I:i i Q
A ^ ''* : '' :1 J
DAY & SON (25 years Lithographers to tlh Queen), 21A, BERNERS STREET, W.
SIMPKIN, MARSHALL, HAMILTON, KENT & CO., LIMITED.
Written and Illustrated b
/ iraZe &
'Mlbtspereb bV the Leaves .
Rt Storp of the first Scarecrow
Ube Storp of a Iigo' .
Ube "bree Pittle 3acktin-tbeooeges.
TZlbat the Jeecb %eaves olb .
3Babg JBese .
U ~be 5torr of the Ubree Crows
Ube :Blue IDrincess .
Ube Sab fate of ]poor Pritcles .
iaIbat tbe laurel leaves toIb .
t1 Dream storp .
* Preface 5
. Vignette 80
Sixty-five full-page and other Engravings illustrate the above Stories.
'lbhispereb b the leaves.
SAVE you ever been in a wood when the wind is playing about among
I' the trees ?
Have you stopped to listen among the green leaves down a country lane
-or even in your own garden at such a time?
What do you hear ?
Well, most little girls and boys would hear a rustling and pitter-pattering
of one leaf against another, sometimes even an angry surging rush; and they
might say what a little girl I once knew said to me-" I am sure the leaves are
talking about something, if only I could understand it."
And I have listened and dreamed, and thought and listened again on breezy
evenings when I have had time to wander alone, and I soon began to understand
the language of the leaves; and many an interesting story they have told, which
as it pleased me, I think will also please you.
Sometimes the whispering is sad and low, and ends in a sob; at others,
perhaps one little active leaf will pitter-patter out in a flutter of excitement a
tale so terrible that all the rest hold their breaths in a silent hush of expectation
However, tales like these should not reach the ears of good children;
so you will not find them in this book.
But there are funny tales-you cannot think how leaves can laugh over a
good joke! Oh, they will dance up and down, and twirl round, and even shiver
WHISPERED BY THE LEA VES.
and tremble with delight at anything particularly good; and the great tree
trunks shake their sides, swaying backwards and forwards in good fellowship,
often cracking their branches with laughter. And as I know little people are
as fond of a good laugh as my friends the leaves, I shall tell more amusing
stories than sad ones.
Where do the leaves hear all the stories ?" perhaps you say, for they
grow in one place, so cannot know much."
"Ah, well! it is the frolicsome wind that first tells them, and then they
tell each other. You see the wind goes everywhere-north, south, east, and
west-seeing all sorts; so he, being a great traveller, always has plenty to
He often takes the leaves, too, on a short journey, and then they can tell
their own experiences as they skip about on the gravel path, or flutter down in
heaps to die.
I wonder if you children will like what the green leaves whispered to me,
and what I have told these paper leaves to whisper over again to you.
-/ .] "...
" ONE DAY A LITTLE GIRL,
a ztorr of the first Scarecrow.
TOLD TO THE HEDGEROWS BY THE SOUTH WIND.
AVE you ever heard, little leaves, of the wonderful country called the Land
of Imagination ?
You will not find it in a map, however long a time you search for it;
but everyone has been there, and can tell you something interesting about
it; and some folks come back
from their travels in this land
with very marvellous stories --
The best thing about
living there is that you can
do exactly as you please, and
cause whatever you like to
happen; the one great draw-
back to this delightful state i I
of things being that no one g
can stay there very long, for -
it is not a work-a-day world,
so that they must return to
this earth very often to get
The beggars here are generally kings there. Hungry public schoolboys,
with scant halfpence in their pockets, are there the owners of large
confectioners' shops, where they can eat as much as ever they like of
everything, without paying, from first thing on Monday morning till last
thing on Saturday night.
Little girls sit up late, wear long trains, and go to balls, like mamma.
No one need trouble to be so polite as to take the smallest piece of things,
for each piece is BIGGER than the other; and as to being put in the corner,
why, as there are no bounds to the Land of Imagination, it stands to reason
that without walls there can be no corners.
A STORY OF THE FIRST SCARECROW.
Authors and the people who make all the nice books for children, very
often take trips into this charming land, and as no one finds things the same
there, each one's account is interesting.
(I am very fond, indeed, of visiting this country, and find it difficult to drag
myself away. But once I am back again in the world, I sit down with my pencil
and india-rubber to try and show to eager little eyes the scenes that I have seen,
and away runs my pen along the lines of the paper, leaving an account of it all
to be read by the same eager eyes.)
And now you will want to hear what the wind has to say about the
" Great Ugly Thing."
Well, down in one of the counties or divisions of the Land of Imagination
there is a nook where some queer folks called brownies live. They are very
funny, tiny people, dressed all in brown, with high-peaked hats and great
staring eyes. They are exceedingly good to good people, and are especially
fond of children; but it is only very good children who can see them.
One day, a dear little girl, called Maysie, strayed into the brownies' land.
We know she was good ; otherwise she could not have found her way there,
for nothing bad or naughty can get into Brownie Land.
She was dressed all in pink, and as she toddled along, the flowers nodded
their heads in approval, and whispered together-
"Yes, yes; she is good and bonny."
And on hearing this, hundreds of brownies swung themselves out of the
flower-cups to look at and greet the little maiden, while a sweet song was wafted
in and out among the daffodil stalks:
O, yellow Lent lilies,
The brownies are peeping around from your bells,
At a dear little maiden,
With eyes wonder-laden,
Who has strayed in the ring of their magical spells."
Brownies are quick in coming to any conclusion; and after giving Maysie a
few minutes' hard stare with their round eyes, they summoned a parliament in
the daffodil dell, and elected her as their Queen, under the name of Sweet
Laughter "; for they said it made them happier to look at her, with her dimples
and sunny smiles.
Sweet Laughter was charmed with her new playfellows, and made up her
mind never to go back to the earth, where people so often thought she was
doing wrong when she did not mean to be, and where she was many times
whipped for what she had not done at all.
A STORY OF THE FIRST SCARECROW.
A r al.'l
L. vGL THING
. in the corutie-ll"
(See p. 12.)
Io A STORY OF THE- FIRST SCARECROW.
"They don't understand-they don't understand," she would say, sorrow-
fully, to herself; "I never mean to be naughty, but they say I am."
The little brownies did understand, though; and she and they were as happy
as the day was long. All the woodland creatures were
under the wee men's control; and, oh, what fun they had
together, with Sweet Laughter at their head as Queen !
She spent part of every day helping the brownies to
pick off and clear away the dead or dyin iji blossoms of
the wood, and she would give eichi pretty kiiks a-Is s h
brushed off their sparkling tear-dropl:s: for the ifloers -
have many sorrows, as you would
judge if you noticed the number
of tears shining in their cups and
on their leaves. And the flowers
would wave their heads, and
tinkle their tiny bells, in grati-
tude to Sweet Laughter, as she
worked among them.
In happiness and goodness,
fun and frolic, the days rolled by.
Each morning, Sweet
Laughter was awakened from her
bed of soft moss by hundreds of
small dicky-birds' songs,
and, after a merry day,
would be fanned to sleep
with waving ferns by the
good brownies, who guarded
her while she slept, and
gave her dreams like the
transformation scene at the
But one morning, in- '
stead of awaking to see
smiles and mischief on the '
their round eyes were wide open in astonishment, and they were talking fast
and eagerly, making such a noise, rushing backwards and forwards, tumbling
about excitedly, and altogether very much disturbed.
A STORY OF THE FIRST SCARECROW.
Some of them were talking earnestly in mysterious groups, while others sat
blankly staring at each other, or their own toes, holding their heads helplessly,
as if they could not make it out at all.
Sweet Laughter jumped up, feeling frightened; so frightened, indeed, that
she quite forgot to comfort herself in her usual manner, by putting her finger
in her mouth.
(I have been told in confidence by many babies, that there is nothing so
comforting as sucking your thumb; and I can quite believe it-that is, from a
baby's point of view, for great faith must accompany the process to obtain the
result desired; and it is only among babies and children that so great faith is
found nowadays. Indeed, it is fast disappearing from among them; perhaps
by the time it has, the old folks will have become like little children again.)
She looked anxiously at the brownies, but their great eyes were like so
many black boot-buttons gaping at her; so, finding that they did not tell
her what was the matter, Sweet Laughter looked piteously from one to another,
A STORY OF THE FIRST SCARECROW.
"Oh, dear brownies, do tell me what is the matter. I can see that
you are frightened because you know of something dreadful; but what must
I be, for I do not know; and that is far worse."
The brownies whispered together.
Shall we tell her ? She might die of fright, and then we shall lose our
sunbeam. No-we will not let her know."
"But," suggested one, "she might be able to advise us what to do if she
knew-besides, she is our Queen, and ought to know everything we do."
Sweet Laughter watched them whispering together, and seeing that they
were inclined to give way, she settled the matter by saying-
I will give you all a kiss, dear brownies, if you will only tell me."
The funny little fellows could not resist her pleading pretty face, and with a
rush they all scrambled up to her, knocking each other over in their hurry to
How many kisses she gave away I cannot tell, and you would be quite wrong
if you thought that by counting the brownies you would get at the number,
for I rather fancy many of them had more than one.
But when Sweet Laughter began to think she had given as many kisses as
there were brownies, she commanded them to sit on the grass, and tell her what
was the matter.
Like obedient subjects, they did as they were told, and sat down.
But so important and mysterious was the news they had to tell, that each
little brownie put his hand to his mouth, and looking fearfully round lest he
should be overheard, gradually edged and sidled closer and closer up to Sweet
Laughter's ear; and this is what each one said in a low but impressive voice-
There's a great UGLY . .. THING . in
the cornfield "
What is it ? said the little girl.
We do not know," they all whispered.
"We have never seen anything like it before; it must be something very
bad, for the birds dare not go near it."
Let us go and see it," said Sweet Laughter; bring my carriage quickly,
dear brownies, and we will see what can be done."
So, in a trice-which is a very short space of time, you know; and brownies
do most of their work in a trice-the harebell carriage was harnessed with
rabbits. Sweet Laughter jumped in, a trusty brownie leapt on each steed,
and away they went in the direction of the cornfield; while all the others raced
and ran as fast as they could by a short cut, to get there at the same time.
Arrived at the field, the little girl had no sooner jumped out of her
A STORY OF THE fIRST SCARECROW.
The brownies agreed, and another par-
liament was called in the daffodil dell, to
i discuss this horrible scare.
S\ But after long debates, it was
finally decided that nothing could
be done until they knew something
of the nature of their enemy, what its
powers were, and, consequently, how they
Best could set about dealing with it.
A guard of brownies was selected
to watch at a distance by day, and
VI \another by night, to report all that
went on in the cornfield.
S Many days and many nights
passed, and the two guards had
Their watch was over.
To the Queen's question-
"What news of the Great
"" "N Ugly Thing ?"
carriage than Ugly Thing 2"
a The night watch
the rabbits caught Te night w at
sight of the Great answered-
Ugly Thing, and scuttled "None, sweet
madam, except that
away, with their white tails madam
behind them, as fast as they it flaps, and flaps,
S V '^ \ and flaps in the
could go; for they were terrified. and flaps in the
Sweet Laughter held up her hands breeze, and
in astonishment, and she and the looks very
grim in the
brownies stood staring at it, huddling ri i e
against each other every time it moved, moonlight "
which it did very often, for a slight breeze
was blowing-and flap, flap, flap, went the
great black rags that clothed it.
None of them dare go near it, and in a
very short time their fright grew to such a pitch
(for the Great Ugly Thing looked as if it would jump p
at them every minute) that the little Queen said- -.
"Well, I think we had better go away from here, to ,
settle what shall be done." \ '"
A STORY OF THE FIRST SCARECROW.
And the day watch also answered-
"None, sweet madam, except that it flaps, and flaps, and flaps in the
breeze, and looks very grim in the sunlight."
"What do the I.ir.ls sa. of it .'" then '.i
asked the Queen.
"Oh, they do inot -:- niear it.," answered
the guard. --'
The Queen thciouht a while: then ordered
all the dicky-birds to I.e sent to ber.
Now, dickies," said Sweet Laughter,
" as you have wings, and can therefore fly
high up into the air if anything should happen, I ask you to go and have an
interview with the Great Ugly Thing, demand what its intentions are, and
whether it comes as a friend or an enemy, and report to me accordingly."
The birds were in a terrible fluster when they heard their Queen's
Poor soft fluffy things; they fluttered their wings, chirruped, and hopped
here, and flew there in a great state of consternation'; but they soon agreed that
if it must be done-and they did not ,for one moment' hesitate on that point-
the sooner it were done and over the better.
Accordingly, in very strong numbers, they took their flight to the cornfield.
Timidly and gradually they approached the gaunt, grim giant, who was
standing amongst the wheat-ears in a threatening attitude, silent and horrible.
Just as the crowd of birds wheeled close upon it, a great gust of wind swept
from over the hills, along the corn, and swirled round the Great Ugly Thing.
It wildly swung itself about, angrily shaking its black rags in their faces,
making at the same time a nasty slapping noise.
In less than no time there was not a bird to be seen near it; they were off
to the next field as fast as their wings would carry them, and from the hedges
A STORY OF THE FIRST SCARECROW
Nothing further happened, and presently, in companies of twenty and
thirty, they ventured near again.
For they saw, as they watched, that however fierce it looked, and however
much it threatened, it never really moved from its post.
At last, a bolder bird than most of them, flew, with a defiant chirp, and gave
a great peck at the thing's hat.
And seeing him so brave, dozens more rushed in, and closed around it,
pecking and chirruping in high chorus; and it was not long before rows
and rows of dicky-birds were perched in happy unconcern on every spare
inch of the black bogie's swaying body.
And then, how they laughed and how perky and impudent they were to it,
for they found it was utterly harmless; it was nothing but an emptiness-a body
containing no soul, an outward appearance of power; merely, in fact, a Great
Ugly Thing, with no wish or power to do the harm that it appeared to
Merry was the return to the Queen with the news of the harmlessness of
their supposed enemy, and great was the general rejoicing.
Go," said Sweet Laughter to the night watch, "go and clear away a use-
less Nothing; an unmeaning Thing shall never be allowed to cumber the ground
in my dominions.'
And that night, when the moon was up, the spiders and lizards that crept
round about, were startled by the arrival of the brownies, who, in high glee,
clambered up, and scrambled all over the Ugly Thing; and finally, after plenty
of fun and frolic in the moonlight, a stout brownie rope was thrown around it,
and a strong pull and a long pull" brought it with a heavy flop down to
There it lay-helpless, flat, and no longer awe-inspiring; trampled on by
brownies, hopped over by birds, crept upon by creeping things, and despised
by all. The busy, tiny folk soon dragged it down, deep down, into the bottomless
hole, where everything ugly and useless was cast.
But was this thing ugly and useless because they thought it so ? I will
leave you to say. For, you see, a brownie can only judge of. things from a
brownie's point of view; and you will only judge of it, I expect, from your point
of view, so that may not be quite the right view either.
Perhaps my point of view may not be any more correct, so I will not
trouble you with it.
Well," pattered he hedge leaves to the south ind, "now e think that,
Well," pattered the hedge leaves to the south wind, now we think that,
A STORY OF THE FIRST SCARECROW.
as the scarecrow was placed in the field by the farmer to frighten the birds from
taking the corn, from his point of view (and surely he was the most important
judge in this case), though it may have been ugly, yet it was useful; in fact,
its use depended on its very ugliness."
Ah," answered the wind; that may be-from a man's point of view, but
what of it from the birds' point of view? They were deprived by the Great
Ugly Thing of the corn they thought intended for them, and there were hundreds
of birds, but only one farmer."
Oh, we see," pattered the leaves; "and the majority are always in the
right, are they not? "
Well, they think so," said the wind, "but the minority do not."
Then who was right in this case ? demanded the inquiring leaves; "the
brownies and their Queen, the birds, or the farmer ? "
How can I tell ? replied the wind ; perhaps none of them, perhaps all
of them. It depends where and what you are as to what the answer to the
Well, then," said the leaves, getting angry, from our points of view ? "
"Why, evidently you, as leaves, can best answer that yourselves," was
the reply. "I am not a leaf,
so could not see it from a leaf's
point of view only."
"Dear me," snapped the leaves,
then from your point of view, if you are
so lart icular ? "
I do not judge from any one point of
vietw; I look all round a question, and so haye no
opin inns. I simply know."
-The leaves heard no more, the wind had
S.g one; and they could not tell whether he
had said all he meant to, or whether his
sentence was unfinished; it might be,
S- or might not.
Uhe Storp of a llMigo .
rHERE was once a piggy who lived in a sty; which, as I hear you all
laughing, you evidently think was not a very unusual thing for a
pig to do.
He had a little curly-tailed brother, whose one ambition in life was to be
He longed and squeaked for this daily, from the early morning, when he
was awakened by the sun's rays glinting through the wooden palings of the sty,
- ItIif 1p
until the evening, when it sunk behind the tall row of haystacks, leaving him
alone with his thoughts in darkness.
More especially did he desire, however, to change his state for a better,
when he and his brother were obliged to regale themselves on potato parings
floating about in the rinsings from the washing-up of the dishes; but though he
turned up his nose, and gave three extra curls to his tail for very scorn, that did
not prevent him entering into competition for the larger share.
But to return to his wish. He did not so much care what, or where his
THE STORY OF A PIGGY,
kingdom might be, so long as he could rule; for the fact was, his brother
governed him with such a stern hand, or foot, to speak correctly (for piggies'
hands are feet, you know), especially in connection with such things as the best
bits in the pig-wash, that little Squealikins longed to try his foot at lording it
He did try it on sometimes with my Lord Chanticleer, a pompous knight with
spurs, and red crest to his helmet; but piggy dare not go too far with him; and
often, when he saw that he had offended Sir Cock's dignity, he had to cover his
own retreat under pretence of chasing the clucking hens.
What fun it was, too, for a time; and a good scamper after them went a
long way towards putting his discontent out of his mind, and he would get so
excited that the poor hens generally had a hard race for it, I can tell you.
But even four legs are of little avail against wings, Squealikins con-
cluded one day, when leaving his brother to finish the chase, he squeaked
his way across the field, through
the open front door of the farm,
down a long passage, and into
S- a bright room, where he became
Aware of very delicious odours
Stealing from the fireplace.
S--Squealikins sniffed around,
and presently put his mischievous
little trotters" on the table, and
there he saw a string of uncooked
Catching hold of one end,
he began to munch, and finding
how nice they tasted, as well as
looked, he munched on and on
till he felt he had had enough.
But when that time came,
/' / Squealikins found that though
he was quite willing to leave the
rest of the sausages for some-
one else, they would not be left, for they were all tied together, and he had
eaten the string.
Poor little Piggy! He squealed in earnest now, and his cries brought
in the brother, who, seeing in a moment how matters stood, and being rather
fond of a joke, began to laugh and jeer at poor Squealikins, saying-
THE STORY OF A PIGGY
"He! he Now I shall call you brother two-tails.' Ha! ha! ha! We
shall all have an end some day, but you already have two."
This was too much for our little hero, who put his real tail between his legs,
and galloped away from the taunts of his unkind brother in such a fluster and
hurry that, heedless of where he went, he dashed right into the open oven,
which was almost on a level with the floor; and the cook, coming in at that
moment, went straight up, and banged to the door without noticing anything
unusual; for her mind was much preoccupied, as a good cook's mind should be,
with thoughts of her puddings and pies; and the noise all around of frying and
frizzling quite drowned poor Piggy's squeals; so he met, I am afraid, with an
untimely death, which is very often the fate of those who aspire to a throne.
I Then up the stairs he hopped,
STo a bedroom in he popped,
Where he met a fellow chicky face to
f i : So he squeaked a little chirp,
And he cheaped a little
And he pulled a very ugly chick-
l A,,lllllH ll l l[ll llllY I 1i grimace.
A-Extract from A Funny Tale."
Zbe Zbree little aack=in=tbesboaes.
"When the wind is in the East,
'Tis neither good for man nor beast."
T HIS is an old saying, and one in which Mrs. White put great faith; for one
o bright sunny day, when her three children were looking forward to a walk
in the country, Mamma said-
They had not recovered so very long ago from the influenza, and the East
wind, as you little readers perhaps know, is cutting, sharp, and cold; so Mamma
told the children to make themselves happy in the nursery.
The East wind whirled in gusts round the house, but finding the little ones
did not come out, he swept up the front staircase and whistled to them through
the nursery keyhole ; and as they paid no attention to him, he listened and
peeped to see what was going on.
Moppie, the eldest of the three children, was so called
because of her fair, fluffy hair; she was a dear, bonnie
girl, and very good to the two younger ones.
The day was chubby Arthur's birth-
day, and among other lovely toys he *
had been given a Jack-in-the-box.
Oh! such a grinning, ugly fright; '
it made him jump and scream when
he saw that wobbly thing pounce out
with a squeak as Moppie let go the
And then it stared at him until he
ran away screaming, thinking it must
be alive, and would come after him.
At least, he felt sure such a disagree-
able looking thing must be able to sting,
and he whispered his fears to Moppie,
who had put the toy down when she
saw how it frightened him, and went to comfort the little boy.
Why no, it isn't a stinger," she said (a stinger was the children's name
for a wasp or a bee), and indeed it won't hurt; it is only an ugly dollie. It
can't do anything by itself, can it, Milly "
22 THE THREE LITTLE JACK-IN-THE-BOXES.
Look, Milly is not afraid of it," said Moppie, as Milly, doing her best to
re-assure her little brother, pulled its nose and said Bo to it.
Arthur looked, expecting to see the angry little man snap and spring at
Milly for her impudence ; but finding he kept quite still, Arthur looked up into
Moppie's face smiling, and began to feel brave.
But still he clung to Moppie's hand, and let Milly play with his toy; and
when she tried to make him take it at last, he puckered up his face, and was just
beginning to cry again, only the girl took it away in time to prevent him, and
whispered in her sister's ear, Suppose we play a game at being Jack-in-the-
boxes ; perhaps he will not be so frightened then."
And out loud she said, "I'll tell you what; let us all be Jack-in-the-boxes,
shall we ? "
Moppie clapped her hands, and shouted-
Oh yes, what fun! "
And Milly danced about, hugging the toy in great delight at the idea.
"Of course we must first get something to put on our heads," said Moppie;
" 'cos you see a Jack-in-the-box always seems to have a cap, doesn't it ?"
Of course we must dress up a bit," agreed Milly.
So they hunted about, and at last among the toys found a pink cap that one
of them had had in a cracker at the last party they went to.
This fitted Moppie, and she popped it on; and finding nothing that would do
for Milly in the cupboard, she went to the chest of drawers and took a small blue
handkerchief out of her necktie box, and tying it under Milly's chin, she was
also ready for the performance.
Nothing would induce Arthur to have anything put on him; the prettiest
handkerchiefs would not tempt him, and the little girls at last gave up trying to
Well, now the Jacks were ready to jump out of a box, but they had not
yet decided what to jump out of.
Milly said the toy cupboard, and squeezed herself in, but in so doing caught
sight of Moppie's three-legged garden stool, and pulled it out, saying-
Oh, let us jump off our stools; here is yours, Moppie, and here's mine,
and Arthur can be the people, and look at us."
So they perched themselves up on the stools, holding each other's hands,
and with a one-two-and three-off they sprang, squeaking as like a Jack-in-
the-box as they could.
Arthur clapped and shouted
Hooray do it again."
So up they scrambled to repeat this exciting game, which went on till he
THE THREE LITTLE JACK-IN-THE-BOXES. 23
fairly laughed and screamed with delight; for every time the little girls made
funnier squeaks and uglier faces, and it was really most amusing.
In the middle of it all, Milly gave a long "Oh-h-h!!! iWhy didn't we
think of it before? It's just the very thing; it really is a box."
"What! what !" said Moppie, Do tell me, Milly, quick-quick. I don't
like havin' patience."
For Moppie had noticed that when she particularly wanted Nurse to let her do
anything at once, she was generally told to "have patience," and made to wait.
"Why, look! answered Milly, there's the old oak chest-the very thing;
it will just hold us all, I do believe. Come
along-let us get in, and shut it down."
Even Arthur thought this a fine idea,
and agreed to be a Jack if he might get into
So those three funny children scrambled
over the side into the chest, and shut the lid.
i Just at this minute, Mamma, who had
heard downstairs the noise the children were
making, and who thought she would see what
they were up to-for she loved to watch
them enjoying themselves-came into
the nursery, and was surprised to see
no one there.
"Why, Moppy, Milly, Arthur-where are you? And what are you
doing ?" she called, thinking that perhaps they were hiding.
Before, however, she had time to say any more, open went the lid of the old
oak chest, and up popped three little figures; their arms were spread out wide,
24 THE THREE LITTLE JACK-IN-THE-BOXES.
WNt- 9 b p rZ(~%
THE THREE LITTLE JACK-IN-THE-BOXES. 25
and Milly was trying to make a funny face, but ended with a ringing peal of
laughter, in which the other two joined, as they said in a chorus -
"Oh, Mamma, we are all Jack-in-the-boxes "
And, then, when theylhad' !scrambled out, Milly told Mamma how they had
been trying to make Arthur like his toy, and Mamma said she thought their
play was a very good way of setting to work.
"And I think she was right," whistled the wind, "for what do you think I
saw Master Arthur doing a few hours after ? "
Oh, what ?-do tell us," fluttered out the leaves he was relating this tale to;
and some of them tried to get in front of the others in their eagerness to hear.
"Have patience, and wait," said the wind quoting the Nurse, as he whisked
away round the corner.
SThe leaves all became quite
still with disappointment, and
S: -- ll'lB hung drooping on the tree.
., "How very cutting," said
The East wind always is,"
answered a neighbour; it is
S/ his nature, and I suppose he
cannot help it."
He might have told us,"
remarked another. "I don't
like 'having patience.' "
"That is what Moppie
said," mischievously answered
Sp / the wind, for he had only gone
Sound the corner to tease them.
"Well, I will tell you. 1
S saw him fight the Jack-in-the-
box with a stick, so he had
evidently got over his fear."
"And which won ?" enquired the leaves.
Oh," answered the wind, "I should think Arthur did, for I have not seen
anything of the Jack-in-the-box since."
Mabat the 3Beecb leaves Zolb.
WAS passing a silver beech tree, and noticed all the leaves were trembling,
and had turned the wrong way, which, with a leaf, is the same as our
Something was the matter evidently, and I stopped to enquire; and this
is the story they whispered very softly over to me, shivering as they
reached the melancholy end.
Ruth Denison was a bright, bonny girl, the only little daughter of the
Rev. Robert Denison.
Her father was a clergyman in the picturesque old town of Whitby.
He would often take his pretty daughter with him on his rounds of
visiting the poor, and there was nothing Ruth liked- better, unless, perhaps,
it was the planning and talking over with him what they could do for this
or that family, or thinking out some pleasant surprise for particular cases.
As Ruth's mother was dead, she had
to be as helpful as she could to her
father; and the
little girl became, 4
as time went on,
very thoughtful for- --
others, and never
hesitated to deny
herself, if by so
doing she could
make anyone .
Now, one day
she was much
impressed by the utterly sad
and hopeless condition o
little Jim Medd, a boy who
was dying of consumption.
She felt she would like
to give him something to cheer him up a bit, and amuse the poor little
He could not read, and even looking at pictures tired his weak eyes;
WHAT THE BEECH LEAVES TOLD. 27
WHAT THE BEECH LEAVES TOLD.
toys she had very few of herself, and none that a boy would care for. But
there was one thing she had that a little invalid might like, she thought
-it was a pet rabbit.
She had three, and was so fond of them, she was quite sure Jimmy also
would like one as much as she did; he could
have it often on his bed, and play with it; for
her pet of the three, the one she intended to
give him, was very tame.
It took Ruth a long time to make up her
mind to part with her dear rabbit.
She quite intended to do so from the
moment the idea struck her; but the carry-
ing out of her good intention was very hard.
She would take the rabbit from its hutch, and
kiss and stroke it many times, and then put
S it back, deciding to wait until to-morrow, and
when to-morrow arrived she thought the
next day would do. But at last she realized that a whole week had passed, and
she had progressed no further; there was dear Bunny, with his two companions,
in the hutch still, and the picture of poor little Jim's thin, white face kept
rising in her mind's eye, like a silent reproach.
Finally, one mournful day, Ruth brought a small hamper into the yard,
and after a long and pitiful leave-taking of her darling pet, she carefully
packed him into the basket, and set off with her father to visit Jim.
It was a sultry, drowsy afternoon, and when Mrs. Medd opened the
door to her visitors, she put up a warning finger, and whispered that her
poor boy had dropped into a quiet sleep, and she would not for anything
like to have him awakened.
I am very glad to hear he is sleeping," said Mr. Denison, and handed
Mrs. Medd a few delicacies he had brought for the small sufferer. "Let him
have some of these when he wakes. My little girl has brought him a rabbit;
she thought he would be sure to like it," Mr. Denison continued, as Ruth
handed her burden to Mrs. Medd: "You can keep the basket until we come
Thank you very, very kindly, Miss, he is so fond of a rabbit," said
Mrs. Medd, curtseying, "And 't will be all the nicer having come from
"It is such a beauty, Mrs. Medd," said Ruth; "it is the best of my
WHAT THE BEECH LEAVES TOLD.
"Oh, deary me, now, is it, Miss I'm sure it is very good of you to
part with it. Jim will be main grateful, I know; it will be too late for him
to have it to-night, but I will give it him to-morrow, Miss."
"I will come the day after to-morrow, Mrs. Medd, and see how he likes
my Bunny," added Ruth, after she had said good-bye.
Poor Ruth was very de-
pressed all that day and the
.' next, at the loss of her pet;
?. *but she was pleased at the
\ ."thought that in proportion as
K she was sad without the rab-
7.. bit, so would Jimmy be de-
lighted in possessing it, and
"4 ', she looked forward very much
S to going to see him playing
with it-hers no longer, but
e invalid Jimmy's.
When the longed-for day
came, it was so wet that Mr.
SDenison did not wish Ruth
to go out; but she begged
Sso hard to be allowed to go,
and promised to make herself
so thoroughly waterproof, that
her father gave in to her en-
treaties, and off they went
J I wonder if Bunny will
have quite forgotten me,
.., Father said Ruth, on the
way, and whether he comes
directly if Jimmy calls, like
he did with me. Oh, dear,
do you think they would
know what to feed him with ?
I never told Mrs. Medd."
"Yes, certainly," said Mr. Denison, "if they did not know, they would
easily find out."
Ruth was very excited when they reached the cottage, and hardly waited
WHAT THE BEECH LEAVES TOLD.
for a word with Mrs. Medd, but pushed on eagerly to Jimmy's bedside.
Jimmy's face lighted up with smiles as she approached, and he put his
little skinny hand outside the coverlet, and softly touched hers, saying, in a
Thank you, Miss, so much for thinking of me, and bringing that lovely
rabbit; it did me no end of good, Mother says."
"Yes, Jimmy, isn't it a dear?" said Ruth; "and it is so clever, Jimmy-
it comes the minute I call it; I daresay it will soon get to know its new
owner. Where have you put it, Jimmy? Do let me see it again; besides,
I hoped you would play with it all day. Tell me where I can fetch dear
Bunny from ?"
A scared look came into Jimmy's face.
"Oh, dear me, Miss," he said in a very concerned voice. "Whatever
shall I do? I didn't know! I am so sorry! "
"What is it, Honey?" said Mrs. Medd, who entered the room, with
Mr. Denison, at that moment.
"The rabbit, mother-oh dear !-dear !-it was not for- Jimmy
broke down, and could get no further, and began to cry.
"Not for what, Honey? Not for you? You said it was for Jimmy,
Miss, didn't you! "
Ruth nodded silently; she could not quite make matters out, and
Mrs. Medd went on-
"Eh! but it made the nicest round pie as ever I set eyes on, and you
shall see what's left, Miss-it'll show you what a fine appetite as it give
Jim; he made a good dinner yesterday, I can tell you."
She would have added much more, but stopped in astonishment to see
Ruth throw herself on her knees by the bedside, and, covering her face in
the clothes, sob as if her heart would break; she kept tight hold of little
Jimmy's hand, and they cried together.
Oh, how could you put my darling rabbit in a pie to be eaten? Jimmy,
why did you let her? My darling, darling Bunny; I shall never see you
any more "
"I didn't know, Miss indeed I didn't; I never saw it till Mother
brought it to me for dinner," pleaded poor Jimmy. "Oh, I am so very, very
sorry, and I am sure Mother is; aren't you, Mother dear ? You didn't guess
it was for a pet, did you ?"
"But I told you it was the favourite Bunny I had," sobbed Ruth.
"How could you think I meant it to be eaten?"
"I'm sure I don't know, Miss, how it was," said Mrs. Medd apologetically;
WHAT THE BEECH LEAVES TOLD.
"it never struck me as it was for anything else. I'm afear'd as -it was love
for my poor boy as did it; my thoughts is always on what'll please him or
do him good."
"I'm sure a live Bunny my darling pet, would have pleased Jimmy
better to play with than to eat in a nasty, NASTY pie," moaned poor Ruth,
getting quite angry at the
Mrs. Medd was non-
plussed; she could do nothing
but stand and repeat-
"I'm sure I can't tell
you, Miss, how sorry I am;
I wish I could do anything
to comfort you, Miss; but I'm
afear'd I can't. Oh, dear a
Mr. Denison went up to
poor distressed Ruth, and
Come along, my dear.
poor Jimmy and Mrs. Medd
the mistake-it is no one's
At any rate, I am quite sure you are glad that
appreciated your kindness; and we cannot help
fault. You must try and put a cheerful face
Ruth got up, and went away with her Father. Her heart was too full
to say good-bye; she could only press Jimmy's hand, and kiss him.
When she arrived home, she went up to her own room, and had it all
out by herself.
Poor little Ruth it was the harder to bear because she really had cared
so much for her pet.
32 MISCHIEVOUS FRISKY.
S *' ::
tN0iscbievo u1 Jfrisk'.
SBUNCH of barberry leaves were whispering together in a vase on the
S nursery table, and this is what they were talking over.
It is the shortest .. story in this book. but what the
arLhervy ltave sat \~~- \'e" .mtn. ir\.
of Elldkin n Pmii
., .1 11 LIIt
Slie poe'u;i d la uiostiiie
C.11ie vu [s cdi' d 71I-e erri I-
VillhoE elli k i l or g I& tecS t Cie-
Sii-.it ill litt Vii, t%% o ebe r
tear anything he could lay his paws on, to shreds, no matter of what material
the particular thing he happened to get hold of was made.
Now, one day Etty's cousin Flora came on a visit; she was a few
years older than Etty, but had not yet lost her love for dolls of every
description; and when she stayed with her cousin, she liked to get out all
the little girl's dolls, ugly and pretty, whole or broken, and arrange them
in a row on a small wooden form, and give them a lesson on some subject
which she had lately been studying with her governess geography, for
instance, or those nasty multiplication tables.
She was in the middle of her teaching one day, when Etty was in bed
with a cold, and Nurse came in a hurry to dress her to go out with
Come along, Miss Flora, you must not stop to put your toys away,
for your Mamma is waiting," she said.
"Will you put them in the toy cupboard for me, Nurse, while I am
out, please, for I am afraid that tiresome dog will spoil them?"
"Yes, Miss, if I have time," Nurse carelessly answered; but I am
afraid she did not in the least trouble herself to make time, for she did
not even remember her promise.
MISCHIEF VOUS FRISKY.
The consequence was that, that little frisky Yorkshire terrier, finding in his
rambles about the house that the nursery door was open, walked into the
room, and looked around for amusement.
The first thing that met his eye was a quarrelsome looking Punchinello,
seated just as Flora had left it on a stool.
It was flourishing its tambourine at Frisky in the most insulting
manner; really, a sensitive dog could not put up with such behaviour, and
he stood and barked at it first-but finding that Punchinello still continued
his impudence, Frisky simply sprang at him, knocked him over, tore him
to little pieces, and then scattered his remains all over the nursery floor.
After this bit of bravado, Frisky felt very pleased with himself, and
ready for anything.
He scampered round and round and round the nursery, and every time
he passed the dolls, he made a snap at their innocent faces.
He was a little bit afraid at first of touching such good quiet-looking
individuals, but with every round he gathered courage, and finally grabbed
Miss Semolina Rice by her pale flaxen hair, and dragged her with him,
shaking and chewing her lovely waxen limbs.
Crack! went her head against the hard floor, the sawdust flew right
and left, scraps of her garments dropped all over, and in five minutes she
was a wreck. Then Frisky was tired.
With a spiteful bark, he let go of MIiss Semolina, and sat looking at
the mischief he had done.
I think he began to feel ashamed of himself, and to ponder on what
his reward would be, for he drooped his tail, and pattered quietly down the
stairs, out through the front door, and sat by a little wicket gate, looking
anxiously along the road for Flora to come back with her mother.
When they appeared in the distance, he ran to them, and made himself
as amiable as it was in his dog power to do; so much so, that Mrs.
"I am sure Frisky has been up to some mischief."
Flora's mind, of course, immediately went to Etty's dolls, and she
rushed upstairs to see if Nurse had kept her promise.
You can imagine how concerned she was when she saw her cousin's
playthings strewing the floor; she was especially sorry about Miss Semolina,
for she was Etty's best doll, and a very sweet-faced good-tempered one.
Flora picked up first a leg, then an arm, and various other bits she
recognized as belonging to that waxen beauty; and timidly went to Etty's
bedroom, to let her know what had happened.
Etty was in a dreadful way when she had heard all, but said she did
not think it was her cousin's fault; she was vexed with Nurse, however,
and very angry indeed with Frisky for murdering Miss Rice.
"Oh! that bad dog, I will lecture him well to-morrow," said Etty; "he
is always tearing or breaking something he should not."
-. IA! ^
The next day, when she was a little better and up, she took Frisky,
sat him ignominiously on a cushion, and bringing the shattered remains of
poor Semolina to show him, she gave the doggie such a scolding as he
never forgot. Frisky had many amusing adventures in his life, but I think
the one I have told you must do for the present.
jABY Bessie told it all to the rose-leaves. You see, they could tell what
she talked about when nobody else could.
Baby Bessie talked principally with her eyes; a kind of speech leaves
understand perfectly. She would try to converse with people in the same
way; but, oh dear! how stupid they were; it was hardly any use at all.
So, finding they did not understand her, she would tell it all over
again with her tongue, and was quite certain they must know what she
was talking about then.
But all the people heard was what sounded very much like this-
Ah-h-h-h-h-h-h, goo-o-o-o-o-o-o "
That is all I made out; therefore I went to the rose-leaves, and they
interpreted the foreign language into the following.
"Yes, dear leaves," said Baby Bessie, this was just how it all
"You know I was not feeling at all well; my gums hurt me very
much indeed, and I heard Mother and Nurse saying that my teeth were
troubling me; but I don't know what they meant, for I have no teeth.
"Well, I wanted to tell them how uncomfortable I felt; but when I
did, they only shook a lot of jingling bells at me.
That was very pretty, dear leaves, and made me forget my gums for
a little while; but I soon got tired of the noise, and my gums hurt so
"I told them so, but they shook that thing at me harder still: so
And then Nurse poked a nasty india-rubber ring into my mouth.
That was better to bite than nothing at all, for I did not feel the pain
so much when I was biting. Mother's little finger is best; but Mother was
busy, so I could not have that.
"I got so vexed I could not have her finger, that, at last, I threw
away the nasty ring, and then Nurse couldn't find it, to give it me back; so
I had lost even that bit of comfort-and that made me so angry that I
screamed my hardest.
"While I was screaming, I felt a soft, fluffy thing put in my arms, and
found Pussy mewing at me.
"I love Pussy, dear leaves, very much; so I hugged her and kissed her,
and played hide-and-seek with my hands in her fur; but she would keep
jumping away, and she wouldn't come back when I told her to quietly, so, of
course, I had to scream again. I can't help it, you know; they won't pay
any attention to what I tell them unless I cry, and even then they often
do what I don't want, and will not do what I ask.
I was determined to have a good cry this time, and I did, and enjoyed
it very much.
I was just in the middle of it when I heard another jingling noise, and
saw through my tears some shiny long things, all tied together.
"I could not see very well while I was crying, so I stopped and looked,
because the noise was not quite like my bells, and really I am always being
shown such wonderfully nice, pretty things I have never seen in my life
before, that I am always expecting some fresh interesting object.
"What do you think it was, dear leaves? It was Mother's lovely
ring of keys.
"I had often wanted them, and never been able to get them ; and now
nurse was actually holding out to me that delightful glittering bunch!
"I was charmed, and thanked her very much as I
Sstretil ic l out ny .arms to take them.
S1Oh I 'lid enjoy having those keys; they were
the niet. things I had played with for a long time.
Tli-y were beautifully cold and hard for my
Sgu, n. I wish they would give me keys for
.' m- dinner and tea. And presently Pussy
S:.ite back, and we played with them
"I kept shaking the keys. It was so
"It was fun. She patted them
with her paw, and pulled them
away from me, and then when
I tugged them back again, she
whisked her tail about, and scam-
pered all round me, and then
jumped into a basket near my
side, and played with the string
of my trumpet.
nice to hear a jingle different from
those nasty bells; I am so tired of them.
"I was as happy as I could be with the keys, and wishing I could keep
them always, when I heard Mother ask Nurse to take the one belonging to
the tea-caddy off the bunch, and bring it to her in the dining-room in
I took no notice, and Nurse did not come to fetch it at once. I
suppose she thought there was plenty of time to finish her bit of
"While she was doing this, that naughty Pussy scrambled over my
knee after a bit of string, and scratched my arm.
"Her prickly toes hurt me, and though I did not want to get her
scolded, for I knew she did not mean it, yet I could not help screaming
"Nurse rushed at me, and tried to make me leave off; but it is so
difficult to stop when once you have begun; and besides, the scratch did
hurt me, though I could not see any mark; so I cried away with all
"I suppose Nurse thought she would try to quiet- me with the keys
again, for she took them up, and first hunted among them for the tea-caddy
key, to take it off the bunch. But it was not on the ring.
She looked through them twice, while I screamed; and then suddenly
she put up her hands, opened her mouth, and gasped out-
"' Oh laws a mussy me the poor dear must have swallowed the key !'
"I felt myself hastily caught up, and was terribly shaken by Nurse as she
rushed with me into the dining-room, where, with scared face and horrified
tone, she choked out to Mother that I had swallowed the tea-caddy key,
for it was gone off the bunch, and I had been shrieking with pain.
"I was still crying, on account of the scratch for one tling, and also
because Nurse had joggled me so; but when I heard her say that, I was
so angry that I screamed louder, and insisted that I had not swallowed it.
But the more I screamed, the more certain they seemed to be that I
had it inside me.
Mother took me into her arms, and Nurse dashed out, just as she was,
for the Doctor, whom she was thankful to find at home.
"He came back with her at once, and looked at me very gravely when
Mother told him again what Nurse had already informed him-that I had
swallowed a tea-caddy key.
"I had found that screaming at them did not make them believe I
had not done so, but rather the opposite, so I left off to watch the Doctor;
he was a nice kind-looking man, and I smile at him.
"He did a lot of nasty things to me, but I knew he meant it well;
and, besides, he couldn't know they were all telling stories about me.
"I wanted him to like me, so I crowed at him, and laughed, and
"He stayed a long time, waiting anxiously with Mother and Nurse.
"They all looked so gloomy that I tried my best to be cheerful; and
after what seemed hundreds of hours to me, dear leaves, he said to Mother-
"'Well, Madam, this is the most extraordinary case I have ever come across.
I cannot make it out; your child is in wonderful spirits, considering what
has gone dowli her throat. It is most curious the key has not by this time
produced any bad effects. Are you quite sure she has really swallowed it;
who saw her do it?'
"'Oh, Nurse did. She will tell you all about it,' said Mother.
So Nurse, who had left the room, was called in.
"When she arrived, the Doctor said to her-
"'Nurse, did you say you actually saw baby swallow the key?'
"'Well, no, Sir,' answered Nurse, 'I can't say as I saw it go into her
mouth; but it was on the bunch when she had the keys at first, and it
was gone when I wanted it, Sir, and she always does put everything into
her mouth, Sir-in fact, she was sucking the bunch two or three times-
and, besides, just before I missed the key, she began screaming terrible,
Sir, and it was plain to be seen as she must have swallowed it.'
"'Have you looked for the key?'
"'Yes, Sir, all over the nursery where baby was playing, and it is
nowhere to be seen.'
But the key, you say, was a small one, you might easily overlook it;
by-the-by,' said the Doctor, turning to Mother, I suppose it would not
have been left in the caddy from the last time you used it, eh ?'
Mother shook her head.
"' Oh, dear, no she said, I always put it back on the bunch.'
"'Have you looked?' persisted the Doctor, 'No! but I will,' said
Mother, quite certain she was right.
She went to the sideboard and opened the cupboard, put her hand in,
and brought out the tea caddy-in the lock of which snugly reposed that
little impudent key.
The Doctor began to laugh; but my mother burst out crying, and nearly
smothered me with kisses and hugs; so he stopped, and said, in such a
"'My dear Madam, I am so very pleased to find that Nurse was
"And then he took me up in his arms, and while I laughed and talked
to him, said-
"'You are a very pretty little person, but not quite so wonderful as I
"And then he gave me a kiss, or rather I gave him one, and he went
away, and I felt so sorry.
"Mother kept kissing me all the day, and so did Nurse. I don't like
being kissed so much as that.
"Wasn't it all a fuss, dear leaves?" ended up Baby Bessie.
The leaves all said "Thank you, baby; you have amused us very much."
And the little bird perched on the rose bush said "Cheep, cheep."
What that meant I do not know, but it certainly meant something, and
baby understood it.
tbe Storp of the Ebree Crows.
Were sitting (on .A
the telegraph -wires.
Caw! said the first.
Caw caw answered
And the third made the
They repEated this wise
speech over and over again
to each other.
THE STORY OF THE THREE CROWS. 43
THE STORY OF THE THREE CROWS.
The conversation lasted quite half-an-hour, and I thought to myself, as
I lazily listened from the grass below-
"You silly things! Why don't you say something else?"
"Hush-sh-sh fluttered the leaves on the bushy tree near, "we want
to hear the end of the story."
"What story?" I asked; for you know I told you at the beginning
of this book that I could understand the language of leaves.
That the crows are telling," they replied.
"Oh I can tell you that; I have it off by heart; it is Caw! caw!'"
The leaves giggled.
"Is that all you understand?" they said; "you are very dense."
But if you like, we will translate what the crows have been talking
about; shall we? "
I felt very much ashamed that I had been caught finding fault with
what I was merely too stupid to understand.
But it is so often the case. People pass wrong judgments through their
own ignorance of a matter that is really beyond them, thinking that it is
So I humbly said I should like to have the conversation over again.
And the leaves repeated it.
I will give it to you in the form of a story.
THE CROWS' STORY.
A queer, mischievous little boy of five years old lived in the Rectory
of an Irish village.
He was one of a large family, most of them boys.
They had a long-legged tutor, who kept them all in good order; and
though Podge (as they called the little fellow with whom we are principally
concerned) was too young to do lessons, yet he often went into the school-
room with the others, to learn to sit still and behave.
Podge was a poet.
He would continually come out with some quaint rhyme suggested by
what was going on, and made on the spur of the moment.
He spent hours of his leisure time matching one word with another,
and if he could not find a rhyme in what had really happened, he would
tack on some fanciful imaginative bit to bring in what he wanted.
TIHE STORY OF THE THREE CROWDS. 45
Sit still!" the tutor would perhaps say to Podge, who would then be
heard whispering over to himself-
Presently another rhyme would strike him-" Until "; and that would point
the way to more, which would be added-
And so on, till he had quite exhausted his knowledge of words ending
On Christmas Day he heard a good deal about remembering the postman
in a seasonable manner. Mother had asked Father to have half-a-crown
ready, so as not to keep him waiting; and when the welcome rat-tat-tat was
heard at the door, Podge remarked-
"The postman knocks,
If he discovered what he considered a good rhyme, he was hugely
delighted with himself, for sometimes the sounds troubled him very much-
the i's would get mixed up with e's, perhaps, and he would feel uncertain
as to whether "hit" rhymed with "pet "; but over such nice mouthfuls as
"thump and "pump," or "splash" and "crash," he had no hesitation
His way of saying "the day after to-morrow" was very funny.
He would tell you on Sunday that "to-morrow, to-morrow" he was
going to a party, meaning on the Tuesday; and for every extra day, he
would add another to-morrow, so if it got to Thursday, it would be-
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday.
"To-morrow to-morrow to-morrow to-morrow."
But the oddest thing about Podge was that he loved nothing better
than to have a good chase and scamper after the ducks and geese in the
fields or garden; and when he caught them up-as he pretty often did-he
would grab a young duck by the neck, hold it in mid-air, and squeeze with
all his might.
He had been well whipped for this many a time. His father had tried
to break him of it in various ways, but all had failed; his mother's
THE STORY OF THE THREE CROWS.
arguments and talks had also been unavailing, and, finally, when the tutor
came to the house, he had been asked and had promised to use his influence
in trying to cure Podge of his naughtiness.
Podge grew very fond of the tall tutor, and gave him the pet name of
Ook," because he could not say "Mr. Brook" easily; yet, at the same
time, he looked up to him with much awe, and dreaded his misdeeds being
brought to "Ook's" notice.
"Ook" undertook to do his best to improve Podge, and gravely
explained to the little boy how cruel his treatment was to the poor ducks;
indeed, many of them were so injured that they died.
Podge used to weep bitterly over their sad fate, and really was truly
sorry, though I think he hardly realized that their deaths were owing to
his rough treatment, and I am afraid he would very soon forget all about
it until he had to undergo another punishment for a like offence; as time
went on, he did frequently check himself just on the point of starting after
a "Quack! quack!" but it took a long while to cure him quite.
He was, notwithstanding these raids on the ducks, very fond of animals,
and had two little pet lambs that he fed every day with his own hands,
while, perhaps, one of the very geese he had chased would come and stare
to keep him company.
You see, the geese were not so used to having their necks wrung by
him as the ducks were; they did not trouble themselves to keep out of his
way, for they did not mind a chase, and were so much bigger and stronger
than the ducks, that if he had tried to squeeze them they would have had
the best of it.
One day Podge roamed into the field adjoining the back garden.
THE STORY OF THE THREE CROWS. 47
He had been very good all the morning, for he had been busy composing
an ode to the ducks, whom he had been watching from the dining-room
window as they waddled about. He called them "Jack Jacks" because he
wished to name them by a rhyme to "Quack Quacks."
His ode ran thus-
Trod on a tin tack;
His clothes to pack;
Found some toast
In the rack;
And stole some corn
From the sack;
And then felt the cook
Give him a whack whack
On his back back.
Quack! quack! quack! quack "
He was repeating this thoughtfully to himself, as he toddled almost
knee-deep among the clover, when he 'saw a party of his quack friends
taking an airing down the sloping footpath.
A wild desire to give chase possessed his baby mind.
He struggled against it at first; but the ducks seemed almost to be
inviting him to come.
They were making such a clatter, and looked irresistibly tempting with
their yellow beaks stretched out, and their webby feet going up and down.
It was too much.
With an exultant shout of delight, off he went down the pathway after
them, sh-sh-sh-sh-shu-ing and flapping his arms about.
He made several clutches at them, and once tumbled down flat, just as
THE STORY OF THE THREE CROWS.
he made sure he had caught one; but he was up in a minute, and after
At this juncture, one of the boys caught sight of him from the window,
and cried out-
"Oh, Sir, there's Podge after the ducks again! "
The tutor rapped hard at the window-pane.
But Podge was too excited to leave off.
In a frenzy of exultation, he snatched hold of the nearest duck, and
squeezed the struggling creature round the neck with all his might, gave it
a good shake, and then, quite tired with his efforts, and satisfied in having
accomplished his aim, dropped the half-dead bird on the ground.
The tutor at this moment rushed up, intending to inflict a double
punishment on Podge-first, for doing what he had so often. been forbidden
to do; and secondly, for directly disobeying the warning raps at the window.
But seeing the agony of the struggling bird on the ground, he first of
all put it out of its misery by killing it at once.
Then Podge was escorted indoors.
We will not say what was done to him, but he was in terrible disgrace
for two days; and well he deserved to be, as everyone agreed.
Even his two tiny sisters, who very often would go together to Mamma
and beg him off, dare not do so this time.
And now I am going to let you take a peep into Podge's thoughts about it.
He knew he was a naughty boy, and had done what he had no business
to do, and he was dreadfully sorry the poor duck
was dead; he cried and sobbed bitterly whenever he
thought of it; but there was one thing that puzzled
him very much; he thought to himself-
7 "Poor duck! Podge hurt dear Jack; but-"
here an angry choke came, "'twas Ook that killed
the duck. Podge only hurt duck, 'twas Ook that
killed the duck! Podge only hurt duck, 'twas Ook
S* that killed it; nobody punished Ook, and Ook killed
i poor darlin' duck."
How was it that all the grown-up people who
heard the sad tale thought that he was so bad, but
seemed to have no idea that Ook must be far worse.
He would tell them, too, in self-justification, with pouting lips, how it
was Ook that had killed it.
THE STORY OF THE THREE CROWS.
"Oh, dear," sobbed the heavy-hearted little boy, as he smothered his
tears with the bed-clothes at night, "grown-up people's vezzy queer; it's
all queer-and I'se s'eepy-good night, Dot," he whispered to his sister in
her cot by his side; but finding she was not awake, he laid his little tired
head on the pillow, and soon dropped off, murmuring softly to himself, Poor
Jack! quack, quack. Podge only hurt Jack, and Podge got whipped; but it
was Ook that killed my dear duck."
"A very serious case of injustice on the part of the grown-ups," said
Crow Number One. "What do you say?" he- cawed to Number Two.
"My dear sir, clearly, if Podge was punished for merely hurting the duck,
how great should -have been the punishment of the monster who killed it-
don't you think so?" he enquired of Number Three.
"Undoubtedly," cawed the third Crow, my sympathies are decidedly
with Podge. I told him so to comfort him from the top of the old elm
tree in the garden, but he did not take any notice; perhaps he is deaf,
"'T WAS OOK THAT KILLED THE DUCK."
50 THE BLUE PRINCESS.
Ube 31ue l princess.
A FAIRY STORY.
SOU want to know what these three children are doing ?
They are dressing up, and are going to try and act a story they heard
the fir-trees whispering to each other.
The little girl is the Blue Princess; the dark boy is trying to look wicked,
and like the bad Duke of Don'tcaredom; but to my mind he is not at
The third boy is to i-W
take the part of everyone
else in the play.
"But what was the
story they liked so much "
I hear you ask. 'S
Here it is then;
and as the fir-trees '.
who told it called it
"The Blue Princess," "
so will I. "
A wriggley-toed Clo:d il
Imp and the huge Smulge
Bird were flying fa-t
through the evening air.
Down, down they -
swished into the storm
Down further through
the misty, moisty atmo-
sphere, into the bright sun- p
light again; and onwards,
till they were hovering over the tall minarets, cupolas, and towers of the largest
city in Finki-Fanki-Fairiton.
Here lived the King and Queen in deep sorrow.
THE BLUE PRINCESS.
They were miserable because they had no child to gladden their old age, or
to succeed them on the throne.
They were the first couple who had had no heir ever since Faeriton had
been a kingdom; and it had been prophesied that when the time came that
there should be no one to succeed the Faerie King and Queen, the Cloud Imps
would come into possession; and this would be a terrible thing, for they were
bitter enemies of all the Faerie subjects, and never lost an opportunity of
doing them harm.
Now, the whale kingdom for years had been begging for a Faerie heir to the
throne; and many were the offerings from the peasant folk, on behalf of their
King and Queen, at the shrine of the huge Smudge Bird-so called because
of his unfinished, sketchy appearance-who took all the orders for babies in
Not that he always executed the orders; and even when he did, he often
brought a boy where a girl was asked for, or vice versa.
Well, the Smudge Bird was in a good humour one afternoon, and thought
he would fetch down a baby for the King and Queen.
So he dashed into the Cloud Store-room, snatched hold of a sealed basket
with his beak, and flew off with it!
But a wriggley-toed Cloud Imp was on the watch; and knowing he wanted
THE BLUE PRINCESS.
this particular basket for the Palace, went after him, and clutching hold of the
other side, tried to get the basket back from the Smudge Bird, who, however,
kept tight hold, and winged his flight rapidly towards the city.
Now, there was a line between the earth and sky where the Cloud Imp would
have to leave go, so the struggle on both sides was hard.
The Smudge Bird tried his best to get on and pass that line, when, of
course, he would have won the day; and the
Cloud Imp tugged with might and main to keep
him back, and also to get possession of the
But, at last, with a final wrench from
his big beak, and flap of his huge wings,
the Smudge Bird dropped to earth, and
landed his burden on the
Palace door-step; and the I
wriggley-toed Imp was left
sitting on a cloud, staring at
him in great vexation.-
The bird put down the
basket, and then flew off.
Not long after, the Prime ,\, "
Minister opened the front door I 1
to look at the weather, and \
finding the basket, in great \
excitement immediately \
stooped to take it up, but re-
membering just in time the
dignity of his office, he re-
frained-and instead, putting
on his most important air,
called His Impudence the First i
Lord of the Drudgery to carry .
it into the royal presence.
The Queen was
rather afraid of having I1 -
the basket opened, and -
hfuttered her handker-
chief, and wept terribly, for she dreaded some horrible foundling, would pounce
out; but the King would have no nonsense, and ordered the seal to be broken,
54 THE BLUE PRINCESS.
and the lid lifted. You might have heard less than a pin drop in the Court
while this was being done.
Everyone held their breath in suspense.
But loud were the cheers on all sides, and great the delight of the King and
Queen, when they beheld, sitting inside the
/ basket, an innocent-faced, blue-eyed baby.
It was a little girl.
She sat looking in wonderment at the
new world around her, and every now and
then lightly touched her little forehead, as
though trying to remember what she was and
where she had come from; but I do not think
_she could; at any rate, she did not speak--
not, at least, with her tongue, for her eyes
did nothing else but ask questions. They
were a most lovely bright sky-blue; in fact,
they looked just like bits of the sky, and her
f little garment was' also of the same clear
colour, so that they all called her at once the
"Blue Princess," and that was the name she
went by all her life.
When she was seventeen years old she was considered of age, for seven-
teen is the time when a fairy is most beautiful; and words cannot describe
how lovely the Blue Princess grew up.
Of course, now the King and Queen wished her to marry, for they wanted
her to ease them with the help of a husband, of their hard work in the affairs
of the kingdom.
It will be good for her," they said, to gain a little experience under our
care before we die; young people put suddenly at the helm are apt to go ahead
too fast with their new-fangled notions."
So they ordered a proclamation to be sent to every known country, to the
effect that the hand of the Blue Princess was ready to be given to that suitor
who should find most favour in her eyes: be he high or low, rich or poor, hand-
some or ugly; but that each rejected lover must submit cheerfully, and with a
gentlemanly grace, to her refusal.
You can well imagine that such a proclamation as this brought a queer
medley of suitors.
THE BLUE PRINCESS.
Our Daughter, the
Blue Princess, is of
age to marry, and
desirous so to do; with
her consent We do
hereby and herewith
proclaim, that her
Royal hand shall be
given, without fail, to
that suitor who shall
find most favour in
her eyes, be he high
or low, rich or poor,
handsome or of doubt-
ful mien. But be it
understood by all con-
cerned, that a refusal
from Our fair daughter
must, under penalty of
death, be born with a
goodly and gentle-
manly grace; and We
do hereunder subscribe
our Royal Signature
to the effect that We
will cheerfully receive
whomsoever it pleaseth
her graciously to
THE BLUE PRINCESS.
Everyone, even in very far lands, had heard of the beauty and goodness
of the Blue Princess; and now (judging by the proclamation) that she
evidently did not intend to choose a husband for good looks merely, hundreds
of all ages and kinds of suitors applied.
Young and handsome, rich and famous, noble and good and learned, wended
their way to the Palace; and higgledy-piggledy mixed with these came old and
wizened, ugly, deformed, and poor and ignorant and wicked. Each hoped that
he possessed those qualities for which the Princess would look.
But many were the aching and broken hearts carried away under a smiling
face after an interview with her; for, unfortunately, all loved her immediately
they saw her, though she, alas for them, did not return the K'
affection of any one of them. /
To each she gave, as a token of remembrance, a beautiful ,i
peacock's feather, which gift enrolled him as a Knight of /
the Order of the Feather "; it was also a sign of the
hopelessness of his suit; and this is very likely ,
the reason why a peacock's feather is often con- .-
Day after day was
spent by the Princess in /
graciously refusing her
hapless lovers. Very
sweetly she did it, too,
hard task as it was; and
each one felt that a refusal
from her was as great a
privilege as an acceptance 1
from anyone else; at least,
they thought that while
they were in her presence; \ /
but oh, how wildly despair- /
ing they felt ontheir jour-
neys home, bearing the
When several months had passed, and still she saw no one that she at all
cared for, the King and Queen began to get very anxious, and begged her to
consider the situation a little.
"Surely, among all those who have passed under the Castle gates, some
have been worthy "
THE BLUE PRINCESS.
Many, dear father and mother," answered the Princess; and she added,
"Many were even too good for me; there were a few of whom I was not worthy,
but there was not one amongst them that I could love, and I will not marry
anyone I do not love."
"My dear, I am getting very concerned,
for the Lord High Keeper of the Peacocks tells
me that there are not many tail feathers left," ,
said the King. "You must wait awhile, until
some fresh ones grow, before seeing any more
The Princess did not mind waiting a little, /
feathers grew again.
At length, after many days of fresh but
fruitless interviews with more suitors, there
came to the castle, one evening as the sun
was setting, a messenger from the Duke of
He was a powerful, wilful Duke; and his
kingdom was quite close to Fairiton. i
He had such a bad character, that the '
fairies had never allowed him to enter their
dominions under any pretext whatever. '
But now you see, through the rather rash
wording of the Proclamation, he could not be
excluded-no one had thought it possible that
he would dare to apply.
Oh, what trouble the King and Queen were
in, when they were told whose messenger was '
at the door.
"My dear," said the Queen, "we cannot
refuse admittance to the Duke; we must trust
to the good sense of our daughter to bestow on him also the peacock's
The King laughed at his own fears.
You are right," said he; is it likely she would accept such a fellow, after
refusing many so much better ? Nevertheless, I would give her a warning; it is
only kind to her, for I hear he is a handsome and prepossessing fellow."
The King, for once, went to the door himself, to see the messenger, who told
THE BLUE PRINCESS.
him that his master would arrive the next day to claim the Blue Princess
as his bride.
"Indeed! said the King angrily, "and an impudent fellow he must be to
feel so sure. I wonder he did not come a little sooner! "
"Oh answered the messenger, "he said he didn't care to; he knew she
would not have any of the others."
"And pray, what if she will not have him either? retorted the King.
Oh he says he will not care," answered the messenger lightly, as he
turned to go.
The King was very cross.
He stamped up the oak staircase, and went into the presence of wife and
daughter with his hands in his pockets; a rudeness he never indulged in unless
very much put out indeed.
He repeated what had passed between himself and the messenger; and when
he had finished, said to the Princess-
I hope, my dear, that you will make your interview with this young man
as short and decided as possible."
The Princess smiled, and the King and Queen left her satisfied.
But when by herself, she thought over all that had passed.
Her curiosity was aroused; and that means much with a lady. This suitor
was so unlike all the rest, who had been her humble servants in everything.
She liked his daring; and the very fact of his being the only one whom she
looked upon as half forbidden, made her feel that because she could not have
him she wanted him.
The next day at twelve o'clock the Castle gates resounded, and the arches
echoed again and again to the thundering knock of the Duke of Don'tcaredom's
couriers; and immediately behind them followed the Duke himself.
He was very handsome indeed, and had most wonderfully charming and
It was impossible to be otherwise than pleased with his appearance,
whatever his character might be; and he seemed so thoroughly self-possessed
and confident of his own powers, that he carried all before him.
The porters at the door bowed down to the ground at his entrance, and all
the officials and maids of honour exchanged quick glances of approval as
On he swept up the grand staircase, and was ushered into the private
receiving chamber of the Blue Princess, who was waiting for him in a state of
flutter and expectation very unusual with her.
The moment she caught sight of the Duke she fell deeply in love with him;
THE BLUE PRINCESS. 59
and the Duke, on his part, was surprised to find himself tumble unexpectedly
head over heels in love with her.
He had not meant to be so weak-minded, and was so thoroughly taken
aback at first that he stood hesitating at the threshold; while the Princess,
equally abashed, dropped the peacock's feather she was holding in readiness to
give him, and examinedthe tips of her toes very earnestly.
THE BLUE PRINCESS.
Seeing the feather drop, the Duke chose to take the circumstance as a
favourable sign; and boldly going up to the Princess, who rose as he approached,
he took her hand in his, and with an irresistible smile and a gallant By your
leave, fair lady," he slipt on her finger a ring of pure crystal that flashed in the
sunlight with every movement.
The Princess did not answer at first, for she felt too much in love with him
to hurt his feelings by saying what she had, nevertheless, made up her
mind to say.
By a great effort she managed to begin-
I-I-cannot accept your ring, sir, unless-unless- "
The Duke interrupted her.
Do you not feel that you could love me a little-a very little to start with ?
Will you not try ? he said, for he began to feel very sorrowful; "I shall not
care a bit what I do to myself, or to others either, if you will not have me. I
never cared for anything or anybody till I saw you; but if you will let me, I
will care for you always."
The Princess looked up and said-
Do you really love me ? "
"Yes! yes!" he answered; "prove me; I would even give up my
kingdom for you."
That is just what I was trying to tell you must be the condition of
marrying me," she replied; Don'tcaredom must be sacrificed."
"With my whole heart do I agree, and with this kiss do I ratify the
bargain," said the Duke, suiting the action to the word; "a kingdom is a
small price to pay for such a treasure as I receive in return."
At this moment they looked simultaneously at the doorway.
There was the King standing in an attitude of petrified amazement,
clutching hold of one of the page's hair to steady himself; the Queen was
propped up against the wall in a faint, while a maid of honour applied strong
smelling salts in the shape of concentrated essence of pepper, onions, and
The First Lord of the Drudgery had taken off the King's crown, and was
quietly trying it on himself behind the King's back, surrounded by a grinning
audience of Lords High this, that, and the other.
In fact, such a comical picture did the whole present, that the Duke and
Princess both laughed aloud heartily.
This brought the King to his senses.
THE BLUE PRINCESS.
He boxed the ears of the First Lord of the Drudgery; and snatching the
crown from him, placed it on his own head with immense dignity, stalked up to
the Duke of Don'tcaredom, and pointed silently and scornfully to the door.
The Duke bowed; but still holding the hand of the Princess, he said-
"Your daughter has accepted my suit; in return I have sacrificed my
kingdom. Don'tcaredom no longer has charms for me; in future I do care.
What more do you want, sire ? "
The King scowled at him.
THE BLUE PRINCESS.
He thought of the Proclamation, and saw no way out of it; but wishing to
be able to lay the blame on someone else's shoulders in the event of the Duke
turning out a bad husband, he touched the Queen's shoulder, and whispered-
"What shall I say? "
The Queen looked helpless, and turned to the Prime Minister.
What shall he answer? she whispered,
But the Prime Minister merely bowed, and looked very wise, as much as
to say, I could an' I would"; but held his tongue, and shrugged his shoulders.
The Queen glanced quickly and inquiringly round the circle of courtiers and
maids of honour, but saw in their looks such evident admiration for the careless
Duke, that she felt no sympathy was to be had from them.
So she wrung her hands, and said helplessly to the King-
"Oh, don't ask me; you should have been more careful about the
The King, seeing how matters stood, felt there was nothing left to be
done except to give his most unwilling consent, which he did by saying to
Prove your words, then, by making my daughter a good husband."
And now what is there left for me to tell you?
In a month they were married.
That is one very important
thing, and another is what the old
/ gossips said.
They met together in groups,
and shook their heads, and poked
their forefingers at each other, and
Ah, well! there's no telling
S\ what or who young lassies will
-\ v take to, however good they be."
He'll lead her a pretty dance;
i Ibut it's worse for the kingdom than
for her, to have such-like holding
the reins of government."
It's all very well to pretend he is going to give up his careless ways; it is
not so easy; folks don't change their natures like they do their clothes."
THE BLUE PRINCESS.
And the nasty little boys in the streets made up a rhyme, and sung it
about Faeriton :
It's such a joke
The King he spoke,
And said it should not be
They did not tarry,
But went for to marry,
And now what times we'll see.'
The one thing certain about the whole business was, that the Blue Princess
was as much in love with the Duke as ever she could be, and the Duke was
even more so with her, if that were possible.
And now you know that, you ought to be able to tell me whether matters
turned out happily or not.
For love helps people to do anything they like; nothing seems too difficult,
even to changing one's nature.
And it was doubly easy for the Duke Don'tcare; for he not only loved, but
he was loved in return, which simply transforms difficulties into pleasures;
and we all know that pleasant things are nice to do, and very easily done.
And, indeed, guided by the good, sweet Princess, the Duke so altered his
careless ways, that when the old King and Queen died, the Duke, under a new
name, and the Blue Princess, made the best King and Queen that Faeriton had
So the gossips were in the wrong; they generally are, and serve them right
for being gossips !
64 THE SAD FATE OF POOR PRICKLES.
Ebe sab jate of DIoor prichles.
"T HY are you weeping, sad Willow ? I asked.
Because I find the world so sorrowful," the Willow replied.
"Do you ? I said, surprised. "Now, I think there is much more joy
than sorrow to be found in it."
"Ah !" sighed the Willow, "but you are young ; young people will
not see the miseries of life."
"Indeed, dear Willow; but I think you open your eyes only to one side
of things. If you looked for gladness as well as sorrow, you might find more;
at any rate, there would not be so much occasion for weeping."
"Perhaps not," doubtfully moaned the Willow; "it depends on tempera-
ment, you see. Somehow, the miseries always seem to come my way; listen to
this, for instance."
The Willow then wailed out the following sad tale:-
THE SAD FATE OF POOR PRICKLES.
May and Sylvia were two sisters
living in a charming house with a
large garden in Dedham, near Col-
You will be wondering which of .
them was poor Prickles.
"Who or what was it? What
was Prickles, then ?" you ask. -,
I will begin at the beginning
(which I consider the best place to
begin at), and take you up to the
point where Sylvia put the same ques-
tion to herself as you have just put to .
me-What is it? What was Prickles ?
But before I go on, let me make
a passing remark. "~-
I have said that I consider it
best to begin at the beginning. Now, those who do so are very wise indeed;
but better than beginning at the beginning is finishing at the end.
THE SAD FATE OF POOR PRICKLES.
"Why! you say, "how could you finish anywhere else ?"
Ah! many, many people finish in the middle; others a little further on;
and there are some who finish at the beginning-that is to say, they never
get any further than the first start.
I have also known folks who finished at several ends instead of tie
end, and certainly a very large proportion of people make many beginnings
instead of one.
Take my advice, and "Begin at the beginning, and finish at the end."
It is not always so easy as it sounds, as you will find out when you try to
put my advice into practice.
Where was I when I left off to make that remark ?
Never mind, it does not matter where I was; what I want to tell you is
what Sylvia saw in the garden one day.
May was indoors, finishing her lessons; and Sylvia roamed about by herself,
lazily enjoying the humming of the bees, and the scent of both cultivated and
wild flowers, for the garden palings took in a bit of ground that had once been
a wood, and, in their season, primroses, daffodils, foxgloves, and other wild
blossoms were to be found there.
The children liked that part better than the garden proper, for they might
do exactly as they pleased in it.
Sylvia, on this particular day, tossed off her sailor hat, and threw herself on
the grass, down by an old basket not far from the paling. And what do you
think she did ?
Something she was very fond of doing, and what many people like doing
above all things, though there are few honest enough to say so. What could it
be ? Why, simply nothing! unless you can count staring at the grass and
plants in front of her, and humming a tune to the words "lum te tum te tum,"
and occasionally pulling a chance blade of grass.
She soon, however, began to feel tired of it; for it is a strange thing that
few tasks tire one so much as doing nothing.
She was on 'the point of saying aloud, Oh! I do wish May would come
out," when she saw something move in the grass, and she changed the words
instead into what you said at the beginning of this tale-" What is it ? "
She looked and looked at the place where she had seen the movement,
and expected a bird or a frog to pop out.
But her expectation changed quickly into fear when an unknown thing
slowly crawled from the green.
THE SAD FATE OF POOR PRICKLES.
What was it?
She jumped up in a fright. It was not very large; but then, when some
little girls-and very old girls, too, for that matter-run away from a spider, you
cannot be surprised that Sylvia felt inclined to do the same from this queer
animal; for it was much bigger than her hand, and like a ball of prickles, with a
black nose poking out at one end.
It moved very slowly-
on what, Sylvia could not
think, for she could see no
The little girl scrambled
up on to the old basket, '~ '
gathered her skirts together,
and stared at this mass of
spikes as it shuffled closer and
closer; and then, in a frenzy '
of fright, she gave a scream,
jumped off the basket, and
fled-down the gravel walk,
up the steps, and into the .
schoolroom, where she breath-
lessly informed May that there
was a dragon, all covered with
spikes, crawling about in the
"Oh, where, where, Syl-
via ? exclaimed May; "do
come and show me, quick,
before it goes."
"Come along, then,"
answered Sylvia; "prepare
for a horribly dangerous look-
ing, mysterious creature; it
must be a bogie man, it is
just what I fancy one to be like." Off ran the two children to the nook
in the garden without more ado; when they reached the old basket, there,
sure enough, was the creepy, crawly, prickly, bally lump still slowly moving.
Do you know what it is, May ? "
No, I'm sure I don't; let's-call it Prickles, shall we ?"
THE SAD FATE OF POOR PRICKLES.
"Yes; but we won't let it get away. Dare you keep it as a pet, May?
I should like to, but I'm afraid it might bite or sting, or fly at me; whatever
shall we do with it ?"
"I'll tell you what, Sylvia; we will fetch a basket, and take it in to
father, and ask if he knows what it is."
So Sylvia ran off to fetch a basket.
She brought a pair of tongs, too, to pick the creature up with, but found
that difficult to manage, as, when she touched it, it rolled itself up tightly into a
round ball, and the tongs had no hold on it.
However, they managed to get it into the basket by gently poking and
pushing, and they carried it to their father in the library.
Sylvia was by that time quite brave; the fact was, she began to see the
prickly lump was evidently very harmless.
She took it up in her hand, and said, excitedly-
"What is this queer, spiky thing, father ? I found it in the garden, down
by the paling."
"Why, my dear, it is a hedgehog, a little, harmless, useful hedgehog; if
you give it to Cook, she will, I am sure, be very pleased, for hedgehogs keep a
house clear from beetles, and ask for little more in return than to be fed with
a few crab-apples and bread and milk."
The children were pleased to find the creature was not at all ferocious, and
determined to make a great pet of what they had before been rather afraid
even of touching.
For nearly a fortnight they fed it carefully themselves, and paid it a nightly
and morning visit. Cook was very kind to it, for she was delighted to find the'
beetles gradually disappearing.
But one morning, when the children went to see the hedgehog, Cook told
them it was nowhere to be found in the kitchen, and after a long search them-
selves they were obliged to believe this was only too true.
They went out into the yard, and hunted in every possible nook: under the
flower-pots, behind the water-butt, among the straw, and in countless out-of-the-
way corners; bat.they could not find it anywhere.
There was a gap under the yard door large enough for Prickles to have
crept through; so they opened the door, and went into the garden.
But once there, they began to despair of ever seeing their pet again.
"Oh dear, we shall never find it here," said Sylvia; "it is useless
So it is, Sylvia," agreed her sister.
"Anyhow, I dare say it is far happier out in the green than it was as a pet;
THE SAD FATE OF POOR PRICKLES.
and I think there is no doubt it must have crept out here somehow, otherwise
we should have found it in the kitchen."
The tennis lawn was not far from the yard, and the children agreed to have
a game, as they could not find Prickles anywhere.
Dear me," cried Sylvia, as she stooped to pick up one end of the tennis
net, "whoever left the net screwed up like this on the grass; help me to
put it up, May."
They both tried to straighten the net, but it persistently kept in a knotted
lump in one particular place.
Someone must have been meddling with it; but what is that rolled up in
it ? exclaimed May.
She caught hold of the net to unravel the tangle, but dropped it with
"Oh I've pricked myself with something."
Why, Sylvia, I do declare there's Prickles rolled up in the tangle! "
And there certainly was the hedgehog, tightly clasping the strands of
the net in his little toes-the twine was twisted and doubled in and out
and round his spikes; evidently, in his frantic endeavours to get free, he
had only made matters worse; and when May and Sylvia tried carefully
to unhook the bits of net, the little animal squeezed itself into a rounder ball,
if possible, and held on firmly. It was impossible to let it free without cutting
its prison away. The children ran indoors, and asked their mother if they
might do so.
Mother was sorry to hear of the poor hedgehog's discomfiture, but said
they must wait until father came in; perhaps he could help them to free their
pet without cutting the net.
"Do your half-hour's sewing," she advised, "and by that time father will
most likely be back."
A rather dreary hour passed by very slowly, as it seemed to the two
little sempstresses; but their father arrived just ten minutes before the
Up they jumped, and told him-their troubles, and asked if he would allow
them to cut poor Prickles out with the scissors.
"Well, come and let me see him first," said their father; "perhaps I shall
be cleverer than you were."
They all went together to the lawn.
May picked up the spikey bundle, and tried again to liberate the little
animal; and this time she found it quite easy to do-the hedgehog did not
resist in the least.
THE SAD FATE OF POOR PRICKLES.
"My dear little girls, I am afraid your unfortunate pet has strangled
itself," said her father, who was helping her; "it has not been dead long,
but the poor creature has pulled the cords tighter and tighter until it has
choked out its own life."
"Poor Prickles, we will bury you by the hedge where you were first
found, and May and Sylvia," said father to the little girls, who were crying,
" shall plant some pretty flower over your grave."
Wlbat the laurel %eaves Zolb.
A TRUE STORY.
A! ha! ha! Ha! ha! ha You never heard such laughter.
There was evidently a capital story going on among the laurel
leaves, down by the hall glass door.
It was all about a row of newly-polished boots and a--no, I
will not tell you what else, as that will comnje :ou.t as th1i tt,'v '^N
Well, the house outside which the bnlhei pre\.w,
was a small private boarding-house for ,i:l wi h
were studying at Cheltenham College-one .of -) ,
the P.B.H.s, in school language.
Six great hobbledehoys' boots had to I.t .
cleaned by Buttons," as they called the page 1
boy, and put in a row every morning ready
for them by half-past eight.
There were other boots too -for
instance, Miss Ivor-Smith's dainty, -
elegant, ornamental, rather than useful
pair; Mrs. Ivor-Smith's less ornamental
but decidedly more useful pair;
then there were the little Percy
Ivor-Smith's tiny "tootsie toos,"
as he named them; and, lastly,
those belonging to the visitors--
large, small, gouty- looking, or
trodden down at the heels, though : _
the visitors' boots, as a rule, were ~ .-
more spruce than any, for visitors .
like to have nice boots to go in
to other people's houses.
"Buttons" was always in a
great fluster as to whether he
should get them all finished by a quarter-past eight, for that was the
time by which they had to be in a tidy row in the hall, ready for the boys
to put on at half-past eight.
IVHAT THE LAUREL LEAVES TOLD.
One particular morning they trooped out from breakfast as usual, and, I am
afraid, were not very polite in their remarks on Buttons," when they found
their boots were not where they expected to see them.
Buttons, bring me my boots, you lazy
rascal !" shouted one, thumping the banisters
"at the head of the kitchen stairs.
"Poor boy, he is so fat, he cannot pos-
sibly do them quicker," mockingly chimed in
"Buttons! Buttons! make haste -do
you hear? shouted all, stamping and making a general hubbub, as they
heard the first bell begin to ring for school.
Buttons rushed out, flustered and red, with his hair all rumpled, and an
astonished look upon his face, saying-
The boots are in their places, sirs; they are quite ready."
Now, none of your nonsense, Buttons; you know they are not there. I
say, there's the first bell going, Buttons. Won't you catch it, if you don't stop
this joke soon ? "
But to poor Buttons it was anything but a joke; his idea was that they
were trying a bit of schoolboy teasing on him; and though it must be said he
had plenty of that kind of thing to put up with, yet he never seemed to get used
to it, but always took it so heartily in earnest, that it greatly added to the fun
from the teaser's point of view.
He turned away with a grunt, not knowing what else to say for himself;
and as the bell stopped, the prefect, losing all patience, went up to the master,
who was at that moment coming along the passage, and complained-
"Please sir, Buttons will not let us have our boots, and first bell
has left off ringing."
The master, vexed at being called into such a trivial matter, walked quickly
towards the kitchen stairs, and in so doing caught sight, through the open door
leading into the garden, of a long orderly-looking row of boots on the lawn.
Why," said he, pointing to the garden, "what do you mean by troubling
me with such nonsense ? and turned on his heel, leaving the boys to rush for
their property, vowing vengeance on Buttons for having played them such
However, during that day Buttons, who nevertheless persisted in declaring
he was quite innocent, kept well out of their way,
The next day, punctually at half-past eight, the boys trooped into the
passage, and again found no boots.
WHAT THE LAUREL LEAVES TOLD.
This time they naturally looked at once through the glass door on to the
lawn-and there, sure enough, was the orderly row of well-cleaned, shiny boots
being soaked in the dripping rain which was falling.
The boys could stand what they considered as "Button's impudence" no
longer, and imperatively ordering him up, with a good box on the ears, the
prefect sent the fat page-boy staggering into the garden to fetch the boots.
In vain he protested that he had not put them on the lawn.
Find out who has, then," said the boys. "You are responsible for them
being in their proper place, and will have to suffer if they are not."
The poor page scrambled in and out as fast as he could between the cuffs
given him by the group of boys, who, however, had not much time to spare upon
him, the main business of their lives at the moment being to get their laces
done up in time for roll-call.
When the boots were cleaned and disposed of in a morning, Buttons
immediately had other duties to perform; but the following day he was
determined to find out who his spiteful enemy was.
As he put each pair of boots in its place, he shook his big fist at it
threateningly, and said-
Now you stop where I put you."
And when the row was complete, he gave a final huge shake at the whole
lot, and went off growling-
Disappear from there if you
SJust before the half-hour
struck, he crept stealthily up the
kitchen stairs, and raised his eye
to a level with the passage floor.
Great was his dismay to find
that not a boot or shoe was to
Up the flight he hurried to
j the door, and stared through the
glass, to see again every boot quite
in proper order, and next to its
fellow on the grass.
14 He gave a low whistle of as-
tonishment, and, of course, as fast
as he could, brought the boots in by armfuls. There were yet a few more to
get in, when the boys came scrambling out; and catching sight of Buttons with
WHAT THE LAUREL LEAVES TOLD.
an armful of boots, and seeing some in the distance on the lawn, they pounced
upon him, shouting-
No we have caught you, you young monkey; what do you mean by
declaring you knew nothing about it "
Buttons was so indignant at this, that for once he managed to stand up for
himself; and his thick, soapy voice was so earnest when he explained what you
have already been told, that the boys let him go, telling him to keep his round
eyes on the look-out for the ghost, advising him to "polish him off" if he found
him; for they were beginning to get interested in the mystery, and that day
had some good jokes about what they called the departing spirits of the
The next day, when the row was again shining in its place at the head of
the stairs, Buttons resolved to take fresh steps to unravel this knotty matter.
He went to the far end of the corridor, and sat determinedly down on the
second stair of the flight leading up to the bedrooms.
From there he fixed his eye upon the boots, and made up his mind to stay
there until the boys came for them.
He had begun almost to expect to see them get up and walk in a long file
down the corridor to place themselves on the lawn.
Really," he mumbled to himself, "there's no knowing what may happen
in these days of highpotnertism'; if tables can turn by themselves, and tea-
cups fly through the air, why shouldn't boots walk; it's much more natural
Five minutes-six minutes-seven minutes went by; and there sat Buttons,
and there remained the boots.
He was just going to congratulate himself that though he had not seen
the ghost, he had at any rate prevented its coming, when--the ghost
appeared at the open doorway of the garden.
WHAT THE LAUREL LEAVES TOLD.
It wagged its tail, and put its tongue out, and with a frisk of delight caught
the nearest boot in its mouth, and walked it off to the lawn, put it down, and
came back for another. The page-boy was too astounded to do anything at
first; but when several pairs had been carried out, he so far forgot rules
and house etiquette as to shuffle excitedly to the dining-room door, which he
opened unceremoniously, and announced to all at the breakfast table-
"Please the ghost is at work now, if you want to see it, and it
ain't me !"
There was a general stampede to the door, for neither master nor boys
waited to stand upon ceremony, or ask permission to leave the table, when there
was the chance that a few seconds' delay might give the apparition time to
vanish; for ghosts, like time and tide, are amongst those things that wait for no
man, though as a general rule, when a ghost does pay a visit, he is not
required to wait.
There was merriment among the boys when they perceived the four-
footed ghost, who continued his work regardless of the two-legged creatures
He completed his task with a satisfied bark, and was for many days a
great hero in schoolboy eyes.
A DREAM STORY
Buttons was triumphant, going about for a time with an injured, self-
righteous air, as much as to say-
"I was not in fault, you see."
"Clever dog that of yours, Smith," remarked one of the masters, on
hearing the story of the boots.
"Yes, very clever," answered Mr. Smith ; "he knows the value of money,
too. I left my pocket-book and newspaper on the table for a few minutes last
week, and when I came back found he was chewing a 5 note, having already
eaten one; he was discreet in his choice, you see. He knew better than to
take in the Daily News; perhaps he thought the politics might disagree
R Dream !torp.
EBER ST. CLERE was recovering from a long illness; he was what
one calls "convalescent," which' (for the benefit of tiny readers) means
But he felt weak and limp, and liked very much to sit in a chair near
the window, with the large palm plant behind him, and think, and dream,
and imagine all sorts of fanciful ideas.
Sometimes he dozed right off, and would wake, after seeing wonderful things,
with a sudden start, to find that the poet was right when he said, Things
are not what they seem." He only wished they were, although, when his
A DREAM STORY
dreams were unpleasant, it was a great
relief to find that real life was otherwise.
One summer afternoon he had a very
It was only short, and he
woke himself from it by laughing *'-. ,
heartily in his sleep. ,
Just before he dropped off, he f -j
heard the palm-leaves by him
crackling and rustling; and he
thought to himself-
"I could almost fancy those
leaves were laughing at some-
thing." i c
"Of course we are, and so
would you be if you had any -
sense of fun in you," the palm-
leaves crackled out, answering the
little boy's thoughts.
Heber jumped with surprise, and
then became most interested and
amused; for what should he see but a curious battle going
on in the air between a crowd of postage stamps and pennies.
They were all on legs, and the point they -were con-
tending about seemed to be, as to which was the most
valuable-each penny or each stamp. The pennies seemed to be getting the
best of it, for they were the heaviest; and when they came against a stamp,
down went the stamp flat, and sometimes doubled right in two; if the penny
knocked it on the sticky side, then the stamp stuck to the penny; so it was
a questionable triumph on the penny's side; but if the stamp's sticky side
was undermost, then the weight of the penny on the top stuck it to the
ground, and it could not get up again, and so was done for.
You may think all this sounded rather unequal for the poor stamps;
but then, they were so light that they had the advantage of being able to
flutter up in the air, and get out of the way of the pennies by dodging,
for the pennies were heavy, and rolled about in rather an aimless way;
also, the stamps did their best to get the pennies on uneven ground, for
then, down the incline they rolled in a minute.
"As if there could be the least doubt that we are of most value,"
A DREAM STORY
shouted the leading penny; we have the advantage in size, in weight, in
durability, in variety of uses, in experience of life; there is not a shadow of
a doubt about it."
"Oh! oh! oh!" returned a feeble papery chorus. "You can't stick;
you would be of no use on a letter; you can't give value to a receipt over
two pounds; and as to exchange, we could buy anything you can; size
and weight count for nothing, or next door to it. 'Big head, little wit,'
says the proverb. Your weight and size, in fact, are very much against
you; so much so, that people get rid of you whenever they can, and change
you into silver."
I shall ask .Britannia which she could best do without," retorted a
thin worn-out penny, with the date rubbed off.
At the mention of her name, there rose in the background a ghostly
view of Britannia, seated on what Heber thought looked rather like a
throne of justice.
She had a three-pronged sceptre in her hand, and there was a light-
house and ship behind her on a distant sea. Heber was sure he had seen
the whole picture before, but could not just then remember where.
A DREAM STORY
Britannia shook her pitchfork at her rebellious servants, the stamps and
pennies, and without waiting for them to speak, she said angrily-
Peace, or I will throw you all in to the sea, it is just behind me there
ready; in which case you, stamps, would lose your sticking power and be
torn in bits, and you, pennies, would sink straight
to the bottom. Be satisfied when I tell you that
the Queen thought you of such equal value ,.r
that .she had her own image impressed upon
both o( yotu."
Britannia did not wait to. see whether her words had the effect she
desired-of quieting the rebellion, but faded away.
80 A DREAM STORY
The stamps were delighted with her verdict, and would not deign to
stay any longer to argue the point, and began to walk off.
The pennies, seeing them go, each cried out, "I don't care what
Britannia says; she did not think you stamps worthy of her image at any
rate, and she did think us so," and rushed after the stamps.
Heber laughed so much to see the pennies scampering after the retreating
stamps, that he woke.
He turned to the palm-leaves, "It was very amusing, wasn't it?"
But the palm-leaves somehow wouldn't talk now, and when he touched
them they only crackled.
Perhaps if Heber had called me, I could have found out an answer
even in the crackle.
g o. i _. -' Ii .. -.. ".- ,-*' *-., -- -_...it-. (_ 11 .13 "Ir.* I .
m,- d t sA Y." a' T ... .
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I -.aa g a MH m
hl',-r~RE d~ ,,..- .g ...-