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OLD FARM FAIRIES
OLD FARM FAIRIES
CAMPAIGN IN BROWNIELAND AGAINST
KING COB WEA VERY'S PIXIES
HENRY CHRISTOPHER McCOOK
Aulltor of" Tenants of an Old Farm," etc.
ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY ILLUSTRATIONS
HODDER AND STOUGHTON
27, PATERNOSTER ROW
Printed by Hazell, Walson, Viney, Ld., London and Aylesbury.
In Tender Recollection of
Boyhood's Home, Loves, Joys, and Trials Among the Hills of
ever dear Ohio,
I dedicate this Book
MEMORY OF MY BROTHER
RODERICK SHELDON MCCOOK
Late Commander United States Navy.
An able, honorable and patriotic officer, he waxed valiant in fight
both on sea and land
for his Country's honor and defence.
On this page
The Author would keep green his Name
Roommate, Playmate and Companion of Early Days.
This preface shall be a personal explanation. The
following book was written during the winter of 1876-77,
more than eighteen years ago. Its origin was in this
wise: Some of my readers will know that for more than
twenty years I have studied the habits of our spider
fauna. During the first years of these studies, the
thought came to me to write a book for youth wherein
my observations should be personified in the imaginary
creatures of fairy lore, and thus float into the young
mind some of my natural history findings in such pleas-
ant form that they would be received quite unconsciously,
and at least an impression thereof retained with sufficient
accuracy to open the way to more serious lessons in the
It further seemed to me that the fairies of Scotland,
with whom I had been familiar from childhood, might
afford vivid personalities for my'plan. Accordingly, the
spiders were assigned the part of Pixies or goblins, the
ill-natured fairies of Scotland and Northern England.
The Brownies, or friendly folk, the gude neebours," or
household fairies, were made to personify those insect
forms, especially those useful to man, against which
spiders wage continual war. Moreover, to express the
relations of the lower creatures to human life, and their
actual as well as imaginary interdependence, human
characters were introduced, and conflicts between Pixies
and Brownies were interwoven with their behaviour.
This purely personal statement has been intruded upon
the reader to explain that the Brownies, as represented
in this book, are not imitations. They antedated, by a
number of years, the popular creations of Mr. Palmer
Cox. The writer well understands as a naturalist that
priority depends not upon originality of intention or in-
vention, or even of preparation, but upon precedence in
publication. It will be found, however, that my concep-
tion and treatment of these wee folk differ from those of
Mr. Cox. As'they appear to me from the recollections
of childhood, they have a more serious aspect, a more
human-like nature, which ought not to be wholly sacri-
ficed to their jovial characteristics. I have therefore
presented the Brownies as beings with humanized affec-
tions, passions and methods reflected in miniature.
I confess some qualms, on the scientific side of my
conscience, at compelling my friends, the spiders, to play
the part of Pixies. But there seemed no other course
out of regard both to common belief and the necessity
imposed by the facts. As I went on with the work, I
wondered at the ductility with which the current habits
of the aranead tribes yielded to personification. The
water spiders permitted the introduction of smugglers,
pirates and sailors; the burrowing and trapdoor spiders
opened up tales of caves and subterranean abodes; the
ballooning spiders permitted an adaptation of modern
military methods of reconnaissance; and so on through
a long list of aranead habits.
In order to make this more apparent, and to give
adult readers, parents and teachers, and the older class
of youthful readers, a scientific key to the various situa-
tions, brief notes have been added in an Appendix, to
which foot-note references have been made in most of
the chapters. Moreover, the natural habits personified
are interpreted by figures set into the text with no expla-
nation but the legend written thereunder.
The crudely drawn cuts which figure in the pages as
"The Boy's Illustrations" are exact reproductions of
sketches made by a lad in my own family, between eight
and nine years old, to whom, with others, the manuscript
was read as a sort of test of its quality. Encouraged
by the advice of one of the keenest and most sympa-
thetic students of child life in America, I have ventured
to give a few of these drawings to the public, as a curious
study in the operations of child-mind.
I had agreed with myself not to print the Brownie
Book until my scientific work upon the spiders was
finished, and tle manuscript remained untouched until
the winter of 1885-6. At that time I seemed to see the
nearing end of my studies, and portions of the Brownie-
Pixie story were distributed to various artists, among
them Mr. Dan. C. Beard and Mr. Harry L. Poore.
Some of the illustrations at that time made, appear in
the following pages, bearing date 1886. Tenants of
an Old Farm had now appeared, and was so well re-
ceived that it was thought advisable to connect this book
with that by an Introductory Chapter" intended for
older readers, and which gives the key to the motive of
the story. Early in 1886 I recalled all contracts and
arrangements for publication, as a prolonged sickness
compelled me to drop scientific work and defer the issue
of the "American Spiders." On the very day that the
binders placed the first finished copy of the third and
last volume of that work in my hands, the copy of
"Old Farm Fairies" went to the printer.
H. C. MIcC.
Wi This Chapter is for Grownups only. Children will
please skip it.
THE SCHOOLMISTRESS AND THE FAIRIES.
In the south yard of the Old Farm at Highwood
there stands a noble Elm tree. Its massive proportions,
the stately pose of its furrowed trunk and the graceful
outlines of its drooping branches have often drawn my
pleased eyes and awakened admiration. There is noth-
ing in Nature that better serves to stir up human enthus-
iasm than a fine tree; and as our vicinage for miles
around abounds in worthy examples of American forest
growths, there is ample opportunity for such sentiment
to be kept aglow in the hearts of the Tenants at the Old
Farm. Yet it must be confessed that there is also occa-
sion at times for a kindling of quite another sort, when
the stupidity, perversity, and penuriousness of men wage
a vandal war against the noble monarchs of the woods.
The fall of a huge tree is a touching sight. See the
trunk trembles upon the last few fibres that stand in the
gap which the axman has made. A shiver runs through
the foliage to the summit and circumference of the
branches. The tree-top bows with slightest trace of a
x OLD FARM FAIRIES.
lurch to one side. Then it sinks-slowly, faster, fast!
With no undignified rush, but with a stately sweep it
descends to the earth. Crash The ground trembles at
the fall. The nethermost branches in their breakage
explode sharply like a farewell volley of soldiers over a
comrade's grave. Boughs, twigs and leaves vibrate, as
with a passionate earnestness of grief, for a few moments,
and then are still. There, prone upon the forest mould
the glorious monarch lies, majestic even in its fallen
estate. A few bunches of human muscle, a keen steel
edge and a scant fraction of time have destroyed two
centuries of Nature's cunning work.
Well, one is inclined to so vary the version of a cer-
tain Scripture Text that it shall read "a man was in-
famous rather than "a man was famous according as
he had lifted up axes upon the thick trees." *
Of course Mr. Gladstone, and the multitude of undis-
tinguished axmen who delight to fall a tree, have an
honorable and lawful vocation. Trees ripen, like other
animate things, and when they are full ripe they may be
felled; when their time has come they ought to fall;
when the exigencies of higher intelligence truly re-
quire, they also must fall before their time. But, this
brings no justification of that murderous idiocy which
sets so many citizen sovereigns of America to slaughter-
ing the grand sovereigns of the plant world.
However, all this perhaps has little to do with our
great Elm, except, that one must be grateful that it has
been spared to cause the eyes to rejoice in its beauty
1'Plm xxiv. 5.
AN INTR2ODUCTIOi. xi
and to refresh us with its shade. We built a rustic seat
against its trunk, and there in the warm summer days
FIG. l.-The Forest Monarch's Fall. The Brownie's Grief and
and evenings which succeeded the winter of our coming
to the Old Farm, I was wont to sit and meditate, and
xii OLD FARM FAIRIES.
sometimes doze. It was a favorite spot with me, but
others of the family often shared it with me, or enjoyed
it by themselves. This will well enough introduce a
matter which I have now to lay before the reader. It
came to me from the Schoolmistress, who, I venture to
hope, is not forgotten by the readers of "The Tenants
of An Old Farm."
My dear Mr. Mayfield:
The package that I herewith send you has a strange
history which I beg to recite ere you break the wrap-
pings and examine the contents of the parcel.
It happened during one of the warm days of last
June that I sat on the rustic bench under the Great
Elm and read Mr. Lowell's "Vision of Sir Launfal."
I closed the book and thought, with an exquisite sense
of its beauty and fitness, upon the poet's opening verses
which contain a description of June, and in which are
"'Tis Heaven alone that is given away,
'Tis only God may be had for the asking;
There is no price set on the lavish Summer,
And June may be had by the poorest comer."
As I conned the words my eyes slowly wandered
along the landscape, and my heart rejoiced in the royal
bounty of beauty which the poet sings. Then my vis-
ion returned to the objects just around me, and grad-
ually became fixed upon some of the living things
about which you have kindly told us so much new and
interesting. Indeed, they seemed already like old friends,
and I watched with keen zest their various movements.
How bright everything was, and how peaceful the
tone of Nature Butterflies flitted by, beating the air in
their leisurely way, then rested on leaf or flower while
AN INTRODUCTION. xiii
they opened and closed their wings with graceful, fan-
like movements. The winged Hymenoptera dashed by
with the sharp, quick wingstroke of their kind, or hung
humming above the flowers. Honey-bees, Carpenter-
bees, Digger-wasps, the blue Mud-dauber, the brown
Paper-wasp, Hornets and Yellow-jackets were busy at
their various occupations. One dusted pollen into its
basket; another dumped aromatic pellets of sawdust
from a cedar rail; another scooped up mandible hod-
fulls of mortar at the edge of the brook; others plucked
chiplets of old wood from a weathered fence post; all
seemed happy, and devoted to peaceful industry.
The great green Grasshopper was in hearing, if not
in sight, the veritable "hopper whose long threadlike
antennae and wedge shaped head you have taught us to
recognize as marking the true from the so called grass-
hopper or locust. He sat upon the tall grass on the
bank of the Run close by the spring house, and shrilled
his piping love call to his mate. The annual Cicada,
too (" Pruinosa you called it), was sounding his amor-
ous drum from the trees with a volume and sharpness of
sound that far exceed those of his cousin german the
Seventeen Year Cicada. His silent ladylove might
occasionally be seen flitting from bough to bough. An
Orbweaving spider's web was spun upon an adjacent
bush, and three courtiers were established at different
parts of the margin of the snare awaiting the complais-
ance of Madam Aranea the housekeeper. Near my feet
a bevy of Fuscous Ants* were tugging with great to-do
at a crumb of sweet cake, while their fellow formicar-
ians were equally concerned in covering and screening
the gate of their nest that lay to the right under the
verge of the Elm's shadow. Birds of several species
* Formica fusca.
xiv OLD FARM FAIRIES.
were near by; Robins whistled in the meadow, a Vireo
sang in the tree tops, Sparrows twittered around the
birdcote; Hens cackled in the barnyard, and wak-
ened the hearty, answering "Tuk-aw, tuk-aw!" of the
big red Rooster. Out in the lane Sarah's conch shell
was sending a melodious call to Hugh whom the Mis-
tress had bidden her to summon from the wood pasture.
The whole aspect of Nature, indeed, was so charming
that I was soothed into a delicious repose of body and
I am conscious, dear Sir, that I shall lay a heavy tax
upon your credulity by what I am now to relate. Or,
perhaps, you will smile and say that your friend Abby
has fallen to dreams and visions, and like some of
her young pupils has imagination so little disciplined as
to be quite unable to distinguish between a vivid wak-
ing fancy or dream of sleep, and a real occurrence.
Very well, I must bear your unbelief as best I may, and
at all events you will listen to my story.
Will you believe that among the Tenants of our Old
Farm is a nation of Fairies? You have not suspected
their existence heretofore; but then, neither did I sus-
pect that legions of curious beings are all around us
until the wand of your knowledge had touched my eyes,
and opened them to the wonderful life histories that are
being wrought out among our fellow tenants of the in-
Such, at least, was my own thought as I saw several
wee dainty bodies spring from the backs of some Honey-
bees hovering over the white clover, after the fashion
of a rider dismounting from his horse, and another
group alight from a bevy of yellow Butterflies that flut-
tered low down and just above the walk. They were
joined by many others of like appearance, who suddenly
AN INTRODUCTION. xv
emerged from the grass, from the flower border, from
the drooping leaves of the Elm, and approached me.
THE BOY'S ILLUSTRATION.
FIG. 2.-Queen Fancy and the Schoolmistress.*
They clambered up the English Ivy that clings to the
south side of the tree; they climbed upon the rustic
In the little company referred to further on, to whom the manuscript
of this book was read, was a friend's lad, eight years old, a visitor at the
Old Farm. The Mistress noticed him during the intervals of the read-
ings busy with pencil and paper, amusing himself with such drawings as
children are wont to make. A number of these had been made and
thrown away ere it occurred to the good woman to call my attention
thereto. I was much surprised and delighted to find that the boy had
been engaged in illustrating the Brownie Book (as we then familiarly
called it). It was a good sign of the value of the work that it could pro-
duce such an impression upon a child of his tender years. Moreover,
xvi OLD FARM FAIRIES.
bench, and a few even ventured upon the gnarled arm
against which my elbow rested. This seemed a novel
occurrence, certainly; but I assure you that I was rather
pleased than surprised thereby, for it at once linked
itself with your strange histories of insects, and seemed
a natural and matter-of-course affair. Really, I have
come to think that Nature has so many rare and beauti-
ful facts hidden away in her secret places that one must
never be surprised to see or hear of the most marvelous
happenings. One of the brightest and most prettily
robed of these tiny people, who seemed to be a sort of
queen among them, drew quite near and addressed me.
"You are not alarmed at our appearance. Good!
Fairies do not visit those who doubt or fear them. We
are pleased to see you smile upon us. Thanks! We
give you greeting! Would you like to know who we
are? Yes? Well, we are called Brownies. Our folk
came from Scotland. You know where that is? "
"Oh, yes," I replied, speaking, I suppose, quite me-
chanically, Scotland is the northern part of the island
of Great Britain; it is bounded on the south by Eng-
land, on the east by the Ger--
"Never mind the boundary," interrupted the Brownie
the rude figures were so apt and interesting to my own mind, that I fan-
cied others might be equally interested therein. "Why not print
them?" suggested the Mistress. And upon mature deliberation that is
just what I resolved to do. No one but a child could make such pictures.
Let the adult, however good an artist, try as much as he may, he could
not reproduce such drawings. Indeed the better the artist, the further
would he come from achievement. That children will take at once to
these reflections of a child's mind, appears quite probable. Moreover, to
the thinking adult they must have a special value as a psychological
study. With all our knowledge of children, it is still marvellous how
little we know of a child's mind. These little tokens of its workings
perhaps may help us to a better knowledge. At all events, a few of
these "Boy's Illustrations" have been selected for engraving, and the
editor will be disappointed if they do not give to both his adult and
youthful readers as much pleasure as they gave to himself,-THE EDITOR,
AN INTRODUCTION! xvii
with a dainty, tinkling laugh, we are not a School-
mistress and her Committee, and you needn't say your
lesson now. It's enough for us that you know where
Scotland is,-the dear auld land o' cakes! We're
But how came you here ?" I asked.
Oh! there's nothing odd about that; we follow our
wandering Sawnies wherever they go. We have all
been interested with you in Mr. Mayfield's accounts of
insect life, and have been present at many of your
walks and talks when you little suspected such company.
Ah we could give the Tenant some hints well worth
following up Although, lie does very well, very well
indeed But we wish you to know that there are other
tenants on the old farm than those Mr. Mayfield knows.
JWe are here, you see! And, alack-a-day! there are
other folk here not so agreeable as we !"
"Many thanks," I said, for the pleasure of your
acquaintance. I am delighted and honored by your
action, Madam---Madam? what shall I call you?"
Fancy; Queen Fancy, if you please; so I am called,
although, to be sure, there is not much royal state among
"I beg your pardon, Madam Fancy And now I-
fancy that I can explain the beautiful repose that lies
over the face of Nature in this royal month of June. I
have just been meditating upon it with delight. How
peaceful, how lovely in their peacefulness are all things
around us! Yes, I see how it is! The good Brownies
are abroad upon the landscape, and they have thrown
the light and sweetness of their own natures upon these
scenes. What a happy people you are, free from all
conflict and care, and how happy those who feel the
spell of your influence "
xviii OLD FARM FAIRIES.
"Oh! O-o-oh!" A chorus of exclamations uttered
in a deprecating tone broke from the whole Brownie
I started, and looked around surprised beyond measure
at this outburst of protesting voices. Then followed a
moment of silence.
Queen Fancy spoke at last. "Yes, it is just as I
supposed," she said. "You are yet a novice in Nature
lore. You have much to learn, all you mortals have,
ere you can know the true life of the inferior creatures.
There is another side to Nature, I assure you, a very
sad side, too. Come, I must teach you to read between
the lines !"
She touched me with a tiny staff or wand. My mind
at once was wide awake and all its faculties more alert
than usual. But, curiously, the Brownies had disap-
peared! I wondered at this, but presently a series of
incidents caught my attention which for the time quite
banished all thought of my new acquaintances.
A long line of Sanguine Ants,* the Red Slave-
makers, filed by me in irregular columns and crossed
the walk to their nest which, as you know, is placed
close by the fence nearly opposite the barn. The war-
riors carried in their jaws the plunder of a nest of
Fuscous Ants which I have already said lies to the
right under the verge of the Elm's shadow. Some
warriors had yellowish cocoons, some white larve, a
few carried the bodies (living or dead I could not de-
termine) of their victims, and several bore upon their
legs the severed heads of the poor blacks who had been
slain in defence of their home, and whose decapitated
heads still clung to their foes fixed in the rigor of death.
I rose and followed up the column of Sanguines to the
* Formica sanguinea.
AN INTRODUCTION. xix
nest which they were plundering. Some of the kid-
nappers were plunging into the opened gates, others
issuing therefrom laden with their stolen booty, others
were engaged in fierce battle with groups of the invaded
Fuscas. Only a few of the latter were inclined to fight.
They seemed, for the most part, dazed by their misfor-
tune. Numbers hung to the topmost leaves and stalks
of the surrounding grass and weeds, holding in their
jaws baby larve and cocoon cradles rescued from the
which they had
hurriedly fled to
the nearest ele- ,
vated objects. It ---
was truly a piti-
ful sight, and J
gan to wa in-FIG. 3.-A Red Slavemaker Ant with its Plunder.
began to wax in-
dignant at the Sanguine wretches who could work
such domestic misery and ruin.
Ah! said a faint voice close by my ear, yet this
I could see no one, but recognized the tone of Queen
Fancy. True, most true! I thought, and looked
further. A little way from the Fuscas' nest, just outside
the circle of confusion, I saw a solitary ant of an amber
hue, the Schaufuss ant,* which you have told us is also
sometimes enslaved. She was moving back and forth
with cautious mien, and I easily perceived was putting
finishing touches to the closure of a little hole that
marked the gate of her formicary hut. A tiny pebble
was placed, then a few pellets of soil were added. Then
the worker walked away, took a few turns as though
surveying the surroundings, and cautiously came back.
* Formica Schaufussii.
xx OLD FAIRM FAIRIES.
The coast was clear Now she deftly crawled into the
small open space, and I could see from the movements
inside, and an occasional glimpse of a tip of her an-
tenne, that she was completing the work of concealment
from the inside. At last her task was done, and all was
quiet. Just then a single Sanguine warrior, perhaps a
straggler from the invaders' army, or some independent
scout, it may be, approached the spot. It walked about
FIG. .1.-" It was Swathed Like a Mummy at Last" (p. xxiii).
the nest, which certainly looked much like the surround-
ing surface; sounded or felt here and there with its
antennTe; passed over the very door into which the
Schaufuss ant had disappeared, and although it evidently
had its suspicion awakened, at last moved away.
"Good I exclaimed heartily. Baffled, Sir San-
guine, baffled! I am glad that the instinct of home
protection has proved too much for your wretched kid-
AN INTRODUCTION. xxi
"Aye, aye!" again spoke the voice of my unseen
fairy, baffled this time, perhaps. But can you be sure
that the slaveholder scout will not be back again, with
a host of its fellows, and do its work more surely ?"
FIw. 5.-The Orbweaver Captured by a Wasp.
I had not thought of that, and indeed, I was pained
to think it when suggested. Now I left the two nests,
the plundered one and its preserved neighbor, and fol-
lowed the column of Sanguines which stretched a nearly
straight line of red and black for several rods, to their
* ,' '!
xxii CLD FARM FAIRIES.
home. The kidnappers were bearing their prey into
the open gates. Look at this! Crowds of blacks in a
high state of agitation came forth to meet and greet the
plunderers of their own fellows!
Yes, these were the domesticated
slaves of the Sanguines, themselves
SFuscous ants, the same species and
M perhaps from the very nest that
was now being desolated. And
there they were rejoicing in the
booty, welcoming home the rob-
"b ers, and if naturalists tell us
truly, had even urged them forth
upon the Expedition.
"That's the worst of all! I
FIG. 6.--"The Clay Sar-
cophagus on Yonder exclaimed aloud, unable to sup-
Barn." press my indignation. "One
might find excuse for the Sanguines, but for this un-
"Unnatural! echoed the unseen Brownie Queen,
"unnatural ? No, this, too, is Nature. You are only
poet's lines of peaceful
beauty. You will learn
your lesson by and by."
I went back to the
rustic seat beneath the
Elm, and thought. A
butterfly flew by. I
followed its flight. Fio. 7.-" For a Ravenous Wasp Larva
" Oh that is too bad to Devour."
I cried involuntarily. It had struck the snare of the
Orbweaving spider. It struggled helplessly in the toils.
Swiftly the aranead sped from its pretty leafy tent
AN INTRODUCTION X.
along its trap line, and in a moment seized and began
swathing its victim. A thick ribbon of pure white silk
streamed from the spinnerets, and enwrapped the but-
terfly round and round as it was revolved by the spider's
feet. It was swathed like a mummy at last, and left
lashed and hanging to the cross lines, while its captor
mounted to her nest and began leisurely to haul up the
captive preparatory to a sumptuous meal.
My pity had hardly time to express itself cre another
insect form swept by. It was a blue wasp, a Mud-dauber.
It flew to the Orbwcaver's web. Another victim ? It is
FI. 8.-The Cicada Wasp, Sphecius speciosus.
within the toils! The spider leaves her prey and darts
along the trap line. What ? will she not venture ? No !
she recoils. But too late! The Wasp has seized her,
plunged its sharp sting into her body, and shaking the
bits of web from its feet flies away. I know what that
means. The clay sarcophagus on yonder barn wall shall
receive another morsel of preserved meat for a ravenous
wasp larva to devour.
What had I to say about this incident ? This; I found
myself unconsciously asking, What will destroy the
Wasp, in its turn? But I had no leisure to meditate
xxiv OLD FARM FAIRIES.
an answer. A beautiful creature flitted past me, whose
colors of orange and black were distinct even in flight. It
was the fine, large Digger-wasp,* the largest of that
family among our indigenous insects. Just then from the
branch of a small oak a Cicada sounded his rolling
love call. A note not very melodious to human ear,
it is true, but it throbs with the passion of affection,
and must have been sweet music to his mate on the
branch near by. Unlucky lover! your love sonnet
has sounded your doom. It shall be your death song.
See! my beautiful Wasp has pounced upon the amorous
Cicada, and pierced and paralyzed like the spider
before him, he is being borne to a grave in that grassy
bank. There, in the Wasp's burrow, buried alive though
with a semblance of death, he shall feed the maw of a
It is mother love! exclaimed .the unseen Brownie
Queen, sadly I thought and tenderly. But mother
love seems cruel sometimes; and it alone has not taught
the Wasp to spare the mating love of its fellow insects."
This is not all that I saw, but this is such as I saw
on that memorable occasion. My experience started a
train of meditation that was the reverse of agreeable.
But what could I say ? I had been observing the facts
of Nature, nothing more nor less. I looked away over
the landscape again and my feelings were not what they
were before. Underneath the surface of all this beauty
and summer repose I seemed to feel the beating of a
fevered pulse. Yes, the Doctor of the Gentiles spake
truly: "The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in
pain."t Yes, I was beginning to read between the
lines! Verily, I perceived that the insect world in the
matter of anxiety, struggles and sufferings, in passions
t Romans viii. 22,
of love, hate and covetousness, is after all in some sort a
miniature of our own world of human beings.
I do not know how long I sat pondering these things,
but I was presently conscious that my Brownie friends
"You have changed your opinion about some of the
inferior creatures, have you not ? began Queen Fancy.
" I know that it must be so. And now it remains for
you to change your opinion about us. You think we are
perfectly happy, never touched by such conflicts and
cares as mortals and insects have. No I it is with us as
it is with you and all the rest. One idea runs through
all Nature and all her creatures high and low. All
alike, from gnats and fairies to mastodons and men, have
friends and foes, perils and pleasures, pains and joys,
loves and hates, bitter disappointments and proud attain-
ments; watching, cares, strifes, battles, defeats, heart
desolations, sickness, oppressions, despoilment, death-
all these and the reverse of all these happen to us all."
"It is true! I answered, "I see now that it is quite
true. The fact that creatures are small and unknown
to us, and outside our ordinary region of feeling and
thought, does not hinder them from having joys and
sorrows, trials and triumphs even as we have. I will
never think of Nature again, and of the insect world in
particular, without remembering this double side of its
"That is very good," said Queen Fancy, and now
we wish you to remember also that Brownies are a part
of Nature and share the general rule. Our lives are so
interwoven with all natural surroundings, and with your-
selves as well, that we feel keenly everything that goes
on around us. But enough for this time. I promised
you something further about our history. Now I make
xxvi OLD FARM FAIRIES.
the promise good. I am to deliver to you the records
of some of our kin which have lately fallen into our
hands. You will read them; write them out carefully,
and give them to Mr. Mayfield to edit and print.
Nobody can do that so well as he. Indeed, his name
and his stories about our Old Farm Tenants have gone
among our people on the far Ohio border; and that is
the reason why these records of the Brownies and their
wars have been sent hither to be given into his care.
There, I have done."
Queen Fancy clapped her hands and a herald at her
side blew upon a tiny shell, a wee miniature, for all the
world, of the conch shell which Sarah the cook blows
for dinner. Suddenly, a vast host of little folk issued
from the grass plat along the slope toward the spring-
house. They were arranged rank upon rank, whole com-
panies in column, and they all were drawing at ropes no
bigger than a lady's hair. Presently, I saw the round
top of a rolled parcel emerge above the summit of the
slope. It moved slowly, and I was puzzled to know
by what force it was impelled, until I saw that it was
mounted upon a toy cart which was being drawn by the
Brownie host. On the night before I had been reading
(it was a curious coincidence!) Wilkinson's account of
the Ancient Egyptians, and had been especially inter-
ested in the manner in which their bulky architecture
had been reared, and particularly in a picture that
showed a colossal stone statue of some sovereign being
drawn upon a sled by an army of laborers. The Brownie
exploit reminded me of these old Egyptians. Here were
the little folk of our Old Farm showing mimic repro-
duction of life on the Nile in the days of Abraham!
The Brownie host never stopped until the parcel
ANr INTROD UCTIOVN.
reached my feet. Then the Queen called a halt, and,
turning to me, said: "Abby, Schoolmistress, we commit
this precious roll to you. Receive it as a sacred trust; do
our will concerning it, and be forevermore the Brownies'
good friend." She clapped her hands, the herald blew
his shell bugle, and in a moment the entire host had
melted away into the foliage and were lost to sight.
I have not seen them since, but I have tried to fulfill
my part of the trust which came to me so curiously in
THE BOY'S ILLUSTRATION.
FIG. 0.-Brownies Bringing the Roll of Records.
the drowsy hours of that June day, and now I deliver
my work to you that you in turn may fulfill your por-
tion of the apportioned duty. That you will not fail is
the confident hope of
Your obedient servant,
"What do you think of that?" I asked, as I finished
Abby's letter, for I had read it aloud to the Mistress.
OLD FAR I FAIRIES.
Perhaps," said the Mistress, looking up from her
embroidery, "we had better open the parcel."
A familiar twinkle colored her smile, that raised a
momentary suspicion that she perhaps knew something
more of the contents than she chose to tell. The advice
was good, albeit deftly dodging my question, so I cut the
wrappings and exposed a roll of fair manuscript. It
is a story," I remarked, after glancing over the pages,
"a sort of historical fairy tale, I fancy. But, hold!
what is this ?" My eye had fallen upon some sentences
that arrested attention, and I read several continuous
The Mistress interrupted the reading: Well, what
has interested you? And what have you to say about
the whole affair? "
"I have been reading here a curious adaptation of
the habits of my spider pets, and it is neatly put. And
here is another of the same sort." I turned to a chapter
further on, and read with great satisfaction a few pages
more. "Really," I exclaimed, "the natural history is
good, and is fairly inwoven with the tale. I have
changed my opinion of the work; it is evidently an
attempt to bring out some of the most interesting habits
of our American spider fauna by personifying them
with the imaginary creatures of fairy lore. You want
to know my opinion of the matter? As to the manu-
script I shall not, of course, venture an opinion until
I have read it with some care. As to the author-well,
perhaps you can tell better than I. When did Abby
write it? "
ANV INTROD AUCTION.
The Mistress waited a moment or two and then in her
quiet way replied, Pray, how should I know ? Abby
is of age, ask her; she can speak for herself."
Thus the affair of the Brownie records rested until
I had gone over the manuscript more carefully. Then
the Mistress was again consulted.
Will you print the papers ?" she asked.
"I am in doubt what to do. I think that it might
find a kindly welcome, but-I fear the verdict of the
public, especially the clientage upon whose favor its fate
most depends-the young people. Though, to be sure,
it is evidently not written wholly for them."
I have a suggestion," the Mistress remarked. Let
us take two evenings in the week and read it to our
farm people. They form a typical audience, I am sure,
and their judgment will be a fair test of the possible
verdict of the public at large."
"The very idea! I cried. "You have come to my
help, my dear, with your usual practical wisdom. Let
us have the readings."
Behold us, then, the entire Old Parm family, with the
exception of Abby, who was absent on a visit to New
England friends, seated around the great Ehn during the
long June evenings, trying the merits of the Fairies'
history. When the early tea was over, we took our seats
(or rather positions, for some of the party preferred to
recline upon the grass), around the tree, and the reading
began, and continued until twilight. Sometimes I read,
sometimes the Mistress, and in three weeks the story
xxx OLD FARM FAIRIES.
"Now for the verdict," I said. "The children first.
What say you? Shall we print the Brownie book ?"
"To be sure," said Joe, why not, Sir ? I think those
wars and adventures with the Pixies are just the thing
for boys like me."
"I would print it," said Jennie modestly. I think
the Brownies' love stories are pretty indeed; though I
don't like so much fighting, and the Pixies are just
Print it, Sir cried Harry enthusiastically. I'm
sure boys like me will want to hear all about the Moth,
Wasp, Bee and Butterfly ponies, and the curious, wise
tricks of the Spider-pixies."
"As for me," said Hugh, I'm young enough yit to
relish a fairy story uv mos' any sort. So I wote with
the youngsters to prent the book."
My 'pinion hain't much good, I reckon," said Sarah,
who stood half concealed behind the Elm with her
hands upon her hips in her favorite posture. "An' I
hain't no sort uv notion uv witches an' sich, no way.
Tho' laws-a-massy! I believe in 'em; 'v course I do !
But somehow, I don't feel over comfo'ble to hev sech
things a-prentin' about our Ole Farm. W'at's people
goin' to say about sech goins-on, any way? I don't
mind about the Brownies; like es not their be sech folk.
An' w'y not here as well as other places? I don't know
were they'd find a nicer home than jes' around' here;
an' I'm positive my kitchen's trig enough fer any kind
o' fairies as ever was. Folks as hev sense enough to use
a conch shell, now, as them Brownie heralds do, would be
AN INTTROD UCTIONA xxxi
jes' likely to settle at the Ole Farm. But es for them
Pixies-w'at's the use uv sech critters, anyhow ? 'Tain't
no ways comfo'ble to think thet they mought be squattin'
on our premises. Howsomever, I'd prent the book, I
reckon. Leastways, ye kin do it, fer all me, 'f ye're a
mine ter. My notion is it's a sight more interestener
nor the Say-an-says. Though, they was worth prentin'
too, that's a fac' "
Now, Dan, it's your turn," I said; "what say you ?"
The old colored man sat on a low stool at the outer
margin of the faunily circle, with his face leaning upon
his hands. He raised his head, laid his palms upon his
knees, rolled his eyes expressively and gave his verdict
with all the solemnity of a judge passing sentence on a
"'Pears to me, Mars Mayfiel' an' Misses," he began,
"dat dat's a powerful good story, an' a true one, too i
W'y, I've seed dem wery Brownies myse'f. Uv coorse
I hev!" he exclaimed emphatically, turning an indig-
nant glance upon Sarah, who had uttered a significant
guttural expression of unbelief. W'at do you know
about Brownies, Sary Ann, I'd jes' like to know ?
Pixies is more in your line, a heap sight! Down in ole
Marylan', now, dar's a power ob Brownies and Fairies
an' all sech folkses. 'Tain't ebry one as gits to see 'cm,
dough. Dey's mighty 'tickler boutt w'at company dey
keeps, I kin tell you!
"I doan say es I eber seed any on 'em roun' dis Ole
Farm,-an' I doan say es I didn't. But dat's needed
hyar nur dar. Dey's lyar, I knows. I've done seed de
OLD FARItM FAIRIES.
signs ob 'em, many's de time. W'y, lookee hyar! How
d'ye tink dem insecks an' bugs and tings w'at Mars
Mayfiel' tole us about, done foun' out how to do dar
peert tricks? Hit stands to reason dat sech critters ain't
got de larnin' fer sech cunnin' doins. W'at wid dar
news', an' burrows, an' cobwebs, an' cute little housens,
an' all dat, dey show heap moah sense dan some w'ite
folks es I could name. Now, whar dey gwine to fin'
out all dat, I ax agin, an' how is dey gwine to do it,
unless de Fairies helps 'em? Dey jes' kine ob obersee
de job; dat's how it 'pears to me.
"Den dar's dat gubner Wille-shoo! He ain't no
sucumstance ter w'at I knows 'boout how de insecks,
an' fairies, an' goblins an' dem kine ob begins hes to do
wid we uns. No, no!"-and he shook his head with
serious gravity-" no, Sali! hit won't do ter go back on
dat. We cullud folks knows heaps ob larnin' about dem
critters; an' dey's jes' wove in, an' in, an' in, an' out ob
dese yere mohtal libes ob ourn! Dar's de Deaf's-head
moff, an' de catumpillars, an' de antemires, an' de
death watch, an' de cricket, an' de money-spinners, an'
de measuring' worm-sakes-alive! Dar's signs an' warn-
ins fer we uns in dem critters agin all de Pixies,
world' widout en'. Amen. Yes, Sah, hit's all right;
dat's a true story, an' no mistake."
But, Dan," I said, you haven't told us yet what
you think about printing the story."
Needer I have, Sah !" the old man replied, rolling
up the whites of his eyes and shaking his shaggy, gray
poll. Needer I have! an' what's moah, I ain't gwine
FIG. 10.-Our Farm Family in Literary Council.
OLD FARM FAIRIES.
ter. I doan see much good in dem kine ob books no
how-specially de picters. Dar's like to be bad work
about dem tings. Hit doan do ter be too fumwiliar
wid such tings. W'at's de good? Dar's no tellin' w'at
dey mought do ter we'ns, ef dey gits sot agin us. You
bes' keep clar ob dat business, Mars Mayfiel'. De ole
Bible's good enoughh fer me, Sah; an' hit says dat much
larnin' makes a man mad, an' books is a-wearisome to
de flesh. An' dat's a fac', Sah,-leastways, reading' an'
a-studyin' on 'em is. You kin do w'at you's a mine ter,
an' I 'low you'll prent de Brownie book, any way.
Hit's mighty good hearing I'll say dat fer it, but-" he
shook his head once more, and was silent.
The next day I wrote to the Schoolmistress as follows :
*The Old Farm.
My dear Miss Abby:
I have gone over the manuscript that you sent, and
on the whole I approve of it, and agree to print it with
such editorial notes as Queen Fancy has suggested. We
have also-the Mistress and I-read it to the Farm
family, having revived our last winter's "Say-an-says"
for that purpose. I have even translated bits of the
story into simpler form and speech for the youngest
member of our household, four-year-old Dorothy. Our
young people are enthusiastic in their admiration, and
vote to print the book. So do the others, with the
exception of Dan, who is noncommittal. But the old
fellow enjoyed the reading as much as the rest. He
thinks the story a true one, and declares that he has
seen the Brownies! You know his boundless super-
stition, and his odd habits of personifying all living
things and talking aloud to them as he goes about his
work. I have no doubt that he has peopled his little
world with many queer imaginary creatures who may
well stand to his undisciplined fancy for Fairies and
Goblins, Brownies and Pixies. He has unwavering
faith, also, in the occult influence of such beings and of
insects generally upon the destinies of human kind.
By the way, this unexpected deliverance of Dan's has
eased my mind as to one feature of the story, viz: the
manner in which the life and behavior of the Willes are
interwoven with, and interdependent upon, the move-
ments of the Brownies and Pixies. Since I have thought
more about it, I have greatly abated the fear that the
verisimilitude of such relations might not sufficiently
appear to readers.
In point of fact, the creatures of the Insect World,
as personified in the story, have had and shall have much
to do with determining the lot of man. The plagues of
Egypt as written in the Book of Exodus, furnish an
example; as also the incursions of cankerworm, locust,
caterpillar and palmerworm recorded elsewhere in Scrip-
ture. African travelers tell us that the tetze fly
has so circumscribed the geographical bounds within
which certain domestic animals can live, as to greatly
limit or modify civilization. We all know examples of
the effects of mosquito supremacy at certain points of
our country in determining the fortunes of men or places.
The familiar stories of Bruce and the Spider, and
Mahomet and the Spider, are also in point as showing
how great interests may hinge upon the behavior of an
humble animal. Here are facts enough, surely, to justify
us in facing the public with Governor Wille and his
relations to the imaginary folk of the story.
In conclusion, I must say that I have been greatly
OLD FAR1 FAIRIES.
interested to note how admirably the habits of my spider
friends admit of personification. The so-called engineer-
ing, ballooning, cavemaking, sailing, and other operations,
are so accurately described by those words, that the man-
like qualities, motives and passions attributed to the
actors seem almost natural. At one moment I find
myself accepting the representations as a matter of
course, and anticipating the conduct described on the
very ground of known natural habits. At another time
I am startled at the strong tone of human behavior that
the descriptions so easily admit. Certainly, this is some-
thing more than what the naturalists have called
" anthropomorphism." What is the mysterious ligature
that binds in this sympathy of movements the sovereign
will of immortal man and the automatic brain cell of a
Pardon me! it was not in my purpose to start so pro-
found a question of philosophy and physiology. I only
meant to say that the wishes of yourself and your
Brownie acquaintances shall be cheerfully granted, and
the manuscript be given to the public.
I am, very truly,
Old Farm Fairies.
A SUMMER CAMPAIGN IN BROWNIELAND
KING COBWEAVER'S PIXIES.
HOW THE BROWNIES CAME TO HILLSIDE.
Not many years ago a company of Brownies lived on
the lawn at Hillside, the home of Governor Wille.
Since the Brownies are Scotch fairies, one must ask how
they came to be dwelling so far away from their native
heather upon the green hummocks of the Ohio.
The question takes us back to the early part of the
Nineteenth Century, and to a Manse and glebe on the
banks of Loch Achray, the beautiful little lake that lies
at the entrance to Trosachs Glen, quite near the foot of
Loch Katrine in Scotland. Here dwelt Governor Wille's
grandfather, a godly minister of the Gospel; and here
he lived until there grew up around him a large family
of sturdy lads and lasses. Often had the good minister
looked over his household as they sat around the table
eating with keen relish their cakes and oatmeal porridge,
and wondered: "How shall I provide for them all?
How shall I find fitting duty and engagement for these
eager hearts, restless hands, and busy brains ?"
At last he answered: "I will go with them to
America, and join my brother there on the banks of the
Now the Manse and glebe were the seat of a nation
of the wee fairyfolk whom Scotchmen call Brownies.
The Manse site is on the skirt of Ben An's lowest slope;
and across the Trosachs road, upon a point that pushes
into the Loch, stands the kirk amid its kirkyard. The
Brownies were fond of this home, but they loved the
OLD FARM FAIRIES.
Manse folk much more dearly; and so when they heard
the plan to emigrate to the New World, they resolved
not to allow their friends to go to America without an
escort of their fairy companions and caretakers.
A General Assembly of all the Manse Brownies was
therefore called, to meet under the "hats of a clump
of broad toadstools growing on the mountain slope, close
by the barn. The place was crowded from the stem of
the central toadstool to the rim of the outer hat. Out-
side this clump the spears of grass, the drooping blue-
bells, and purple blossoms of heather were covered with
boy Brownies, who climbed up delicate stems, smooth
blades and gnarled stalks, much as city lads mount lamp-
posts, trees and awnings to gaze upon a procession.
From these points they looked upon their elders, quite
as anxious and earnest, if not as well informed as they.
When the Assembly had been called to order, the
King of the Brownies asked, Who will volunteer to
go to America with our dear friends, the Willes ?"
There was a mighty shout; not one present failed to
The explosion fairly shook the roof of their toadstool
tabernacle. Thereat the old monarch sprang to his feet,
removed his plumed hat, and stood uncovered, bowing
his white hairs and venerable beard before the Assem-
bly, in honor of their noble response. The elders waved
their tiny blue Scotch bonnets, wept, laughed and
hallooed in turn. The youngsters danced upon the
heather bells and swung from the grass blades until the
tops swayed to and fro, and cheered again and again for
the Willes, for the King, for the Brownies, for every-
By and by the King brought the Assembly to order,
and proposed that a colony be drafted from the whole
HOW THE BRO WNIES CAME TO HILLSIDE. 5
company to go to the New World. "I shall claim the
privilege of naming the leader of the Expedition," said
he, and I name Murray Bruce. The rest may go
Whereat the Brownies cheered again, for they were
always pleased to respect their good sovereign's wishes,
and Bruce was one of the wisest, steadiest, and bravest
of their number. He was tall, strong, comely, and in
the prime of his years. Then the lot was cast. The
names of all the active Brownies were placed in the tiny
corol of a blue bell, which served as a voting urn. The
King drew out fifty names, and these were the elect
members of the colony. The interest was intense as the
drawing went on. Again and again the King's hand
sank into the urn, and came out holding the wee billet
that decided some Brownie's destiny. As the name was
announced, there was silence; but thereupon a flutter of
excitement ran through the company; a whirl of noisy
demonstration marked the spot where the fortunate nom-
inee was receiving the congratulations of his friends;
sometimes a cheer was given when a favorite or familiar
name was announced.
How many names have been drawn ?" asked the
"Forty-nine," answered the Lord Keeper: Amid
profound silence the last name was drawn and an-
It was the Captain's brother, a young and promising
sailor, who had won much praise for daring adventures
with water pixies on "the stream that joins Loch Kat-
rine and Achray." His name was welcomed with
cheers, and then a buzz of disappointment arose from
the crowd who heartily envied the Fortunate Fifty."
6 OLD FARM FAIRIES.
However, the disappointment soon passed away, for
Brownies are a cheerful and contented folk. The hum
of voices ceased, and the people waited to know what
might be needed to forward the comfort and success of
the emigrant escort.
"How shall we get off?" said Captain Bruce. Has
your Majesty any orders or counsel? Has the Assem-
bly any advice ?"
That was a puzzling question. The Lord Keeper,
Lord Herald, and all the other lords and nobles shook
their heads wisely and said nothing. Some one called
out the name of Rodney, the sailor," whereat the old
Lord Admiral turned up his little red nose, looked con-
temptuously at the speaker, and muttered something
about land lubbers." As no one had any advice to
venture, all waited for their sovereign's opinion.
"Hoot !" said the King at last, Ye shall just gae
your ain gait. Howiver, ye maun steal awa' unbe-
knowns, I'se warrant ye; for Parson Wille, good heart!
will never allow ye to risk anything for him. But
how? Well, I dinna ken; ye maun e'en settle that
The difficulty was no nearer solution than before.
There was another long pause. It was broken by a
voice that called from the outer edge of the Assembly.
"I can tell you how! It was Walter MacWhirlie
who spoke, one of the chosen escort.
Come to the front, then," said the King, "and say
Every eye was at once fixed on the bold speaker.
But MacWhirlie, nothing abashed, leaped from the
heather stalk on which he stood, and making a double
somersault above the whole company, landed erect upon
the edge of a leaf whereon sat the King and lords.
Fi.. 11.-Brownie MacWhirlie Comes to the Front by a Double
OLD FARM FAIRIES.
Ugh said the monarch, starting back; for Mac-
Whirlie had well nigh alighted on his toes.
"Queak cried the Queen; and "queak, queak !"
screamed the Princesses, tumbling over one another in
You rude beast !" growled the Lord Keeper, laying
his hand upon his broadsword.
But the youth and boys cheered, the young Prin-
cesses began to giggle, the old folks laughed outright,
the Queen smoothed down her ruffles, the good King
composed his countenance and smiled, and the Lord
Keeper smothered his indignation and put up his sword.
"Speak up, laddie," said the King. MacWhirlie
bowed low first to the royal party, and then to the lords.
(My Lord Keeper's brow cleared up somewhat at that.)
"I was passing' thro' the barn the morn," he began,
" and saw the gardener packin' the auld kist that lies on
the barn floor, with tools, seeds, roots and herbs. It's a
gude place for hidin', is yon kist."
"That it is," exclaimed the Queen laughing, "I've
had mony a game o' bo-peep in 't mysel'."
"Aye, aye, so it is !" was the hearty assent from all
parts of the hall, while the lads on the outside signified
their approval by cheers for the old chest.
"A gude place for hidin' is yon auld kist," continued
MacWhirlie. "I ken naethin' like it for Brownies. An'
if your Majesty please, we can a' ride to America safe
enough in that."
"It is gude counsel," cried the King, clapping his
hands. "Forbye, I would na thoct it frae sic a giddy
pate as yourself MacWhirlie. Many thanks, however,
and mak' ready quarters in the auld kist for your
journey to the New World. Herald, dismiss the As-
HOW THE BROWNIES CAME TO HILLSIDE. 9
Lord Herald skipped to the front and sounded a
bugle, which in sooth was nothing more than a tiny
shell fitt-e, wtilti, .1aiuty l : th-
FIG. 12.-The Old Chest on its Journey Across the Allegheny Mountains.
Then he struck his staff thrice, and cried, or rather
intoned in a loud voice these words:
O-eez; O-eez; O-eez!
Bide by the King's decrees
Brownies-O-bonnie, and Brownies-O-braw,
Hither gae, hame gae, Brownies awa' !
At the last word the Assembly arose, and speaking all
Brownies aye, Brownies a
Leal and true, awa', awa' !
10 OLD FARM FAIRIES.
Then they separated, the elders moving soberly, the
youth scampering off hither and thither, leaping, chatter-
ing, cheering, making the grass blades twinkle with their
good natured frolic. In a moment the toadstools were
deserted, and a great spider-pixie crept under the
vacant central hat, and began to shake his head and
talk to himself while uttering a low, harsh, chuckling
Bruce, Rodney, MacWhirlie and all the elect escort,
together with their families, made the voyage across the
Atlantic safely though somewhat uncomfortably. But
their trials were not over when they landed in Philadel-
phia. The chest was hoisted into a big road wagon
covered with canvas, known as a Conestoga wagon," and
wheeled on for many days over the Allegheny moun-
tains. Down by old Fort Pitt it trundled, along the
banks of the beautiful river Ohio, to the frontier village
of Steubenville. There the wagon stopped. Parson
Wille built his cabin on Hillside. The Brownies, happy
as the beasts and birds that were turned out of Noah's
Ark after the flood, were released from their prison in
the old chest, and took up once more old duties and
pleasures in the clearings, cornfields and garden of the
That was many years ago. The good parson has long
since been received to a fairer Home than either Scotland
or America ever gave; but his grandson, Governor
Wille, lives at Hillside. It is not the same Hillside
that the brave and godly minister first built his log cabin
upon, you may be sure. Great changes have occurred.
But the same Brownies are there; as good natured, as
frolicsome, as fond of their friends and as true to them
as ever, yet, we are sorry to say, not so fortunate and
happy. What has troubled them?
SPITE THE SPY.
When the Assembly of Brownies, which had been
held at the old Scotch Manse, was quite dispersed, a
spider-pixie entered the vacant tent and began to spin a
web. He belonged to a race of sprites as vicious and
cruel as the Brownies are kind and good. They are
called spider-pixies because they do much of their mis-
chief by means of silken webs or snares which they spin,
and in which they catch their enemies. The fact, how-
ever, should work no prejudice against those remarkable
creatures, the spiders, which are doubtless worthy of all
the loving attention that naturalists give them.
The chief enemies of these Pixies (next to themselves,
to be sure) were the Brownies. Not that the good little
fairies wished to harm any creature; but then, as the
Pixies wished harm to every one, and were always show-
ing their ill will by naughty tricks, the Brownies, out
of very goodness, tried to thwart their evil plans and
save intended victims from harm. Thus it came that
the Brownies and Pixies lived in continuous. warfare.
Many a battle had they fought on and around the Manse
glebe and kirkyard, for the Pixies hated Parson Wille
most cordially, and dearly loved to annoy him.
The Brownies were just as hearty in their love, and
by close watching, hard working and brave battling
they had well nigh driven their enemies from the
place. Only once in a while a few, more daring and
cunning than the rest, would break through the bound-
aries and make a foray upon the forbidden grounds.
12 OLD FARM FAIRIES.
Among the most successful of these leaders of mischief
was Spite the Spy. He was a great sneak, shrewd and
sly, and well deserved his name. He was a coward in
the main, and loved best to do his mischief in an under-
hand way. But for all that, he was so full of malice
that he could be quite venturesome rather than miss a
chance to work harm to those whom he hated. Thus it
came that in spite of his natural cowardice he had a fair
reputation for boldness. It was this miserable fellow
who crawled into the tabernacle as the voices of the
Brownies died away among the grasses.
How came he therein? Having chanced to hear of
the proposed Assembly to consider the interest of the
Manse folk, he set himself to spy out the proceedings.
How should he do that without being discovered ? "Let
me think !" he said. He climbed up a tall weed that
grew on the border of the Manse farm, swung himself
by a thread of silk from a leaf, and hung there awhile,
head downward, while he meditated.
"Ha! I have it! he cried. He pulled himself up
again hand over hand, scampered down the weed and
plunged into the thick forest of grasses. He went swiftly,
though cautiously, for a while. Then he ascended a tall
spear of timothy, perched himself atop of the bearded
head and reconnoitered.
"Yes, there it is," he said to himself. "I see the
brown hat of the toadstool tent; and-let me see-yes,
sure enough, there is the Black Pebble under which
cousin Atypus used to have her nest. Any Brownies
about? No, the coast's quite clear. But, caution, old
fellow! you are pretty sly, but you may be caught after
all. And they'd make short work of Spite if they got
hold of him once, I warrant." At this he chuckled,
puffed out his eyes, and swelled up his round pouch as
SPITE THE SPY. 13
though it were a fine thing to be quite deserving of the
Spite was not long in making his way to the Black
Pebble which was at the outer edge of the Brownies'
meeting place, and was imbedded in a little bank of
FIG. 13.-" Silken Snares in Which They Catch Their Enemies."
sandy earth at the base of which the toadstools grew.
He began to scratch in the surrounding soil. His claws
soon struck something that gave him pleasure. It was a
bit of silken tissue.
Ha I am in luck I Here is the door of the burrow.
Now we shall see, brother Brownies, and hear too; and
14 OLD FARM FAIRIES.
if there's any mischief going Spite the Spy will have
his spinner in it."
Spite had come upon the door of a cave or tunnel.
When a few more grains of sand had been thrown aside
he lifted the tissue door and entered. It was dark at
first, and there was a musty smell in the air. Spite did
not care for that, and in a moment ran to the far end of
the cave and back again. This strange place had once
been the home of a Burrow Pixie. It was a tunnel
scooped out of the sandy earth.* It ran horizontally
for a short way, and then sloped downward. It was
lined around the sides, top and bottom with a tight
silken tube, and was about half an inch in diameter. It
was, therefore, a tunnel within a tunnel, a silk within a
sand one. The silk supported the sides so completely
that not a particle of soil could pass through. The
upper part of the tube projected from the earth, falling
forward so as to form a flap which protected the mouth
of the burrow or cave. At first the tube had been much
longer and was bent and carried over the surface among
the moss. This was the door which Spite had been
looking for, and whose discovery so much pleased him.
Well, well," said Spite, talking all the while to him-
self, "this is lucky indeed. It must now be several
moons since cousin Atypus was cut off by the Brownies,
and here is her old place just as good as ever. It looks
right into the meeting house. How fortunate! But I
must fix up this door a little, or I shall have those sus-
picious fellows smelling around here; although I doubt
whether they know anything about the place. They
caught Atypus when she had ventured out of doors."
Meanwhile Spite was busy with the door. He laid a
dry leaf and a few bits of dry moss around the edge of
Appendix, Note A.
SPITE THE SPY. 15
the pebble, then gently lifted the silken flap and crept
within. He made a wee hole in the flap, and through
this saw and heard the proceedings of the Brownies.
Little did the good folk suspect that one of their
enemies was so near, almost in their idst. As for
Spite, he was in high glee, although he was not without
fears. The boy Brownies ad climbed atop the Black
Pebble, and crowded and capered upon t until they
; ,: 2-..
enemies was so near, almost in their ,midst. As for
16 OLD FARM FAIRIES.
were like to shake it from the bank, and send it rolling
into the Assembly.
"Serve 'emn right, the little plagues," snarled Spite,
"if the old rock did get loose, and break all their necks
in the avalanche. Only, that would make a gap in my
burrow, and-well, it isn't pleasant to think of the con-
Moreover, MacWhirlie and the restless youngsters who
were mounted on the herbage that grew above and
around the Pixie's cave, were continually tramping over
the moss around the door, rocking to and fro on the
overhanging heather sprays till the roots fairly shook,
and scrambling up and down the little slope and over
the flap itself. No wonder that Spite's heart seemed to
jump into his throat occasionally.
However, the door of the cave was so cunningly dis-
guised and fitted into the bank, that Spite was not
discovered. He was well satisfied, for all that, when the
meeting was dismissed and the last of the Brownies
disappeared. He pushed open the flap, peeped out,
then crawled slowly into the light, crept down the slope
and entered the vacant meeting place. He was hungry;
the labors and excitement through which he had passed
had quite exhausted him. He therefore crouched
behind a toadstool stem, and, after waiting patiently
a while, sprang upon and devoured a hapless fly and
beetle that chanced to straggle that way. Then he
wiped his jaws with his hairy claw, rubbed his cheeks
and head quite in the fashion of pussy washing her face,*
stretched a few silken threads from the stem to the
ground, and turned away.
"There," he said, "I leave those few lines to show
that I have been here, and that Spite the Spy is sharper
* Appendix, Note B.
SPITE THE SPY. 17
than all the Brownies. Now for home! King Cobweb
will be interested in what I have to tell. As for Parson
Wille and his Brownies, perhaps they shall not escape
us quite so readily."
Spite gained great applause by this adventure, and
when it was resolved to send out to the New World some
one to watch the motions of Parson Wille, and do all
the harm possible to his kind Brownie guardians, who
but Spite the Spy should be chosen? "You need take
but few companions," said King Cobweb; "there are
plenty of our folk in that country. I shall send a letter
FIG. 15.-" Having Overspun Themselves."
with you to my cousin, King Cobweaver, and you can
muster a goodly company in America."
Now what should Spite do, but make his way straight
to the old chest. He discovered that in one corner the
joints of the planks had sprung open a little. "That
will do bravely, I think !" He crept into the crack to
try if it fitted his size.
"Very good indeed," he exclaimed, and then ran to
King Cobweb was quite satisfied. Spite thereupon hid
himself in the open seam with two other Pixies named
Hide and Heady, and, having overspun themselves with
18 OLD FARM FAIRIES.
a silken covering, made the voyage to America in the
old chest with the Brownies.*
When safely landed at Hillside, he reported to the
nearest tribe of Pixies. He was received with great
favor as a distinguished foreigner; was feasted, petted,
and his wonderful skill in strategy heralded everywhere.
In short, he was quite a lion, and his fame was even
greater in America than on the other side of the Atlantic.
Spite took his honors gracefully, enjoyed them hugely,
acknowledged them publicly, hobnobbed with his friends,
and took occasion when talking in private with his two
countrymen, to ridicule the customs and manners of
American Pixies. That was very mean, to be sure; but
what better could you expect from Spite the Spy?
In the midst of all his junketings and sight-seeing
Spite never once forgot the great object of his journey.
He was spinning out his plots against the Brownies,
counseling with his American friends how he might
worry, injure and destroy them, and forming leagues
for that purpose.
That was the beginning of troubles for the Brownies
* Appendix, Note C.
ADVENTURES OF THE BROWNIE SCOUTS.
The war upon the Brownie colony thus begun by
Spite the Spy had been waged from year to year until
the third generation of the Willes, Governor Wille
himself, occupied Hillside. Sometimes the Pixies got
the advantage, sometimes the Brownies; but on the
whole the Pixies gained ground. Slowly the Brownies
were being driven in towards the Mansion house, fol-
lowed closely by their foes. At last the malicious per-
secutors, led by Spite, pitched their tents and reared
a strong fortification at the upper end of the Lawn.
Their scouts bivouacked beneath the very windows of
my Lady Governor's chamber. This would never have
been had not Governor Wille lately grown heedless of
his good fairy friends, and left them to struggle with-
out his sympathy and aid. For Home Brownies lose
heart and cease to prosper when their Home patrons and
allies forget and neglect them. The Brownies were sore
distressed. What should they do ?
Early one morning the Captain and Lieutenant were
in close consultation. The Brownies watched them
anxiously as the two slowly walked back and forth
underneath a rose bush in a border near the west
window of the parlor. The point under discussion was
this: Shall we make another appeal to Governor Wille,
or shall we first try an assault upon the new Pixie
The decision was soon announced by the bugle call to
"fall in." From every quarter the Brownies crowded
20 OLD FARM FAIRIES.
eagerly, and the column moved toward the north-
western corner of the Lawn. There lay a pool formed
by a stream that bubbled from beneath the springhouse
at the foot of the hill. The Brownies called the pool
"Loch Katrine," in honor of the lovely and historic
water in their old Scotch home from whose neighborhood
they had come. Just beyond the outlet," the point at
which the Spring Run issues from the pool and goes
singing down the hillside, the new Pixie fort had been
erected. It was called Fort Spinder. and was
.'', I -**,,
FIGro. 16.-The Demilune, or Crescent Barricade.
a sign and token that Spite and his tribes had gained and
meant to keep a foothold upon the Lawn, the Brownies'
In a brief space the Brownie army had surrounded
three sides of the fort; the fourth side faced the Lake,
and was safe from approach of land troops. Then
Captain Bruce sent out a number of scouts to view the
Pixie works and report upon their strength and the best
points for attack. Let us join the Captain and his
staff, and listen to these scouts as one after another
they return with their reports. We shall thus learn
FIG. 17.-The Bell Shaped Turret of Pixie Globosa, of the Wheel Legion.
22 OLD FARM FAIRIES.
something of the Pixies' deft handicraft and cunning
The first obstacle that I met," said Sightwell, who
was the first scout to report, was a line of barricades
occupied by the Wheel Legion. This is formed of
round webs woven upon grass and weeds, closely joined
to one another and strung in a semicircular form along
the whole front of the fort. Armed pickets are stationed
at the open centrals of the snares. At either end of
this crescent or demilune is a large orbweb, surmounted
1. 117.9[ 0 .1
together by silken threads; the other is the bell shaped
~, .. i -._ I,. ,. ,-t,
turret of Pixie Globosa.*
pany of the Tubeweaver Legion. They have built a
.T -I* I-rO. I \ S ~., .
FIG. 18.-Fort Spinder.
by a tower. One tower is wrought out of leaves lashed
together by silken threads; the other is the bell shaped
turret of Pixie Globosa.t
"The centre of the dernilune is occupied by a com-
pany of the Tubeweaver Legion. They have built a
broad, irregular pavilion above and around the surface
foliage, whose margin is lashed by strong cords to
grass stalks and other herbage. Near the middle is a
long tubular entrance which opens out upon the top." t
Appendix, Note A. 1 Note B.
ADVENTURES OF THE BROWNIE SCOUTS. 23
Did you venture into it ?" asked the Captain.
No I climbed a tall weed to reconnoitre, and from
the summit noticed that Pixies, whom I had seen to pass
underneath the canvas, appeared again through a round
hole in the roof and thence passed down into the camp.
Then I descended, cautiously made my way through the
grass, and came near enough to see the opening into the
tube, which is really the southern or front gate to the
encampment. It is set close to the ground and is well
THE BOY'S ILLUSTRATION.
FIG. 19.-Fort Spinder as the Boy saw it.
concealed. It is guarded on each side by a sentinel.
From my weed-top observatory I could see that beyond
the demilune, and between it and the fort, the main
camp of the Pixies is pitched. The space is well covered
with tents, and everything inside seems to be settled
into homelike and comfortable condition."
"Yes, yes!" exclaimed Bruce with an impatient ges-
ture. "The wretches evidently intend to stay-if they
can. But what else did you observe ?"
24 OLD FARM FAIRIES.
"Nothing important. I thought best to return with
this news, while Glideaway, who went with me on the
scout, went around the demilune to observe the front of
Fort Spinder. He ought to be back ere long."
True to his friend's prediction, Glideaway soon ap-
peared, slipped quietly into the circle of officers, touched
his Scotch bonnet and awaited leave to report.
Well," said Bruce, "what have you to tell? "
"When I left Sightwell," the scout replied, "I hur-
ried around the west side of the demilune, which bends
in pretty close to the fort, and ends in a tall, silk-lined
leaf-tower. This is used by sentinels as a sort of guard
house, but I managed to slip by unobserved. I got into
the Pixie camp and moved about unnoticed, passed along
the whole front of the fort and came out on the east
side. The walls of the fort are under charge of the
Lineweaving Legion, who built them. They consist of
single silken cables, crossed, knotted and interlaced
into a mass several inches thick. The cables are in-
terwoven with and lashed to the blades of grass and
sprigs and foliage of meadow weeds, forming a strong
Could our troops break through or climb over it ? "*
Glideaway shook his head doubtingly. "It would be
a difficult task. Engineer Theridion directed the con-
struction and his work is thorough. However, it might
be done, and I for one am ready to try, Sir."
"And I, and I!" cried in chorus the officers and men
who stood around.
"Thanks, my brave fellows," said Bruce, his eyes
kindling with pride. "We shall doubtless have a chance
to try your mettle before long. What are the defences
of the front walls?"
* Appendix, Note C.
ADVENTURES OF THE BROWNIIE SCOUTS. 25
"In the centre of the wall is a gate built by Engineer
Linyphia of the Lineweavers. It is a high dome hung
amidst a maze of crossed lines and protected beneath by
a curtain floor, which is swung from the dome. The
dome is pierced for defence and observation, and a strong
guard mans the curtain. The main entrance to the fort
is here, and all who go in must pass underneath it, and
through the guard.
At each corner or angle of the fort is a gate like the
central one, except that the dome is reversed and be-
comes a bowl. On the flanks or sides the fort is built and
manned by Lineweavers and is precisely like the front."
"Very good," said Captain Bruce dismissing the
scout. "Who will report as to the river front and
We detailed our most skillful men for that service,"
Adjutant Blythe answered. "Sergeants Clearview and
True have charge of the scout. It is a nice and danger-
ous service, and we can't expect an early return."
Let us away, then, to put our command in the best
condition possible; and when the report comes in I will
The morning had quite worn away when the news
came that the scouts had returned. The officers speed-
ily gathered at headquarters, where Sergeant .True and
three of his men were waiting. Where could the others
be? Were they lost?
"We skirted the eastern face of the fort," began Ser-
geant True, and reached Lake Katrine. Then we saw
that the fort is built some distance from the water on the
crown of the hill that forms the shore, which there
slopes down to tle lake. -The defences on the water
front are like those on the other side, but not so heavy.
The tower at the angle is different, however. It has
26 OLD FARM FAIRIES.
been built by the Wolf Legion, and Captain Arenicola
is in command. It is a pentagon or five-sided turret of
dry twigs, like a log chimney, and is silk-lined within.*
The Pixies' skull-and-bones flag floats from the top.
"Here we held a consultation and agreed to divide
our party. Sergeant Clearview with Corporal Dare and
three men undertook to survey the river front. It fell
to myself to explore the interior of the fort, aided by
Corporal Swiftsure and two men, Lookclose and Tread-
light. Having bidden good-bye to our companions, I
explained to my men the delicate and dangerous work
in which we were engaged. Then we divided our squad
into two parties. I took Treadlight and pushed for-
ward, having bidden Swiftsure and Lookclose to fol-
low at a distance that would leave us just in view. In
case of discovery or accident to either party, the first
duty of the other was to escape and tell at headquarters
the facts already learned.
"The fort is so newly built that the surface is not yet
thickly covered with snares, traps and crosslines. This
greatly favored us. We found the chief part of the
fort to be an immense Tubeweaver's tent built by Engi-
neer Agalena. The central tube runs downward toward
the Lake, and opens out near a toVwer that guards the
water front. The tent is built around tall weeds which
stick out like the poles of a circus pavilion, and from
their tips strong guy lines stretch to various points on
the roof, thus bracing it up. t
"We skirted the vast edifice as far as the central
front gate, just opposite to which we found another of
Arenicola's turrets. From this point, sweeping around
toward the Lake, and fronting the tower on the south-
west angle, is erected a strong tent of the Tegenaria
*Appendix, Note D. Note E.
ADVENTURES OF THE BROWNIE SCOUTS. 27
type. It is composed of a thick sheet like that of Aga-
lena, but this is drawn up at the margin, making a sort
of breastwork. Along the pouch-like depression within
are many sentinels for whom openings are pierced in the
breastwork. The system ends in a tall round tower, in
which Captain Tegenaria has his observatory.*
We wished to cross the path between the front Liny-
phia gate and the opposite tower, but it was so thronged
by passing Pixies that we
dare not venture. We
therefore turned back,
thinking we had discov-
ered enough, and ought
not to further risk losing ,
what we had learned."
"A wise and patriotic
decision," said Captain '
Bruce, "but how did you /
get out of the Pixie quart-
"It was not so easy to .
get out of their den as to
get into it," said Sergeant FIG. 20.-Arcnicolas' Tower and
True, "as is usual when Strdu Dr
dealing with Pixies. We had scarcely taken the back
track when a terrible racket sounded from the tower be-
hind us. Now we saw that a big drum hung from the top
of the turret, upon which a gigantic Pixie was beating
furiously. We knew that this must be Drummer Stridu-
lans whose beating sounds the various signals of the
Pixies. He was now sounding an alarm, which stirred
the fort with great excitement. Sentinels sprang to
their posts: warriors poured out of their quarters and
Appendix, Note F.
28 OLD FARM FAIRIES.
ran to the ramparts. Soon companies were seen hurrying
toward the lake front, and amid all the rush and clatter
Stridulans' drum kept up its dolorous booming from
"A score of times we barely escaped detection by the
Pixies who were running to and fro ; and we lay in our
ambush almost breathless, nearly hopeless of keeping
concealed, and ready to sell our lives at the greatest
cost to our foes. Then we saw an officer run up and
signal the tower. The drum ceased, and squads of Pixies
began to return from the lake front in a quieter mood.
"We were anxious to know the cause of the alarm,
and of its conclusion too, for we feared it might concern
Clearview and his party. Words dropped by passing
warriors confirmed our suspicions; but of the result,
whether good or ill to our companions, we could gather
nothing. When the fort had settled into quiet we con-
tinued our retreat; and here we are, Sir. But, it was
trying work and a close shave. We crawled through
the grass like snakes the whole way, until we had gone
around the outer wall and were fairly out of sight of
pickets and lookouts."
Sergeant True's report caused great uneasiness in the
Brownie camp as to the fate of the river scouting party.
At last an unusual stir around headquarters showed that
something important was afoot. An anxious crowd
gathered before the tent door, peering inside, where Ser-
geant Clearview could be seen in the midst of a circle
of officers. He looked sadly draggled and worn; his
face was bruised, his clothes limp and stained, and alas,
he was alone! Let us hear his story.
"When we parted from Sergeant True we slowly
moved along the edge of the Lake keeping under shelter
cf the sloping bank, and screening ourselves behind the
ADVENTURES OF THE BROWNIE SCOUTS. 29
tall grass at the water's brink. We passed nearly one-
half the lake front of the fort, which we found pro-
tected in the same manner as the other sides, except
that the works are not so heavy. The Pixies clearly
intend the navy to defend that quarter from assault.
However, no ships are'anchored in the stream. Indeed
we did not even meet a boat of any sort until we came
to the remains of the Old Bridge that stood, as you
remember, nearly opposite the centre of the fort, where
THE BOY'S ILLUSTRATION.
FIG. 21.-The Pixie Waterman's Skiff.
the water gate is placed. There we came upon a skiff
moored among the rushes.
"' Here now is our chance,' whispered Corporal Dare.
'Let us seize this boat, and we can safely pull along the
whole lake front.'
I agreed to this, as there were no Pixies in sight on
shore. However, we must take no risks,' I said; 'there
may be a waterman hidden or asleep in the bottom of
the boat. We must approach quietly, and from all
points so as to cut off escape to the shore.'
30 OLD FARM FAIRIES.
We crept through the reeds, and at a signal rushed
together upon the skiff. Three Pixies, huge fierce fellows,
sprang from the bottom of the boat and began a vigor-
ous defence. One of our men was cut down instantly,
but the rest of us clambered over the gunwale and made
a hand to hand fight with our foes. The conflict was
severe; we were nearly evenly divided as to numbers,
although the Pixies had much the advantage as to size.
However, we killed two of our enemies, but could not
prevent the third from escaping. He leaped into the
lake and ran fleetly over the water. We lost sight of
him behind a clump of weeds, but knew that he would
at once give the alarm.
"'Come, my men, be quick !' I cried. 'Take the
oars; there is only one chance for us; we must push
into the stream and pull for life."
"The order was obeyed; we were soon beyond the
rushes in clear water, and having pushed the boat into
the current, put her bow down stream, and bent to the
oars with all our might. For a few moments we thought
we should pass the fort unobserved. Then we saw
several Pixies running out of the gates toward the shore;
others joined them; the boom of an alarm drum some-
where within the fort floated over the water, and in a
brief space the shore was lined with angry troops. We
could see Spite the Spy directing affairs; and soon a
large boat shot out from the banks full of armed Pixies.
"'Out to sea,' I cried, 'Out !-and pull as you never
did before. Our lives depend on it.' It was vain. The
boat gained rapidly upon us, and soon nearly touched
"' Cease rowing, lads,' I cried. 'There's nothing
left but to sell our lives as dearly as possible.' Corporal
Dare seized a boat hook and plunged it into a Pixie
ADVENTURES OF THE BROWIVIE SCOUTS. 31
officer who was about to board us. But another took
his place, and another, when he too had fallen.
"Taught caution by these losses, our assailants drew
back from us, and while Dare stood on guard, Dart and
Dodge, the two other surviving Brownies, and myself
again took the oars. We reached the swiftest part of
the stream where the current sets in heavily toward the
shore, and I saw that we must drift in upon the beach.
This also the Pixies saw, and seemed content to keep
near us, without taking further risk. The crowd on
shore followed along our course waiting for the final act.
We were very near, but tugged away, hoping against
hope that we might be carried past the jutting point and
escape. Perhaps some such thought struck the Pixie
boat commander, or it may be his crew could not re-
strain their fury. Several of them leaped out of the
boat and ran toward us upon the water. Some water-
pixies joined them from the shore. Our boat was seized.
We dropped oars, and a death struggle began. Dart,
after a gallant fight, fell dead in the boat. Dodge was
overpowered, captured and bound. Corporal Dare was
at last dragged into the water by two sailors with whom
he was in a hand to hand conflict and the three sank
"I was alone. Wounded, nearly exhausted, over-
powered by numbers, what could I do? It was folly to
fight the whole Pixie force. Plunging my sword into
the face of the boat captain, I threw myself backward
into the Lake as though wounded unto death. Amid the
horrible clangor and applause of the Pixies' victory cry
I sank. I struck out beneath the water, swam as far as
I could, and cautiously came up to the surface. As
good fortune would have it, I arose almost within reach
of a floating leaf. This I grasped, edged myself around
32 OLD FARM FAIRIES.
to the open water side, and drifted. I saw that the two
boats were being pulled ashore by the excited captors,
who were holding aloft on the points of their spears the
body of poor Dart. There was great rejoicing, of
course, and then the crowd slowly dispersed, bearing
with them their prisoner, Dodge, and doubtless thinking
that the rest of the Brownie party had been slain.
Meanwhile, I drifted on, and in spite of every effort
to the contrary, drew nearer the bank. The Pixie guard
had now been doubled, and I feared that I had escaped
death only to fall upon it in another form. The leaf
lodged, and unluckily upon a bare, sandy point. There
was not a blade of grass behind which to find shelter.
I therefore clung to my rude raft, which swayed up and
down, and turned round and round so that I had hard
work to keep my hold. Still, treading water, I fol-
lowed with the leaf until it reached a spot where some
driftwood had lodged.
"' This is my chance !" I thought.
"I crawled up on the sand and lay down behind and
beneath the flotsam. The warmth of the sun was pleas-
ant, for I was chilled by the water, and was so exhausted
that, would you believe it? I fell asleep! But my nap
was a brief one. It was broken by the sound of voices,
and starting up in a daze, I attracted the attention of
the Pixie guard boat crew engaged in patrolling the
Lake. They turned the boat to the shore, with a hurrah,
and several leaped overboard and dashed toward me
upon the water.
There was nothing for it but to run, and that I did;
over the level, sandy bank, on, on-toward the tall grass
beyond. The boat's crew were soon on my track; the
shore sentinels joined them, and away we all sped pell-
mell. Affairs seemed blue enough, it is true; but I had
FIa. 22.-Sergeant Clearview Takes Refuge in Argiope's Nest.
34 OLD FARM FAIRIES.
already escaped so wonderfully that I had high hope
that I should yet reach camp and tell my story. At last
-it seemed an age !-the grass was reached. I plunged
into the thicket, but the Pixies were close at my heels,
too close to admit of escape, for they were all fresh and
I quite worn out. As I passed a tall clump of grasses,
I caught sight of a great pear shaped egg-nest of the
huge Argiope Pixie. I knew it well, for it was an
abandoned nest of the past autumn, built there during
one of the successful raids of our enemy. A happy
thought came to me. I rushed into the grasses beyond
the nest, then turned, and doubled sharply upon my
track, ran back, sprang into the clump of grass and
weeds upon which the nest hangs, and swung myself
toward it. There is an opening in the side, a sort of door
or window for the escape of the young. Into this I
dropped, and lodged safely upon the flossy paddock
inside. I had barely got in when my pursuers dashed
by at full speed into the jungle which they had seen me
enter. The whir and clatter of their rush I could hear,
as many of the crew passed just beneath me. On they
sped; the noise grew faint, fainter, and died away. Then
I knew that once more I was saved. The bed upon
which I lay was a soft one; it was made, in fact, of
purple and yellow silk; but I was not much inclined to
sleep, you may be su e. I lay close, however, until I
heard the sound of r )turning footsteps. Back the Pix-
ies came in singles, pairs, triplets, squads; and by their
manner and utterance I learned their disappointment
"At last the place was quiet, and I ventured to look
out of my little window. No enemy was in sight. I
crept forth, descended, and crawling on hands and knees,
after many adventures which I need not mention, passed
ADVENTURES OF THE BROWNIE SCOUTS. 35
the front of the fort, entered the space beyond, and
easily found our camp. This is my report, Sir. It is a
sad enough one, but such are the risks of scouts; and I
can truly say for my brave comrades and myself that
we did all that we could." *
"No one will doubt that," said Captain Bruce. "We
deeply mourn the loss of so many brave and good com-
rades. May their memory be green forever!" He
withdrew his hat, and bowed his head. All present did
the same, and stood in silence for a moment.
We all must bear the chances of life and war," re-
sumed the Captain, and now let us take up the next
duty. What shall be our policy? We have heard the
reports of the scouts; shall we make an attack ?"
The council of war thus invoked, long and earnestly
considered the question. Had not their hearts and hands
been burdened and stayed by Governor Wille's neglect,
the Brownies would have joyfully ventured an assault
even upon such a stronghold. As matters stood, how-
ever, they judged that an attempt would only lead to
useless loss and further discouragement. They recom-
mended that the siege of the fort be continued as
closely as possible, and that meanwhile Captain Bruce
and Lieutenant MacWhirlie make another appeal to
Governor Wille. Thus the council closed,
* Appendix, Note G.
THE BROWNIES VISIT GOVERNOR WILL.
All that their unaided powers could do the Brownies
had now done. But the higher Decrees of Nature had
linked their destiny with the will and conduct of the
Household whose welfare they guarded. Mysterious rela-
tion! you exclaim. True; and the creatures of the Uni-
verse are bound to one another and to the Great Whole in
relations whose mystery none has fathomed, and which
perplex the wisest. So what could the Brownies do, or
what could men do in like estate, but continue steadfast in
watching and duty, and do their best to change the wills
upon whose action turned weal or woe, success or failure ?
The truth is, Governor Wille had fallen into bad
ways. It was a proud day to the Brownies, and joyously
had they celebrated it, when their friend had been
elected Governor of the Great State of Ohio. But joy
had been turned into mourning. New faces began to be
seen around Hillside, and they carried little spiritual
force and beauty upon them. Rude voices, coarse laugh-
ter, profane words, angry tones were no longer strange
sounds in the Wille Mansion.
The lads who read this will soon be voters. Let them
mark this: the man who goes into political life must
take heed or he will be swept away from safe moorings
by a class of so-called "party friends," who are poor
companions and worse counsellors, and who elbow and
crowd away the best elements of community. Now,
Governor Wille did not take heed. He gave himself
up to those who surrounded him for low, selfish ends,
THE BROWNIES VISIT GOVERNOR WILL. 37
and drifted under their convoy into perilous channels.
As the Governor fell off from the good old ways, the
Pixies triumphed at Hillside, and the Brownies lost
control. That was the state of things when these
Records began. Indeed, it had well nigh come to such
a pass with the Brownies that they ceased to ask: How
shall we beat back the Pixies? and were beginning to
wonder, How shall we escape with our lives ?
There could not have been a better leader than Bruce.
He was bold but prudent, having courage without rash-
ness. He was cool, hopeful and persevering. All the
fairies loved and trusted him. He had risked his life a
hundred times for them and theirs. He was _covered
with scars. Amidst all troubles and losses he had not
lost heart. But now he was cast down and doubtful.
Never did captain have a better helper than Lieu-
tenant MacWhirlie. Active, tireless, with spirits that
never drooped, and zeal that never flagged; prompt,
obedient, brave and intelligent, MacWhirlie was a
model officer. His one fault was that he sometimes
failed in caution; careless of his own life, he was apt to
risk unduly the lives of his men. But in the wild,
guerilla warfare that the Brownies waged, such a fault
seemed very like a virtue. Therefore the Lieutenant
was loved by his troopers and honored by all, Affairs
were truly serious when MacWhirlie became discour-
aged; and he was discouraged now, beyond a doubt.
The fact that the Pixies were fortified upon the lawn,
and encamped therein, bag and baggage, was bad enough.
Yet this difficulty, courage, patience and skill might
overcome. But the destiny which linked their success
with the behavior of Governor Wille, bore heavily upon
the good Brownies since the Governor had taken to evil
ways. Therefore the Captain and Lieutenant set out
38 OLD FARM FAIRIES.
with heavy hearts for the Mansion. A crowd of Brownies
followed a little way behind their officers. They saw
them cross the Lawn, spring into the great Sugar maple
tree, run along the lowest limbs and swing themselves
upon the sill of the chamber window. The window was
open. Governor Wille sat beside it in an easy chair,
reading a newspaper, and enjoying the fresh morning air.
The Brownies saluted him. He dropped his paper
a d answered the greeting heartily.
"Welcome, good brothers, a thousand welcomes!"
His tone grew less cheery as he spoke the last words, for
his eye caught the grave bearing and sad faces of his
visitors. He knew at once that they must have come
on serious business. Indeed, he might have guessed that
at first, for except at Christmas times, and on birthday
and wedding anniversaries, the Brownies rarely entered
the Mansion unless some urgent need required. They
were always near at hand, the Governor well knew, and
hovered about house and grounds doing kindly deeds
in secret. But the family did not often hear or see
them. In fact, Governor Wille had been so busy, and
was away from home so often, that he had lost much of
the old family interest in the gentle little people who
loved and guarded him and his so tenderly. Yet, he
had not wholly forgotten them. They had visited him
several times of late with complaints about their own
dangers, and warnings about his. He had thought
lightly of the matter, and of that, indeed, he was a little
ashamed. But, then, he was so busy !
He rose from his chair. Brothers," he said, Your
sober faces bode a gloomy message. I know you are
never pleased to waste words. Speak your errand freely.
What troubles you ?"
Brother Wille," answered Bruce, we bring nothing
_I I -,I, ~ t
- h. -a
FIG. 23.--The Pixies Spinning Gossamer over the Eyes of Governor
Wille and Dido.
40 OLD FARM FAIRIES.
new. It is the old trouble about the Pixies; the same
complaint and warning that we have urged upon you of
late more than once. Our enemies-and well you know
they are yours too!-are pressing closely upon us. They
have driven us to the lawn at last, and even upon that
they have built their fort and camp. A little space
further and we must flee into the house. And what
most troubles us is that they will follow us. Ah, brother
Wille, our hearts are sad at the thought of Pixies filling
your home! We have done our best and we come to
you for aid. You must help us drive back these wicked
spirits. That is our petition, and our request."
The two Brownies stood quietly with their bonnets or
Scotch caps under their arms. Governor Wille impa-
tiently crumpled the paper in his hand, came to the
window and replied. Tut, tut, Bruce, it certainly can't
be as bad as that. You are a little blue this morning, I
fear. Why, when did Brownies ever give up to Pixies ?
It was never heard of! "
Softly, brother Wille," said the Captain. "That has
often happened, right here at Hillside, too And it will
happen again you may depend don't, if Wille and Dido do
not soon bestir themselves to help their old home fairies."
Governor Wille hesitated, ahemmed, and at last said:
"I am loath to meddle in this affair, and really, I don't
see that there is such pressing danger. I have little fear
for my good, brave Brownie friends. But,-I shall talk
to Madam Dido about it, and if she is agreed, look out
for aid, and get your troopers ready for a good chase
after the Pixies."
The two Brownies withdrew, leaving the house by the
way they had entered. They looked sad, although they
tried to hide their feelings from the friends who awaited
THE BRO WNIES VISIT GOVER UR WILL. 41
"What is the news ? cried the Brownies.
"Nothing as yet," answered Bruce. But we hope
for good news soon."
"What will come of all this, Captain ?" asked Mac-
Very little, I fear," was the answer. I can't think
what has come over the Governor of late. The Pixies
seem to have spun their webs over his heart."
"Over his eyes rather !" said MacWhirlie, "or his
hands and feet. His heart is still true to the Brownies,
I am sure. But he can't or don't understand our
troubles and his own perils."
"Well, well, we shall soon know." With that poor
consolation they sat down on the edge of the lawn by the
gravel walk and waited.
Presently Governor Wille and his wife Dido came out
of the house, and walked slowly up the path. Wille
was relating his interview with the Brownies.
"What do you think, wife? I fancy their stories
about the Pixies are a good deal exaggerated-by fear
of course I mean, for Brownies are clear truth always.
Bruce said that the lawn was full of their tents and nets.
Do you see them? I cannot see one, and I've been
looking all along the walk." *
"I quite agree with you, my dear," said .the affec-
tionate Dido. "As for the Pixie snares, I can see no
more of them than you. Perhaps we had better wait a
few days before we interfere."
"A few days! sighed Bruce, who heard all the con-
versation. It will be too late by that time, I fear!"
* On a dewy summer morning one sees the fields and shrubbery
covered with innumerable spider webs of various sorts. By midday these
webs are invisible. What has become of them? In truth, the sun has
simply dried the dew which clung to the delicate filaments of the webs
and thus made them visible ; and from careless eyes the webs are hidden,
as was the case with Governor Wille. THE EDITOR.
MADAM BREEZE COMES TO THE RESCUE.
"Come !" cried the Captain at last. "Moping is no
part of duty. If Governor Wille won't help us, we
must seek allies in other quarters; and for the rest trust
to our good swords."
He raised his bugle to his lips, and sounded a note or
two, whereat his Adjutant appeared.
Blythe," said the Captain, order out my pony, and
get ready to attend me to Hilltop. And you, Mac-
Whirlie, see that every Brownie is armed and ready for
work of any kind at a moment's warning. No fuss,
please; keep everything quiet as possible. I don't want
Spite the Spy to suspect any unusual movement. He'll
give you credit for a little lack of caution when he finds
you in command;" and the Captain laughed pleasantly
as he said this. But mind it mustn't be the genuine
article, now. Try for once to beat Spite at his own
favorite tactics. Draw off the cavalry pickets, but see
that your troopers are ready for the saddle. Look
to the pioneer corps, and see that the axes are in good
order. Saunter around carelessly as you like, but keep
your eyes open. Come, Blythe!"
The last words were spoken to his Adjutant who al-
ready stood holding the Captain's butterfly pony Swal-
lowtail, as well as his own. The Brownies sprang upon
the creatures' backs and rode away.
MacWhirlie watched the forms of the horsemen until
they were lost to view behind the gable of the house.
MADAM BREEZE COMES TO THE RESCUE. 43
" Heigh-ho! he sighed, "the time was when the jour-
ney to Hilltop was a safe and pleasant ride. But it's
a bold feat nowadays, with Pixies waiting at every
corner, and their webs flapping on every bush. But
I must e'en leave the Captain with Providence and go
about my own business."
The afternoon was well advanced when Bruce and
Blythe halted their jaded ponies under the shade of
G. 24.-Bruce and Blythe on Their Way to Hilltop. Pixie Attus Tries
to Lasso Them.
a laurel bush, a little way from the Lone Aspen on
Hilltop. Poor fellow!" said the Captain as he stroked
Swallowtail's drooping wings. "It was too bad to bring
you on such a service, with plenty of stouter nags in
the stable! But we had to run the gauntlet of the
Pixies, you know, and those big fellows would never
44 OLD FARif FAIRIES.
have got through unnoticed. Think they can carry us
back ?" he asked anxiously.
"I doubt it, Cap'n," was the answer. But rest and
a hearty meal may bring 'em around all right."
"Very well; then do you care for them
while I go to the Lone Aspen."
The Lone Aspen stood on the summit of
the hill. It was
S an old tree, with
<- branches, and great
girth of trunk.
The trunk was hol-
low, and covered
with warts. One
of these was quite
Near the roots, and
was pierced in the
1 centre with a hole
which exposed the
;I hollow within.
S Bruce stopped at
THE BOY'S ILLUSTRATION. the foot of the tree
FIG. 25.-Bruce Whistling for Madam Breeze. beneath this open-
ing, and blew a peculiar note upon a whistle which hung
by a chain about his neck. There was no answer. He
whistled again. Still no response. Along the rough
scales and ridges of bark running up and down the
trunk, a stairway had been made like the rounds of a
ladder. Upon this the Captain climbed towards the
opening. He stepped out upon a bulging wart and
peeped within the tree. It was empty. Again he blew
his whistle. The echoes rolled up and down the hollow
trunk and died away fhr above toward the branches,
MADAM BREEZE COMES TO THE RESCUE. 45
where a faint streak of light shone through an opening
like the one in which the Brownie stood.
"This is strange! exclaimed the Captain. He
turned, and looked up at the Sun through branches of
the tree. "Surely, Madam Breeze should be at the
Lone Aspen at this time of day! However, I must
climb to the window and wait. He sat down on the
window ledge, and as he was tired out by long jour-
neys, hard labors and sleepless nights, in spite of him-
self he fell into a doze.
A sound like the tones of a distant bell awoke him.
"Ha, she has come!" he cried, and jumped to his
feet. Madam Breeze was passing with her attendants
through the door. Her voice sounded through the
hollow trunk as she swept into it. In a moment the
Captain felt her breath upon his cheek, and presently
stood face to face with her at the window.
She kissed him heartily, brushed the hair back caress-
ingly from his forehead, and addressed him in a
sprightly, kindly way. Madam Breeze was an Elf of
pleasing appearance; plump to the verge of stoutness,
but singularly graceful and airy in all her movements.
She was troubled with an asthma which interrupted her
speech with frequent attacks of coughing and wheez-
ing, much to her discomfort and the disturbance of her
temper. She had an odd fashion of expanding and
contracting in size either suddenly or gradually. This
occurred oftenest during her attacks of asthma, and to
those who first saw this, the sight was a startling one.
"So my brave little Captain," said the Elf, "you've
been whistling for the Breeze at last, have you ? Ah!
I thought you would come to it some day. But you
always were such an independent little body-hoogh !
46 OLD FARM FAIRIES.
And you have come to the little fat lady at last, hey?
Well, I'm heartily glad to see you-hoogh!-and you'd
have been welcome long ago-wheeze Sit down and
tell me your errand.'" She bustled about all the while
and kept everything and everybody around her in a
whirl of excitement.
There, now, I've composed myself to listen-wheeze !
But I suspect that I know without being told-hoogh!
However, say on, while I sit here and rock myself."
The merry lady twisted together a couple of boughs into
the shape of a rude swing, and seating herself among
the leaves, swayed back and forth, wheezing, coughing,
oh-ing and ah-ing, while Bruce told the story of his
"And now," he concluded, "I appeal to you for
help." He took the whistle from his neck and laid it in
the Elf's hand. "This talisman has always opened a
way for Brownies to the heart and help of you and
"Tut, tut! said Madam, throwing the chain around
the Captain's neck again, Put up your whistle-hoogh !
No need to remind Madam Breeze by that of the claim
of the fairies upon her and hers. And so these horrid
Pixies have worried the life out of you? And you tar-
ried all this time before coming to me?-Wheeze,
wheeze! Confound this cough! And you didn't go to
my gentle Lady Zephyr this time, hey? Her balmy
breath wouldn't quite suit your present purpose ? Ho,
ho, ho! Good stout Madam Breeze for you, hey?-
Hoogh! Aha, I see that Brownies, like other folk,
when they get into trouble prefer the useful to the orna-
mental. Well, well, you're right enough."
Whereupon the jolly, kind hearted Elf swung and
rolled herself about and made the leaves of the Lone
Aspen fairly dance with the voice of her laughter.
FIG. 26.--Captain Bruce Appeals to Madame Breeze,
48 OLD FARK FAIRIES.
"Now to business!" Madam Breeze sobered down
just one moment as she spoke. "How did you come
here? On the ponies, hey? Call Blythe."
Bruce blew his bugle. Presently Blythe clambered
up the ladder and saluted the Elf.
"How are the ponies, Blythe ? Pretty well done out,
hey ? Not fit for the journey back? In a pinch are
you? So I thought. Well, you Brownies do miss it
sometimes, you must confess." Madam ran on asking
and answering her own questions without giving Blythe
a chance to speak a word. However, she seemed, through
some mysterious news agency of her own, to know every-
thing without information from the Brownies.
"Need fresh horses? Just as I supposed. Here, here
-Whirlit,-wheeze,-hoogh! (Confound that cough!)
Blythe, call Whirlit for me. The rascal!-he's always
out of the way when I want him."
Notwithstanding the bad character given him by his
mistress, Whirlit was at the window in a moment.
"There, keep still now, and listen! Madam herself
was quite as restless as the frisky Whirlit while she gave
her orders, bouncing back and forth all the time among
the leaves. "Still, I say! Put Swallowtail and Blythe's
pony in the stable, and get out my Goldtailed matches.
Order all hands to be ready to leave immediately.
Quick! Off with you!"
Whirlit sprang from the window, turning a score of
somersaults or more on his way to the ground. He re-
turned presently, leading a pair of Goldtailed moths.
They were beautiful insects with soft downy plumage,
snowy white color, and a tuft of yellow hair at the end
of the tail.
Aren't they beauties," cried Madam, casting an ad-
miring glance at her splendid matches. And fast, too.
MADAM BREEZE COMES TO THE RESCUE. 49
And thoroughly trained. And what's the strangest
thing about them, they're not worth an old straw in the
day time. They hang around on the bark here as
spiritless as a toadstool. But the moment evening comes
they spruce up, and hie-away they're brisk enough
then. Queer, isn't it? But I keep 'em just for night
work. Now we're all ready for a bout with the Pixies.
Pooh! the nasty beasts! I hate to soil my breath with
them and their clammy snares. But Brownies can't be
left to suffer. Ready, Captain? Yes? very well, then,
mount and away "
The afternoon was nearly gone. Below Hilltop the
woods, orchard, house, lawn and garden all lay in shadow.
The Goldtailed matches were in fine spirits. Their
energetic mistress kept close behind them buoying them
up, and urging them on, and in a short time they reached
the spring at the foot of the orchard back of the man-
Halt!" cried Madam Breeze. "I shall wait here
in the tops of the trees, while you move forward and get
your Brownies ready. Be quick, now, and when you
want me, remember the whistle."
ATTACK ON THE OLD LODGE.
Bruce put spurs to Goldtail and flew across the
garden followed closely by Blythe. They reached the
Lawn and crossed the Brownie camp. They stopped at
the Captain's headquarters under the Rose Bush.
Everything was in confusion. MacWhirlie was pacing
back and forth in high excitement ; a group of Brownies
surrounded him, talking and gesticulating violently.
Silence !" cried MacWhirlie, stopping suddenly,
facing the excited group. "I tell you that I will not
stir a hand in this thing until Captain Bruce returns, or
until it is settled that he will not return this night. I love
Rodney as fondly as you; he is my dearest friend, the
Captain's own brother, my comrade in a thousand fights
and forays. But it would bring on a battle were I to
consent to follow my own heart and your wishes.
That would ruin us all. I cannot; dare not, will not!
I must obey my orders. Silence, I say! "
Bruce leaped from Goldtail's back and walked hastily
into the midst of the group. The Brownies did not
notice him until he stood by MacWhirlie's side.
A clamor of surprise, satisfaction, and grief greeted
him. The Lieutenant's face brightened; then clouded
again, as with sympathy and pain.
"Speak, MacWhirlie," said the Captain. What has
happened? What is wrong with Rodney? Quick, and
tell the worst at once."
"He is shut up by the Pixies along with his boy
FIG. 27.-The Old Lodge Overspun by Pixies.
FIG. 27.- The Old Lodge Overspun by Pixies.
OLD FARM FAIRIES.
"What, Rodney captured! I never would have
thought it. How did it come about?"
It was not exactly his own fault, Sir. He had been
busy about the boats all day-you know we were to
have everything in order,-and I had asked him to look
after his sailors. He took Johnny with him-not an
hour ago, Sir,-to have a last look at matters. He did
not want to take the little fellow, but the lad was bent
on going; and besides he is a brisk young Brownie, and
quite able to look after himself. Rodney was busy at
the rivulet about some naval affairs and left the boy for
a few moments on shore. Just then one of the butterfly
ponies flew by and strolled off toward the Pixie picket
line. Johnny saw its danger and ran to bring it back.
He had gone but a little way when he was seized by one
of the Pixie scouts, who are always hovering around now,
and clapped into one of our old lodges which they have
covered with spinningwork and are using as a guard
"But Rodney? How came he into their hands?"
the Captain cried.
"I am coming to that. The Commodore heard
Johnny's cries, sprang on shore, and rushed upon the old
wretch who had captured the lad, and who was spinning
a rope across the door. He cut him down with one blow
of his cutlass and ran into the lodge to get Johnny."
Ha! that was well done exclaimed Bruce.
"Yes, Sir, but he wasn't quick enough. A squad of
pickets heard the fuss, and before Rodney could repass
the door they had blocked it up with their snares, double
lashed and sealed it, and,-there they are!"
"How did you find out all this?"
"Why, of course, some of the sailors also heard the
*Appendix, Note A.
ATTACK ON THE OLD LODGE. 53
boy's cries and followed the Commodore; but only in
time to see how things had gone. They ran back to the
camp, and here they are, clamoring, threatening, plead-
ing to get me to order all hands to the rescue of Rodney
and his boy."
"Have you done anything?"
"I have set guards to watch the lodge and report con-
tinually how things go. For the rest I have tried to
keep the camp in perfect quiet."
"How goes it with the prisoners; are they well?"
Yes," answered Pipe the Boatswain, the Commodore
has his boy in the very furthest end of the lodge, and he
stays there walking back and forth before the lad, cutlass
in hand. They haven't dared to molest him yet. He
sounded his bugle once or twice, and I know lie wonders
why his friends, especially his old tars, have deserted
him. It's well nigh broke our hearts, Cap'n."
"It was hard to resist the pressure, Captain," said
MacWhirlie, and harder still to control my own heart.
But I did what I thought my duty. I stand ready to
suffer for it if I erred. And now that you are back all
I ask is to lead the rescue. I will save Rodney and his
boy, or leave my carcass with the Pixies."
My dear fellow," said Bruce, you did quite right.
God bless you for your love of me and nine but es-
pecially bless you for your firmness on this occasion. It
would have been a sad day for us all if the life of our
nation had been risked for the sake of one however dear
to me and to us all. Now, get ready for action! Is all
in order for the assault ?"
Then rally the men. We will advance with all our
fprce. We must first save Rodney and his boy. Then
wye shall clean out the whole Pixie nest. The battle
54 OLD FABM FAIRIES.
word is 'Rescue.' Madam Breeze waits yonder in the
orchard to join us."
How the order flew through the Brownie camp I
Love for Rodney, and the news of the near presence of
their powerful ally put hope and courage into all hearts.
Every man was in his place. Even the older boys had
taken arms, hoping for permission to join in the battle
or at least the chase.
The Captain led his men swiftly and cautiously by a
roundabout route to the site of the old lodge, which was
at the extreme east-
ern flank of the
S Pixie camp. He
.'. *' -- skirted the Lawn,
":"-" ... passed the spring,
,.'t ; and struck the
bank of the rivulet
F '- at the foot of the
orchard. There he
.- waited' until the
S full moon had risen
above the hills, and
A slanted her rays
'.: along the river and
into the bosom of
FIG. 28. -A Tubeweaver's Den. little Lake Katrine.
"Hark !" said the Captain at last.
"Hark," the word passed in a whisper along the line.
Up in the tree tops Madam Breeze and her train were
waiting for the signal. Not waiting patiently, indeed,
for they rocked and rolled among the round topped
apple trees, and swung to and fro among the tall pears,
rustling the leaves, shaking down the fruit, and whist-
ling among the branches. But there they were, all
ready, eager to rush upon their foes.
ATTACK ON THE OLD LODGE. 55
The Brownies had now reached a point well to the
east of the Pixie camp and fort. Just beyond them
was the lodge, now changed into a tubeweaver's den,
in which the Commodore and his boy were confined.
Captain Bruce halted the column and distributed the
men throughout the tall grass. He formed a half circle
looking toward the old lodge, the pioneers or axmen
being in the centre.
Steady, now, a moment," he exclaimed in a low tone
to MacWhirlie. He fell upon hands and knees and
glided through the grass. He was back in a few
"It is all right. Not more than a dozen Pixies are
on guard, the rest are beyond the demilune in the camp
at supper, carousing, singing and making merry over
Rodney's capture. Poor fellow! He is seated in the
far end of the lodge holding Johnny on his lap. The
boy has cried himself asleep. The Commodore has one
hand on his sword and rests his, face upon the other.
Neither friend nor foe seems to be expecting us."
"Attention! The order ran in low whispers around
"Ready." This word passed from officer to officer in
the same way.
Then the Captain stepped to the head of the axmen,
put his whistle to his lips and blew a long blast. The
shrill notes cut through the air. Rodney heard it, lifted
up his boy, leaped to his feet and cried:
"Come, Johnny, up! Wake! It is a rescue!"
The Pixie guards heard it. They grasped their
weapons, and crowded together before the door of the
lodge. Spite the Spy and his horde heard it as they
feasted and made merry. They hastily seized their arms.
FIG. 29.-Spite and His Pixie Friends make Merry Over
ATTACK ON THE OLD LODGE. 57
What's in the wind, now ?" muttered Spite. That
beast of a Bruce is at the bottom of it, I warrant." But
none of them seemed seriously to expect an attack. The
Brownie camp had been quiet all day. Their Captain
was known to be absent; their Commodore was a pris-
oner; there had been no sign of any unusual stir.
Up in the orchard where she swung impatiently among
the tree tops, good Madam Breeze heard the same call.
"Ah! there it goes at last. Thank our star for that.
What! Whirlit, Whisk, Keener and all the rest of you,
do you hear? Up and away-away! Oo-oo-Ooh!"
The Brownies were crouched in the grass, every
nerve strained to the utmost, every eye fixed eagerly
upon their leader, awaiting the word of command. It
came at last. Bruce dropped his whistle, drew his
broadsword, and shouted the welcome word, Charge "
With a wild hurrah the column closed in upon the
lodge, MacWhirlie leading one wing, Pipe the other,
and Bruce at the head of the axmen leading the centre.
It was a complete surprise. The guard of Pixies
broke, parting to right and left. One squad fell into
the hands of the sailors and were all slain. The others
fared little better with MacWhirlie and his troopers.
The door gave way before the strokes that the Captain
and his pioneers rained upon it, and Rodney with his
boy in his arms sprang out. Three times three hearty
cheers rang in the evening air as the brave hearted
sailor came forth a free man.
"Brother Rodney," said Captain Bruce, "there is not
even time for greeting. Send your boy to the rear.
Take command of your men. We are to charge the
whole Pixie camp and fort. Madam Breeze is behind
us. You know the rest. Forward! "
HOW THE FORT WAS SAVED.
By this time the Pixies in the main camp had recov-
ered from their surprise. The Brownies' battle-cry
" Rescue showed plainly the object of the assault. The
Pixies were used to war's alarms; and, as for their
leader, Spite, lack of promptness and skill was not
among his faults. Therefore Rodney had scarcely been
set free ere Spite had his followers in line. However,
he did not expect an attack upon himself, for he fancied
that the Brownies had been too much cowed lately to
venture upori the offensive. He thought they would be
satisfied with rescuing Rodney, and would then retreat,
and that he determined to prevent.
"Come, my lads," he shouted, "we must not let these
creatures escape us this time. Teach them what it is to
break into a Pixie camp. Fall on them! Give no
quarter; spare no one, let your battle-cry be Death! "
He ran to the front as he spoke, shaking in one hand a
poisoned dart and holding in the other his war club.
The Pixies followed keenly enough, shouting their
terrible watchword. But their confidence was dashed as
they saw the Brownies, so far from retreating, actually
forming their line of battle in front of the demilune.
The Pixies paused at this sight. Even Spite hesitated
a moment. In that moment a shower of arrows rained
upon them from the Brownie bows. Then with a ring-
ing cheer the brave fairies charged. The two columns
closed. Above the clash of weapons and clamor of
battle were heard ever and anon the voices of the Pixies
A ,, i
FIG. 80.-Elf Whirlet Comes to the Rescue of Captain Bruce.-(Illustration
by Dan. C. Beard.)