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FOR LITTLE CHILDREN
FLORA ., COOKE
Cook County Normal School
A. FLANAGAN, PUBLISHER
BY FLORA J. COOKE
*EELING the great need of stories founded
upon good literature, which are within
the comprehension of little children, I
have written the following stories, hoping that
they may suggest to primary teachers the great
wealth of material within our reach. Many teachers,
who firmly believe that reading should be some-
thing more than mere word-getting while the
child's reading habitis forming, are practically help-
less without the use of a printing press. We will
all agree that myths and fables are usually beautiful
truths clothed in fancy, and the dress is almost
always simple and transparent.
Who can study these myths and not feel that
nature has a new language for him, and that though
the tales may be thousands of years old, they are
quite as true as they were in the days of Homer.
If the trees and the flowers, the clouds and the
wind, all tell wonderful stories to the child he has
sources of happiness of which no power can de-
And when we consider that here, too, is the key
which unlocks so much of the best in art and litera-
ture, we feel that we cannot rank too highly the
importance of the myth in the primary schoolroom.
For instance the child has been observing, read-
ing, and writing about the sun, the moon, the
direction of the wind, the trees, the flowers, or
the forces that are acting around him. He has had
the songs, poems, and pictures connected with
these lessons to further enhance his thought, inter-
est, and observation.
He is now given a beautiful myth. He is not
expected to interpret it. It is presented for the
same purpose that a good picture is placed before
him. He feels its beauty, but does not analyze it.
If, through his observation or something in his
experience, he does see a meaning in the story he
has entered a new world of life and beauty.
Then comes the question to every thoughtful
teacher, Can the repetition of words necessary to
the growth of the child's vocabulary be obtained in
This may be accomplished if the teacher in plan-
ning her year's work, sees a close relation between
the science, literature, and number work, so that the
same words are always recurring, and the interest
in each line of work is constant and ever increasing.
The following stories are suggested in the stand-
ard books of mythology and poetry, and have been
tested and found to be very helpful in the first and
third grades. A full list of myths, history stories
and fairy tales for the children in the different grades
can be found in Emily J. Rice's Course of Study in
History and Literature, which can be obtained of
A. Flanagan, No. 262 Wabash avenue, Chicago.
Donkey and the Salt .Adapted from sop 59
Fox and the Stork .91
Grateful Foxes 43
Adapted from Edwin Arnold's Poem. Permission of
Chas. Scribners' Sons.
How the Spark of Fire Was Saved 79
Adapted from John Vance Cheney's Poem.
How the Chipmunk Got the Stripes on Its
Adapted from Edwin Arnold's Poem.
An Indian Story of the Mole 77
An Indian Story of the Robin 26
Adapted from Whittier's Poem, "How the Bobin Came."
How the Robin's Breast Became Red .24
The Red-headed Woodpecker 29
Adapted from Phoebe Cary's Poem.
Palace of Alkino6s 36
Adapted from the Odyssey.
Swan Maidens 54
Golden-rod and Aster 13
Aurora and Tithonus 22
King Solomon and the Ants 18
Adapted from Whittier's Poem.
King Solomon and the Bee .16
Adapted from Saxe's Poem.
The Story of the Pudding Stone 31
Adapted from "Story of Persephone," told by Helen
Ericson, class of 1895, Cook County, (Ill.), Normal
Fairy Story 66
Philemon and Baucis 71
Poplar Tree 56
The Secret of Fire 61
Iris' Bridge 101
I LYTIE was a beautiful little water nymph
who lived in a cave at the bottom of the
sea. The walls of the cave were covered
with pearls and shells. The floor was made of sand
as white as snow.
There were many chairs of amber with soft mossy
cushions. On each side of the cave-opening was
a great forest of coral. Back of the cave were
Here were the sea anemones, starfish and all
kinds of seaweed.
In the garden grotto were her horses. These
were the gentlest goldfish and turtles.
The ocean fairies loved Clytie and wove her
dresses of softest green sea lace.
With all these treasures Clytie should have been
happy, but she was not. She had once heard a
mermaid sing of a glorious light which shone on
the top of the water.
She could think of nothing else, but longed day
and night to know more of the wonderful light.
No ocean fairy dared take her to it, and she was
afraid to go alone.
Nature Myths and Stories
One day she was taking her usual ride in her
shell carriage. The water was warm and the tur-
tles wentso slowly that Clytie soon fell asleep. On
and on they went, straight towards the light, until
they came to an island.
As the waves dashed the carriage against the
shore Clytie awoke. She climbed out of the shell
and sat down upon a large rock. She had never
seen the trees and flowers.
She had never heard the birds chirping or the
forest winds sighing.
For Little Children-Clytie.
She had never known the perfume of the flowers
or seen the dew on the grass.
In wonder, she saw a little boy and girl near her
and heard them say, "Here it comes Here it
As she looked away in the east she saw the glori-
ous light that she had so longed for. In its midst,
in a golden chariot, sat a wonderful king.
The king smiled and instantly the birds began to
sing, the plants unfolded their buds, and even the
old sea looked happy.
Clytie sat on the rock all day long and wished
that she might be like the great kind king.
She wept when he entered the land of the sun-
set and she could see him no longer. She went
home, but she could scarcely wait until the morn-
ing. Very early the next day her swiftest goldfish
carried her to the rock.
After this, she came every day, wishing more and
more to be like the great kind king. One evening
as she was ready to go home, she found that she
could not move her feet. She leaned out over the
sea and knew that she had her wish. Instead of a
water nymph a beautiful sunflower looked back at
her from the water.
Her yellow hair had become golden petals, her
green lace dress had turned into leaves and stems,
and her little feet had become roots which fastened
her to the ground.
12 Nature Myths and Stories.
The good king the next day sent her into many
countries, into dry and sandy places, that the people
might be made happy by looking at her bright face,
so like his own.
GOLDEN-ROD AND ASTER.
OLDEN HAIR and Blue Eyes lived at
the foot of a great hill.
On the top of this hill in a little hut
lived a strange, wise woman.
It was said that she could change people into
anything she wished. She looked so grim and
severe that people were afraid to go near her.
One summer day the two little girls at the foot of
the hill thought they would like to do something
to make everybody happy.
"I know," said Golden Hair, "Let us go and
ask the woman on the hill about it. She is very
wise and can surely tell us just what to do."
"Oh, yes," said Blue Eyes, and away they
started at once.
It was a warm day and a long walk to the top of
Nature Myths and Stories.
The little girls stopped many times to rest under
the oak trees which shaded their pathway.
They could find no flowers, but they made a
basket of oak leaves and filled it with berries for the
They fed the fish in the brook and talked to the
squirrels and the birds.
They walked on and on in the rocky path.
After awhile the sun went down. The birds
The squirrels went to bed.
The trees fell asleep.
Even the wind was resting.
Oh, how still and cool it was on the hillside I
The moon and stars came out.
The frogs and toads awoke.
The night music began.
The beetles and fireflies flew away to a party.
But the tired little children climbed on towards
At last they reached it.
There at the gate was the strange, old woman,
looking even more stern than usual.
The little girls were frightened. They clung
close together while brave Golden Hair said, "we
know you are wise and we came to see if you would
tell us how to make everyone happy."
"Please let us stay together," said timid Blue
Golden-Rod and Aster. 15
As she opened the gate for the children, the wise
woman was seen to smile in the moonlight. The
two little girls were never seen again at the foot of
the hill. The next morning all over the hillside
people saw beautiful, waving golden-rod and pur-
ple asters growing.
It has been said that these two bright flowers,
which grow side by side, could tell the secret, if
they would, of what became of the two little girls
on that moonlight summer night.
THE WISE KING AND THE BEE.
ONG ago there lived in the East the great-
est king in the world.
It was believed that no one could ask
him a question which he could not answer.
Wise men came from far and near, but they were
never able to puzzle King Solomon.
He knew all the trees and plants.
He understood the beasts, fowls and creeping
things almost as well as he did people.
The fame of his knowledge spread into all lands.
In the south, the great Queen of Sheba heard of
the wonderful wisdom of. Solomon and said, "I
shall test his power for myself."
She picked some clover blossoms from the field
and bade a great artist make for her, in wax, flowers,
buds and leaves exactly like them.
She was much pleased when they were finished,
for she herself could see no difference in the two
She carried them to the king and said, Choose,
Oh wise king, which are the real flowers ?"
At first King Solomon was puzzled, but soon he
saw a bee buzzing at the window.
"Ah," said he," here is one come to help me in
my choice. Throw open the window for my friend."
The Wise King and the Bee.
Queen of Sheba bowed her head and
indeed a wise
king, but I begin to
I thank you for this
KING SOLOMON AND THE ANTS.
NE morning the Queen of Sheba started
back to her home in the south. King
Solomon and all his court went with her
to the gates of the city.
It was a glorious sight.
The king and queen rode upon white horses.
The purple and scarlet coverings of their followers
glittered with silver and gold.
The king looked down and saw an ant hill in the
path before them.
See yonder little people," he said, "do you hear
what they are saying as they run about so wildly?"
"They say, 'Here comes the king,men call wise,
and good and great.
'He will trample us under his cruel feet.'"
"They should be proud to die under the feet of
such a king," said the queen. "How dare they
"Not so, Great Queen," replied the king.
He turned his horse aside and all his followers
did the same.
When the great company had passed there was
the ant hill unharmed in the path.
The Queen said, "Happy indeed, must be your
people, wise king. I shall remember the lesson.
"He only is noble and great who cares for the
helpless and weak."
G, 11RACHNE was a beautiful maiden and the
most wonderful weaver that ever lived.
SHer father was famed throughout the
land for his great skill in coloring.
He dyed Arachne's wools in all the colors of the
rainbow. People came from miles around to see
and admire her work. They all agreed that Queen
Athena must have been her teacher. Arachne
proudly said that she had never been taught to
weave. She said that she would be glad to weave
with Athena to see which had the greater skill. In
vain her father told her that perhaps Athena, un-
seen, guided her hand.
Arachne would not listen and would thank no
one for her gift, believing only in herself. One day
as she was boasting of her skill an old woman came
to her. She kindly advised her to accept her rare
"Be thankful that you are so fortunate, Arachrie,"
You may give great happiness to others by your
"Queen Athena, longs to help you.
"But I warn you. She can do no more for you
until you grow unselfish and kind."
Arachne scorned this advice and said again that
Nature Myths and Stories
nothing would please her so much as to weave
If I fail," she said, "I will gladly take the pun-
ishment, but Athena is afraid to weave with me."
Then the old woman threw aside her cloak and
said, "Athena is here.
"Come, foolish girl, you shall try your skill with
Both went quickly to work and for hours their
shuttles flew swiftly in and out.
Athena, as usual, used the sky for her loom and
in it she wove a picture too beautiful to describe.
If you wish to know more about it look at the
western sky when the sun is setting.
Arachne's work, though her colors were in
harmony and her weaving wonderfully fine, was
full of spite and selfishness.
When the work was finished Arachne lifted her
eyes to Athena's work. Instantly she knew that
she had failed.
Ashamed and miserable she tried to hang herself
in her web.
Athena saw her and said in pity, "No, you shall
not die; live and do the workfor which you are best
"You shall be the mother of a great race which
shall be called spiders.
"You and your children shall be among the
greatest spinners and weavers on earth."
For Little Children-Arackne.
As she spoke, Arachne became smaller and
smaller until she was scarcely larger than a fly.
-' -- I / -
.N ^ -- *'-' '-'''*' ''' ""gi : ..
"" / '',, '.
From that day to this Arachne and her family
have been faithful spinners, but they do their work
so quietly and in such dark places, that very few
people know what marvelous weavers they are.
AURORA AND TITHONUS.
9(1IHE beautiful youth, Tithonus, loved
SAurora, the queen of the dawn. He was
Sthe first one to greet her each day as she
drew back the purple curtains of the east.
He made his bed on the green grass in the meadow
that he might not miss her coming.
Aurora grew to expect his welcome and to-love
the youth dearly.
One morning when she came- Tithonus was
riot in his usual place.
As she looked anxiously around she saw him
with pale face and closed eyes lying upon the
She darted down to earth and carried his almost
lifeless body to Zeus.
'She begged the great king to promise that
Tithonus should never die.
But alas, in her haste, she forgot to ask that
he might forever remain young. Therefore he
grew old and bent, and could no longer walk.
In misery, he begged to go back to the cool grass
in the meadow where he had been so happy.
Aurora in pity said, "you shall go, my Tithonus.
To make you happy is my dearest wish.
Nature Mykts and Stories. 23
"You shall be free from all care.
"You shall not be a man, lest you be compelled
to work for your food in your old age.
You shall be a grasshopper, free to dance in the
meadow grass all the long summer days.
"I have prepared a dress for you, which shall
protect you well."
Then she gave Tithonus the wonderful grass-
hopper coat of mail which had been unknown on
earth until this time.
She tinted it a soft green so that he might not be
noticed in the grass.
Tithonus went that day to live in the meadow
and there, any summer day, you may find him and
his family hopping merrily about in the sunshine.
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HOW THE ROBIN'S BREAST BECAME RED.
ONG ago in the far North, where it is very
Scold, there was only one fire.
A hunter and his little son took care of
this fire and kept it burning day and night. They
knew that if the fire went out the people would
freeze and the white bear would have the North-
land all to himself. One day the hunter became ill
and his son had the work to do.
For many days and nights he bravely took care
of his father and kept the fire burning.
The white bear was always hiding near, watch-
ing the fire. He longed to put it out, but he did
not dare, for he feared the hunter's arrows.
When he saw how tired and sleepy the little boy
was, he came closer to the fire and laughed to
One night the poor boy could endure the fatigue
no longer and fell fast asleep.
The white bear ran as fast as he could and
jumped upon the fire with his wet feet, and rolled
upon it. At last, he thought it was all out and went
happily away to his cave,
A gray robin was flying near and saw what the
white bear was doing.
Nature Myths and Stories.
She waited until the bear went away. Then she
flew down and searched with her sharp little eyes
until she found a tiny live coal. This she fanned
patiently with her wings for a long time.
Her little breast was scorched red, but she did
not stop until a fine red flame blazed up from the
Then she flew away to every hut in the North-
Wherever she touched the ground a fire began
Soon instead of one little fire the whole north
country was lighted up.
The white bear went further back into his cave
in the iceberg and growled terribly.
He knew that there was now no hope that he
would ever have the Northland all to himself.
This is the reason that the people in the north
country love the robin, and are never tired of telling
their children how its breast became red.
AN INDIAN STORY OF THE ROBIN.
HEN an Indian boy was eleven years old,
he was sent into a forest far away from
-T his home.
He had to stay there all alone and fast for seven
days and nights.
The Indians thought that at this time a spirit
came into the youth which helped him to become
a great chief and warrior.
The spirit also told the boy what his name should
be in the tribe.
Once there was a fierce Indian war chief who had
only one son.
The little boy was not strong, but his father loved
him more than anything else on earth.
When this boy was eleven years old, the chief
went out into the forest and built a small lodge for
him to stay in.
In it he placed a mat of reeds which his good
squaw had woven with great care.
By the side of the mat he laid a bow, some
arrows and his own great tomahawk.
Next he painted pictures upon the trees along the
path leading from the wigwam to the lodge.
Nature Myths and Stories.
He did this that the little boy might easily find
his way home.
When everything was ready he sadly sent his
son away into the forest.
He missed him so much that he went every
morning to look at him.
Each day he asked him if the spirit had not come to
Each day the little boy shook his head without
opening his eyes.
On the fifth day his son said to him, "Father,
take me home or I shall die. No spirit will come
The old chief's pride was greater than his pity
and he said, No, my son, you must not be a cow-
ard. You shall be as wise as a fox and as strong as
"Better that you should die than that boy and
squaw should cry 'Shame' upon your father's son.
Be patient, I will come in two days and bring
The sixth day came and the little boy lay upon
the mat white and still.
On the seventh, when the chief came with the
sun's first rays, his son was not in the lodge nor
Above the door sat a bird with brown coat and
red breast, which until this time had been unknown
Nature Myths and Stories.
Sadly the chief listened to the bird and under-
stood its message.
"Mourn me not, great chief," it sang. "I was
once your son.
"I am happy now and free.
"I am the friend of man and shall always live
near him and be his companion.
I shall bring the tidings of spring.
"When the maple buds shoot and the wild
flowers come, every child in the land shall know
"I shall teach how much better it is to sing than
"Chief, listen, chief,
Be more gentle; be more loving.
Chief, teach it, chief,
Be not fierce, oh, be not cruel;
Love each other I
Love each other I"
THE RED-HEADED WOODPECKER.
r HERE was an old woman who lived on a
hill. You never heard of any one smaller
or neater than she was. She always
wore a black dress and a large white apron
with big bows behind.
On her head was the queerest little red bonnet
that you ever saw.
It is a sad thing to tell, but this woman had
grown very selfish as the years went by.
People said this was because she lived alone
and thought of nobody but herself.
One morning as she was baking cakes, a tired,
hungry man came to her door.
"My good woman," said he, "will you give me
one of your cakes? I am very hungry. I have no
money to pay for it, but whatever you first wish for
you shall have."
The old woman looked at her cakes and thought
that they were too large to give away. She broke
off a small bit of dough and put it into the oven to
When it was done she thought this one was too
nice and brown for a beggar.
She baked a smaller one and then a smaller one,
but each one was as nice and brown as the first.
Nature Myths and Stories.
At last she took a piece of dough only as big as
the head of a pin; yet even this, when it was baked,
looked as fine and large as the others.
So the old woman put all the cakes on the shelf
and offered the stranger a dry crust of bread.
The poor man only looked at her and before she
could wink her eye he was gone.
She had done wrong and of course she was un-
"Oh, I wish I were a bird!" said she, "I would
fly to him with the largest cake on the shelf."
As she spoke she felt herself growing smaller
and smaller until the wind whisked her up the
She was no longer an old woman but a bird as
she had wished to be. She still wore her black
dress and red bonnet. She still seemed to have the
large white apron with the big bows behind.
Because from that day she pecked her food from
the hard wood of a tree, people named this bird the
THE STORY OF THE PUDDING STONE.
'INCE upon a time a family of giants lived
Supon the high mountains in the West.
S One day the mother giant was called
away from home.
She arose early in the morning and made ready
the bread and butter for the little giants to eat while
she was gone.
When she had finished her work it was not yet
time to start upon her journey.
She said to herself, "My children are the best
children in the world and they shall have a treat. I
have many plums left from the Christmas feast.
I will make them a plum pudding for a surprise.
The good woman brought together the plums
which it had taken her many days to prepare with
the help of all her children. Indeed she had
emptied several mountain lakes to get water enough
to wash them all.
She now mixed these wonderful plums into a
pudding and put it into an oven to bake.
The mixing took so long that she had to hurry,
and she quite forgot to say anything about the pud-
ding to the little giants.
Nature Myths and Stories.
She had intended to tell them about it just be-
fore she left them.
It was afternoon when the giant children found
It was badly burned upon the top by that time.
They had already eaten the bread and butter and
One little giant said to the others, "Let us make
balls of the pudding and see who can throw the
You know that giants are very strong, and away
went the pudding up into the air.
The little giants made little balls and the older
giants threw pieces as big as a house.
Many pieces went over the mountains and fell
down into the valley beyond.
Indeed this wonderful pudding was scattered for
miles over the whole land, for the giants did not
stop throwing as long as there was any pudding
left in the pan.
When the sun had shone upon it many days and
dried and hardened it, people called it pudding
You may find it to-day thrown all over the land,
full of the plums which the good woman washed
with the waters of many lakes.
STORY OF SISYPHUS.
All _ITTLE White Cloud was the Ocean's
Daughter. The Ocean loved her, and
( wished always to keep her near him.
One day, when her father was asleep,
White Cloud went out to walk alone.
The Sun saw her and said, "Come, White Cloud,
I am your king, I will give you a ride upon my
bright rays." White Cloud had often longed for this
very thing, so she went gladly, and soon found her-
self among the fleecy clouds in the sky.
When the Ocean awoke he called his little
daughter. She did not answer. He called again
and again, louder and still louder, until the people
said, Listen, it is thundering"
But the Ocean only heard the echo of his own
voice from the shore. He rushed high up on the
beach and moaned aloud.
He ran into all the caves but White Cloud could
not be found.
Every one had loved White Cloud, so by this
time all the water was white with the crests of the
weeping sea nymphs.
A great giant was sitting upon the shore near the
sea. His name was Sisyphus. He felt sorry for
Nature Myths and Stories.
the Ocean and said, "Listen, friend Ocean, I often
watch you carrying the great ships and wish that I,
too, had a great work to do.
You see how dry it is on this side of the moun-
tain. Few people come this way. You are not
even now as lonely as I, yet I want to help you.
Promise me that you will put a spring upon this
mountain side, where all the tired and thirsty
people may drink, and I'll tell you where White
The Ocean said, "I cannot put a spring upon the
mountain, but if you will follow my son, River, he
will take you to a spring where he was born."
The giant told the Ocean how the Sun ran
away with White Cloud. The Sun heard him
and was angry. He placed Sisyphus in the sea
For Little Children-Sisy1hkus. 35
saying, "You are far too strong to sit idly here upon
the shore. You say you want a great work to do;
you shall have it. You shall forever use your
strength to push these stones upon the shore,
and they shall forever roll back upon you."
The giant began his work at once, and has
worked faithfully every day since that time
Many people do not yet know what his work is.
Do you ? Do you know what Sisyphus is making?
THE PALACE OF ALKINOOS.
IN a high plain covered with flowers once
Lived good King Alkinoos and his gentle
--- people, the Phaiakians.
They were great sailors and went about in silver
ships without rudders or sails.
These wonderful ships went slowly or very fast
just as the sailors wished.
For many years the Phaiakians were peaceful and
Though they were as brave as they were gentle,
they hated war.
Far below the Phaiakians, in a valley, lived a
people larger, darker, fiercer than themselves.
These dark people cared for nothing so much as
war and conquest.
When they saw the silver ships with the golden
prows, they wanted them for their own.
They armed themselves and made ready for a
To be sure of victory, they borrowed the thunder
and lightning from Zeus.
The day came and all was ready for the dark
people to advance.
They reached the land of the Phaiakians in the
Nature Myths and Stories.
morning and King Alkinois came forward to meet
They soon saw that he alone was more powerful
than their entire army.
He was dressed in armor so bright that it dazzled
their eyes to look at it. It was covered with mil-
lions of golden arrows tipped with diamonds. The
king showed the frightened people how he could
shoot the arrows in all directions at the same time.
The dark people trembled with fear, but King
Alkino6s smiled at them, and then he and his
people sailed slowly away toward the West.
On and on they went, until they came to a great
Here they stopped and built a palace for their
This palace was made of silver and gold and
Its towers were rose color and shone with a
Its steps were of pure gold.
On each side of the silver gates were huge dogs
which guarded the palace.
There were boys in the halls dressed in white,
holding burning torches.
There were girls weaving wonderful curtains and
painting pictures upon the walls.
There were mountains and fountains, and rivers
Nature Myths and Stories.
There were singing birds and flower gardens;
and little children everywhere.
Even to this day, the great king often sits in his
palace in the West when his day's work is done.
He loves to see the people glide about upon the
silver sea, in their ships without rudders or sails.
The fierce, dark people still go to war.
They seldom let the gentle king see them
Yet often after a brave battle, Alkinobs comes out
of his palace and smiles brightly upon them. The
dark people blush and seem to smile at the king.
You must find out how much good these dark
people do and how the King of the Phaiakians helps
them in their work, if you wish to understand their
1I.' HAETHON was the son of Helios, who
Drove the chariot of the sun. He lived
~i with his mother, the gentle Clymene, in a
beautiful valley in the east.
One day when Phaethon was telling his com-
panions about his father, the sky king, they laughed
and said, "How do you know that Helios is your
father? You have never seen him. If, as you say,
he cannot safely come nearer to the earth, why do
you not sometimes go to his land."
Phaethon answered, "My father's throne is far
away from this valley. My mother has promised
that when I am stronger, I shall go to my father's
palace. I often watch his golden chariot roll by in
its path and think perhaps some day I shall drive
the glorious horses of the sun.
"I shall go now to my mother, and ask her how
much longer I must wait."
When Phaethon told his mother what his com-
panions had said she answered, "Go, my child, ask
Great Helios if you are his son. If you are worthy
to be the son of Helios you will be given strength
and courage for the journey."
Nature Myths and Stories
Phaethon gladly and bravely climbed the unused
path which led to the palace of the sun.
At last he came in sight of the throne. He had
never seen anything so beautiful. On one side
were standing the days, months.and the old years.
On the other side were the seasons; Spring, covered
with flowers; Summer, with her baskets of fruit and
grain; Autumn, in a many-colored dress; and Young
Winter, with a crown of icicles.
As Phaethon came nearer to the throne, the light
was greater than his eyes could bear. Its wonder-
ful colors dazzled him.
Helios saw the brave youth and knewthat it was
Phaethon, his son. He took his glittering crown
from his head and went forward to meet him.
Phaethon cried, "Great Helios, if you are my
father give me and others proof that it is so."
Helios took him in his arms and kissed him.
"You are indeed my son," he said. "I will put an
end to your doubts. Ask any gift you will, and it
shall be yours."
Phaethon had always had one wish in his heart
and said, O, my father, let me drive the wonderful
golden chariot of the sun for just one day."
Helios shook his head sadly and said, "That is
the one thing which you must not ask to do.
"You are my son, and I love you. For your own
sake, I cannot let you do this. You have neither
the strength nor the wisdom for the great work.
For Little Children-Phaetkon.
"The first part of the way is very steep and
rugged. In the middle part, even I dare not look
below at the far stretching earth, and the last part
is full of terrible dangers."
Phaethon would not listen, but threw his arms
around his father's neck and begged to go.
Helios said at last, "If you persist, foolish boy,
you shall have your wish, for I cannot break my
promise. I beg of you choose more wisely. Ask
the most precious thing on earth or in the sky, and
you shall have it."
Already Dawn had drawn back the purple curtains
of the morning'and the Hours were harnessing the
horses to the chariot.
The stars and moon were retiring for the day.
The chariot glittered with jewels which sent the
light in all directions. Phaethon looked upon it
with delight and longed impatiently for the great
joy of driving it.
Helios said, "0, my dear son, go not too high or
you will scorch the dwelling of heaven, nor too low,
lest you set the world on fire.
"Keep the middle path; that is best, and do not
"use the whip; rather, hold the horses in."
Phaethon was too happy to hear what his father
He leapt into the golden chariot and stood erect
as the fiery horses sprang forth from the eastern
gates of Day.
Nature Myths and Stories.
They soon missed the strong steady hand of their
Up, up they went, far into the sky, above the stars,
and then plunged downward toward the earth.
The clouds smoked, the mountain tops caught
fire, many rivers dried up and whole countries
Great cities were burning, and even Poseidon
cried out in terror from the sea.
Then the people on earth learned with what great
wisdom the path of the sun was planned.
Helios saw that the whole world would soon be
on fire, and cried to father Zeus to save the earth
from the flames.
Zeus searched all the heavens for clouds and
hurled his thunderbolts from the sky.
Phaethon fell from the chariot, down, down into
a clear river.
The naiads cooled his burning brow, and gently
sang him to sleep.
His sisterscame to the banks of the river and wept.
That they might be always near Phaethon, Zeus,
in pity changed them into poplar trees, and their
tears became clear amber as they fell into the water.
At last the tired horses became quiet, and the
great car rolled slowly back into its old path.
But the deserts and barren mountain tops still
tell the story of the day Phaethon tried to drive the
chariot of the sun.
THE GRATEFUL FOXES.
1 T was springtime in Japan, and the blossoms
cy, hung thick on the cherry trees.
.'4f Butterflies and dragon flies fluttered over
the golden colza flowers in the fields.
The rice birds chirped merrily. Everything
seemed to say, "How good it is to live in days like
A beautiful princess, O Haru San, sat on the bank
of a stream gaily pulling the lilies.
All.the maidens of her court were with her.
Along the river bank came a troop of noisy, laugh-
ing boys, carrying a young cub fox. They were
trying to decide who should have its skin and who
At a safe distance from them, in a bamboo thicket,
father fox and mother fox sat looking sadly after
their little cub.
The princess' heart was filled with pity, and she
"Boys, pray loose the little fox. See his parents
weeping in the rocks."
The boys shook their heads.
"We shall sell the fox's skin," they said. "The
Nature Myths and Stories.
liver, too, if well powdered, will be used to cure
fevers in the fall."
"Listen," cried O Haru San, "It is springtime,
and everything rejoices. How can you kill such a
small soft beast?
"See, here is twice your price; take it all," and
she drew copper money and silver money from her
The boys placed the little frightened animal in
her lap and ran away, pleased to be so rich.
The cub felt the touch of her soft hand, and
trembled no longer. She loosened carefully the
knot and noose and string.
She stroked the red fur smooth again, and bound
up the little bleeding leg. She offered it rice and
fish to eat, but the black eyes plainly said, "This is
very nice, but I hear my parents grieving near
yonder beanstraw stack. I long to go and comfort
She set the little fox gently on the ground, and,
forgetting its wounded leg, it leaped through the
bushes at one happy bound.
The two old foxes gravely looked it over neck
They licked it from its bushy tail to its smooth,
brown crown. Then, sitting up on their haunches,
they gave two sharp barks of gratitude.
That was their way of saying, "We send you
thanks, sweet maid."
The Grateful Foxes.
As she walked home by the river side, all the
world seemed more beautiful to O Haru San.
The summer time came and the blossoms upon
the cherry trees became rich, ripe fruit. But there
was no joy in the emperor's house.
His daughter, the gentle O Haru San, was ill.
She grew paler and weaker each day. Physicians
came from far and near, and shook their wise heads
When the emperor's magician saw her, he said, "No
one can heal such sickness. A-charm fails upon her
every night which steals away her strength. He
alone can break the spell, who, with sleepless eyes,
can watch beside her bedside until sunrise."
Gray haired nurses sat by her until morning, but
a deep sleep fell upon them at midnight.
Next fourscore maidens of the court, who loved
her well, kept bright lights burning all the night,
yet they, too, fell asleep.
Five counselors of state watched with her father
at the bedside. Though they propped their eyes
open with their fingers, yet in the middle of the
night slumber overcame them.
All believed that the gentle maid must die.
The emperor was in despair, but Ito, a brave
soldier, said, "I shall not sleep; let me one night
guard the sweet O Haru San."
Nature Mylts and Stories.
Her father led him to the chamber. Just at mid-
night Ito felt his eyes grow heavy.
He rose and held his sword above his head.
"Rather will I die than sleep," he said.
Then came a great struggle. Often his head
nodded, but by his love and strength Ito conquered
Suddenly he heard a voice which said, "Grate
foxes' livers in the princess' rice broth and all her
ills will disappear."
The next morning the hunters searched far and
near for foxes. They knew that to the emperor a
fox was worth its weight in gold. All day and
night they were in the woods without food or rest.
At last they came sadly back to' their homes.
They brought no fox.
"All the foxes know," they said, "and have hidden
The emperor in grief and anger cried, "Must my
child perish? Shall a princess die for the lack of
one poor fox?
"She was never willing that one should be slain
and this is her reward."
Ito said, "I will get the fox." He started out
with knife and net to seek it.
At the entrance of the town he met a woman
dressed in strange garments. Very small and
stooped she seemed to Ito. She carried a jar in
her arms. She bowed low before Ito, and said,
The Grateful Foxes.
" What you seek is in the jar. I have brought it
"Here is gold," said Ito. "What is the price?"
The woman pulled the blue hood farther over
her face and said, "Another time will do, I can wait.
Hasten now to the princess."
Gladly Ito obeyed.
They made the broth in a bowl of beaten gold and
fed it to 0 Haru San.
Immediately she was well and all was joy in the
The emperor said, Ito, is she, who brought this
Ito answered, "Yonder she waits at the entrance
of the town."
The emperor himself in his great joy went with
Ito to meet her..
But they found only a dog-fox dead.
Around his neck they read this message, "This
is my husband here.
"For his child he gives his liver to the princess,
dear. I, his very lowly wife, have brought it."
EMETER had the care of all the plants,
fruits and grains in the world.
She taught the people how to plow
the fields and plant the seeds.
She helped them gather in their harvests.
They loved the kind earth-mother and gladly
They also loved her daughter, the beautiful
Persephone wandered all day in the meadows
among the flowers.
Wherever she went the birds, singing merrily,
flocked after her.
The people said, "Where Persephone is, there is
the warm sunshine.
"Flowers bloom when she smiles.
Listen to her voice; it is like a bird's song."
Demeter wished always to have her child near
One day Persephone went alone into a meadow
near the sea. She had made a wreath for her hair,
and gathered all the flowers that her apron could
Far away across the meadow she saw a white
Nature Myths and Stories-Persefkone. 49
flower gleaming. She ran to it and found that it
was a narcissus, but far more beautiful than any
she had ever seen.
On a single stem were a hundred blossoms.
She tried to pick it, but the stem would not break.
With all her strength she grasped it, and slowly it
came up by the roots.
It left a great opening in the earth which grew
larger and larger.
Persephone heard a rumbling like thunder under
her feet. Then she saw four black horses coming
toward her from the opening.
Behind them was a chariot made of gold and
In it sat a dark, stern man. It was Hades.
He had come up from his land of darkness, and
was shading his eyes with his hands.
He saw Persephone, beautiful with flowers,
and instantly caught her in his arms and placed her
in the chariot beside him.
The flowers fell from her apron. "OhI my
pretty flowers," she cried, "I have lost them all."
Then she saw the stern face of Hades.
Frightened, she stretched out her hands to kind
Apollo who was driving his chariot overhead. She
called to her mother for help.
Hades drove straight toward his dark under-
The horses seemed to fly.
Nature Myths and Stories
As they left the light, Hades tried to comfort
He told her of the wonders of his kingdom. He
had gold and silver and all kinds of precious stones.
Persephone saw gems glittering on every side
as they went along, but she did not care for them.
Hades told her how lonely he was, and that he
wished her to be his queen and share all his riches.
Persephone did not want to be a queen. She
longed only for her mother and the bright sun-
Soon they came to the land of Hades.
It seemed very dark and dismal to Persephone,
and very cold, too.
A feast was ready for her, but she would not eat.
She knew that any one who ate in Hades' home
could never return to earth again.
She was very unhappy, though Hades tried in
many ways to please her.
Everything on the earth was unhappy, too.
One by one the flowers hung their heads and
said, "We cannot bloom, for Persephone has gone."
The trees dropped their leaves and moaned, "Perse-
phone has gone, gone."
The birds flew away and said, "We cannot sing
for Persephone has gone."
Demeter was more miserable than any one else.
She had heard Persephone call her, and had gone
For Little Children-Persephone.
She searched all the earth for her child. She
asked every one she met these questions, "Have.
you seen Persephone? Where is Persephone?"
The only answer she ever received was, "Gone,
gone, Persephone is gone!"
Demeter became a wrinkled old woman. No
one would have known that she was the kind
mother who had always smiled on tho people.
Nothing grew on the earthand all was dreary
Demeter said that she would do nothing until
Persephone returned to her.
It was useless for the people to plow the soil.
It was useless to plant the seeds. Nothing could
grow without the help of Demeter.
All the people were idle and sad.
When Demeter found no one on earth who could
tell her about Persephone, she looked up toward
the sky. There she saw Apollo in his bright
chariot. He was not driving as high in the sky as
he was wont to do.
Often he gathered dark mists about him so that
none saw him for many days.
Demeter knew that he must know about Perse-
phone, for he could see all things on earth and in
Apollo told Demeter that Hades had carried
Persephone away and that she was with him in
his underground home.
Nature Myths and Stories
Demeter hastened to the great father Zeus, who
could do all things.
She asked him to send to Hades for her daughter.
Zeus called Hermes. He bade him go as swiftly as
the wind to the home of Hades. Hermes whispered
to everything on the way that he was going for
Persephone so that all might be ready to welcome
He soon arrived in the kingdom and gave Hades
the message from Zeus. He told about the barren
earth and of how Demeter was mourning for her
child. He said she would not let anything grow
until Persephone came back. The people must
starve if she did not soon return.
Then Persephone wept bitterly, for that very day
she had eaten a pomegranate and swallowed six of
Hades pitied her and said that she need only
stay with him one month for each seed she had
Joy gave her wings, and as swiftly as Hermes
himself, Persephone flew up into the sunshine.
Apollo saw her and rose higher and higher into the
sky. A gentle breeze came rustling from the south-
east, and whispered something to everything he met.
Suddenly the flowers sprang up; the birds flocked
together and sang; the trees put on bright green
Everything, great and small, began to say in his
For Little Children-Perseihone.
own language, "Be happy for Persephone has
come Persephone has come!"
Demeter saw these changes and was puzzled.
"Can the earth be ungrateful? Does she so
soon forget Persephone?" she cried.
It was not long however before her own face
became beautiful and happy, for she held again
her beloved child in her arms.
When Demeter found that Persephone could
stay with her only half the year, she brought out
the choicest treasures from her storehouse and
while Persephone stayed, the world was filled
with beauty and joy.
When she had gone, Demeter covered the rivers
and lakes, and spread a soft white blanket over the
Then she, too, fell asleep and dreamed such
pleasant dreams that she did not awake until she
felt Persephone's warm kiss on her forehead.
THE SWAN MAIDENS.
LONG, long time ago there was born in
S the east a wonderful king.
He was called "The King of the Golden
Every day he came in his golden chariot scatter-
ing heat, light and happiness among his people.
Every day he passed from his palace in the east
far over to his throne in the west.
He never missed a day for he wanted to see that
everyone had a full share of his gifts.
Throughout the kingdom the birds sang and the
flowers bloomed. The sky was full of beautiful
pictures which were constantly changing.
The king had many daughters who were called
They were as graceful as swans and usually
wore white featherlike dresses.
The swan maidens loved their good father and
each one longed to help him in his work.
Sometimes the king saw that the grass was
brown or the buds not coming out.
Then he called the swan maidens to him and
said, "My children, this must not be. There is
nothing more beautiful in the kingdom than the
Nature Myths and Storzes.
green grass and the trees. They need your care."
Gladly each maiden changed her dress and set
out at once on her journey. Often they could not
all work upon the grass and the buds.
Some of them ran off to play with the stones in
the brook. The best ones went down to feed the
roots and worms, and worked out of sight.
When their tasks were finished they always
hurried back to their father, the king.
They went so noiselessly and swiftly that for a
long time their way of travelling was a mystery.
In the fall, the king called the bravest swan
maidens to him. He told them they must go away
for a long time.
The swan maidens wrapped themselves in white,
feathery blankets and came softly down to the
Gently they placed a white spread on the earth
and left no small seed uncovered.
At last, when the king smiled and their work was
done, they stole away so softly ancdhappily that no
one missed them.
THE POPLAR TREE.
\ NE night, just at sunset, an old man found
'^ the pot of gold which lies under the end
I of the rainbow.
His home was far beyond the dark forest, through
which he was passing.
The pot of gold was heavy, and he soon began
to look for a safe place in which to hide it until
A poplar tree stood near the path stretching its
branches straight out from the trunk.
That was the way the poplar trees grew in those
"Ah," said the man, This tree is the very place
in which to conceal my treasure.
"The trees are all asleep, I see, and these leaves
are large and thick."
He carefully placed the pot of gold in the tree,
and hurried home to tell of his good fortune.
Very early the next morning, Iris, the rainbow
messenger, missed the precious pot of gold.
She hastened to Zeus and told him of the loss.
Zeus immediately sent Hermes in search of it
Hermes soon came to the forest where it was
Nature Myths and Stories.
He awakened the trees, and asked them if they
had seen the pot of gold.
They shook their heads sleepily, and murmured
something which Hermes could not understand.
Then Zeus himself spoke to them. "Hold your
arms high above your heads," he said, "that I may
see that all are awake."
Up went the arms, but alas, down to the ground
came the pot of gold.
The poplar tree was more surprised than any one
He was a very honest tree and for a moment
hung his head in grief and shame. Then again he
stretched his arms high above his head, and said,
"Forgive me, great father; hereafter I shall stand in
58 Nature Myths and Stories.
this way that you may know that I hide nothing
from the sun, my king."
At first the poplar tree was much laughed at.
He was often told that he looked like a great
umbrella which a storm had turned inside out.
But as years went by every small poplar was
taught to grow as fearless, straight and open hearted
as himself, and the whole poplar family became
respected and loved for its uprightness ar 1
THE DONKEY AND THE SALT.
X~)J NE time a merchant went to the seashore
for a load of salt.
There were many hills and streams to
cross on the journey.
As the path was narrow and rocky, the man made
his donkey carry the salt in large bags, upon his
back. It was a warm day, and the donkey did not
like his heavy load.
He hung down his head and went as slowly as
After a while they came to a stream which had
only a foot bridge over it.
The donkey went through the water, splash
splash splash In the middle of the stream was a
large stone which he did not see.
He stumbled and fell, and the water ran over the
bags of salt.
Soon the donkey was glad that he had fallen, for
he found his load much lighter.
They came to another stream, but the donkey did
not stumble this time. He lay down in the middle
of the brook.
He was a wise donkey.
Nature Myths and Stories.
This time he lost so much salt that his master
was angry, for he was obliged to go back to the
seashore for another load.
As they were walking along, the merchant
laughed to himself.
He thought he knew a way to cure the donkey
of this trick.
When they came to the seashore, he filled the
bags with sponges, and started for home.
The donkey thought, "What a light load I have,"
and trotted gaily along over the rough road.
Again they came to the brook. "Ah thought
the donkey, "I will make my load still lighter."
He lay down in the middle of the brook.
This time he found his load so heavy that he
could scarcely rise.
His master kindly helped him, but the donkey
was not happy.
The water ran down his sides and made him
"Oh," thought he, "I will never lie down in the
Once more his master led him back to the sea-
He filled the bags with salt.
The donkey was wiser now and carried the salt
THE SECRET OF FIRE.
A TREE STORY.
NE summer night a great army of pine
Streets settled down in a quiet valley to rest.
.- They were a tall, dark, grave-looking
SThey held their heads high in the air, for they
were the only trees in the world who knew the
wonderful secret of fire.
High above this valley, on the hillside, lived a
little company of oaks.
They were young, brave, and strong-hearted.
When they saw the great band of pines march-
ing into the valley, the tallest one said:
"Let us make them divide the gift of fire with
"No," said the oldest, wisest oak, "we must not
risk, foolishly, the lives of our acorns. We could
do nothing against so many."
All the acorns had been listening to what the
tree said. Each one longed to help in finding out
the great secret.
Nature Myths and Stories.
One of them became so excited that he fell from
the limb, down upon the hard ground. He did not
stop at the foot of the tree, but rolled over and over,
far down into the valley.
Here a brook picked him up and hurried him
away; but as he stopped to rest by a stone, he
heard his good friend, the wind, talking to a pine
"What is the secret of fire which the pine trees
know?" asked the wind. "Don't you think it is
selfish to keep it all to yourselves?"
The pine tree loved the wind and answered:
"Great wind, it is, indeed, a wonderful secret; you
must never tell it." Then she whispered it to the
The little acorn went on and on down the stream.
He came to an old log, which was the home of a
large family of squirrels. The mother squirrel was
very sad. The last flood had brought her and her
children far away from her old forest home. Her
family had all been saved, but food was scarce and
winter was near.
The acorn felt very sorry for her and said:
"I am too small to do you much good alone. If
you will carry me back to my home, I will show
you a forest with plenty of nuts. You can t-ake
your family there in the fall."
This the squirrel was very glad to do.
As they went along the acorn called to all the
The Secret of Fire.
elms, maples, willows and hickories to meet that
night on the hilltop.
"Come to the hill across from the great blue
mountains," he said. "There you will learn the
secret of fire."
By evening they were all there, in great com-
panies, ready for war on the pines.
When the squirrel came to the forest and saw all
the nuts she was much pleased.
She offered to carry the acorn to the very top of
the tallest tree. The trees were all glad of this,
for every one wanted to hear what he said.
When the acorn began to speak, even the wind
stopped whispering and listened.
"Friends," he said, "there must be no battle. The
pine trees have only the same gift of fire that you
have. To every tree that stretches out its arms the
glorious sun gives this gift. But it was in this way
that the pine trees learned the secret of getting the
fire from the wood: They saw an old Indian chief
with two curious pieces of wood. One was round
and smooth, the other was sharp-pointed. With
all his strength he was rubbing them together.
Soon he had worn a groove in the round stick. He
rubbed faster and faster, and there in the groove
was a tiny spark of fire. Then the Indian blew his
breath upon the spark and a little yellow flame
leaped up. All the pine trees saw it. 'See, it is
fire' they said."
64 Nature Myths and Stories.
When the great company of trees had heard the
acorn's story they shook their heads in doubt. Then
the acorn said:
"This is the true secret of fire. If you do not be-
lieve it why do you not try it for yourselves."
They took this advice and all the trees learned
that what he had said was true.
They were so happy that they spent the whole
night in singing and dancing.
In the morning, when they saw the great blue
mountains and the beautiful valley, many of them
settled down upon the hillside for life.
The pines looked up and saw hundreds of trees
with their shining arms. They were so frightened
that they climbed high up on the mountain side.
There they stayed a long, long time.
They grew sad and lonely, and often sighed and
wished for their old home and comforts. But they
The Secret of Fire.
were brave and strong-hearted, and helped each
At last, some of them came down into the valley
again. Through suffering they had grown strong
and unselfish. They gave their best trees to the
people and their fairest to the children at Christmas
Indeed, there is not a tree in the world to-day
more loved than the pine tree, who first had the
secret of fire.
A FAIRY STORY.
They were real fairies, many of them
not higher than a pin.
Their greatest treasure was a magic cap which
had been in the fairy family for many generations.
The most wonderful thing about the cap was
that it fitted exactly any one who wore it.
When one fairy put it on, he and all the others
A stupid race of giants lived among the moun-
tains near them. They wanted the fairy cap more
than anything else in the world.
One warm day when the elves were away from
home, a giant came into the glen. He was seeking
just such a cool place for his afternoon nap.
He was so large and the glen so small that when
he lay down he almost filled the valley.
The music of a fairy brook soon lulled him to
Perhaps you have heard how a giant snores, and
how his breath comes in great puffs.
The giant was snoring and puffing when the
fairies came towards home.
Nature Myths and Stories.
They heard the strange sound and thought a
great storm was brewing.
"There has never been such a wind in the glen,"
said the fairy queen.
"We will not go down into it. We must seek
shelter for to-night on this hillside."
Just then they came to the giant's ear.
"Here is a fine cavern," the queen said, and she
stopped and waved her wand.
A fairy hastened forward to carry the cap to a
safe place in the cave, for that was always their
Just then the giant awoke.
He raised his great head.
Oh, how miserable the fairies were!
They wept and moaned until even the dull ear of
the giant heard them.
It was a sound like the tolling of tiny silver bells.
He listened and understood what the wee voice
of the prisoner in his ear was saying.
He was the wisest and most kind-hearted of all
He helped the little creature gently out into his
hand, and looked at him in wonder.
He had never before seen a fairy.
In vain the brave little fellow tried to conceal the
The giant saw the wonderful star and knew at
once that he had the treasure cap of the elves.
68 Na ture Myths and Stories.
He set the fairy carefully upon the ground, and
shouted for joy as he found that the cap exactly
fitted his own great head.
The poor fairies could no longer see him, but
they heard a sound like thunder, as he hurried over
the stones towards his home.
They were now afraid to move about while the
They crept under leaves and into shells and cried
By sundown every plant in the glen was wet
with their tears.
The sharp eyes of the eagle on the mountain top
saw them and a great pity filled his heart.
"I must help the fairies," he said, "otherwise I
should not be worthy to be called the 'king of birds'."
He went directly to the home of the giants and
demanded the cap, but they refused to give it up.
___ ... _.._ r-. -7--_ *. .A
A Fairy Story.
All that an eagle could do, he did, but as the
giants wore the invisible cap he could not see
them. He could only hear their great voices.
He knew however that the giants were proud of
their great size and strength, and liked, above all
things, to be seen.
He was sure that they would not wear the cap
in battle, and he did not lose hope.
One day they carefully placed it under a large
stone on the mountain side below them.
The keen eye of the eagle was watching.
He flew fearlessly to the spot as soon as the
giants had left it.
He lifted the stone in his great talons, and was
soon flying away with the cap to the fairy glen.
The giants saw him, and knew at once what he
They began a fierce attack upon him.
The air was filled with flying arrows and sharp
rocks. Drops of blood fell on the mountain side,
and many feathers fluttered down, but the brave
eagle was soon out of their reach.
He did not stop until the cap was safe in the
fairy queen's lap.
There was great rejoicing among the fairies that
They had a feast in the eagle's honor, and healed
his wounds with fairy magic.
On the mountain side, wherever the blood and
70 Nature Myths and Stories.
feathers fell, there sprang up trees with featherlike
leaves and blood-red berries.
All the giants, fairies, plants and animals knew
why they grew.
The unselfish love in the eagle's blood could not
die, but lived again in the beautiful trees.
But people who did not know how they came
there, called them mountain ash trees.
ii i r
,"' 4, i .
PHILEMON AND BAUCIS.
N a high hill in Greece, long ago, lived Phile-
mon and Baucis. They had always been
-poor but never unhappy.
At the time of this story the people in the valley
below them were very busy.
Zeus, their king, had sent word that he was about
to visit them.
Hermes, his messsenger, was to come with him.
The people were getting ready great feasts, and
making everything beautiful for their coming. For
miles out of the city, men were watching for the
golden chariot and white horses of the king.
One night, just at dark, two beggars came into
They stopped at every house and asked for food
and a place to sleep.
But the people were too busy or too tired to
attend to their needs.
Footsore and weary, at last they climbed the hill
to the hut of Philemon and Baucis.
These good people had eaten scarcely anything
for several days that they might have food to offer
Nature Myths and Stories.
When they saw the strangers, Philemon said,
"Surely these men need food more than the king."
Baucis spread her one white table cloth upon the
She brought out bacon and herbs, wild honey
She set these before the strangers with all the
good dishes that she had.
Then a wonderful thing happened.
The dishes which the strangers touched turned
The milk in the pitcher became rich nectar.
Philemon and Baucis dropped upon their knees.
They knew that their guests could be no other
than Zeus and Hermes.
Zeus raised his hand and said, "Arise, good people,
ask what you will and it shall be yours."
Philemon and Baucis cried in one voice:
"Grant, oh Zeus, that one of us may not outlive
the other, but that both may die in the same
This had long been the wish in each heart, and
the fear of being left alone in the world was the
one trouble of their old age.
Zeus smiled and changed their rude hut into a
beautiful castle, and granted them many years of
One morning the people in the valley noticed that
the castle had disappeared
Philemon and Baucis.
They hurried to the spot and found growing in
its place two beautiful trees, an oak and a linden.
No trace of the good couple could be found.
Many years after, however, a traveller lying under
the trees heard them whispering to each other.
He lay very still and soon learned that in them
Philemon and Baucis still lived, happy and con-
tented, and protected by Zeus from all harm.
. APHNE was the daughter of the River
She was a beautiful child and her father
..j.. loved her more than anything else in the
Her home was in a cave which he had cut for
her in a great white cliff.
The walls of the cave were of marble.
From the roof hung crystal chandeliers which
Peneus' servants had made.
On the floor was a soft green carpet woven by
the water fairies.
Peneus brought his most beautiful pebbles to
Daphne's cave every night.
He sang songs to her in the evenings and told
her stories of his travels.
She visited with him the great island which he
was building in the sea.
When the morning star shone in the sky it was
Daphne who awakened the birds and flowers.
With her golden hair flying behind her, she sped
into the forest. Everything awoke when they felt
the touch of her rosy fingers, and smiled as they
saw her happy face.
Nature Myths and Stories.
The trees and the forest animals were her play-
fellows, and she had no wish for other friends.
She learned their ways, and the deer could not
run more swiftly than she, nor the birds sing more
One day as she was running over the stones
near the cave, King Apollo saw her.
"Ah, little maid," said he, "You are very beautiful.
Your feet are too tender for the hard rocky earth.
"Come, you shall live with me in my palace in
But Daphne fled from him.
She did not want to leave her beautiful earth
Fear gave her wings, and faster and faster she
Her hair streamed behind her like a cloud of
Apollo followed more swiftly than the wind.
"Stop and listen," he cried; "I am not a foe,
foolish girl. It is Apollo who follows you. I shall
carry you to a home more beautiful than anything
you have ever seen."
She felt his breath upon her hair, and saw his
hand as he stretched it forth to seize her.
"Father, save me from Apollo," she cried. "Let
the earth enclose me."
Peneus heard her voice and instantly her feet
became fastened in the soil like roots. A soft bark
76 Nature Myths and Stories.
covered her body and her beautiful hair became the
leaves of the laurel tree.
Apollo sadly gathered some of the leaves and
wove them into a wreath. He laid his hand upon
the tree and said, "I would have made you happy,
but you would not listen to me.
"At least you shall be my tree. Your leaves shall
be ever green, and heroes shall be crowned with
them in sign of victory."
AN INDIAN STORY OF THE MOLE.
., r N Indian once saw a squirrel sunning him-
self in a tree top.
The squirrel saw the hunter and leaped
upon a passing cloud.
He had escaped into Cloudland before an arrow
could reach him.
The Indian set a trap for him hoping that he
would soon return to the tree for food.
The sun happened to be coming that way and
was caught in the trap.
Suddenly, in the middle of the day, it became dark.
The Indian was frightened and said, "Ah me,
what have I done, I have surely caught the sun in
He sent many animals up to set it free, but all
were instantly burned to ashes.
At last the mole said, "Let me try, I shall bore
through the ground of the sky and gnaw off the
cords which hold the trap."
He did this, but just as he loosened the last cord
the sun sprang forth and the bright light shone full
in his eyes.
The poor mole dropped to the earth and though
Nature Myths and Stories.
his friends were able to save his life, he was
"You need not pity me," he said, "I prefer to live
underground, where really there is no use for eyes."
All the moles were so proud of this hero mole
that they tried to be like him in every way.
They, too, went to live in a dark hole in the
Their eyes, which they did not need to use, be-
came so small that they were entirely hidden by
their fur. Indeed it is now so hard to find them
that many people think the entire mole family is
HOW THE SPARK OF FIRE WAS SAVED.
ONG ago when fire was first brought to
earth, it was given into the care of two
beldams at the end of the world.
The Cahroc Indians knew where it was hidden.
They needed fire and were always planning ways
to get it.
They went at last to the wise coyote.
"That is simple enough," said he, "I will show
you a way to get it. Fire is a great blessing and
should be free to all people."
The coyote knew every inch of the road to the
Along the path leading to it, he stationed beasts,
the strongest and best runners nearer the hut and
the weaker ones farther off.
Nearest the guarded den, he placed one of the
sinewy Cahroc men.
Then he walked boldly up to the door of the hut
The beldams, not fearing a coyote in the least,
invited him in.
They were often lonely, living so near the end of
Nature Myths and Stories.
When the coyote had rested before the fire for
some time, he said, "The Cahroc nation need fire.
Could you not give them one small spark? You
would never miss it. Here it is of no use."
The beldams answered, "We do not love it, but
we dare not give it away. We must guard it while
The coyote had expected them to say this.
He sprang to the window, and instantly outside
were heard such sounds, that the beldams rushed
out to see what the frightful noise could be.
Each animal in the line was sounding the watch-
word of fire in his own way.
The wild horse neighed, the mountain lion roared,
the gray wolf howled, the serpent hissed, the
buffalo bellowed, and every small animal did its
part equally well.
Indeed, it is no wonder that the beldams were
frightened nearly to death.
The Cahroc man brought water and told them
not to fear for themselves.
The coyote seized a half-burned brand and was
off in an instant.
The beldams sprang after him and followed him
closely over hill and valley. Faster than the wind
They were stronger than he, and though he put
all his wild-wood nerve to the strain, they steadily
How the Saark of Fire was Saved.
Soon the race must end!
But Puma, the monstrous cat, was watching, and
leaped up just in time to save the brand.
Each animal was in its place and the good fire
It came at last to the Cahroc nation, and was
afterwards free to all people under the sun.
There were only two mishaps in all the race.
As the squirrel turned a corner of stumps and
bowlders, his beautiful tail caught fire, and a brown
track was burned up over his back to his shoulders,
and the curl has remained in his tail to this day.
The frog had a harder fate.
He was the last one in the line of beasts. When
the brand reached him it was smaller than the
smallest coal in the grate.
He seized it carefully and jumped forward as fast
as he could, but the hand of the foremost beldam
caught him and held him fast.
How his heart beat
His eyeballs bulged out of his head, and he has
looked ever since much in the same scared way.
He did not lose his courage, however. He
swallowed the coal and sprang into the water.
- Sad to tell, the beldam still held in her hand his
special pride and care, his tail.
Henceforth only the tadpoles could wear tails.
The frog sought a log and sat down upon it to
82 Nature Mylts and Stories.
"I did my duty, even if I lost my beauty," he
thought; "that is enough for a frog. This spark
must be saved."
After much choking he spat the swallowed
spark well into the bark.
The gift came, in this way, to all men; for, in even
the wettest weather, if you rub two sticks together,
fire is sure to come.
Because we know how the frog hurt his throat
that day, we like to listen to his hoarse voice when
we hear him singing to his children in the spring.
HE people in the North once believed that
High above the clouds was the beautiful
plain of Asgard.
Odin, ruler of Asgard, mighty Thor, and many
other heroes lived on the plain.
Their homes were great castles, splendid with
silver and gold.
In the middle of the plain, and apart from the
other dwellings, stood a pure white palace.
Nothing that was not fair and good had ever dared
to enter it.
It was the home of Balder.
Because of his great beauty and wisdom, he was
called "Balder the beautiful," and "Balder the
Everything loved him.
The dull rocks and the gray old mountains met
him with a smile.
The flowers opened, the birds sang and the water
sparkled when they saw his face.
One night he dreamed that he must soon leave
Asgard and all the things that he loved.
The next night he dreamed that he was living in
'h gloomy underground world.
84 Nature Myths and Stories
The third night, when the same terrible dream
came to him, he was greatly troubled.
He told Odin, his father, and Frigga, his mother,
Odin, in great fear, called together his wisest
They shook their heads but could do nothing to
Frigga cried, "It shall not bel I, his mother, will
She went straight way to Heimdal, who guarded
the rainbow bridge.
Bifrost, which was the name of the bridge, was
the only path which led from Asgard to the earth.
Heimdal allowed only those who lived in the
plain to pass over it.
All feared Heimdal, yet they loved him.
He could see to the ends of the world.
He could hear the wool growing on the sheep's
back, and knew when each grass blade broke into
Heimdal loved Balder and when he heard what
troubled Frigga, pitied her. He gave her his swift
black horse and showed her the way to the ends of
For nine days and nights she traveled without
food or rest.
She asked everything she met to promise not to
harm Balder. .
For Little Children-Balder.
Animals, flowers, trees, water, air, fire, everything
she asked gladly gave the promise.
They smiled in wonder at the question.
Who could wish to hurt the gentle Balder?
Alas, the mistletoe did not promise.
Frigga saw it growing high up on an oak tree.
It seemed too small and weak to do any harm.
She did not ask it to promise.
On the tenth day of her journey, she came back
again to Asgard.
She told the sorrowing Odin and his friends what
she had done.
In their joy they found a new way to do Balder
He stood in their midst while the most skillful
heroes hurled their arrows at him.
At first, they threw only small twigs and pebbles.
Everything, however, had soon proved itself true
to its promise.
Then the heroes lost all fear of harming him and
threw their.warlike weapons.
Balder stood unharmed and smiling among
Each day they met on the plain and in this sport
proved the love of all things for him.
The blind H6der was the only one in Asgard who
could not join in the game.
He was Balder's brother and loved him very
Nature Myths and Slories
Hbder was not unhappy, but always cheered
and shouted as gaily as the others.
One day as he stood alone, Loki saw him.
Loki was a mischief maker.
His jokes were often cruel; indeed, most of the
unhappiness in Asgard was caused by Loki's
H6der, why do you not do Balder honor?" asked
"I am blind," Hoder answered, "and besides I
have nothing to throw."
"Here is my arrow," said Loki. "Take it; I will
guide your hands."
Alas, the cruel Loki had made the arrow of mis-
He knew that this was the only way in which
Balder could be harmed.
He longed to see the surprise of the heroes when
Balder should at last be wounded.
Away flew the arrow.
Balder, the beautiful, fell lifeless to the ground.
Then all Asgard was dark with sorrow.
Strong heroes wept and would not be comforted.
The earth grew cold, white and still.
The water would not flow, and the seeds refused
The birds were silent. No flowers breathed their
perfumes into the air.
There was not a smile in all the world.
For Little Children-Balder.
Odin said, "This cannot be.
"Balder shall return. I, myself, will go and bring
him from Hela's dark regions."
But Frigga had already sent a messenger to the
spirit world to beg Queen Hela to release Balder.
While waiting for the messenger to return, the
heroes were not idle.
For twelve days and nights they worked as only
love can make men work. They did not pause for
food nor rest.
They built a great funeral pyre, and no one was
too small to help in the work of love.
They found Balder's ship upon the seashore.
They brought great logs from the forest and
bound them upon the deck.
Upon these they placed his beautiful white horse,
his dogs, his shining armor, and many things
which he had loved on earth.
When it was finished, they raised the sails, set
the ship on fire and pushed it out upon the sea.
They sang and wept all night until at sunrise the
They watched the flames die down and the
waves wash over the sinking ship.
As they turned sadly from the shore, they met
the messenger from Hela's regions.
"Rejoice," he said, "Hela says, 'If everything
living and lifeless weep for Balder, he may return
88 Nature Myths and Stories.
There was great happiness in Asgard that day.
"Surely," they thought, "everything in the world
will weep for Balder."
They had forgotten the cruel Loki.
He sat with dry eyes though rocks and trees,
birds and flowers, wind and clouds-were shedding
When Odin found that Balder could not return to
life, his anger and grief were terrible to see.
In fear, Loki hid himself deep in the earth under
Frigga knew that he was conquered, and she
patiently waited for the time when Balder should
again be allowed to bring gladness to the earth,
and fill all the heavens with the glory of his smile.
HOW THE CHIPMUNK GOT THE STRIPES ON
O you all know the little striped chip-
munk which lives in our woods?
He has a cousin in far off India called
It is said the stripes came on the back of the
geloori in a wonderful way.
One day the great Shiva saw a little gray chip-
munk on the seashore.
He was dipping his bushy tail into the sea, and
shaking out the water on the shore.
Twenty times a minute he dipped it into the
In wonder, Shiva said, "What are you doing,
little foolish, gray, geloori? Why do you tire your-
self with such hard labor?"
The geloori answered, "I cannot stop, great
"The storm blew down the palm tree, where I
built my nest.
"Seel the tree has fallen seaward, and the nest
lies in the water; my wife and pretty children are
in it; I fear that it will float away. Therefore all
NVaure Myths and Stories.
day and all night I must dip the water from the
"I hope soon to bale it dry.
"I must save my darlings even if I spoil my tail."
Shiva stooped and with his great hand stroked
the little squirrel.
On the geloori's soft fur from his nose to the end
of his tail, there came four green stripes! They
were the marks of Shiva's fingers, placed there as
signs of love.
Shiva raised his hand, and the water rolled back
from the shore. Safe among the rocks and sea-
weeds, the palm tree lay on dry land.
The little squirrel hastened to it; his tail was now
high in the air. He found his wife and children
dry and well in their house of woven grass-blades.
As they sang their welcomes to him, the geloori
noticed with delight that each smooth little back
was striped with marks of Shiva's fingers.
This sign of love is still to be seen upon the back
That is the reason why in India, good men never
A man who loves both children and chipmunks
says, when he tells this story, "Perhaps our squirrels,
though Shiva never stroked them, would be grate-
ful if we left them, unharmed, to play in the maples
in our woods.
THE FOX AND THE STORK.
FOX met a stork and invited himto dinner.
S "With all my heart, friend," said the
When they arrived at the home of
the fox and dinner was served, he was not so
The fox had fine hot soup, but he served it in
The poor stork could only stand by and watch
the fox eat.
The fox seemed to think that it was a very good
The next day the stork met the fox and invited
him to dinner. The stork brought out fine hot soup
in a high narrow necked bottle, but the fox could
not see the joke at all.
The stork said, "Friend fox, enjoy your dinner.
I hope that the soup is as well flavored as yours
As he said this he poured out half of the soup
into a bowl and set it before thefox.
The cunning old fox felt so ashamed that he has
never looked anyone straight in the face since that
REECE is far away to the east over a great
ocean. It is a very small country with
high mountains in every part of it.
The people who lived there long ago could not
easily go from one place to another.
Some of the mountains reached above the clouds
and made great walls around their homes. Men
sometimes lived all their lives near the sea and
never saw it.
These people who were shut up in the little
valley of Greece -did many wonderful things.
As they could not go far from their homes they
had time to see how beautiful the things around
Perhaps they looked at the sky so much that
they wished to have everything on earth just as
They gave their children work to do which made
them strong and graceful.
Some of the Greeks carved statues from the
marble in the mountains. Some built great temples
Some painted pictures, while others made gardens
more beautiful than pictures.
Nature Myths and Stories.
Others wrote books. Many of the stories you
like were written by the poets who lived in Greece
In all these ways the Greeks showed their love
for their country and made it a better place in which
Though they were so wise they had mgny
thoughts which seem strange to us.
They believed that long before they were born a
race of giants had lived among the mountains.
At one time the giants grew angry with Zeus,
their king, and wished .to take his throne away
There was a wise giant, named Prometheus, who
begged them not to attempt to do this.
He tried to show them how foolish they were.
They would not listen to him. Zeus lived upon
Mount Olympus, the highest mountain in Greece.
The giants brought great rocks to this mountain
and piled them up, higher and higher, until they
reached the sky.
Zeus waited until the giants had finished their
work and were ready for battle.
Then he put out his hand and touched the great
mound. Instantly it fell over into the sea.
Prometheus and his brother were now the only
people on earth.
They were so lonely that Zeus told them to
model some people from clay.
Nature Myths and Stories
Prometheus made animals and men and Epime-
theus, his brother, gave them gifts of courage,
swiftness and strength.
To some he gave feathers and wings, to others
fur and claws, and to others a hard shelly cover-
When he came to man he had no covering left.
Zeus said, "I will clothe man," and that is the
reason his covering is so delicate and beautiful.
Prometheus' people could not breathe.
Zeus sent him to kolus, the god of the winds, for
Eolus sent his strong son, North Wind, back with
When North Wind saw the people of clay he
whistled with surprise.
He blew his breath upon them.
They turned as white as snow and began to
They were a cold people, however, and Prome-
theus did not love them.
He went to Eolus again and this time South Wind
and the zephyrs came with him.
South Wind brought the people green grass and
flowers and birds.
The zephyrs showed them how to laugh and cry
and sing and dance.
But the people were stupid.
They lived like ants in dark caves.
For Little Children-Prometheus.
Prometheus saw that there was only one thing
which would help them.
That was fire.
Fire was the most precious thing Zeus had, and
he kept it ever burning around his throne.
When Prometheus asked for fire Zeus was angry.
"I have already given too much to your people,"
he said. "Let them now help themselves."
Prometheus was sad, indeed.
He loved his people more than he did himself.
At last he said: "They shall have the fire. I will
pay for it with my life."
'He went straight to Zeus' throne and filled a
ferule with it, and carried it to his people.
Then the people began to be wise.
He taught them to cook, and to build houses, and
to sail their ships upon the ocean.
He showed them how to get rich ores from the
mountains and prepare them for use.
They learned how to plow and to reap and to
store up their food for the winter.
Zeus was angry with Prometheus.
He chained him to a rock on the top of a high
He sent a great bird each day to torment him.
Zeus said that he must stay there until he
repented and returned the fire to heaven.
There Prometheus stayed and suffered for many
burning summers and long, cold winters.
96 Nature Myths and Stories
Sometimes he grew faint hearted and wished to
Then he looked down and saw how the fire was
helping the people and how happy they were, and
he grew strong again.
After many, many years, a Greek hero who was
sailing over the mountain in a golden cup, saw
It was Hercules. He shot the birdwith a golden
arrow, unbound the chains and set the wise Prome-
((o EOLUS was the father of all the winds,
great and small.
Long ago, they all lived happily together
in a dark cave, near the sea.
On holidays, North Wind, South Wind, East Wind
and West Wind and their faithful sisters, came home
and told of their travels.
The whirlwinds performed their most wonderful
feats, and the zephyrs sang their sweetest songs.
These holidays, however, did not come often.
There were no idle children in the family of
They swept and dusted the whole world. They
carried water over all the earth. They helped push
the great ships across the ocean.
The smaller winds scattered the seeds and
sprinkled the flowers, and did many other things
which you may find out for yourselves.
Indeed, they were so busy that /Eolus was often
left alone in his dark home for several days at a
He was glad when one summer morning a baby
came to the cave.
The baby's name was Hermes, but /Eolus called
him Little Mischief," because he was so little and
so full of tricks.