, Monsignor Joseph Bischoff, who was born in August, 1828. He was made a Papal Chamberlain to Pope Pius IX in recognition of the merits of his efforts in the field of Catholic literature. He has written much, finding the motives of his books in history and in the problems of social life.

Page 174.Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is often called the children’s poet, partly because of his love for children and partly because of some poems written for children. He was born in Portland, Maine, in 1807. From 1835 to 1854 he was professor of modern languages at Harvard University. He died in 1882.

Page 178.John Gilmary Shea, a brilliant Catholic writer, was born at New York city, July 1824; died, 1892. He devoted most of his time to literature instead of to the law, for which he was educated. Perhaps no one has done more to preserve the history and language of the aborigines of this country. History of the Catholic Missions among the Indian Tribes of the United States, Early Voyages up and down the Mississippi, History of the Catholic Church in Colonial Times, are some of his most popular works.

Page 186.James Russell Lowell was born at Cambridge, Massachusetts, February 22, 1819. He died in the same house in which he was born, August 12, 1891. For many years he held the chair of modern languages in Harvard University. He was a man who represented American culture and letters at their best.

Page 188.Mother Mary Loyola of the Bar Convent, York, England, is a writer of more than ordinary power on the subjects dearest to every true Catholic. Her book, Jesus of Nazareth, from which our selection is taken, was written especially for American children and is dedicated to them.

Page 196.Francis Scott Key, author of “The Star-spangled Banner,” was born in Frederick County, Maryland, in 1780. It was during the British invasion in 1814, while he was detained on a British man-of-war within sight of the bombardment of Fort McHenry, that Key wrote this beautiful lyrical poem. He died at Baltimore in 1843.

Page 214.James Montgomery was a Scottish poet, born in 1776; died in 1854. His poems, once very popular, are now almost forgotten.




Certain vowels, as a and e, when obscure are marked thus, a̯, e̯. Silent letters are italicized. In the following word list only accented syllables and syllables of doubtful pronunciation are marked.